Transcript

Stephen A. Smith and Eric Bolling spar over Trump's tweets

Should the president ease off or double down on his use of social media? The debate continues on 'The Fox News Specialists'

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Fox News Specialists," May 18, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

EBONI K. WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: Hello. I'm Eboni K. Williams, along with Kat Timpf and Eric Bolling. And we are "The Fox News Specialists." It's a fast moving day out of Washington, D.C., President Trump wrapping up a joint news conference with the president of Columbia just a short time ago. He addressed the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the bureau's Russia probe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Respectable, but the entire thing has been a witch hunt. And there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can only speak for myself and the Russians, zero. I think it divides the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: And as you can imagine, President Trump also pressed on the so- called Comey memo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Did you at any time urged former FBI director James Comey in any way, shape, or form, to close or back down the investigation into Michael Flynn? And also.

TRUMP: No. No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: All right, Eric, no hesitation there, a clear no from President Trump on that. Now, yesterday he was really, really harsh around the appointment of the special council. Today, according Kevin Corke report -- FNC's Kevin Corke, seemed to soften a bit. But ultimately, if this clears the president of any cloud of suspicion, isn't this good for him and good for America?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: No, it just terrible. It's divisive. This morning President Trump tweeted it's a political witch hunt, and it's. Look what happened today -- I mean, last night when we went right off the air at 6:00 straight up, the news was released that there was going to be a special counsel.

WILLIAMS: Sure.

BOLLING: So they embargo until 6:00 even. This was a surprise, I'm sure a surprise to Trump, certainly is surprised to us. So in 23 hours, here's what we've had. We've had the Republicans say they'll be a special counsel investigating the Russia situation. And then also Further, Mitch McConnell goes in with hands the Democrats, another one on a platter saying let's do all senators, all senators invited to a discussion of this. Bring in Rosenstein. They bring in Rosenstein to talk about Mueller. And all they've done is kept this new cycle going when the reality is they're caving to the Democrats. What are they going to do next, if the Democrats say let's have an impeachment hearing, they're going to say, OK, let's do it. Start playing politics Republicans and start playing smart politics.

WILLIAMS: But, Kat, how about that? I mean, Eric is obviously, you know, got a position here, but isn't this ultimately good for Donald Trump if it all goes away? I mean, how is it political in nature by somebody who everybody seemed to think is a very good guy, Mueller.

KATHERINE TIMPF, CO- HOST: Absolutely. If it all goes away, then it's obviously positive. The way that Trump handle himself today when he spoke a lot better than the way he handle himself on twitter with the angry misspelled tweets. He was calm. He got people to laugh a little bit. The less that you sweat, the less likely people are to look at you and be like why is that guy sweating so much?

BOLLING: He's sweating because he has the Democrats.

(CROSSTALK)

TIMPF: He should be focusing more on, I didn't do anything. I didn't do anything. I agree that it's bad. It's very, very bad that the president and the FBI have this kind of relationship. I don't care if you don't like Trump, but you should not be celebrating this.

BOLLING: Mitch McConnell didn't have to call an all senators meeting to have this discussion. And guess what happened after the meeting, there was a microphone and camera set up, and have senator came out. They all wanted to get in front of the camera and have their statements. What that does it generates more new cycle for them. Instead of saying, look, this -- the reality I have a friend inside that meeting, Rosenstein didn't say anything. He didn't break any news. There wasn't anything really going on. What this could have been, all right, let's -- you've got your general counsel, let's go. Let's go investigate this thing, which as you probably will agree with me, this is going to be a long-term investigation. It could be a year or two years long.

WILLIAMS: It will be long, Eric, indeed. But first, let's meet today specialist. He received a basketball scholarship to attend Winston-Salem State University, go Rams. He's the cohost of ESPN's First Take. He's also the host of the very popular Stephen A. Smith radio show, but he specializes in being an NBA insider, Stephen A. Smith is here. And he was named Detroit's greatest guitar player of all-time, also a member of the national bow hunters hall of fame, and he's a New York Times best-selling author, but he specializes in riding a buffalo on stage, rock legend Ted Nugent is here. (APPLAUSE)

WILLIAMS: That is a very unique specialty, Ted. You might combust with Stephen (INAUDIBLE) but let's see what happens. OK. So, Ted, Eric is saying, you know, it's divisive. This is the Republicans kowtowing to the will of the Democratic Party. But for me it really seems like an objective win-win because this guy, Mueller, everybody thinks he's great. He's above the law. And he might be best position to clear President Trump if indeed nothing was wrong.

TED NUGENT, ROCK LEGEND: Well, if I may give you an overview from working hard, playing hard America, we are aware of the corruption, the abuse of power, the criminality that runs amok in our government. And this kind of devious behavior by the Democrats is so out of control.

