This is a rush transcript from "The First 100 Days," April 13, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE FIRST 100 DAYS" HOST: On day 83, the president dropped a 21,000-pound bomb to fulfill a promise that he made on day one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones, and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: The full force of that message was felt in Afghanistan where ISIS tunnels provide a network for terrorists.
And today, in the Roosevelt Room, at the White House, the president was asked a simple question and he answered it in a way that revealed his ability to message and to negotiate on the world stage. Listen to this closely, and then we've got a great team of experts here to break this down. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you authorize it, sir?
TRUMP: Everybody knows exactly what happened. So -- and what I do is I authorize my military. We have the greatest military in the world, and they've done the job as usual. So, we have given them total authorization, and that's what they're doing. And frankly, that's why they've been so successful lately. If you look at what's happened over the last eight weeks and compare that to -- really, to what's happened over the last eight years, you'll see there's a tremendous difference, tremendous difference. So, we have incredible leaders in the military and we have incredible military, and we are very proud of them, and this was another very, very successful mission.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does this send a message to North Korea?
TRUMP: I don't know if this sends a message. It doesn't make any difference if it does or not. North Korea is a problem, the problem will be taken care of. I will say this, I think China has really been working very hard. I have really gotten to like and respect, as you know, President Xi. He's a terrific person, spent a lot of time together in Florida. And he's a very special man, so we'll see how it goes. I think he's going to try very hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That pretty much sums up today, right? So, we've got two military experts to break all this down. General Jack Keane and former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie, but first, we begin with National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin who has been busy today at the Pentagon with the latest. Hi, Jennifer.
JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS CHANNEL NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. Well, this weapon is designed for its psychological effect as much as anything. Even its nickname, "The Mother of All Bombs" is designed to send a message. When the Air Force tested this weapon in 2003 at the start of the Iraq War, the plume from the explosion reached 10,000 feet into the air until today, it was never used in combat. Shortly after 7:30 p.m. local time in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, the U.S. Air Force dropped the massive ordnance air blast on what the White House described as a complex of ISIS tunnels on the border with Pakistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely. The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously. And in order to defeat the group, we much deny them operational space, which we did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: A concussive GPS-guided bomb that is pushed out of the back of a modified C-130 aircraft. Its blast radius is one mile wide. The Pentagon said the top general in Afghanistan did not ask permission to conduct the strike, he already had those authorities. The target of the explosion was a series of tunnels near a chain 35 miles south of Jalalabad where the U.S. has a base.
On Saturday, an American Green Beret was killed by small-arms fire in that part of Nangarhar. Staff Sergeant Mark De Alencar of Edgewood, Maryland, part of an ISIS clearing operation, U.S. military says the strike today was not in retaliation for the Green Berets death. The president announced yesterday after meeting with NATO's Secretary-General at the White House that the national security advisor H.R. McMaster is leaving soon for Afghanistan. The top U.S. commander there General John Nicholson testified recently that he needs several more thousand U.S. or NATO troops for Afghanistan, Martha. There are currently 8400 Americans on the ground there.
MACCALLUM: All right. Jennifer, thank you very much. So, here now with more, former Navy SEAL, Carl Higbie who used to order airstrikes like these during his time as a SEAL. Carl, good to have you here with us tonight. When you first heard about this, why this bomb? It's never been used, it was developed in 2003.
CARL HIGBIE, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Right. Never been used in combat for the effect that, you know, we've had -- it creates so much devastation who use this. I don't think people understand the magnitude of this. But, like, when you're standing a mile away from a detonation like this, it's going to knock your head off. So, I mean, people really need to understand the gravity. Now, that said, there are far better munitions that we could have used to target tunnels but this was here to send a message.
MACCALLUM: And what message do you think is sent and to whom?
HIGBIE: Well, you know, after eight years of Obama's limp- wristed foreign policy, this is really -- I mean, Donald Trump is reasserting our self as a superpower that we are on the world stage and saying, "Look, if you are our enemy, we are going to find you and we are going to kill you." And this is -- this is just a message. I mean, he wants everything on the table and he wants everybody to know it, you know? Like, he said, they -- people say, "Well, is he -- is he going to use a nuclear strike?" Well, it's not ruled off -- you know, it's not off the table. So, let's put it all out there.
