TRANSCRIPT

John Bolton: Obama era of foreign policy clearly over

Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. weighs in on 'Hannity'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 7, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: And welcome to "Hannity." And this is a Fox News Alert. Just a little over 24 hours ago, President Trump sent a message that reverberated around the entire world that Syrian president Bashar al Assad's use of chemical weapons against his own people will not be tolerated, and the United States of America is once again willing to back up its words with brute force.

Now, President Trump ordered a tactical Tomahawk missile strike against an airbase in Syria, the very same base that was used by the plane responsible for this chemical attack that killed dozens of innocent men, women, and yes, children.

And according to reports, the U.S. action in Syria was highly effective, destroying around 20 Syrian warplanes and other crucial pieces of their infrastructure. And now as the dust settles, the Trump administration is now turning up the heat on Russia, the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, calling them, quote, "complicit" or, quote, "simply incompetent" in the Syrian chemical attack.

Joining us now with more live from Mar-a-Lago, where the president is tonight, is our own John Roberts -- John.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Sean, good evening to you. And I'm told by press secretary Sean Spicer that the president is very pleased with the execution and the response to last night's cruise missile attacks against that airbase in Syria. The White House believes that in this particular case, the military performed, quote, "magnificently."

Now, the big question is, what happens next? In terms of keeping the pressure on Assad, the United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley said today that the U.S. could take further action. She hopes it doesn't come to that, but sending a very, very strong warning to President Assad to say that, If you misbehave again with something like you pulled on Tuesday, we could potentially hit you again.

And Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, said late today that he is about to announce more sanctions against the Syrian regime in order to try to stop these attacks, and not just the chemical attacks, Sean, but all of these attacks against Syrian civilians, hoping that by depriving people of being able to do business with Syria, that will put further pressure on the regime.

Now to Russia because another one of the big questions is, what happens with the United States' relationship with Russia, Rex Tillerson saying this afternoon that he is disappointed by Russia's response, saying that it looks like they are still willing to go all in to back Bashar al Assad, reiterating that he's disappointed, but not surprised.

We had statements from Dmitry Medvedev, the prime minister, Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister, the spokesman for Vladimir Putin all condemning the attack. But I am told, Sean, that there's a lot of public bluster going on here. And that include sending that Russian frigate through the Bosphorus into the eastern part of the Mediterranean, but that through the official diplomatic channels, there hasn't been a whole lot of blowback from Russia over this.

So they've got two tracks here. They've got the public posture, telling their populace that they're strong, that they're going to be talking about this in very strident terms with the United States. But then on the diplomatic side, it seems like they're much more muted in their response.

We'll get a greater sense next week of exactly what the relationship with Russia is in regard to this and where it might be going forward when it Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, meets with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow -- Sean.

HANNITY: You know, John, it's very interesting because we know that Russia earlier this week said their support -- this was after the chemical attack against men, women and children -- that they said their support for Bashar al Assad was not unconditional. So they kind of distanced themselves a little bit from this attack, or at least attempted to.

We are now getting pictures of the war room inside of Mar-a-Lago from last night, the secure war room that they set up there. And we'll put those up on the screen for our audience.

But there's an interesting back story because the president was dining with the head of China, the premier of China, at the very moment those missiles were in the air. And I'm hearing the president had to lean over and tell him what was going on. Do you know anything about that?

ROBERTS: Yes, well, here's the tick-tock sort of the final day because there were four NSC meetings that led up to the decision to take action in Syria. The last one came at about 4:00 o'clock at Mar-a-Lago. That's when Rex Tillerson, H.R. McMaster, and James Mattis, defense secretary, sat down with the president and said, OK, we've answered all of the -- we've got the answers to all the questions that you want have to have answered because the president apparently had a lot of questions in the run-up to all of this.

They said, Here's three options. We weren't told what the other two options were, but one of them we believe was do nothing. We don't know what the other one was, or we can hit this base.

And so the president made the decision at about 4:00 o'clock. Then he went into his meetings with Xi Jinping. And the two of them were having dinner there at Mar-a-Lago as the missiles were in the air.

