First 100 Days

Krauthammer on bureaucratic pushback against President Trump; Bolton reacts to being on short list for security adviser

This is a rush transcript from "The First 100 Days," February 17, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS HOST:  Breaking tonight, a new attack on the media.

Plus, President Trump's hunt for a new national security advisor moves forward.  And Fox News learned some new names that have entered the mix to replace General Michael Flynn.

It is day 29 of "The First 100."  I'm Shannon Bream in for Martha MacCallum tonight.   

President Trump just arriving in Palm Beach hours ago, where he is set to spend the weekend at his Mar-a-Largo resort.  We're told this could be the site of meetings between the president and a select group of candidates now under consideration for the NSA post.

It's been a busy day for the president as he also toured a South Carolina Boeing facility, providing his pledge to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S.  But the president also found time to take yet another shot at the media heading into the long holiday weekend, calling them an enemy of the American people.

But they may not be the president's biggest roadblock to success.  In moments, Charles Krauthammer reacts to what has become a battle royal between Mr. Trump and the entrenched D.C. bureaucracy.

But, first, we turn to correspondent Kristin Fisher reporting now from Mar-a-Lago, live, tonight.

Hi, Kristin.

KRISTIN FISHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Shannon.  Well, this is the third weekend in a row that President Trump will be coming down to West Palm Beach to spend the weekend at his winter White House.  And this weekend, he will be spending at least part of it interviewing possible candidates to become his national security advisor.

Now we know that one of those interviews is going to be with his acting national security advisor Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg.  Some of the other names in the mix, you've got Gen. David Petraeus, Gen. Keith Alexander, a former NSA chief, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and Stephen Hadley.  He was national security advisor in the last Bush administration.

Now remember today is the day that President Trump had been hoping to swear in former Vice Admiral Robert Harward, but the White House said that he turned down the job due to family reasons.

Now, today, President Trump spent the day in South Carolina, an event that really brought together his top priorities -- jobs, trade, lowering taxes on American businesses.  He told a crowd of Boeing employees that he wants the U.S. to rely less on imports and more on products made right here in the United States.  And what better backdrop to drive home that message than Boeing's brand new 787 Dreamliner.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Just like you built this incredible airplane behind me, both of them, when you think about it, we are going to rebuild this country and ensure that every forgotten community has the bright future it deserves.  And, by the way, those communities are forgotten no longer.  The election took care of that.


FISHER:  So, we're still talking about the election exactly one month into his presidency.  And we're about to see a whole lot more of what sure sounds like candidate Trump.

Tomorrow, it will be his very first big rally as president.  It will be taking place at an airplane hangar in Melbourne, Florida right near Orlando.  And this is really a chance for him to reconnect with his supporters.  It's also a chance for his campaign to continue collecting data on those supporters in the all-important battleground state of Florida.

The White House says that this is a campaign event paid for by his campaign.  So the election may be four years away but, Shannon, never too early to start, right?

BREAM:  He's already filed for re-election to run officially.  So I guess it's on.  Kristin, thank you very much.

From internal leaks contributing to General Flynn's ouster to the EPA civil servants who are boycotting against the president's pick to lead the agency.  Mounting evidence suggests Mr. Trump's greatest obstructionist could lie within the government apparatus already in place.

Joining me now, Dr. Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor.

Doctor, good to have you with us, tonight.


BREAM:  OK, listen.  Everybody talks about this behemoth, kind of administrative fourth branch of government that's sprung up.  But it really can slow things down when it wants to in Washington.  And it may be filled up with some people who want to slow down this new president.

KRAUTHAMMER:  I think so.  And I think it's been -- it's been one of the main conservative arguments against the big government.  It's not just that it's inefficient.  It's not just that it's impersonal.  It's not just that in a way it restricts our liberties.  It is that it develops its own interests.

FDR who was a great champion of labor, opposed government unions for precisely that reason.  Now, there's nothing new.  Remember, in Wisconsin, you got a new governor who came in.  He wanted to change the prerogatives, the privileges of the teachers unions, and they raised hell, they almost brought down the government.

These are government employees.  That's always been the problem of the great -- of the large, of intrusive, big government.  And with Trump it's all the more salient, because it's a new administration, still in somewhat of a building mode, unable to resist.  And as you say, it's been stung now from the intelligence agencies, and as you said, the EPA employees who were trying to lobby against the guy who was sworn in to head the EPA today.

BREAM:  And some of these agencies, they are going to feel under direct attack, because when you have the president signing things like executive orders that say, hey, for every new regulation we get from this administrative bodies, you've got to get rid of two.  I mean, those are things that take away some of their power if they work.  I mean, if they're actually implemented and carried out.

