First 100 Days

Shaffer: Obama holdovers likely withholding intel from Trump; Epshteyn: White House leaks threaten our democracy

This is a rush transcript from "The First 100 Days," February 16, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST:  Breaking tonight, President Trump came to work swinging today, determined to fight back amidst charges that the White House is a flailing and besieged.  He declared apparently out of the blue, let's have a news conference today, shall we.

And it was the likes of which one we have never seen.  A full frontal jousting parry with the press in a packed East Room at the White House.  He slammed them, intel leakers, fake news, Congress, perhaps tired of letting others communicate for him, he tried to right the ship as a multi-headed opposition tried to drag it down with a Watergate anchor slung around its neck.

Welcome to day 28, everybody.  I'm Martha MacCallum.  Good to have you with us tonight.

So what may have set him off?  This Wall Street Journal page one story, quote, "Spies Keep Intelligence from Donald Trump on Leak Concerns."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The Wall Street Journal did a story today that was almost as disgraceful as the failing New York Times story yesterday.  Any suggestion that the United States intelligence community, this was just given to us, is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the president and his national security team is not true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  And while the president awaits the confirmation for Senator Dan Coats, who is going to be his director of national intelligence and a big important coordinator in all of this, The New York Times is running this headline, quote, "White House Plans to Have Trump Ally Review Intelligence Agencies, an Outsider."

We are joined by Boris Epshteyn with the White House reaction and former CIA analyst Tony Shaffer.  But we begin tonight with chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge.

Catherine?

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT:  Well, thank you, Martha.  Based on Fox News reporting tonight, there is deep unease at the FBI over new law enforcement leaks about the bureau's probe of former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and the timing coming less than three hours after the president's news conference, where he praised Flynn and condemned the leaks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  I have gone through all of the folks in charge of the various agencies, we're -- I've actually called the Justice Department to look into the leaks.  Those are criminal leaks.  They are put out by people either in agencies.  I think you will see it stopping because now we have our people in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HERRIDGE:  And within the last hour, the CIA issuing this statement on behalf of Director Mike Pompeo that reads in part, quote, "The CIA does not, has not, and will never hide intelligence from the president, period.  We are not aware of any instance when that has occurred."

Today, a government official told "Fox News," President Trump has been receiving the president's daily brief, known as the PDB and the tension came after Flynn began gathering wrong intelligence for his own separate brief of Mr. Trump.  That is not typical and may have caused the tension.

The president is now backing away from naming Stephen Fienberg, a New York billionaire and hedge fund manager to review the intelligence community as well as the executive branch.  Mr. Trump said today his nominee for the director of National Intelligence, Senator Coats, may soon be in place with Director Pompeo and FBI Director Comey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  We now have Dan Coats, hopefully soon, Mike Pompeo, and James Comey, and they are in position.  So, I hope that we will be able to straighten that out without using anybody else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HERRIDGE:  Also late today, the former director of National Intelligence James Clapper condemned the leaks and asked that the investigation be respectful of the intelligence community professionals who put politics to one side, Martha.

MACCALLUM:  All right.  Catherine, thank you very much.

HERRIDGE:  You're welcome.

MACCALLUM:  So one former CIA analyst believes the intel community is withholding some information from the president.  Retired Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer, who is also a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, joins me now.

Tony, what do you mean by that?

TONY SHAFFER, RETIRED LIEUTENANT COLONEL:  I think very clearly, the leadership is now in charge.  The problem is this.  You have a lot of folks who are either career members of the intelligence community who are skeptical of the current situation or who were at one point political appointees who borrowed themselves into the infrastructure who are now career intelligence officers.

A perfect example of this, which you all know about, not for the intelligence community is Lois Lerner.  Lois Lerner was an appointee under the Clinton administration who transition into career status.  That's what we are seeing here.

I think you are seeing people who are embedded, deep, within the administration, who were loyal to other presidents, who now, judging for themselves what they should and should not do regarding intelligence.

The same mentality where you have seen people leaking is the same mentality you see people holding back information.  So as much as I do believe Mike Pompeo is giving the president all the information that he knows about, I'm sure that the other agencies where Mr. Trump's people are in charge are doing that, people below them may not be.  And that's why you need to look at it closely.

MACCALLUM:  That's got to outrage Mike Pompeo.

SHAFFER:  It should.  I am certain that Mike is completely outraged by this for any number of reasons.  And let's remember that he's only been over there a few weeks.  It's going to take some time.  And you cannot simply remove people without cost.  You have to do some level of investigation, some level of figuring it out.  But this is the bottom line.

And President Trump is correct about this.  He has owed the best intelligence all the time.  And what we've seen over the past eight years as a manipulation of the intelligence community, much of that manipulation was happening because of like-minded individuals to Jim Clapper, to the former director of CIA John Brennan.  Those people hired people like themselves.

So as much as Jim Clapper can say, you know, you need to protect the professionals, some of those professionals were selected because of their political reliability, not because of the professional ethics.

MACCALLUM:  And Ben Rhodes is also on that list of people that you think have the senior level to be the people who are involved in this.

SHAFFER:  No doubt.  And this is where I think, you'd seen and I will say this on the record, I think that the previous administration with Ben Rhodes laid tripwires, they put things out there for things to go off like booby traps.

