First 100 Days

Wallace: I was struck by what Trump, Merkel didn't mention; Is there anything more US can do to contain North Korea?

'Fox News Sunday' host reacts on 'The First 100 Days' to joint press conference

 

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

MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE FIRST 100 DAYS" HOST:  Breaking tonight.  President Trump and Angela Merkel have had harsh words in the past but today, they went face-to-face tackling some uncomfortable topics and trying to make it work.  This is what day 57 looks like of the first 100, I'm Martha MacCallum.  So President Trump has been a harsh critic of Merkel's open door policy towards Syrian refugees.  She has suggested he is looking at Russian President Vladimir Putin with rose-colored glass essentially.  And then there's NATO.  One senior administration official noting that the President quote "pushed her hard on the particular issues of NATO dues."  The two world leaders faced the cameras together for the first time earlier today.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:  I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share, we must protect our citizens from those who seek to spread terrorism.  Immigration is a privilege and not a right.  

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator):  I always said it's much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another.  And I think our conversation proved this nature is prime important for us. Germany needs to increase expenditure.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry joins us from Washington with more.  Hi Ed!!

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT:  Martha, this was a super frosty.  The two leaders not even shaking hands for the cameras in the Oval Office as they sparred over issues like Germany getting the better of trade deals.  And then in the east room - and the context of those sound bites you are playing, the senior administration official telling our producer Serafin Gomez that as you noted President Trump pressed the Chancellor very hard on Germany and other NATO allies not paying their fair share of dues.  Specifically he wants two percent of their GDP,  A mark that Merkel has failed to hit but as promising to do so after that prating from Mr. Trump .  This relationship tense as well because of the President's past very blunt criticism of how the Chancellor allowed so many Syrian refugees to flow into our nation which many in Europe are now back pedaling from because of all those terror attacks.  Including Merkel herself will be facing the voters soon. And when a German reporter pushed Mr. Trump for evidence to back up those recent tweets alleging wiretapping by former President Obama, the current President could not pass up another chance to tweet Merkel by reviving those allegations about the Obama administration listening in on her cellphone.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: As far as wiretapping, I guess - you know this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY:  Well, there was at least one lighter note the two leaders had extensive talks of course about the economy but President Trump actually praising Merkel for the work she has done on job training and apprenticeships.  Mr. Trump pausing to say, I like that word apprentice.  A nod to his days of course as reality talk show host.  Martha?

MACCALLUM:  Never missed an opportunity.  Ed, thank you.  So, joining me now to discuss the significance of today's meeting, Chris Wallace host of "Fox News Sunday."  Chris, good to see you today.  

CHRIS WALLACE, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST:  Thank you.  

MACCALLUM:  So, it was interesting.  I mean, we've seen some pretty chummy meetings with world leaders, this one did not appear that way.  

WALLACE:  No.  I think what was most striking was what they didn't talk about in their joint news conference.  The name Putin wasn't mentioned. The question of Russia and they see Russia and the threat from the Kremlin very differently.  Yes there was a veiled reference to migration but they kind of down played it.  But obviously they see very differently in the question of opening their borders to refugees coming out of the chaos in the Middle East.  And they didn't really get into their very sharp differences about the European Union.  Germany of course, the great economy, the great power on Europe - in Europe now and in the European community.  President Trump famously as a candidate backed Brexit.  The British exit from the E.U.  So, I was struck more by what they didn't talk about and what they did talk about.  

MACCALLUM:  Yes.  And it just brings you to sort of realize that it's opposite world now, right?  I mean, this is a relationship Barrack Obama the former President and Angela Merkel were always on the same page essentially.  Climate change is very important to them, they agreed on you know, issues of trade essentially and when it came to this stuff about refugees and how much back lash she's got in her own country over this, he didn't press her on that.

WALLACE:  No, that's right.  And I think, one of the things that strikes me whenever I see this President with world leaders is the degree to which the fact he's there in the east room holding these kinds of joint news conference is a real statement about the tremendous tectonic shift we have in this country in this last election.  That it was a Populists wave. We've got a new sheriff and a new way of looking at the world in charge in town.  And as you say, the old relationships between old Europe as it used to be called and the United States have changed dramatically with this new President.  You could also see it, Martha, in the questions, quite tough questions that President Trump got from the German press.  They asked - one reporter asked him about whether he's Isolationist and the attacks in the media, and "fake news".  He bristled at that and in fact he called that German reporter an example of "fake news."  And then as Ed had pointed out, there was another question about the wiretapping.  I mean, they were to a large degree not asking about German-U.S. relations, they were asking about Trump and the Domestic relations here in this country.  