And just after the president got confirmation, Sean, that those missiles had begun hitting their targets at that airbase, he turned to Xi Jinping and said, I just want to let you know we've taken military action against Syria. Here are the reasons why. And according to the White House, Xi Jinping at least indicated to understand what the president was doing, though in an official statement from the Chinese foreign ministry, China has said that they're urging peace on all sides and to try to not provoke anything that would increase tension in the region -- Sean.

HANNITY: Understood. All right, John, interesting back story. I know you worked a lot of long hours. Thank you for your great coverage.

Joining us now here on "Hannity" live from Washington with the latest intel about these chemical weapons attacks -- that going on in Syria on Tuesday -- Catherine Herridge. Catherine, That's what the latest?

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Well, Sean, military intelligence is investigating whether Russia had a role in the chemical weapons attack and tried to destroy evidence with a second air strike to cover up the crime.

A drone belonging to either Syria or Russia was seen over the rebel-held town after the sarin gas attack Tuesday. It returned later that day, this time at the hospital where the victims were being treated, and a short time after that, the hospital was bombed.

Based on this Defense Department document released today, there is no doubt Syrian government jets carried out the chemical attack. The red dots there on the right track, their flight path showing the jets were over the town twice in a nine-minute period when the sarin gas was unleashed.

Another reason the plan came together quickly and seamlessly -- the U.S. has target plans on the shelf for Syria's six main airbases. These plans were developed a few years ago so that President Obama could deliver on his red line pledge.

Today, a senior administration official said the punishing air strikes may not be over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The United States took a very measured step last night. We are prepared to do more, but we hope that will not be necessary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HERRIDGE: The intelligence is so solid that the U.S. already had strong indicators the airbase had chemical weapons, and despite these assurances to the Obama administration, Syria had not given up its program, Sean.

HANNITY: All right, Catherine, when we talk about these air strikes, from what I heard, all 59 Tomahawk missiles -- and remember, they're 18 feet long, 1,000 pounds of ammunition, two feet wide from a range of about what, 600 miles in some cases pinpoint accuracy, all hit their targets.

HERRIDGE: That's right, extremely accurate. And just to emphasize for people at home, we have such good intelligence about these airbases. It's so granular in nature, we know exactly where the jets are, where the helicopters are, the maintenance facilities. And it was from these intelligence streams that we knew they had chemical weapons stored at that base. So in many respects, the clock was already ticking for the Syrian president, and we were waiting for him to make a mistake, Sean.

HANNITY: You know, phenomenal. And they didn't hit those chemical weapons.

HERRIDGE: That's correct.

HANNITY: That was by design.

HERRIDGE: That's right.

HANNITY: That was all by design because that would've carried many miles away. It would've put a lot of people's lives in jeopardy.

HERRIDGE: It would have.

HANNITY: And they also -- the Tomahawks -- we'll go through this later in the show -- they fly at low ranges. In other words, they're not that high up in the sky. People, I'm sure, were watching them flying in. Catherine, phenomenal military work and pinpoint accuracy. They deserve our support tonight. We'll show you later in the program how amazing these Tomahawk missiles are.

But now first joining us -- thank you, Catherine -- from the Pentagon with much more, Lucas Tomlinson is with us -- Lucas.

LUCAS TOMLINSON, FOX PRODUCER: Well, hey, Sean. Here's what we know. Just hours after those two U.S. Navy destroyers fired 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Syria, the Pentagon noticed that a Russian warship armed with (INAUDIBLE) caliber (ph) cruise missiles had gone from the Black Sea through the Bosphorus straight into the Aegean sea. That happened this morning.

The Russian frigate Admiral Grigorovich is expected to enter the eastern Mediterranean this evening. U.S. defense officials tell me the Russian warship is heading toward the USS Ross and Porter (INAUDIBLE) the two destroyers that conducted the Syrian strike.

The Navy has been watching the ship, monitoring its movements. Russian state media said today this is a routine transit to the Syrian port of Tardis, which Russia leases. Just yesterday, there were no Russian warships in the eastern Mediterranean, Sean. We asked this question when it became obvious the U.S. Navy was preparing a missile strike.

