Conway: WH shake-up rumors distract from accomplishments

Senior counselor to President Trump weighs in on 'The First 100 Days'


This is a rush transcript from "The First 100 Days," April 7, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Breaking tonight. In reaction to last night's strike, a Russians ship is right now moving in on an area where the United States Navy launched those missiles last night. And Assad's air force is reportedly back in the skies and possibly striking again.

Welcome, everybody, I'm Martha MacCallum. It is day 78. Tonight, President Trump finishes what may be his most effective week. He is getting praise for his decisive action, and some criticism from those who think that he's done a 180 on his America first pledge. The transformation was set in motion beginning in the Rose Garden really this week and remarks that he made there where the President was somber and resolute.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don't have to have one specific way and if the world changes, I go the same way. I don't change. Well, I do change. It Is now my responsibility.


MACCALLUM: Yesterday afternoon, aboard air force one, we now know the military option was deep in the planning stage.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think Assad should leave power in Syria?

TRUMP: I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity. And he's there and I guess he's running things. So something should happen.


MACCALLUM: Something should happen. Then at about 3:15 p.m., the President huddled with top advisors in the Southern White House. An hour later, the Chinese President arrived for a crucial two-day meeting. Minutes later, the Pentagon says, that is when the President gave the go order that would begin the process to launch 60 tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base. Then it was dinner, dinner, more dinner, then we're told during that dinner, President Trump told President Xi that the attack was indeed underway. Somewhere in that timeframe, we understand that the Russians were also alerted by Tillerson. About 8:30 p.m. local time, the missiles were launched from U.S. naval ships in the Mediterranean Sea, programs and course corrected for accuracy in mid-flight. It is stunning how these missiles operate.

Then the Chinese motorcade departed. At that point, we are told missiles were nearing their target. 8:40 p.m. they made contact taking out most of the base. This photo was taken 9:15 Eastern. Note the front row, Jared Kushner, McMaster, Priebus, more on what this seating chart may tell us about the power struggle that we have heard so much about over the courses today in the White House. We'll get more of that from Counsel to the President Kellyanne Conway in just a moment. Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCall is with us as well, and Chairman of the Senate Arms Services Committee John McCain joins me tonight as well.
We begin though with Four Star General Jack Keane, Chairman of the Institute for the Study of War and a Fox News Military Analyst and Advisor to many administrations. General, good to see you this evening. Welcome.


MACCALLUM: There has been a lot of discussions today about the beliefs that this is the event in this moment that sort of turned this President into a true Commander-in-Chief. Do you agree?

KEANE: Yes. I pretty much do. He fundamentally changed the narrative, I think of his Presidency. What we have here is America is back on the world stage exercising strong, responsible, and moral leadership. Something we have been used to, frankly, since World War II with the exception of our last President. And I don't want to dwell with on that. But yes, and I think Martha, what happened as a result of that, our allies are encouraged, some are absolutely elated, particularly those in the Middle East, the most volatile and difficult neighborhood in the world. And I truly believe our adversaries and competitors, particularly Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, they're going to have to re-evaluate and assess what is taking place here.

MACCALLUM: You know, I do want to put -- and I don't want to dwell in the prior administration, but I just want to put up this picture because I thought it was striking this morning. The similarities between these two pictures on right, you have President Obama and his staff during the Bin Ladin raid. On the left, this picture from last evening at Mar-a-Lago in a secured room -- sort of the situation room at the southern White House as the group is gathered there as well. And you look at the people around the table and we are dealing with -- and this has been said a lot that the team is very, very different now. Where do you think this team is going to take us in the near future with this particular confrontation?

KEANE: Well, frankly, I think the National Security team which is largely was involved here, is very sophisticated and extremely experienced. And they have a -- they have a record of good judgment. So I believe the President is getting very sound advice on something like we were dealing with here. And they're all doing their jobs for the first time, all at the same time. So the pressure on any new administration, and listen, we are just 70 days into this administration, is pretty significant. They don't even have the whole team on board yet.