I think that Mike Flynn was something that was planned by this -- by former administration a long time.  Because of all this -- remember, Martha, they had all this anonymous links to NBC saying that intelligence officials saw the transcripts.

I don't believe for a minute there is anything of those transcripts which was illegal or telling, but it was the implication.  It's like I have a secret and that secret is bad.  And those individuals had to be a handful of individuals, had to be John Brennan, Jim Clapper and Ben Rhodes.

Those guys have been --

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM:  What's their main motivation do you think?

SHAFFER:  The main motivation is two things.  First off is to disrupt the incoming Trump administration.  That's what I have seen the left doing.  I think these individuals were committed to that.  And, secondly, look, President Obama by his own tweets has kind of telegraphed the fact that he's not going to be on the sidelines and he is encouraging the protests.  So why would he not been behind the scenes, encouraging this sort of behavior?

MACCALLUM:  What does the president need to do to mend fences, where necessary?  And is it necessary for him to do that?

SHAFFER:  Right.  Two things.  I think, first, the men and women that do the hard work of intelligence collection are doing it every day.  They are completely apolitical.  They took the oath of office.  They are on the lines everyday doing the hard work, special operations intelligence.  They are all there.

What he needs to do is really do a housecleaning of those middle level to senior level managers.  He's relieved, gotten rid of all of the political appointees.  That's not good enough.  You've got to go a layer down and maybe a layer below that to take them out because you have to replace those individual managers, mid-level managers, who saw a political benefit, Martha, by getting close to those political appointees.  They got to go because their loyalty is not with the American people.  It's not with the constitution.  It's with the previous administration and they should not be there.

MACCALLUM:  Mike Pompeo has got his work cut out for him.

SHAFFER:  He does.

MACCALLUM:  Thank you very much.  Good to see you, Tony.

SHAFFER:  It's good seeing you.  Thank you.

MACCALLUM:  Thank you for being here tonight.

All right.  So here now with response to all of that, from the White House, Boris Epshteyn, special assistant to the president.

Boris, good evening.  Good to have you with us.

BORIS EPSHTEYN, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRES. DONALD TRUMP:  Good evening, Martha.  Great to be here.

MACCALLUM:  What do you think about what Tony just had to say?

EPSHTEYN:  It's unquestionably an issue.  That unelected bureaucrats are leaking information that is sensitive, confidential, classified.  And that's a huge threat on national security and our democracy.

MACCALLUM:  In terms of the president's work today at the news conference, you know, pointing fingers at intel, pointing fingers at Congress, all across the board, how do you think that went?  I mean, you know, it depends on where you look.  You are getting a ton of very different responses out there.

EPSHTEYN:  I had the great honor of being in the room and I will tell you, that press conference was a great way to really relate to the American people.  And that's exactly what Donald Trump did.

He is able to speak to the American people like no leader can or a leader has really since Ronald Reagan.  This president is authentic and that's exactly what you saw today.

There was criticism.  Of, course there was, as there deserves to be of the left-wing media, over those leakers who are in danger in our country. There are also some light moments that the public and the American public very much enjoyed.  So that was vintage Donald Trump at his very best.  It was important, it was specific; it was a great press conference.

MACCALLUM:  You just heard Col. Shaffer say that he thinks that you have to clean house at levels.  You know, second level down, perhaps third level down in some areas in the intel agencies.  Does that going to happen?

EPSHTEYN:  Well, what we need is we need for the Senate to confirm incoming DNI head, center post.  That has to happen.

And then, of course, CIA Chief Mike Pompeo, it has to evaluate what's going on.  And I will leave it to those, folks, those specialists who are really great choices by Donald J. Trump, by President Trump to lead these agencies, for them to make an evaluation.

But here is what is key.  We cannot have Americans be put in danger by leakers.  Anywhere in this administration and really anywhere in the government.  It does nothing but worsen the future of America.  It does nothing but endanger this country.  There is no benefit.  It's about political benefit as your previous guest mentioned and it's really sad and truly disgusting.

MACCALLUM:  Boris, Fox is now confirmed that Vice Admiral Robert Harward is now not going to be replacing Mike Flynn as the head of the National Security Council.  Why is that?

EPSHTEYN:  You know, there are a lot of good, strong candidates out there and the president will make the right choice, as he always has for this country.

MACCALLUM:  What happened with the Harward suggestion?  I mean, it looked like he was -- they said he was going to be in place by the end of the week for us.  I mean, obviously, something happened.  So what happened?

EPSHTEYN:  Well, I'm not sure who that they is.  And that, again, goes back to the unnamed sources.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM:  Well, the White House both said that they believed he would be in place by the end of this week.

EPSHTEYN:  What I would say is refer to the words of the president.  That he has strong choices out there.  Good options.  And he will name a very strong candidate and a strong person to lead the NSA.

MACCALLUM:  So the other people who are in place and who were there under Mike Flynn, will they be staying?

EPSHTEYN:  Well, that's again up to the president.  And we all, including myself serve at the pleasure of the president.

MACCALLUM:  All right.  Stephen Fienberg, is he going to be involved in the process of vetting who's handling these intelligence agencies?  The president spoke about this today.  What's your understanding of that?

