This is a rush transcript from "The First 100 Days," March 9, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS CHANNEL OUTNUMBERED HOST: Breaking tonight, the White House reacting to a remarkable turn of events, as a man considered by many to be an enemy of the United States, invites America's top technology firms to partner with him against the U.S. Intelligence Community.
I'm Sandra Smith in for Martha MacCallum tonight, and this is day 49 of the first 100.
The strange developments playing out today in an online news conference, as Julian Assange, the Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks, the person accused of being a pawn of Russian President Vladimir Putin, reaching out to top tech firms, trashing the CIA as "incompetent." And touting WikiLeaks for exposing the spy agency's most sensitive secrets. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: The material comes from an isolated -- I mean, disconnected from other computer systems, top-secret security network situated inside the CIA's center for cyber intelligence.
This is an historic act of devastating incompetence to have created such an arsenal and stored it all in one place, and not secured it. After considering what we think is the best way to proceed and hearing these calls from some of the manufacturers, we have decided to work with them, to give them some exclusive access to the additional technical details we have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: In moments, we'll be joined by former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and Trump campaign advisor Pete Hoekstra, along with our own Juan Williams.
But first, Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge is live in Washington with the very latest on what she is learning at this hour. Catherine?
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Sandra, White House Spokesman Sean Spicer telling reporters today the breach is serious and there may be other issues.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is grave concern that the president has about the release of national security and classified information that threatens and undermines our nation's security. Obviously, he believes that the systems of the CIA are outdated and need to be updated.
HERRIDGE: At his online news conference, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange offering to work with tech companies to deceive the CIA's hacking tools. But tonight, none of the big tech firms seemed to be taking up the offer. As whether the leaked documents shed new light on the president's allegations that Trump Tower was wiretapped, Assange offered no direct evidence and a fresh allegation.
ASSANGE: I think there's a real - there's a real question whether that technology is being used or has been used in these types of investigations. That is a separate question to whether CIA offices have been pressing the button on that technology.
HERRIDGE: Now, on Capitol Hill, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, telling Fox News that he believes WikiLeaks is being used by Moscow.
MAC THORNBERRY, HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It's another form of attack designed to weaken the United States. Now, who is trying to do that in a variety of ways through cyber, through various forms of propaganda, et cetera, the Russians.
HERRIDGE: The CIA issuing this statement to Fox News defending its aggressive intelligence operations overseas. And taking a dig at Assange saying the WikiLeaks founder is hardly a bastion of truth and integrity. Assange said nothing today about the source for those documents. Sandra?
SMITH: All right. Catherine Herridge, thank you for your reporting on that.
HERRIDGE: You're welcome.
SMITH: It seemed that all-day long.
And continues to break at this hour, here now, Pete Hoekstra, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Juan Williams, a Fox News contributor and co-host of "THE FIVE".
Pete, I'll start with you first. You just heard from Julian Assange, his description of our CIA as incompetent. How would you describe the state of our Intel Community today?
PETE HOEKSTRA, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Oh, I think our Intelligence Community is in crisis. I don't agree with Julian Assange very often, but describing this as a historic act of devastating incompetence is exactly right.
And this is not the first one. This is the third example of this. You've got Bradley Manning, you have Edward Snowden, and now you have this on top of that. We're not learning from our past mistakes. We are in crisis. We can't protect our own data. The Intelligence Community has been implicated in some devastating leaks of some of our most sensitive information to take down someone like General Michael Flynn. There - you know, and now, Americans are having questions, if we have such gross incompetence; do we have the system in place to make sure that the tools of the Intelligence Community are not turned against Americans? I don't think so, but I think it's a legitimate question to ask.
SMITH: You speak of not learning from our past mistakes, and clearly, you are seeing as far as Julian Assange just described, there are companies who do want to learn from these mistakes, and they want to find out how this is happening. He said that is happening, he's (INAUDIBLE) those calls; he's invited technology firms to join him. Juan, is that a good idea?
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR AND THE FIVE HOST:
It's not a good idea for the tech firms. I don't see that there's any reason to cooperate and legitimize Julian Assange, who I view as someone who's an enemy of the United States and of United States interests around the world.
I mean, I guess, I disagree with Congressman Hoekstra on this point, because, to my mind, the CIA remains, I think, the standard for intelligence agencies around the world. And, yes, there have been some problems as the Congressman pointed out, but I think that they're capable of repairing these holes.