Now the eastern Mediterranean is a little more crowded. Now, Sean, these two guided missile destroyers can hold 70 Tomahawk cruise missiles. I'm told just a short time ago, one of those destroyers is presently steaming to an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean to rearm -- Sean.

HANNITY: All right, Lucas, thank you for that report. We appreciate it.

Joining us now with much more, the former ambassador to the United Nations, Fox News contributor John Bolton. John, I'm going to have my monologue coming up in the next segment. I delayed it obviously for the breaking news tonight. But one of the things I am interpreting from this -- America is back! If a red line is drawn, there will be action. There's no U.N. approval needed. This is a very different America the world is seeing tonight than they were seeing, say, oh, 27 hours ago.

JOHN BOLTON, FMR. U.S. AMB. TO U.N., FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. The Obama era for American foreign policy is clearly over.

I thought this strike ordered by the president was very measured, very precise, had a very limited rationale because of the use of chemical weapons, but very effective. And I think the message that it sent around the world to adversaries, potential adversaries, China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, well beyond Syria, something that needed to be heard, and I think it's going to change a lot of calculations.

I don't think you can underestimate the reverberations that we're going to see from this.

HANNITY: Listen, I'm certain that Pyongyang, North Korea -- I'm certain that Iran and certainly even Russia got a very different feel for America last night.

What do you make of -- I mean, in your capacity as a former U.N. ambassador, here's the president of the United States. He's having dinner with the premier of China and has to lean over probably during dessert and say, By the way, I probably need to give you a head-up, I just launched a 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria because they killed innocent men, women and children with chemical weapons. What does that say to China?

BOLTON: Well, it's enormously important because we know that North Korea's nuclear weapons program was right at the top of the agenda in their bilateral meetings. And what Trump basically said is when a country like Syria undertakes solemn commitments in the chemical weapons convention and the famous John Kerry deal that we thought eliminated or at least the Obama administration thought eliminated Syria's chemical weapons -- when countries violate those commitments, there are going to be consequences.

So when Donald Trump raises the North Korean nuclear weapons program today, Xi Jinping knows that unlike the last eight years, he's talking to somebody who's prepared to take action--

HANNITY: You know--

BOLTON: -- to protect American national security.

HANNITY: Ambassador, I'm going to play in the next segment comments by President Obama, by Susan Rice, by John Kerry, all saying, Oh, Obama's red line in the sand with Syria -- well, that caused them to eliminate all of their chemical weapons.

They were wrong. They were dead wrong. We saw the impact this past Tuesday, dead children lying in the street and many others suffering and bleeding and dying!

Now, my question is this. What if Obama and Kerry and Susan Rice were as wrong on Iran and the deal that they made and their capacity to make nuclear weapons as they were in Syria and Bashar al Assad and getting rid of chemical weapons?

BOLTON: That's exactly the right question. These people live in a fantasyland where rogue states, authoritarian governments make commitments and then live up to them, and we can verify that they did it. In Syria, we saw the consequence of this. All those chemical weapons were taken care of. John Kerry told us. Barack Obama told us, Susan Rice.

HANNITY: Yes, they all did.

BOLTON: And they could verify it. They were sure of it, just like they're sure that Iran has stopped its efforts toward deliverable nuclear weapons, just as they could cut a deal with North Korea.

This is the kind of lesson I think for the new Trump administration. When you sit down across the table with the Russians, with the Iranians, the North Koreans, they may agree with what you want. They may tell you all kinds of interesting things. They don't have the slightest intention of meeting their obligations. That's where the risk to America really comes in.

HANNITY: All right, let me -- last question, Ambassador, because we have this very public posture by Russia, and then we saw Russia pull back a little bit earlier this week when they said their support for Syria was not unconditional. Many ways, it seems like they're doing a little saber- rattling, but behind the scenes, they do not want to take on this issue of Syria and the United States.

Didn't they have the capacity to put up their missile defense system last night and they didn't do it at this very air force base?

BOLTON: Well, I think the one thing that comes out of this that's good and we did give the Russians advance notice and they did not, apparently, pass it on to the Syrians.

HANNITY: But we had a treaty to do that.

