Enough being done to prevent Manchester-style attack in US?

Debate and analysis on 'The Fox News Specialists'


This is a rush transcript from "The Fox News Specialists," May 24, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

KATHERINE TIMPF, THE FOX NEWS SPECIALIST HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Kat Timpf, along with Eric Bolling and Eboni K. Williams. We are The Fox News Specialists. Monday's horrific suicide bombing by Salman Abedi in Manchester looking like a much bigger conspiracy.


MANCHESTER POLICE: I think it's very clear that this is a network that we are investigating. As I said, it continues at pace this extensive investigations going on. An activity taking place across greater Manchester as we speak.


TIMPF: U.K. law enforcement has now arrested at least six people in connection with the bombing, including Abedi's older brother. Officials say the British born Abedi was already known to U.K. authorities, and Fox News is now reporting that Abedi spent three weeks in Libya prior to the bombing, he return to England just days before the Ariana Grande concert. Meanwhile, in Libya, officials have arrested Abedi's father and younger brother on suspicious of links to ISIS. Yeah, that's obviously not good. In Europe, they seem to have problems with communication when it comes to their different agencies communicating with each other when it comes to spotting terrorism.

ERIC BOLLING, THE FOX NEWS SPECIALIST HEAD: I'm actually blown away with what's going on today -- yesterday and today. Yesterday, we ran a sound bite on Katty Kay on my friend's, Morning Joe -- Morning Joe, Scarborough show. And she said this, Europe is getting used to attacks like this, Mika -- she's talking to Mika Brzezinski, we have to because we are never going to be able to totally wipe this out. Now, Katty Kay is a reporter for the BBC in London in Europe. That's disturbing enough, but today, maybe yesterday or this morning, Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester came out and said this, we're grieving today but we're strong. Today will be business as usual as far as possible in our great city. No, no, no, it's not business as usual. You don't get used to it. It's terror. It's killing children. You get outraged and you go after it. And you have to do it in a way that you don't worry about offending certain groups. And you say, we're going to wipe this out, we're going to take care. But to say it's business as usual, boy, I have a real problem with the way the Europeans, especially the Brits are framing this.

TIMPF: Eboni, maybe they're just trying to say that they weren't going to let the terrorists impact their way of life, it's the way I interpreted it.

EBONI K. WILLIAMS, THE FOX NEWS SPECIALIST HOST: Yeah. And I think that's the issue. You two are representing the dual way that can be interpreted.

TIMPF: Right.

WILLIAMS: Is it put your head in the sand and pretend it doesn't exist when, obviously, children are dying, communities are dying, everyone is certainly in danger. Or is it to your point, Kat, it is a spirit of resiliency and saying, you know what, they're not going to win, we're going to continue to live our best life, so to speak, in spite of their efforts to destroy us. I think that both have to be considered here.

BOLLING: Consider them. But folks, let's not become Europe and let's push away from that sort of.


TIMPF: Obviously agree with that. All right. Let's meet today's specialist. He's a former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush, and a bestselling author for his book, taking heat. He's also the founder of Fleischer Communications, and he specializes in being a huge New York Yankees and Miami Dolphins fan, Ari Fleischer is here. And he was a senior spokesman and traveling press secretary for Hillary Clinton, he's a Fox News contributor, and he's the founding executive director of Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service, but he specializes in campaign trail karaoke bars, Mo Elleithee is here. All right. So, Mo, I'm going to start with you. How do you see this? People are trying to draw comparisons between the U.K. and could this happen here? The way I see it, there's a lot of things we do better when it comes to fighting terrorism. Communication, Muslim immigrants assimilating better that they don't do over there. How fair do you think those comparisons are?

MO ELLEITHEE, SENIOR SPOKESMAN FOR HILLARY CLINTON: Look, I mean, just listening to the conversation you and Eric just had, I mean, I don't think these are mutually exclusive arguments. I don't think they should be mutually exclusive arguments. We should be outraged. I'm outraged. We all are outraged by what happened. And we should go after the bad guys. But that doesn't mean we should slow down our way of life. That's what they want to do. They want to disrupt us. Ari will remember this, I remember President Bush in the days following 9/11, taking a very strong tac in talking about going after the terrorist, but also saying they are not going to slow us down as Americans. We're going to continue.