KRAUTHAMMER:  Well, that's the paradox.  You've got to get the same people to carry out a weakening of their own new powers.  And for that, you need a president with a lot of public support.  This president has the two houses of Congress with him, so this is an opportunity to do that.

And deregulation is one of the ways to do it and depopulation of the bureaucracy to allow the numbers to go down by attrition is also important. But we are stuck with this administrative state.  I mean, it started with the new deal and it's not going to be ended with one presidency.

BREAM:  Well, how much of this is about the fact that the president doesn't have his own people plugged in?  I mean, there are thousands of people that turn over, when a new administration, a new party takes over the White House.  It's just the way things work in Washington, but it takes time to sort of staff up as they say.  But if you don't have your own people within these agencies, you don't have your own soldiers on the ground.

KRAUTHAMMER:  Every time a new person comes into the cabinet, becomes a head of a department, they instantly discover that there are people who are entrenched, have been there forever, who know the ropes, and can foil you simply by delay.  They know that at some point you're going to be gone and they are going to stay.

So this is a chronic issue, and you want to use the energy and the support and the honeymoon of a new presidency.  Again, controlling the two houses of Congress to go ahead and attack it.  And I'm afraid a lot of that energy is being squandered on peripheral issues.

BREAM:  What if you don't get a honeymoon?  What if you go straight to the seven-year itch?

KRAUTHAMMER:  I think the president did not have a honeymoon.  He got involved, remember, in policy soon after being elected.  So his honeymoon should have already -- should be underway now.  But I think it ended sometime during the transition.

So he's in, now, I mean, look, you realize he's been here for four weeks. Tell me if it feels like four weeks.  It feels like a lot more than that. It's hard to remember Barack Obama.

BREAM:  It does.  And I think the honeymoon was over maybe November 10, 11, maybe, if he made it that far.


BREAM:  Charles, always good to see you.  Have a great weekend.

KRAUTHAMMER:  My pleasure.  Thank you.

BREAM:  All right.  Today, Senate vote confirming Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.  Well, it brings President Trump's total number of approved cabinet members to 14.  20 other big positions are still awaiting Senate confirmation.  Seven of them are cabinet level.  But perhaps most surprising are the more than 500 executive branch positions still awaiting nominees.

Joining me now to talk about that and more Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy and Larry Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Welcome to you both, gentleman.



BREAM:  All right, Congressman, how much of the blame then is on the Trump team, if they have hundreds of positions that are open that would benefit them very much to fill, even if they know it's going to be a bit of a fight.

DUFFY:  Well, I think the most important job is to get your cabinet approved.  I mean, what we've seen with Democrats is they are slow walking the approval of the Trump nominees.  They don't show up for hearings so you don't have a quorum.  They will do all-night talkathons.

I mean, if they have a problem with one of the nominees, because they are not qualified state it, debate it and then vote.  And I think Democrats are walking a fine line because of obstructionist, not just against President Trump, it's against the American people.

Americans realize that Donald Trump won the election.  They want him to stand up his government.  And what we saw in Wisconsin, Dr. Krauthammer mentioned this, another lesson from Wisconsin now, if you recall, Wisconsin State senators because they didn't want a quorum in the state Senate, they fled our state.  They went to Illinois for weeks.  When they finally came back, we were able to pass that.

But Wisconsin has never forget what obstructionist they were.  That they are playing politics over a job that was supposed to be done for the Wisconsin people.  I think the same thing will be true with Democrats for playing politics, instead of standing up with President Trump and moving forward with this cabinet so we can get this government rolling.

BREAM:  I mean, you know this is the kind of thing that the Democrats cried about the Republicans for eight years under President Obama.  Really not the whole eight year, because part of that they controlled.  But they called Congress, they, quote, "Do nothing Congress."  They ran on that.  There were ads.  There were commercials.

Do they have mirrors?

DUFFY:  Well, I think it's important to keep in mind when you're talking about the cabinet nominees.  That President Trump did not vet a lot of these people.  The office of government ethics said, you know, they haven't got their tax forms.

I mean, I went through confirmation.  You have to turn in all of this stuff.  The other is, a lot of the people that he appointed had took different positions than him so people wanted the hearings to find out.

I mean, General Mattis has disagreed with him on giving nuclear weapons to Japan and South Korea, or NATO.  And the other thing is that a lot of these people, who have been picked, are not being able to get their other thing, because the White House has a veto on it.

That's why Admiral Harwood turned down the job.  He couldn't get his deputy.  And as the congressman knows the seat he has from Melvin Laird, when he became secretary of defense, he said I get all the appointments.

Mattis hasn't been able to get the people he wants. Tillerson wanted to get Elliott Abram.  Very, very qualified guy.  You wouldn't let him have him and that's part of the problem.  It was not just getting them.  They've got to get their team in there.

