TRANSCRIPT

Will Nunes stepping down restore confidence in House probe?

Reaction and analysis on 'The Five'

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," April 6, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Hello everyone, I'm Eric Bolling along with Kimberly Guilfoyle, Juan Williams, Dana Perino, and Greg Gutfeld. It is 5 o'clock in New York City and this is "The Five."

A very big news day, today we're following four big breaking stories. Devin Nunes has stepped aside from the Russia probe, Republicans have gone nuclear to get Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch confirmed, the U.S. maybe moving closer to taking action in Syria following Tuesday's chemical attack, and a high-stakes meeting is about to take place between on North Korea between President Trump and China's leaders Xi Jinping.

We begin with the House investigation of Russia's meddling with our election. This morning, embattled intelligence committee chairman Devin Nunes stepped aside from leading the probe as this chamber's ethics committee investigates whether he improperly disclosed classified information. Texas Republican Mike Conaway will take over for Nunes with assistance from Congressman Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney. Ranking member Adam Schiff says it was, after all, the right thing to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.: I think it is in the best interest of the investigation. It will I think allow us to have a fresh start moving forward, this investigation is of such critical importance that we need to get fully back on track. It is, I think, worth noting that the investigation never went into hiatus, so we've been continuing to develop our witness list, to work out some of the logistics in terms of how we bring people before the committee and what the process will be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: The White House says Nunes' temporary recusal doesn't change the substance of the surveillance issue. Only this afternoon President Trump said he thinks Nunes is a good and honorable person. Now KG --

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Yes.

BOLLING: There are whispers that Nunes decided to step aside, not down but step aside after speaking with Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan didn't answer that question when asked.

GUILFOYLE: You're right. He's probably not going to disclose that. They're private or confidential discussions about it, but it seems like there's something there. Many people feel that Nunes didn't do anything wrong. He received this information and therefore was as transparent and disclosed it.

It seems that the main objection was the way, the manner in which the order, the chronology of events in terms of was he too obligated to notify the other people on the committee first before he went public with that, and that seems to be a matter of protocol versus any kind of improper action on his part.

I mean, ultimately, this is something we do want to know about and he put the interests of the American people ahead of perhaps maybe thinking about in sound judgment what might not be beneficial to him personally and disclose this information, and now we are aware of it. Schiff has the information and didn't.

BOLLING: Juan, what are you hearing, what do you thinks what the reason for Nunes to step aside?

JUAN WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: Well, the ethics committee is now looking into the fact that he disclosed information that at the time he didn't have the authority to disclose. And so he was used by the White House as it was trying to build the case that somehow President Trump had told the truth when he said President Obama had him wiretapped. And that still is not the case.

But Nunes got himself really, I think in the crosshairs of the ethics of the investigation, first and foremost, but secondly with his own party, with Paul Ryan, the speaker. Ryan really wants the house to have some credibility and he does not want Adam Schiff and the Democrats to be able to say that Republicans are the one who fell in line with the Trump's effort to throw up a smokescreen around this. He wants the house to maintain its credibility and as a result, Nunes had to go.

BOLLING: Dana, do you think this is a good idea for -- can I just throe this in here, I think Devin Nunes is an honorable and a very, very good congressman, and also was the right guy to lead this committee. I wish he hadn't stepped down. It feels to me like a little bit of leadership pressure for him to do it, but is that the right thing to do?

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: I think you have to take Congressman Nunes at his word. I mean there is -- I know that there is this desire to try to paint Paul Ryan as somebody who is like always getting in the way of the far right or whoever, the pro-Trump people getting support.

But I think it has actually been Paul Ryan that has been supportive of President Trump on the agenda. And I actually think that if Nunes came to Ryan and said, there's this ethics investigation, do you think I should step aside? It seems just prudent to do so in order to protect the integrity of the investigation and to make sure that the House can continue to have an investigation.

When the senators came out and spoke a week ago, they were so measured and they work in a bipartisan way and people have confidence in that investigation. Pretty much nobody had confidence in the House investigation at least. They don't even have a good relationship between the two of them, Republican and Democrat.

But the thing is, is that the Democrats don't seem to think that Representative Conaway is any better. If you look at some of the responses about him today, it just feels so broken and partisan, and for an intelligence investigation to go forward and to have some measure of credibility, I think stepping aside while the ethics committee looks at the allegations, I think it's prudent.

BOLLING: Greg, what about completely stepping aside? What about the whole committee stepping aside and handing it over to the senate?

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Maybe. Look, I don't blame Nunes whatsoever for leaving. Clearly he was tired of people ruing his good name. Literally, they kept mispronouncing it every single day. He said he had -- kind was hoping they would replace him with Steve Bannon.

But you know when somebody says they're doing something out of their best interests? Out of the best interest? That means they're being forced. It's like second to I'm going to spend more time with my family as an excuse for leaving quickly. I don't really think that this is big news.