MACCALLUM:  Yes.  I mean, you know, it's just so interesting to watch this dynamic and can't help but think though, when I heard her opening comments, the Chancellor of Germany wrapped into that.  She said, you know, and yes, we are going to paying more of our fair share to NATO. I mean, this was an idea that when President Trump brought it up when he was candidate Trump on the campaign trail, everyone scoffed, it is ridiculous - you know it's not right.  And United States is such a huge country obviously and has such a huge GDP, it's fine that we pay more than our fair share.  She's already buckled on that, Chris.  

WALLACE:  Yes it was a subject that was - had been brought up in the past. And as she mentioned in the last day European Summit with the U.S. under Obama, they made a commitment to try to reach the two percent number.  But a lot of countries would pay lip service to it and then let it slide.  They know they can't let it slide with this President.  If they do, then this summer when it goes over to Europe for the G20 Summit, and the G8 Summit, you know, he's going to bring it up again.  He is - you know - the art of the deal.  And this is something and I think a lot of Americans support him on Martha, is the idea, we shouldn't be paying the freight for these other countries particularly in terms of defending Europe.  

MACCALLUM:  Yes. The numbers show that they do.  Just one last thought, Chris, on the wiretapping issue.  Because he was asked about that tweet in the course of this today.  And he said, I seldom regret anything that I tweet.  He's still standing his ground on this.  What's the take away at the end of the week on this story?  

WALLACE:  Well, I think there's some surprise that he's standing by because look, you have had and were going to have some public hearings on Monday at the House Intelligence Committee.  But now you've got the head of the FBI, some of the top intelligence people on the record, you've got the Attorney General, you've got the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee all in the record saying they see absolutely no evidence that there was any wiretapping by the previous administration of candidate Trump in Trump tower.  Now, maybe there was surveillance and maybe people got swept up in that when they surveilling the Russians but not a direct wiretap on Trump towers.  And this president refuses to back down and the people of the White House know who's their boss.  They refuse to back down. Sean Spicer this week saying, we stand by it.  

MACCALLUM:  Yes.  Comey's may be the last word on that and that's going to happen as you say in the live hearing on Monday which will be fascinating to watch.  Of course, the first fascinating thing that we'll watch on Sunday is "Fox News Sunday".  So Chris, thank you.  We look forward to that.

WALLACE:  You bet.  Thanks.  

MACCALLUM:  You be.  So, also breaking tonight is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hurling the U.S. towards confrontation with volatile and dangerous North Korea.  Some analyst say maybe.  Carl Higbie and Matt Bennet, on that straight ahead.  Plus it's Friday, the end of another roller coaster week for the President.  So, is the take away high or low? Guy Vincent, Mollie Hemmingway, Bud Jackson have the latest scores on this Presidency later in the show.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM:  Breaking tonight.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson missing no words on day three of his trip to Asia responding to North Korean aggression by saying, "Nothing including military actions is off of the table."  To give you an idea what maybe at the root if Tillerson's warning, here are the estimated ranges of just how far North Korea's weapons can travel.  And these are the U.S. military installation in the region, all within reach of those missiles.  Rich Edson, travelling with the Secretary of State joins us from Seoul, South Korea.  Hi rich

RICH EDSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Hi Martha!  And Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the era of strategic patience with North Korea is over.  He is in the region, meeting with Japanese and South Korean counterparts trying to figure out a new way, a new approach to counter North Korea's ballistic missile program and its nuclear weapon's program.  To that, he visited the demilitarized zone earlier today and doing so, we spoke with him in an exclusive interview and asked him do Japan and South Korea as a way to counter North Korea, is the United States ruling out further weaponization of those countries including nuclear weapons?  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDSON:  Are you discussing - are these options on the table, nuclearization of peninsula as was discussed during the campaign?  

REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE:  We are exchanges views as I did in Japan with Prime Minister Abe.  This afternoon, I'll be exchanging views with the leadership of the Republic of North Koreans as well as on --- as to our views on various approaches that can be taken.  

EDSON:  But that really not either of those options sir?.  

TILLERSON:  Nothing has been taken off of the table.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EDSON:  Tillerson also refuses to take a military option off of the table if North Korean develop may have its weapons programs reaches a certain point.  Though he says that is not the primary option and the United States wants to avoid military conflict as much as it can.  Beyond that, he also criticized China for what he call its inappropriate reaction to the development of North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs.  And he can deliver that message personally as he leaves here just a few hours to go to Beijing to meet with counterparts there.  Martha?  

MACCALLUM:  Thank you Rich.  So joining now, Carl Higbie, is a Navy Seal veteran and Trump's supporter, Matt Bennett is Co-Founder Third Way and so does Deputy Assistant to President Clinton.  And welcome to both of you. Good to have here.

