This is a rush transcript from "The First 100 Days," March 10, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS CHANNEL OUTNUMBERED HOST: Breaking tonight, the Presidency of Donald J. Trump reaches a benchmark. 50 days after assuming the office, we take a closer look at the actions, the accomplishments, and the controversies. We are halfway through the first 100 days. I'm Sandra Smith in for Martha MacCallum tonight.
Well, it's been a busy seven weeks for President Trump, a repeal of ObamaCare is underway, a revisions to the controversial travel ban is unveiled, a new National Security Advisor is in place, allegations of an Obama-ordered wiretap persists, and just today, word that attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked for the resignation of 46 Obama-era U.S. attorneys.
Before we get to all of that, here's a look back at some of the actions candidate Trump pledged to deliver on. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: What follows is my 100-day action plan to make America great again. I will announce my intention to totally renegotiate NAFTA. I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific partnership. Begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia. We will cancel all federal funding of sanctuary cities. We will begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country. We're going to suspend immigration from terror-prone regions. Replacing ObamaCare is part of my 100-day contract with the American voters. We will also immediately repeal the Obama-Clinton defense sequester and rebuild our badly depleted military. And we will make America great again. Thank you, and God bless you. Thank you. Thank you, everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Chris Stirewalt, Krystal Ball and David Wohl are standing by with their grades for the administration to date.
But first, Trace Gallagher gets us up to speed on the hits and misses from President Trump's first 50 days. Hey, Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: Hey, Sandra, being just 50 days into his 100-day action plan, President Trump is on to a pretty strong pace. Let's run down his check list. First, the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA, which Trump has slammed as a bad deal for the U.S. Today, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Trump administration will begin the process of renegotiating with Canada and Mexico in the next couple of weeks.
Although, Secretary Ross wouldn't talk about exact negotiating points. As for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, better known as TPP, the president made good on his campaign promise by withdrawing from the partnership back in January, though some Republicans believe the withdrawal will have a negative impact on our strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region.
Next on the president's list was the promise to rebuild the military, and Trump has already signed an executive order to begin the process of developing a plan for new planes, ships, and to greatly increase the number of men and women in uniform. And while the executive order to expand the military might get the ball rolling, seeing it through and paying for it is up to Congress. And because the Supreme Court currently does not have a tie-breaking vote, replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia is a driving force for the administration. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will start his confirmation process a week from Monday.
Experts believe Gorsuch will likely be confirmed. The president backed up his vow to cancel federal funding for sanctuary cities by signing an executive order to do just that. Although, the order is limited in what federal money can target, experts say it does have the ability to cost a city like San Francisco more than a billion dollars. San Francisco and numerous other cities are suing to stop the executive order. Then there's the promise to remove 2 million illegal immigrants. It's too early to tell exactly how many had been deported, but the Department of Homeland Security says during the presidents first full month in office, the number of illegals trying to come into the U.S. was at the lowest number in at least five years.
Trump's vow to suspend immigration from terror-prone countries - excuse me- is now referred to as the travel ban. His first travel ban executive order was halted by a federal judge and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The new travel ban order is being challenged by six states.
Finally, the plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare has gotten firm resistance from conservatives in Congress, but as of late today, some of those conservatives are warming up to the plan. A vote in the House could come in the next two weeks, Sandra.
[19:04:55] SMITH: All right, Trace Gallagher. Good stuff. Thank you.
Joining me now is presidential report cards in tow, of course, if you did your homework, Chris Stirewalt Fox News politics editor, Krystal Ball New Leaders Council Senior Fellow, and David Wohl, attorney and President Trump supporter - long-time supporter I might add, David. I'll go to you first, because you have -
DAVID WOHL, ATTORNEY AND LONG-TIME SUPPORTER OF DONALD TRUMP: Since day one, yes.
SMITH: -- supported him since day one. We're 50 days in. Give us your grade on those first 50 days of his presidency, and plusses and minuses do apply.
