First 100 Days

KT McFarland: Trump's responsibility is to Americans; Inside the White House with Kellyanne Conway

This is a rush transcript from "The First 100 Days," January 30, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Breaking tonight, a busy start to week two of the Trump administration, as the new president prepares to make perhaps his most important decision to date and faces some serious backlash to one of his chief campaign promises. Welcome to "The First 100 Days," everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum. Reporting tonight from our nation's capital, where I met today with the White House, at the White House with several new team members of the new administration.

Over the past 48 hours, we have witnessed a series of protests concerning President Trump's executive order that temporarily bans immigration from seven countries that are hotbeds of terror. It comes just a day before the president is expected to officially name his Supreme Court nominee. His rumored shortlist includes Judge William Pryor, Judge Neil Gorsuch, and Judge Thomas Hardiman. The nominee would replace the late conservative justice Antonin Scalia. So those are just two of the big stories that we have for you tonight from Washington, as well as some big name guests this evening.

Among them, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president. We will ask her about the Supreme Court pick tomorrow night. Also, we'll discuss new efforts to derail education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos. First, with the American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on one side and then with Formal Education Secretary Bill Bennett on the other. And Tucker Carlson joins us to discuss my White House interviews and the administration's latest moves.

But we begin with "The First 100 Days" exclusive on day 10 as KT McFarland grants us her very first interview since being appointed President Trump's deputy national security advisor and discusses both the travel ban and the controversial reorganization of the National Security Council.

MACCALLUM: KT McFarland, thank you so much for being with us today.


MACCALLUM: So our viewers are used to seeing you analyze the foreign policy of the prior administration. So give everyone a sense of what the role is at the NIC and with the National Security Council is all about in the Trump White House.

MCFARLAND: Well, it's good that you ask that because, you know, people think about foreign policy and they think there's the state department, there is the defense department, the intelligence community, but there' somebody that brings them altogether and that's the National Security council does. It acts as the honest broker between all of these different agencies, understanding that American foreign policy is not just a diplomatic issue or a military issue or an intelligence issue or an economic issue. It's all of those. And so, the National Security Council and my role within it, is to take advice from all of these different parts of government and presented to the president for his own decision.

MACCALLUM: So the NSC was in the news quite a bit over the course of the weekend. And it was primarily about the principles council, which is the inner circle of the National Security Council. And the news was that Steve Bannon, the chief strategist for their president, would be in all of those meetings. And that the director of National Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who are typically in those meetings, would be in those meetings, "They shall attend P.C. meetings where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed."


MACCALLUM: And that raised a lot of eyebrows. People thought, why wouldn't they be there all the time, they've always been there all the time.

MCFARLAND: Well, this is actually much ado about nothing. Normally, every president gets to choose how he wants to structure his national security team. The one thing is, the National Security Council, now that's by law, the National Security Act of 1947 says that is comprised of the president, the vice president, secretary of state, defense, et cetera, it's like a mini cabinet.

One thing that General Flynn and I did prior to taking office was we interviewed a lot of the former national security advisors. We started with Henry Kissinger, my old boss, who set up a National Security Council iteration system and we talk to other people who had had the roles for other administrations, including the Obama administration. And one thing that -- several things that came up loud and clear, one, there were too many meetings that there were -- that agendas would often blur one to the other.

And It often decisions weren't made. So what it was doing to the people who are participants of it, whether it was the cabinet officers or in some cases, the deputy cabinet officers, is they were having time to run their own -- their own -- their own agencies, was their primary responsibility.  So we did a little bit of streamlining. And the streamlining was to say, if they are going to be some meetings that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff doesn't need to come to, don't -- you don't have to come to it.

On the other hand, there will be other people, Steve Bannon, as you mentioned, he has a policy role in this administration. He is not just a - - he is not, you know, just a politician. He was a former military officer, a businessman, a media executive, and he's one of Donald Trump's closest policy advisors. So, he has -- should be there and in fact, and previous administrations, people who had a lesser role, less of a policy role, often sat in on those meetings.

So it really was just to formalize it. There's nothing new there. And so I think that people who are reading the tea leaves and thinking, aha, there is some big revelation, there really isn't.