(CROSSTALK)

NUGENT: Of rhino, yeah. He's got an R-actor name, but good luck to that. We expect this. I do believe that since it's a -- I wish I could use the cluster love song, but there is such divisiveness out there. We know it's escapable at this time. I would love to see this run its full course because I believe in the president. I believe in what he stands for. That's why we voted for him. And I believe that what will come out of this spotlight will eventually help him. I think it will clear -- and by the way, if it doesn't, as a real American, we the people guy, I want the facts to fall where they lay. I want the spotlight to get the truth out. And if the truth hurts somebody, so be it.

WILLIAMS: Amen. So Stephen A., the president and many people, Eric here, they also say it's divisive to have this special counsel. What is divisive about it? Can you help me see that?

STEPHEN A. SMITH, ESPN "FIRST TAKE" CO-HOST: Well, first of all, obviously, you know, it's not that it's not divisive. Is that I'm shocked that everybody is acting like this is something new. You have a Democrat in office, Republicans are going to come after you. If you have a Republican in office, Democrats are going to come after you. Everybody is looking to ensure their power structure and that's what we're talking about here. Eric, you alluded to how the Republicans are caving. I don't see you giving enough accountability to Donald Trump.

BOLLING: Really.

SMITH: Let me explain. I'm just talking about what you've just said. I'm just talking about what you've just alluded to. I'm saying if you are the president of the United States of America, you are 70 years of age, and you are tweeting and literally competing with 15 and 17-year-olds. That is a problem. A lot of times I'm not even thinking about the substantive of the arguments because you guys would know that a lot better than me.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: Can I just clarify something. You just said they shouldn't worry about it. This is the second time in history that this has happened. OK. Second time they have appointed a special counsel.

SMITH: I wasn't talking about that. I was saying to you, when you say the Democrats, they're coming after him and the Republicans are caving, etcetera, etcetera.

BOLLING: Of course they are.

SMITH: But what culpability do you have.

BOLLING: We have five separate investigations going on.

SMITH: But every time he tweets he gives added fuel for them to come after him.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: I'll you what you should worry about as a Democrat or on the left, you should worry about Robert Mueller is a capable investigator.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: I agree.

BOLLING: They can find stuff about Obama and Hillary and everyone else.

SMITH: But you still haven't answered my question with all due respect. I asked you, when this man goes out and tweets and he literally adds fuel to the fire because he gives them material.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: Did you just asked that question with a straight face?

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: Let me finish my question. I want to be clear. You just asked a question. What's wrong with twitter while mentioning Donald Trump name in the same sentence?

BOLLING: Yes.

SMITH: You don't have a problem with it?

(CROSSTALK)

TIMPF: He misspelled a word.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: I've advised President Trump. I've known President Trump for 15 years and I said, you know what, keep tweeting.

SMITH: That's terrible advice. Horrible advice.

BOLLING: . you go around the fake news because 90 percent of them, the news media, can't stand the man.

TIMPF: But he wound up going around his own statement. The own statement that came out in the wake of the announcement of the special council was saying that this was -- we're going to be clear. I'm completely confident. And then he goes out and tweets things that kind of counter that attitude when he didn't even spell a word right. I'm sorry, that matters.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: For a misspelled word?

TIMPF: Yeah. When you're addressing something this serious.

BOLLING: I want to go back to what you've said.

TIMPF: I said the statement was good. I'm saying everything is bad.

(CROSSTALK)

NUGENT: He's not competing with 15-year-olds. He's circumventing a fake news network that will not give any honest representation, so he's using social media whether you like or not. He's getting those words.

(CROSSTALK)

NUGENT: . despite the media that hates him.

SMITH: I applaud that beautiful soliloquy that you just gave me. What does that have to do with him going after Stephen Colbert? What does that have to do with him sitting there.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: You're a grown man and you're the president of the United States. And by the way, Eric, let me get back to you because I like how you smoothly throughout the fact that you know him. You're friends with him, etcetera. Well, I don't know him like that, but I have communicated with him on several occasions because he loves sports. He's a former football - - USFL. By the way, he wanted to own the Buffalo Bills. I was on the phone with him when he (INAUDIBLE). I never had a problem with him until he campaigned and he conducted himself the way that he conducted himself. So what I'm saying to you is this, if you're going to be the leader of the free world -- I'm not getting into his politics per se because I'm certainly not as qualified as a lot of aficionados out there, but you have to conduct yourself like a statesman.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: Why? You don't.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: Especially when you've been elected by going, say, I'm going to be different. I'm not going to be a politician. I'm going to drain the damn swamp when I get there, and that's exactly what he did.

NUGENT: He's crushing the status quo.

WILLIAMS: You know what, Ted, I don't think anybody is really upset about the crushing of the status quo or the disrupter mentality and mechanism of this president. You're laughing, I think many people, even those that didn't vote for him like that part about him. But to Stephen A. Smith's point, Eric, let me say this. What you tweet does matters, and I think it's not necessarily always a bad thing to use twitter. I think it can be a great tool to go around -- as media. But sometimes you have to live and die by the content of your tweet. So is something is good and positive and can bolster your message and they're not talking about it.