BREAM:  Well, and Congressman, how much is that a valid argument, that people do want to bring on their own teams and different presidents are going to handle that differently, but it does kind of slow things down.

DUFFY:  The problem is we can't get many of these folks confirmed or they're confirmed late.  And so you are behind the ball as you're trying to stand up your organization.

But, I mean, Larry knows as he tried to get confirmed by the Senate as an assistant secretary of defense, Thank God, he didn't have Democrats who treated him the way Democrats are treating President Trump.  It wouldn't have worked.

And when you talk about our nominees, or President Trump's nominees that they haven't turned over enough documents?  Give me a break.  You could never turn over enough documents to get Democrats to actually move these nominees through the process.

I think the real problem, Shannon, is that the left is so erratic, they can't accept that Donald Trump is the president.  That he actually won the election.  And there's so much pressure from the protesters and the agitators to keep these senators from actually moving these nominees forward.  They want them to do everything they can to obstruct Donald Trump.  And in the end, it's bad for America but it's bad for the Democrat Party.

BREAM:  Well, Larry -- Larry, to respond to that, though, a lot of these hearings and calls for documents.  I mean, even when they've been fully vetted, they've had one, two, three multiple hearings.  They've been through multiple processes.  And you have the Democrats knowing they don't have the numbers ultimately to block these nominees and yet they continue to use every procedural, logistical device that they can to stop them.

Is the point to send them into those offices, if they're going to be confirmed anyway, bloodied, bruise to somehow delegitimize them or the president for having nominated them?

KORB:  Well, they want to raise legitimate issues.  For example when President Clinton appointed somebody to be attorney general and it turn out she had not paid the social security for her, you know, nanny, she withdrew.

(INAUDIBLE), the congressman went through.  He didn't pay, not only saw through it.  You know, he didn't pay it either.  That he backed it.  So normally people get pulled out when they do things like that.

Tom Daschle, who was going to be HHS under President Obama, when it came out that he had got a car, that he hadn't claimed on the tax thing, he withdrew.  So normally people withdrew, but these people don't.  And that's why the hearings take so long, because we have to deal with a lot of these.

And they said, you've got to vet them ahead of time.  The Office of Government Ethics said you didn't vet a lot of these people.  So that's why the hearings are taking so long and why they are delayed.

BREAM:  Well, as I recall under President Obama's administration, there were those who may not have paid their taxes, who also made it to the cabinet positions to which they were nominated.

So, listen, it's Washington.  It happens across the board.  Congressman, Larry, good to see you both tonight.

DUFFY:  Nice to be with you.

KORB:  Thanks, Shannon.

BREAM:  Still ahead, Vice President Trump -- that's President Trump -- now we're talking about Vice President Pence.  He's travelling to Germany where he is expected to seek, to smooth things over with some U.S. allies.  They are a little bit rattled.

U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is going to be here to talk about that.  Plus, you may not like it, but I'm going to ask him about the rumors he is on the president's shortlist for national security adviser.  Will he take the Fifth?  Find out.

Plus, fallout continues over President Trump headline dominating press conference.  We have brand new Fox News polls to debut tonight just for you.  Hot off the presses.  So who do Americans trust more?  President Trump in the White House or the media?

Howie Kurtz is here to break down all the answers.  And the Associated Press taking some hits tonight after they went up with a story claiming the White House was claiming to use the National Guard, hundreds of thousands of them to round up illegal immigrants.  We're going to show you how White House responded.  Pete Hoekstra and Richard Fowler join us on that.  It's hot debate -- next.


CHUCK SCHUMER, D-NY, SENATE MINORITY LEADER:  That's despicable.  That would be one of the most un-American things that would happen in the last century.



BREAM:  Breaking tonight.  It's the deportation force that wasn't.  This morning about 10:15 a.m., the Associated Press tweeting, "Breaking: Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants." There was just one problem, won't even close to the truth. 30 minutes later, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the report, quote, "100 percent false."  And just a short time after that, both the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon added denials of their own.

But even after all that, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer still went to the cameras and said this.


SCHUMER:  That's despicable.  That would be one of the most un-American things that would happen in the last century.  And I just hope it's not true.  The fact that it might even be considered is appalling.


BREAM:  Joining us now, Pete Hoekstra, former House Intelligence Committee chairman and former Trump campaign national security adviser and Richard Fowler, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and Fox News contributor.

Good to see you, both, tonight.


BREAM:  All right, congressman, this seemed almost just too easy for the pickings.  I mean, when it crossed the wires this morning, I was doing "America's Newsroom with Bill Hemmer," we both looked at each other and thought, what?

But the A.P. continued to post about it and they expanded on it.  And it sounded like this was a story they wanted to run with.