BOLLING: But Mo, he stood on a pile of rubble and I was there. I was there for that. He stood with the megaphone and, Ari, correct me if I'm wrong, he said we're coming after you. We're going to get you. Yeah, I understand you're not going to take us down, but that's a far cry from the mayor of the very next day of Manchester saying, oh, you know what, business as usual. Or Katty Kay, a prominent BBC reporter saying we need to get used to this in Europe? No way, not here, not in New York, not in the United States.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, the other part of the narrative I think is missing.

ARI FLEISCHER, FLEISCHER COMMUNICATION FOUNDER: There's a crucial bifurcation you have to make here. It is fully appropriate for the public to say we want to get on with our lives. We want to have business as usual. But the job of government is to destroy these people. And that is what elected officials have to say, convey, and it has to be the emotions that they pass on. You want the public to feel that they can delegate this to the government and it can be destroyed, it can be stopped. It was when we say we're going to do it with communism and we did. It was when you remember the Red Brigade and the Irish Republican Army, those were stop. People thought we can't stop it, there's going to be bombs in the streets, you can stop it. You have to stop it by playing permanent offense.

WILLIAMS: So to stopping it -- let's talk about the fact that this suicide bomber here was in Libya just three weeks prior to, and then returned to England after that. That strikes me because it's my understanding, Eric, I'm going to go to you on this, that President Trump is doing a new strategy, to annihilate this type of terrorism. Specifically, Defense Secretary Mattis is saying that he's doing a different tactical approach, instead of waiting for them to come out, he's going in, going directly in being more aggressive, giving them more leeway to be more aggressive in their ability to go in. Just so that these type of being doesn't happen, so that people are not returning home either sharing intelligence or becoming more radicalized and then going back. Do you think.

BOLLING: Very important.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, right.

BOLLING: So Trump outlines in that big terror speech that he gave a couple days ago. He said -- the war on terror is a fight of good versus evil. That's a far cry from what we're hearing from the European officials. I'd also like to point out -- you're very accurately point out that this guy, Salman Abedi, went to Libya, he came back. He's been in Syria -- allegedly in Syria as well. The whole family is a network of ISIS trained fighters. Hang on. But this is very important. One of Trump's travel moratorium countries is Libya. So when he says let's hold before we just indiscriminately let people come in from Libya, let's make sure, let's extreme vet them so we don't have Abedi's coming to New York instead of Manchester.

TIMPF: I've certainly have no problem with extreme vetting, but it's important to give ourselves credit, our leaders credit for the fact that this hasn't happened here. That since 9/11, every single deadly Islamic terrorist attack is been by someone who's here legally or was a citizen. We do seem to be doing a good job of communicating our state, our federal, our local government communicate with each other about these sort of things, the way they're simply aren't in Europe. So that has a lot to do with it as well as assimilation. And another part of preserving our way of life to me is to make sure that we don't do things that could destroy our own civil liberties in trying to destroy ISIS. They won't take away our way of life. I want to be very careful that we don't want emotions run high and just do it for that.

WILLIAMS: We don't need to be reactive, I agree with you, Kat. This is where we need to be smart. We need to have emotional and pragmatic intelligence here. To your point, using the strength we have. Look, this was the place I was contiguously criticizing President Obama where I think there's enough aggression on this issue of terror for sure. So for all of the criticisms I have for President Trump, this is a place where I commend him. I commend him for saying, you know what.


BOLLING: Can I point something out, though? And Ari, correct me if I'm wrong, President Obama was looking to substantially increase the acceptance of refugees, the program. He went from -- I think it was 116,000 in his last year. Hillary Clinton was looking for 400,000 or 500,000 refugees to take on. Do we not see the danger of doing things like this? This family was a refugee family from Libya.

FLEISCHER: I'm not with you on this one, no. He was born in the United Kingdom. The Manchester terrorist was born in the United Kingdom.