(CROSSTALK) BOLLING: He said it's a witch hunt, and it is a witch hunt.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: And when you ask him why, he usually said believe me, believe me. Come on, Eric, what I'm saying to you is this.

BOLLING: When you've got 90 percent of the media who is attacking you.

SMITH: That's not fair. That's not fair.

BOLLING: . it's good for him to go -- he's twitter account -- twitter and Facebook.

SMITH: But you're in the media.

BOLLING: . dwarfed the number.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: You're in the media. I'm in the media. All I'm saying to you is this, you have individuals who may be erroneous, who may be irresponsible.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: Let me finish. Not only that, if you support that, what's going to happen is, did it ever occur to you that he could be using those maneuvers because he doesn't want to be held accountable when he actually has something to hold him accountable for? If you convince everybody that everybody is lying, then who are you accountable to?

BOLLING: But he's right. He's right.

SMITH: How do you know this?

BOLLING: I wrote a monologue exactly about this.

(CROSSTALK)

TIMPF: You can't see inside Donald Trump's head. You can't see inside his head. You don't know he's right or not.

BOLLING: You don't know.

TIMPF: Is the media unfair, sure, but that doesn't mean every single thing they've written about him is false. It really doesn't mean that. I know that a lot of this comes from a bad place. I know that a lot of people wanted President Trump impeached when he started regardless of what happened. I know that it's bad to see a lot of them celebrating the fact that the FBI and the president are sort of at odds of each other because that's in itself a national security threat before an enemy see that. However, all of those things aside, be true or not true, there's no way to know that every single piece of information, and there's been a lot of it coming out, is false. I'll just wait and see.

BOLLING: I'm just going to say that the vast majority of the mainstream media is against Donald Trump, and they will highlight the things they find negative about the man.

WILLIAMS: Eric, I'm going to agree with you there. I'm going to agree with you there that most mainstream media outlets do not like Donald Trump and it shows in their coverage. But how about this, how about the same way he could use it to go back against Colbert. How about talking about how successful the China trade agreement was?

BOLLING: He does. He absolutely tweets about that. But you know what, no one does.

WILLIAMS: Because it's singular, Eric. I do think at some point he has to be more -- because one thing I will give the president he knows how to control the narrative. Absolutely he does.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: Go on POTUS and real Donald Trump's Twitter and you'll see.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: I like to add this. I've watch Eric on television on several occasions. I happen to suspect that there are quite a few people that you've reported on that you haven't liked. It didn't stop you from being accurate. Why do you keep pointing to the fact that he's disliked? (INAUDIBLE) everybody is wrong about Donald Trump. I'm not saying they haven't been wrong. I'm saying everybody? The entire media industry? He needs to talk to Eric or a few of his friends in order for us to get accuracy?

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: You know what he does? He goes to twitter and Facebook and it's a 100 million people with a press of a button.

NUGENT: When we come back, I will let you know what we the people think of his tweets and what we think of job.

SMITH: We the people?

NUGENT: Yes, because I hang with them every day. I hang with them at their -- at the feed mill and the hardware store and deer camp, and I know what they.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: I do it all the time, and I hear quite a different story.

NUGENT: There's a heartland out there, Steve.

SMITH: I talk to them, too.

WILLIAMS: All right, gentlemen.

SMITH: I talk to them, too.

WILLIAMS: Leakers unleashed a new wave of attacks against the Trump administration over Michael Flynn and Russia. And now, one prominent Democrat says they've gone too far. We'll show you that. Plus, as he just say, Eric Bolling has an important message for everybody. Time to wake up, America.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TIMPF: Leakers upping the ante and watching a double hit against the Trump administration. The New York Times report that the Trump transition team knew Michael Flynn was under federal investigation but hire him anyway as national security advisor. And Reuters report that the Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed encounters with Russian officials. Both reports naturally attribute anonymous sources. The flood of leaks even have had die-hard Democrat Dennis Kucinich crying foul. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "HANNITY")

DENNIS KUCINICH, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: You have a politicization of the agencies that is resulting in leaks from anonymous, unknown people, and the intention is to take down a president. This is about the political process of the United States of America being under attack by intelligence agencies and individuals in those agencies.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: You're saying President Trump is under attack by the deep state intelligence community, fair statement?

KUCINICH: I believe that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TIMPF: All right. So, Eric, do you agree with this deep state intelligence community idea?

BOLLING: Well, someone is leaking. I mean, a lot -- I think the whisper is that, yeah, that's where it's happening. So there'll be high-level communications going on between, in this case, Russia, Lavrov, foreign minister Lavrov with Russia, and Donald Trump. And then, there's a memo that goes out to the intelligence community about what they talked about, and then someone in the intel community leaks into these publications. That's very, very dangerous. I'd also like to note that -- first of all, a lot of people are tweeting me right now and saying, are you and Steven good at the break?

(LAUGHTER)

BOLLING: We're really good.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: Can I just point one thing out I think is being lost in this, is that all of the attacks on Donald Trump and his ties to Russia, did we forget that Hillary Clinton actually brokered a deal to sell 20 percent of our uranium stockpiles to Russia, number one. And number two, her campaign manager John Podesta had stock in a Russian company, who when he was discovered gave it to his daughter.