MACCALLUM: Yes. You know these regions well. This is obviously the same area that the Haqqani network was just across the border, and it's the lawless region that we have been dealing with the Taliban throughout the course of all of this. And there was a tweet that was sent out by Hamid Karzai. Let's take a look at what it says. It says, "This is not the war on terror but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as a testing ground for new and dangerous weapons. It is upon as Afghans to stop the #USA." Your thoughts?
HIGBIE: Good luck. You know what they can do, they can put that effort into stopping terrorism, stopping the atrocities that are being committed by the Taliban, ISIS growing things like that. The problem is ISIS is (INAUDIBLE) Taliban in Afghanistan is not operating on the geographical borders we recognize within Pakistan and Afghanistan, but they're on tribal borders. They do whatever we want. So, it's up to us to deliver the ferocity like this weapon here to show them that we're not going to hide from anyone, we're not going to let them get away, and we're here to stop them.
MACCALLUM: The president said, "What I do you is authorize my military. We have the greatest military in the world and have done our job as usual. We give them total authorization. What's -- how different is the mood in the military today under this president?
HIGBIE: 100 percent. I talked to some of my friends here. Today, I've talked to them after the Tomahawk strikes, many of which who were, you know, had some level of knowledge of that. And they said, like, "This is what we've been waiting for." I mean, the U.S. military is the most lethal machine the world has ever known, and if you unleash us on bad guys, we will eliminate that problem, 100 percent, but you have to take the handcuffs off like President Trump is doing and will continue to do.
MACCALLUM: All right. Carl, thank you very much.
HIGBIE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Carl Higbee joining us this evening. Joining me now, retired four-star General Jack Keane, Chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, and a Fox News Military Analyst. General Keane, thank you for being here. Tonight, you're listening to this conversation and to Jennifer Griffin, your thoughts on "The Mother of All Bombs" being dropped in this particular area, and the message that it sends?
JACK KEANE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL MILITARY ANALYST AND RETIRED FOUR-STAR GENERAL: Well, first of all, it has to do with the nature of targeting the enemy there. They have a safe haven that's operating right near the border. We -- the major message that came out on 9/11, don't permit safe havens and sanctuaries like we did in Afghanistan with the Al-Qaeda. This has been there for 18 months. I think they had a concentration of troops in this area as I'd like to understand. And I -- and I -- this bomb actually is well-suited for this target because it creates blasts overpressure, but as a thermal barrack aspect to the bomb that produces incendiary fuel, this is a nasty weapon, Martha. And this incendiary fuel permeates those tunnels and the bunkers that are underneath the ground quite effectively.
So, the nature of the target was actually driving this more than anything else. It's not a message for China and North Korea or the Iranians, or the commentators are trying to make out. This is like -- this is a commander who's got tunnel vision -- pun intended here. He's focused in on killing ISIS. This is the Khorasan group that would potentially have an outer- region capability. He's focused in on killing Taliban and he's selecting the best weapon in his arsenal.
I agree with your previous guests that what has happened here is President Trump since January 20th or a couple days after, frankly, he gave the military new authorities. When you're already involved in conflict operations as we are in Afghanistan and Iraq, you can do airstrikes as you see fit within your own rules that you're operating and you can conduct operations on the ground as you see fit. You do not have to come and ask a 30-year-old in the White House anymore for permission as they had to do with the old NSC that existed in the White House, and that is a good thing.
MACCALLUM: And that's what he means when he says we have given them total authorization. You mentioned North Korea, and the president was asked directly, "Is this a message?" And he said, "Well, you know, I don't know if it's a message or not." And although, it may not be -- have been the reason for the mission, General, it clearly does send information to them about what we could potentially do to their underground nuclear facilities because it's my understanding that this bomb was designed in part to potentially go after Iran's underground nuclear facilities, correct?
KEANE: Now, we have another bomb that we use as a deep penetrator that can go very deep and it's classified how deep it can go. No, absolutely, not intended for that purpose but listen, every time we do limited military attack like this and as of last week, it always strengthens our diplomats' hands. And that's the reality of it. We now have, as you know, as a result of the phone call last night from President Xi to President Trump, we now have President Xi saying for the first time ever from a Chinese President, 20 plus years, that I'm going to work on de-nuclearising North Korea. If that turn -- if that rhetoric, Martha, turns into action and results, well, then that's a huge plus for President Trump.