CARL HIGBIE, NAVY SEAL VETERAN:  Thank you.

MATT BENNETT, THIRD WAY CO-FOUNDER:  Good to be here.

MACCALLUM:  You know, as Rex Tillerson rightly points out.  We've had decades of diplomacy.  We've given North Korea $1.35 billion in aid over the course of that.  And he says we've really got nothing for it because the promises have always fallen through to curtail their ambitions in terms of nuclear weapons.  You know, Iran doesn't have them yet, but North Korea does.  So, isn't it time to deal with him differently?  

BENNETT:  Well, the question is, what would you do differently?  The aid that we've given North Korea has been food aid because otherwise their people would starve and massive famines.  Many did anyway.  And so, it wasn't really done to control their behavior because there are adolescents in North Korea, they cannot be controlled, but they can be at least so far have been contained, and that's been the policy of Democratic and Republican presidents for thirty years.  The question is, is there anything where we can do without an enormous war that would put at risk a huge U.S. ally and 40,000 Americans.

MACCALLUM:  Carl, is there anything more we can do?  

HIGBIE:  Well, absolutely.  And I think to the fact that not -- they were contained or not contained, because now they have weapons that can reach far outside their own boundaries.  There's a lot more we can do in the sense that if one of these missiles leaves the ground down again, I say we shoot it down.  And if they do it again, we destroy the installation that it came from until they get the message.  Military action, it needs to be on the table, but more important than the action itself, is the notion that North Korea needs to understand that we will take the action and maybe they'll stand down before anything gets too heated.

MACCALLUM:  So now, it's on to China.  Rex Tillerson will go there.  We also know that President Xi will be in Florida with President Trump sometime next month.  But this is the tweet that the secretary of state has to sort of grapple with from the president that he sent out.  It says, "North Korea is behaving very badly.  They had been playing the United States for years.  China has done little to happen."  And then I was the one who fold into this, the sound from Nikki Haley, the ambassador, as she spoke this morning with Bill Hemmer.  Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS:  There was a soft approach to China in the past presidency.  And then what I can tell you now is we're going to go harder on China.  We're going to say, "Look, if you really are wanting to partner with us, if you really are wanting to stop the nuclear testing that's going on in North Korea, prove it."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  Matt, what do you think?  

BENNETT:  You know, tough talk.  We'll see what that actually turns out being.  I think that Tillerson is going to spend a lot of his time at state department cleaning up things that the president does and says, like this tweet this morning.  China is enormously problematic but they are a major player.  They are the major player.  Everything in Asia revolves around them and so we have to treat them carefully.  Not necessarily respectfully all the time but with some caution, and that is not a Trump strong suit.  

MACCALLUM:  What do you think, Carl?  

HIGBIE:  Well, I think that, you know, China is, as he said, a very big player in this.  But the fact is that if North Korea is threatening us and our military installations, and our allies in the area, then we absolutely need to act.  And if China is not going to get on board with us, we need to make it very clear.  And potentially, you know, at this tables talk about the fact that we may, you know, have to strike some sort of military installation in North Korea, without their consent, or without their support.  

MACCALLUM:  One last question.  Matt, it's quite evident that both General Mattis and Secretary of State Tillerson don't have their deputies in place. A number of their picks have been shut down.  How problematic is that?  

BENNETT:  It's an enormous problem.  Particularly for somebody like Secretary Tillerson, who is new to government, he doesn't know how the state department is supposed to run, unlike Secretary Mattis, who was a four star general.  Tillerson is basically all by himself.  He tried to get a deputy approved but the White House wouldn't give it to him, and this is a real problem for him, he's home alone over there.  

MACCALLUM:  Carl, it makes them appears that they don't have a lot of power within the White House, especially, you know, when you have meetings with Saudi leaders that are not attended by either one of these individuals. Your quick thoughts.  

HIGBIE:  Yes.  Well, this does fall directly on the senate as well for not cramming them through.  But it also falls in the fact that President Trump needs to just have a line of people out the door ready to be appointed with all of these things, and it's going to fall on Mattis and Tillerson to get their people in the door, because if they don't, it is going to be a display of some sort of weakness to our foreign counterparts.

MACCALLUM:  Good points all.  Carl Higbie and Matt Bennett, thank you very much.  

HIGBIE:  Thank you.

BENNETT:  Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM:  So, still ahead, we are just days away from Judge Neil Gorsuch's first confirmation hearing, and the White House wants to put him in place.  When the travel ban hits the Supreme Court, they feel that could be beneficial to them, of course.  That's coming up.

