First 100 Days

Kurtz, Fleischer on negative coverage of Trump presidency; Huckabee on Trump's plan to 'destroy' Johnson Amendment

This is a rush transcript from "First 100 Days," February 2, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST:  Breaking tonight, two weeks into a Donald Trump presidency and we are already seeing signs of a new world order. Enemies and allies alike on edge as the disruptor channels the art of the deal on the international stage.

This is what day 14 looks like, everybody.  Good evening, I'm Martha MacCallum.

So late today, the White House taking aim at Iran.  Slamming them with sanctions set to take effect as early as tomorrow, most likely, in retaliation for a recent ballistic missile test.

Day 14 began with leaked excerpts of a call to the Australian prime minister.  Not usually a news-making event, but the president was upset over an Obama deal to take in some refugees that originally wanted to go to Australia and he let the prime minister know it, according to accounts.

But just moments ago, top Trump aides met with the Australian ambassador and apparently smoothed things over.

Additionally, a phone call with the president of Mexico also caused some international ripples.  But, again, we may not be hearing the entire story on this.  And while earlier reports that the Trump administration was easing sanctions on Russia, turned out to be false, U.S. ambassadors to the United Nation Nikki Haley employed some tough talk on the floor of the U.N. today, regarding the former Soviet Union's recent intrusions into Ukraine. So there's a few things on the plate for you.

Let's bring in Marc Thiessen, Juan Williams, and former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, all here on Mr. Trump's rewriting of the international order in just moments, but first let's go to chief White House correspondent John Roberts.

Good evening, John.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT:  Martha, good evening to you.  A lot to unpack tonight.  Let's start, first of all, with the sanctions on Iran.  Of course, that medium-range missile test was on Sunday.  The White House came out and said that Iran was being put on notice.  That was the national security advisor who said that.  We had a briefing later on that day with senior administration officials who said they were mulling over how to respond.

Well, here's how they're going to respond.  As soon as tomorrow, they will impose sanctions on more than 20 Iranian entities.  They will say that they are being sanctioned for terrorist-related or missile-related activities.

The White House needs to be creative here with the application of sanctions, so as itself, to not violate the Iran nuclear agreement.  The White House likely does not need to go through Congress to impose sanctions, but it does have a lot of support on Capitol Hill for punishing Iran.



PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  I would be in favor of additional sanctions on Iran.  I think -- I'd like to put as much toothpaste back in the tube as possible.  I think the last administration appeased Iran far too much.  I think they went too far with Iran and I think as a result, Iran is far more active than it otherwise would be.


ROBERTS:  Of course, if you have ever tried to put toothpaste back in a tube, you know how difficult that is.

The president finding less support on Capitol Hill for his recent dealings with close-ally Australia.  You are mentioning at the top, Martha, the president is upset about this deal that the Obama administration cut back in November for the United States to take in more than 1200 refugees currently being held by Australia in offshore detention facilities. According to White House officials, the president had a frank phone call with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about it.  So much so that Senator John McCain felt that he needed to call the ambassador to apologize on behalf of the United States.

And you mentioned that the ambassador came in and they talked him through that whole thing.  The prayer breakfast this morning at the Washington Hilton, the president did not dissuade as for the notion that that phone call was very tough.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  When you hear about the telephone calls I'm having, don't worry about it.  Just don't worry about it.  They are tough.  We have to be tough.  It's time we're going to be a little tough, folks.  We are taking advantage of by every nation in the world virtually.  It's not going to happen anymore.


ROBERTS:  The president did say that he would honor that agreement with a caveat, though, that all of those refugees would be subject to extreme vetting.

And here's another headline for you.  We just got a statement from the press secretary.  President Trump has shifted his position slightly on settlements in Israel, sending a note to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to say, "While we don't believe the existence of settlements as an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal."

Something else to chew over tonight.


MACCALLUM:  There is a lot.  John, thank you very much for sorting out so much of this for us.

Let's bring in Marc Thiessen, former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush and Fox News contributor Juan Williams, co-host of "The Five" and a Fox News contributor as well.  Pete Hoekstra is former House Intel Committee chairman and former Trump campaign national security advisor.

So, gentlemen, a lot on the plate as we have said.

Marc, let me start with you and let me start with this breaking news that John Roberts just mentioned, which is a pretty strong statement that comes from the president on settlements in Israel.

MARC THIESSEN, FORMER CHIEF SPEECHWRITER FOR G.W. BUSH:  Sure, absolutely. I mean, look, the president said in that speech this morning that we got to get tough because the world is in trouble and he's absolutely right that we need to get tough because the world is in trouble because Barack Obama projected weakness into the world and the consequences have been absolutely disastrous.  So we need to get tough on our enemies and start supporting our allies.