KEANE: But yes, I think they have come through this first class, frankly.

MACCALLUM: In terms of Putin's response, Assad's response, we talked about the ship that is -- has moved into the Mediterranean, possible airstrikes were working to confirm whether or not that has happened this evening, what's next?

KEANE: Well, I don't think this is over. I mean, clearly, I think this is a good first chapter. But Assad now has the ball. And so does Putin. I don't believe they'll use chemical weapons. I think when they look back on, I think they'll be honest with themselves, that that was a mistake because they've got world condemnation and now they've got the United States actively involved against the Syrian government for the first time in Syria. But what they will do is increase their conventional bombing campaign, which is the mainstay that has been killing the Syrian people, not the chemical weapons. And that's what's killed most of the 500,000. I think that campaign will increase in pressure and intensity and scope, both of them being involved. As a result of that, it will likely put some pressure on the administration as to what to do next.

MACCALLUM: I heard you pointing out last night, you were so effective in explaining all of this. There are five other air bases. So if they continue to do these strikes, does this administration draw the line at only chemical attack or do they say, you know, as these attacks continue, we're going to take out the rest of those five bases as well?

KEANE: Well, they've drawn the line on chemical attacks right now. But as the killing continues and given the fact that they're already involved in expressing moral outrage over this atrocity and war crimes that are being committed, believe me, conventional weapons that they use on hospitals and when they're targeting towns and cities and there's no military targets in sight, that's a criminal act. So, I think there'll be pressure there. Now, will they take down the other five bases? It's not hard to do that, Martha. They could do that in one night. They have to put more ships in play to do it. But they can also threaten them and tell them, ground your airplanes or we're going to destroy your bases. That's another way to save lives but accomplish the same thing. I do believe there's another chapter coming and the likely will involve some application of force.

MACCALLUM: All right. General Jack Keane, always going to have you here Sir. Thank you so much.

KEANE: Yes, good talking to you Martha.

MACCALLUM: So joining us now exclusively Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Trump. Kellyanne, good to have you in New York. Obviously an incredible busy week for all of you. You heard us talking about the transformation that we've seen in the President over the course of this week. How do you see it?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: It's a week of a very strong leadership. I think last night in Syria, the world stage saw a Commander- in-Chief who was also speaking like a father and a grandfather. He very clearly said and was emotionally moved by the fact that -- he said "beautiful babies" and that no child should suffer these types of horrific atrocities. He also said that about the men and children -- the men, women, and children involved. But I think he's also someone whose decisive, resolute, took action very quickly. And is getting commendation for doing so across the political spectrum, which is something that has been in really scarce supply of late, having Democrats actually give the President a wide berth to achieve his agenda. Also, this was legitimate, it was justified, it was very targeted, and I think the combination of what our Commander-in-Chief, Donald Trump said last night Martha, along with new Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley that, she hope soon we don't have to do anything else, but we're prepared to do more.

MACCALLUM: In terms of the discussion that has happened with -- regarding the team, there are differences. Let's put that picture up of the situation room that we just showed with General Jack Keane a little while ago. Just a single shot of the situation room and then we'll go to that double shot that we have up there. The single shot has -- and (INAUDIBLE) Jared Kushner in the front row, we got Reince Priebus -- there you go -- is in there as well. Tillerson -- there was lot of criticism towards the administration in -- over the recent weeks that these people were not getting the President's ear, that Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller who you see off to the corner on the right-hand side of your screen where the America first crowd. Now you've got people who are going to criticize the fact that they seemed to be sidelined. And those who will be happy about these changes.