MACCALLUM: Yes, it certainly is. And there's so much discussion. In fact, there was a report this afternoon that was put out by NBC that said that we were prepared -- United States is prepared to take out North Korean nuclear facilities if it looks like their finger is on the trigger. Now, I should point out that our people at the Pentagon say that that is, you know, wildly wrong, that that is -- that reporting is inaccurate. I can put up some pictures of that area where there's the discussion that there could be the potential for something to -- and this is Japan. Our show of force in Japan as well which is designed in part for the same purpose and this is the site that you see on your screen now that they believe they've seen some movement in and potentially North Korea could be getting ready to launch another missile here. What's your take on all that, Jack?
KEANE: Well, first of all, the United States is not going to attack North Korea because they're about to do a nuclear test or even if they're going to test another ballistic missile. We've been having some effect on their ballistic missiles testing using cyber-offensive operations, which have been reported in public sources and that's why some of these things are failing. The only time we would conduct a pre-emptive strike if we believed they had a deliver means of a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile that can endanger our allies, our bases or the United States, then we would do a pre-emptive strike, and there, that strike would be more than the launch facilities. We would have to bring down their artillery, the rockets that they could do. In Seoul, we have to take down their nuclear sites and we would likely go after the leadership regime targets in Pyongyang. That's war. That's not what we're talking about.
MACCALLUM: Given -- wow. Understood. Given what we've discussed in terms of the message that's been sent to North Korea both by the Chinese and by the United States now, how likely do you think it is that they launched a missile over the course of this weekend and another test?
KEANE: Well, they're going to do something, Martha. I mean, this is -- this is the father of North Korea, Kim Sung Il's -- and they're going to have a milestone celebration, some kind of provocative event. I'm sure the Chinese would like them not to do it. If they don't do it, that would be an indicator itself that the Chinese have had some impact on them. But the likelihood is that they will do it. We've got the carrier strike group up there sending a message to North Korea, but it's also there to reassure our allies in the region that this is President Trump's military now, he's the commander-in-chief, he's going to back you up. And that's what that forces, therefore, and that is a very loud message, particularly in South Korea, politically unstable, you know, corrupt president there was impeached, but very strong on North Korea.
A new president coming, likely less corrupt, I hope, but also predicted to be kind of soft on North Korea. So, we're strengthening the spine of the South Koreans is another reason for that carrier strike group that's up there.
MACCALLUM: Yes. And you look at the Afghanistan bomb today and the meetings that we saw with the Egyptian President and with the Jordanian leader, this coalition is -- has some leadership now it appears, and can be coming together in short order. Jack, thank you very much. General Keane, always a pleasure to have you with us.
KEANE: Good talking to you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: You, too. So tonight, the media zeros in on what it's calling as a big policy reversal from President Trump. But are these flip-flops? Governor Huckabee says, "No way." And with a strong response for the president's critic, he joins us in a moment. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcing the other day that "The Trump era is a new era" for his department. So, what does that mean at justice? We're going to show you exactly how Trump's DOJ is making the Holder-Lynch era a thing in the past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Today's ceremony should be seen as a clear message to the gang members and drug dealers terrorizing innocent people. Your day is over. A new era of justice begins, and it begins right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Kind of a new theme emerging, President Trump as flip-flopper. But some are saying, maybe that's not a bad thing. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people yesterday accusing Donald Trump of flip-flopping, but what if he's flopping to the correct position? Isn't that a good thing? I want him to flip-flop off of some of the positions he was holding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every president changes some positions when he takes office because the reality of governing is different than the reality of campaigning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I actually think in most cases, the evolution, the shift has been in a positive direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So what does that mean for Trump supporters? Joining me now, former presidential candidate and Fox News Contributor Governor Mike Huckabee. Governor, good to see you tonight as always. Some Trump supporters might look at that crowd and not be too pleased that they're pleased. What do you think?
MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, look, it always looks different from the stands that it does when you get down on the field and actually are at the line of scrimmage and playing the game, and what Donald Trump is experiencing is what anybody experiences the first time they get into the chair, into the seat and start governing. There are some realities to face. He hasn't changed his core conventions. He said he'd put America first. He dog on sure has. When we feel like we're threatened, our interests are threatened, he doesn't mind pulling the trigger. He's bringing jobs back, he's building the wall, he's doing the things like appointing a Supreme Court Justice who's a constitutionalist. I don't see that as flip-flopping. But, he's understanding that his job is that of a pragmatist, not an ideologue because he ultimately has to achieve something and get results, and that's what he's doing.