And don't forget, I think that Assange is a tool, a puppet, as we heard earlier, of the Russians. So, there's a lot of activity here going on on lots of levels in which the Russians are trying to assert their global influence at the cost of faith in American democracy and faith in American institutions, including the CIA.
SMITH: Well, I'm sure the congressman probably saw the White House's response to all of this. Today, Sean Spicer was asked about this at the White House press briefing, and speaking on behalf of President Trump, he said, the president has grave concern about the release of this national security classified information. He says it threatens and undermines our national security.
He then went on to say that the president believes systems at the CIA are outdated and need to be updated. What can be done at this point?
HOEKSTRA: What really needs to be done is there needs to be -- put a focus on this. The CIA and our Intelligence Community in cyberspace -- and let me make the distinction -- in cyber, they are not the dominant force that they have been on a traditional battlefield. I think on cyber, there are other countries that are equivalent, Russia and China, but more -- of a more significant danger are they non-state actors or smaller state actors, Iran, North Korea, criminal cartels and perhaps ISIS, they - they're not as good as what we are, but they can do a significant damage, and since we are not the premier player in cyber, we are very, very vulnerable as a nation.
SMITH: And Congressman, you have described cyber as the wild wild west, a very dangerous place. That sounds like a dire warning. One last word to you.
WILLIAMS: Well, I think -- I think the Congressman is right. You know, this is the wild wild west. Because it's new and everybody is trying to get in there and establish some dominance and some framework. I was just clearly saying, I think that we are the premier intelligence agencies on the ground and other areas, but he's right about cyber.
The thing is, I'm not sure it's just a matter of money. We're going to have to also play defense and out that kind of effort and attention to it in order to stop it. Because it's not just that they now have established our capabilities, it's that as the congressman was just pointing out, there are enemies are now going to have access to that information as well, and be able then to potentially use it against us, Sandra.
SMITH: All right. Congressman Pete Hoekstra and Juan Williams, thanks for joining us tonight. Good to see you both.
WILLIAMS: Good evening.
HOEKSTRA: Thank you.
SMITH: It is only four days old, but President Trump's revised travel ban already facing legal challenges from several states. This is a story that is developing at this hour, and we will bring you the details.
Plus, despite oppositions from doctors, hospitals, and even some within their own party, house Republicans score a victory in their fight to replace ObamaCare, but they still face a fierce fight. Up next, we will go to Capitol Hill for the very latest.
And Congressman Sean Duffy is here on why he thinks the reports about complaints from conservative groups may be overblown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: There's a lot of things that occur in phase two and phase three that helped bring down costs and create greater choice.
[19:10:00] SMITH: Breaking tonight, perhaps the momentum building for the American Health Care Act, as the bill passes two house committees and in the process moving past the first hurdle. The mood now setting the scene for the legislation to move to the House floor. And judging by the volleys traded by House Minority Leader Pelosi and Speaker Ryan today, we can expect a fierce fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SPEAKER: The bill that's good to take three weeks just to move to the house because we are following regular order, lower costs, more choices, not less, patients in control, universal access to care.
This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing ObamaCare. The time is here, the time is now.
NANCY PELOSI, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MINORITY LEADER: It doesn't lower costs; it doesn't improve benefits; and it doesn't expand access. And that's the purpose. Just talking about the facts, it's really a cruel bill that the Republicans have put forth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: For more on how this coming fight is expected to unfold, let's go to Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel live on Capitol Hill.
MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, good evening. The Republican heath care replacement cleared two hurdles in two house committees after an all-nighter, the Ways and Means Committee wrapped up at 4:17 in the morning. The Energy and Commerce panel finished it this afternoon after starting yesterday morning at 10:30 a.m. And those leading the charge praised the spirit of debate and moving forward.
GREG WALDEN, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM OREGON: We're uniting as a conference, and we're going to pass this bill, send it to the Senate, and they will forward it to the president's desk where President Donald Trump will sign it.
EMANUEL: Democrats including their House Leader Nancy Pelosi say the GOP plan is a cruel bill and it will increase the number of uninsured. The senate Democratic leader also blasted it.
CHUCK SCHUMER, UNITED STATES SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: No one likes this bill. Hospitals, doctors, governors, conservatives, liberals, nonpartisan groups, and most of all, the people who will no longer have affordable health care.
EMANUEL: House Speaker Paul Ryan used a PowerPoint presentation to talk with the aspects that conservatives should like in this legislation. Ryan addressed conservatives who would love to do all of health care reform right now.