CONWAY: I wouldn't look into it that way. This is a commander-in-chief making good on the commitment that he had stated during the campaign and since he's been President, Martha, which is, he will confer with his generals. Remember he said, "I'll consult with my generals." And by that, he also met his cabinet officials, his secretary. You see them in the room. And this is a man who conferred with his national security team who got the options, weight them, and took action as our Commander-in-Chief. That's what people should know from this. The palace intrigue stories don't matter. I mean, we had -- this President had such an amazing week. You saw him in a little world stage last night with respect to Syria but also he's had a moment on North Korea. He had three bilateral meetings just this week. The King of Jordan, the President of China, of course, the President of Egypt. He also did what he does every week which is he takes the case right to the people and he and the Vice President held the wounded warriors, soldiers.


MACCALLUM: I have you here and I know that you have, you know, sort of a front row seat for all this. And there are so many stories out there talking about this today. The Wall Street Journal saying that a shake off his coming in the west wing. The New York Times says that they've encountered a conversation, they say, between Stephen Bannon and Jerry Kushner who they said were not getting along and the New York Times says that Bannon said that here's the reason that there's no middle ground, you're a Democrat! What do you say?

CONWAY: I think stories like that do not help the President, and I think some stories are made to distract from the success that he's had this week. The fact that we are talking about all the things that happened this week, and now I'm just going to insert in there for the first time in six years, the nation has a new Associate Justice in the United State Supreme Court. This is not a footnote to the tale of the week. But that's such a strong --

MACCALLUM: We'll be getting to that for rest of the week

CONWAY: But it's a very important one. I mean, leader McConnell deserves enormous credit for exercising his power and the nuclear option of course with the Democratic obstruction. But we have a new associate Justice to the Supreme Court. That is one of the major accomplishments this President will count, not just in his first 80 days, Martha, but in -- I believe in the first year term in office, it's historic. The palace, I work with all these people. I know them all very well. I respect them enormously. Donald Trump as a businessman and certainly as President of the United States surrounds himself with a diverse group of people who are brilliant, who have different expertise, who have very strong opinions. And this is a man who's very comfortable receiving different insights and different inputs from people. He's never surrounded himself with a bunch of yes-men. And that -- those strength and diversity of opinions leads to the president--

MACCALLUM: I understand and I've got to go. But the question is, will that strength and diversity of opinion stick around? Is Bannon there to stay? Is Reince Priebus there to say?

CONWAY: I would assume that's up to Donald Trump. In other words, I have heard -- I've heard nothing but rumors and innuendos and press report that will make any of us believe that the -- anything other than the real shakeup going on in Washington is the way Donald Trump is coming in as a disruptor. And I know people want to write stories about process, and personnel, who is up, who's down, who's in, who' out, but you have to go back to who President Trump is and the way is always governed as an executive. He appreciates a diversity of opinion. He likes when people disagree or give him differences in viewpoints. He's never had a bunch of yes men and yes women around him. And we all appreciate that. But you see him down there working with the President in the skiffs, dealing with very sensitive national security information.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much, Kellyanne.

CONWAY: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Lots more to get to you but we're out of time for tonight. Hope you come back soon.

CONWAY: Thank you very much.

MACCALLUM: Great to see you as always. Kellyanne Conway joining us this evening. So this morning, tonight from U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, earlier today taking on new significance as we learned Syrian warplanes may still be flying missions this evening.


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

MACCALLUM: Chairman of the Senate Arms Services Committee John McCain and the Chairman of House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul are both here this evening with what action we may see now. Plus President Trump handling Syria very differently than his predecessor. Marie Harf, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Waltz, and Special Forces veteran Ben Collins breaks down the backlash and how a new Trump doctrine may be emerging here. That is straight ahead.


MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight. Fox News has learned that a Russian warship has now entered the eastern Mediterranean. It is heading toward the two U.S. Navy destroyers that launched the air strikes last night into Syria. This coming as the Pentagon is now investigating whether Russia played a role in that horrific deadly chemical attack. Earlier today, during a U.N. Security Council Session, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley set her sights on the former Soviet Union and she, in no uncertain terms, charge them with complicity in this attack.