Plus, James Comey will testify in front of the House Intel Committee on Monday.  This is going to be a hot hearing folks.  He will address the claims of Russian interference.  What exactly is the FBI doing with regard to this investigation?  When we come back.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL REPORTER:  Live from America's news headquarters, I'm Trace Gallagher.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson putting North Korea on notice.  Tillerson says he's not ruling out weaponization and even nuclearizing East Asian allies to deter aggression by the rogue state.  He technically stood in North Korea today in what is known as the "Joint Security Area".  Tillerson says the past 20 years of policy with North Korea had been a failure and strategic patience has ended.  The secretary now in China as part of his three-nation tour of Asia.  

A new U.N. report says migrant deaths rose sharply in 2016.  More than 7,600 people died last year.  It was slightly more than 5,000 of those deaths coming as refugees and migrants tried to make the perilous Mediterranean crossing from North Africa, Turkey and the Middle East.  The U.N. report says the number of Mediterranean casualties was up 35 percent despite more organized rescue effort.  

MACCALLUM:  Breaking tonight, White House officials pushing back on the claim that they apologized to the British, after White House spokesman Sean Spicer repeated an unproven report, claiming U.K. intelligence services help then-President Obama spy on then-candidate Trump during the 2016 campaign.  

Trace Gallagher lays it out for us all tonight.  Trace?

GALLAGHER:  Martha, Government Communications Headquarters or GCHQ is the center of British intelligence and security.  And as a rule, the agency stays mum on most public matters.  But allegations that it was used by former President Obama to spy on Trump Towers, prompted GCHQ to break normal practice and issue a scathing denial, calling the allegations "absurd".  It was during this show on Monday night that Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano initially made the claims about GCHQ.  Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST:  Guess what foreign entity has access to the NSA database.  This British spying entity, GCHQ, so they could have obtained this information, sources tell us, translated the raw data into actual transcripts and shared it with someone in the west wing.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER:  Then, during Thursday's White House briefing, when Sean Spicer was asked about the House and Senate Intel Committee, saying they had not seen any evidence of wiretapping, Spicer spent 10 minutes reading media reports that he believed supported the wiretapping claim, including the comments made by Judge Napolitano.  And during his press briefing today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the president was asked about GCGQ.  Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox, and so you shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER:  And despite numerous media reports that the Trump administration made a formal apology to the U.K., the White House is not referring to it as an apology.  Instead, saying, Press Secretary Sean Spicer and National Security Adviser General H. R. McMaster, explained to U.K. officials that Spicer was simply pointing to public reports not endorsing any specific story.  10 Downing has now responded saying, quote, "We have made clear to the administration that the allegations are utterly ridiculous and we have received assurances they will not be repeated."  And for the record, the news division here at Fox News Channel has not independently verified any claims involving GCHQ, Trump Tower, or the Obama administration.  

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

So law makers looking into the president's wiretap claims and alleged Russian interference from the 2016 election do want some answers.  And on Monday, in the first open hearings into any of these matters, FBI Director James Comey will testify before Congress.  A lot of people are being anxious to hear what he knows, what the stage of this investigation is, and they will hopefully get some of those answers on Monday.  

Pete Hoekstra is the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, he was there for 10 years.  He's a former Trump Campaign National Security Advisor.  And Jessica Tarlov is a Democratic pollster.  Welcome to both of you.  Good to have you here today.  

JESSICA TARLOV, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER AND BUSTLE.COM SENIOR DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH:  Hi, Martha.

MACCALLUM:  Pete Hoekstra, you wrote an editorial in today's Wall Street Journal, and in it, you mentioned the fact that Michael Flynn was picked up on some of these intercepts.  You talk about the fact that you say three episodes indicate that at least a few within the cater, meaning the intelligence agencies are willing to risk the security of the U.S. for what they must see as some higher purpose.  In the process, they betray their oath and tarnish the reputations on their organizations.  So, that indicates that you believe that regardless of the fact they haven't found anything yet, you think there is something going on within our intel agencies.  

PETE HOEKSTRA, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:  Oh, I think it's very clear that our Intel Community and our intel leadership, they have failed America.  When you take a look at the massive data breach that we had with Bradley Manning; the massive data breach with Ed Snowden - Edward Snowden, and now what has happened with the CIA, the Intelligence Community doesn't have the proper procedures and protections in place to keep our secrets secret.  Then you go to what happened with General Flynn. This is some of the most sensitive information that's collected in advert in collections of American communication with foreign intelligence targets. That stuff is supposed to be deep six, it's supposed to be buried, never become public.  Obviously again, someone within the Intelligence Community transcribed this, and then gave this information over to the media.  These are huge breaches.  