BOLTON: But that's -- well, we had a commitment. But I think the Russians are embarrassed by what Assad did in that chemical attack. They're not concerned with the humanitarian aspect, but they know now they've got a problem. The principal Russian interest here is protecting their naval base at Tardis, their airbase at Latakiyah.

You know, I think they'll stick with Assad as long as they can. And they would only replace him with somebody who would allow them to stay there. That's what their interests are, and that's what they'll maintain.

HANNITY: All right, Ambassador, very different America than 27 hours ago.

BOLTON: Indeed.

HANNITY: Thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.

BOLTON: Thank you, Sean.

HANNITY: And coming up -- last night, the world saw a major difference between leading from behind and leading from the front. That is the subject if tonight's monologue. That's coming up next.

And also tonight--

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Russia has been constructive and helping to remove 100 percent of the declared chemical weapons from Syria.

BARACK OBAMA, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They got rid of the chemical weapons and that, in fact, was very important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: You hear that? Members of the Obama administration dead wrong when they told you back in 2014 that Bashar al Assad had no longer chemical weapons at his disposal. We'll get reaction tonight from Monica Crowley and Ric Grenell. They weigh in next.

And also tonight, last night's military air strike lasted only several minutes, was completely at successful, pinpoint accuracy. We'll get reaction and understanding of what this Tomahawk missile is capable of with Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of "War Stories" straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." So last night, with air strikes in Syria, President Trump -- he showed you, the American people, and the entire world the difference between leading from behind and leading from out front. In other words, the United States of America is back, and that is tonight's "Opening Monologue."

All right, so in response to the Syrian government using chemical weapons against innocent men, women and children last night, well, President Trump ordered the launch of Tomahawk cruise missiles to destroy the airbase where this attack was carried out from.

Now, in doing so, the commander-in-chief is sending a resounding message to you, the American people, and the entire world, America is back. Syria, North Korea, Iran, Russia, China and the rest of the entire world saw a very different United States of America last night. Instead of weakness, we now have strength. Instead of appeasement, capitulation, we now have decisiveness and leadership. Timidity has been replaced by bold action.

Now, this is a far different cry from that of the Obama administration. You want to see how profound this difference is? Just take a look at Syria. Remember back in 2012 when then president Obama -- remember? He drew the red line in the sand with Syrian President Ashar al Bassad (sic), and this is what he said way back then. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that's a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, as we all know, Assad crossed that line. And what did President Barack Hussein Obama do? Absolutely nothing. And what's even worse, that in 2014, the Obama administration was out there bragging about how they worked with Russia to get rid of all of Syria's chemical weapons.
Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We were able to find a solution that actually removed the chemical weapons that were known from Syria in a way that the use of force would never have accomplished.

KERRY: Russia has been constructive in helping to remove 100 percent of the declared chemical weapons from Syria. In fact, that was an agreement we made months ago, and it never faltered even during these moments of conflict.

OBAMA: People may criticize us for not having launched missiles against Assad after chemical weapons had been used, but keep in mind why we didn't. We didn't because they got rid of the chemical weapons. That, in fact, was very important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: President Obama, John Kerry, Susan Rice all said the same thing, Assad had gotten rid of all his chemical weapons. But guess what? They were all dead wrong! Now, unlike his predecessor, President Trump -- he acted swiftly, decisively to stop the Syrian regime from using chemical weapons ever again.

And by the way, here's our final thought. The Obama administration -- remember the horrible deal they made with Iran? They claimed that, in fact, it'll prevent the rogue regime in Tehran, the mullahs of Tehran, from developing a nuclear weapon. Here's a question to ponder. What if they're wrong about that, like they were wrong about Syria and Assad getting rid of their chemical weapons?

Joining us now with reaction, conservative commentator, our friend, Monica Crowley, former spokesman for the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Ric Grenell.

Ric, let's just ponder that question for a second. What if they told the world that they drew a red line and they didn't act because Assad got rid of his chemical weapons? What we saw on Tuesday -- they didn't get rid of their chemical weapons. What if the deal they made with Iran that they say will prevent them from getting nuclear weapons -- well, let's say they're wrong there, too, which would not surprise me.

RIC GRENELL, FMR. SPOKESMAN FOR AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Look, it's very troublesome. I think that we now -- we have to see the full Iran deal right now. It's imperative that Secretary Rex Tillerson release this Iran deal. Let's look at it because we need to be able to check.