MACCALLUM: So, when you watch this shift that we've seen and on the foreign policy stage, the most significant one is China, which he railed at, you know, throughout the entire course of the campaign. In fact, he said on day one, "I am going to mark them as a currency manipulator." But then, he has a meeting with President Xi and obviously he is, you know, has a complete 180 on the way he feels about that, and now, Russia is clearly on the hot seat, does that surprise you?
HUCKABEE: I think I'm a little surprised by the relationship that he developed so quickly with the President of China, but look, that's a good thing. I don't think it's because the Chinese are going to push us over, he's still saying we're going to have fair trade, we're going to make them play to the same rules we do. The fact is he's built a relationship, and that's how you make that happen. I think he's putting pressure on China to try to deal with North Korea. That's a good thing. But he's also showing that he's no chump when it comes to Russia.
All these nonsense the democrats have been saying about, well, he's too cozy with them and Tillerson is. Boy, did that ever change. I mean, it's colder than a Siberian winter day in the relationship between Russia and the United States right now because we're not letting Russia just push us and the rest of the world around like they did under the Obama administration.
MACCALLUM: You know, the camp that supported him fervently is a little bit upset with some of what they're seeing. They feel like when he talked about spending a trillion dollars in the Middle East and getting nothing for it, they look at some of these actions, and I know he has said that -- he's done talking about, you know, putting more troops on the ground in Syria. We do have troops on the ground in Syria. You know, it's a fine line to walk with some of these things, though, in order to keep everybody onboard. He's winning over some of the mainstream media folks as we saw a moment ago. But is he going to lose some of those who feel very strongly about these things? We're going to talk to one of those people in just a moment, in fact.
HUCKABEE: Well, yes, you know, Martha, the number one rule of politics is you got to make 10 friends every day because you're going to lose seven of the ones that you had, and that's just the reality, so Donald Trump is never going to make everybody happy including the people who supported him, but at the same time, his job is to lead America and nobody can question whether or not he's showing true and genuine leadership. And I think all Americans can be grateful for that.
MACCALLUM: Yes. We see those approval numbers creeping up, and it's going to be interesting to see the next round, I think, when all of this is absorbed. Thank you so much, Governor. Great to see you, as always.
HUCKABEE: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, the timing on the president's shift in tone and policy is being seen by some as no coincidence. The change comes as White House chief strategist Steve Bannon's influence appears at least at this moment, and these things can even flow to be waning a bit. President Trump pointedly telling The Wall Street Journal this. "Mr. Bannon is a guy who works for me, he's a good guy, but I make my own decision. I don't have people making decisions."
Joining me now, Attorney Robert Barnes who writes that if Bannon goes, so too does the Trump presidency. Good to have you with us tonight, Mr. Barnes. That's a pretty strong statement. Why did you say that?
ROBERT BARNES, TAX ATTORNEY: Sure. Steve Bannon is -- represents the core of the new voter that Trump attracted. A lot of them are former democrats, a lot of them are independent, the sort of working-class Northerners from Northern Maine up through Northern Minnesota where he made extraordinary (INAUDIBLE) And Bannon is -- represents that, and there's a reason why the mainstream media has waged a five-month war on Steve Bannon more than they have anybody else in Trump's team, because they know how --
MACCALLUM: And why is that?
BARNES: -- because he is so essential to communicating directly to those voters. President Trump says his own strategist -- he is, but that doesn't mean you need -- you don't need other great strategists, and that's what Steve Bannon is. He's someone everybody sent Trump to Washington knowing it was a swamp. So, they want him -- they knew there was a lot of gators in that swamp. And Trump himself is a great gator hunter, but Steve Bannon is the Troy Landry of gator hunters, and he can't give that up without losing his ability to drain the swamp.
MACCALLUM: You know, the opposite, the polar opposite is Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who have a very different way of doing things. They appear to be more moderate and more conservative in a way about -- and I mean that in the sense of being, you know, more restrained perhaps in some of what they do. You're -- you are not -- you know, what do you think about that switcheroo?