Sure, there may be issues with some of the things that have come out of the Trump administration, but the biggest story here is the complete failure and the crisis within the Intelligence Community in terms of protecting its cyber data.  

MACCALLUM:  Yes, you know, it's fascinating to me, Jessica.  Because this story is very complex, and obviously the Intel Committees came forward, we saw Devin Nunes yesterday, and then we saw Burr on the Senate Intel Committee saying, "You know, we don't have evidence that the president was wiretapped by the former President at Trump Tower.  That's very specific. But it does feel like there is some other parts of this that do need to be clarified, does it not?  

TARLOV:  Absolutely.  And I think that's what hopefully James Comey will eliminate on Monday when he comes forward.  And I think that this will continue to unfold as the months go by.  But I would push back a little in what Pete just said, and saying that this is the big story about what's going on in the CIA and the leaks.  And yes, that is a big story.  But why can't there be two big stories?  What can't the big story be that, and also that the President of the United States of America have made what seems to be a baseless claim that the former President of the United States of America was wiretapping him, that it was actually him that ordered it.  Why does that not matter?  Why does this administration have so much trouble with personal responsibility, for what they say and what they do?  And this kind of backing up on (INAUDIBLE) we didn't apologize to the British, sounds like quintessential Donald Trump who never wants to apologize for anything.  

MACCALLUM:  I understand what you're - what you're getting at.  So, Pete, do you - you know, would you recommend that the president say something about that?  Does he need to say something about that?

HOEKSTRA:  The president needs to now let the committees do its work, and I'm sure that there's also internal investigations going on within the intelligence community to find out what other lapses there are. If the intelligence community leadership, if they can't protect their databases they can't with certainty declare that the tools that they have that are used spy on foreigners, that those tools in certain cases may not have been used by rogue elements in the intelligence community...

MCCALLUM:  Got it.

HOEKSTRA:  ... to spy on Americans. And so, I think this is an investigation that's going to go on for quite some time. The intelligence committees are going to focus on that.

MCCALLUM:  All right.

HOEKSTRA:  Because these are important issues because they have to restore the trust between the intelligence community and American people that they have control over the tools and the information that they've got collected.

MCCALLUM:  We have to go. There was so much privacy concerned during Manning and Snowden, as you point out on the Democratic side and it needs to sort of have collect issue.

(CROSSTALK)

JESSICA TARLOV, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  The interesting thing I think...

MCCALLUM:  Jessica, we got to go.

TARLOV:  Yes.

MCCALLUM:  We are out of time. Thank you, guys.

TARLOV:  Thanks.

MCCALLUM:  Good to see you both. So coming up, they took you behind the scenes of the election and now Showtime's The Circus it's coming back to cover the Trump administration. The show's co-executive -- co-host and executive producer Mark McKinnon is going to be with me with his details on the new season under President Trump. That's what they will get.

Now plus, Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing gets rolling on Monday. It's going to be big news, folks. The Trump administration hoping for a smooth sailing? Will they get it? We will preview the battle, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  We have appointed a Supreme Court justice to replace the late great Antonin Scalia. His name is Judge Neil Gorsuch. He will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCCALLUM:  That was President Trump on Wednesday in Nashville touting his Supreme Court pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch, whose confirmation hearing is now less than 72 hours away. With the GOP's health care reform bill still being debated. Tax reform on hold. And many point to this.

The judge's potential confirmation as something that the Trump White House can put in the win column if indeed it goes through as smoothly as they hope it will.

Here now is a David Wahl, an attorney and Trump supporter, and Mark Alderman, a Democratic strategist. Welcome to both of you. Good to have you here.

MARK ALDERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Hi, Martha.

MCCALLUM:  So, with this travel ban influx now and having been shot down twice since it was rolled out, David. Obviously if they can get Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court before the Easter, is the timing that we're hearing they would like. They think that will work to their benefit.

DAVID WAHL, ATTORNEY & TRUMP SUPPORTER:  Yes, absolutely, no question about it. I mean, his confirmation will tilt the court a five-four majority in favor of conservatives that could last for decades, three decades and 35 years.

And it's critical, because we've seen, Martha, a federal judiciary that have spun completely out of control. They have gone, they've morphed from courts of law to courts of far left political activism and that needs to be stopped. And this executive order that we just saw shot down by a federal court in Hawaii and Maryland.

They cherry picked one statement Mr. Trump made, I believe right after the Orlando massacre, ignoring numerous statements he made basically shooting that down. Basically saying we just want extreme vetting, we don't want a Muslim ban, we need time to figure out what's going on here. They ignored all that, so they're act to these courts and when Gorsuch...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCALLUM:  But they have, in fairness, David, they have a bunch of comments. They have Stephen Miller on this program, they have Rudy Giuliani.