So he steps aside. So what? You're just going to replace him with a Republican. It's not like replacing old Darren with new Darren on "Bewitched" which frankly ruined the show. You're just going to get Trey Gowdy and somebody else. It'll be fine. Don't worry about it. No one gets hurt.

PERINO: The Democrats are already trying to (Inaudible) the reputation of Conaway and --

BOLLING: Well why does he not (ph) step aside then as well. I mean there are a lot or Juan, does that --

GUILFOYLE: Tit for tat.

BOLLING: -- place to the level that it has to be a formal complaint against Adam Schiff I know like House member -- hey, by the way, House, complain about Adam Schiff where he went out on a limb and said he had direct evidence that something was going on and he has never proved or came forward with that evidence. He's walked that back inside.

WILLIAMS: You know, it's not an eye for an eye here, Eric. I mean, really. I mean, I think Republican or Democrat, Paul Ryan or Adam Schiff, they can say, hey, you know, Devin Nunes got caught up in something here where he was being used by people inside the White House later revealed to be members of the National Security Council to try to create an excuse for President Trump.

It's just not -- I mean so -- you know, clearly you have Schiff and the Democrats on the committee who say not only did he disclose information, he didn't have authority to disclose, but secondly, he didn't go through the congressional process. He didn't come back to share it with the committee and then say, the committee has seen this evidence and here's what I think of it, which still would've been inappropriate.

BOLLING: But he still maintains that he did everything properly.

GUILFOYLE: Right, and here's -- so people are going to object because maybe he put the cart before the horse, et cetera. What he did do was he told the truth and he revealed the information, and he was -- it was two NSC staffers, not sort of White House personnel that helped him pull up those documents in the skip (ph) room.

WILLIAMS: There was White House stamp.

GUILFOYLE: Well, OK, they are NSC.

WILLIAMS: Part of the White House.

GUILFOYLE: And so, yes, right, right. It's not others -- White House personnel or people outside of this, people who are able to see that information as --

BOLLING: Let's move on to the parts that the Democrats don't want to talk about. Susan Rice and her role in unmasking of the identities of the Trump team members from intelligence reports. We're now learning -- and this only (ph) keeps blooming -- we're now learning that those reports contained personal detailed information about them, completely unrelated to Russia or national security and that is important. Here is intelligence committee member Peter King.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: This is information of everyday lives -- who they were talking with, who they're meeting, where they were going to eat, really nothing of any substance or value unless you're just trying to lay out a dossier on somebody. Sort of like a divorce case where lawyers are hired, investigators are hired to just find out what the person is doing tomorrow and tonight and then you try to piece it together later on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: OK Dana, aside from leaking, which we will get to later on when the information comes forth, but the unmasking again has to have some sort of national security threat in order to demand the, you know, the NSA, CIA, or FBI to unmask. And it looks like this had nothing to do with national security.

PERINO: Well, how do you know that?

BOLLING: I just --

PERINO: I mean, based on what we know --

BOLLING -- the report that came out today.

PERINO: None of us have seen it. None of us know. None of us were there and that's why there's an investigation. It's uncomfortable to comment on an intelligence investigation when we have no intelligence to comment on.

BOLLING: I mean this came from -- I'm not positive but I think Adam Housely is the one who reported this last night and this morning that think --

PERINO: I agree that there could be something there, but I don't -- but you're asking me --

BOLLING: -- that there is information that's personal in nature, not national security threat in nature.

PERINO: I just -- I'm not able to comment on it because I haven't seen it --

BOLLING: Fair enough.

PERINO: -- and it's just -- it's not appropriate to do so. She did something wrong. It will come out. There's an investigation. She has said that -- I think that she said she would be willing to go and talk to them, so that will take place.

BOLLING: OK, I'm sorry, that maybe Catherine Herridge who may have reported that. Anyone who want to comment?

GUTFELD: I think both sides have to agree that their scandal matters. You know, Don Lemon says were not going to report on this, and then, you know, we go like this is more important than pollution. For the Democrats, it's the Russian collusion. For the Republicans, it's the leaks. They both matter.

And what do you do if you have two kids in the backseat and one kid wants pizza and the other kid wants a cheeseburger? You go to the Cheesecake Factory so you can have cheesecake or cheeseburgers and you can have pizza. The Cheesecake Factory here is an investigation where you look at everything. Just say we're going to look at all and we're going to find out the answers because this is going to go on for four years.

The left is going to be talking about collusion and the right is going to be talking about leaks and it's going to keep going, these two tracks, for four years. Are you going to be able to stomach it?

GUILFOYLE: I think it was an abundance of caution. He tried to do that and probably, yes. There was party pressure and interest to say listen, let's be above and kind of reproach. It makes sense. We're trying to get health care reorganized. We're trying to get taxes redone and regulations taken care of.