WOHL: A+, honor roll. I mean, in seven short weeks, Mr. Trump has completely reversed the economic malaise that the Obama administration had created over seven years. 153 million Americans and climbing are now working. We have job - a job total just released of almost a quarter million created in February alone. Stock market through the roof at 21,000 plus. Consumer confidence at a level higher than it's been in 10 years. Also, you got the security issues, he's working on the wall, like he said. Its -- bids will be taken soon. He is deporting violent illegal aliens who've been convicted of violent crimes aggressively and not ignoring immigration laws, and he's addressing the hotbeds of Islamic terrorists as Trace said by getting this new order that's going to be tailored in a way that the courts will not be able to defeat.
SMITH: Well, Trace just did that wonderful wrap-up for us. And he pointed out these executive orders, the president -- the first 50 days in office, Krystal, has issued 16 executive orders. That is roughly on pace with President Obama at this point in time, who had signed 17 at this point. Your grade for the first 50 days?
KRYSTAL BALL, NEW LEADERS COUNCIL SENIOR FELLOW: I don't know if I want to say a letter grade, because I don't want to be predictable here.
SMITH: Pass or fail? Come on, Krystal.
BALL: I will definitely say fail. And here is why. You know, I honestly-- essentially, he's picked off the low-hanging fruit here. He has kept some of his promises with some of his executive orders, but we don't see any movement on the big legislative issues that he's talked about. Health care reform is looking dead in the water. The plan is so bad that some people are conjecturing it may have been designed to fail. We're not seeing any movement on tax reform.
And, you know, honestly, Sandra, I think this was a huge missed opportunity, because I expected this president to come in and focus like a laser on the economy and on jobs and on providing for that working class base that really puts him in office.
SMITH: Wow. Some would - some would quickly call into question your comment based on what David just pointed about the stock market and jobs growth that just was announced in February.
BALL: Well, the stock market doesn't help a lot of people out here in Kentucky and in his working class base.
SMITH: Most are confused when people say that because - I mean, retirement accounts are tied to the stock market.
SMITH: But let's move on -
BALL: But if I could, you know, I thought he would come in and Democrats were ready to work with him on a big infrastructure bill. That's something they've been wanting to do for a while. He could have taken that up and other sort of low-hanging economic fruit right off the bat.
He chose to go with the more divisive parts of his agenda to start with, and as a result, you have plummeting popularity, Republicans don't feel nearly as compelled to go along with what he says, because he is so historically unpopular at this point. And essentially in terms of a legislative agenda where -
SMITH: All right. And Professor Stirewalt is standing by and I want to -
BALL: -- to work with Congress, everything is dead in the water. So, yes, he's picked off some low-hanging fruit, but he is historically unpopular and it's hard to see how he gets much of anything done in terms of movement through Congress.
SMITH: All right. Chris Stirewalt, I'm sure you've got a grade for us.
CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL POLITICS EDITOR: Well, they're both right. This is sort of two administrations in one. In that what David talks about with the urgency on executive orders and all of the razzmatazz and the (INAUDIBLE) and those things. Yes, that's all been there, and certainly, Donald Trump supporters who are legion and loyal can feel gratified that their man is sticking to the core issues that he promised that he would.
But at the same time, being president is hard, and your success ultimately doesn't depend on what you do with your pen and your (INAUDIBLE) it depends on your ability to work with Congress to do big things. You can't do big things until you can really legislate.
So, I'm going to - I'm going to say at the halfway point, I'm going to say B-. I'll say B, B-.
SMITH: I know you would commit. All right. David, is it fair to say, that the first 50 days as the Hill put it in a fuse today has been marked more than anything by controversy, investigations into its associates, alleged ties to Russia, points out claims of wiretapping by the previous president. Would you agree with that?
WOHL: No, because when you have - no, because in essence, we've got a weaponized media now, a media that is - excuse the word - hell-bent on destroying Mr. Trump. There's no question about that. Other than Fox News, which has been absolutely fair and balanced across the board. The other ones are just - you can't even - I can't watch them anymore. It's - they're looking for anything they could possibly find, any scandal, and it's going to continue this way for a long time; he's handling him very well; and one of the interesting things, I talked to a liberal friends today, and when you talk about the infrastructure, the trillion dollars he wants to commit to the infrastructure, that's what liberals love, that's how he's bringing people together. That's going to create the type of join- the (INAUDIBLE) the mind that's going to make America create again, it's more than a slogan. It's a movement, I'm sure.