What we now know is that we've been hoodwinked. The previous administration trusted Russia, they trusted the U.N., they trusted Assad to say how much chemical weapons that he actually had. You can't trust that. Remember the old adage, you have to--

HANNITY: Trust but verify.

GRENELL: -- verify. You can start by trusting, but you must verify. And we haven't verified the information -- we certainly haven't verified the information in Iran.

We know that they're actually cheating, and the Obama administration looked the other way while they were breaking the new agreement. So I think we need to get ahold of this agreement and verify.

HANNITY: And Monica, that's the point. I mean, he said with such certainty, Obama and Kerry and Susan Rice -- they all said with such certainty that, in fact, Assad got rid of all these chemical weapons. And they're bragging about it and they're talking about how their appeasement policies actually worked, and they drew the red line, and they did nothing.

OK, well, we know the Iranian deal is this bad that we have billions of dollars that we transferred so they can continue spinning those centrifuges. And if, of course, if you ever marry radical Islamic terrorism and radical mullahs with weapons of mass destruction, that is a prescription for a modern-day holocaust on a scale that would make Tuesday look like nothing, as horrific and evil as that was.

MONICA CROWLEY, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: That's exactly right, Sean. I mean, look, you have this statement from the Obama team that they were able through diplomacy to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile. We now know that is not true. So that's a huge Obama legacy fail and a crisis that now President Trump is tasked with cleaning up.

But as you point to, Iran is the linchpin of the Middle East. It's actually the linchpin of global war and peace. Iran is the most powerful and influential terrorist state. Once it is equipped with nuclear weapons, all bets are off. So what President Trump did--

HANNITY: But Monica--

CROWLEY: -- in the last 24 hours was send a message, yes, to the Russians and Assad and the North Koreans and the Chinese, but primarily, this was a shot across the bow to Tehran.

HANNITY: But Monica, think about this. I mean, the media paid very little attention to President Trump meeting with President el-Sisi of Egypt and what a great relationship they seem to have, or King Abdullah of Jordan just this week and what a great relationship they seem to have. That's when he made his statement that this crossed many, many red lines.

And add to that meeting the crown prince, a reset of the relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and this emerging alliance against Iranian hegemony in the region, they're -- this is a very different world order emerging, where it seems to be the North Koreans, the Iranians, the Syrians and Russia isolated from the rest of the world!

CROWLEY: Well, that's right. And what President Trump has demonstrated here, Sean, is that when the United States exercises power and leadership, our allies follow. And the fantasy of the international community and the fantasy of the United Nations -- then the lie is put to all of that because when the United States exercises our leadership in the world, we know that then our allies are reassured and our enemies are put on notice, which is something that's been sorely missing for the last eight years.

Our Sunni Arab allies -- you mentioned Jordan, the Saudis, the Egyptians -- they have all been incredibly supportive of the action that we have taken in Syria. They have been parched. They have been thirsting for American leadership!

HANNITY: Great point, and--

CROWLEY: Israel, as well. And this was a tremendous signal to them, as well, that now the United States has their backs and that American enemies around the world, you're put on notice that this president will take action and will be unafraid to do so!


HANNITY: Ric, we have about 15 minutes. In many ways, I think this new alliance was created by Obama making this horrific Iranian deal.

GRENELL: Yes, look, it's been a problem. We keep hearing about it throughout the region. I actually am a little encouraged that the calculus is now changed. Right now, what we need is diplomacy with muscle. We have to be able to bring in the Turks. Let's not forget they're a NATO ally. They are extremely happy with what Donald Trump has done.

We've got the Egyptians, the Jordanians, all of those that Monica just listed. Now is the time to bring people together and try to see if we can remove Assad peacefully. I think this is a real moment, and we should seize it.

HANNITY: Well, I think -- I think this new alliance in many ways created by Obama's weakness, and I think the new president certainly has an opportunity here that may not have existed for decades. But I appreciate both of you being with us.