PETE HOEKSTRA, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:  Oh, absolutely.  And then the alphabet networks picked it up.  I mean, this is creative writing.  This is fictional writing really at its best.

Chuck Schumer should be talking about what the A.P. did, not what they said Donald Trump might do.  Here are some of the words that they used, you referenced some of them, Shannon.

The headline is Trump administration considers.  They call it a proposal.  They're going to mobilize 100,000 National Guard, round up, raids, millions of illegals, unprecedented militarization.

None of those words are in this document anywhere.  And then we find out later it's a draft memo.  It was never sent to anybody.  Breaking news?  This was from January 25.  It's more than three weeks old.  And guess what?  Trump has done his immigration steps and none of this stuff happened.  It's unbelievable.  It's fictional writing.  But reality is, it's garbage, it should never have been written.

BREAM:  Well, and Richard, these days, I feel like all of us in the media have to be super skeptical about everything which is why, you know, usually when something passes on the wires, the A.P., we generally believe it and respect it.  But even we had to hesitate and say something about this just doesn't sound right.

How important is it for the media to have that sniff test to think about it, or do you think, or would you admit, there is some motivation to, anything that sounds negative or crazy for this administration, that some people just want to run with it?

FOWLER:  This is a tough, tough place for the media and I think for the White House on this one, Martha, because here's the truth.  The truth is that the job of the media is to tell -- report information so if they received what seems to be some sort of leaked document, they have a responsibility to release that to their viewers.  Now with that being said, wait a minute --

BREAM:  But without some fact checking.

FOWLER:  Wait, no, I was getting ready to say that -- now with that being said, there should be double sourcing and triple sourcing.  These documents, unfortunately, the A.P. didn't do it in this particular situation.

This brings us to a larger problem that we have.  And I said this over and over again.  But Donald Trump is now the head of this government.  And it's prudent upon Donald Trump and the Justice Department to really get to the bottom of who is leaking all this information.  Whether it's a first source leak or a second source leak, we have got to get to the bottom of these leaks, because it's really compromising Donald Trump's ability to govern.

BREAM:  Well, Congressman, I got to say I had a little Nancy Drew moment, because when this came out, we started to watch it sort of unravel.  I said to myself, they are trying to find leaks.  I wonder if the Trump administration floated this to someone and waited to see who ran with it so they could see if there might be a leaker involved that they could track down.  That's probably a little too Nancy Drew, but I mean, they do have to do something about these leaks, because it seems like anybody in a position to get their hands on some document or some potential policy or position that's not going to look good for the president, they're happy to feed it to the press.

HOEKSTRA:  Yes, sure.  I wish the Trump administration or any administration was that good that they could feed something like this into the press and then have it get out and it really backfire on the press, because it's so bad.

But there is a responsibility of the media to actually check this out and say whether this is really a story.  This was a draft memo.  They didn't say -- what they did is they sensationalized it.  They actually took a very boring memo and made it into something much bigger than what it was.  They not only didn't vet it, they sensationalized it and there was one objective, to harm the Trump administration.

FOWLER:  Come on.

HOEKSTRA:  This was not to inform -- this was not to inform the voters, the American people, or anybody.  It was to damage the Trump administration and put something on them that was absolutely false.

BREAM:  Richard, you do seem a little gleeful.  I'll give you the final word here.

FOWLER:  I agree with you 100 percent on this one, Shannon.  That they -- it seem a little gleeful.  They should have double sourced this.  But I think the larger story here is whether it's this, whether it's the Mike Flynn call, whether it's a call about the Australian prime minister, there is a problem with folks leaking information in Donald Trump's government and it's compromising his ability to govern.  Point blank, period.

Even if you blame the A.P., Donald Trump is unable to govern because he can't get his people together.  He's a businessman.  He needs to figure it out.

BREAM:  Well, he's mobilized and asked the D.O.J. to look into this and, you know, it could lead to criminal charges so we will see.

FOWLER:  Happy Friday, Shannon.

BREAM:  Congressman Pete Hoekstra and Richard Fowler, great to see you both.  Have a good weekend.

FOWLER:  You, too.

HOEKSTRA:  Great.  Thanks, Shannon.  Thank you.

BREAM:  All right.  Still, ahead, Ambassador John Bolton joins us on the rumors he's on the short list to be national security adviser.  Will he take the Fifth?

Plus, the new president has been extremely busy in its first four weeks.  From the Supreme Court nomination to his cabinet and decisions like that immigration ban that's spark widespread protest, we're going to look at the good, the bad and the ugly when Guy Benson, Alex Conant and Krystal Ball join us to grade his performance in his first month in the presidency.

Plus, did President Trump predict -- did he predict today's headlines yesterday?  A look at his raucous press conference and how the media covered it exactly as he said they would.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The headlines are going to be, Donald Trump rants.  I mean, I'm not ranting and raving.