[19:10:11] SMITH: All right. And that was put out in many tweets by the president in the first 50 days. Chris and Krystal, I want to get you back in here on this commander in tweet article that NBC News put out, "The 50 days of @DonaldTrump". It did a lot of counting, and it looked at the first 50 days, and Trump had never skipped a day of communicating with the country via Twitter, tweeting more than 260 times since the inauguration day.
You can't say the man has not been busy, but he has certainly been making his points quite frequently, Chris, on Twitter.
STIREWALT: So, look, however he does it, through press releases, or twitter, or radio or television, it doesn't matter. The thing for Trump, that this is what matters, is focus. He's out of time, there are controversies, some of them are self-inflicted, others are creations of the media, but he has had too many controversies, he's had too many distractions, and he has had too much drama inside of his administration. There has been too much infighting, there has been too much silliness amongst team Trump. Time to focus, time to get real, time to keep your eye on the ball. They can't afford to be distracted by tweets anymore.
SMITH: Well, one thing I don't think many people can disagree with, he has been busy, working around-the-clock seven days. He's keeps us busy, that's for sure. Thanks all three of you for being here tonight.
WOHL: You bet you.
BALL: Thanks, Sandra.
SMITH: All right. Well, also tonight, we examine the continued allegations against President Trump. From some in the media claiming evidence of collusion with Russia. The facts say otherwise, and we will show you how.
When The Federalist Mollie Hemingway and former Obama Insider Mark Alderman join us on what many are calling a witch hunt.
Plus, the Republican health care bill getting a new push tonight for -- from President Trump himself, as he goes into dealmaker mode. And according to one report, levels of threat to some GOP lawmakers. We will tell you about it just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We must act now to save Americans from the imploding ObamaCare disaster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Developing tonight, new reaction to a steady drumbeat in the media that then-candidate Donald Trump's presidential campaign work hand-in-hand with the Russians to win the 2016 election.
The allegations persist despite Democrats and intel officials from the Obama administration saying no such evidence of collusion exists. Watch carefully here at the media versus reality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We keep getting new information about troubling ties between the president and his associates in his campaign and Russia, and increasingly with each new day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chairman, (INAUDIBLE) just said there were no early indications of any collusion and anyone in the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we have no evidence yet at all one way or the other other.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST: All of this sort of odd, I guess this- I have to say tantalizing evidence of some kind of collusion, or certainly in the case of some kind of collusion.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN QUEST MEANS BUSINESS ANCHOR: Do you know of any hard evidence of collusion between what I call Trump world and the Russians -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris, I have no hard evidence of collusion?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The growing evidence of the Trump-Russia connection threatens to consume the opening months of Donald Trump's presidency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did not include any evidence in our report that ever had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Mollie Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist and Mark Alderman is a Democratic strategist and former member of Obama presidential transitional team. I mean, it was almost hard to watch, Mollie. I mean, time and time again, the Intel Community is saying there is no evidence, but then you continue to see the media pushing this narrative.
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST SENIOR EDITOR: Well, when intelligence officials speak on the record, they are very clear that there is no evidence. When you have Obama administration officials selectively leaking to reporters, they like to give the impression that there is evidence. And this is - we're months into this, is developed into a full-blown conspiracy theory. And it's time for people, you know, if there is evidence, which on the record, that claim there's not, but if there is, it's time to put up or shut up and let the investigation into Russian meddling continue apace.
SMITH: I want to throw into this sound of Rachel Maddow, and anchor on another network, basically saying that there are signs of what could be a continuing operation. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW HOST: We are also starting to see what may be signs of continuing influence in our country. Not just during the campaign, but during the administration. Basically signs what could be a continuing operation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: She provides absolutely zero evidence and makes a claim like that, Mark.
MARK ALDERMAN, FORMER MEMBER OF OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION TEAM: We have seen this movie before, though, Sandra. It's called "All the President's Men". Watergate was a media witch hunt, too, until it wasn't.
We know two facts beyond any doubt. The Russians interfered in this election to benefit Donald Trump. And Donald Trump, and Trump people met with Putin people. Was that collusion? We don't know. But that's what the Intelligence Community, Congress, and the evil media are going to find out.
SMITH: But you say that with absolutely no evidence. So, let's continue on to the media and some of these words here. Chris Matthews, I have to say, tantalizing evidence of some kind of collusion. Is it irresponsible, and is it dangerous, to continue to see this narrative pushed by the media, Mollie?