So that's what he's doing when it comes to Israel.  He is making a statement of support.  He needs to realize that Australia is an ally, too. And we need to support them and we need to focus our toughness on our enemies.

We then, and quite frankly, he is doing that, too.  You look at what's happening in Iran, where he is imposing sanctions on them for ballistic missile tests, a far cry from when Barack Obama was sending pellets of unmarked bills on secret planes to Mullahs in Tehran.

He's getting tough on al Qaeda.  If you look at that, Barack Obama was sending drones to take out these guys.  Donald Trump just sent a special operations team to try and capture these guys alive and get intelligence. They weren't successful in getting them alive but they got a lot of intelligence.  It would have been blown up with a drone.  So he is getting tough on our enemies.  He's going to be backing our allies.  And so I think he is opt to a pretty good start on that.

MACCALLUM:  Juan, does any of this disturb you today?

JUAN WILLIAMS, CO-HOST, THE FIVE:  Well, I think, what we have just seen in terms of the statement sent to President Netanyahu in Israel is Trump walking back.  I think Trump in the campaign mode is able to say, we are Israel's ally.  I don't know that we weren't ever Israel's ally, Martha, but he wanted to emphasize --


MACCALLUM:  Well, many people felt that under President Obama, it wasn't always that open and warm -- you know, big, warm embrace all the time. They didn't -- Netanyahu and Obama didn't get along well at all.


WILLIAMS:  No.  Well, I think they didn't get along personally because I think President Obama representing the United States of America is interested in making sure that there are some kind of lasting peace in the Middle East and not encouraging the very settlements that Trump at one point seemed to want to allow.


MACCALLUM:  And then he's saying no new settlements.


WILLIAMS:  That's right.  So you can see that he is starting to walk back as he faces the reality of dealing with a very tense world.  And I think that even in terms of the kind of reaction that you are seeing from foreign leaders who are, as you put it, and I agree, on edge with Trump, you are seeing a Manhattan real estate developer who is used to sort of exerting dominance at the start of relationships, alpha male behavior.  But you can't do that with people who have to be our allies, negotiating partners, people that you want to be on your side when bad times come.


MACCALLUM:  Why not?  Why can't you?

WILLIAMS:  I'm sorry?

MACCALLUM:   Juan, why can't you do that?  Why can't you act like that?

WILLIAMS:  Because you need allies.  And so, for example, Australia, I mean, they have this saying, you know, five eyes.  Australia is part of a very select group of people or countries that we trust with our most sensitive intelligence, Martha.

For us to suddenly be badgering Malcolm Turnbull to suggest that Malcolm Turnbull that, you know, this is a bad deal, you don't understand and we don't understand and cut him off, I think that's insulting and we need to rely on him.


MACCALLUM:  You know -- but I mean, I think everyone kind of needs to take a collective, you know, deep breath here and look at what's actually happening.  And, you know, tonight, it appears that the Australia situation-- you know, from the prime minister's office earlier today and let me bring in Pete Hoekstra on this.

They said, you know, no.  It was a cordial conversation.  It was fine.  But when President Trump looked at this deal, he said, wait, these are 1250 people who tried to get into Australia from essentially the seven countries that we are now banning people from and Australia wouldn't let them in.

Australia has had a horrific P.R. situation over the people who are stuck on Papua New Guinea, on this island.  They want to deal with this problem. So apparently they got President Obama to agree that, yes, you know what, we're going to take this problem off your hand.  We will bring this people into United States.

President Trump looked at this, Pete Hoekstra, and said I don't know if this is such a great arrangement.

PETE HOEKSTRA, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:  Well, that's exactly right.  And I think that's what -- and Marc really hit this off at the beginning of the segment, where he is talking about Donald Trump is saying, we have serious issues that need to be dealt with.

I'm with sending a clear message to NATO.  You need to pay up and you need to be relevant or, you know, it's gone.  But we need to make NATO relevant and make it be effective or it doesn't serve its purpose.

With our ally in Australia, he is saying, you know, this was a terrible deal.  The bottom line is, we need to get serious with refugees.  We need to get serious between us, Australia and Europeans and we need to resolve the issues in the Middle East.

We need to resolve the problem of ISIS.  The president is exerting strong leadership.  What he now needs is he needs his team in place.  He needs his cabinet in place.  He needs his ambassadors in place.  He needs these other positions filled on the national security scene so that, you know, we can put a full-court press to put these priorities in place.

And actually, I think the kinds of things that John McCain did today are very, very helpful.  I think John McCain agrees with the overall strategy and plan of where Donald Trump is going, may disagree, but, you know, him calling the Australian ambassador and reinforcing the importance of this relationship is absolutely helpful.