BREAM:  Breaking tonight.  Exclusive "Fox News" poll shedding light on America's trust or distrust in the media.  These new numbers revealed tonight over the backdrop of this East Room press conference still dominating the headlines.

The most memorable exchanges featuring President Trump going toe-to-toe with multiple members of the assembled press.

We turn now to a man who knows just a little bit about the media.  Howie Kurtz, he is the host of "MediaBuzz" right here on Fox News channel.

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS MEDIA ANALYST:  It did surprised me a little bit, Shannon.  Fascinating numbers in these brand new "Fox" poll.

Who do voters trust more to tell the truth?  The president by a nose.  Trump 45 percent; reporters 42 percent.  That's a sobering finding for the press.

Are the media tougher on Trump compared to Barack Obama?  68 percent say yes; 18 percent say the media are easier on Trump, 12 percent say the same.

I would like to find that 18 percent and question them.

Would it be better for the country of journalists cover the president aggressively.  55 percent agree, but 38 percent say it's better to give the president the benefit of the doubt.

BREAM:  What do you make of that?  You said you'd like to find the 18 percent.  I mean, do you think those are just diehard people that, you know, they are not going to be swayed by whatever they see on their TV or read in their newspapers?

KURTZ:  Well, it's interesting on the top line about who do you trust more to tell the truth, very predictable partisan breakdown, 81 percent Republicans trust Trump more; 79 percent of Democrats favor the media more. Independents actually split more toward Trump.

But on this question of coverage, even a plurality of Democrats say of course, the president is being tougher on the 45th president than the 44th.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS HOST:  OK, so what about in a bit of a historical comparison because looking back a few years it seems like people in the past had a little bit more respect for reporters versus politicians. It seems like that gap has definitely closed with these numbers.

KURTZ:  Oh, no question about it. I mean there was a time, a couple of decades ago when the press was widely respected. I mean, even going back to the days when Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman played journalists in a famous movie. Now, it's so polarized and there is so much mistrust, actually on the left as well as the right of the press.

Now, journalists may think well, you know, everyone knows we tell the truth and this president they may feel stretches the facts but the public very divided on that question and is really a quest (ph) for some soul-searching I think for our profession.

BREAM:  Well, and this president, I mean he has gone full-on, straight at them and taking his message to the American people. And you know, he calls his press conference yesterday, we're told it's going to be to announce his new labor secretary nominee.

KURTZ:  Yes.

BREAM:  And that was about five seconds of the press conference. He obviously had another plan in mind, he enjoys going directly to the American people. It's what made him so successful. He just cuts out that filter.

KURTZ:  Right. You would think he couldn't go any harder against the media than he did during that 77-minute marathon, but a new tweet today in which President Trump calls some news outlets -- he names ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, New York Times, the enemy of the people.

Now that's harsher rhetoric than I have heard from him from all the times I've interviewed him. I think it goes a little far for my taste because enemy sounds like almost traitorous. But he knows what he's doing. He's going to continue this because I think he feels like it's his credibility or the media's credibility. What this new Fox poll shows, Shannon, is it's a battle for this trust question and for the American people.

BREAM:  It is and as we talked about yesterday, Steve Bannon calls the media "the opposition party" whether it's tongue in cheek or not, this is a battle royale.

KURTZ:  He's not joking.

BREAM:  All right Howie, we will see you on Sunday.

KURTZ:  Great to see you Shannon.

BREAM:  Thanks.

More tonight on President Trump's raucous press conference from yesterday as he told reporters he knew what the headlines would be today, check it out.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  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 just dishonest people. The headlines are going to be Donald Trump rants and raves. I'm not ranting anything.


BREAM:  And like clockwork, President Trump was far from wrong. Just look at the New York Times proclaiming, "in 77 chaotic minutes, Trump defends fine-tuned machine." And from the "Washington Post," "in an erratic performance President Trump shows his supporters who's boss." The New York
Daily News adding "President Trump blasted over social media for sociopathic White House press conference."

Molly Hemingway joins me now. She is the senior editor at The Federalist. He knows what he's doing. A lot of people think, you know, they're going to call him crazy, but is he crazy like a fox?

MOLLY HEMINGWAY, SENIOR EDITOR, THE FEDERALIST:  It's uncanny how easily the media fell into the trap there. He says, you're going to say I'm ranting and raving, I'm not. And then all these headlines say exactly that.