BOLLING: He's parents were refugees.

FLEISCHER: Well, my mother was born abroad. I was born here. So, I'm not sure the solution is to say because people's parents were born somewhere else, you can't be here. I am not with President Trump on the Muslim ban. Never have been -- the so-called Muslim ban.

BOLLING: It's not a Muslim ban.


BOLLING: It's not a Muslim ban. It's a ban -- it's a moratorium.


FLEISCHER: From the seven countries -- the issue here, if you have people coming in from a place that's lawless like Syria where you cannot verify anybody's identify because there is no town hall to check with. It's a bunch of ruble. You know, people can assume alternative identification and no one can catch them. That's legitimate to stop people from coming from lawless places. But places where there is a rule of law, even it's a Muslim country -- if it's a Muslim country, that in and of itself is not a basis to ban people.

BOLLING: The majority of the refuges that we took in in 2016, 160,000, I think the biggest feeder was Syria.

FLEISCHER: Well, Syria, I've made the distinction on Syria because it's a lawless country.


TIMPF: All of the refugees we've took in, none of them have killed anyone in a terrorist attack.

BOLLING: But again, we're five times the size of Germany as a country, and we took in one-tenth of the number of refugees that Germany wants to take in. This is what I'm talking about.


TIMPF: I want to get Mo in here.

ELLEITHEE: Look, I think part of the problem is what we're not talking about is what happens in these refugee camps when we're not pulling people out. Now, I'm not saying open the doors wide open, come one, come all, right. We have a very strong vetting system for the refugees that the United States brings in, and we've got to give our law enforcement, our immigration folks, and homeland security all the credit that they deserve for that. But these refugee camps are prime recruiting territory for ISIS, for terrorists. If we can -- through vetting, help people get out of that and get back on their feet, and what we have seen is that they have become productive members of our society. They're not out there causing trouble. They're not out there creating terror attacks. There's got to be a middle ground here rather than all or nothing.

FLEISCHER: Or molder a stronger defense and that is intelligence. The issue is not going to be solved through refugee vetting or through not allowing some countries in or not to come in. The issue is how aggressive are we with our intelligence gathering and operations. And this is where Edward Snowden has done irreparable damage to the United States, and the critics the NSA have. These are the programs that you had to have in an open, tolerant, welcoming, exclusive country which is what the United States is, and it has to be married to a tough intelligence operation to gather information on the people take advantage of our generosity and will do us harm.

ELLEITHEE: and I think what you just said is important. They have to be married to one another, right. Too much of the conversation right now is either or. It's this or it's this. The reality is if we're going to take on terrorism, we have to have it all. We have to able to use intelligence. We have to be open and compassionate where it makes sense. We have to have the vetting. We have to have strong military, strong diplomatic.


BOLLING: Here's the problem with what you're saying. Europe has historically open borders within the countries. We've talked about that. There're also countries within Europe or willing to be more aggressive taking on refugees, and as Ari astutely points out, you don't know where the vast majority of these people come from. They don't have educational records, they don't have work records, they don't have prison records, they just show up and they're able to come in. Some of our leaders, Hillary Clinton was looking to quadruple or multiplied by five the number of refugees we were willing to take. That becomes very dangerous because there is no way to vet who these people are.

WILLIAMS: But we don't want to equate all refugees though, Eric, with that type of risk because we know that's not true. Not all refugees represent the type of risk -- this is where we need to be smart and target those that we do. Again, going back to accurate criminal profiling, not religious or racial profiling.

TIMPF: Absolutely. All right, President Trump arriving in Belgium, preparing to rally NATO members to up the ante against ISIS. We're coming right back.


WILLIAMS: President Trump hitting the fourth leg of his inaugural foreign trip in Belgium, today, arriving in advance of a high-stakes NATO summit. The president will reportedly endorse NATO's mutual aid pledge for the first time, and rally efforts to combat radical Islamic terror after the Manchester attack.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We will work together on various problems. Number one right now is terrorism, and we are fighting very hard, doing very well under our generals, and making tremendous progress. But when you see something like happened two days ago, you realize how important it is to win this fight. And we will win this fight.