There is a lot on the plate. There's North Korea to deal with in a substandard (ph) way. There is Syria to deal with. There's the visit from, you know, China today that's significant internationally. So therefore, he kind of did what Sessions did which was said, I'm going to remove myself from this as a lightning rod. I mean, White House insiders will know what the real deal is.

BOLLING: Let me ask pose a question to my good friend Juan who I have yet to hear a really good answer from a liberal from the left. Why would an Obama appointee, Susan Rice, demand from the NSA, FBI and CIA the unmasking of Trump team names, and now we know even further, not just names, but all the information that they had that they demanded. So she was demanding dozens of times had to do with personal information, nothing to do with Russians and national security risks in nature.

WILLIAMS: Well I think this is pretty obvious, but I'll state it for you, which is Susan Rice is national security advisor to the president, gets these documents, her job is to look out for America's national interest, our interest especially when there is a threat from abroad, in this case, the Russians intervening in our election.

She looks at this and she requests, she can't demand, she can request to the intelligence agencies who are these people they're talking about or who are on the intercepts themselves talking. I don't know which one is the case. And then once you know that, then you would want to know background information as to whether or not, for example, money is pouring in the bank accounts from overseas.

BOLLING: Here's the rub though, Juan, the agencies that charge with keeping track of those things, the FBI, the CIA and the NSA, all did not deem those names necessary to be unmasked in order to further an investigation.

WILLIAMS: No, I don't know that.

BOLLING: The eyeballs on the alleged or risky or illegal activity didn't feel it unnecessary to unmask.

WILLIAMS: I don't know that, Eric, but I don't think it's impossible.

BOLLING: Susan Rice asked on more than two dozen occasions I guess, to unmask these names, other than political reasons, there seems to be no other reason to do that.

WILLIAMS: This is what's striking to me, you know, because I have such respect for the question, but there is not one person in the intelligence community in this country who would tell you that they received here, that this is anything out of the ordinary for the national security advisor reading these intercepts to say, who are they talking about or who is involved that's an American that potentially is collaborating with one of our enemies.

BOLLING: They didn't feel the need to do that so why does the White House --

GUILFOYLE: But they did make a finding that there was -- OK, here's the deal, Juan.

WILLIAMS: If her job is -- I'm sorry, go ahead Kimberly.

GUILFOYLE: I just want to explain to you because I hear what you're saying, but -- you're saying, listen, we can't assume that she had some kind of untoward intensive, but the issue is whether or not, ans especially it's completely different when you're dealing with foreign nationals versus AMCITS, American citizens.

So there has to be some kind of substantive reason or belief that there is some kind of collusion or fabric (ph). So absent of that, you're not supposed to unmask. So the question is, why did National Security Agency, FBI, or et cetera say we don't find a reason to do it, and they listened (Inaudible), but she did. That's what I'm --

WILLIAMS: We don't know that.

BOLLING: It took two dozen requests on (INAUDIBLE) name.

WILLIAMS: No, no. Dozens of requests with different questions, not necessarily the unmasking --

GUTFELD: She didn't have any untoward intent when she blamed terror on a video. Maybe the intent doesn't matter. Maybe it's pure stupidity and incompetence or political partisanship.

GUILFOYLE: I think political partisanship.

WILLIAM: You think you're making into her into your whipping boy? I mean this goes back --

GUTFELD: What do you mean by that?

GUILFOYLE: No.

GUTFELD: No, I'm pointing out that she was somebody who blamed a terror incident, a terror attack in Benghazi on a video. I don't trust her judgment, and that was a partisan move.

WILLIAMS: I see, and what came with that?

GUILFOYLE: Let's do (INAUDIBLE) and interject Ben Rhodes.

BOLLING: OK, they were wrapping us anyway.

Ahead, the Republicans make good on their threat to go nuclear to break up an unprecedented filibuster of President Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Today's dramatic showdown, that's next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUILFIYLE: Welcome back. Republicans had no choice. Today they were forced to use the nuclear option to break a Democratic filibuster against President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Here were senates minority and majority leaders earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: When history weighs what happened, the responsibility for changing the rules will fall on the Republicans and leader McConnell's' shoulders. They have had other choices. They have chosen this one. When the dust settles, make no mistake about it. It will have been the Republicans who changed the rules on the Supreme Court.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Our Democratic colleagues have done something today that is unprecedented in the history of the Senate. Unfortunately, it has brought us to this point. We need to restore the norms and traditions of the Senate and get past this unprecedented partisan filibuster. Therefore, I raise the point of order that the vote on cloture under the precedent set on November 21, 2013, is a majority vote on all nominations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUILFOYLE: Republicans change the rules to eliminate the 60-vote threshold after Democrats denied them the votes they need earlier. They will now be able to proceed to a vote tomorrow with a simple majority. All right, Dana, do the math. What do you think about this? They were kind of boxed into a corner.