HEMINGWAY: Yes. I mean, what we have here is now more than half of Democratic voters fully believe a conspiracy theory, they believe that Russians didn't just successfully get John Podesta to click on a link he shouldn't have or that they obtained information from the Democratic National Committee, both things that the intelligence agencies do say happen. They actually believe Russia hacked the election. That is without any evidence at all, although it does - you know, what's interesting about it, is if you do believe there is Russian meddling, the whole goal is to undermine confidence in our institutions.
It is in fact, this very, you know, conspiratorial campaign that is undermining confidence in our institution, and it's actually quite dangerous, and people should think about whether they really want to do that for short-term partisan gains.
SMITH: But of course, you look at the other side of -- go ahead, mark.
SMITH: Go ahead, Mark.
ALDERMAN: What is dangerous is try to censor the media here. I think it is ironic that this White House is pushing back that there is no evidence for these charges when there are other charges out there for which there is even less evidence. But there is evidence of contact, and investigations are cumulative, and you can't see the jigsaw puzzle you're putting together until you have enough pieces to assemble, left the process -
SMITH: lt's not the media's job to present it as fact, though, in anticipation of that news eventually breaking. All right. So, your counterpoint is that the White House doesn't accept denial of these - of the wiretapping when, in fact, James Clapper has denied that Obama ordered wiretaps on Trump's New York offices. You denied that foreign intelligence surveillance court had authorized any wiretaps. So, perhaps you can make the argument that we are seeing this type of activity on both sides.
HEMINGWAY: Well, and more than that, I would say that you need to have a media far from being censored; you need to have a media looking into exactly what's going on. We know from media reports that there have been wiretaps, that there have been transcriptions of conversations that have been released or given to people. We know that there is something going on there, but nobody seems to be very curious about what that means, about the very dangerous implications of doing this type of investigation. Rather than have the media back off, we need them to think a little bit more clearly and deeply about what they're witnessing.
SMITH: All right. Thanks to both of you for being here, (Mark and Mollie).
HEMINGWAY: Good to see you.
ALDERMAN: Thank you.
SMITH: Also tonight, your reaction to a big first for the Trump administration, a trip to Asia for Secretary of State Rex Tillrrson, as tensions run high between the U.S. and China, and what could be an epic showdown.
Plus, the fight over the ObamaCare replacement heating up as one (INAUDIBLE) now claims President Trump threatened to push for primary challengers to any GOPer who votes against the bill. Those dramatic details just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Just as the time we're going to get it done. We'll work you together. We have some great results.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Breaking tonight, brand-new developments in the battle over the healthcare bill as the GOP wrestles internally, over how best to repeal and replace the Obama-era law. President Trump, meeting today with some key House Republican Committee Chairs, to discuss the measure as he continues his push to shore up support. Even suggesting that Obama ensured his law would implode as soon someone else assumed the presidency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We must act now to save Americans from the imploding ObamaCare disaster. 17, would be a disaster or ObamaCare, that's the year it was meant to explode because Obama won't be here. This is the time we're going to get it done. We'll work in together. We have some great results, we have tremendous spirit, and I think it is something that's just going to happen very shortly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Here now with the latest, is Chief White House Correspondent, John Roberts.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, good evening. The President is said to be in full deal-making mode over this new healthcare plan. A Senior White House Official tells Fox News, that the President is "doing what leadership should have done previously, listen to people, take their ideas seriously, give them a hearing." Today, the President was listening to the Chairman of the Ways and Means in Energy and Commerce Committees, which passed the bill, after marathon sessions this week. The Ways and Means Chairman, Kevin Brady, insisting the party can come together around the healthcare bill.
KEVIN BRADY, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM TEXAS: There is so much more that unites Republicans, than divides Republicans on this issue. Repealing these awful taxes, those subsidies, those mandates that have hurt our local businesses. We united behind.
ROBERTS: But there may need to be big changes. Congressman Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, who was the Chairman of the Freedom Caucus, want the Medicare expansion rollback moved up to this from 2020 as it is in the bill now. And in defiance of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who wants to vote on the bill that was referred from committee, they want to open up the entire amendment process.