BARNES: Well, can you imagine Jared Kushner out in the middle of the bayou as a gator hunter? It just doesn't work. He'd become gator bait. It's not a world that is his world. It is Steve Bannon's world. Steve Bannon took Breitbart from a -- from a blog to one of the top 50 sites in the world. He took a struggling August campaign of President Trump to being President Trump. He's someone who know that the mainstream media is very much the enemy of the people. Jared comes from a very different world, from the Wall Street world, from the New York world, and that's a valuable contributor within the White House.
MACCALLUM: I hear what you're saying. But the supporters of that camp would say, "Yes", but the beginning period of the presidency didn't get us too far. We ran into two different judicial roadblocks on extreme vetting which was something that Steve Bannon felt very strongly about, didn't go over well. The president's approval numbers tanked, and then you have the health care debacle. So, they feel like he's connected to those -- to those failures and they want to move onto successes which the president appears to be doing in the past couple of weeks.
BARNES: Well, there's advantages to definitely succeeding but it depends on what price that comes with it, and if it comes at the price of losing the core constituency who's impassioned to support gave him the presidency in the first place, it endangers his presidency long-term. So, that doesn't mean he can't, you know, value other speakers in the room and other voices in the room, but right now, Steve Bannon is the only voice that represents that constituency, and if he's relegated, that whole constituency is relegated. And traditionally, that does not work out well for presidents to lose a key part of their base going into their presidency.
MACCALLUM: Well, you made the right call on him -- on President Trump winning in the first place and now you're issuing kind of a warning to him in terms of his constituency. Good to have you with us tonight, Mr. Barnes, thank you very much.
BARNES: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, still ahead, some big changes on the domestic policy front for the Trump administration, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions looks to overhaul the DOJ. We're going to take you through the way he is attempting to dismantle the Obama era justice department. Boy, does this department look very different today.
And the Trump administration taking its hardest line yet against the man behind WikiLeaks. Ahead, former top FBI official James Kallstrom discusses why he thinks the probe into Russia and the Trump campaign ties is a fishing expedition, and that somebody should go to jail because of it, when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: Time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia. Assange claims to harbor overwhelming admiration for both America and the idea of America. But I assure you, this man knows nothing of America and our ideals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: CIA Director Mike Pompeo today went after WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, and called them basically a tool of the Russian government. On a similar track new development of the investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. A onetime informal advisor top then candidate Trump Carter Page is the focus of new reports that he was a target of a FISA search by the Obama administration.
So this morning, Mr. Page, was made a number of appearances in the past few days was pressed on this in terms of his talks with the Russians. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC CHIEF ANCHOR: You can't say without equivocation that you didn't discuss the easing of sanctions?
CARTER PAGE, TRUMP CANDIDATE ADVISOR: Someone may have brought it up. I have no recollection. And if it was, it was not something I was offering or someone always -- that some always asking for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALUM: All right, James Kallstrom, former FBI Assistant Director in Charge and former Senior Advisor to the New York Governor on counter terrorism, Jim, good to see you tonight.
JAMES KALLSTROM, FMR. FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN CHARGE: Hi, Martha.
MACCALLUM: We have heard quite a bit from Mr. Page over the last couple of days. Do you -- what do you make it? Do you think that it is relevant? Do you think that he was instrumental in anything during the course of this campaign? What's your read?
KALLSTROM: Well, first off all, Martha, maybe for your viewers out there who I believe perplexed about all of these stuff that's going on. This business of collection particularly in National Security and former counterintelligence is highly, highly classified, number one.
Number two, you have to have a need to know. It's a concept of if you are not working a particular case and don't even need to know. Regardless of your clearance, you can see the information. So here we are, you know, the FBI is the investigative agency for foreign counterintelligence, National Security, primary agency in the United States. The N. S. -- the National Security Council, NSA, the CIA have absolutely no investigative responsibility inside United States at all. So, it's the FBI would get a FISA warrant.
And if he was in fact covered by a FISA warrant, I can tell you after many, many years of experience with that, no FISA judge is going to approve something that isn't pretty thick and pretty full of probable cause. Whether or not the probable cause is the real or unreal, I have the highest respect for the agency that would write this affidavit so I don't know the answer to that.