PERINO: Are you asking me math?

GUILFOYLE: Well.

PERINO: They didn't say there would be math in this.

GUILFOYLE: On this show. On this table.

PERINO: It's interesting that the Democrats decided to go ahead and do it on this one because if President Trump is given a chance to put another person on the bench then they're not going to be able to stop it. They're not going to have any hope of doing it. So, you know, that's where you could really get somebody quite partisan --

GUILFOYLE: Ted Cruz.

PERINO: Well, yes, sure. There is lots of possible good the --

GUILFOYLE: Juan is making --

PERINO: The Democrats in -- look, back home, I think they might look very silly. They all voted to unanimously confirm this judge. Their arguments against him are that Merrick Garlands didn't get a vote, and that just seems like a really bad reason to have chosen to do this, because Merrick Garland was never going to get a vote and he's not going to get a vote so why do this to yourselves.

GUILFOYLE: Well, sometimes playground tantrums feel really good at the moment, just let it all out and you're upset and you want to cut the line to go down the slide, Bolling, but then they've a bigger problem down the road, like Sana said, because now the Republicans can do a push.

BOLLING: They would have done it anyway. It wouldn't matter. I mean, they're going to do it anyway so, why not get it over with. Look, I don't think it's the worst thing in the world that the Senate now votes for Supreme Court nominees on a party basis or let's call it a simple majority basis instead of the 60-vote super majority. I think this is fine. I understand the politics behind pushing back.

But look, here's what you're going to end up. You're going to end up with it anyway and what you've given now, what the Senate has decided to do is given -- if Donald Trump as president for eight years, think of the probability of now, an 83 and an 84-year-old on the bench, right one conservative, one liberal, if both of those decide to retire or for whatever reason are not on the bench anymore, you could end up with a 7-3 - - I'm sorry, 6-3 majority for Republicans.

Look, elections have consequences. We pushed -- I was talking about Donald Trump -- a great reason to vote for Donald Trump is exactly this.

GUILFOYLE: And a lot people did.

BOLLING: This doesn't change where they were with Scalia but certainly going forward, it would be a Republican bench, a conservative bench.

GUILFOYLE: All right, Juanito (INAUDIBLE).

WILLIAMS: Well, if elections have consequences, I think President Obama was elected twice and he doesn't get his choice instead --

BOLLING: (INAUDIBLE).

WILLIAMS: No, he doesn't get the choice he had an entire year. He doesn't get his choice. You know what's interesting to me, you know, trying to step back for a second. We live in an age of a broken Congress and I think the American people overwhelmingly think this. I think the approval ratings for Congress is like 11 percent or something. So, we live in a moment where Republicans used in fact the filibuster to block so much of the Obama administration agenda.

Now the Democrats try to use it, and Republicans say, even at the Supreme Court level, we don't believe in bipartisanship. We're going to do what we have to do to get our guy approved. OK, moving forward, will they then extend this to legislation? Looks likely to me. So we're back to simple majority on everything. There's hardly any difference now between the Senate and the House and we got a broken political structure.

GUILFOYLE: OK. Greg, anything uplifting.

GUTFELD: Trying to figure out where this partisanship first started. I wonder who turned the Supreme Court into a "Super Friends" of judicial activism. It wasn't Republicans Juan. It was democrats. By the way, we knew where these confirmation hearings were going. It's as predictable as adult films. You just want to fast-forward to the end. It's like the NBA. Skip the regular season, let's get to the playoffs. We knew that this was going to come to showdown.

And again, we are letting the left and the media dictate the terms, calling it a nuclear option. All we're doing is shutting up a filibuster that everybody hates. The only reason why filibusters exist is for second or third tier politicians to gain a bit of attention for themselves. SO they get up there and they do some kind of flashy thing. They read from a children's book.

That's all it's for. And then they go on the TV program of their choice and everybody goes, oh, that was so good. You were up there for 12 hours. You were so brave. Do you need a blanket or a cookie? I'm glad we're shutting this crap down and we should have shut it down a long time ago. Both sides do it. End it. It's not a big deal. This guy Gorsuch -- if this guy is extreme, he looks extreme as Maroon Five. Give me a break. This is vanilla (ph) as vanilla (ph) can be.

GUILFOYLE: Are we experiencing a filibuster here.

GUTFELD: Yes. This is a filibuster. I'm not done yet.

GUILFOYLE: I'm about to go nuclear.

GUTFELD: I'm tired of this partisanship accusation.

GUILFOYLE: You lost your turn at adult film (ph).