WAHL:  Correct.

MCCALLUM:  And these have come back to haunt him twice now throughout this process.

(CROSSTALK)

WAHL:  They had, Martha. But the...

MCCALLUM:  And so, the White House regret that those statements were said.

WAHL:  You know, I don't think he regret it at that time. He then amended his position after that, Martha, and that's being ignored. He said extreme vetting from hot beds of Islamic terrorism and not a Muslim ban. They chose to ignore that they've got a political agenda that follows the agenda of the guy who appointed them, Mr. Obama. So, it's not a surprise.

MCCALLUM:  All right. So, Democrats, Mark how will they approach this Gorsuch hearing, what do you expect and what will they try to throw in the way of road blocks?

ALDERMAN:  Martha, this is a stolen seat and that can't be said often enough.

(CROSSTALK)

MCCALLUM:  But that's over, I mean, let's move on, that's over.

ALDERMAN:  Having said that, Martha, I agree. Judge Gorsuch is qualified, he can be confirmed, he should be, and he will be. But the idea that his confirmation is going to somehow reset the Trump presidency is a fantasy. We have been waiting for two years for Trump to pivot. He can't, he won't, he isn't going to. Waiting for the presidential Trump is like waiting for good. Martha, this play is going to end and he's not going to arrive.

MCCALLUM:  Do you agree, David? I mean, in terms of accomplishments and failures so far.

(CROSSTALK)

WAHL:  No, I don't because -- no, look at this way, Martha. Everything Mr. Trump tries to do is going to be met with a lawsuit by the Democrats. Every single lawsuit will probably end up in the high court. The high court is going to be 5- 4 conservative majority and Mr. Trump is going to win. That's why Democrats as we speak are on Google desperately searching for something to throw at him starting on Monday...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCALLUM:  OK. I agree with you. This can't be that way out all the way through. I just put this poll up this week while we are finishing up here. Of the Trump voters in the election on November, 56 percent of them said SCOTUS was the most important issue. So, if he gets to win here, Mark, that is going to something they are going to feel good about, no doubt.

ALDERMAN:  It's a win it goes in the w column, and they are going to feel good about it. No doubt. He has been confirmed since the announcement. This was never going to be stopped.

MCCALLUM:  It's a done deal.

ALDERMAN:  The market has already priced this.

MCCALLUM:  All right. Thank you, guys.

ALDERMAN:  The market has already priced the confirmation.

MCCALLUM:  Happy St. Patrick's Day. Happy Pat's Day.

WAHL:  Happy St. Patty's, Mark. OK.

MCCALLUM:  Good to see you both.

All right, still to come, it is Friday, that means it is time for our weekly report card. Guy Benson, Mollie Hemingway, and Bud Jackson here with their grades for Trump presidency week eight.

Plus, do you remember The Circus following along each step of the 2016 election on Showtime? They're back now with their own 100 days version watching the Trump presidency. We got co-creator and Mark McKinnon with a sneak peek of Sunday's must see episode. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACDONALD:  Do you remember last time Showtime documentary The Circus takes us behind the scenes of the 2016 presidential election. We'll look back at all that, right. Every unexpected twist and turn and, boy, there were a lot of great stuff along the way.

Now the show goes on, they are back with an in-depth look at the drama of the Trump White House and inside of the beltway high jinx. The new season premiers this Sunday. We're excited. Here's a sneak peek.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I mean, literally in the history of Washington how many staked out to see this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think this is the first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Probably breakfast now, we have lunch on, and they serve dinner here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  C, d, negative c, d.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Did you ask? (Inaudible)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We are like, you know we're like. We are like Lucy on Peanuts. We're in for business. And the lunch rush is beginning at 1.30. We are a little early actually. We're open for business. And you know what we can do. Please back to my old tricks. Let's deliver them some pizzas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Deliver food upstairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right. You know, I will plead with her a little more. I'll be like, come on, give us behind the scenes, what happens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Twenty four, you're going up, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Deborah, how is it going?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Good. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is for you. Give slices to whoever works the hardest on the thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCCALLUM:  Here now is co-creator and co-host of The Circus, Mark McKinnon. Mark, good to see you.

MARK MCKINNON, "THE CIRCUS" CO-CREATOR AND CO-HOST:  Thanks. Exciting world of the Congressional Budget Office. We got pizzas in the bowls there.

MCCALLUM:  My gosh. If you can make this Congressional Budget Office exciting I think you're going to win in Oscar.

(CROSSTALK)

MCKINNON:  I'm not sure the reporters have been in there and we found out why.

MCCALLUM:  Probably just terrified at this thought. Obviously, a lot of numbers crunching going on in there. You know, what made you decide to come back and start doing more circus?