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. Russia is supposed to have removed all the chemical weapons from Syria. But obviously, that has not happened. Let's think about the possible reasons for Russia's failure. It could be that Russia is knowingly allowing chemical weapons to remain in Syria. It could be that Russia has been incompetent in its efforts to remove the chemical weapons. Or it could be that the Assad regime is playing the Russians for fools. The United States took a very measured step last night. We are prepared to do more. But we hope that will not be necessary.


MACCALLUM: As you can see the Russian federation representative didn't like any of that really. We turn now to Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Arms Services Committee. We thank you, Senator, for joining us once again tonight. Your reaction to what Nikki Haley said, it got a little uncomfortable at the U.N. today.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ., SENATE ARMS SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I thought she did an excellent job. And her -- the points she made are hard for me to elaborate on except to say that the Russians are complicit and they have been complicit. And by the way, it was also the Russians that launch precision weapons from their aircraft striking hospitals in Aleppo, a gross violation of international law. So, to think that the Russians would somehow respect our norms of international behavior, of course, is just foolishness.

MACCALLUM: You know, there is a report today that goes to what you're discussing, which is that it's possible, and they are still trying to figure this out, that after the initial chemical attack, they brought the injured and some of the dead to the hospital nearby. And that there may have been a second sort of cleanup effort, so to speak. A plane that came into bomb that hospital to remove the evidence of that chemical attack. Your thoughts on that Senator?

MCCAIN: Well, it wouldn't surprise me for that to have happened. And as Ambassador Haley mentioned the fact that they had trumpeted and so had former Secretary Kerry that all of those chemical weapons are removed -- and by the way, so you don't have to worry about aspect of this conflict -- this tragic conflict. Of course, it was never true. And to trust the Russians and Bashar al-Assad to do anything is, of course, sheer foolishness.

MACCALLUM: You know, I'm struck by the fact -- you and I spoke when I was in Washington the other day and you said that you had talked to President Trump briefly that morning and then again throughout the course of this event at some point, once or twice. You two did not see eye to eye on many things during the course of this campaign and a lot of that went back to his feelings about Russia and your feelings about Russia. What has changed in your relationship with the President in recent days?

MCCAIN: Well, I think three things have changed the President. One is the enormity of the job. It's one thing to be a candidate, it's another thing to hold the awesome responsibilities of Commander-in-Chief. I think the second is that he has surround him a team that is stronger, stronger than any that I have ever seen who I know that he listens to and he listens to and forming his views and his actions. Third of all, he was deeply moved by those pictures. All of us were. It makes you cry. But I would also point out -- you know that it doesn't matter so much to mothers whether their babies were killed by a precision guided weapon or by a barrel bomb or a poison gas. And so I believe that this is only the first step, Martha, and we can't sit back and relax and say, gee, we did a great job. We've got to win (INAUDIBLE) and we have to arm the free Syrian army and we have got to provide for safe zones so that this flood of refugees can have a place to go besides Europe.

MACCALLUM: Very quickly because I'm almost out of time.


MACCALLUM: Rex Tillerson in Russia next week. Do you think that meeting will happen and what should he say?

MCCAIN: Say that to the Russians that the game is over and we're going to hold you accountable for your behavior. We're going to give weapons to the Ukrainians, lethal weapons to defend themselves. We are going to arm the free Syrian army, and your days of adventurous behavior and illegal behavior, we may not be able to stop that, but you are going to pay a price for it and a price that will make it not worth your while.

MACCALLUM: A big turn-around from the concerns that this administration was going to be too soft on Russia. We've seen just a huge transformation in the past couple of days. Senator McCain, always good to talk to you, Sir. Thank you so much.

MCCAIN: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Now with more. Congressman Mike McCaul, he is the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee of course and Senior Member of the House Foreign Relations Committee. Chairman, good to have you here tonight.


MACCALLUM: And a lot of people talking today about Congress' role. Do you think the President should have let Congress know in advance of this strike and what do you expect going forward?