BOLLING: You know what, both sides are guilty of this. I mean John McCain said that anyone who thought killing the filibuster was stupid, the person who felt that was stupid. And then he voted to kill the filibuster. It's party politics. We have evolved to the point where even the Senate now is going to end up being straight down party lines.

WILLIAMS: Yes, that's what I was saying.

GUTFELD: I hate straight down party lines says no one.

GUILFOYLE: All right. I'm getting killed by the control room. They're killing me softly.

New remarks on President Trump and the crisis in Syria when "The Five" returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thought it was a terrible thing. When you see little babies that are dead from gas, a very, very, you know, heinous form of gas which very few people have access to, and it's bad stuff. That's bad stuff. Really bad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: That was the president earlier on Tuesday's chemical attack on civilians in Syria. Images of the horror changed his position in Syria. He now believes he has a responsibility to act but won't explain yet what it should means for U.S. policy. He's being briefed by national security aides today on military options. Here's more from Senator John McCain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The president talked to me on the phone and said that he was going to consult with General McMaster and General Mattis and make a decision there. Senator Graham and I have strongly recommended grounding his air force. Don't let those planes fly where they're committing more crimes by dropping nerve gas on innocent men, women, and children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressed this crisis earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REX TILLERSON, SECRETAR OF STATE: It is very important that the Russian government consider carefully their continued support for the Assad regime. Assads role in the future is uncertain clearly and with the acts that he has taken, it would seem that there would be no road for him to govern the Syrian people. We are considering an appropriate response for this chemical weapons attack. It's a serious matter and it requires a serious response.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: For more, let's bring in our national security correspondence, Jennifer Griffin. Jennifer, can you catch us up on what's been discussed at the Pentagon today and what more actions we could see before the end of the week?

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, what we are hearing right now from well-placed sources is that discussions are taking place at the highest level about what, if any, military action the U.S. will take against the Assad regime in response for this chemical weapons attack.

We know that H.R. McMaster, the national security advisor, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis flew down to Mar-a-Lago, where he briefed the president on those military options this afternoon.

We understand right now that the U.N. Security Council is meeting. They plan to debate further the Syrian resolution this afternoon, and to -- and the U.S. is pushing for a vote on the Syrian resolution, condemning the Assad regime for that attack. But again, there is a great deal of expectation that the Russians will try to block that move, and that vote could be pushed off. But again, the U.S. would like to see a vote on that resolution today.

I would not expect any sort of military action before there is a vote at the U.N. Security Council, but there are very few diplomats who expect that a resolution will go through, because the Russians have already blocked seven times, in the past, any resolutions on Syria -- Dana.

PERINO: Wow, we're going to -- OK, we're going to take it around the table here. We'll start with Eric.

BOLLING: So Jennifer, I'm probably one -- in the very vast minority of people who think we should probably do nothing beyond humanitarian aid and quite a bit of humanitarian aid. Here's a thought, though.

I think the emphasis is getting Assad out of the president -- presidential palace in Syria, but what do we do, what happens afterwards? You remove Assad, is it our responsibility to make sure that the Syrian people are taken care of? Are we going to just build another nation? Has anyone thought about the fallout post-Assad?

GRIFFIN: Well, Eric, I think you're hitting on a very important point, and there's a great deal of reluctance here at the Pentagon. We've seen this movie before. You'll remember Libya. You'll remember Iraq with Saddam Hussein. Nobody thinks that regime change is a good idea.

However, you just heard Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talk about that very thing, regime change. There are sources here in the Pentagon who I spoke to after Tillerson made those remarks who suggested that perhaps he misspoke, because there did not seem to be any sort of appetite for regime change.

That being said, there's a great deal of frustration and a feeling that -- that this -- that there needs to be some response to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons, and I think that the feeling we get right now, again, the decision rests with President Trump. The feeling is that there will be some sort of military action.

The other thing to think about is not just regime change, but if the U.S. strikes with cruise missiles -- it has two U.S. destroyers off the coast of Syria -- if it strikes with cruise missiles and overwhelms the Russian air defense systems that are set up, there are Russian soldiers, Russian troops on the ground at Syrian airbases. They are likely to die in this process.

And we understand that that is a consideration. You know, if the U.S. launches strikes against Syria and kills Russians, that could really complicate matters in terms of international relations.

PERINO: All right, Jennifer. Gutfeld is next.

GUTFELD: Yes, you bring up the Russians, I'm thinking political conflict going on right now in the United States over the Russian collusion story, does that make confrontation perhaps more likely, because military action is proof to the critics that there is no collusion between Russia and the United States, that -- that Trump is more than likely to act than not act?

GRIFFIN: I would like to think that there is no connection between the two. Because this is a very serious national security issue with regards to Syria. And -- and I believe that the reaction you're seeing at the highest levels, whether it's the statements by the secretary of the state, the president himself in the Rose Garden yesterday, the offensive nature of seeing these children, dozens of children killed, innocent victims by these chemical weapons, I think that is really -- they are very concerned about having delivered a red line and letting the Assad regime get away with this yet again.