MACCALLUM: Do you think it's odd that he is talking so much and that he is, you know, given the fact that he was under this surveillance, despite the surveillance, he's obviously trying to clear his name but as you say, they wouldn't have gone after him unless they felt pretty certain that they needed to collect the discussions that he was having and then, you know, on the other side of that, I know you also want to make a comment about Susan Rice and why, and I think that's where you going to the need to know. Why she would've unmasked the names of these individuals, which she and others are now claiming was completely routine.
KALLSTROM: You know, the government can do these surveillances Martha, because there's a lot of a rules. There's a lot of guideposts. There's a lot of ethics that has to be involved. This isn't "willy-nilly", this isn't fishing. This is not what it is. Particularly in the case of NSA, these authorities that are here to protect this country are at great risk because I believe of what's going on in the last year or so.
You know, the "willy-nilly" fishing expedition, you know, where did General Flynn's name comes from? Where did Carter Page name come from? Who unmask those names? You know, to unmask those names, you have to go back to the agency, say the FBI or NSA with the justification that's based on some sort of National Security. You just can't go back there regardless of who you are. Maybe the president himself could, but the national, you know, National Security Advisor has to have some kind of a reason why it's been --
MACCALLUM: And Susan Rice essentially said, you know, that the-- you know, when she goes to these documents from time to time, there's something that catches her attention and she goes back and ask to have that person unmasked so she has a full understanding when she was in the White House of what the communication was with this foreign entity that was under surveillance and why they were talking to an American citizen. She claims that that is, you know, quite typical on the fact that Devin Nunes said he was alarmed by those unmasking, other entities now say doesn't add up, doesn't make sense. What do you think?
KALLSTROM: Martha, that's the job of the FBI. The job of the FBI to investigate what this is all about. And to know the names and the legitimate investigations which is the only investigations they conduct. It's not necessary for someone in the National Security Council to conduct any kind of investigation. They read memos. They get briefed, you know. So, this business, the "New York Times" above the fold, 767 high ranking and, you know, offices in the intelligence community are recently retired, then first all these blah, blah, blah information about peoples.
You know how sacred it is in our constitution to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens, particularly under these acts. If you have a U.S. citizen, you must instantly minimize that conversation unless you have justification to continue it based on National Security, and even then it has to be documented. And Even then, that name is masked. So I mean that it's a lot of hyperbole what the people are saying about that. That's not how it works.
MACCALLUM: James Kallstrom, thank you so much. Good to see you tonight, Jim.
KALLSTROM: Good to see you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So then candidate Trump vowed that he would reform the veterans' administration. It was very high on his list. And tonight, it is clear that it is time to get to work on this as we get through the first 100 days, there's a stunning report of a terribly mismanaged V.A. hospital just miles away from the White House which needs some attention.
And some big policy changes from the Justice Department as the Attorney General Jeff Sessions looks to make good on President Trump's campaign promises to restore law and order and move his agency away from the policies of Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder. We'll going to hear from David Wohl and Richard Fowler who debate this coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will work with and appoint the best and brightest prosecutors and law enforcement officials to get the job properly done. In this race for the White House, I am the law and order candidate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That was the law and order candidate as he said from the RNC last summer and now President Trump is working on fulfilling that. Attorney General Jeff Sessions quietly working to overhaul the justice department one piece at a time in bringing a new era that reverses some of the work that was done by the former Attorney General and the head of the department, Eric Holder and the Loretta Lynch. It's not immigration, crime, police reform, all of those taking center stages for Jeff Sessions now.
Trace Gallagher takes us inside efforts from our West Coast newsroom tonight. Hey Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT, LOS ANGELES: Hi, Martha. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said repeatedly this is a new era. This is the Trump era and the A.G. is working at breakneck speed to make sure the new department of justice is as advertised. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: This department of justice will defend and enforce lawful orders of the president consisted with the core principles of our constitution.
Last month, President Trump gave a clear direction to reduce crime in America, not tolerate a continuing rise in crime.
The border is not open. Please don't come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: And because immigration tops the list, Sessions is now calling for U.S. attorneys to step up the prosecutions of illegal immigrants and to answer critics who say immigration courts are already backlogged. The A.G. wants more immigration judges and he wants those judges to visit the prisons as a way of speeding up the deportation process. As for crime, the attorney general says the best way to lower the violent crime rate is so left the morale of police officers.