And up next on this busy Friday news night tonight here on "Hannity"--

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: President Trump explaining his decision to launch air strikes in Syria. Coming up next, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. He's going to explain in great detail how effective this military operation was executed. He'll explain how the Tomahawks work in detail.

And then later, U.N. ambassador to -- U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, isn't mincing words. Sara Carter and former brigadier general Tony Tata are here to weigh in as we continue this Friday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: That was President Trump last night announcing the U.S. missile strike against a Syrian air base. The U.S. Navy, they launched 60 tomahawk missiles, 59 of the 60 hit the target with only one landing in the sea. The tomahawk missile is a very effective choice for a strike like what we saw last night. It is a precise weapon. It can be fired up to 1,000 miles away.

Joining is now with more is the host of "War Stories," our friend Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. Colonel, we have the images, 59 out of 60 targets, pinpoint accuracy, all missing on purpose the chemical weapons that were stored at that air base. Tell us more about this incredible weapon and the professionalism of our military.

LT. COL. OLIVER NORTH, FOX NEWS HOST: Let's start with the idea that if you want to send a message you can send flowers, but if you want to send a message that matters, send cruise missiles, and that's exactly what the president did.

The good news about all this is no U.S. casualties. I remember well what happened when we did this to Muammar Qaddafi back in the 1980s and President Reagan launched. We didn't have this kinds of missiles in the quantities that we now have them. And we launched an F-111 with two airmen. That didn't happen last night.

The targets that were struck were all pinpointed well before they were launched. The GPS coordinates were plugged into them, and those missiles were ripple fired so that there was about a four minute span between the time the first missile hit and the last missile hit. And as you pointed out, one missile misfired and went into the sea.

The bottom line of this is that Vladimir Putin now knows that if he wants his stooge Bashar al-Assad to stay alive he ought to get him out of Damascus and make him Eddie Snowden's roommate in Moscow. They deserve each other.

HANNITY: Colonel, when you look at the accuracy here, they've got 1,000 pounds of munitions, each and every tomahawk missiles 18 feet long, two feet wide, flying at low altitudes, 600-mile attack here, and 59, they took out 20 aircraft in this attack. It is almost precision perfect.

NORTH: It was. And Sean, one of the things that's important because there's a lot of back chatter right now about whether this was a legitimate target. Shayrat airfield was a legitimate target. It's all military, it's over revetments, aircraft, ground support equipment, a fuel farm, air traffic control radars, and Syrian aircraft, as you pointed out. The bottom line of it was this was a proportional attack in a vital national interest of the U.S., an effort to deter the Syrians or in fact others from doing this kind of chemical attack again. And that means it was not only legal and it was not unconstitutional, it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it.

HANNITY: It's amazing the professionalism of these guys. Colonel, do you see any potential response, I don't see it, from either Assad or Russia, although Russia is trying to do a little phony saber rattling as we speak?

NORTH: I think the collateral damage or the unintended consequences as one of our sister, I guess they're not even relatives, but another network is now talking about, it appears to be the only unintended consequences is limited to the small handful of Trump bashers in Congress. Shamefully one of them is U.S. senator from Virginia, Tim Kaine. He ought to have known better.

There's very positive consequences of this. The Moscow, Tehran, Damascus troika of terror is coming to a close. It's going to get unraveled. And other than Pyongyang, Vladimir Putin doesn't have any friends that matter.

HANNITY: Good point.

NORTH: Number two, Assad is in real danger of a coup from his generals. If he goes Hezbollah loses their logistics lifeline from Tehran, through Baghdad, and up the Euphrates River Valley into Lebanon. These are very positive consequences.

North Korea's chubby little despot and his ayatollah allies in their new ICBM joint venture is now in jeopardy and he knows it.

And one thing, this I differ with one of your previous guests. The Turkish strongmen Tayyip Erdogan, has been prancing around with Putin and musing about pulling out of NATO. Guess what, the music has just stopped, and Erdogan has suddenly realized maybe I better backup might NATO relationship so I'm not the next one to go.

HANNITY: I'm going to write this down, "chubby little despot."

NORTH: He is.

HANNITY: Colonel, good to see you, my friend. Safe home.

NORTH: Appreciate you. Semper fi.