PERINO: That's a good -- that's a good point, Jennifer.

Kimberly.

GUILFOYLE: Yes, so you highlight one of the complexities of this, which is the presence over time of Russian and Iranian forces on the ground, which would be a significant diplomatic and international problem in terms of collateral damage or casualties there. So then it further complicates our relationship with Russia.

But there are some alternative targets that we might be able to hit that we'd be able to step away from the Russian S-400 air defense systems. You can hit infrastructure, because you know, also, Assad needs to be able to move his forces. There are some Hezbollah bases, as I understand, there as well, that could be hit. Do you have any information about that, as an option?

GRIFFIN: Well, I don't have any information, per se. But if you hit a Hezbollah base, you're most likely going to hit Iranian fighters or generals, so there is that possibility.

I think that's less of a consideration than perhaps the collateral damage with regards to the Russian forces that are on the ground. That's the real difference, Kimberly, between 2013 and now. The presence of so many Russians is really the biggest sticking point, I believe, for the Pentagon.

PERINO: Yes. We have time to throw a quick last one from Juan Williams.

WILLIAMS: So my principal concern is Americans, because we have American forces on the ground. So if we go with the cruise missiles, because we can't get our jets in there through the Russian defense, then there might be retaliation against the Americans on the ground, and that could further escalate the situation. Is that the correct analysis?

GRIFFIN: That is exactly right. In fact, the Pentagon is very concerned about force protection of those Americans. There are hundreds of Americans on the ground who are advising those forces in the event that those forces move forward in Raqqah; and those -- the protection of those forces is very high on -- in terms of concern here at the Pentagon, yes.

GUILFOYLE: Jennifer, as the number about 700 in terms of Spec Ops on the ground there?

GRIFFIN: I believe that's correct. I'd have to check, and it's all -- it's a bit fluid these days. But remember, there were Marines who were put outside Raqqah with -- with artillery, heavy artillery. They are extremely vulnerable. So this is -- there are a lot of things to weigh when it comes to military action against Syria.

PERINO: All right. Thanks, Jennifer. We appreciate it.

We turn to another foreign policy crisis ahead. That's North Korea. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: A high-stakes meeting is about to take place down at Mar-a-Lago tonight between President Trump and China's leader, Xi Jinping. They're going to talk trade and North Korea, which test-fired a missile ahead of their sit-down. The president wants China to act on the nuke threat, but he doesn't know if he'll be able to convince China to toughen its stance.

Greg, what do you think?

GUTFELD: I always used to think that North Korea firing a missile was like a kid in class that pulls on a girl's pigtails: he just really likes us. But I'm beginning to think he's just insane.

GUILFOYLE: You're beginning.

GUTFELD: It's like Donald Trump is basically heading across the street to the family to talk about the fact that their pet is never on a leash; and that family is China, and North Korea is their pet. And that dog that's not on a leash keeps crapping in our yard, and they've got to have a discussion. And it makes me think -- China has even got to be sick of this guy. They've got to be thinking, like, "You know what?" You know, they're -- China is a country run by very smart engineers, and North Korea is a bug in the system. I think they kind of realize it. Maybe there's -- maybe today, tomorrow something will get worked out.

GUILFOYLE: The problem is their pet is Cujo, not Benji.

GUTFELD: That's true.

GUILFOYLE: So they can't really control it.

GUTFELD: The pet, exactly.

GUILFOYLE: Maybe you have to...

GUTFELD: Yes.

GUILFOYLE: ... put it to sleep. I don't know.

GUTFELD: There you go. Yes.

WILLIAMS: So Dana, like...

GUTFELD: That's always your answer!

WILLIAMS: People -- people have been asking China to intervene.

GUILFOYLE: I'm a jokester (ph).

WILLIAMS: Typically the response comes back, even though, you know, 90 percent of North Korea's trade is with China, the answer comes back, "Oh, but if we do anything, there will be a tremendous influx of refugees, and we don't want to deal with that." So what could President Trump possibly say to change the way that the Chinese are thinking?

PERINO: Well, I think that he can use the Chinese desire for stability to his advantage and to say, "If you want some instability, we can provide that." I think that the president will try to show China that it is in China's best interests in order to help us.

And I think that China has done some. They tried to do it very carefully. I thought -- I remember at the Olympics in 2008, I was so surprised when the North Korean team was announced, and we were in Beijing, and the crowd went wild with cheers. They were so happy.

So I don't know if we can say that China just wants to wash their hands of it. Of course they don't want refugees, but there might be more to the fact that they're the family pet than we realize...

WILLIAMS: That was a wonderful analogy.

GUILFOYLE: To carry that metaphor a little longer.