MACCALLUM:  Sort of a bad cop, good cop routine.  I'm not sure John McCain wanted to, you know, be in on that partnership but that's the role he played today in the end.  Quite interesting.

Thank you so much, gentleman.  Great to talk to all of you tonight.

THIESSEN:  Thanks, Martha.

WILLIAMS:  You're welcome, Martha.

HOEKSTRA:  Great.  Thank you.

MACCALLUM:  So still ahead, two weeks into Donald Trump's presidency and some media outlets are already drawing some very cold world comparisons. They are comparing Donald Trump to former President Nixon.  Is that fair? Is that right?  How he hurts?

Ari Fleischer weigh in when we come back in our "Media Conflict" segment tonight.

Plus, violent protests erupted at a college campus last night.  Did you see what happened in Berkeley, California last evening? You might ask yourself, what would get people so fired up that they broke windows, these protesters?  We're going to show you what happened and why when Ben Shapiro and Richard Fowler join us on the fall out when we come right back.


MACCALLUM:  So the first 14 days in office has seen a President Trump bucking conventions and moving at a blistering pace.  In the process, he has created essentially months of stories in just a matter of a couple of weeks.

Perhaps caught by surprise somewhat, the media drawing some provocative conclusions about his presidency so far.

Consider these headlines.  "McClatchy D.C." draws comparisons to Richard Nixon, "A Besieged Trump," they say.

The latest cover of The Economist characterizes his presence in the White House as an insurgent.

And regarding one of his top advisers, Time magazine features a villainous looking Steve Bannon on the cover with -- as they deem him, the quote, "Great Manipulator."

I'm joined now by Howie Kurtz, host of "Media Buzz" and Ari Fleischer.  He is former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush.

Gentleman, welcome.  Good to have you here.

MACCALLUM:  I think it's fair to say that the media is sort of, you know, drowning in a sea of stories that is sometimes are hard for all of us to keep up with.  There are so much coming down the pipeline.

But in terms of those headlines, Ari, take this on first, as the press secretary, would you be OK with those headlines or would you push back?

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  Well, the insurgent headline is probably a pretty good one.  I don't think Donald Trump would mind being called an insurgent in Washington, D.C.

But, you know, I compare this to the way Barack Obama came into office and the soft press, the easy press, the loving press that he got reporters wanted to believe in him.  But Donald Trump, they don't like him.  They don't want to believe in him.  And so they leap on every little thing that goes on and try to magnify it or exaggerated or get even just get it wrong with the Martin Luther King bust being removed from the Oval Office, to say he is doing things that are terrible and then they have to correct themselves.  It's a pattern.

MACCALLUM:  Howie, he is going at such a rapid pace, this president, that in some ways, you know, some people say, oh, you know, you can't make the Nixon comparison, it's only been two weeks.  But, you know, it's sort of like dog years.  I mean, you know, it's sort of been two years at this point in some ways.  So perhaps they are justified in making some of these conclusions based on all the activity.  What do you think?

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS MEDIA ANALYST:  I mean, President Trump is overloading the circuits.  But, already, the press is playing the Nixon card.  I mean, "McClatchy" newspaper story comparing him to Nixon and saying he has a fortress mentality perhaps.  On the basis of one canceled trip to Milwaukee is an absurd stretch.

And all of the comparisons when President Trump fire the acting attorney general for not carrying out his order, controversial, to be sure, on travel -- temporary travel temporary ban, comparing it to Nixon Saturday night massacre during Watergate, which is a criminal investigation in the White House, not involving a previous administration's holdover, also totally erroneous.

Now we have to remember, President Trump has declared war on the press. But it's almost as if the news outlets are using that as an excuse or a reason to throw the kitchen sink at him.

MACCALLUM:  Yes.  I mean, he is giving them plenty to work with and they are giving back plenty to work with and it seems like the relationship has really been like that, very much through the campaign as well.

You know, I want to go back to this "Time" magazine cover, Ari, that has Steve Bannon on the cover, looking villainous.  And, you know, I mean, people are starting to dig into everything that he said in all of his "Breitbart" years and they do see a lot of what we are seeing from President Trump in the writings and what Steve Bannon has said over the years about immigrants and the like.

You know, is this fair?  Are you concerned about the role that he plays at the White House?

FLEISCHER:  Well, I don't know Steve Bannon.  I've never met him.  And I never heard of him until he became famous for going to work for Donald Trump.

And then when he went to the White House, actually to the campaign, all the coverage about Islamophobic, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, you know, sometimes, when you hear that everything is wrong with somebody, you sort of check yourself and go, there is something else going on here.  They just don't like him for some reason and they are getting up on him -- merits or no merits.

And I think that's the case with Steve Bannon, best I can tell. Particularly, anti-Semitic.  That attack, there is no evidence for it. There's nothing that supports it, but they make it anyway.  And this is what I just find is the press going too far to paint people they don't like negative.