WILLIAMS: All right. How comforting do you think that type of language coming out of the president is for those who were nervous and skeptical? When early on, we saw then candidate Trump talking about his skepticism around how beneficial NATO was to America at this point. And how some people weren't carrying their weight.

FLEISCHER: Well, I'm not really interested in being comforting to our western European allies. I'm interested in getting things done. And Donald Trump in the campaign was on to a very important issue and that is 23 of 28 nations in NATO don't pay their fair share.


FLEISCHER: And they never have. They take advantage of us. There're only five nations in NATO that pay, it's the United States, United Kingdom, as always, we're the excessive two percent, U.K. is, Estonia, Poland, and Greece. The rest not a single other western European nation, it's not France, It's not Germany, none of those economic behemoths. Nobody is doing what they're supposed to do. So we have the burden on us. So I actually think Donald Trump threw the towel in a little too early by accommodating NATO and saying I'm with you now. I'd like to keep the pressure on NATO to get them to do more.

WILLIAMS: Mo, how about that. I mean, I do think a lot of people felt that we do pay too much and maybe don't get some of what the people that aren't paying, as Ari points out. Is that a fair thing? And should Trump have been harder on it?

ELLEITHEE: Demanding.


ELLEITHEE: That our NATO allies pay their fair share, absolutely appropriate. However, and this is where I get a little concerned and I think why we're hearing so much concern out of Europe right now, and that is we are in tenuous times, right? We are in a period where Europe is under assault. Where borders are mushy when it comes to -- the traditional nation state model isn't exactly what we're in right now. To have the United States raising questions about whether or not it will be there for our allies when you've got terrorism coming in one direction and Russia coming in from the other direction, it's something that is going to raise a lot of concerns. Now, if you're saying this is just a negotiating tactic, I think it's a dangerous negotiating tactic.


WILLIAMS: When is the right time?

BOLLING: There's an important distinction that we are not making right here. President Trump is onto something and he's not demanding that the other 23, actually 24 now because we somehow decided to put Montenegro in NATO for some wild, crazy reason, because that's just another country we're going to have to defend if they pick a fight. That's crazy. But he demanded that they pay their fair share, not to NATO, to themselves, to spend your own money on your own defense, and 23 and now 24 of the 29 aren't doing which is even crazier. We're not demanding them to pay -- look, we're already putting in $685 million a year.


BOLLING: We're not demanding all of these other countries put money to NATO. Just spend your money on your own defense.

TIMPF: No criteria you're supposed to be that you're supposed to be established, a little more stable in order to be part of NATO. And apparently, we just kind of threw that out the window. So, even though I totally understand your point for sure that you don't want to abandon them when you see what's going on there, and definitely you would be there for them, but definitely throwing too much of our resources in without getting enough.


FLEISCHER: But here's the side of me that always have welcome Donald Trump and his ability to shake things up. Previous administrations, including the George W. Bush administration, Obama, Clinton, you can go back time in memorial. I've said the same thing that NATO needs to pay more. They need to pay their fair share. They say it and they don't do anything about it. Along came Donald Trump sounding different, acting different, talking tough, and this is what has gotten Europe scared because they think he is different. They know how to ignore American presidents. They know how to play the game saying, very good point, Mr. President. We're going to take a good look at that. We'll see you in Brussels. And nothing happens.

ELLEITHEE: But to your point, Ari, you just criticized him for throwing in the towel a little too early, right. Whether or not he's actually able to exact the result any differently is an open question. In the meantime, our adversaries are hearing the president of the United States or the candidate at the time for president of the United States, saying I don't know if we're going to be there for NATO. You've got Russia, which is being fairly aggressive these days in how it's treating the rest of the world, right. You've got North Korea being more aggressive. You're seeing all these countries being more aggressive, our adversaries starting to push the buttons.

FLEISCHER: That's a great point and that's why those nations need to increase their defense spending.