The New York Times, was a great example because their original headline was actually quite balanced. It said something like aggrieved and at times, you know, feeling a little antsy or something. Trump stands up for himself. That's actually a pretty good headline, you know, it's balanced, it moderates. It explains what the perspective was. And then they change it to the 77 chaotic minutes. I think the media think that everybody agrees with them, that he sounds unhinged and they sound totally calm when in fact for a lot of people Trump doesn't sound unhinged at all. They totally relate to what he's saying. It's the media who seem unhinged, out of control, and way too emotional to be able to cover this president fairly, well, or accurately or honestly or anything.

BREAM:  And as the -- the polling that we just talked about with Howie shows that there's really the split between people who have a divide over that and how the press has lost a lot of ground and a lot of respect on that. I want to play a little bit of sound. This sound comes from John Dickerson from CBS. He's on the Hugh Hewitt radio show talking about how the press has caused some of these problems for itself. Here's what he said.


HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I really do think Manhattan-Beltway media elites have lost the country. They've lost it.

JOHN DICKERSON, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, CBS NEWS:  It's true and it's not because of anything obviously Donald Trump did. The press did all that good work ruining its reputation on its own, which to say a lot of hysterical coverage about every little last thing that doesn't warrant it.


BREAM:  And my, I got to say, yesterday -- of course we've never seen a presidential press conference like that. But to hear the reporters kind of like shouting at him and shouting questions and the murmur in the room, I mean, it was very entertaining. But I had to believe that most of the folks who were on that press conference -- what do we do, we've never dealt with a president like this before.

HEMNGWAY:  Well, it would be nice if more people responded like John Dickerson, and I'm not surprised that he is one of the people who gets it because his coverage hasn't been totally crazy like a lot of people have, you know, what we've seen throughout this campaign and now this presidency. The media need to wake up and take responsibility for how bad their credibility is particularly with that portion of the electorate that actually elected Donald Trump.

They need to acknowledge this and they need to start making the changes so that they can be taken seriously again. That is the only way that we will have any hope of holding this administration accountable or any other administration.

BREAM:  Yes, are they feeding right into his narrative through because all through the campaign and now as president as well, he has talked about how the media is never going to be fair to him. His supporters believe that and know that. They look at this coverage and think this is not fair coverage. So the more that he kind of threw the bait out there yesterday, it seemed like they took it, they ran with it, and now his folks are saying, it was so refreshing. His supporters say this is exactly why we elected him. He's plain spoken. He takes these people on. They're walking, it seems, right in to where he wants to lead them.

HEMINGWAY:  Well, both Trump and the media seem to be in somewhat of a dysfunctional relationship. They both get a lot out of being hostile to each other. But what happens in the end of it, a lot of America loses. I mean the poll that just came out, the Fox News poll is not good that we're only in the 40 percentile for believing either Trump or the media.

They're both kind of unreliable narrators. Of course, it's the media's job to tell the truth. That's their only job. So the fact that they have such big credibility problems, I mean I think we're aware that politicians lie, we're used to that. That the media have this problem is a crisis, and it's a crisis that only we can fix by doing a much better job.

But this hysteria in response to the press conference or his undiplomatic tweet here where he calls the media enemies of the people, we have to get it together. And, yes, stop just giving him chum that he can throw back into the water.

BREAM:  Well we just had a poll up there as you were finishing up your remarks that it shows he still holds the edge over reporters when it comes to who Americans trust. So, Molly we'll see where this goes. Never a dull moment with this presidency.

HEMINGWAY:  Exactly.

BREAM: Thanks for coming on tonight.


BREAM:  All right, for media madness to the so-called draining the swamp, President Trump had certainly shaken the Washington establishment up in this past four weeks. Our panel is going to weigh in with their grade on Mr. Trump's first month in office.

And Ambassador Bolton is here to evaluate the administration's moves abroad. Plus I'm going ask him about that late breaking news that he is confirmed to be on Trump's short list to be National Security advisor. Will he answer? He joins me next.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZONA:  Make no mistake, my friends, these are dangerous times. But you should not count America out.



BREAM: Developing tonight, American leaders including Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis travelling to Europe seeking to reassure concerned allies. Senator John McCain who has been notably critical of President Trump's foreign policy, speaking in Munich today, delivering a strong message about America's continued role in world affairs.


MCCAIN:  I know there is profound concern across Europe and the world that America is laying down the mantle of global leadership. That's not the message you heard today from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. That's not the message you will hear from Vice President Mike Pence. Make no mistake, my friends, these are dangerous times. But you should not count America out.


BREAM:  Joining me now, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton. Good to see you ambassador.


BREAM:  All right, how much focus is there right from our allies and people around the world on what the vice president is going to have to say in Munich?

BOLTON:  I don't think there's any statement by the Trump administration in its 29 days on office that will receive more attention from around the world. This is a policy speech to the annual (INAUDIBLE) conference. All eyes will be on it. It is the vice president with all due respect to Secretary Mattis and Secretary Tillerson. This is right below the president. So I'm sure it's going to be reviewed word by word and I expect it would be along the lines that John McCain just indicated in those remarks.

