This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," January 26, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Now we have to deliver. Enough all talk, no action.
We have issued executive orders to build of the Keystone and Dakota pipelines. We have issued executive orders to remove wasteful regulations. We've put in place the first steps in our immigration plan, ordering the immediate construction of a border wall. And I mean the immediate removal of criminal aliens.
And finally, at long last, cracking down on sanctuary cities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES ROSEN, GUEST ANCHOR: That was President Trump speaking at the Republican retreat in Philadelphia today on the barrage of executive orders in his first week in office. Are all these executive actions fulfilling the campaign promises of candidate Trump, or are some largely symbolic? And whatever became of the conservative philosophical opposition to governance by executive order?
Let's bring in our panel: Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano; Katie Pavlich, news editor at TownHall.com, and A.B. Stoddard, associate editor at Real Clear Politics, dear friends all. We will begin with the noted libertarian on this set and also the only person on this set, to my knowledge, who is on a first-name basis with the president of the United States.
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: Another story for another time.
ROSEN: Judge, are you troubled by the executive orders?
NAPOLITANO: I am not troubled by the executive orders that I have seen. The executive orders on immigration policy are within the authority that's given to him under federal law. The executive order on Obamacare is very creative and is very functional and practical, basically saying to the IRS do not collect attacks from people who do not have health care because by the time the taxes owed on April 15th you won't have that authority to collect it because they won't have the obligation to have it because Obamacare will be different.
So the short answer is these are consistent with his promises as a candidate Trump. The longer answer is they are -- whether you think he should have that authority or not, they are within the authority of the presidency.
ROSEN: There was a time during the last administration when conservatives complained about President Obama's use of executive orders. Let's listen to the House speaker, Paul Ryan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE PAUL RYAN: We are going to wait and see from the administration what their supplemental looks like. I'm not going to get ahead of a policy and bill that has not been written yet, but the point is we are going to finance the Secure Fence Act, which is the construction of the physical barrier on the border.
We are fiscal conservatives. If we're going to be spending on things like, say, infrastructure we're going to find the fiscal space to pay for that in our spring budget.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROSEN: All right, that really had more to do with the financing of various measures, including the proposed border wall. A.B. Stoddard, do we see the Republican Party maintaining its usual preoccupation with offsets, that is, making sure anything new you want to spend doesn't come at the expense -- where something else has to be cut, in other words, from the budget in order to fund that. Do we see that consistency here?
A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: No, not yet. The border wall made them a little uncomfortable to talk about the cost. They actually estimated it a little bit higher at $12 billion to $15 billion. They didn't want to talk about Mexico paying for it. They just wanted to say that they were going to try to find supplemental funding through existing law from 2006 and not insert it into this year's budget which would cause a huge eruption and a political problem where they just want to build some momentum, look unified, and get going.
But it is true that underneath the surface is tension boiling up about the fact that Donald Trump is a big spender. Increased military spending, deep tax cuts, a wall, expensive infrastructure projects are all expenditures, and none of them are pay-fors, and they haven't come with pay-fors. So that will be a discussion going forward. It seems today, not a lot of answers came out.
ROSEN: You say pay-fors, I used offsets. These are arcane technical terms, but they basically mean the same thing. One of the groups here in Washington that is usually most concerned with making sure that new initiatives are, as they say, budget neutral is the House Freedom Caucus, conservatives within the House GOP ranks. And here is a prominent member of the Freedom Caucus on just this issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARK MEADOWS, R-N.C.: I've been working with my staff today on finding ways to offset some of those dollars now that we have a dollar amount. When we have $1 trillion budget, I would hope we could find $15 billion over ten years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROSEN: Katie Pavlich, how important is this whole question of funding the wall. Originally it was going to be Mexico is going to pay for it. Now it's Mexico is going to reimburse us for it. Now that may be complicated. How important is the funding?
KATIE PAVLICH, TOWNHALL.COM: First of all, I think Americans need to start accepting that if they want a border -- or a wall on their southern border, they are going to ultimately be the ones not only just to pay for it initially but to also maintain it and staff it.
But in terms of paying for the wall and finding these loopholes in the budget, so to speak, Republicans are in a place, especially the Freedom Caucus Republicans, where they are going to blow their own credibility that they have tried to gain over the years in the Tea Party movement and the back end of the Bush administration for paying for things, deficit spending and not increasing the federal debt. And so they are in a bind when it comes to paying for one of Trump's projects, not even the list of other things that he's put on the table.
ROSEN: Such as infrastructure as well. You raise the excellent point about staffing the border wall. One these executive orders that the president issued in the past few days increased the number of border patrol agents by about 5,000, I believe. From your own experience writing about these issues, should that be sufficient in terms of staffing?
PAVLICH: It's going to be difficult. The border isn't vast and long. I think it's going to take maybe double the amount of border patrol agents to 5,000 to actually get the job done for what they want to do. There are parts of the border where the fence has certainly worked and kept drugs and human trafficking to a minimum. Yuma, Arizona, and San Diego are two examples of that. But if you're going to have real serious bolstering of a wall that people can in fact some places jump over, you're going to have to staff up border patrol.
And the other big part of this is that the wall is not the end-all, be-all. I think a lot of people acknowledge that when you ask them in polling what they think is important in immigration enforcement. It's really the people who are here and the criminal element that the president talked about that is our problem area. These overstays are huge part of why we have an illegal immigration problem in this country.
Judge Napolitano, I want to ask you about something that appeared in "The New York Times" today written by my colleague and friend Peter Baker who covers the White House. The article is entitled "An itchy Twitter finger in the Oval Office." And Mr. Baker writes "He sits in the White House at night watching television or reading social media, and through Twitter issues instant judgments on what he sees. He channels fringe ideas and gives them as much weight as carefully researched reports. He denigrates the conclusions of intelligence professionals and then later denies having done so. He thrives on conflict and chaos." And it goes on from there. Is that true?
NAPOLITANO: If it is true, I would have added the following phrase "and he loves every minute of it," because this is the way Donald Trump is going to govern. He's going to bypass the media whenever he can. He's going to pinprick media with which he disagrees, and he's going to make announcements that used to be made with great fanfare at 2:00 in the morning to see who is listening.
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