MACCALLUM: So was it presented to them and that way beforehand? Because we have reporting this morning from some of the joint chiefs saying that they were caught unaware of this and that I did catch them somewhat off guard. Then, Robert Gates and Michael Payton waited in and said that they thought it was, "very unusual for Steve Bannon to be at every one of those meetings."

MCFARLAND: You know, I don't think so. First of all, and previous administrations, Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod attended those meetings.  So I would say that that is in fact really just a recognition fact that that role does, sitting on those meetings and particularly the case of Bannon, who has a much bigger policy background, it makes a lot of sense.

MACCALLUM: In terms of, you know, sort of -- let's take a little bit of a trip around the world here. But let's start with those who were trying to get into the country over the course of the weekend and this travel ban and the refugees. There was so much outcry and outrage on the part of some people at the way this implemented, even some Republicans said that it was rushed in over the weekend and that the border agencies didn't know what they were supposed to be doing. What's your take?

MCFARLAND: Well, I think that the surprise in Washington is that Donald Trump is actually doing what he said he will do on the campaign trail. And he said, we have to take a look at our visa and immigration system. And he's -- and he's had the very good example of looking at what our friends and allies in Europe are coping with. You know, they -- their system is such that they now have had terrorist attacks in any one of the major cities of Europe and the threat is continuing. It's increasing.

And so with President Trump on the campaign trail, and then with his new executive order said, we want to take a look at our system. We know that some of the attacks in this -- in the country and to some of the foreign attacks were from people who may have been in this country legally, illegally, what's the system. So he hasn't banned anything, he said, let's just take a pause, let's step back, figure out what is going on and then report back with recommendations in 90 days.

I look at that and say, why would we not want to protect the people of this country? You know, it's an issue of who's in this country, are they --do they present any threat to the United States or the security of the country, and we have a responsibility, you know, he doesn't have a responsibility for all of the people who want to come in, it's a responsibility for the American citizens. And I think he's executing that responsibility extremely, well, I think it's just prudent for him to do that and it's a responsible thing to do.

MACCALLUM: Was there a need for it to happen in some way suddenly?

MCFARLAND: Sure. I think it is a long overdue thing. Looking at the visa and -- I went -- for example about two years ago. I went back and look at some of those forms myself and said, what is our system, how are we looking at people come into this quick country, what questions are being asked?  You know, there's one form I looked at that said -- and this is a legitimate question they were asking, are you a terrorist? Oh, if you are a terrorist, what is your answer to that going to be?

So maybe we need to have a deep look, a step back, look at the procedures, who comes into this country, where they coming from, what kind of information can we get to determine whether they are going to be a threat to the nation. So, to me, the key to the responsible thing.

MACCALLUM: This morning, Fox exclusively learned that Iran had conducted a ballistic missile launch on Sunday, an apparent violation of the U.N. resolution that bars them from such activities. And the president spoke over the weekend with the leader in Saudi Arabia King Salman and they discussed their concerns about destabilizing regional activities. Would you classify what Iran did over the weekend as a destabilizing regional activity?

MCFARLAND: You know, whether it's Iran or any of these countries particularly with regard to nuclear weapons and the nuclear proliferation issue, Donald Trump said on the campaign trail that this is the one of the major issues that any new president is going to face is nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons proliferation. He has also said, many times that he thought the Iran nuke deal was a bad deal that the United States paid upfront and didn't leave behind the leverage that we would have had for enforcement.

That being said, you know, we are taking -- this administration is now going to study these, we're going to look carefully, we're going to talk to our allies. One thing we are not going to do is look the other way on violations.

MACCALLUM: So what would our response be?

MCFARLAND: Well, I think we have to determine what happened, under what terms that it happened, what are the enforcement mechanisms, were they in violation, were they not in violation. And that is what we are looking at.  And again, in conjunction with our allies.

MACCALLUM: So with liberals and to some media outlets raging about the travel ban, we reached out the widow Taya Kyle, the widow of American Sniper Chris Kyle, and Chris Kyle's Iraqi interpreter will have their take on President Trump's order next, along with the former State Department Spokesperson, Marie Harf. Plus, "The First 100 Days" goes one-on-one with Kellyanne Conway. She will join us with the president's big Supreme Court announcement tomorrow. Plus, she talks about her new life inside the White House straight ahead.

Do you support, if Senator McConnell wants to push forward the nuclear option, is that something the White House supports?


MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, Fox News is confirming that the justice department will not support President Trump in his travel ban, since the agency is being run by an Obama holdover at this point. The controversy started with the president's executive order temporarily banning refugee travel to the United States from seven countries of concern known for providing safe haven to terrorists. The order met with immediate outcries from liberals and from a number of media outlets with protesters heading to airports over the weekend to express their anger.

But today, we are hearing from an unlikely source, an Iraqi Muslim on why he says President Trump is doing exactly why the right thing here. Johnny Walker is an Iraqi who accompanied American sniper Navy SEAL Chris Kyle on his missions in Iraq, as Kyle's interpreter. Tonight, Mr. Walker joins us alongside the widow of American sniper Chris Kyle, Taya Kyle. Welcome to both of you. Good to have you both here tonight. Johnny, let me start with you, if I may. You know, what was your initial reaction when you heard about this travel ban?



WALKER: So, when my kids, they can go to their school in the morning, I don't need to worry, to act like I'm in Iraq and they have to have my gun and look at and I stand by with my kids when they get out from the school and called them like crazy, hey, what's going on, what's up? I don't want to have that feeling back to be -- to any one of my kids.

MACCALLUM: Well, I know you know that feeling first hand and all too well.  What do you say to those who say that this is unreasonable, that the people that are being prevented from entering this country are not the people that we have to worry about?

WAKLER: I'm just going to say, just be American. If you love America more than anything else, you will understand Trump's decision is for your own benefit. And, you know -- if you disagree with Trump, and you love your country, go back to your country. No one is going to stop you. And I have my friend, he will pay your ticket.

MACCALLUM: You know, I know, Johnny, that you said you wanted an exemption for interpreters like yourself and people who have stood and worked and fought alongside American military to fight for the causes that you believe in. Do you believe that you're going to get that from what you heard today?

WALKER: Can you repeat your question? I apologize.

MACCALLUM: Yes. In terms of interpreters and people like yourself who have worked alongside American military, do you believe that they will be exempt and protected?

WALKER: Yes. Because they are -- I mean, I know most of the refugees right now are Turkish and some of them in Egypt and safer places. Other people who survive almost three years since they sign to be a refugee, until now, nothing happened to them, I guarantee. Nothing can happen to them within another 90 days. And I think is -- the problem is not with three months and the refugees. I think the problem is with politics. If you look Iran now, they test ballistic missiles and if you look to the history, not long time history like in 2015, Obama banned Iraqi refugees for six months just because they're suspicious, there's two guy there.

MACCALLUM: Understood.

WALKER: (INAUDIBLE) They want to came to United States. So --

MACCALLUM: Johnny, thank you. I just want to get to some thoughts from Taya. Taya, your reaction to this ban?

TAYA KYLE, CHRIS KYLE'S WIDOW: Yes. I mean, Johnny is a perfect person to talk to because he understands the threats that are overseas. We know the Navy SEALs just over the faith holiday at the Al Qaeda in Yemen, we know that President Obama identified these countries as a problem. It's not all Muslim majority countries. It's a very small percentage of those countries and it's not anything to do with religion. So, you know, in a way I just try to simplify sometimes in my mind and cut through the clutter and I look my own home and I think, if I was newly in charge of my home, like President Trump is newly in charge of the united States our home, I would look at security advisors, I'd look at threat against me, and I would say, OK, let me get an understanding before I just keep everything open.

I think the refugees have a place to go. Canada who said they'll welcome them. So, it's not like anybody is going to die on our watch, while we take a minute and try to figure out who we're letting on. We do need to figure out -- and my home, if I just said anybody can come in all the time and I will feed and clothe everybody, I would love to do that, but I have children to protect and I'm not going to do that unless they have I.D. or unless I at least know, do you work for the utility company, even though you're saying you do.

I mean, these are basic safety concerns that I think anyone would do for their personal home. I think we need to give the same respect to the country.

MACCALLUM: Taya Kyle, thank you for your family's sacrifice to this country. It is good to see you again, Taya. And John Walker, thank you as well for the sacrifice and the commitment that you've made to keeping America safe. It's great to have both of you with us tonight. So, joining me now with more, former Obama administration official and Fox News contributor Marie Harf. Marie, welcome. Good to be with you tonight in Washington. You listen to those arguments, very valid, very heartfelt about why we need to put a safety and security in this country before anything else. Your reaction?