BREAM:  What do you make of what we're seeing from Russia, you know, 19 miles off the coast, we've got a spy ship of theirs patrolling near Norfolk, a big Navy base for us, jets buzzing one of our destroyers moving as -- allegedly a cruise missile in violation of an arms treaty. What do you make of it?

BOLTON:  Well, I think they're pushing the envelope to see what happens. I think the worst of those three, frankly, is the cruise missile, a clear violation of the 1980's Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Not the first time the Russians have violated it. But it's basically saying to the Europeans we're back and you better be worried especially if they think the United States is about to back down from NATO.

So, the strong language that you've seen already from American sources, I think we'll see tomorrow from the vice president, it's going to be very important for the Europeans but very important for Vladimir Putin to hear as well.

BREAM:  Well, the president said in a press conference yesterday, listen, I could, you know, kind of essentially score points by taking out that Russian ship off the coast. But I would get --

BOLTON:  Unfortunately, I am not going to do it.

BREAM:  No, I'm not going to do it but he talked about the fact that he would get in trouble whether he's too soft on Russia. He's getting in trouble for that, whether he's too hard on Russia. Is he in a place right now where he can't win? It's got to be a very nuanced position.

BOLTON:  Well, I'll say this, I've negotiated with the Russians to get out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty so we can have National Missile Defense to do the Treaty of Moscow, reducing strategic nuclear weapons forces that are deployed. The way best to negotiate with the Russians is from a position of strength.

And the reason that we have been in such difficulty with them for the last eight years is we've moved from a position of weakness, contempt by the Kremlin for America's leadership. I don't think that's the way they look at it now. So, ironically, a strong American leadership role makes it easier to do business with the Kremlin.

BREAM:  You are a very experienced person, and somebody that sounds like who would be qualified to be in consideration for national security advisor. We have confirmed tonight whether you want to confirm it or not, you are on the list. I don't know if you have plans to travel to Florida this weekend. What can you tell us about the possibility that you would be the man for the job?

BOLTON:  Well you're very persistent. It's really quite admirable and as I have said in the past, say nothing in response because I just don't think it's appropriate but you're welcome to try again.

BREAM:  OK, well, it's a very qualified group, a very short list. How tough do you think that position is going to be for whoever gets the nod?

BOLTON:  Well, I think key role of the National Security advisor and there's no one set way that that job is done, but it has to provide the president with the facts and the arguments and the options that he needs to make decisions and then has to enforce the decisions against sometimes recalcitrant bureaucracies. That's to protect the position of the president. That's the key thing.

BREAM:  Your name has been floated for other cabinet level positions and other things. Would you serve in a Trump administration?

BOLTON:  Yes, look, I've said it's an honor to serve the country and I'd be prepared to do it. But I don't speculate beyond that.

BREAM:  I'm going to go see if he's got a bag packed, if he's catching a flight to Florida. Ambassador, always good to see you.

BOLTON: Glad to be with you, Shannon.

BREAM:  All right. We are now exactly four weeks into the Trump presidency and it's been a ride like no other. Guy Benson, Alex, and Krystal Ball break down the hits and misses, and how the president can best move the country forward.


BREAM:  The fourth week of the Trump presidency has come to a close and what a week it was. Successful visits from foreign leaders, Prime Ministers Trudeau and Netanyahu, the ouster of Michael Flynn, head of the NSA, and a sidewinder of a presser that may have topped it all. So here with their grades for not only this week but the first month, Guy Benson, political editor for and a Fox News contributor. Alex Conant is a Republican strategist ad Krystal Ball is author of the forthcoming book, "Reversing the Apocalypse: Hijacking the Democratic Party to Save the World." That's quite a title. Good to see all of you.



BREAM:  All right, happy Friday to you as well. And To Krystal, congratulations, you have a brand new baby and yet you've made time to come on "The First 100 Days," so we got to let you start first. Congratulations.

BALL:  Thank you very much. Ida Rose (ph) was here in the TV studio actually.

BREAM:  Oh, good.

BALL:  Her first trip to the TV studio.

BREAM:  Starting her early. We like it.

BALL:  Indeed.

BREAM:  OK, so what -- where would you grade -- this week has been all over the place and the month if you want to tackle that.

BALL:  Yes, I mean, it's been a mess. And like, I just want to be clear on election night when I was dealing the shock, with the shock of Hillary Clinton losing, I went on television and I said, the first thing I'm going to do is pray for our next president's success because I think as a patriotic American that's what you want to do. I'm cheering for this country. I'm cheering for this president and I think it's good for the world.