RYAN: So, naturally, in the legislative process, people are saying, "Oh, I'd love to have this in there; I'd love to have that in there." That's the legislative process; that's what we're going through. And what people are sort of learning is, this reconciliation tool is pretty tight. There's a lot of stuff we would love to put in the bill, but unfortunately, the Senate rules don't allow us to do that.
EMANUEL: Ryan says, Step Two will be actioned by the Secretary of Health and Human Services; Step Three will more legislation here on Capitol Hill to completely redo health care.
Also tonight, a group of lawmakers are down the street at the White House for a little bowling and undoubtedly some arm twisting. Sandra?
SMITH: I'm so curious to see how that will go. Very interesting. Mike Emanuel, thank you.
EMANUEL: Thank you.
SMITH: Here now with more, Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy and Jessica Tarlov, the Democratic pollster and senior director of research at bussell.com.
Congressman Duffy, we do know that there is a little bowling and pizza taking place tonight, some convincing will likely be taking place there. Speaker Paul Ryan, you just heard him say the time is now. What does this fight look like for Republicans? And I think I'm going to go to Jessica Tarlov first.
JESSICA TARLOV, BUSTLE.COM SENIOR DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH: I think it's going to be a very difficult fight. Chuck Schumer is absolutely correct that there are people on both sides of the aisle, governors, doctors, hospitals that are proposing this. And I find it really interesting that suddenly the Republicans don't need to wait for a CBO score. We have Paul Ryan on record in 2009 saying no vote until there's a CBO score. And conflict -
SMITH: OK. But let's look at what happened with that, because the White House was pushed on. Sean Spicer was asked about the White House Press briefing, "Why not wait for the CBO score?" And he basically said, "Well, look what happened with ObamaCare, the CBO score was absolutely off." He said he wasn't discrediting it, but why is it so necessary to wait for it when they didn't get it right with ObamaCare.
TARLOV: Well, I think that it is necessary to wait when we have early estimates from the SMPs that said 10 million would lose insurance, and then we have Brookings saying - coming out and saying it could be up to 15 million people. The American public doesn't need a new plan bad enough that it needs to be jammed down their throats, and it's not going to pass the Senate anyway.
SMITH: That sort of reminds us of the whole ObamaCare battle, right? And, by the way, Congressman Duffy had a little bit of a problem there with his microphone. We're going to get him back if we can.
It sounds like he's good now. Live T.V., it's always fun.
TARLOV: Thank god.
SMITH: Congressman Duffy, are you there?
SEAN DUFFY, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM WISCONSIN: I'm here.
SMITH: We definitely need to get your perspective on this. But I started out referencing Paul Ryan. He said the time is now. What are Republicans going to do? This is a fierce fight that is lining up.
DUFFY: (INAUDIBLE) he's absolutely right. And first of all, let me talk about what Nancy Pelosi thinks, a cruel bill, is one that has cost increases in Minnesota, in Pennsylvania, Kentucky of 50 percent or more a year. Arizona cost increases of 100 percent a year.
This ObamaCare is imploding, so we have to step in and save health care. And so, what's going to happen is Republicans and some of the naysayers in the Republican Party are going to have to come forward with a set of ideas on how they want to reform the bill. That will be a great, you know, sausage-making process of legislating, but in the end, Republicans will have a choice. Are you going to vote with Donald Trump or are you going to vote with Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. Because this is the last best choice to take power away from Washington and instead empower people and patients to have decisions for themselves.
SMITH: But Congressman, what do you -- what do you know about - what do you know about these reports that Trump told conservative groups last night that a new version could be released next week.
DUFFY: Well, I think there are some good points from some of the - some of the naysayers will bring up that we can actually reform and look at. But in the end, what we want is a soft landing in health care. This is like an aircraft carrier. And if you're someone, you know, who thinks that you can change this on a dime, it's not possible. You can't repeal everything in reconciliation. If you want to repeal everything, you need 60 votes and 8 Democrats in the Senate. We don't have that. So, we have to go through the step-by-step process, and people have to realize that.
TARLOV: But that's what you promised the American people. That's what Donald Trump promised to the American people.
DUFFY: Well, we're going to them, Jessica.