HANNITY: And semper fi, my friend. And a quick programming note, be sure to tune in, "War Stories" hosted by Colonel North this Sunday night on our sister network, the FOX Business Network, starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern.

And coming up next tonight on this busy news night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALEY: The United States took a very measured step last night. We are prepared to do more, but we hope that will not be necessary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issues that very stern warning to Syria after last night's air strike. Sara Carter and former Brigadier General Tony Tata, they are here with reaction.

And also tonight, President Trump scores a major victory after the Senate confirms judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ed Henry, Jay Sekulow, they weigh in as we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALEY: Assad did this because he thought he could get away with it. He thought he could get away with it because he knew Russia would have his back. That changed last night.

The United States will not stand by when chemical weapons are used. It is in our vital national security interest to prevent the spread and use of chemical weapons.

Our military destroyed the airfield from which this week's chemical strike took place. We were fully justified in doing so. The United States took a very measured step last night. We are prepared to do more, but we hope that will not be necessary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: That was the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley earlier today saying the U.S. is prepared to do more in Syria if necessary. After the government of course used chemical weapons against men, women, and innocent children in the wake of last night's military operation, Sara Carter is reporting, quote, "After the U.S. missile strike directly on Syria on Thursday night, U.S. officials confirmed to Circa News that intelligence agencies are watching closely for a possible retaliatory strike by the Lebanon based Hezbollah against U.S. interests overseas."

Sara Carter with Circa News joins us now, as well as the author of "Besieged," retired Brigadier General Tony Tata. Let's start, Sara, with you. Of course whenever military action is used you have got to contemplate what the potential consequences are. But I've got to believe Hezbollah, if they are going work against the United States in their interests, they too know what strike would be coming their way.

SARA CARTER, CIRCA NEWS: Absolutely. I just got off the line with some Free Syrian Army contacts, and I asked him the same questions that I posed to U.S. intelligence today, and they said, yes, they are very emboldened by what happened, the Free Syrian Army is. They are very emboldened, and they have a lot of respect for President Trump.

But they did say there is a concern on the ground and they are monitoring it very closely that Iran could use Hezbollah to launch a retaliatory type of strike in an attempt to try to embarrass President Trump or try to redirect his push against Bashar al-Assad. So this is very significant. It's something we really have to keep an eye out for. I think the U.S. military as well as U.S. intelligence, and that also includes Iraqi military, they're going to keep a very close eye on this as well, Sean.

HANNITY: Sara, I think what Colonel North is saying is also true, and that is he calls it the troika of Moscow and Damascus and Tehran, that they are very isolated now in the world. We know Iran has been fighting all these proxy wars using groups like Hezbollah and others. But there is the new emerging alliance of the Jordanians, Egyptians, the Saudis and the Israelis to prevent Iranian hegemony in the region, whatever alliance they might have with Russia or Syria and Assad, right?

CARTER: Yes, absolutely. And that's the push to try to stop this Shia crescent that was evolving over the last eight years. They really felt emboldened, the Iranians, the Russians, Bashar al-Assad. I mean, they were conducting chemical weapons attacks. We know based on evidence that those chemical weapons were not dispersed or not pushed out of Syria. We know that they are still there.

And there's a lot of other significant steps that the United States could take. I mean, if Bashar al-Assad continues. If the Russians continue to push, there are other airbases there that don't have Russian presence that they could take out. There is Hamas airfield and there's also Dumar (ph) airfield which a strategical, that could be something that we see in the future.

HANNITY: And Brigadier General Tata, from a military standpoint, it's certainly something that I'm sure --- look, this was perfect precision accuracy, 59 of 60, they all hit their targets. They missed the chemical weapons facility where those weapons were stored. So certainly preparation and contemplation of retaliation was contemplated, right?

BRIGADIER GENERAL TONY TATA, (RET) "BESIEGED" AUTHOR: Yes, roger that, Sean. We've got to the greatest fighting force in the world, but what we have to really take a look at is President Obama's ignorance of the Iran deal. Within a year of the Iran deal, Hezbollah has now 20,000 active-duty fighters, 25,000 reserve fighters, 160,000 new missiles, and they are weaponizing unmanned aerial vehicles with biological and chemical weapons.