But what we've seen so far has been such crisis, incompetence, chaos as exemplified by Flynn's ouster and this crazy press conference. That it is far worse than I ever could have imagined. So, I have to say on those metrics I fail him. And I also want to say this is not how I thought things would go. I thought he would come in and really focus on jobs, do the big infrastructure package because that's ultimately why people took a chance on him and elected him to office.

His base will love him no matter what he does, but there's a large portion of the population who thought this guy is a businessman, he's going to come in, he's going to be different, he's going to get things done. They were not expecting this sort of drama and chaos and uncertainty.

BREAM:  Well. Yes, and Guy, his team will says the drama and chaos is caused by the media who doesn't like this guy, doesn't like his style and doesn't like the other reasons that he got elected.

GUY BENSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Right. So, I think there's a little bit of both going on here. So I'd give him probably B minus at this point. There are some clear negatives and Krystal went through a couple of them. I think the rollout of the executive order on refugees was a total mess despite what he said and asserted yesterday at the press conference. It was not very smooth. It was not perfect. And then the ouster of Flynn and sort of the chaos on the National Security team, those aren't good things.

But what the critics sometimes miss are some of the much more positive elements. I mean, some great headlines for Trump early on, on jobs in the economy, keeping some jobs here in the United States. A flawless rollout of an excellent, superb Supreme Court choice. I think that and Neil Gorsuch was a big home run for him.

And then we can't overlook -- people say, oh, he's so undiplomatic. He has had four very successful visits from allies and foreign leaders here in Washington and in the U.S. and I think he deserves credit for that as well. So, I'm not quite as negative as Krystal, unsurprisingly.

BREAM:  All right, let's check in with Alex then because this is your job, you strategize, you advise people at the highest level for doing things right. I mean, how much of is unforced error? How much is not getting a fair shake for the things he is getting right?

ALEX CONANT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, yes. If you asked me on Wednesday night to grade the week, I would have given him an F. I mean, the administration at that point was leaking more than the Titanic. You had -- he had just fired his NSA, his National Security Advisor. His labor secretary had just had to drop out because of scandals in his past and things that the administration just hadn't been able to explain to win those votes. But then the last 48 hours, I would give him an A because he has reminded voters why he was elected in the first place.

Yesterday he went and he confronted his critics, the press, first hand in an astounding press conference where he answered his critics and he reminded voters why he'd been elected in the first place. And then today of course he went to South Carolina and spoke to voters directly. Stood in front of a new Boeing jet and said this is what makes America great. This is -- we are a country of dreamers.

That is the president that we elected in November. That is the president that Republicans were excited about. When we see the stuff like we did in the first half of this week, everyone should be very concerned about the disarray. When we see the stuff in the last 48 hours it gives us confidence in terms what we can get done in the coming weeks, months and years.

BREAM:  OK, so we've given a grade scale. Now I want you all to think quickly 1 to 10 -- I'm going to ask you a question because we are almost out of time but I want to get an answer from each of you. Yesterday the president said during that press conference, I'm having a great time. Krystal, on a scale of 1 to 10 how much fun do you think he's having?

BALL:  I don't think that this is everything it's cracked up to be. I think he still loves the public adulation so maybe I'm going to put him at a six.

BREAM:  OK, and Guy, we'll go to you next, I mean he's going to have this rally tomorrow. It's already being called a campaign rally for 2020. How much was he having?

BENSON:  The fact that he was able to throw a round house after round house at his critics to their faces and then go to a big crowd and try to shift the narrative, look, there are people who love me despite the big images you see on TV --

BREAM:  OK, I need the number.

BENSON:  He's loving it 9, 10. He's loving it.

BREAM:  OK, Alex? Where do you put him?

CONANT:  I'd give it a one. Being the president is a terrible job. All you have to do is make tough decisions and you have people protesting you everywhere you go, it's a one.

BREAM:  It is not a job that most people would be able to handle or enjoy at all. But he does seem to be having a little bit of fun. All right, Krystal, congratulations, again. Hi to the baby.

BALL:  Thank you. Thank you.

BREAM:  Guy and Alex, good to see you all. Have a great weekend.

CONANT:  Thank you.

BENSON:  Thank you.

BALL:  Take care.

BREAM:  All right, we'll be right back.


BREAM:  Immigration has been a key focus of President Trump's first month in office. And as the debate over sanctuary cities, immigration raids and jobs take center stage, Martha MacCallum is going to take this to the voters. She's hosting a special town hall meeting on this hot button issue, live Tuesday night in Florida. We hope you'll be able to join us. By the way, we're also going to cover President Trump's rally in Florida tomorrow. Thanks for watching. I'm Shannon Bream in for Martha MacCallum. Have a great Presidents' Day weekend. Thanks for joining us.


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