Last week, lawyers in the solicitor general's office filed polished briefs in the Supreme Court. In calling the revised order "politically correct," Mr. Trump suggested that his goal throughout had been to exclude travelers based on religion. The Supreme Court has asked people and groups challenging the executive order to file their responses to the government's briefs next Monday. The revised executive order, which the president criticized on Monday, took Iraq off the list of countries that would be affected and made clear that the restrictions did not apply to those who held green cards or valid visas.
Bill Kristol, a prominent conservative critic of Mr. Trump, likened the group to the conclave of witches in "Macbeth." Brian Klaas, a political scientist who has been critical of Mr. Trump, likened the leaders to the evil wizard Saruman from J. R. R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings." The design felt to a pool reporter who was present like a hybrid of a game-show set and a television thriller's idea of a counterterrorism operations control room. An unnamed official who narrated the features of the new control center said the displays used artificial intelligence to track, in real time, news reports and online statements.