WILLIAMS: That's why, Eric. No, I don't think a lot of people forgot that. That's part of the reason she's not president now. She also had tremendous credibility issues. So I don't think anybody is saying that Hillary Clinton was a girl scout on these issues.

NUGENT: Except nobody is going after her for it.

TIMPF: Well, because she's not the president.

(CROSSTALK)

NUGENT: Crime is crime. You don't have to wait to be president to be prosecuted.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: Excuse me. It does matter when the president went on the record and said he's moving past that, that's number one. Number two, if I remember correctly, because I'm certainly not the aficionado that you are, Eric, but if I remember correctly, wasn't there like nine different federal agencies that approved the uranium one -- situation.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: President Obama was the president at the time, and the secretary of state was Hillary Clinton.

SMITH: OK.

BOLLING: They gave away 20 percent of our uranium that we desperately need.

SMITH: I'm not saying that I approve of it. I'm not saying that I like it. What I'm saying is that you're telling me that there's something illegal about it?

BOLLING: No, I'm not saying. I'm also saying -- well -- I'm pretty sure that whatever Donald Trump is accused of doing pales in comparison to turning over 20 percent of our uranium.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: So another word that the fact the culprit, a bigger issue may have occurred on this side, ignore the culpability of the president.

BOLLING: I'm talking about uranium. You can use uranium to spark up a power plant.

TIMPF: Eric, it's completely possible.

BOLLING: Hold on. To further enrich you to a nuclear weapon.

TIMPF: Thank you. It's completely possible to have a problem with Hillary Clinton and the uranium deal with the Russians which is something I've certainly have a problem with, and also have a problem with Donald Trump. I am somebody who never trust somebody completely to tell the truth when they have a lot to gain by lying. There's no reason to just so blindly believed Donald Trump on everything.

BOLLING: Show me one shred of evidence.

NUGENT: There's no evidence against Trump and there's documentation of Clinton's collusion or relationship with the Russians.

TIMPF: I understand the difference between -- I don't think the media has been treating Trump fairly. I completely agree with you on that.

NUGENT: Bingo.

TIMPF: . I completely agree with you on that. However, there have been a lot of things coming out, and even though they are anonymous, and you don't trust something anonymous as much something with a name, the amount of them, you really have to take a look at it. It's just a fact. You have no way of knowing that it's true.

BOLLING: What are they? What specifically are you saying -- are you saying Donald Trump did that -- that was failed?

WILLIAMS: Nobody is saying that. What people are saying is the investigation -- because the investigation is not concluded yet, Eric. But I want to go back to leakers because.

SMITH: The word investigation does matter, Eric.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: Let me get your take on this, Steven. Leakers, this is a big problem. This is a problem under the Trump administration. And if we go back in time, it was a huge problem under the Obama administration. Obama went to war on this issue of leakers and pretty unsuccessful. He actually prosecuted more people under the espionage act than any other president prior to. And it seems to have almost backfired. So is there something that Donald Trump can do on this issue to get a better result.

SMITH: It's hard to say and here's why, because I think he's his own worst enemy in that regard. First of all, even though it's via twitter in most situations, one could easily accuse the president of having diarrhea of the mouth, figuratively speaking. This need to cost him this speck to defend yourself over the most pettiest things imaginable. If anybody can be perceived as being accused of leaking, it would be him.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: Doesn't that matter?

BOLLING: On one hand you're calling it petty accusation. On the other hand, you're saying we need a special prosecutor.

SMITH: No, no, no, first of all, I never said.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: I never once said that's what needed. I don't have a problem with it because at the end of the day let's get beyond it and get to the bigger issues that really resonate within this country. You also might have the situation where, again, people -- critics of him bring this up (INAUDIBLE) I'm just echoing what they say, you have people who get upset because he's never really opened his book taxes, whether its himself directly, whether it's his companies, his business that he's done, where the ties connect. Not just with you in Moscow or someplace else, but people doing business over here in concert with you. You have people who think about those things, and that may be the agenda in terms of getting to the bottom of stuff as it pertains to him. And if he would be quiet, maybe they wouldn't have as much ammunition, just a thought, Eric.

BOLLING: Well, he's wildly popular with his base. So, Stephen, I think he's doing something right.

TIMPF: I would never disagree that he's wildly popular with his base, Eric. Never disagree with that. Truest thing that's ever been said.

(CROSSTALK) NUGENT: I know his base.

SMITH: Well, some of them maybe the best.

(CROSSTALK)

NUGENT: A retaliatory strike by a guy who's abused by the industry, by the media, and academia, and government prior.

(CROSSTALK)

TIMPF: All right, next up, we have a new segment on The Fox News Specialists featuring our own Eric Bolling, Wake up, America. Don't go away.