They did similar things to Karl Rove, President Bush's political adviser. But you notice they never did that to Valerie Jarrett or to David Axelrod. They really hands off to President Obama's political advisers.


MACCALLUM:  Well, Valerie Jarrett got a fair amount of negative attention, I would say, over the years.  And in many cases, these people are very -- they are very quiet and they are, you know, sort of to themselves because of their role and they don't really want to be the person in the press.

And I think that allows the press to sort of read things into their behavior that perhaps may or may not be true.

Howie, I want to ask you about the leakers and the story that got out today about the president on the phone with the prime minister of Australia and characterize it.

What do you think is going on there?

KURTZ:  This is a revolt by the government against President Trump.  I mean, some fairly senior officials, perhaps the State Department or the White House, we don't know, gave to "The Washington Post" and the AP, you know, either detailed accounts or leaked partial transcripts of these tough calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.

It is stunning to me that that kind of confidential conversation involving a president would be leaked.  I mean, I would publish it, too.  It's a fascinating story.  But it means that the president can't even have an expectation of privacy when he is having these high-level secret talks.  So that suggests to me that the bureaucracy is kind of rising up against him.

And one quick point, Martha, during the campaign the press completely missed the anger and frustration among all these Trump supporters.  I fear that we are in danger of doing that again.

MACCALLUM:  Thank you, Howie.  And, you know, you look at that leaked story, the White House says it did not come from them.  It came from outside the White House.  Very few people in that room.  The Australian said it didn't come from them, either.

So somebody, as you point out, is trying to make the president look bad. You know, truthfully or untruthfully.  It appears that that's what happened this morning with that story.  So we will see where it goes.  Ari Fleischer, thank you so much.  Howie Kurtz, it's great to see you tonight as well.

KURTZ:  Same here, Martha.

MACCALLUM:  So it was one of President Trump's most famous campaign promises.  And, tonight, we are learning that the southern border wall could come to fruition as Donald Trump likes to do.  The president, way ahead of schedule and perhaps under budget.

We're going to show you the exclusive timeline from his new secretary of homeland security in an exclusive interview coming up ahead.

Plus, shocking violence at UC Berkeley reignites the debate about free speech on college campuses today.  Does it exist?

Ben Shapiro himself a target of this type of behavior and Richard Fowler to weigh in on that, coming up next.





MACCALLUM:  This story continues to develop tonight.

Violence and chaos reigned supreme on the site where the original free speech movement was founded.  A planned event from Breitbart senior editor Milo Yiannopoulos was pre-emptively canceled at UC Berkeley because they had this enormously violent protests that broke out hours before he was scheduled to appear last night.

So in moments, we will be joined by Ben Shapiro, who has also been the subject of this kind of shutdown on college campuses when he is going to speak there.  And Richard Fowler to discuss the fall out tonight.  But, first, let's go to Trace Gallagher, who brings us this story from our West Coast newsroom.

Hey, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Martha.  U.C. Berkeley now says the 1500 or so protestors who gathered on campus hours before the speech of Milo Yiannopoulos were mostly peaceful and the violence was caused by 150 agitators dressed in black wearing masks.

Along with tearing down metal barriers, setting fires, and damaging buildings, watch what happened to a woman wearing a Trump hat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you surprised, ma'am?


GALLAGHER:  That was pepper spray.  Amid the chaos, Milo Yiannopoulos was escorted off the campus and later he said this.  Listen.


MILO YIANNOPOULOS, SENIOR EDITOR, BREITBART:  This is a threat by the idea that a conservative speaker might be persuasive and interesting and funny and might persuade -- you know, might take some people with him.  They just have to shut it down at all costs.


GALLAGHER:  UC Berkeley countered that saying it went to great lengths to work with campus Republicans to arrange and secure the speech saying, quote, "While we have made clear our belief that the inflamed rhetoric and provocations of Mr. Yiannopoulos were in marked opposition to the basic values of the university, we respected his right to come to campus and speak."

President Trump also weighed in tweeting, quote, "If UC Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view, no federal funds!"

Berkley reportedly get some $350 million a year in federal funds.  Though experts say because of the various grant programs and funding mechanisms, it would be next to impossible for Trump to cut that money.

And California Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee, whose district includes Berkeley claims President Trump is trying to bully the university into silence.

We should note part of the reason Milo Yiannopoulos was speaking at Berkeley was to start a push to limit federal funding for the University of California system because of its sanctuary campus policy did not cooperate with the feds concerning undocumented students.


MACCALLUM:  Trace, thank you.  So here with more, Ben Shapiro, editor-in- chief of and Richard Fowler, nationally syndicated radio host and a Fox News contributor.

Good to have both of you here.