JIM JORDAN, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM OHIO: You know, God bless the speaker, but that's not how the legislative process is supposed to work, right? If you got an idea that you can get to the floor - bring an amendment to the floor, then let's have the debate, and the best - get your hold off your best shot and see what happens. That's how it's supposed to work, it's not supposed to be closed off.
ROBERTS: The Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, has been working 20-hour days to go through all of the opposition proposals, while the President plans to work through the entire weekends trying to get the bill into a form that it can pass. A Senior White House Official told me that nothing is set in stone, it's all a negotiation. And that at the end of the day, everyone will come away with some things they love, and some things they love less. Sandra.
SMITH: All right. John Roberts, thank you. Joining me now: Mercedes Schlapp, is a Fox News Contributor and Republican Strategist; Bud Jackson, is the American Working Families Pact Chairman and a Democratic Strategist. Mercedes, I wanted to get to this New York Times - op-ed in the New York Times by Ohio Governor, John Kasich. He's warning - he's warning we must end the partisan warfare on healthcare. And he begins it by saying, Americans are relying on rears of Washington to fix the healthcare, not engaged in yet another unproductive partisan standoff. Where is, this going?
MERCEDES SCHLAPP, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: OK. Good luck with that, Governor Kasich. I don't think you're going see that happening in this Congressional Session. Because, not only will the Republicans be unable to bring the Democrats along, but the Republicans obviously, are having the infighting between conservatives and Republican leadership. Conservatives have felt that they've been shut out in the process. They're wanting to make sure that they're being listened to, that they are allowed to bring these amendments to the floor in order to make adjustments to this repeal and replace of ObamaCare. And I have to tell you, I think Vice President Mike Pence, obviously, the President, Secretary Tom Price, they're listening. And those - especially, Pence and Price, who are known conservatives, in Congress, understand that they have to ensure that the conservative voice is listened to. But with the Democrats, in the sense of bipartisanship, unfortunately, I don't that's going to happen this time around with the repealing ObamaCare.
SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, a fast one, buddy. Can this be done?
BUD JACKSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, if Trumpcare could talk, it would bark, because it's a real dog. You know, there are multiple organizations that are coming out and opposing this, and there are conservative organizations. There are also nonpartisan organizations that are coming out nd opposing this.
This isn't a health care law. It hasn't even been scored by the Congressional Budget Office. We have no idea how much this is going to cost. What we do know, is that it's going to provide $600 billion in tax credits and tax cuts to the wealthiest. That money was used, is being used currently to fund health care for low income and poor people.
So in essence, you've got the Republican Party giving to the rich while steering from the poor.
JACKSON: And people are literally going to die if this is enacted.
SMITH: All right.
SCHLAPP: There's so much...
SMITH: But still, Mercedes, the president he is out there trying to sell this thing. This is the man who wrote the "Art of the Deal," and new tonight, I sort of hinted at it at the other side of the break here, he is now threatening the GOP.
He is saying, President Trump has told Republican leaders that he met with today that we told you about that he is preparing to play hardball. He is going to support the 2018 primary challengers of any Republican who votes against the bill. Is that a good idea?
SCHLAPP: I would probably advise the president not to start threatening conservatives or those who might not agree with the bill, or might vote for the bill at this point in the game. It is still too early. They need to allow this dialogue to continue, this healthy dialogue actually to continue in terms of saying what the negotiation tools are going to be.
Are they going to accept, for example, the Republican study committee's recommendations of doing a partial refundable tax credit or freeze Medicaid expansion at a certain date? I mean, they have to work out the details. Starting with a threat, I mean, maybe that's the way he wants to proceed on a deal, it wouldn't be my approach that I would recommend.
I think a more effective way is just finding out where they have common ground and move forward. And I think Congressman Jim Jordan makes a very important point. Let the legislative process work itself out, that means allowing for amendments to the floor.
SMITH: All right. Well, we're still in the thick of the debate, Bud. Will the two parties eventually work together and will something get done?
JACKSON: It seems unlikely that the two parties are going to work together when we can't even get the two branches of the Republican Party to work together. And this bill is so bad that there is no way any Democrat is going to support it.
SMITH: All right. Well, we will leave it there. Thanks to both of you for being on tonight.
SCHLAPP: Thank you.