SMITH: I'm worried.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLLING: All right, time to wake up, America. The news cycle is coming at us fast and furious, so we turn to various news outlets to get the facts. In Fox News we bring you the strongest set of facts and opinions anywhere as they're happening, but that's not what's happening out there in the mainstream media. Donald Trump is called the mainstream media fake news and they despise them for that, but Trump may be onto something. On Monday, the Washington Post broke what they called a bombshell story stating that they had anonymous sources tell them Trump gave away classified information to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in his last meeting last week. They were high-fiving each other in the Washington Post newsroom, a smoking gun: "We got Trump!" But the party was premature, much like Hillary's election night party.

Soon, it was noted that, A, the info in question, that ISIS was attempting to use laptops as an explosive device on airplanes, was common knowledge. So the bombshell was a dud. Fake news.

The very next day, Tuesday, The New York Times delivered their bombshell that recently-axed FBI Director James Comey had a smoking-gun note he wrote after a dinner with President Trump months ago, and that Trump asked Comey to stop an FBI investigation. Again, high fives in the Times newsroom. Parties ensued, until it was also noted that Comey had been sitting on that note for months. Pretty interesting, right?

Also, take note of what I dug up today. Unfortunately for Mr. Comey, in sworn testimony on May 3, the director was asked if he had been asked to stop any investigation on the Russian story. And here's what he said, and I'm quoting: "It would be a big deal to tell the FBI to stop doing something that, without an appropriate purpose. I'm talking about a situation where we were told to stop something for a political reason. That would be a very big deal." And here's the operative line, guys, emphasis mine: "It's not happened in my experience." Another bombshell fizzling out. Fake news.

A colleague of mine who passed away today once told me "Be fast, Bolling, but more importantly, be right." The Washington Post and The New York Times, you should be ashamed of your reporting.

As for our faithful Fox audience, our motto is, "We report. You decide." And that's what we do. It means we report the facts and respectfully encourage you, the viewer, to decide what it means to you.

Throwing it over to Stephen A. Smith, so here it is. Comey in sworn testimony, the Senate, says, "Never happened. No one ever asked me to look the other way on any investigation."

SMITH: OK.

BOLLING: I think he just blew his own story out of the water.

SMITH: He may have blown his own story out of the water. And I can definitely relate to that. I can understand exactly where you're coming from, and I don't blame you for being critical of individuals or institutions who have made that mistake. That's fair enough. I've been a reporter for over two decades. I understand. It's more important to be right than to be first, even though I pride myself in being most and both most times.

Here's the reality of the situation, however. No matter what entity you're working for, an individual is an individual. Everybody can't host this show. You are. You know, everybody is not hosting it. You can't look at one person who makes a mistake and denigrate the entire institution. And that is what your president has engaged in. And let me tell you why that's dangerous.

BOLLING: Your president, too. Your president.

SMITH: No, no, I apologize for that, because I'm not one of those who say that. He is my president, as well. I didn't vote for him, but he's my president. And that's a responsible thing to do.

But it's important to point out that, when you're calling out somebody, if he gets away with that, then all of a sudden, what about when his successor comes along and the kind of license that you give them to circumvent the media, because everybody's fake news can be attached to the next administration? Be careful about that. Be careful about that.

BOLLING: But here we're talking about The Washington Post breaking the news, high-fiving, and then the paper of record, New York Times, also went to record with this. And guess what happened? James Comey swore it never happened.

NUGENT: I don't think Stephen is getting the big picture. It's not just individuals. It's a whole army of media individuals that are out for blood. They're so left, they're so in the Democrat tank that they are going to attack the president and anything Republican or anything right side in such a consistent fashion that it is an overwhelming tsunami of fake news, attack mode with no basis.

So it's not just individuals in this day and age. It's an overall movement. And the movement of the media and academia and the left and the Democrats overall is just Saul Alinsky berserk. So if you can find some individuals who are not guilty of that, give me a call on that.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: You go ahead. You go to Saul Alinsky? You're going there?

BOLLING: Let me bring Eboni in. So Eboni, do you know where I found this comment? I went through pages and pages on The New York Post -- I'm sorry, Washington Post website, who showed Comey testifying it never happened.

WILLIAMS: So I might surprise you; in this moment, Eric, I completely agree with you. I'm somebody that has been very critical of what I call the casualties of the 2016 election cycle: FBI, DOJ, State Department. Media, mainstream media has been a huge casualty of this election cycle. So much so -- don't take my word for it; take theirs -- The New York Times came out postelection, and they apologized to their viewership, to their readership, and they said, "We're going to do better."

So when you do this, Eric, when they come out and they say things like this and they have to walk it back immediately after because it was a premature celebration around what felt like a conquest in that moment, it's a problem.

Now, the difference is, I don't feel like "Ha-ha, yay, the mainstream media is dead. We've triumphed." I feel sad for America. Because a lot of people, Eric, they're not going to do this legwork, and they don't have time to do it. That's our job as journalists and reporters and working in news media. That's what we do for a living.

The typical American, they're working hard. They don't have time to look this stuff up, so they need a reliable news source. And when the mainstream media fails them like this, it's a problem.