EPSHTEYN:  Well, the president was very direct on that.  That he is evaluating options there.  And the key is, again, to make sure the intelligence community is united in securing America.

And that all those ulterior motives did not come into play.  So the president is looking at his options.  He will make an announcement if there needs to be one.  But for now, we need the Senate to confirm Senator Coats, incoming head of the DNI, in order for him to head up that very important entity of the federal government.

(CROSSTALK)

And overall, the Democrats in the Senate had to stop being obstructionist.  The American people elected President Donald Trump, Vice President Pence.  And the Democrat in the Senate should allow those people to have the government they elected.

MACCALLUM:  I've got to go, but very quickly, General Petraeus, is he back in the mix now?

(LAUGHTER)

EPSHTEYN:  I'm not going to talk about those things.  There are really good strong candidates out there.  The president will be making an announcement when there needs to be one.  But I will tell you that the president works day in, day out, every minute to make sure this country is safe and secure.

MACCALLUM:  Boris, thank you for taking our questions tonight.  Good to see her.

EPSHTEYN:  Absolutely.  Good to see you.

MACCALLUM:  Boris Epshteyn, many thanks.

Still protests breaking out across the country today in support of illegal immigrants.

Karl Rove is here on how those protesting the removal of violent illegals, which is the top tier of what the plan is, how they are hurting the greater cause in his mind.

Plus, Violence in Chicago has claimed the lives of these three young, innocent children.  Mike Tobin hits the streets of Chicago today to go face-to-face with some of the most violent gang members in that area.  A report you cannot miss.

And, finally, did you hear about President Trump's presser today?  Did you miss it while you are at work?  We will play the highlights for you because I assure you, sit down with your cup of coffee or your glass of wine or whatever you've got in your hand and get ready to go.  Chris Stirewalt, Charles Hurt, Julie Roginsky, debate, when we come back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  I won with news conferences and probably speeches.  I certainly didn't win by people listening to you people.  That's for sure.  But I'm having a good time.

Tomorrow, they will say, "Donald Trump rants and raves at the press."  I'm not ranting and raving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP:  The press has become so dishonest that if we don't talk about, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people.

This administration is running like a fine- tuned machine, despite the fact that I can't get my cabinet approved.

Well the leaks are real. You're the one that wrote about them and reported them, I mean the leaks are real. You know what they said, you saw it and the leaks are absolutely real.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Thank you very much, and just for the record, we don't hate you.  I don't hate you.

TRUMP:  OK.

ACOSTA:  So, pass that along --

TRUMP:  Ask -- ask Jeff Zucker how he got his job. OK?

ACOSTA:  If I may follow up on some of the questions that have taken place so far here, sir --

TRUMP:  Well, that's -- well, you know, we do have other people.  You do have other people and your ratings aren't as good as some of the other people that are waiting.

ACOSTA: It's pretty good right now, actually.

TRUMP:  I won with news conferences and probably speeches.  I certainly didn't win by people listening to you people.  That's for sure.  But I'm having a good time.

Tomorrow, they will say, "Donald Trump rants and raves at the press."  I'm not ranting and raving.  I'm just telling you.  You know, you're dishonest people.  But -- but I'm not ranting and raving.  I love this. I'm having a good time doing it.

Should I let him have a little bit more?  What do you think, Peter?  Peter, should I have -- let him have a little bit more?

Sit down.  Sit down.  We'll --

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA:  Just because of the attack of fake news and attacking our network, I just want to ask you, sir --

TRUMP:  I'm changing it from fake news, though.

ACOSTA:  Doesn't that under --

TRUMP:  Very fake news.

ACOSTA:  I know, but aren't you --

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: Go ahead.

ACOSTA:  Real news, Mr. President, real news.

TRUMP:  And you're not related to our new --

ACOSTA:  I am not related, sir.  No.  I do like the sound of Secretary Acosta, I must say.

TRUMP:  I looked -- you know, I looked at that name.  I said, wait a minute, is there any relation there?  Alex Acosta.

ACOSTA:  I'm sure you checked that out, sir.

TRUMP:  OK.  Now I checked it -- I said -- they said, "No, sir." I said, "Do me a favor, go back and check the family tree."

I've done nothing for Russia.  Hillary Clinton gave them 20 percent of our uranium.  Hillary Clinton did a reset, remember?  With the stupid plastic button that made us all look like a bunch of jerks.  Here, take a look.  He looked at her like, what the hell is she doing with that cheap plastic button?

The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that's 30 miles off shore right out of the water.

Everyone in this country's going to say "oh, it's so great."  That's not great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER:  You mentioned the vessel -- the spy vessel off the coast of the United States.

TRUMP:  Not good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER:  There was a ballistic missile test that many interpret as a violation of an agreement between the two countries; and a Russian plane buzzed a U.S. destroyer.

TRUMP:  Not good.

Wait a minute.  I don't have to tell you what I'm going to do in North Korea.  And I don't have to tell you what I'm going to do with Iran.  You know why?  Because they shouldn't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.  The trouble --

TRUMP:  Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER:  BBC.

TRUMP:  Here's another beauty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER:  That's a good line.  Impartial, free and fair.