JACKSON: Thank you.
SMITH: Tonight, new developments as Secretary of State Tillerson plans his first official trip to Asia with the highest tension seen in the region i years as his backdrop. So, will team Trump smooth things over overseas?
Guy Benson, Leslie Marshall, and Alex Conant react straight ahead.
Plus, nude pictures of female marines splashed across the internet. Now it's getting even worse, and the top brass wants answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT NELLER, MARINE CORPS COMMANDANT: I can assure you, if there is accountability to be made, those that are involved will be held accountable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Breaking tonight, the Trump administration testing new waters as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gears up for his first official trip to Asia. The mission kicks off amid the backdrop of tensions running high as the Korean Peninsula and North and South nears a boiling point, and in the process sets up for showdown between the United States and China.
Rich Edson is at the State Department with the very latest on Secretary Tillerson's upcoming trip.
RICH EDSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson travels to Asia next week to address an aggressive North Korea, he'll do so with a South Korean government facing problems at home.
Earlier today, a South Korean court removed from power President Park Geun- Hye after a scandal in that country. South Korean law says the country has
In the meantime, the State Department says it will work with South Korea's interim president, in a statement, acting State Department's spokesman Mark Toner, writes the U.S.-South Korean alliance will, quote, "Be a linchpin of regional stability and security and we will continue with to meet all of our alliance commitments especially with respect to defending against the threat from North Korea."
It was the previous South Korean government that let the United States install a missile defense system in South Korea, one the Chinese and some in South Korea opposed. North Korea continues firing missiles into the South China Sea and developing its nuclear weapons program.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel next week to Japan, South Korea, and China, to discuss addressing these continued regressions. He will do so without a press contingent on his plane. Previous secretaries of state have usually taken reporters on their plane with them from the United States, especially on trips with multiple stops so it's easier for reporters to keep up with the secretary of state.
The White House says there is an element of cost savings involved her even though news organizations pay for their crews to travel on these planes. The State Department says that while in Asia the U.S. press will have access to the secretary of state, they will be in his motorcade, and will have an opportunity to ask him questions.
Sandra, back to you.
SMITH: All right. Thank you, Rich. Joining me now with more, Guy Benson, political editor of Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor, Leslie Marshall, is a radio talk show host and a Fox News contributor as well, and Alex Conant is the former communications director for Marco Rubio in 2016 and a Republican strategist.
Good to see you all tonight.
GUY BENSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Sandra.
SMITH: Guy, I will start with you. This is obviously a big trip for the Trump administration. Rex Tillerson heading over to Asia. Would you expect out of this trip?
BENSON: It's a big early task for Secretary Tillerson and the Trump administration. And not only is it a major overseas trip, it comes amid, as we heard there from Rich Edson, a really difficult time getting close to a crisis, I would say, on the Korean Peninsula where you have North Korea, which is always bellicose but even more belligerent than usual with the missile tests, coordinating, it appears, that brazen assassination at the airport at Kuala Lumpur.
And then down South, in South Korea, huge political upheaval with the president being thrown out for corruption and riots in the streets. So this is an opportunity, I think, for the secretary to prove his mettle. And hey, diplomacy isn't easy. Welcome to the big messy world stage.
SMITH: And it is a big, messy world stage, Leslie. Japan, South Korea, China, this is a huge trip at a time when North Korea is firing missiles and issuing threats. And it is, this is going to be a big test for Rex Tillerson and the Trump administration.
LESLIE MARSHALL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it is going to be a big test. I mean, so far he has been pretty much sidelined to a degree by this administration. We've seen that not only with Mexican dignitaries coming in his office not being aware, and now the press is sidelined. But while China sidelined Rex Tillerson. This is a big question.
And this is I think the largest task that the secretary of state has. China has a warm a friendly and like having a warm and friendly relationship with Pyongyang, if nothing else, to keep balance because of the relationship of the alliance between South Korea and the United States.
I'm not sure that the secretary of state is going to be able to get China completely on board with the future of how they view North Korea and how much of a threat they view North Korea and what action they want to take there with Japan and South Korea.
SMITH: Alex, what do you want to see out of this trip?