WILLIAMS: Eric, you know, it's so interesting right now. There's concern in the diplomatic community about the lack of a team supporting President Trump as he meets with the Chinese, because there are so many key positions: assistant secretary of state for East Asian Affairs, assistant secretary of defense. So who does President Trump have with him? Henry Kissinger. Henry Kissinger and Rex Tillerson.

BOLLING: He has the most important person with him, and it's President Trump.

I think it's a huge -- I think this is very big that Xi Jinping decided to come here. Clearly, Xi Jinping wouldn't have come here with his wife if there was going to be -- if it was going to be hostile.

And it really is up to the Chinese to decide whether this is going to be a hostile meeting or not. I think they're going to work it out. I think they're going to say, "Listen, we will talk to them. We'll work things out."

You have the No. 1 and No. 2 economies in the world and the No. 1 and No. 2 militaries in the world meeting together at Mar-a-Lago. This is a great thing.

Here's an interesting thought. Question: Xi Jinping has North Korea to worry about, who's saber-rattling us. I would say Russia, Putin has almost the same situation with Syria going on. Would we be as welcome to Putin coming over here and having a sit-down discussion with Putin, another superpower? That might be a great thing, but will the left and will some of the people on the right say, this is -- this would be fantastic if Trump can sit down and work with the Russians?

WILLIAMS: I think -- I think the Obama administration did just that. When we thought we had taken the chemicals away the first time.

With Trump, I mean, obviously, you've got a difficult situation, given all the interference in the election and the kind of surveillance that we -- we know about.

BOLLING: My point is, I think this is a very, very positive thing, Xi Jinping.

GUILFOYLE: It is. And he's capable of exerting pressure on them, you know, privately and going back and not making any kind of overt station -- statements. I mean, obviously, it's a very volatile situation. You're dealing with someone who is obviously mentally unstable with Kim Jong-un. And the U.S. militarily is capable of taking out, you know, in terms of their missile sites, Air Force, other things. Guess what? The complication is along the DMZ, only 30 miles away is Seoul, which is a huge problem and complication for the Chinese. So again, another complicated situation.

WILLIAMS: Yes. We're going to have to lighten things up here a little. And we've got the way to do it. Greg Gutfeld has got another one of his secrets to happiness, and you're going to want to stick around to hear that one, next.

GUILFOYLE: Oh, boy. From the happy...

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GUTFELD: So according to a new survey, two-thirds of people over 70 are happier than at any point in their lives.

GUILFOYLE: That is awesome.

GUTFELD: Obviously, the less you have of something, the more precious it becomes, and that's time. It's more precious than gold or silver. Sorry, Mr. DeVane.

However, this is a British study, so the old folks could be joyful because they've survived socialized medicine. What doesn't kill you makes you happier.

GUILFOYLE: Oh, my God.

GUTFELD: But also a key highlight about growing old is worrying less about what people think. Here's why: The longer you're here on Earth, the more people who are born who are younger than you, there are more of them than there are older ones who croaked. So as you get closer to the finish line, there are fewer people who interest you and more people, the younger ones, who annoy you.

So for every John Glenn you lose, you gain two Miley Cyruses.

Previous research also finds that the 20s and 30s are the most stressful times. Makes sense: the young are less happy, because they don't know what they've got. There's the rich irony: It's not until you age and gain wisdom that you understand the fun you could've had when you were younger. Youthful impatience obscures the endless potential for joy that's standing right in front of you.

But the thing about being old, if they ask you if you're happy, of course you're going to say yes, because the alternative to being old isn't being young. It's being dead.

GUILFOYLE: All right.

GUTFELD: Yes, so I wanted to find something upbeat. There you go.

PERINO: I think you did it.

GUTFELD: Yes, I think I did. It's good to age. Don't you feel better? I don't know who to go to with this one.

GUILFOYLE: I feel like we're improving.

GUTFELD: Yes. Juan, you -- you might be the senior here.

WILLIAMS: I hope I'm the senior.

GUTFELD: Yes, I believe you are.

WILLIAMS: And in fact, I have a birthday...

GUTFELD: Life gets better for you.

WILLIAMS: I'm going to get older in a few days.

GUTFELD: Really?

WILLIAMS: Yes.

GUILFOYLE (singing): Happy birthday.

BOLLING: We all are.

WILLIAMS: No, no. My clock goes, like, click, and it goes to 63. I'll be much older.

GUILFOYLE: Oh! You look so youthful.

WILLIAMS: Well, you're kind.

But you know what I think? It's so hard to be 19, or like, you start -- you know, can I get into this college? And especially today, the kind of competition in college is crazy. And then, "Can I get this job? Can I get this promotion? Oh, I need a raise. How much does this house cost?" When you are 70, man, that's all in the past.

GUTFELD: Yes. That's why I counsel a lot of people, Dana, in my free time.