TRUMP:  Yeah.  Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER:  Mr. President --

TRUMP:  Just like CNN right?

So you understand, we had a totally divided country for eight years and long before that.

And I am going to try -- I will do everything within my power to fix that.  I want to thank everybody very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MACCALLUM:  Thank you very much.  That was President Donald Trump marking day 28 of his president, wanting to work this morning apparently according to reports.

He said, you know what guys, we are going to have a news conference today, and that is what we saw.

Joining me now, Chris Stirewalt, Fox News politics editor; Charles Hurt, political columnist at The Washington Times and a Fox News contributor.  Julie Roginsky, Democratic analyst and also a Fox News contributor.

Welcome all.  Good to have you here tonight.  Chris Stirewalt, I'm sure you had your popcorn out this afternoon, enjoyed all 78 minutes or so of that baby.

What did you think?

CHRIS STIREWALT, EDITOR, FOX NEWS DIGITAL:  I kept writing, and then I'd rewrite, and then I have to tear it up, then write again.  The truth is, Donald Trump, if it was his gut to tell them to have a press conference, his gut was quite right because the only thing, the only thing, the only group of people in the world who are more obsessed with the press than Donald Trump is the press themselves.

And by going out there and pummelling, humiliating -- it was like pro-wrestling smack down -- CNN, BBC, you stink, all of that stuff, he was right when he said, tomorrow, they are going to say, "oh, Donald Trump ranted and raved."  He was writing their headlines for them.  And it got him off of a bunch of stories that were bad for his administration and got the press talking about what they like to talk about most -- themselves.

MACCALLUM:  Yes.  Charles, I think, you know, he had -- he has a two-pronged approach to get back in touch with the people.  I think he is tired of other people talking to him, for him.

I think he said, you know what, I'm going to get out there, I'm going to talk myself.  I'm going to handle the press.  I've got the press.  I'm going to talk to them.

And in a way, you could sort of feel as odd as it seems, because he was slamming them, they were, in a weird way, some of them sort of trying to please him a little bit, I think.  Trying to warm up to him.  Trying to get some kind of relationship going back and forth.

Part two is going to be this Florida rally.  So these are the two things that he is doing to kind of reconnect, I think.  What do you think?

CHARLES HURT, WASHINGTON TIMES:  And these are the two things -- Donald Trump was right.  This is how he got elected by doing things like this. And I thought sort of a low point in the whole thing for the press that is was when Jim Acosta stood up and said, hey, I don't hate you, we don't hate you.  He kind of sort of pathetic, like he was like sort of trying to curry up to his captor.

But on a more serious point, though, I think that, you know, when you look back at the past eight or 16 years at White House press conferences, I quit counting at 20 plus questions and just gave up.

I don't remember a president more open, willing to take questions, answer questions and also, he went in there, Martha, without -- most presidents go in with a list of people that they are going to choose from. In other words, a list of questions that they want to take.  You know, a list of reporters they want to take approved questions from.

He went in there and he took questions from everybody and how anybody who loves the First Amendment and loves the free press isn't thrilled by that.  They absolutely should be.  We have never seen anything like this in modern television times.

MACCALLUM:  Julie, you are thrilled, right?

(LAUGHTER)

JULIE ROGINSKY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  It's festivus.  I didn't realize, February 16th as festivus.  It was feast of strength.  It was airing of grievances.  It was all of it all at once.  I mean, it was just, it was surreal.

I largely agree with the fact that he tried to get the press off of the horrible Russia story that's not good for him.  The horrible Mike Flynn story the press does have a tendency as Chris pointed out to become a little self-involved and self-obsessed.  So they are going to be talking about his treatment of them and vice versa.  But, nevertheless, when the thrill of that dies down by tomorrow, and it will, we will be left with the president who's talking about how a nuclear holocaust would be devastating because he's gotten briefings.

Well, I've never gotten a briefing.  I know the answer to that question.  You know, and talking about how the leaks are real, but the news is fake.  Well, it can't really be both.

If you are leaking something that's fake, then say so.  But it doesn't seem like what they are leaking is fake.  And so those stories are still threats that he's going to have to contend with.  So it was a very nice performance.  It's a used up one news cycle, potentially two.

But at the end of the day, the president must know, or maybe he doesn't yet realize when the press has a dog, like a dog with a bone, when they have a scandal, they're going to run with it.  And there is a scandal brewing with Michael Flynn and Russia and they're going to continue to run with it no matter how crazy he gets in press conferences.

MACCALLUM:  So the scandal that's brewing with Michael Flynn and Russia, Chris, he tried to diffuse today.  You know, he tried to say, I know you are seeing this big, scary nightmare, where we have this influence in this behind-the-scenes deal with Russia to throw the election and all of these, you know, scheming and plans that were going on.  He said, not happening.  It didn't happen, not happening.  Did he get anywhere with that?

STIREWALT:  Look, I think he did something quite important.  I think that beyond the back and forth folderol foolishness about the press in itself, the navel-gazing, I think some really, there was some real news in there.  But I think the real news in was that Donald Trump said something very important.