To do that, Jeff Sessions wants to review all police reform activities including a year-long federal investigation by the Obama administration of the Baltimore police department that found a pattern of unconstitutional treatment of the city's black residence. The city and police agreed on extensive reform measures but Sessions wants to put those measures on hold to make sure they align with his crime reduction plan.
In a key voting rights case, the Obama DOJ claims that Texas law requiring voters to have I.D. was intended to suppress the minority vote. The Trump DOJ asks to federal judge to dismiss that claim saying a new law is in the works.
And last year, former and Attorney General Loretta Lynch banned the public schools from discriminating against transgender students. The new attorney general promptly withdrew that guidance meaning public schools no longer have to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, Martha.
MACCALLUM: And that's only 83 days down and he's been busy. Trace, thank you very much. So here to debate this, David Wohl attorney and supporter President Trump, Richard Fowler, nationally syndicated radio show host and Fox News contributor, welcome gentleman. Good to have you here.
So, police reforms, Richard, is where we can start here. Your thoughts on what Jeff Sessions has done so far?
RICHARD FOWLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It's been 83 days of horror from this attorney general. Clearly he is to set up some sort of ethno nationalist utopia where police can get away with anything, right? Where Muslims aren't allowed into the country, where transgender students don't get the protections they deserve and where minorities don't have the right to vote. That is the world that Jeff Sessions wants.
And to be honest with you Martha and the viewers might not like it at home, but I am not having it. This is not what the justice department is supposed to be. For decades, it has been the department set up for everyday Americans, for everyday citizens, under Jeff Sessions, stands up for private prisons, stands up for the far, far right extreme agenda and it hurts everyday Americans.
MACCALLUM: You know, I mean that is the argument from the left no doubt. Jeff Sessions, though, you know, I mean you're basically saying just a mean, nasty man who wants to hurt people and discriminate against people.
FOWLER: I don't know him. He could be a nice guy. But his policies are awful. I don't know him.
MACCALLUM: That is being a horror is what you said.
MACCALLUM: You know, but the other side of this is David Wohl and I imagine you're going to present some of this. Is that he is trying to return the power to the states, that this is a government that is about allowing states to do the work at their own level whether it comes to bathrooms or their police forces and to keep the federal government out of that. David?
DAVID WOHL, ATTORNEY: Yes. You know, I met Jeff Sessions at the Saint Louis debates. He is a gentleman, his soft-spoken, but he means business and part of making America great again according to him as restoring the rule of law. Now Richard talks about the police officers and there are lots of consent decrees established during the Obama administration where the federal government essentially takes over police departments. They did in Baltimore and look what happened in Baltimore.
All those officers who were prosecuted, all those cases were dismissed. A total disaster. The prosecutor himself is now facing malicious prosecution charges.
There's immigration, there is no -- no longer is there going to be catching release at the border. These immigrants, illegally immigrants are going to be detained in detention centers and taken to immigration courts and have their day in court. When it comes to bathrooms, there is going to be permission of individual states to decide whether they're going to let men who believe their women into the ladies room and vice versa.
A lot of states are no longer going to be allow that. Mr. Obama got his claws into it and said we denying in funding unless you allow. Outrage --
FOWLER: David, clearly you are trying to spin this in some weird sort of way but here's the truth. It wasn't for the President Obama justice department, kids in North Carolina wouldn't be able to go to the bathroom of their choice. If it wasn't for the Obama justice department, the races police department of Baltimore would not have been prosecuted.
It's not -- and goes beyond the Freddie Gray case -- wait a minute, let me finish my point. What we found in Baltimore, what we found in Ferguson, what we found in many, many police departments across this country's patterns and principles and practices all the race and violating our constitution.
MACCALLUM: I mean we all watched happened in the (inaudible) case. And the department of justice, you know, Eric Holder went right down there and prosecuted the case to the full extent of the law. They did not find any guilt.
So then they said let's just, you know, then let's do a big evaluation of the police department and what you have in many cases and, you know, there's no department matter what agency is perfect. There are people who, you know, are out of line to Brandon, entire police to is racist. I think is really, really over the line.
WOHL: The patterns and principles that --
FOWLERS: No, no, no --
MACCALLUM: One quick talk on David then I got to go.