WILLIAMS: I agree. Coming up, celebrities like Katie Perry sounding off in the wake of the Manchester attack and possibly proving just how out of touch they are over the terror threat. Stay with us.


BOLLING: After the deadly Manchester terror attack by those evil losers, we want to show you footage from a short time ago, soccer fans in Manchester watching a Manchester United soccer game just days after the deadly attack and that happened just a little while ago. And Eboni, you want -- proud to report that Manchester beat Ajax 2-0 to win.

WILLIAMS: How about that, and the should be applauded and celebrated, that's awesome.

BOLLING: And Kat, life goes on.

TIMPF: It's good to see them having a good time. They should be. The terrorists will hate it.

BOLLING: All right, let's move on to this. Some celebrities have come forth with their own opinion in fighting terror, pop superstar Katie Perry saying this on the Manchester bombing.


KATIE PERRY, ARTIST: I just feel devastated. I think that the greatest thing we can do is just unite and love on each other. And like no barriers, no borders, like -- we all need to just coexist.


BOLLING: Like, no borders. What, fighting terror with love? That's pretty rich considering Katie Perry travels with well-armed team of killer security guards. Meanwhile, U.K. rocker, Morrissey, is livid at British politicians for the P.C. treatment of Islamic extremist. He posted this on his Facebook page, he said, quote, Manchester's mayor, Andy Burnham, says the attack is the work of an extremist. What extremist, an extreme Rabbit? In modern Britain, everyone seems petrified to officially say what we all say in private. Politicians tell us they're unafraid but they're never the victims. How easy to be unafraid when one is protected from the line of fire. The people have no such protection. I'll start on this end, we will work our way around. Two different views, two different celebrities, we advise.

FLEISCHER: You know, I try to stay clear of what celebrities think. They often don't think too much. But, you know, Hollywood, I'm glad in some ways they're in charge of our dreams and our hopes. I'm glad that they have nothing to do with our reality. Let them be aspirational. Let them dream. Let the people who actually have to protect us from terrorism be in charge.

BOLLING: And Eboni, Morrissey says, look, you politicians, you can say you're unafraid, but we the people are out here without protection. We're a little afraid. Call it what it is, Islamic extremists.

WILLIAMS: And the people have to pay the ultimate consequence, Eric, an you're exactly right. I mean, Katy Perry, you know, on the first of that let's love on each other. OK, I'm with that. But then in the next sentence you say open borders as somehow that's a prescription to what obviously is a very big problem. And I don't know when sovereignty became a dirty word, Eric. I don't know when having a clear boundary around what areas belong to who became so controversial and problematic. It's really is beyond me. Because I'm very open-minded, but my goodness, I believe in borders and I believe in sovereignty.

BOLLING: And as I pointed out, Kat, Katy Perry travels with armed security guards.

TIMPF: That's right. She absolutely does. And the quote made her sound a little silly. But the full thing that she said, she said the greatest thing to do now is unite as people as fan based as all of it. The internet can be a bit ruthless as far as fan based go. So maybe she was talking a little bit more about Beyonce and Rihanna fans getting along in times, I'm sure. Sometimes the internet, they can get a little -- I'm team Rihanna myself, she's clearly the best one. But it sound ignorant.  But I'm sure she didn't mean like let's let terrorists into our houses.

BOLLING: Mo, is there anything wrong with calling it Islamic extremist.

ELLEITHEE: Are you going to refer to the Muslim doctors who are there in Manchester helping the victims.

BOLLING: No just the extremist.

ELLEITHEE: My point is they aren't just extremists. And they're co-opting the Islamic faith. To the topic, I don't give a damn what Katy Perry thinks, I don't care what Morrissey thinks, they both made a point and I think both points were off-base. At the end of the day, if we're going to tackle this, I want a political strategy.


ELLEITHEE: I do not want a celebrity strategy. That's not is going to get us there.

BOLLING: Morrissey calling out the mayor, Burnham, of Manchester saying, hey, you know, let's call it what it's. If we can't name the enemy how do we going to fight the enemy.

ELLEITHEE: They did. They're extremists. There is no doubt. There is no question. There is no disagreement that they are extremist.