TARLOV: You're not. You're obviously not. As you just said, you need a soft landing. And believe me, listen, I don't think that you should be touching a lot of the things that you are, but on top of that, you know -
SMITH: OK. So, let me get back in here and let me give it back to you, Congressman Duffy, based on what Jessica brought up early, she and other Democrats have voiced their concern with this hasn't even been scored by a CBO yet. And that is a common argument right now. And Democrats are using the same argument Republicans did with ObamaCare, that they feel like this is being rammed down their throat. Why not slow down? Tom Cotton, Congressman, he agrees with that. He says, he's telling his Republican colleagues to start over, pause, get it right, don't get it fast.
DUFFY: Two points. One, we feel pretty comfortable that the score will be in the black with us (INAUDIBLE) initial conversations with CBO. But I feel comfortable, too, we'll have a score before it comes to the floor and we get to vote. That's positive. But when you talk about a legislative process, it's going to take three weeks, Sandra. Remember when Nancy Pelosi said, "We have to pass this so America can find out what's in it?" or when we talk about telling the truth when they said, you know, "Your health care costs were - a family of four is going to down by $2500 a year and prices have skyrocketed, that's the sign.
SMITH: Congressman, do you like all the elements of this bill? Do you like all the elements and aspects of it?
DUFFY: Look, listen, there's some - there's improvements that can be made. I think the Medicaid block granting can be improved, how we deal with the refundable tax credit, that can be improved. But again, you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. This is our one shot to get healthcare done and Republicans in the end. With Donald Trump on his Twitter, going to town, going to -- going to districts of the Freedom Caucus, where he got more votes than they did, they're going to come on board because this is the best plan that we're going to get to get rid of ObamaCare.
TARLOV: Well, you're not going to get Susan Collins on board if you're going after Planned Parenthood like that. You're going to have a lot of trouble with Bill Cassidy --
DUFFY: That's OK.
TARLOV: -- and Susan -- yes, it is OK. But you can't lose more than a few of them. At that point, you have a majority but you don't have enough to certainly keep the bill in this form. And on top of it, you know, you offer tax breaks for people, and then you're giving, you know, this new insurance --
SMITH: All right. We've got to -- we've got leave it there. And Congressman Duffy -- OK. Last word to you, Congressman. You got a second.
DUFFY: Well, we have an imploding healthcare plan, we have to reform it, and Republicans in the end, will stand together, Sandra. Fear not.
SMITH: All right. I'm so glad we got that microphone back working because it was good to get your voice.
DUFFY: Thank you.
TARLOV: Yes, I'm most thankful that it came back.
SMITH: And Jessica Tarlov, thank you to you as well.
All right. Still ahead, President Trump promised to drain the swamp once he got to Washington. And now, one prominent magazine is suggesting that could harm our democracy. Governor Mike Huckabee is here to deliver a very strong message to the media.
Plus, that same media was quick to call President Trump's wiretap claim on Trump Tower -- false. But were those proclamations premature? We have a special report from Ed Henry on that. Before, Chris Stirewalt, Lisa Boothe, and Mo Elleithee, react. That straight ahead.
SMITH: Our media conflict segment tonight takes a look at the claims by President Trump that has (INAUDIBLE) OK. (INAUDIBLE) I'm so sorry. This is live T.V. tonight at its best for form.
Trump Tower was wiretapped by the Obama administration. The media quick to suggest over and over again that President Trump is 100 percent wrong on those claims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've seen absolutely no evidence that the Obama Justice Department, the FBI, anybody wiretapped Trump Tower.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM HOST: If he has the evidence within a nanosecond, he can release that evidence, make it public, and show that he is right. He refuses to do so which suggests he doesn't really have the evidence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president has made a huge allegation and he has presented no evidence for it, right? It was out of the blue. I think everybody was dumbfounded -- you, us, everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Despite all of that uncertainty, the paper of record back on inauguration day, reported that wiretaps were indeed part of the story surrounding President Trump. Here to separate fact from fiction, Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry joins us tonight from Washington, hope you're having a better night than me.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, the New York Times has been in such a rush to discredit President Trump claims that he was wiretapped. The newspaper apparently forgot it first gave these allegations some credence several weeks before his tweets.
Turns out on the very day of Mr. Trump's inauguration, the Times itself had the screaming front page story, which said, "American law enforcement and intel agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of then-president-elect Donald J. Trump, adding, "The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks, but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing." the official said. One official said intel reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.