Some of his supporters and some of his detractors.  But a lot of his supporters want to believe there is a broad conspiracy theory inside, working inside the government to bring down Trump.  And it's a soft coup, and it's for the Iran deal, or it's against Russia, or dada-dada-da (ph).

Donald Trump expressed on multiple occasions confidence in his people in the intelligence community.  He expressed confidence in the intelligence he was getting.  He expressed confidence in his new CIA director and he said, we've got it.  We're fixing it.  It's working.  I believe in the system and I believe in what's going on out there.

That was a big deal for a guy who at times in his campaign had sounded like a conspiracy theorist or a crank from time to time.  This was a guy that sounded like he had his hands on the reins and was dealing with real facts, not kooky stuff.

MACCALLUM:  Yes.  A couple of journal editorials today, Charlie, dealt with, you know, sort of getting back to basics.  Karl Rove, we're going to talk to him a little bit.

Dan Henninger wrote a piece that said, look, you know, you are in danger.  You are getting arrows slung at you from all sides and the boat is leaking to some extent and you better turn it around.  Because if you've got to keep Republicans on your side at this point and get some tax reform done, get some Obamacare and get back to your knitting.

HURT:  You know, it has been undoubtedly a terrible couple of weeks for him.  And obviously the press has gotten a couple of their scouts from the administration and that's a real setback, especially for a guy that prides himself on not, you know, giving up an inch.

And so, you know, today, getting -- and I would say that what he did today was he got back to talking about the issues, the issues that he won on.  And that is a very, very positive thing.

And he -- and the other thing that I love, at one point, when he leveled his finger at the press and said, you know, you guys even got a lower rating than Congress.  You know, the un-stated barb there is that of course Congress is run entirely by Republicans.  And so it was kind of a backhanded slap at Republicans as well and reminding Republicans in Congress that, you know, he still sort of top dog.  And they still have a lot of work to do to get done the things that he has promised he wants to get done.

MACCALLUM:  The other thing he promised is outreach to the inner cities.  There was, you know, a bit of an awkward moment talking about the CBC and the Congressional Black Caucus and he said, why don't you set up a meeting to the reporter in the room there.

So, I mean, Julie, how did that go over with you and how do you think it went over with a larger audience?

ROGINSKY:  Well, it became apparent to me he had no idea what the CBC actually was.  And, secondly, you know, much like his complete lash out at this Orthodox Jewish reporter who was asking him a legitimate question about anti-Semitism and went out of his way to say that we don't blame you for anti-Semitism, but there are incidences among Jewish community centers as we've seen all around the country that are getting bomb threats.

In the same way that April Ryan, who is a very well-respected reporter, ask him about meetings with the Congressional Black Caucus, he lashed out.  He lashed out at the Orthodox Jewish reporter and said, essentially, that's an unfair question and I'm the least anti-Semitic and anti-racist person in the world, which of course was not the question.

The question was about anti-Semitism directed at Jewish community centers, in the same way that question to April Ryan was about, are you going to reach out to the CBC.  And he started talking about something that became very clear showed a complete ignorance as to what the CBC actually was.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM:  We don't know that for sure.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGINSKY:  Well, it seemed to me that he watched that.

MACCALLUM:  All right.  We got to go.  Thank you very much, you guys.

ROGINSKY:  Thanks.

HURT:  Thank you.

MACCALLUM:  So as we've just discussed, Trump's relationship with the press under a new light after this whirlwind news conference today.  So how does this compare to his predecessor?  The kinds of questions that were given to President Obama?

We will take you down a trip on memory lane and show you some of the softballs that were lobbed at President Obama, his first year in office. Dana Loesch and Robert Zimmer here on that.

Plus, as ICE raid continue across country, we will show you how Democrats are attempting to spin the reality of who is being removed.  We will show you the facts on this story as they exist, when Karl Rove joins us next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They make it too hard on these folks to come in here legally.  $7,000 just to get a green card.  We should make it easier on them.  And then they wouldn't have to come in here illegally.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)  

MACCALLUM:  Strong reaction today to President Trump's immigration crackdown on criminal legal, demonstrations and boycotts across the country, all part of the "day without immigrants.  President Trump announced that he will unveil a new executive order on immigration, one with "hearts for those people brought here as children and shielded from deportation under the Obama administration."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  On the DACA program for immigration, what is your plan?  

TRUMP: What is your great heart?  DACA is a very, very difficult subject, for me.  To me, it is one of the most difficult subjects.  You have these incredible kids.  It's a very, very tough subject.  We have to deal with DACA with heart.  It is a very difficult thing for me, because I love these kids.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

MACCALLUM:  House Democrats held a press conference of their own today and did not seem to take the president's words into account as they claim that every undocumented immigrant could be deported under the new administration.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It was hard to not leave that meeting and believe that the Trump administration is going to target as many immigrants as possible.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

MACCALLUM:  Karl Rove, Fox News political contributor, and a former Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, Karl, good evening, good to have you here tonight.  

KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:  Thanks.  

MACCALLUM:  What do you think?  

ROVE:  Well, look, I am an advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.  But I don't think that advocates of immigration reform do the cause any good by making no distinction between what we are talking about these ICE enforcement actions and the broader illegal immigrant population.  I didn't seen Joaquin Castro, the Texas congressman, I didn't see him protesting would President Obama had similar roundups as part of an annual effort to try and round up some number of violent illegals who were here in the United States and who had been identified.  We ought to come as a society, and encourage that, discourage it.  We should applaud it, not condemn it.  