MCKINNON:  Well, the ringmaster is putting on a hell of a show here in D.C. and we just - and we just realize that the show is still going on. So, people are transfixed by what's happening. There's just as much interest, if not more, about what's happening in D.C. as to what's in the election.

It was so dramatic, so surprising and so unexpected. And that's what -- that's what's happening in Washington, people have never seen this act before this way and it is dramatic and interesting and it's fascinating.

So, where -- no matter where you are on the dial politically, people are tuned in and they want more information as much information as they can. They have an insatiable appetite to just get more about what's going on.

MCCALLUM:  Yes, I hear you. That's why we decided to do the first hundred days, you know.

MCKINNON:  Right.

MCCALLUM:  It just wasn't enough to, you know, you just had to keep going with this incredible story and it is the reality TV show of our time I think. And people are fascinated by it.

I know Mark was on Air Force One with the president, you spent some time recently with Rand Paul and Ted Cruz who are very deeply involved in this health care thing. What's your take away on both sides of what's really going on inside this moment?

MCKINNON:  Well, this moment this week we tried to follow with the math and boxed on every week to kind of tie things up on Sunday night. So if you haven't following the news of the day which is hard because it comes so fast and quickly.

We kind of put it together every Sunday night in a half-hour fast loose documentary style so that you can get a quick hit Sunday night and go to work or go to school and kind of have a sense of what's going on.

But this week, health care, there was a lot going on as always in the Trump administration and Trump world. Every hour is something new and interesting. But the main thing that's really happening is the health care debate

And that was really interesting. You have people on the left who are opposed but you also have people like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz on the right. We got into the freedom caucus. You know, where they've 20's -- and it's unclear how many members they actually have.

But I went into the room for a moment and saw Rand Paul in there and there were at least 20. And all it takes is 20 votes in the House to kill the bill. So, it's interesting because this is it the first and biggest piece of legislation and most important for the Trump administration.

So it's very important that they get this thing through and it's already kind of wobbled out of the starting game.

MCCALLUM:  Yes, it's the art of the deal in real-time and I know there's a lot of copies of that both floating around.

(CROSSTALK)

MCKINNON:  That's Rand Paul is getting out.

MCCALLUM:  Senator Paul's office.

MCKINNON:  You know, Rand Paul message is you never take the first deal, right.

MCCALLUM:  I mean, just highlighting some of these passages, exactly. Mark, I hope you come back again. It's good to see, and best of luck.

(CROSSTALK)

MCCALLUM:  Thanks, Martha. Kick it hard.

MCCALLUM:  All right. So, up next, Friday brings an end to a very busy and tumultuous week. As we were just discussing with Mark McKinnon for the president. So, how did he do? Guy Benson, Mollie Hemingway, and Bud Jackson, here with their grade books and their big red pens, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MCCALLUM:  So, it is Friday and you know what that means. Time to grade week eight of the Trump presidency. Here's a look back at yet another intense week. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ObamaCare is imploding. It is a disaster in 2017 will be the worst yet by far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The numbers that the White House doesn't like. And here they come. Fourteen million and twenty four million. Those are the number of people that will be uninsured almost immediately after this plan goes into effect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How confident is President Trump that any evidence will rise to support his claim?

SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  I think he is extremely confident.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS HOST:  A federal judge in Hawaii has now ruled a temporary restraining order preventing this travel ban, the second one, the adjusted one from going into effect.

TRUMP:  We have done far more. I think maybe more than anybody's done in this office in 50 days, that I can tell you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You know, having an America first president and it shouldn't be a surprise anybody that we have an American first budget.

SPICER:  Where was your passion and where was your concern when they said there was no connection to Russia. Where was at that?

TRUMP:  I am 100 percent in favor of these folks and they tough, and they love their constituents, and they live this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCCALLUM:  What a week. And joining us now, Guy Benson, political editor of Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor, Mollie Hemingway, a senior editor for The Federalist, and Bud Jackson, a Democratic strategist.

Welcome all. You just had a good look at what everybody dealt with and covered over the course of this week.

BUD JACKSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Hi, Martha.

MCCALLUM:  Guy, let me start with you. What stands out in your mind as the plus and minuses for the Trump White House.

GUY BENSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, I think over all it was a pretty tough week politically for the White House and president. First he got sort of slapped down by the Republican controlled Senate intelligence committee and Britain's GCHQ on the unsubstantiated wiretapping claims.

And there was a spate of, I think really tough headlines, challenging headlines, some of which were misleading in my view, on the health care bill, on the president's budget proposal. But I think on the other hand I think a lot of observers have said all along, Martha, that a Republican health care success to repeal and replace ObamaCare was going to require major Republican leadership particularly from the president.