BOLLING: Extremist what?

ELLEITHEE: Extremist killers. Extremist terrorists.

BOLLING: I'm an extremist runner a couple times a week. I mean, but I'm not an extremist terrorist. If you can't name the enemy. This is the problem I had with -- I had with Barack Obama...

ELLEITHEE: Eric -- Eric, I'm sorry.

BOLLING: ... that he couldn't say Islamic terrorists.

ELLEITHEE: They are calling it. They are calling them extremists. That's what they are. Their faith isn't what is driving them. Their extremism, it is what is driving them. That is the reality here.

BOLLING: Well, actually, Mo, I think their faith is what's driving them.

ELLEITHEE: You would be wrong. You would be...

BOLLING: These extremists are killing the infidel, right?

ELLEITHEE: But that is not -- those are not Muslims. There were more Muslims in Manchester helping the victims.

BOLLING: They're not killing. The ones who are blowing themselves up are radical, are religious fanatics.

WILLIAMS: They're perversions.

TIMPF: Absolutely.

WILLIAMS: They're perversions.

ELLEITHEE: They're fanatics. They're perverting the faith. They are not embracing it. They are perverting it.

BOLLING: Why do we have a problem calling it what it is? They're radical Islam extremists. They are what they are. They're not radical Christian extremists. They're not radical...

WILLIAMS: There are those.

ELLEITHEE: But when we've had them, did we call Dylann Roof, who walked into South Carolina, a radical Christian extremist?

BOLLING: We should. We absolutely should.

ELLEITHEE: You would call him a Christian?


ELLEITHEE: We're going to start assigning their -- every killer's faith as a descriptor of who they are?

BOLLING: Well, I don't think we hide from it. Ari, do we hide from -- from the adjective?

FLEISCHER: They are radical Islamist extremists. I have no problem saying it. That's what they are.

But I think what's more important is not what we call them but what we do to them.

WILLIAMS: That's right.

FLEISCHER: And that's why I want to see the government play permanent offense. That's why I want our intelligence to be tough and invasive for the people we need to be invasive with, who are not American citizens. And if it's a citizen, I want a warrant.

But this is where we have to fight this. As a military operation, we have to get our allies to pay what we need to, and we need to be far more aggressive than we've been. You can call it whatever you want.

BOLLING: Can I say this?

TIMPF: Political correctness has played a role in making it harder, though, if you look at something like San Bernardino, where the neighbors saw things that they were afraid to say, because they were worried about being called Islamophobic.

WILLIAMS: We shouldn't...


ELLEITHEE: I don't think political correctness has aided terrorists...

TIMPF: In that sense it did.

ELLEITHEE: ... in one bit. In one...

TIMPF: It literally did in San Bernardino.

BOLLING: Allow me to read from USA Today, which is by no means a right-wing or conservative publication. USA reports that the, quote, "U.S.-led coalition has increased the number of bombs dropped on the Islamic State by 50 percent this year," saying, "The increase comes as President Trump has given battlefield commanders more authority to approve airstrikes and raids."

If you can call it what it is, you can attack it and you can go after it and you can kill it. If you play PC and political, you're never going to do it.

FLEISCHER: You know, the real example of this was that school child in Texas who made a class project in a science class...

BOLLING: Clock Boy?

FLEISCHER: Yes, Clock Boy.


FLEISCHER: And somebody turned him in. Now, when that happens, if you have a question, turn them in. Let the authorities judge what happens, right or wrong. But don't invite them to the White House and make a big deal of them and say to people, "You are wrong to have questions and raise them."

WILLIAMS: I don't have a problem calling it Islamic extreme terrorists, E., but here's the thing. That doesn't get rid of it by itself. We've got to do more.

BOLLING: OK, we'll leave it right there. President Trump hiring a top private attorney for the Russia investigation. Will it help beat back the left-wing mob, hell-bent on taking him down? Eboni's "Docket" is on the case, next.


WILLIAMS: Welcome back to "The FOX News Specialists." Our specialists today are Ari Fleischer and Mo Elleithee. Let's continue the conversation with "The Docket."