MCCAUL: Well, he did let team members know about this in advance. And under the war powers act, he has 48 hours to report to the Congress for the justification of the air strike, which I believe it was a right thing to do. He became the Commander-in-Chief yesterday. You know, there'll be discussions with Congress over the future of Syria and how we are going to deal with that and the authorized use of military force will certainly come up, but he was certainly within his constitutional powers in terms of what he did, and he did more in less than 100 days then President Obama did in eight years to save lives in Syria. And I think we have a real opportunity now to fix this civil war conflict that has created ISIS and created this enormous refugee problem that we had both in Europe and the United States. And if I could just say finally, Martha, that I believe this is a homeland security threat as well. The more we can secure these chemical weapons, the less likely it is that the terrorists and ISIS and Al Qaeda will get their hands on this and bring them into Europe and into the United States.

MACCALLUM: I know you released a report, your Committee, about the domestic threat at home. Give us -- shed some light on that for us.

MCCAUL: Well, I mean, ISIS has every intention to use weapons of mass destruction against Americans. That's their number intention, number one goal with its aviation, or bringing a chemical weapon or radiological, they like to do that in Europe as well. So, here you have this toxic (INAUDIBLE) in Syria with this civil war with all of these chemical weapons, sarin gas -- sarin nerve agent is a horrible, lethal agent. And I do question what the Russians were doing. They said it was gone but it actually, in fact, wasn't. And if that got into the wrong hands, that would be a serious threat to the American people in the homeland.

MACCALLUM: Chairman Michael McCaul, thank you very much. Good to see you as always.

MCCAUL: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Coming up right here in the aftermath of the strike on Syria, the media taking a very different tone today on President Trump's leadership. We're going to show you how the pundits scored this decisive move. Plus, does the strike signal the emergence of a Trump doctrine. And if so, what does it look like? Marie Harf, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Waltz and Special Forces Veteran Ben Collins, a great lineup to talk about this right after the break.



TRUMP: Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.


MACCALLUM: President Trump last night announcing the action that he took after what we now know was roughly 48 hours of requesting options from his top military advisors. While that accelerated turnaround is controversial in some circles, it represents a 180, really, the way the situation was handled by President Obama who went about the process in a very different way. In nearly four years ago now, he did the reverse, announcing the tactical intentions first and then ultimately not taking that action. Watch.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After careful deliberation, I have decided the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground. Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope. But I'm confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior, and to grade their capacity to carry it out.


MACCALLUM: Joining me now, Marie Harf, former State Department spokesperson under President Obama and a Fox News contributor, Lt. Col. Michael Waltz is a former Special Forces Commander and Fox News Contributor as well, and Ben Collins is a former Special Forces officer in the United States army. Welcome to all of you. Maria, I guess I need to go to you this first. You know, there is a lot of comparisons, obviously, being made with what President Obama did. He laid it out and decided not to do it. I heard you speaking earlier this morning and you said something to the effect of, you know, there were times when many of us thought that would've been the right thing to do. So, um, were you disappointed with the president that he didn't take the action that you thought he should have?

MARIE HARF, FORMER CIA SPOKESPERSON: Well, Martha, I was most disappointed back in 2013 in the United States Congress. Because I was there with John Kerry when he went up to testify. We asked Congress for permission to take those strikes. And Congress said no. Hundreds of members of Congress wrote us a letter saying come to us, we deserve a role in a say of whether we take strikes. I haven't heard any of those members in Congress over the past 24 hours say the same thing.

MACCALLUM: The Congress has 48 hours after a strike to go to Congress for permission. There is a situation where you can act for us and as for permission later. President Obama decided to not do that. That was his choice.