Who thinks that these violent criminals, who have committed crimes against persons and property, releasing them back into the communities.  Who think that makes cities safer for the immigrant community, it is more safe, that have these violent predators among them?  We ought to applaud the government and their emphasis of this president has had.  Frankly, it is an increase of the emphasis that has predecessor had, which was itself followed his predecessor.  The American presidents have had this emphasis for a while.  This president said I want an even more focused effort, broader effort, to find these violent criminals and get them not only off our streets, but out of the country.  

MACCALLUM:  I mean there is a lot of, you know, any time that there is someone taken into custody that that is a borderline issue, they may or may not be in a gang, may or may not -- it is getting exploited to a large degree.  We have played a SoundBits from President Obama, from President Clinton, all calling for stronger borders for removing criminal aliens in the country.  As you point out, the numbers that President Trump is so far doing it under are actually lower than the numbers were done under President Obama, but this is a political football, Karl.  They don't, not exactly telling the truth about the numbers and who is being asked to leave is beneficial to one side.  

ROVE:  I don't mean to pick on Castro, Congressman Castro, who was shown footage early, nut think about this, here's a man who went out and said President Trump should be impeached if he defies the court order that stopped at the visa band.  But this is a guy, also, Congressman Castro, who supports sanctuary cities, which they can but we will not live up to our obligation of the federal law to notify federal ICE officials, Immigration enforcement officials when we have violent criminals, alien criminals in our custody, and about ready to be released.  On the one hand, he wants to impeach President Trump if President Trump does something he has no intention whatsoever to doing, and yet, he is a leader of the movement that says, let us defy federal law that says when these violent illegals are about ready to be let out of our local jails, we need to tell the feds about it.  

MACCALLUM:  Before I let you go, you wrote a piece The Wall Street Journal today.  You wrote it before the news conference encouraging the president to get down to business, with things like tax reform and jobs, get a little bit more focused.  What'd you think about the news conference?  

ROVE:  Well I don't think it got there.  I think it was a great television, one hour 17 minutes of rock 'em, sock 'em, but sometimes, over the top. The poor Julie Roginsky, your previous segment, talking about the poor orthodox Jewish reporter, who got up, applauded the president, defended the president, and then threw him a softball, which is, what do you think about these attacks on synagogues?  Rather than condemning it and saying, we will look into it.  He went after the reporter for asking him an unfair question.  It is a very fair question.  Look, my concern is why I wrote the column, I have two parts, one to talk about the Democrats.  I will not talk about that tonight, but to say they are living in la la land.  The challenge for President Trump is, when you become president, you have a chance to establish a narrative, an arc of what your presidency is going to be about.  People voted for him because they wanted in economy stronger, paychecks bigger, and more jobs.  That message has been lost.  He is doing a lot of good things.  

The executive order on ObamaCare, promising to repeal and replace, the house Republicans grappling with tax reform and moving ObamaCare measures, wrangling over that.  He got rid of a lot of regulations on his own.  The house and senate Republicans are sending bill after bill after bill getting rid of Obama red tape.  Yet, we are losing all of that.  And today, he had a great announcement.  Alex Acosta, his new designee for secretary of labor, is a terrific human being, one of the longest serving U.S. attorneys in history and an accomplished U.S. Attorney in the southern district of Florida, which is a tough place to be respected by law enforcement.  He served in the Justice Department.  He was on the National Labor Relations Board.  This man is terrific.  He will help turn the Department of Labor into what it ought to be coming out something from the unions but for the working people.  He almost lost today.  

MACCALLUM:  Thank you, Karl.  Good to see you.  

ROVE:  Thank you.  

MACCALLUM:  Have new questions tonight over the Trump administration's relationship with the press.  Did President Obama face the same scrutiny? We will take you back, a little flashback time here, two more friendly times.  Plus, the violence in Chicago continues, despite attention from the Trump administration.  Our reporter Mike Tobin travel to some of the most gang ridden parts of Chicago today with a stunning report for you tonight. Juan Williams and Kevin Jackson will be here to reflect on that a moment.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

TRUMP:  We directed the creation of a task force for reducing violent crime in America, including the horrendous situation.  Take a look at Chicago and others, what is taking place right now in our inner cities, horrible.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)  

MACCALLUM:  Developing tonight, ISIS stepping up attacks once again, leaving the streets of Baghdad stained with blood, a car bomb explosion killing nearly 50 people today, wounding more than 60 others.  And in Pakistan, another one, another hit by ISIS, a homicide bomber killing a crowded shrine during prayers, killing at least 75 people.  This is the deadliest attack in that country in more than two years.  

Now, to violence here on the home front in Chicago, where despite attention from the Trump administration and the Department of Justice, the so-called American carnage is continuing.  Just this week, these young children had their lives taken from them in shootings, claiming the life of a toddler, in one case, that was streamed live on Facebook.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

(GUN SHOOTING)  

(WOMAN SCREAMING)  

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

MACCALLUM:  The City continues to grapple with intense gang violence.  We go to Mike Tobin, who is in Chicago with an inside look.  Mike.  

MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Martha, to start to understand the violence, you need to understand that for a young man living in these troubled neighborhoods, if he had a reputation for racking up a lot of kills, hurting a lot of people, he is intimidating.  In that world, that translates to power and respect.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

TOBIN:  You are carrying a gun right now, aren't you?  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I always carry one.  

TOBIN:  Can I see it?  

This man said he became active with the black disciples at age nine.  

No one formerly joins a gang, the young man I met just started hanging around gangs mostly for protection going to school.  They got their first gun as preteens, usually a gift.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I looked at it like I was love, the simple fact that they wanted to see me protected, they gave me something that will protect my life.  

TOBIN:  Gunfire linked to gangs as part of every day on the south and west side.  Just this week, three children were killed by stray bullets.  The police superintendent continues to cry out for tougher sentencing.  

EDDIE JOHNSON, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT:  We need to create a culture of accountability of picking up a gun and using it.  Enough is enough.  

TOBIN:  Illinois governor proposes adding state troopers, the president tweets about sending in the feds.  The guys on the street to say nothing will stop the gunfire.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If I am pushing this neighborhood, putting food on my table and food in my kid's mouth and keeping a roof over my head.  I'm not going to put it down.  

TOBIN:  The young man I met with the say they are used to be kingpins who control the big gangs, like the vice lords, the gangster disciples.  The government locks them up and the power vacuum left behind, they gang subdivided into cliques, and the clicks will go to war with another click from the same gang.  That is why we saw a bad situation melts down into this blood soaked chaos.  Martha.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

MACCALLUM:  Mike, thank you very much for joining us now, it Juan Williams, co-host of "The Five."  Kevin Jackson, Executive Director of the Black Sphere.net, both is Fox News contributors.  Gentlemen, thank you for being here.  We have watched the situation escalated in Chicago and every weekend, it feels, we add up the numbers, Juan.  You look at the pictures of those three little kids and he think about that young man who we just heard saying that he had to do this, to put food on his table for his children.  You just think these children will never be home for a meal again.  

JUAN WILLIAMS, "THE FIVE" CO-HOST:  Right, it doesn't make much sense.  I mean it is a totally dysfunctional situation.  Evidence, I think, of two specific neighborhoods, as you heard, just a moment ago, in Chicago, where this kind of violence is now becoming the norm and it has resulted in this horrific carnage.  You know hats off to President Trump for paying attention to it.  But the thing is that it is not representative of what is going on in black communities around the country.  It is a specific problem.  I think it needs some kind of special attention and that what is President Trump might be able to help.  He might send more prosecutors.  I don't think additional federal troops or state troopers or anything like that is going to help.  

MACCALLUM:  The thing you just touched on, I just want to go back to that, this notion that is an indictment on all inner cities and bad people -- I heard earlier today, Elijah Cummings thinking that President Trump is painting a poor picture of what is going on in inner cities.  I couldn't help but think, everyone, the good neighborhoods where everybody is fine, nobody is concerned about that.  We are very concerned, though, about what is happening in these inner cities.  You can't brush it away and say, it is not all like that, so, we shouldn't be painting this picture of American carnage, as you mentioned in his speech.  Go ahead, Kevin.  

KEVIN JACKSON, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  I want to jump in here.  Juan said something profound.  It is pervasive.  It is not just in Chicago.  It may not be as bad in Baltimore.  It made no may not be as bad in Detroit.  Remember when Detroit was the poster child?  For this type of activity, it still is.  Chicago has just become far worse, but the other thing is, Juan said it was profound, s that he said where Donald Trump is actually trying to address it.  What Juan said without saying is Barack Obama didn't.  The comment high here is his buddy, Rahm Emanuel, has been running that city.  He was a Democrat mayor before that.  We have been watching this develop every single weekend we deal with this violence.  That young man says something very interesting.  He said the way he felt love is when somebody gave him a firearm.  He didn't feel love, because he had a dad, which is what the system is lacking.  Nobody is talking about the lack of the fathers in these neighborhoods.  He fell in love getting a gun.  He should feel love getting a hug from his father.  And the problem there is Rahm Emanuel and people like Juan don't care about that.  That is the real issue.  

WILLIAMS:  Kevin in fact, I have written books about it.  I just think that is part of the essential dysfunction, is family breakdown.  To my heart, I think it is a tragedy.  Let me just go back to what you were saying earlier.  I don't think this is representative of the whole black community.  Martha picked up on this too.  

JACKSON:  Neither do I.  

MACCALLUM:  Anyone does.  

WILLIAMS:  All right I don't think that and I think that is what you were saying was wrong of what the Congressman Cummings of Baltimore said.  I think that most black communities, I think most cities do not -- are not represented by what is happening here in the poor black communities.  

MACCALLUM:  No one is trying to characterize all black communities as being like this one.  

WILLIAMS:  Good.  

JACKSON:  What happens, Juan, we get into these extremes, we talk about everybody -- the majority of black communities are doing great.  They are doing fantastic.  The problem is.  We can't ignore that these kids are being killed every single day.  

WILLIAMS:  Correct.  