Now, typically, people use the phrase "lawyer up" as a pejorative or a negative thing. And frankly, I think that's unfortunate and silly. Retaining a skilled legal representative is always a good idea, because it's better to be safe than to be sorry. I maintain that position under all circumstances, and therefore, the news that President Trump is reportedly "lawyering up" by hiring Marc Kasowitz to advise him, pending the Russia probe, doesn't bother me one bit.

The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is imperative, and all Americans should feel free to exercise it at any time without presumptions of guilt or wrongdoing. President Trump is being very smart to bring Kasowitz in at this point, because as the investigation continues, the White House counsel, well, they represent the office of the presidency but not Donald J. Trump, the man.

So as the investigation plays out and the campaign or Mr. Trump himself becomes a potential target, things could get complicated. What's protected? What's not? What's privileged? Whose interests are really being represented? The government has smartly brought in independent counsel, so it's only fitting and appropriate that President Trump has done the same thing. Any objections from the table? Anybody have a problem?

BOLLING: Overruled if there are?

FLEISCHER: Are you a lawyer?


FLEISCHER: I thought so.

WILLIAMS: I wrote that myself, yes.

FLEISCHER: I knew you were.

Makes perfect sense. And I can only tell you, as somebody who stood at that podium in the White House, you want to have another unit inside the White House to handle this issue. And you want it for two reasons.

One is you want the briefing room where you're talking to be about substance and the president's policies. Repeal and replace of ObamaCare, the tax cuts, things of that nature. But you also don't want a subpoena. And this is the old Mike McCurry rule, President Clinton's press secretary.

If I have to go to the president and say, "Mr. President, I'm getting asked these questions about the investigations, what should I say?" I then become a witness.


FLEISCHER: And then the prosecution can come after me, if there is one. Or even if as they just gather facts. And then do I have to lawyer up? Segregate it, separate it. Have a counsel's unit that handles it, and let the government be the government.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely. Mo, your take on it?

ELLEITHEE: I don't disagree. I think it is smart of the president, given everything that's going on, to have his own counsel. I think, frankly, the White House counsel has become part of the story. Right? With the information that's come out about how Sally Yates went to him and gave him this information. And, you know, now he's part of the story. So having a separate unit to -- to work with the president on this makes a lot of sense.


TIMPF: And it's his choice of who he picked was very, very Trump of him. Right? He has these people around him that he trusts, and that's the most boring thing. Doesn't matter what specialty; this or that. "Trust this guy, this is my lawyer. I'm going to let him handle it."

And I think that the way he's been handling this in general lately, kind of just not weighing in one way or another is what he should have started doing a while ago, and I'm glad to see him doing it now.

WILLIAMS: Bolling.

BOLLING: Very, importantly, Charlie Gasparino broke the story yesterday that it was going to be this Marc Kasowitz. Marc Kasowitz, according to Gasparino and also people close to Kasowitz have said that he believes it's complete B.S., this whole charade that's going on. That's the lawyer speaking, allegedly, again according to Gasparino.

ELLEITHEE: Allegedly. A lawyer. A lawyer.

TIMPF: Yes, a lawyer would say, "I don't know."

BOLLING: But then he goes a little bit further and says his statements to Comey, for example, "I hope he drops the charges," were not direct edicts but rather expressed opinion. And that's something you might weigh in on.

WILLIAMS: Yes, absolutely. And have spoken many times on this show about the specific intent requirement. That's got to be there if you're going to even move forward with an obstruction charge. It's going to be incumbent on the president's counsel to say, "You know what? At best, if there was a conversation with Comey, whatever he said is suggestive. His intentionality was not to impede or to abort any proceeding or investigation." That will be certainly -- certainly that argument.

But here's another legal story for you guys on "The Docket." In a memo out on Monday, A.G. Jeff Sessions tried to clarify the administration's sanctuary city injunction. Now, it's clear from the president's original order and from Sessions's new memo that the attempt is to incentivize local cooperation with federal immigration efforts by cutting funding to what the White House was calling a few small grants.