NUGENT: And you're right. Every time the media reports something that's proven wrong, mom and pop America go "Jeez, thanks for nothing. Who do I turn to now?"

BOLLING: You know what they should do, Kat? They should say, "I'm going to start watching 'The Specialists' instead of reading."

NUGENT: They should start watching "The Specialists."

TIMPF: I think that a lot of times, people misunderstand my viewpoint on all of this, right? I completely agree with you that the way they've have covered Trump is unfairly. I think that it's disingenuous to cover in the way that they're waking up every morning, hoping that there's some leak, waking up every morning hoping he does something horrible.

NUGENT: And it's so apparent.

TIMPF: And high-fiving each other. And it is apparent, because they, like I said earlier in the show, they wanted to impeach him before he even had a minute as president.

However, that doesn't mean that you can say that you know for a fact that everything that they report is always false.

NUGENT: And I don't think anybody does. And if they come up with something that we can rely on, Stephen and Kat, we will be the first.

TIMPF: And in all fairness, a lot of people do that. They say, "I know this is a lie about Trump because the media is unfair." The logic doesn't flow there. That's a logical fallacy.

BOLLING: Can I ask my counsel here something? So how credible of a witness, if he's called -- and he will be -- James Comey, is he, if he went ahead and swore under oath that nothing -- no one had ever asked him to look the other way or walk back an investigation. And yet he's saying he has a note that says Trump asked him to do it?

WILLIAMS: So this right here, what we call to impeach his credibility as a lawyer.

SMITH: I'm not saying -- I'm not saying that you're wrong about anything. What I'm saying is you can say -- you could say the same: Clinton was under attack, George W. Bush were under attack. You're the president.

BOLLING: Not like this.

WILLIAMS: Nixon.

SMITH: It comes with it. Come on, y'all. It comes with it. We understand this.

BOLLING: All right. Got to go.

NUGENT: Not like this.

SMITH: Oh, my goodness. Here's a Kleenex.

BOLLING: President -- President Donald Trump following through on one of his biggest campaign promises, a major crackdown on illegal immigration. New details and a big spike in arrests, just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: Welcome back to "The Fox News Specialists." Our specialists today are Stephen A. Smith, the host of ESPN's "First Take," and rock legend Ted Nugent. Somehow, our universe hasn't quite exploded yet, so we're going to keep it going while we can.

President Trump has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration, and that was no joke. According to new data from ICE, there was a 35 percent spike in immigration arrests during President Trump's first 100 days, compared the same period last year.

Eric, this is what he...

NUGENT: (APPLAUDING)

WILLIAMS: Ted, yes. Round of applause. I don't think anybody at this table is upset to hear this type of good news around law enforcement and this important issue that he campaigned on, of course, Eric: cracking down on illegal immigration.

BOLLING: Well, that's good news. I'm glad to hear that no one at the table -- well, I'm not sure about the guy sitting at left.

SMITH: No, no.

BOLLING: I'm not sure. Well, that's good. That's what -- that's good then. We're making progress. Because there are a lot of times I'd be sitting here and saying, "Hey, I think we should crack down on illegal immigration." People say, what, "That's so -- that's so racist of you." Or "That's so unfair of you" or so...

NUGENT: I think -- if I may, the big picture: I just spent some time with some ICE guys and some Border Patrol guys. And I spent a lot of time with these guys. And when Trump became president, there was a huge, universal law enforcement sigh of release [SIC] that -- relief that we have a president that genuinely sides with the men and women in blue, and especially on the border, because they were shackled. They weren't allowed to enforce the law. They weren't allowed to do their oath to the Constitution and enforce and protect. So there's a great, great positive spirit taking place. That's why the arrests are up.

SMITH: One of my best friends, his name is Jeff Brown. He's watching; he watches you guys every day. He's in L.A. right now. He told a story, and he said, "Steve, you're at an amusement park, and there's a long line and you're waiting two, three hours, trying to get on a ride." And he said, "And somebody walks up, walks right in front of you and gets to the head of the line and goes on the ride."

NUGENT: That's it in a nutshell right there.

SMITH: "Are you going to feel good about that? That's illegal immigration."

BOLLING: Bingo.

SMITH: So no one should have a problem with illegal immigration getting addressed. The issue is, is that a lot of times, when we hear folks and their rhetoric, they don't emphasize the word "illegal." They just say "immigration."

NUGENT: Well, Stephen, you know who doesn't emphasize it?

SMITH: Gives the impression that there are those that are not welcome, and that's never good for America to disseminate that kind of message.

NUGENT: Let's emphasize that whenever the left or most of the media, which is the same thing, and the Democrats talk about immigration, they always claim that we're against immigration. They cannot differentiate between legal activities and illegal activities.

We're for legal banking, if you make a withdraw and deposit in your account. If you try to make one out of my account, that's illegal banking. We're against that. And the left just will not admit that there's a difference between legal and illegal. So thank you for that. You and I are copacetic.