WILLIAMS:  I think when Trump can do something, he can get prosecutors, for my heart, do something about schools, these promises with Betsy DeVos, to be aggressive on school choice.  That is the agenda.  

MACCALLUM:  We will talk more about this.  Thank you so much, gentlemen, great to have you both with us.  It's coming up next, we showed you some of the highlights from Mr. Trump suppressor earlier and we will show you some of the greatest moments from the chummy relationship President Obama had during his presidency.  Very, very different situation, of course, they are very different men.  Dana Loesch is here, Robert Zimmerman is here.  We will take it on right after the break.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  During you first 100 days, what has surprised you the most about this office, and chanted you the most about serving in this office?  

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)  

MACCALLUM:  President Trump continuing his combative relationship with the press earlier today.  They seemed pretty happy to play along.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Aren't you concerned sir, that you are undermining the people's faith in the first amendment, the freedom of the press, the press in this country when you call stories you don't like fake news.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

MACCALLUM:  That is just one example from a contentious day in the east room, one that looked nothing like scenes from Mr. Obama's first years in office.  Watch this.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  On senator specter's switch to the Democratic Party, you said you were thrilled.  

During this first 100 days, what has surprised you the most about this office, and chanted you the most about serving in this office?  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you, Mr. President.  You racked up a lot of wins in the last few weeks.  Are you ready to call yourself the comeback kid?  

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

MACCALLUM:  Joining me now, Dana Loesch, the host of "Dana" on Blaze TV and Robert Zimmerman, DNC Committee member and Democratic strategists.  Robert, let me give you the first crack of that.  

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Ok.  Let's be clear.  You are picking two questions out of a press conference and ignoring the fact that President Obama was just tailored over everything from the Somali pirates radiated to the automotive bailout to the debate over how the stimulus money was spent.  And Bill Clinton before him as a Democrat was absolutely eviscerated by the press over don't ask don't tell, the economic passage, including the Waco attack by the FBI.  That had very tragic consequences.  Let's be clear.  The issue is not about the media.  The issue is about who is serving as president.  When Donald Trump was called out by Republican leaders in congress for spreading lies, when he in fact tries to cover up his national security advisor, not disclosing important information to his own vice president, then, President Trump keeps it from the American people that are really the issue.  

MACCALLUM:  The scene in "Saturday Night Live," when they brought out a pillow and, you know put out behind him, are you more comfortable now?  

ZIMMERMAN:  That was in the campaign.  

MACCALLUM:  It was during the campaign, but the feeling is that there was a much warmer relationship then and there is now.  I am not sure that it is inaccurate as it was portrayed.  Dana, what do you think?  

DANA LOESCH, THE BLAZE ON TV AND AUTHOR OF "HANDS OFF MY GUN:  Martha, I think you are absolutely right, there was.  Let's not forget that the Obama administration was incredibly opaque.  The Trump administration, regardless of what people think about how he conducts a press conference, has been the most transparent presidential administration period.  Even opening up Skype seats for crying out loud, being accessible on twitter.  We didn't see that from the Obama administration, who weaponized different department to go after reporters.  (Inaudible) or James Rosen or The Associated Press it could go on and on prior Hillary Clinton, who literally herded reporters in a row. Martha.  I know you remember those photos, when they would go with her to ask your questions on any kind of public event.  

ZIMMERMAN:  How does that excuse Donald Trump lying to the media and lying to our country about the fact that his own national security advisor was in repeated conversations with the Russian ambassador?  

LOESCH:  Lying about what?  

ZIMMERMAN:  Lying about the fact that he own national security advisor was in conference with the Russian Ambassador.  That is why.  

LOESCH:  Washington -- speaker that was cleared by the FBI.  

ZIMMERMAN:  Let's be clear, with the media that broke those stories, Dana. As long as President Trump --

LOESCH:  He was cleared by the FBI.  

ZIMMERMAN:  Dana, you are dodging the issue and you know it.  

LOESCH:  He was cleared by the FBI.  

MACCALLUM:  He was cleared by the FBI.  

ZIMMERMAN:  That is not the point.  

LOESCH:  Yes it is.  The point is --  

ZIMMERMAN:  Here is the point.  Excuse me, Dana -- that is on the plane.  He lied to the American people, which is even as bad.  If not worst, the point is as long as President Trump wants to turn to Pat Robertson CBC as his source for news, remember Pat Robertson said, feminism causes women to turn (inaudible), as long as Donald Trump --

MACCALLUM:  I still don't know what law you are talking about.  

ZIMMERMAN:  Let me answer the question.  Donald Trump said emphatically that his own national security advisor --

MACCALLUM:  We got to go.  Today was the day that President Trump wanted to get back on track, one of the events meant to do that with the signing of the bill undoing Obama regulations on coal.  This is a unique moment that we stop playing out in the White House.  A short highlight from that event is right here.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

TRUMP:  I want to thank the incredible coal miners who are with us today. I think we can maybe thank them the most, right?  

(APPLAUSE)  

You folks have put up with a lot.  We are going to fight for also low energy prices for all Americans.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

MACCALLUM:  Good night, everybody.  O'Reilly is coming up next.  See you tomorrow.  

"The O'Reilly Factor" is on tonight.

Content and Programming Copyright 2017 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.