MARIE HARF, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, first, we do know who is coming in as refugees. These people provide a lot of biographical information, fingerprints, their three-year background checks that refugees go through to come to the United States. So, it's not like what they have in Europe where refugees can just go there and then they get vetted. We know who is coming here and we put in place and the Obama administration, pretty significant vetting to make sure we knew that.

But I would also say that these policies aren't consequence free that we are alienating people we need to help us fight ISIS by doing this and we're probably creating more enemies in the process. And I think that seeing republicans like Mike Hayden speak out today, when he said - he's a republican who was head of the CIA, who was pretty conservative, I think most people would agree. He said this is going to create more enemies. So I don't think we can discount what those republican national security leaders are saying about this.

MACCALLUM: I think, you know, a lot of people listen to that argument and say, you know, these -- the people that were worried about, they hate us already. I mean, nothing like this is going to exacerbate the hatred that they feel, people who are jihadists who want to commit terror attacks against this country. And in terms of the people that you described, you know, that -- they are going to get in any way under this policy, I mean, they already did. When you look at the people who were held back and vetted, yes, they were delayed in their travels. But I believe at this point, all of them were released and put through. So it just -- it just makes it more of a process, it's inconvenient for a lot people but if it stops one person from getting into the country, isn't it worth it?

HARF: Well, I don't think it's just an inconvenience. And actually I don't know this year and refugees will ever be let into this country under President Trump. The Syrian refugee ban is an indefinite pause. And actually, some of them might die because they don't have a place to go.

MACCALLUM: What strikes me though, Marie, whenever I hear this argument, I think where was the compassion for the Syrian refugees when they were in their villages and their hometown, and as President Obama said, if that red line was crossed, we were going to do something about it. There would be consequences for Syria and it never happened. You look at John McCain and Lindsey Graham who have been screaming from the mountaintops that we needed to help these people and be compassionate to them while they were in their country. So, now that it's too late for all of that, perhaps, we're now supposed to be more compassionate than we were then and let everyone in?

HARF: No, I would say those are two separate things. First of all, what we did in the Obama administration was get the chemical weapons out of Syria so they couldn't be used against innocent Syrians. I actually think that --


MACCALLUM: Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed under the Obama administration in Syria.

HARF: Well, no one in the Obama administration thinks that Syria is where we wanted it to be. But when it comes to chemical weapons we got those out. What I would say is no Syrian refugee to the United States has ever committed an act of terrorism. They've never killed an American. We need to be honest with ourselves about what this threat is. Is it these kids that are Syrian refugees or is it something else? And so we need to be very careful when we are talking about the threat. Look, a lot of countries weren't included in this ban. A lot of countries that have produced terrorist that have killed Americans and I just think we are not being very clear about what the threat actually is.

MACCALLUM: Marie, thank you. Good to have you here tonight. Obviously a conversation we're going to have for many, many months to come.

HARF: Yes. For sure.

MACCALLUM: All right. So again, a big story breaking moments ago, Fox News confirming that the justice department will not support President Trump on this travel ban. Since the agency is being run continuously by a holdover from the Obama administration, Tucker Carlson will be here live with his reaction to that in moments. Stick around for more from Tucker Carlson. Plus, we go behind the scenes with Kellyanne Conway to get a take on the controversy of the first two weeks and what is to come.

President Obama spoke out today for the first time, really, since he left office and he spoke out about the travel ban. He believes that American values are at stake in this decision. What do you think about him speaking out so early on and in the way that he did?


MACCALLUM: In November, Kellyanne Conway made history. She became the first woman to successfully run a presidential campaign. Today, she is a top adviser to the president in the White House. In an office that has quite a bit of history with regard to its former inhabitants. Earlier, I got a chance to talk to her about that and much more. Take a look.


MACCALLUM: Thank you. It is great to be here with you. You just sit down for a minute. You can tell us a little bit about the history of your office for starters.

CONWAY: The White House historical association provide each of us here in the East Wing with a packet when moved in telling us the history of our office. I thought that was really fascinating. But the recent history of this office, just to tell you my immediate predecessors, Valerie Jarrett, of course, probably the closest advisor to President Obama who also served him all eight years, as she told me when I came here to have lunch with her last month, Martha and she arrived on day one and she left with him on the very final day.