HARF: It was, because we think and we believe in a democracy that it's important that Congress has a role and a say in when and how we go to war. And that was very important to us. I was very disappointed that United States Congress said no at the time. So what we did instead was negotiate the agreement that you talked about a lot where we got 1300 tons of chemical weapons out, not all, as we've seen in the past week, or in the past days, but those 1300 tons were a good thing to get out. But to go back to your original question, Martha, sure. I think there are a lot of people in the Obama administration thought there would be more opportunities to be more engaged militarily. Absolutely, I don't think --

MACCALLUM: We've seen a number of tweets that have come out from former Obama administration people, Anne-Marie slaughter, the director of policy planning for the State Department during that period, so Donald Trump has done the right thing on Syria, finally, exclamation point. After years of useless hand ringing, let me go to Ben Collins as he was into this. Ben, what's your action?

BEN COLLINS, FORMER SPECIAL FORCES OFFICER: Honestly, Martha? I think it's insulting. What Obama gave away was your credibility when he went out there and said that and we didn't follow it up with anything. But to actually claim, to put this on Congress and to say that we believe in a democracy that we should go to Congress for if we are going to conduct war. The reality is we have been operating off that same authorization of use of military force for eco- eight years. We had soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. We conducted air operations and soldiers on the ground and we made strikes and, yes, in Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya. Where we at war with them? No. To suddenly say we believe in a democracy and Obama wanted Congress to weigh in on this? No, you literally had ten years you could've waited on what our guys were doing in Afghanistan.

MACCALLUM: Fair enough, let's go to Lt. Col. Michael Waltz. You have some very definitive thoughts on what needs to happen now.

MICHAEL WALTZ, FOX NEWS CONBTRIBUTOR: Martha, if I can go back just a second. Look, we are missing, Maria, you are missing an important point there in that Putin dupe President Obama in to believing that he would push the Assad regime and eliminate all chemical weapons. We bought into that, we held off on the strike. And we are now seeing years later, we've seen the rise of ISIS, mass atrocities, the re-insertion of Russia that has emboldened Hezbollah and Iran, the mass migration of 12 million refugees that has completely destabilized Europe. It's going to be a stain on his legacy.

MACCALLUM: Marie, your response.

HARF: If you prefer those 1300 tons of chemical weapons are in the hands of ISIS today, and then I'm happy for you to make that argument. Was it a perfect solution? They would've been in the hands of the Assad regime today. Let me finish. Was it a perfect solution? No. Was it the best option we felt we had at the time? Yes! Look, I said last night on television that President Trump made the right decision. The bigger question for all of us should be one strike does not make a strategy and what is the strategy for solving the Syrian crisis going forward? What is the strategy that Rex Tillerson will take to Moscow next week? None of us have heard that. That is the key question in this moment. Yes, we can all applaud the strikes. But without a strategy, there is no endgame here.

MACCALLUM: That is a good question. It's one that needs to be asked. Thank you very much all of you. Good to see you tonight. Thank you. So coming up, a media that has long been skeptical of President Trump's leadership qualities is now in some circles starting to rally a bit behind the president in the wake of the strikes in Syria, reaction and analysis to that from Chris Stirewalt, Kristen Soltis Anderson, and Howie Kurtz, coming up next. Plus today, earlier, another European City, another suspected vehicle terrorist attack as a truck plowed through innocent people in Stockholm, Sweden, killing at least four of them. The details, what it means for the security of the United States, ahead with Lieutenant Colonel Tony Schaeffer.


MACCALLUM: The actions President Trump took against the Assad regime in Syria earned him some rare praise from some unexpected corners over the last 24 hours. We have witnessed what it looks like, a bit of a change in tone, at least for the moment, from some of the media. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's now fallen to Donald Trump to enforce the redlined that was first enunciated by President Obama that he did not follow through on. Taking that action, Donald Trump has restored the credibility of American power.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After this chemical weapons attack by Assad, he has acted in a timely, decisive, and a reasonable manner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Date 78 of the Trump presidency. What changed last night?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Donald Trump became president of the United States.


MACCALLUM: To give me a response, anyway, Chris Stirewalt, Fox News politics editor, Kristen Soltis Anderson Washington Examiner columnist, and Howie Kurtz Fox News "MediaBuzz," Howie let me start with you on this one. Are you surprised?