ALEX CONANT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think this is actually a big opportunity for Secretary Tillerson. We haven't seen much of him yet. But he can't avoid the press this entire trip. The press is going to be there at these stops, and the people he will be meeting with, Asian countries, they value public commitments.
And so this is an opportunity, in fact, what Secretary Tillerson must do here if this is going to be a successful trip is, back up all of the talk we've heard out of the Trump administration so far with concrete action, concrete pressure on issue on China, on issues like North Korea, like human rights, like the South China Sea. The time for talk is over. We need firm commitments. We need public pressure. And that is the opportunity before Secretary to Tillerson on this trip.
SMITH: Guy, what do you make of what Leslie just brought up that he is sort of being sidelined, Rex Tillerson, by the administration is that there's meetings that are taking place, that the State Department's acting spokesperson didn't know that Mexico's foreign minister was visiting, then meanwhile, he was meanwhile he was visiting, he was meeting with some of Trump's top aides.
BENSON: Yes, I think that that miscommunication obviously was unfortunate for the Trump administration, but I think is very premature to say that any member of the cabinet -- these people have been confirmed and taken their jobs, it's what, day 50 or so that this administration to say, he is sidelined, or he is cut out of the loop.
It's very early. This is an important trip, a high-profile trip. He is the secretary of state, the top diplomat. And so, again, I think that Leslie has a point. Let's wait and see. But making any strong declarations about this at this stage I think is way too early.
SMITH: Perhaps it is too early, and the press seems to make, want to make a lot of this themselves rather than talking...
SMITH: ... about the serious nature of this trip, Leslie?
MARSHALL: Well, I think it is a serious trip, but I also think it's serious and unprecedented when you have the secretary of state making such a trip. I remember the State Department wouldn't even confirm this was a trip or given the specifics.
If nothing else, the American people have the right to know what's going on. We have demanded, I think, right and left, and certainly with the election of this president, transparency, and that includes what is going on. Especially when you've just had an impeachment of one of our big allies, South Korea, of their president.
And secondly, when you have had launches and whisperings in the country of, are we going to send troops, are we going to be fighting against North Korea. So, I think if nothing else to assuage the fears of the American people by giving the facts through the press, they have to have access because that's what America expects. And by the way, that sets us apart from a country like China that he needs to do business.
SMITH: All right. We've got to leave it there. Thanks to all three of you. Good to see you tonight.
BENSON: Thank you.
SMITH: A growing scandal this evening as nude photos of female service members are splashed across the internet. Here is just how far the Defense Department will go to track down the perpetrators.
Plus, Katrina Pierson is back a day after she meets with the president. We get the latest on her new role supporting Mr. Trump outside the White House and get an exclusive look at her group's first new ad. That is straight ahead.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big accomplishments, bigger results. Companies investing in American jobs. Critical pipelines supplying American energy approved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Well, one of the most prominent voices and faces President Trump during the 2016 campaign was national Trump campaigns spokesperson Katrina Pierson. Now she is still working in support of the president as part of the non-profit America first policies.
And tonight, in an exclusive to "The First 100 Days," we are getting a sneak peek at the first political ad. Here it is.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump, one month in, delivering on his promises to you. Big accomplishments, bigger results. Companies investing in American jobs. Critical pipelines supplying American energy approved.
Tech executives, union and business leaders working with President Trump to create jobs, stronger ties with foreign allies, a respected Supreme Court nominee, a first-class cabinet, Main Street media won't tell you this. One month in, President Trump is making America great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Joining us now, the new spokesperson for America First Policies, Katrina Pierson. Katrina, good to see you.
KATRINA PIERSON, AMERICA FIRST POLICIES SPOKESPERSON: Great to see you, Sandra.
SMITH: Well, there has been so much intrigue over where you have been and what you have been up to you, we're glad to see you back. So what have you been doing?
PIERSON: Well, you know, we are really excited to launch essentially phase two of the grassroots movement to make America great again for President Trump. You have two original campaign staffers, myself, the first and longest-serving Trump spokesperson along with Brad Parscale, the digital expertise that actually defeated Barack Obama's small donor fundraising record and delivered blue states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
And when you add Nick Ayers who served as senior advisor to Governor Mike Pence's campaign, we had a team that is fully committed in supporting this president's vision, as well as the key policy initiatives for the Trump- Pence administration so that we can, like I've always said from the beginning, Sandra, make President Trump go down as the greatest president in history.