That's really rare particularly for somebody that senior level. Before Valerie Jarrett had this office, it was occupied by Fox News' Karl Rove, of course often referred to as President George W. Bush is (INAUDIBLE) -- and before that, this one is really fascinating, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton occupied this White House. Of course, the first ladies have their offices in the east wing. But she, Hillary Clinton, as first lady of course wanted to be immediately and deeply involved in policy, so, she had an office in the west wing and it was this one. The good omen of all of that is that each of those people, Valerie Jarrett, Karl Rove, and Hillary Clinton, served a two-term president. So, I like -- I'm going to keep (INAUDIBLE)

MACCALLUM: (INAUDIBLE) yes. Karma there, right? In terms of the women who aren't in leadership roles in the Trump administration, you look back on the March that we saw the day after the president was inaugurated, and very anti-Trump come in the course of that protest, talk to us about what it's like to be a woman in the Trump administration, and the Trump White House.

CONWAY: In some ways, it feels like just being one of the men as being one of the women, meaning, we are all treated the same by President Trump. But there is a special responsibility. I do feel like I have a vaunted platform, if you will and a special responsibility to America's women particularly those who write to me, email me, call me, text me, stop me on the streets or anywhere I really am. Martha, just to say, thank you so much for standing up to -- standing up for women and standing up to other women, other people who are trying to diminish the President of the united states.

I feel like we're the ones who extend the olive branch quite a bit. Then, you have democrats just today in the senate saying they will, "block any supreme court nominee that Donald Trump gives up." They don't even know the person's name yet. They haven't even met him or her and they have already commended themselves to obstructing and blocking and filibustering that person. So, Donald Trump has promised to be the president of all Americans, he is making good on that already, even those who are protesting him will benefit from his job creation, his wage boosting his energy and infrastructure investment. But at the same time, it -- the good for people to get out of this business of permanent protesting and actually try to find way to work together.

MACCALLUM: So you bring up -- let's go to this SCOTUS nomination, which we expect tomorrow evening. Democrats could easily say, in fact, they have, we are taking this action, because that is exactly what Mitch McConnell did to the president's nomination of Merrick Garland.

CONWAY: Well that was different. That was -- knowing that the president only had less than a year left on his term. And that was not unprecedented in terms of letting the next president, who they all thought would be Hillary Clinton, in fairness, the next president put his or her Supreme Court nominee up there. The fact is, when there were vacancies for president that had more time in their remaining administrations, Martha, they were not filibustered.

MACCALLUM: Do you support, if senator McConnell wants to push forward the nuclear option. Is that something the White House supports?

CONWAY: Well, we should take a look at of all of our options. I think Harry Reid probably now retired, that probably regrets the day that he went to the nuclear option, because now, his party is no longer in power in the United States senate, obviously, but Senator McConnell, leader McConnell, has been very public in expressing his confidence that President Trump's Supreme Court nominee will be confirmed. The leader McConnell did a great job, frankly, in keeping that seat vaccine.

MACCALLUM: You see the resistance that is out there that you just spoke of. So, in terms of the Nuclear options when Harry Reid put it through, he did it excluding the Supreme Court, for other things, but not for the Supreme Court. So, McConnell what had to add this Supreme Court to that.  As also part of the nuclear options, do you think that is what he is going to do?

CONWAY: That is up to leader McConnell and his colleague.

MACCALLUM: Would you be supportive about that?

CONWAY: I am supportive of a fair and full process.

MACCALLUM: President Obama spoke out today for the first time, really, since he left office and he spoke out about the travel ban that was enacted over the course of the weekend. And the president fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals based on their faith or religion and he believes that American values are at stake in this decision. What do you think about him speaking out so early on and in the way that he did?

CONWAY: He is welcome to say what he wants. It's a free country, including for ex-presidents, but let's back it up a second. President Trump agrees with exactly what you just said there, the first part, which is that, we don't believe anybody should be discriminated according to their religion or whatever he said, in addition to what he said. That is not where this is. This is temporary. It is 90 days and it is very narrowly restricted to seven countries that none other than President Obama's administration identified as high risk for harboring, training an expert in terrorist.

MACCALLUM: Is he being hypocritical and criticizing it?

CONWAY: He is welcome to say what he wants. What I think is everybody she should be reminded, it was his originally, never wanted a number two, Martha. You know when you are as powerful as an ex-president, or a current sitting senator, and you say or do anything that could possibly mislead people into believing that something has an impact in the sect that it clearly does not, it is a dangerous game.