HOWARD KURTZ, "MEDIABUZZ" HOST: I am surprised because after 11 weeks of negativity, it really has been strikingly positive coverage of the president's decision. Here is why. There is a rally around the president effect when the commander-in-chief takes military action, especially surprised military action. Finally, the U.S. is striking back at Saddam -- excuse me, Assad after his civilian atrocities. Well, other civilian atrocities, after President Obama failed to do so. You could accuse this president of changing his position, he urged Obama not to take action against Syria in 2013, and the whole flip-flop thing has been on the back burner because there has been so much praise to his decision.

MACCALLUM: Stirewalt, what do you think?

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, all that is true. Reporters like stuff to cover. Wars are interesting and eventful. There is an effect like this when they say when will they fire the head coach? You've got to fire the coach. They've got to fire the coach. As soon as they fire the coach, they will say, "This new guy is terrible." so Donald Trump has to be careful because the same war drums that beat for this intervention will turn on him if things in advance and if they go sour. So it all depends on what he does next.

MACCALLUM: There you go with the fast-forward button. You are probably right. Kristen, what do you think?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, WASHINGTON EXAMINER COLUMNIST: There has been a little bit of permission given to those who have been very critical of Donald Trump since he was first inaugurated to say this is something good that he has done. You had Hillary Clinton out there saying nice things about this decision, you had John Kerry come out and say he thinks this is a good move. It's as if there is permission being given from the other side of the political aisle to bless this in a way that I think folks felt uncomfortable criticizing somebody on their own team when Barack Obama was president criticizing him for the lack of action. I think that has been part of the shift he is you don't have folks on the Democratic side feeling they have permission to say something good about this action.

MACCALLUM: There is also an evolution, obviously, happening in the White House in terms of who was at the table and I was reminded when I saw the picture that we showed before of the situation room. I want to get your thoughts on this Howie. On the right-hand side, you have this very organized, very White House looking situation on a very serious night. On the left-hand side of your screen is how he started with this, with the water Mar-a-Lago meeting when they got news that he fired off missiles. There is all stuff about security flying around. I found it interesting that Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn are the people who are in the center of this picture. And the table seems to have turned a little bit. How does this tell us about the White House, what they have learned about -- the learning curve so far in all of this?

KURTZ: The White House with many conflicting, competing, and feuding power centers. In this instance, the president listen to his military men, primarily, which is what the commander-in-chief do? A lot of this is playing out in leaks to the press. But picking up about the head coach, it's a long season. The president right now is basking in some well-deserved praise for his decisive action, the journalist who went to the Iraq war who thought it would be a cakewalk, many organizations thought they did not ask critical questions, will soon be asking does he have a long-term strategy, is there a risk for American troops, and that will be a more complicated story to cover.

MACCALLUM: The narrative has changed so dramatically, Chris. You've got people like Teresa -- you have President Trump having both conversations with John McCain about all of this. And you have people very supportive of him, the America first crowd, you know, going "what, what's going on"? This is a complete 180 that they are seeing.

STIREWALT: We watched four weeks as a loyal dragoon of Trump supporters that these guys are out there, they say, "so what if he is friendly with Russia, what do you care about that? He is no Putin puppet," and the other side saying "Putin, Putin, Putin, Putin." Well it turns out when you blow up airplanes and hangers and ammunitions that were provided by Vladimir Putin, it's hard to call somebody a Putin puppet. It's the only thing these air strikes did for Donald Trump politically is to undercut that very strong and repeated argument about him as a vassal of Vladimir Putin. This will do that like nothing else.

MACCALLUM: It certainly pokes a hole in the notion that he wanted to run with Gorsuch.