This is a very real threat that is funded by President Obama's Iranian deal. And so I was glad to see Ambassador Haley actually exert leadership on behalf of President Trump so that these collective security arrangements are only as strong as their primary leader. And to get all the laggards moving forward, Ambassador Haley is actually exerting leadership on behalf of the United States to try to do something because our vital interests are threatened. Obama should have read his own national security strategy were a world order based on the rule of law and eliminating chemical weapons are part of that strategy.

HANNITY: How wrong could he have been? They talk about George Bush, we didn't find weapons of mass instruction. He assured us those chemical weapons were gone. Thank you, general. We appreciate it. And as always, Sara, great reporting, we appreciate it. We'll be back, by the way, on Susan Rice next week because I know you've got more information coming out.

And coming up the night, a huge winner for President Trump. America is back. The Senate also confirmed today Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. We'll get reaction from Ed Henry and Jay Sekulow as "Hannity" continues this busy Friday night.


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MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On this vote, the ayes are 54, the nays are 45, the nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch of Colorado to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is confirmed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Vice President Mike Pence making it official. Today the Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch will be sworn in on Monday. Joining us now with reaction, from the American Center for Law and Justice Jay Sekulow, the author of a great new book, "42 Faith, The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story," Fox's own Ed Henry.

Jay, we know this is going to come for the first time in a couple of hundred years. The Democrats for partisan reasons, they filibuster, and to the credit of Mitch McConnell both on Merrick Garland and holding the line and on using the constitutional option, he did his job. I give kudos and praise to the Senate today.

JAY SEKULOW, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE: I think this was great. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader return to the constitution to its proper foundations. As it is written which simply requires a majority of the United States Senate. We now have a justice that is confirmed for the Supreme Court of the United States, Neil Gorsuch. And I'll tell you, as someone who litigates at the Supreme Court, I've got cases on the way up now. Having eight is not good for anybody because you end up with ties and you don't get decisions. This was a positive move, very positive move.

HANNITY: And from 1789 to 1917 we had a simple majority in the Senate. We don't remember that part. That's the interesting historical aspect of this.

SEKULOW: You're right.

HANNITY: Ed Henry let me bring you in here. I know Democrats try to say the Republicans changed things here, but it was really there filibuster that forced the Republicans hand.

ED HENRY, "42 FAITH" AUTHOR: Two things, really, Sean. This door was cracked open by Harry Reid, the last sent Democratic leader. Don't forget, of course, that he's the one who changed Senate precedent so that you only needed 51 votes for cabinet picks in order to help Barack Obama. Now that has been an aide to Donald Trump as president. And then Chuck Schumer busted the door wider open, you're right, with this unprecedented filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee. So Republicans certainly had the high ground to do this and get President Trump's pick on the high court. But far be it for me to rain on the "Hannity" parade here on Friday night. But be forewarned.

HANNITY: You were doing great. It will come back to bite you.

HENRY: Four years, eight years from now, President Elizabeth Warren or some other Democrat --

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Republicans give them an up or down vote.

SEKULOW: Never, we never filibuster.

HANNITY: Let's gang up on Ed Henry.

HENRY: I'm just saying, maybe the Republicans won't do the filibuster and all of that, but the door will be now open, don't forget, moving forward, 51 votes.

HANNITY: But there was no reciprocity. Jay Sekulow, the Republicans allowed Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

SEKULOW: Because a president wins an election, they get to put up nominees, and the Republicans don't filibuster, they don't block them. So what happens here? Now we have nine justices. And you know what, President Trump may well pick the Supreme Court for the next two generations. So we'll have to worry about it in 40 years. I'm glad Mitch McConnell did it.

HANNITY: One thing we can agree on with Ed, though, is Ed did write a great book about the faith of Jackie Robinson who was an icon and a man of incredible integrity and courage. So good to see you both. A historic day and a big win for the president today.

All right, we have more "Hannity" right after this quick break, please stay with us.

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HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." What a week. Neil Gorsuch on the court, and America is back. We'll have a lot more on Monday. That's unfortunately all the time we have left for this evening. As always, thank you for being with us. Have a great weekend. We'll see you Monday.

END

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