The key there, wiretapped communications provided to the White House, as in Barack Obama's White House, a sign that perhaps the current president's tweets were not quite as outlandish as the Times and other critics have claimed, which may be why Andrew McCarthy at National Review noticed that the original January headline in the print edition was "wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides." But digitally, the headline is a little bit different, the Times insists they never changed it.
Of course, sometimes digital headlines are different, but the word "wiretapped" is not in the digital headline. It says, "intercepted Russian communications part of inquiry into Trump associates." It's important to stretch that President Trump went further than the original Times story, charging Mr. Obama had ordered the wiretapping with no evidence to back that up, and the president also tweeted he and Trump Tower were the targets of the wiretapping that we should note, the original Times story flatly stated it was not clear whether those intercepted communications had anything to do with Mr. Trump or his campaign. It could have just been wiretapped communications of Russian officials. Sandra?
SMITH: All right. Ed Henry, thank you for that. And don't miss Ed Henry, by the way, tonight at 9:00, as he fills in with -- for Mr. Tucker Carlson. He will have more in the Trump wiretap investigation plus Senator Rand Paul in his opposition to the new health care bill.
Joining me now is (INAUDIBLE) Stirewalt. Thank goodness, our Fox News political editor, Lisa Boothe, and the President of High Noon Strategies and Republican strategist. And Mo Elleithee, the founding executive director of Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service; and a Fox News contributor Chris Stirewalt. Let me start out with you first. Because the question is, was the media too quick to call out President Trump as being false with his claims?
CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, sure, in the sense that -- remember, the key of the controversy here is Trump's accusation or implicit accusation that Barack Obama as president ordered a wiretap to listen to the phone calls that Donald Trump was making. That was the clear implication that Trump made. And there ain't no evidence of anything like that. The degree that (INAUDIBLE) with which Trump was assaulted in by - in those clips that you and Ed just looked at right there. Surely, yes.
But I would caution to National Review and I would caution those who want to help Donald Trump out of this jam. It's probably not good for Trump to keep talking about this, because you -- invariably, if you're trying to help the man, let it die, because if you keep coming back to it, you keep coming back to Russia and you keep coming back to the parts of the story that are true which relates to the investigation and which relate to contacts between people on his campaign in the Kremlin.
SMITH: Lisa, what about that? Do you agree with that?
LISA BOOTHE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL POLITICAL EDITOR AND HIGH NOON STRATEGIES PRESIDENT: Well, look, I mean, I don't think that - I think President Trump - let's see, I think there's a lot of recklessness going all around here, and to Chris's point earlier, look, the underlying concern with this entire dialogue around Russia, is that somehow the influence or influence from Russia undermines Americans trust in various institutions. But I think people are doing a good enough job on their own to undermine that trust.
And we've seen a lot of narratives being driven by both the left and the media that aren't substantiated by facts. One, that some Russia change the trajectory of the election. And two, being that there is some collusion between Trump individuals and Russia which remains unsubstantiated.
Former DNI Director James Clapper recently said that he has nothing indicating collusion as well. So I think there is plenty of recklessness to go around here.
SMITH: Well, I mean, Mo, if you look back at some of these headlines that we're showing you, if reporters had just done a little bit of research, a little bit of digging prior to jumping to conclusions and slapping those headlines on the front of the paper, maybe this story would have ended up differently.
MO ELLEITHEE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF POLITICS & PUBLIC SERVICE: I don't know if I agree with that. I mean, look, the New York Times Washington bureau chief set on the record that their sources came from wiretaps and foreign intelligence that was obtained overseas. That's a very, very different thing than what the president alleged.
The president alleged that Barack Obama personally directed the wiretapping of Trump tower. This is not -- what's the Times is saying, and I don't know, right, but what the Times is saying is that there were wiretaps and other intelligence conducted overseas of Russia and Russian agents, and they just caught Trump people talking to them. That's a very different situation.
I think if we want to talk about recklessness, this president needs to pause before he exercises his itchy Twitter trigger finger that keeps getting him into trouble by making this unsubstantiated claims.
SMITH: Well, it does -- Chris, it does seem to keep coming back to the Twitter, on both sides of the aisle, it does seem like, and you know, and I know that Bret Baier just asked Mike Pence about that just why maybe could this have been brought about differently than just boldly put out on Twitter? I mean, that has been an ongoing question, right?