PERINO: Yes.

GUILFOYLE: These are very helpful. And I think that's why everyone at The Villages is so happy.

GUTFELD: Yes, that and the fact that they have bars.

GUILFOYLE: They watch FOX News. They get all the fresh air. They have active brains, some through medication. Positive outlook; they get out and about, a lot of things to do. Social, seeing friends and family. Healthy diet -- well, meh -- financially stable. These make sense, don't you think?

WILLIAMS: Sexually active?

GUILFOYLE: You?

WILLIAMS: No, is that on the list?

BOLLING: It's on the list at The Villages.

GUILFOYLE: Exactly.

WILLIAMS: The Villages?

BOLLING: Oh, yes.

GUILFOYLE: Don't worry about that.

GUTFELD: Eric.

BOLLING: I'll go very quickly. Look, youth is wasted on the young.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: This is optimistic. This actually is. I've loved every decade, with the exception of the teens, every decade's been great. And it's good to know that there's -- I can look forward...

GUILFOYLE: I think it does get better.

BOLLING: ... to having a great time, too.

GUILFOYLE: You figure things out. Less things bother you.

GUTFELD: You get to look forward to many years, because you're still young.

PERINO: Well the good thing is for people who are 70, is that life expectancy is so much longer now that you're actually healthier at 70 now than you were, just say, even 50 years ago. So that's one of the reasons you can...

GUILFOYLE: Yes, people are living longer. Still plenty of people to marry.

GUTFELD: Yes. That's for you, I believe. If you make it to 70 you're more likely to make it to 80, they say.

PERINO: That's true.

GUTFELD: Especially women.

BOLLING: That's brilliant.

GUTFELD: Brilliant line. "One More Thing" is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLLING: (SPEAKING SPANISH) Kimberly.

GUILFOYLE: OK. Mucho gracias, senor.

Earlier today, President Trump thanked the wounded warriors at a special event at the White House and thanked them for their service. And keep in mind that members are participating in the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride, which is a four-day ride through Washington that the charity says is an opportunity for these service members and veterans to come together to overcome physical, mental or emotional wounds.

Here's the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You've risked all that you have, all that you possess, to keep our people safe and our democracy secure.

You've earned our freedom with your sweat and your blood and your incredible sacrifice. We salute you. We salute your service, and we salute the flag you have so courageously protected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUILFOYLE: And we thank them for their service.

Eric.

BOLLING: All right, very quickly, you know who's not funny? Seth Meyers is not funny. That's probably why his ratings are crashing and burning. You know who is really funny? Watch this. "The Daily Show." Watch.

GUILFOYLE: That worked well.

BOLLING: Watch.

GUILFOYLE: All right. Moving on.

BOLLING: You know what's really not funny? When you throw to a SOT...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: One at a time. Cecelia?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I feed the fish? Can I?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Can I...

SPICER: Major -- Major, Cecelia is asking a question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When are we going to learn about Russia?

SPICER: Jonathan, somebody is asking a question. It's not your press briefing. Hold on, hold on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really need to go to the bathroom.

SPICER: Hold on, hold on.

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. I think tomorrow is going to be one-question Friday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: That's good stuff. All right. Greg, you're up.

GUTFELD: He does look like a substitute teacher.

GUILFOYLE: I tweeted that today.

GUTFELD: Don Rickles died today at 90 years old. A lot of people -- when you were a kid, maybe you worshiped baseball players, football. I worshiped him. I watched "CPO Sharkey," all the roasts. Anything that he was on, I watched. I had the good fortune of interviewing him 20 years ago, and the first thing he said to me was, "You a Jew?"

WILLIAMS: Oh, my God.

GUTFELD: I explained to him that I was actually Catholic, but it didn't seem to matter. Anyway, I worshipped him. He was the master of the insult, one of the funniest people that ever lived.

BOLLING: Very good. Agreed, agreed.

GUILFOYLE: Great comedian. Loved him.

BOLLING: Juan.

WILLIAMS: Well, congratulations to my son, Raffi Williams, on his first week as the new press secretary to Ben Carson at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. You know, Raffi began in politics working for the Republican Study Committee. He helped a Michigan conservative get reelected. Then he was a spokesman behind Sean Spicer at the RNC. And most recent, White House correspondent for Circa. Now back in politics, and much to my shock, a member of the Trump administration.

GUTFELD: There you go. Very good.

GUILFOYLE: My God.

BOLLING: Dana, very quick.

PERINO: All I'll say is that tomorrow's "One More Thing" will be very special, a little five-year birthday of someone.

BOLLING: A being, a being.

WILLIAMS: I'm more than five.

BOLLING: All right. Set your DVRs so you never miss an episode of "The Five." Our download -- or download our podcast at FOXNewsPodcast.com. "Special Report" is next.

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