WILLIAMS: I'm going to come right to you, Kat.

SMITH: I must say, I must agree.

WILLIAMS: Yes, but I will say this, Ted/ I think sometimes we talk about immigration, because I also worked with ICE as a defense -- defense lawyer. And I worked with ICE and law enforcement, Border Patrol and all the like.

NUGENT: Great guys.

WILLIAMS: Wonderful men and women that serve in that capacity, absolutely. The illegal part has to be addressed, because we need a fixed immigration system, which is another conversation that could make a lot of this better.

TIMPF: We need -- we need to make legal immigration easier. Right now, it would take...

NUGENT: I'm not sure we need to make it easier.

TIMPF: Yes, we do.

NUGENT: I think you have to earn your way to become an American.

TIMPF: It's already very hard. If you're a teenager in Mexico, it can take you more than 100 years to do it legally. A lot of people do just try to do it illegally. I don't say that's OK. Why?

Immigrants provide a lot of benefits to our economy. When you do it legally...

NUGENT: Legal ones, yes.

TIMPF: ... there shouldn't be a problem with that. There should be no problem with that. It's too hard right now to get here legally, which is why people just say, "Nah, I'm doing it illegally," which I don't support that. I'm not saying that's OK.

BOLLING: So just to -- just to...

TIMPF: But that's the part that needs to be fixed.

BOLLING: To complete the "Kumbaya" moment, are we in favor of that border wall to make sure illegal immigrants don't come over the border?

WILLIAMS: No.

BOLLING: What?

WILLIAMS: Because that's not the most efficient, cost-effective way to do it.

BOLLING: That's why?

WILLIAMS: That's all.

SMITH: I agree with Eboni.

WILLIAMS: I am worried about money.

SMITH: I have a very hard time agreeing with you on this issue, Eric. I don't trust agreeing with you on this issue.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: You don't -- you don't want to -- hold on. You don't want to put a fence up around Disney World, right, where people can just walk in?

SMITH: Whoa, listen. Disney World is...

BOLLING: I'm using your example.

WILLIAMS: I think we're being saved by the bell, guys.

SMITH: Everyone wants to come to Disney World. Let's be clear.

WILLIAMS: So Democrats...

NUGENT: I secured the borders at Fox today.

WILLIAMS: ... of the middle class are getting blasted by one of their biggest names, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Things must be very, very bad. We'll show you this, right next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLLING: Chicago's Democrat mayor, Rahm Emanuel, of all people, is hitting his own party's relationship with the middle class. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAHM EMANUEL, MAYOR OF CHICAGO: I think there are certain things we as a party have wandered off from when it relates to be the party that brought forward hard-working families as president used to say, that work hard, play by the rules. They need a voice. And it's not just a string of policies. It's also a set of values that respect who they are in their lives. I think we come off -- and can come off as a party disdainful of them as the bedrock of this great country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: All right, Ted, we'll start with you. Chicago politics at its finest or its worst?

NUGENT: What kind of freak would want to provide sanctuary to illegal anything?

You know, I have family in Chicago. I rock and roll in Chicago. I hang out in Chicago. What a tottling (ph) town; what a wonderful town. But the politics are just like zombie-land. And Rahm Emanuel is the perfect head for that kind of zombie-land. I'm really upset that such a wonderful city has politics that has no fiscal responsibility or accountability, no criminal accountability. It's literally a shoot-out orgy every day in Chicago, thanks to his gun laws.

BOLLING: Let's bring it -- thanks to his gun laws, and -- among other things, but also his liberalism. And he seems to be, Rahm, he's maybe pushing back on that a touch?

TIMPF: I think the larger point is when you take a look at how a lot of times the left and Democrats, for example, this election, they talked a lot about identity politics and these kind of ideologies that people don't care about as much as they care about things like having a job or practical messaging. So I certainly think that's part of it. I feel like the Hollywood-ization of people on the left -- I just made that word up -- but it totally works.

NUGENT: It's a good one.

TIMPF: Yes, it's a good one, right? It makes them look disconnected from the middle class.

BOLLING: OK, your thoughts on this one?

WILLIAMS: Rahm Emanuel is a complete hypocrite in that moment. I'll tell you why. I was just in Chicago about two months ago with my personal -- and Richard Fowler and Gianna Caldwell. We took, we took the Power Within Tour, went into inner-city schools on the South Side in different aspects of that city. And we talked to teachers. We talked to social workers in schools. What is the problem where these bright, young, gifted students are being held back from their full potential due to the clogged pipeline in Chicago, public schools education? The state is giving them money. It's being clogged by that man right there, Eric, and it is not getting to the students that need it.

So I cannot hear this message from Rahm Emanuel.

BOLLING: This is my hometown, Chicago, I'm talking about. But guess what? The same problems they had 30 years ago when I was there seem to be popping up again.

SMITH: For me, when I hear the word -- the name Rahm Emanuel, what hits home for me is President Barack Obama. The one thing that I've had an issue with -- and now you can debate many and whatever. You all can do that another day.