STIREWALT: I would encourage each American, I would encourage all of our colleagues in the media, to take Donald Trump's tweets sometimes neither literally nor seriously. It's OK to go, well, he was having a bad day. And he had had a bad day because we have the Jeff Sessions blowout, he was obviously angry and he was reportedly very angry at his senior staff and he is lashing out and he's saying things.
Now we've got Senate investigation and why don't you do this, and the White House can't walk back from it. They tried to walk back as much as they could, but we would like Congress to investigate the claims that the president made. And everybody went, do what?
So, it's OK in this case, and I would tell Congress, I would tell everybody, Donald Trump tweets about. It's OK not to take it literally or seriously sometimes.
SMITH: But if I go back to Lisa for the final word here, you're going to tell me, but that's exactly what his supporters have liked about him that he take his words directly to them.
BOOTHE: Well, no. And that's something that he's used smartly both in the election and also as President of the United States, taking that message, as you said, directly to the people. But I think President Trump has gone through a ton of scrutiny but the media and the left have not.
I think it's really dangerous when there are these narratives that are being put out there, the unsubstantiated dossier that's being put out there that Bob Woodward of the Washington Post called a garbage document but nobody is calling them out. I think there is an obligation by everyone to be honest and truthful in relation to this whole entire Russia dialogue.
SMITH: All right. Good to see all three of you. Thank you for being here tonight.
BOOTHE: Thank you.
STIREWALT: You bet.
SMITH: All right. Well, breaking tonight, new order, same fight, as several states head to court to block President Trump's latest version of his executive order that temporarily bans travel from six terror-rich nations.
We have the breaking details coming up. Plus, illegal border crossing take a dramatic dive during President Trump's first full month in office. Carl Higbie and Robert Zimmerman are here on set whether Trump's America first message is leading to actual results.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want all Americans to succeed, but that can't happen in an environment of flawless chaos. We must restore integrity and the rule of law at our borders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Breaking tonight, just 49 days into Donald trump's presidency, and dramatic new figures suggest his tough tone on immigration may already be coming into play. Mr. Trump's Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly, now touting a 40 percent decline in illegal border crossings last month as, quote, "unprecedented."
For more on that we go to Trace Gallagher on our West Coast newsroom. Hey, Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Sandra. These numbers are compiled based on how many immigrants were caught trying to cross the border illegally because it's unknown how many actually made it.
But let me show you what that 40 percent decline looks like in actual numbers. In January, 31,578 people were apprehended trying to cross the southern border. In February, it was 18,762. That is the lowest monthly total in at least five years.
But homeland security agency secretary says the remarkable thing about the decline is that historically the numbers from January to February increase by 10 percent to 20 percent. And when you're talking about families trying to cross the border together, the normal increase from January to February is 100 percent.
Now, here is more evidence this trend is based on the implementation of President Trump's executive order on immigration. In the three months before the inauguration, border agents apprehended 157,000 illegal immigrants, that's a 35 percent rise from the previous year.
Trump takes office, apprehensions plummets. Customs and Border Protection says this is good news for those who don't try to cross because they did not put themselves and their families at risk of, quote, "exploitation, assault, and injury by human traffickers and the physical dangers of the treacherous journey north," although some liberal analysts see this as a bad thing. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: If you believe that it is a good thing that people, for example, refugees who are fleeing Central America, very dangerous circumstances, no longer are coming to the United States as refugees then I guess, yes, it's a good thing. I don't think that's a good thing. I think that what that says is people are no longer are seeing the United States as a refuge for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Customs and Border Protection also says that during the past year, the fees being charged by human smugglers to get people into the U.S. have gone up 130 percent. Sandra?
SMITH: All right, Trace Gallagher, thank you. Joining me now with more is Carl Higbie, former Navy SEAL and supporter of President Trump, and Robert Zimmerman, a DNC committee member and Democratic strategist. So, there's no denying here, Carl, that we are seeing a dramatic drop in illegal border crossings, down 40 percent.
CARL HIGBIE, AUTHOR & FORMER NAVY SEAL: Yes. Remember when Trump said you're going to get tired of winning? We're not there yet, but we still are winning, Dow is over 21k, you know, with 100,000 more jobs produced in the last month than predicted, now you have the drop in immigration, almost 50 percent illegal immigration down. So, I mean, I say this is winning.
SMITH: I'm looking at you, Robert, and I think you're going to tell me there is something wrong with this.