I think he has exhibited so far that leadership in a big way. And lastly, the president got a big assist from an unlikely source this week, a host on another network making a big deal out of tax returns that ended up being at worse in nothing at best actually good for him.

MCCALLUM:  Yes. Bud, let me get your thoughts on this morning, because I thought it was fascinating to see the president in the Oval Office and have his say, you know, everyone in this room was a no when we walk in here, now they've all turned around and all yes.

The kind of active diplomacy that he is doing with his own party because that's where he needs it at the moment, seems to be working on health care. What do you think?

JACKSON:  I think my understanding was a lot of those people in the office for yes' to begin with and he can't pass Trump care with everyone in that room. He needs to expand beyond that. And without question right now it's not going to pass the Senate. He would be extremely lucky even if it passes the House and things are going to have to change for that.

And I think if we are looking at what happened this week, if I already to give him a grade it would be for working Americans and our poor people it would have to an f, for our more wealthy people who are getting tax cuts while poor people lose health care under Trump care, they are going to be getting an a.

So, we're not, you know, with an administration populated by people from Wall Street and multimillionaires what we're seeing so far is not unexpected.

MCCALLUM:  You know, it strikes me listening to Bud, Mollie, that in the end what's going to matter is what the American people take away from all of this, and what is their actual experience with this budget. And that's going to take some time to figure out, what's their actual experience with health care, and do their premiums start to go down a little bit? And does their choice start to expand in time?

Those measures are, you know, they're a long ways away.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, SENIOR EDITOR, THE FEDERALIST:  Well, apart from me than on the policies, one of the way that Americans tend to judge a presidency is for fairly or not on the economy. And this was another good week for the economy. Janet Yellen, the fed chairman came out and said it's time for consumers to be confident. They can be confident in the economy once again.

This is a really underreported issue that is a strength for President Trump and was a big part of his messaging in his campaign after years of a sluggish economy. There was also the release of the budget, which has very minor cuts but they still are symbolically significant and make a first strike against the administrative state, which is what we've heard is going to be a main theme of this presidency.

And it's just a little bit of rollback here and there and nowhere near enough for what we actually need to do to have this size and scope of the federal government pulled back, but it is a start.

On the other hand, the roll out of the health care bill did not seem to be going well with the CBO estimates, you know, whether you believe that or not, whether you think those are good estimates or not. It suggested that it would be better to just repeal ObamaCare outright and replace it with nothing than replace it with this sort of shell of ObamaCare on top of it.

MCCALLUM:  Yes. But I was struck by Angela Merkel's comments today. She basically said, yes, you know, we've decided that we are going to pay a little bit more of our fair share. We're working towards that 2 percent GDP goal in Germany. And it just struck me as something that was seen as so outrageous when it was brought up on the campaign trail.

And yet, now it's just sort of an offhanded remark in the middle of what Angela Merkel and it's basically a done deal as far as Germany is concerned and there will be pressure on other members of NATO to follow suit. What do you think?

JACKSON:  Well, we'll see what happens. But I also think what you're seeing is what's called diplomacy which is something that the Trump administration is very deficient in. During the campaign she was free to call it outrageous but now she has to work with the administration and of course she is going to do the best that she can to sort of throw an olive leaf in his direction.

MCCALLUM:  Guy? I mean, you know, it seems to be when you out something out like that and it's met with so much admonishment and so much shock in some quarters and granted some of these comments about NATO, people did find shocking and even members of his now own administration don't agree with him on this.

But it's clear that the game has changed in our relationship with countries like Germany. And when you look at this discussion with Angela Merkel you got the flip side of what you got with Benjamin Netanyahu. You have a new president, you have relationships that are sort of mirror image and they're working on them.

BENSON:  Yes. And you said it right. It's a new reality and the German chancellor's remarks at the press conference reflected that. And I think overall, one of the big take away from that press conference was Merkel standing up there and saying I think we have learned that it's better to talk to each other than about each other.

MCCALLUM:  Yes.

BENSON:  Which suggests that they had a very good, constructive conversation, which sounds to me like something other than deficient diplomacy.

MCCALLUM:  Thank you so much, all of you. Great to have you here. Bud, Mollie, and Guy.

JACKSON:  Thanks, Martha.

MCCALLUM:  Have a great weekend. Before we leave you tonight, one more a little bit of Irish on this Friday it is a quote of the night and it's a toast. Here's to a long life, a merry one, a quick death and an easy one. A handsome lad and an honest one. A cold beer and another one.

Have a great night. Thanks to our panel. Thanks for watching, everybody. Cheers. "The Five" is live up next. I'm Martha McCallum.

END

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