For me personally, when -- being an African-American, seeing the crime that has been raking through certain parts of Chicago, I'm not saying that our former president didn't say anything, but I always found myself wishing that I heard more. And I always suspected that I didn't hear more as it pertained to that issue because Rahm Emanuel, his former chief of staff, was the mayor.

When I hear the name Rahm Emanuel, that is what comes to my mind, the crime that exists in Chicago, what little has been done to address it. And we have a mayor that is there. And I thought that he was in a position to do so much more because of what he was connected to, and it didn't happen.

BOLLING: You know, it breaks my heart to hear people call my hometown, Chicago, Chiraq. And it's really -- it's really getting that.

NUGENT: It qualifies, doesn't it?

BOLLING: We have to leave it right there.

NUGENT: That's why Spike Lee called it that.

BOLLING: I want to take a moment to remember Roger Ailes right now.

Today America lost a legend, a pillar of conservative politics. Roger Ailes built the FOX News empire and stood at its helm until he was forced out amid allegations of sexual harassment last year. But when remembering Roger Ailes, we must remember all of Roger Ailes.

Personally, Roger brought me over here from CNBC, seeing something in me that even I didn't know existed, a conservative point of view. A conservative set of values and opinions that he said would resonate far better with the Fox audience rather than the NBC audience. I think Roger was right. Thank you, R.A.

But remembering Roger Ailes, we must remember Roger's massive career, as well, as career that spanned five decades and transcended industries. We must remember the architect of three successful presidential campaigns; and we must remember the man who redefined what it meant to work in the media.

Roger Ailes ushered in the conservative point of view out of the shadows and forever cemented its seat at the American political table. He was a patriot and a revolutionary.

Our hearts, all of our hearts, are with his family, Elizabeth, his wife, and his son Zachary. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TIMPF: Time to "Circle Back" with our specialists, Stephen A. Smith and Ted Nugent.

All right, guys. Thanks so much for coming. You're Detroit; you're a Detroit guy. Like me.

NUGENT: Motor City.

TIMPF: Motor City. You get back a lot?

NUGENT: Full time, baby. But I'm in Texas now. Texas needed me.

TIMPF: Do you get back ever?

NUGENT: Yes. They need me back there.

TIMPF: Absolutely.

NUGENT: Yes. We rock 'n' roll there every year.

BOLLING: Can we talk about this, the big news story this morning. Chris Cornell, Soundgarden front man. Tell us about it.

NUGENT: Heartbreak. One of the greatest voices in the history of rock 'n' roll. Kind of James Brown meets Paul Rodgers. And it's a heartbreaker. And we pray for his family and friends. Thanks for enriching our life with that great music.

BOLLING: "Blackhole Sun" one of the best songs.

NUGENT: Yes. He was an animal. He was a soul brother.

WILLIAMS: All right. I've got a question for Stephen A. I could ask you anything. I'm going to ask you this question.

SMITH: Uh-oh.

WILLIAMS: You are an NBA franchise owner. You have one draft pick. Michael Jordan or LeBron James?

SMITH: Michael Jordan.

WILLIAMS: Why?

SMITH: Because Michael Jordan is the greatest. Six NBA finals, six NBA finals MVPs. He has never lost an NBA championship series. More importantly, he never even allowed the series to reach a game seven. That is the epitome of perfection.

LeBron James is many things. He's absolutely phenomenal, but he will never, ever be accused of being perfect.

NUGENT: My sons agree with you.

WILLIAMS: Well, he's a Tarheel.

BOLLING: Repeat the three-peat.

SMITH: Excuse me?

BOLLING: Repeat the three-peat. Remember? I'm from Chicago. I was a Bulls fan. We got -- we got a three-peat.

SMITH: You really stepped out on a limb there, didn't you?

BOLLING: Repeat the three-peat.

SMITH: I never knew that you were a Bulls fan. When Derek Jones and Joakim Noah were playing, when Tom Thibodeau was coaching. But when Michael Jordan was playing, you were a Bulls fan. Way to go, Eric. Way to go.

I'm just checking on you. I'm going to stay on you, man. I'm going to stay on you.

BOLLING: I'm also a Cubs fan. Does that count?

SMITH: Now it does -- now you're a Cubs fan! Did we hear this two years ago? Or more than 100 years before that?

BOLLING: I used to ride my bike to Wrigley Field. That story will do.

TIMPF: He became a Cubs fan in October.

WILLIAMS: He likes winners.

NUGENT: I like Vienna red hots. Does that count?

SMITH: No.

WILLIAMS: No.

SMITH: Sorry.

TIMPF: No, sorry.

All right.

SMITH: By the way, Eric, way to time it. One time. One time.

TIMPF: Thank you to our "Fox News Specialists" today, Ted Nugent and Stephen A. Smith.

And we thank you all for watching. Make sure to follow us on social media, @SpecialistsFNC on Twitter and Facebook. Remember, 5 o'clock will never be the same. "Special Report" is next.

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