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, not at all. First, we all want to see our borders secure. But maybe it has something to do with the 21,000 border security patrol, 21,000 border security troops we have on our southern border that risked their lives every day to keep our borders secure.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that in the past eight years, President Obama actually reported two million who tried to come into our country, maybe it has something to do with the fact that we have seen, under President Obama and President Bush, a much more aggressive approach to keep our borders secure. The stat show that.
SMITH: But it does seem like we are hearing that this is some sort of bad thing from the left, when you did see that Democratic analyst.
SMITH: Kirsten Powers, say, "I think that this says that people are no longer seeing the United States as a refugee -- or a refuge for them."
HIGBIE: No. People are no longer seeing the United States as you can walk all over our laws anytime you want. He is stopping them at the border just on the simple fact that he's like, look, if you want to come here legally, fine, but don't do it illegally or you're gone.
ZIMMERMAN: You know, Carl, if you think in one month of rhetoric that border -- our immigration issues have been solved, you probably think Mexico is going to pay for the wall along the Mexican border. You have to be...
SMITH: OK. So let's get to that. Because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had something to say about that and whether or not Mexico would be paying for that wall. Listen to this.
MITCH MCCONNELL, UNITED STATES SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, I am in favor of border security. There are some paces along the border where that's probably not the best way to secure the border. But I think General Kelly knows what he is doing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that Mexico will pay for it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HIGBIE: Well, Mitch also didn't think Donald Trump was going to be president. So, there you go. But also, I mean, nobody thought that Donald Trump was going to go down to the treasury of Mexico and kick in the door, grab the money and walk out with a Margarita. They all thought this was going to be done gradually over time. And anybody with any reason would have said, it can be done through, you know, trade deficits.
ZIMMERMAN: The way it is being done according to President Trump's own budget, is he's decimating the budget for our coast guard, for our rail, for our airport security to pay for construction of this fall. That's what's happening.
And so, in fact that's why you've got members of Congress like Bill Heard, a Republican congressman from Texas, saying this is reckless, it's dangerous, and stupid, and it's making America less safe to sacrifice all of our security and our other ports just to invest in the wall.
SMITH: OK. So let me ask you something, Carl, then, and this was asked of the White House at the press briefing. If we are seeing illegal border crossings down 40 percent as a result of the current administration's policies, why do we need to build a wall?
HIGBIE: Because there are still 18,000 people coming in illegally.
ZIMMERMAN: Let's remember statistically, more people from Mexico are leaving the United States and going back to Mexico than coming in. For the first time I think since the '70s, under the Obama administration...
HIGBIE: Not when it comes to jobs.
SMITH: Robert, I will go on these tweets that you've got all the time talking. Carl, I ask you the question.
ZIMMERMAN: I understand.
HIGBIE: I mean, the thing is like, if people want to go leave and go back to Mexico, fine. But you look at what's happening with all these companies are now taking from Mexico coming back to America. So we'll bring the jobs back here, people can go back if they want, but there are still 18,000 people as per that report coming into this country illegally.
Now all it takes is one bad hombre to come back in with any type of, you know, biological or nuclear or anything like that, we got to stop all every single one of them.
ZIMMERMAN: But we also know statistically, we know it's tragically, it's coming domestic terrorism is our greatest danger.
SMITH: All right. I've got to leave it here. Good to have both of you.
ZIMMERMAN: Great to be with you.
SMITH: All right. Breaking tonight, new opposition to Donald Trump's revised travel ban, as several states again challenge the order in the court. We will take a look at the president's chances of winning the legal ahead.
Plus, is President Trump's war on Washington hurting our democracy? That's what a Time magazine story seems to suggest. Governor Mike Huckabee is here with a strong message for the media selling this narrative.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When we win tomorrow, we are going to drain the swamp.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: That was President Trump on the campaign trail, rallying supporters with his promise to drain the swamp in Washington.
But now, Time magazine suggesting the president's was on Washington could come at the expense of our democracy. Yes, really. They write, in part, quote, "Trump is railing his political base against the federal agencies he oversees, does partnering his presence with a radical fringe. Win or lose the standoff he has engineered will diminish the credibility of the government."
Joining me now Governor Mike Huckabee, who is a Fox News contributor. Governor, what were your exact thoughts when you saw this?
MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Well, I get Time magazine, and when I started reading this story, I realized that I would get better and more accurate information if I stood in the checkout line at the supermarket and picked the trash he is tabloid. I threw it in the trash.
This is the reason people, they don't just dislike the press, they despise the press, and this kind of contemptuous and condescending story on the part of Time magazine is at the zenith of what people are disgusted by. They don't get it.