WOHL: Hold on. If states mandate that boys have to use the boys room and girls have to use the girl's room --
FOWLERS: Then state law is --
WOHL: I'm OK with that and millions and millions of Americans --
FOWLER: Then that state law is discriminatory, just like he has to say that black people sit at the back of the bus.
MACCALLUM: Gentleman --
FOWLER: If you're going to say that trans people can't be in the bathroom that they choose, it's the same way of saying the black throughout the back of the bus.
MACCALLUM: Well, it also have to do with the right to the other people who is in the bathroom and that something for the court to decide and so they shall but he believes it ought to be at the state level rather than at the federal level. Gentlemen, thank you. We're going -- I hear what you're saying and you can believe what you believe on both sides. That's the way it goes.
Thank you very much. All right, so coming up here, nearly three years to the day after the Phoenix V.A. scandal blew the lid on veteran abuse. Another massive scandal is unfolding tonight that we have to share with you. This time, a troubled facility is right near the capital building so no excuse for this to be happening where people say they want to clean the set. Afghan war veteran and executive director of Concerned Veterans for America, Mark Lucas, is here with his thoughts and what used to happen and fast.
MACCALLUM: So as we know President Trump as a candidate vowed to clean up the V.A. and there is work to be done. Tonight, new outrage over reports of the V.A. hospital in Washington, D.C., that is putting Vets at risk. It comes nearly three years to the day after the horrible reports of dozens of veterans who died while they waited to get care at an Arizona V.A. hospital and that's where so much of this debate begins. Mark Lucas is a veteran of the War of Afghanistan and Executive Director of Concerned Veterans of America. Mark, good evening, good to have you here with us tonight.
MARK LUCAS, EXEC. DIR. CONCERNED VETERANS: Thanks for having me.
MACCALLUM: What's happening in this D.C. hospital?
LUCAS: It's unfortunate. Less than three miles away from the White House and from the headquarters of the V.A., you've got the Washington, D.C., V.A. hospital who was under investigation for just mistreatment of veterans, for the fact that they're not being held accountable, and this is three years almost to the day of the anniversary of the Phoenix V.A. weight (ph) scandal and it just shows you the V.A. still has significant hurdles to cross in order to bring that type of accountability that's needed. And we at Concerned Veterans of America stand shoulder to shoulder with President Trump and V.A. Secretary Shulkin to bring account ability to the V.A.
MACCALLUM: Give us some examples to people can get a sense of what's going on here.
LUCAS: It's unfortunately that they were inspecting 25 facilities and over 18 of them were found to be not sterile. And we had close to 200 veterans whose cases were canceled. They're supposed to be visited with the V.A. doctor. They weren't able to be seen. So not only are we having access problems with veterans but also care as well.
MACCALLUM: Yes. And one of the things -- I just want to get -- the accountability issue. I know you want to get something passed that would allow them to fire people, which is one of the biggest problems that has confronted this, right?
LUCAS: Absolutely. And the Inspector General saying that veterans are in imminent danger. This is a phrase that we as veterans are used to when deployed.
We should never have to face imminent danger when we receive care here at home. And we support Senator Marco Rubio's V.A. Accountability First Act of 2017. The president supports this bill, so does the V.A. secretary and a host of veteran service organizations.
And that's why we are urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, that once are done with the Easter recess to make this a number one priority. Let's bring this to a vote, and let's put this on the president's desk. Veterans are being failed over and over again. And if we can't be able to be served properly in Washington, D.C., less than 3 miles from the White House, how can we be sure veterans are receiving good care anywhere across the country?
MACCALLUM: Well we hope the White House is listening and that they hear your plea and that they will bring their attention to it. Its very important issue and some that we know the President has been passionate about making a difference in. So Mark, thank you so much. Good to see you tonight.
LUCAS: Thanks for having me.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you tonight. We will take a quick break. The court of the night is coming up next, and it's a good one. So we will be right back with that. Stay with us.
MACCALLUM: So on this day in 1743, the third president of the United States was born. And centuries later, Thomas Jefferson's words of wisdom hold true in the wake of the turmoil that we see around the world today.
So this is our quote of the night. "Peace and friendship with all mankind as our rises policy and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it, but the temper and folly of our enemies may not leave us in our choice." May not leave this in our choice that Thomas Jefferson and we salute him and his memory on his birthday. Have a great night everybody. We'll see you back here tomorrow night at 7:00.
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