MACCALLUM: In terms of the NSC meetings, we just saw Sean Spicer come out earlier and clarify a few points. He said that Steve Bannon will not be at all of those meetings. In the directive, it said that he would be attending all of those meetings. No?

CONWAY: I spoke directly with the president about this today. Sean, who is doing an amazing job, as Press Secretary, went out there today and said this is very similar to 2001, 2017, 2009. So when you had the three last new presidents, if you will, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, basically, those all said the same thing, with respect to the NSC, that someone like Steve Bannon, (inaudible), David Axelrod for President Obama, Martha, they will come in and out in the meetings as needed and as directed by the President, who of course has the final say of everything we do here.  President Trump took it another step today. He restored or initiated putting his CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, into this meeting, as well as party as seen, of course I believe when President Bush was president, we did not have a DNI Director of National Intelligence. That is a semi-new office, and that former Senator Dan Coats, of course who will be involved in it.  We talk about the NSC, I think when people think of Steve Bannon being in those meetings, here and there, it would be like with David Axelrod, and said his role was. He was not there as a matter of course, but he was there, of course the Joint Chiefs of Staff will be represented there, as well.

MACCALLUM: Kellyanne thank you very much.

CONWAY: Thank you so much, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Stop by. I will have pictures on the wall.


MACCALLUM: So still had tonight, Tucker Carlson will join us on the breaking news that the justice department is not going to defend President Trump on his travel ban. Plus, less than one day until the senate votes on the nomination for Betsy DeVos for education secretary. Here is a massive 11th hour effort that is underway to block that confirmation. We have a reaction from Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers and then, Bill Bennett, former Education Secretary under President Reagan.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She does not have any understanding of public schools and she is the worst thing that could happen to our children, my fellow teachers, and the profession as a whole.



MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, we are less than 24 hours away from a senate committee that will be set to vote on the nomination for Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Progressives from around the country are in her midst of a last ditch effort to block that confirmation. I am joined now by one of DeVos' outspoken critics. Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation for Teachers. Randi, welcome, good to have you here.


MACCALLUM: So many believe that she has been an outspoken proponent of giving children a lot more options in terms of private schools, charter schools, parochial schools, however they want to spend those tax dollars that are devoted to that student, they should be able to spend it and their parents should be able to help them make a decision. What is wrong with that?

WEINGARTEN: So, what has happened in Michigan is Betsy DeVos got exactly what you just said. She has lots of different options for kids. These are the things that happened. Number one, the option that was not available for kids, and places like Detroit, was many times, Detroit public schools, because they were defunded by these other options. Number two, probably equally important, to parents all across America, is that the options, the for-profit options, did a horrible job for children. Michigan's schools, before Betsy DeVos started doing this work in Michigan, before 2002, which he and her husband put a voucher initiative on the ballot, that failed by 2-1 by Michigan voters. From 2003-2017, Michigan's schools in 2003 were 28 in reading scores. By 2015, they tumbled to 41. And on that same trajectory, they would be 48 in five more years from now. So what I am saying is.

MACCALLUM: In the 20s, the 40s, and these schools, we all know that our inner cities have failed. The public schools in inner cities have failed our children. Is that true?

WEINGARTEN: Actually, not true. Some schools fail, some schools -

MACCALLUM: I mean involve in inner cities in Newark and in New York City.  And I have seen what the chartered schools have done for so many of these children's, in many instances, saving their lives and saving their futures.

WEINGARTEN: And I think you are right. There are some charters, like the charter I run myself that just had a blue ribbon award, 100 percent graduation rate.

MACCALLUM: Which is fantastic, why wouldn't you want more of that and more of that options for our kids.

WEINGARTEN: I also want schools like Clara Barton High School that I taught at, to be a great option for kids. I want several of the other schools in the public school system?

MACCALLUM: A high performing public school where the kids are, you know at the grade level they need to be at, there is no reason for that schools close.

WEINGARTEN: So, what I'm saying is that, you can't actually take the funding, which is what DeVos did in Detroit, from the public schools, to use for other schools and then, on top of it, those other schools did miserably. What she did was push for options that would let a for-profit operator close a school after he pocketed the money, leaving parents scrambling. And in fact, in this past summer, when we fought for charter and public accountability in Detroit, she fought against us.