SMITH: Well, you met with him yesterday, what did you discuss?
PIERSON: Well, we discussed as making America great again. That's one of the things that we always discuss. The president is always interested in hearing everyone's thought, as you can see, he's having several listening sessions, he wants all of the input that he can make to that executive decision.
And I think what we're going to be looking forward to in the next few weeks are more policy initiatives come out from the administration, and I'm really excited to continue to support him out here on the outside.
SMITH: Well, Katrina, when I say there's been so much intrigue over where you have been, and what you have been doing for so long there, everyone thought we would see you working inside of the Trump White House. You are clearly now going to be supporting him, but outside of the White House.
What changed there?
PIERSON: Absolutely. You know, I was offered as deputy press secretary and I decided to do what I do best. I'm out here on camera fighting for him, advocating for his policies. Because this is not brand new to me. Many people know that I have a strong record, nearly a decade now, fighting for conservative policies, wanting to change the direction of the country was going, and doing cable news for a very long.
And so after the election I decided to do, again, what I do best. I'm a grassroots activist at heart and I want to stay out here with the people and serve the president.
SMITH: So, clearly you are saying this is where you want to be. And by the way, you have set on the record that your group, America first, will readily attack Republicans if needed. Can you give us an example of what that might be?
PIERSON: Well, yes. We have a situation here where you have a lot of Republicans out there who want to really hold the president accountable for Congressional leadership, and that's just simply not what he is there for. He ran a strong campaign and let everyone know what his vision was to make America great again, and now we're going to have these policies go forth. And it's going to be up to those congressmen to get the job done.
SMITH: All right. Well, Katrina Pierson, this was your big moment, your big comeback, and we saw your ad, and it's good to see you.
PIERSON: Great to be here.
SMITH: All right. Thank you for coming on.
PIERSON: Thank you.
SMITH: Breaking details tonight after naked pictures of three female marines are posted on the web. Now it appears that the problem is worse than we thought.
SMITH: Developing tonight, a shocking story as a nude photo sharing scandal continues to rock the U.S. Marine Corps. And tonight, the latest shows it is only getting worse. We are now learning it involves every single branch of the U.S. military, and it has become the focus of a federal criminal investigation.
Trace Gallagher, live in our West Coast bureau with the very latest. Trace?
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: And Sandra, it appears those who are intent on sharing nude photos of military women are trying to stay one step ahead of investigators from the Department of Defense. The scandal came to light when a private Facebook page called Marines United went very public.
The Facebook page was being used by some 30,000 active duty and former marines to chat about, share, even egg on each other to post nude photos of female service members, sometimes calling the women out by name or where they were based.
For example, writing, quote, "She is in the navy down in San Diego. Anyone have any more wins?" A win being a nude photo. Some of the post even promoted sexual assault. The marines got wind of the scandal and launched a full investigation. Listen.
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NELLER: These allegations themselves, they undermine everything that we stand for as a Marine Corps, and as marines. Discipline, honor, professionalism, and respect and trust amongst each other.
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GALLAGHER: But now we know the scandal involves all four branches of the military and has been going on for almost a year on a web site called Anon- IB, the same site that shared nude photos of Hollywood stars during the cloud hack a few years ago.
It turns out Anon-IB has a military chat page replete with nude photos and lewd conversations. A group called Not in my Marines which is trying to stop military females from being victimized says this type of social media exploitation is nothing new. Listen.
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ERIN KIRK-CUOMO, CO-FOUNDER, NOT IN MY MARINE CORPS: These sites have been known to military leadership for a very long time. We were just told, and they shrugged it off, as something that was too big for them to handle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: But it appears this time around, action makes the much swifter. Military leaders are even being called before Congress next week, Sandra.
SMITH: Trace Gallagher, thank you. Well, thank you so much for watching The First 100 Days. Martha MacCallum will be back on Monday. And don't forget, you can catch me every weekday on Outnumbered at noon Eastern Time right here on the Fox News Channel.
Up next, Eric Bolling hosting a special O'Reilly Factor, the Trump agenda with special guest Kellyanne Conway and Senator Rand Paul. Tweet me your thoughts on the show @sandrasmithfox. Don't change the channel.
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