People are supporting Donald Trump not because he is going to go and kowtow to Washington, it's because he is going to go and he's going to disrupt. And it is long path since needing a major disruption.
SMITH: You know, you go back and you look at the cover clearly showing Trump with that phone leaning against a crumbling Washington monument, and it said "Trump's War on Washington." Is that what this is, governor?
HUCKABEE: No, it's a war for the freedom that the American people have lost because Washington operates for itself and by itself and on behalf of itself. Instead of working for the people, by the people, as it's supposed to do. This is a government that has just lost its way. It's not Donald Trump that's all messed up. It's Washington and the system.
And people didn't vote for him and elect him so that he would go and end up what I call going native and becoming part of the institution. They elected him so that he would go and challenge the kind of nonsense that they have had to put up with, where they live by different rules and the rest of us.
And whether it's when they snoop on our colleague James Rosen and his parents, or whether they lied to us about the IRS actually going after conservative pro-life and pro-Israel groups, said they didn't, but, in fact, they did, and nobody went to jail for it.
It's when James Clapper lies to Congress about what the agencies of intelligence are actually doing, and there is no accountability. I could go on and on.
But this is why people are supporting Donald Trump and hope and pray every night that he does not worship the golden calf of government.
And let me be clear, Sandra. I'm convinced that that's what we're dealing with. So many people have changed a real worship of God into the god of government. It is the new golden calf. And I think a lot of people are seeing Donald Trump as the guy coming down off the mountain and taking the golden calf and in the proverbial words of saying, you put it where the sun don't shine.
SMITH: You certainly have a way with words, governor. You always have. Ann we certainly know and he has made it very clear, that the president's view and his opinion of the media today. What is your message to the media tonight?
HUCKABEE: Grow up and be responsible. Yes, the president has gone after you. Well, you deserve it. So, I would say to the press, if you want to be treated better, then start treating the truth better, start acting like journalists rather than all of you opinion makers. You want to do editorial, then write a column and say it's an editorial.
But if you're going to run true views and journalistic operations then do it with the integrity. And there is a simple test for you. If I read a news story, and I can't tell whether the reporter likes me or not when he is writing about me, that's a good news story.
SMITH: I've heard you say that before.
HUCKABEE: When I read and I know that the reporter didn't like me, I get the picture.
SMITH: It's good measure. All right. Governor Huckabee, thanks for being here.
At this hour, there are now six states challenging President Trump's revised travel ban executive order. How will this later showdown between the president and the courts end? We'll have that breaking news straight ahead.
SMITH: Breaking tonight, President Trump's revised travel ban was just signed Monday. But now six states have already lined up despite to fight the order in court. Can the administration avoid a second straight defeat on this issue?
Trace Gallagher is live from our West Coast newsroom with all the breaking details. Hey, Trace.
GALLAGHER: Hey, Sandra. Most in the states fighting President Trump's revised travel ban are working on the old adage, if it does not broke, don't fix it. Meaning they are more than willing to allow Washington State to lead the charge on this.
It was the lawsuit Washington State filed against the first travel ban that led district Judge James Robart to issue a temporary restraining order halting the ban. A three judge panel of the ninth circuit then sided with Judge Robart keeping the order in place.
Now Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined by Minnesota, Oregon, Massachusetts, and New York is asking Judge Robart to apply the original restraining order against the new travel ban. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: In our view, this new executive order contains many of the same legal weaknesses as the first and reinstates some of the identical policies as the original.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: the revised executive order shuts down the U.S. Refugee Program and bars new visas for people from six mostly Muslim countries including Somalia, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Yemen. Hawaii has also launched its own lawsuit and in so doing cited senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller, telling Fox News, quote, "In terms of protecting the country, those basic policies are still going to be in effect."
Today the White House said it believes the new order will withstand legal challenges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think we feel very comfortable that the executive order that was crafted is consistent and we're going to go forward on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: The Trump administration says the old executive order will be revoked once the new order goes into effect on March 16th unless, of course, it judge blocks it. Sandra?
SMITH: All right. Trace Gallagher, thank you for that report. Good to see you tonight. Thanks to all of you for watching. And let me know your thoughts on tonight's show @sandrasmithfox. I'm Sandra Smith. And we'll be back here tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Eastern Time. Thank you for joining us. Mr. Bill O'Reilly is up next.
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