MACCALLUM: Charter schools are public schools. They are mostly funded by public dollars.

WEINGARTEN: Actually not. The charter schools in Michigan, 80 percent are for-profit. So, they may be funded by public dollars but the charter operators get to pocket the money and 80 percent of those schools --

MACCALLUM: They are not making money off of those kids. They have so many donations on top of what they profit in to other schools.

WEINGARTEN: Martha, what I am saying is that, in Michigan, I'd want you to just look at what happened in Michigan. The superintendent, the former superintendent of schools in Michigan, who is a charter supporter, said that the charter operators were pocketing the money while kids suffered.

MACCALLUM: I mean if that is true, that is wrong.

WEINGARTEN: What I'm saying, that is her record that is why we are against her.

MACCALLUM: We got to go. Randi, thank you very much. Good to have you with us, Randi Weingarten joining us tonight. Let's bring in our next guest, who also knows a bit about what it takes to fix the education in this country. He is the Department of Education. He served as a secretary for three years under President Ronald Reagan. Joining me now is Bill Bennett. He is now Chairman of Conservative Leaders for Education and a Fox News contributor, Bill, good evening, good to have you here this evening, welcome.


MACCALLUM: You just heard my conversation with Randi Weingarten. What is your reaction?

BENNETT: Well a couple things. First, there is hardly a state in the union that has more union control than the state of Michigan. You want to look at the Detroit public school, who do you think is in charge of the Detroit public schools? Teachers unions have more than their fair say and how those schools are run, as is true in urban schools all over the country. By the way, if you pull people in those urban schools, those urban centers and ask them what they think of school choice of charter schools, which are public schools, by the way, you will find out a 75 percent are Latino citizens, 75 percent of black citizens want more school choice.

MACCALLUM: That is why this charter schools have these long wait list to get in to them, because people and families who live in the inner city really want their kids to have that options as well. But what about what Randi just said about Betsy DeVos and the fact that she was not interested in saving good public schools? That was her contention.

BENNETT: She has no problem with good public schools. She likes good public schools, as do I, but the point is that the education of the public.  And when you have some public schools, which are not educating students, I remember when I was Secretary of Education. There was a school in Baltimore that called itself a school, not one child was reading at grade level. Now, that is not a school. That is a warehouse. When you have this kind of performance year after year after year, you have got to let the people go. Let the people be free. Let parents choose the school, another school for their children. The dollars should follow the public, the child, wherever that child goes. I am all for great public schools. I visited 85 of them when I was Secretary of Education. I know Betsy well, too. But this woman, Betsy DeVos has dedicated her career, her energy, her professional life and her resources to improving the education of our children in all sorts of schools.

MACCALLUM: So what do you think? I mean there is obviously a big effort against her and Randi Weingarten says there is a bit been a big effort and a lot of money spent against her. How is this going to go for her?

BENNETT: Well I think it will go fine, because Republicans have the numbers, but it reminds you of the power of the unions, at least traditionally, the Democratic Party. The Democrats go to the convention, 20 percent of the members are either members of the teachers union are married or members of the teacher union, 15 to 20 percent. It is still one of the most powerful parts of the Democratic unit. They may be losing out a little bit to the sierra club these days. Donald Trump is moving away some other unions right now, but it is a very powerful political engine.  They spent a ton of money and that is what you are saying going out tonight. I think Betsy will make it. She deserves to make it.

MACCALLUM: Bill Bennett, thank you, always good to see you, Sir. So, now that Fox has confirmed that top lawyers at the DOJ will not defend the president's travel ban in court, will Mr. Trump be forced to fire those attorneys or what action will he take? To save his travel ban, Tucker Carlson joins us with more when we come back.


MACCALLUM: So the breaking news tonight is from the Justice Department, where the acting attorney general, Sally Yates, because we don't have Sessions in place yet, has said that she will not defend President Trump's executive order banning immigrants from a handful of countries known to provide a safe haven to terrorists. Here now is Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight." It is so nice to be on the set with you. There are so many things that I want to talk to you about. What is your reaction to the story tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Well it is kind of a big deal. First of all, this is what happens when you don't have an attorney general in place.