SOLTIS ANDERSON: This has turned this all around. You saw big changes in the polls and what times of voters thought Russian was more of a friend or more of a foe after Donald Trump was elected with Republican starting to say that they thought that Russia was more of a friend. The question I think is our people led by their leaders or do leaders follow where their voters are? So you've got this big question, Donald Trump has really changed where he has stood on this question of intervention overseas very quickly. Will his voters follow? You have a lot of evidence to suggest that Americans are not interested in making sure that America stay strong around the world, but are not interested in things like boots on the ground, very concerned with what is the actual endgame. So if the polls wind up supporting or not supporting his action. Does Donald Trump stay the course and how that factor does is the big open question.

MACCALLUM: Thank you so much, you guys. Good to see you all. Coming up next, and deadly vehicle attack in Sweden is responsible for at least four deaths and many more injuries, officials describing the horrific events as terrorism. Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer waive in next.


MACCALLUM: And other European City, another suspected terror attacks. This time, it was Sweden after a hijacked truck plowed through a crowd and into a department store. It took the lives of four people. Injured more than a dozen at least at this point is what we know, some of them very seriously. This tactic of vehicles as weapons is something that we have seen too often as late in the attacks in Nice, Berlin, and in Stockholm, Sweden earlier today. Joining me now Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a CIA trained Intel operative, good to see you tonight.


MACCALLUM: We woke up this morning, or mid-morning it was, to this incredible scene. We watch this plow through all of these people. What's going on here?

SHAFFER: Look. It was a tried-and-true method, they found. Look, Martha. I saw the pictures of the aftermath in which you are not showing this was as bad as a bomb. We are talking about real carnage. I have seen President Trump get some criticism for, you know, ok, we want to stop the bombing but we aren't willing to receive the refugees. It's not that simple. I think there are some things that we should do to actually create safe havens for the purposes of humanitarian issues. But we do know, Martha, that ISIS has said and they are executing this mission in Europe where they are using immigration, migration is a form of weaponized technology. People are weaponized and you can get a truck, you can get a knife, and you are yourself a weapon. This is where we have to take this as a very serious threat. New York City has been very careful about this. D.C. has been very careful about this, but the way you get ahead of this is by creating conditions for deep vetting and try to destroy the methodology behind this, the extreme religion, which allows small clusters of these folks to get together and they haven't identified him, but I'm sure we are going to find that this guy is a member of the radical Islamic community.

MACCALLUM: That is interesting. Some of them have been people who grew up in that neighborhood or in that area.

SHAFFER: Precisely.

MACCALLUM: And people have been people who came in from the outside. In any event, they have been radicalized for short. It's interesting you use the words "extreme vetting," because both runs added by the Trump administration ended up on the rocks. Do you think that is something that we will see pursued or would you like to see that changed? Do you think the way it's presented, it's effective and can it be used in this country to make us any safer?

SHAFFER: Two things. First, I think we have to increase our ability to detect this sort of thing, but they are here. I think we need to look at using NATO, another issue that is going to be controversial, and a counterterrorism role. We are part of NATO. All the European countries are part of NATO. This needs to include vetting for John Kelly has addressed this issue regarding how we should do this here, Martha, and I think the answer is we have to find a path to do that and do it effectively. We do not want to see this on the streets. We just don't.

MACCALLUM: Tony Shaffer, thank you so much. Good to see you.

SHAFFER: Thank you Martha.

MACCALLUM: When we return, the capping off a big week for the president. The senate confirms its newest Supreme Court justice when we come back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On this vote, the eyes are 54, the names 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.


MACCALLUM: That was a big deal. Took the nuclear option make it happen, but Judge Neil Gorsuch did get the 54 senate votes, and he will be sworn in Monday morning as our 113 Supreme Court Justice of the United States of America. Our quote of the night is a tribute to him on his big day and a reflection of the values of the country and a contrast to the other parts of the world where these sentiments are not the case. This from his confirmation hearing last month, he said, "a judge is there to make sure that every person, poor or rich, mighty or meek, get equal protection from the law." a good country, right? We will be watching him Monday. Have a good weekend, everybody. Bill O'Reilly of next live, see you Monday. "The O'Reilly Factor" is on tonight.


Content and Programming Copyright 2017 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.