You know, let me start with you on this, Richard.

Your thoughts on free speech and as we do this, let's put up an image that shows 1964 Berkeley, which is, you know, considered the home of the free speech movement, as we headed into war, Berkeley 2017 on the right-hand side of your screen is a pretty shocking dichotomy.


RICHARD FOWLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, I think what we saw last night was devastating.  And as much as I don't agree with Milo or what he stands for, what he believes in, I think he has the right to speak at Berkeley and I think the university believes the same thing.

And I think to go one step further then, I think those who rioted, they are wrong and I think they don't represent the broader progressive movement.  I think it's a mistake to lump them in with those progressives like myself who are saying we are going to peacefully protest, we are going to peacefully obstruct because we don't like some of his views, it's given -- which is the right we have by the constitution.

MACCALLUM:  Ben, what do you think?

BEN SHAPIRO, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, DAILYWIRE.COM:  I mean, I think that a lot of what Richard is saying is true.  But I do think that there is a mentality that's being inculcated on a lot of college campuses and I speak at 20, 25, 30 of this year.

There is a mentality that suggests that speech that you don't like is some sort of violence.  It's a micro-aggression to be met with macro-aggression. And so when you start with the premise that it's OK to punch Nazis, and then you say, everyone is a Nazi and everyone who offends you is a Nazi, then pretty soon, it's pretty easy to see how things break down.

And I mean, that's why I've had riots against me at Cal State Los Angeles. We had a near riot at Penn State last year.  It's becoming a lot less uncommon than you would hope it would be, certainly.

MACCALLUM:  You know, you look at the protest, the picture that we showed, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War that were, you know, based in such deeply held beliefs.

And in some of these cases, Richard, you just have to, you know, sort of wonder, when you have students who have been sort of taught that they require safe spaces around them, that hearing the viewpoint of someone who is different than them is not an education, it's an offense.

You know, I think that we have to make sure that universities - you know, I give UC Berkeley credit, in this case, because they did come forward and say that they gave him a forum to speak in and it wasn't necessarily their fault so Donald Trump, the president's tweet, may have been misplaced really in terms of its direction.


FOWLER:  No, I think his tweet was misplaced.  I think the university did everything in their power.  And I would argue that probably these rioters don't go to UC Berkeley.  I think the students can protest.  And we could disagree with somebody.

I think in Milo's case, his writings show that he is part of the Alt Right, which is a code word for white supremacy.  So I don't particularly subscribe to his beliefs.  I adamantly against his beliefs.  But I believe he has the right to speak.  And so I think that's what we have -- we have to make a very clear this distinction.  I think to lump all liberal then and to lump professors and say that they don't want to hear, you know, voices of conservative views, I think that's wrong.

I think, we, our university has proven the opposite, because it produce a lot of conservative views, whether it be at Harvard, whether it be at UC Berkeley, or whether it be at Yale.

MACCALLUM:  Ben, what do you think?  

BEN SHAPIRO, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF FROM A DAILY WIRE.COM:  Well I think there is another problem here.  Does the administration do what it is supposed to do in terms of giving the police on its campus the ability to shutdown violent protests?  I think the answer is no.  We have seen that a California state L.A. where I was.  There is a situation where the administration essentially told the police to stand down and allow protesters to do what they want to do.  Last night, we saw this go ahead.  There is a difference between barricades at having officers.  


FOWLER:  They have barricades.  They have officers in riot gear, just looking at those videos.  

SHAPIRO:  That is right.  Richard, did they move on the people who were smashing the auditorium windows?  Did they move on the people who were spray painting "kill Trump"?  

FOWLER:  We weren't on the ground two's know what the police were doing.  I think the university did everything in its power to ensure that Mr. Milo was safe at the end of the day, because of this people who don't live, they probably don't go to U.C. Berkeley, they are clearly agitators, and we are talking about the story.  At the universities are places of intellectualism.  They are laboratories of intellectualisms.  And I think any university, who allow conservatives to come on their campus and the job of the conservatives is to speak their views and our job is to oppose them.  

MARTHA MACCALLUM, THE FIRST 100 DAYS HOST:  Let law enforcement do what they need to do to prevent criminals, which are what these people are, who are destroying property and injuring people.  One man was there to protect the right of free speech and got his nose broken.  We can't allow that. That has to be cracked down on, as well.  Gentlemen thank you very much. Richard Fowler, Ben Shapiro, good to see you both tonight.  

FOWLER:  Thanks Martha.  

MACCALLUM:  It was Arnold Schwarzenegger that produces the most headlines from the national prayer breakfast this morning.  It was a policy Trump said he would "destroy" that is probably the biggest news of the event this morning.  Governor Mike Huckabee joins us coming up on match.  A new developments tonight suggesting that the southern border wall may be a reality much sooner than anybody thinks.  Fox News exclusive from the new Secretary of Homeland Security, General John Kelly, before Lisa Boothe and Robert Zimmerman join us straight ahead straight ahead.  


CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT:  So a lot of Americans are wondering when, is this wall going to get built.  




DONALD TRUMP, THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Do not worry.  We are going to build the wall, ok?  Don't worry.  Don't even think about it.  


MACCALLUM:  Memories, right?  That was President Trump and his thank tour, ensuring supporters that his campaign promise would come to fruition.  And tonight a potential timeline for that wall is indeed emerging.  Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly spoke exclusively with our own Catherine Herridge, setting a potential deadline for his agency.  Watch this.  


JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY:  I think it will be built where it is needed most first and then filled in.  That is what I am looking at.  

HERRIDGE:  Ok.  What is the timeline?  When do you want to see this completed?  

KELLY:  Well we have the authority to build it.  Now, we are looking at the money aspect.  

HERRIDGE:  What is your target date to complete the wall?  

KELLY:  I would like to see it done right away.  But I am not so sure right now we have the construction capacity on the border to do it, but I would say my desire would be right away.  

HERRIDGE:  Within the next two years?  

KELLY:  I really would hope to have it done within the next two years.  


MACCALLUM:  Joining me now, Lisa Boothe is a Republican strategist, and president of High Noon Strategist, Robert Zimmerman as a Democratic strategist and a DNC committee member, great to have both of you with us. And I think anybody who lives in this area and saw that, under budget, ahead of schedule.  That is no doubt what President Trump is pushing for here, Robert.  

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  I don't think an ice-skating rink in New York City or in Atlantic City allows construction that Donald Trump did for one of his casinos is really the exact model we are looking for here.  Let's understand, while I have great respect for General Kelly, when talking about the budget, Donald Trump said this wall would cost between eight and $10 billion.  Now, independent estimate say it will be between 15 and $20 billion.  I guess for Donald Trump, or someone who studied math at Trump University, that is on budget.  In terms of construction, let's be realistic about it.  It's a situation even I and you find taxes members of congress from a border state are now criticizing this as the most expensive and ineffective way to secure the border.  

MACCALLUM:  I think there are probably a lot of things that you could criticize President Trump for.  But my guess is that this is something that he probably can't wait to have done and show off.  Lisa?  

LISA BOOTHE, HIGH NOON STRATEGIST PRESIDENT:  General Kelly is the right guy for this project.  He was most recently the head of U.S. Southern commands.  So this is the guy who has faced a lot of the same problems that he is facing at the Homeland Security.  Further, the irony of all of this is the fact that the wall that President Trump is actually using it as a law that many Democrat support in 2006 to secure fence act, including the minority leader Senator Chuck Schumer as well as Dianne Feinstein.  And Feinstein actually quoted, this is a quote of her, saying that Democrats are solidly behind controlling the border and supports the border fence. Obviously --dash --

ZIMMERMAN:  Lisa, that is exactly right.  The fence was built 650 miles of fence was built on the 700-mile border.  As a matter of fact, more Mexicans, according to the Research center are leaving the United States and coming in.  But the point here is, what we most object about the wall is that it is a weak solution, it is ineffectual.  The conference of immigration bill that John McCain and Chuck Schumer did, that included border patrols, included drones.  It included cyber technology, a whole range of devices to make the border more secure.  

MACCALLUM:  But I think they are talking about employing all those things.  

ZIMMERMAN:  How are they going to pay for it?  

MACCALLUM:  In fact -- the border patrol is very enthusiastic, apparently about this leadership.  They are very happy about it.  I think one of the biggest -- sort of things that may be a weakness in the overall program is that so many people are coming in visa and overstaying.  That is one of the biggest problems that we have.  

ZIMMERMAN:  The biggest problem.  

BOOTHE:  And of course, General Kelly had mentioned the fact that, look, it is more complicated than just that.  Why not have a deterrent to like the wall?  We are a sovereign nation.  We have the right to protect our borders.  They have been reports that, you know customs and border patrols of apprehending individuals at the southern border that are connected to terrorist organizations.  We are facing new threats, many more threats than we did in 2006.  Why not protect our borders?  If you want to talk about money, look at the money that President Obama wasted with things like the green energy cable $100 billion on wasteful spending.  The irony of it is hilarious.  


ZIMMERMAN:  Actually, it's really not, because under President Obama, if you want to go there, the economy was certainly rebuilt and Donald Trump was enjoying it.  On the issue of national security, let's understand, Donald Trump is doing nothing about the Canadian border, where there are reported, literally, documented terrorist coming in.  According to the Pentagon, no examples of ISIS are coming from that area.  