CARLSON: This provides every incentive, obviously, for Senate Democrats to keep it, and effect, to hold on the nomination, keep Sessions from becoming A.G. The problem is twofold. One, Sally Yates is the only person at the Justice Department with a Senate confirmation. She is the only person who can sign off on warrants that are used frequently in the effort against terror. And the second problem is. The macro problem which is, you got the executive branch basically in conflict with itself. The attorney general, acting, is not supporting the president's executive orders. I don't know when the last time that happens. Not in my adult lifetime for sure. I don't know if there is a reason for the president, it is very weird. It is kind of hard to know where it goes.

MACCALLUM: Do you think Democrats will continue to drag their feet or find ways to drag their feet on Sessions confirmation and tried to keep her in as long as she can?

CARLSON: Sure, why wouldn't they? In other statement that is really interesting, she basically said, I am not going to enforce this because I think it is immoral. By the way, it is probably illegal. But her first line of explanation was this violates some non-specified moral code. The really interesting thing for an acting attorney general to say, it is not much illegal it is a logical argument or maybe you are right, who knows, but it's a little strange.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I want to ask about this other big story that was floating around today about Steve Bannon being at the table for this National Security Council meetings. And the original language made it look as if the DNI and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would be invited when the discussion pertained to them. What do you think about that?

CARLSON: Well, I mean it is both weird and not so weird. The not so weird part is that the president would want his closest advisor and the NSC meetings. I don't think that is weird, actually. Especially, when there is evidence that the executive branch -- a lot of his employees, are hostile to him in his policy aims. So if you want your guy in the meeting, the question is, is Steve Bannon the guy and why is he the guy? I mean, he only work for the president since August. And he doesn't have any National Security experience. So, I mean that is the debate as far as I'm concerned. Is he the right person to be in that position? The idea that the guy in that position would be sitting in on those meetings, I think of it as strange.

MACCALLUM: Do you think there is a power play going on? Do you think he wants his name on that list? Because Reince Priebus' name is on that list and everybody is sort of vying for their position and want it to be stated in a document.

CARLSON: That may be right. I mean all White Houses are rife with internal conflict. I think there is a political component of National Security decision, they are always, there are needs to be, you need the public on your side, and you can't just go invading countries without popular support, for example. That doesn't work well. And so -- politics is part of it, for sure, but it's a balance. So, I don't know. I do know that it would probably be helpful, I think if Steve Bannon were to introduce himself more to the public.

MACCALLUM: That brings me to this tweet that Brit Hume put out today. I know you don't tweet, you may not have seen it.

CARLSON: Right, no, I didn't.

MACCALLUM: You know, he basically said, there is this (inaudible) like character in every administration, you have Valerie Jarrett, you have Karl Rove which is sort of the big scary guy and the Bush administration which we all find (inaudible) amount, because of (inaudible). However, that is a label that has been put on Steve Bannon.

CARLSON: Yes. Look, there is no doubt that Steve Bannon has a clear worldview, a political perspective, it is very different, it is not conservative, and it is populist. And I think it does form the basis of Trumps governing philosophy. So it is good to have someone like that around. Just as the National Security piece, I think has, you know people wondering. I don't know if those concerns are legitimate or not.

MACCALLUM: SO, Tucker has got a show coming up tonight at 9:00. We are not going to give away or anything. Nothing that we just talked about will be repeated. We like surprises.

We like surprises, good to see you.

CARLSON: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Nice to be with you. So we will be back with some of the final thoughts and also tonight's quote of the night after this.


MACCALLUM: So coming this week, we will share with you what the women of the Trump White House say about how they are treated in this administration, including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, whom we also spoke with today. You will hear from her. They're having been plenty of women, as you have seen, who have protested to the new president. So, one of the women who actually work with him every day has to say about President Trump? So we thought we would leave you tonight with this quote for the night from Valerie Jarrett, who went the distance, as Kellyanne Conway told me today, eight full years in the Obama White House, and the office where Kellyanne works today. Jarrett once said this. "I think having a critical mass makes a difference. It is fair to say there is a lot of testosterone flowing in those early days. Now, we have a little more estrogen that provides a counterbalance." That is what she said of the second Obama term, which posted a roughly 50-50 split of men and women in the west wing after being vastly outnumbered during the first four years.

So on that note, we thank you for being here tonight with me, everybody. Martha MacCallum, good night from Washington, D.C., tonight. We will see you tomorrow in New York.

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