MACCALLUM:  If you really want to protect the border, but you don't want to protect the southern border first.  

ZIMMERMAN:  That is what I am saying.  I say protective border more effectively by including drones and using other technology in which Donald Trump is not talking about it.  As a matter of fact, it is not part of the plan.  

BOOTHE:  General Kelly said during his testimony, talking about the fact that it has to be a larger plan.  There is more dynamics to it.  

ZIMMERMAN:  They say there is no price tag on.  It means there is no plan.  

BOOTHE:  Can I talk or will you filibuster me?  As I mentioned before, the U.S. customs and border patrol, they have said this has been fact-checked and true, the fact that they have identified individuals at the southern border, connected to terrorist organizations.  So it is actually easy to infiltrate and they should be careful.  

ZIMMERMAN:  We need a more aggressive plan than just a wall which.  

BOOTHE:  General Kelly said we are going to do.  

MACCALLUM:  Thank you, you guys.  It is great to have you.  

ZIMMERMAN:  Thank you.  

BOOTHE:  Thanks Martha.  

MACCALLUM:  It is great to have you.  

ZIMMERMAN:  Congratulations on the success of the show.  

MACCALLUM:  Thank you.  We'll see you soon.  So earlier this week, I got a chance to chat with some powerful new players in Washington.  And coming up, you will see some of the on aired footage of my interviews with Kellyanne Conway (inaudible) teaching requirement about the responsibility that they feel as women working in the west wing.  Plus, it is President Trump's comments on the "apprentice" ratings this morning that created a little bit of buzz.  But Governor Mike Huckabee is here to explain why he thinks another moment from this morning is really the newsmaker.  We will tell you what it was when we come back.  


MACCALLUM:  President Trump's first appearance this morning at the national prayer breakfast had some prayerful moments, to be sure, but a little bit of controversy thrown in, as well.  While the press corps was buzzing about a shock that he took at his "the apprentice" successor, Arnold Schwarzenegger's, ratings, and the new spot, it was actually a comment that may produce more lasting impact that maybe got a little bit less attention and maybe should have as the president took aim at a law that prevents churches and other tax-exempt organizations from partaking in political campaigning and language.  Watch this.  


TRUMP:  It was a great Thomas Jefferson who said, the god who gave us life gave us liberty.  Jefferson asked.  Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of god? Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs. That is why, I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.  


MACCALLUM:  Joining me now, Governor Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor and Fox News contributor.  Governor great to see you tonight, thank you for being here.  


MACCALLUM:  So translate that for us.  Explain the Johnson amendment and why he would have made such a point to bring this up and what it means.  

HUCKABEE:  Well back in 1954, Lyndon Johnson got this pass when he was a senator.  It essentially was targeted to some people who had used political campaigns against them.  It was never even thought of to be used against churches and nonprofit and 5o1c3 organizations.  That is exactly what happened.  So, since the 1950s, churches have had really a chill put on them, fearing that the IRS is going to come in and shut them down if they did anything that was deemed political.  So what you have seen is a lot of churches, of all types and stripes, from left to right, have decided they wouldn't say anything that might be controversy all or speak to issues of the day.  Well frankly, that is a complete chilling of the first amendment rights of these pastors and priests and rabbis.  So, the Johnson amendment, and its repeal, would really say, look, we have freedom of religion again. I think it is a remarkable thing that Donald Trump has identified it, that he recognizes the impact of it, that he is going to get rid of it.  It is something that may seem esoteric to a lot of people but it's not.  

MACCALLUM:  The fear is in some areas, some groups of people, like the LGBTQ communities, who says, you know, so what happens next when you have a religious hospital, or you have an organization that might chill on hiring people who have certain elements of their life that they might object to.  

HUCKABEE:  That has nothing to do with the Johnson amendment.  This is about whether or not nonprofit organizations can speak freely and pastors can speak freely from their pulpits.  Donald Trump has made it very clear. He is the first presidential candidate that ever even addressed to the issue of lesbian gay and transgender rights at a national convention, which he did.  I don't think he is rolling back anything for anyone.  He believes in liberty for everybody.  He doesn't believe that there should be special liberties for some and then, a squashing of liberties for others.  If you are going to be in the United States of America, everybody ought to have the same freedoms, the same capabilities.  

MACCALLUM:  The fact is.  There are plenty of partisan groups who received tax-exempt status who are supposed to be impartial and bipartisan, right, last thought.  

HUCKABEE:  That has been a real problem, the fact that some groups have just have ignored it.  The truth is, and all these years, the IRS has never revoked a church's tax-exempt status.  Not one time.  There has been one instance in which they threatened but never followed through.  It is really a paper tiger.  The fact that it exists still causes pastors and churches to chill.  We need to thaw them out and let them speak freely.  

MACCALLUM:  Clearly, the president wants to think and be loyal to the evangelical voters who supported him and it is important to them. Governor, thank you very much, good to have you tonight.  

HUCKABEE:  Thank you, Martha.  


MACCALLUM:  In recent days, we have seen a number of protests again President Trump from women who disagree with his policies and that is their right.  Yet, many women who worked closely with President Trump in the White House have very powerful positions working alongside the president. This is a new graphic that was just created by "Time" Magazine, it shows the layout of the offices which is extremely important in D.C. and elsewhere, but you get the idea.  You see the folks and where they are in their power positions.  So earlier this week, I had a chance to speak with three of those women about their new lives at the White House.  Take a look.  


MACCALLUM:  Talk to about what it is like to be a woman in the Trump administration, in the Trump White House.  

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR:  And some ways, it feels like just being one of the men, 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 vaulted platform, if you welcome a special responsibility to America's women, particularly those who write to me, right to me, call me, text to me, talk me on the streets or anywhere I really am, just to say, thank you so much for standing up for women and standing up to other women and other people who are trying to diminish the president of the United States.  

MACCALLUM:  What is it like working at the White House?  

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS:  It is the greatest honor you could ever have to be able to work in the White House.  You know when you step onto the grounds every day, see where you work, see the change in impacts that are taking place, it is a pretty incredible moment and very humbling at the same time.  

MACCALLUM:  So in terms of what it's like to be a woman in the Trump west wing, we all saw the protests and we have heard, sort of follow that story throughout, but what is the reality?  What is it like for you working in the White House?  

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS:  I mean there's quite a few of us actually.  For everybody that says, tries to make a knock on the president, he surrounded himself by women and a very strong women, as you know, people like Kellyanne Conway, K.T. McFarland, very outspoken, strong women.  They like to make their opinions known.  I think he likes hearing from those people. One of the things that I think was one of the biggest misconceptions during the campaign cycle was that women weren't supporting Donald Trump and weren't supporting the president.  The things that keep me up at night, I'm a working mom.  It is whether or not my kids will have a good education, whether they will grow up in a safe country, whether or not they will be able to get a job.  Those are the things as a woman and as a mom that I care about.  There is no better person and no person I feel more comfortable with than Donald Trump being in the White House.  

MACCALLUM:  You worked in the White House a long time ago.  And now, you find yourself back there.  What is that like for you?  

KT MCFARLAND, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR:  Martha, it is so serendipitous.  I look it up, this the word.  I started in 1970.  I was a freshman at George Washington University.  I had to pay my way through school.  So I got a part-time job as the night shift secretary and Henry Kissinger's office on the National Security Council.  So I went to class during the day, I went to the White House at night and I typed.  I did that for a number of years.  I got to work my way up the food chain on the National Security Council.  

When I think of today, the office I went into on Inauguration Day that was about 20 steps from where I started and 1970.  If you had told me in 1970 that a woman would have the kind of policy making position at any administration, I just wouldn't have believed it.  It wasn't going to happen and yet, when I walked in my office on January 20th, 2017, I wasn't the first woman to sit at that desk.  There had been other women before me who had had senior roles in previous administrations.  For me, it was an achievement of a life stream.  It was a fulfillment as a woman who has gone through the stages of one woman didn't have those jobs.  It was normal for women to have those jobs.  

MACCALLUM:  How do you feel as someone who is in a leadership role and a woman in the Trump administration?  What is that like?  

MCFARLAND:  I think as a woman, in the past, people say they are women's issues and there are non-women issues.  Well I think everything is a woman's issue.  National security, to me, is the most important women's issue.  I know not a lot of women have been in this field.  But women are now military officers, one of my senior assistance as a woman who is a military officer and she is a helicopter pilot.  When I look at the issues of the day and what is going to keep America safe, what is going to guarantee to my daughters and my granddaughters a life that they can be proud of, where they can live in a country that is thriving and succeeding, as a leader on the world stage, has rights for women and others, I am really honored and happy to be a part of it.  As far as the women who don't think we are up to that job, hey, give us a chance.  


MACCALLUM:  Good stuff.  Earlier, we showed you part of the General Kelly interview, but there was a personal exchange with him that we want to share with you.  Much has been said of the disruption of the early days of the Trump presidency but he has been steadfast in his support of the military and that applies to the people that he has surrounded himself with the high level positions.  As you may know, General John Hadley sadly is the highest ranking military officer to lose a child in combat.  His 29-year-old son, Marine 1st lieutenant Robert Michael Kelly, killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2010.  So when asked to serve the Trump administration, here is how he recounted his wife, Karen's reaction, it is a report of the night.  She said "Take it, your whole life, and our whole life.  The Kelly family is a life of service."  And we thank them for that.  Good night.  


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