But the question remains, is this effort legal? Mo, I'm going to come to you on this. Lots of controversy around the notion of sanctuary cities and this issue of funding. Now, traditionally, constitutionally, it's Congress that delegates how money is spent with our government. Do you take issue at all with this executive order?

ELLEITHEE: Yes, I do. Now I'm not a legal expert, so I'm going to...

WILLIAMS: Everybody can't be, Mo. Don't worry about it.

ELLEITHEE: Right. Defer to you and other people smarter than I on the legality of it.

I do think you're right. Constitutionally, it's up to the Congress, not to the executive. But I also think that this is just as much a political discussion as it is a legal one.

And the political lines are very clear and why each side is saying and doing what it's saying. Right? In these cities, where there are large numbers of immigrants, in cities that tend to vote more Democratic, cities where there is so much resistance to the president's whole approach to immigration, it makes sense from a political perspective why the mayors are saying and doing what they're saying; and they've got the support of a majority of their residents. For the president to take them on, makes sense for his constituency. Whether or not this becomes a legal battle, it's clearly becoming a legal battle.


ELLEITHEE: And I think the question of who's got the authority, right? But the political battle lines, no matter how the courts rule on this, each side is going to claim some -- some level of political victory.


FLEISCHER: This is everything that's wrong with politics. It's not that it makes sense...


FLEISCHER: ... because the city mayors represent Democrats and Trump Republicans. What makes sense is that we have a nation that has the rule of law. And we're nations of laws and not men.

I don't have the right to pick and choose what laws I decide are morally right for me to obey and disobey. Mayors don't have that right. Governors don't have that right. This is the glue that holds us together as a country.

And when the city decides unilaterally, "We will be a sanctuary city because we want to be. We will violate a federal law because we choose to do so, because we think morally we know better and we're wiser," it is an unraveling of what this country stands for. No. If you don't like a law, change the law, but obey the law until then. That's my problem with sanctuary cities.

TIMPF: Well, the country also stands for federalism, which says that the federal government can't force local governments to do its bidding, including when you're talking about immigration.

ELLEITHEE: And that's the other -- that's the other problem, right? The other problem is the federal government telling -- telling these local police departments to go in there and make these raids and do these things that should be the federal government's job.

FLEISCHER: No, they're saying if you arrest somebody, let us know if you're going to release them, so we can come get them if we have a warrant for them.

TIMPF: They can't force them to do that.

FLEISCHER: These cities aren't doing that, legally.

WILLIAMS: See, this is a great -- this is like the Supreme Court right here. This is a cross-jurisdictional argument that the Supreme Court will have.

BOLLING: I'm going to defer to Ari Fleischer. I agree wholeheartedly with what Ari just said, so...

WILLIAMS: All right. Concurrent from Bolling on that one.

President Trump's budget aiming to rein in out-of-control government spending and debt. But apparently, it's so offensive to some Dems that even Hillary Clinton can't stay silent. Don't go away.


TIMPF: Democrats are finding a new issue to fall into hysterics over: President Trump's new budget, which aggressively tries to bring down the government's skyrocketing debt and spending. Even Hillary Clinton can't help herself.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: This budget, along with the relentless attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, shows an unimaginable level of cruelty and lack of imagination, and disdain for the struggles of millions of Americans, including millions of children every single day.


TIMPF: Subtle.

Mick Mulvaney, President Trump's budget director, delivered a much different take on Capitol Hill today.


MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: The first time in my memory, at least, this is a budget that was written from the perspective of the people who actually pay for the government. And we went line by line through what this government does and asked ourselves, can we justify this to the folks who are actually paying for it?


TIMPF: Exactly. I'm so sick of these kind of hysterics when it comes to cutting anything ever. Bringing down these programs to, you know, the mid-2000 level, and they're acting like we're just stripping everything away. And everybody really needs to calm down.

BOLLING: Can I throw something in here? This is a conservative's dream budget. You have increase in spending for military, for defense, for Homeland Security, and for Veterans Affairs. And get this: the EPA is gutted, a 30 percent drop in spending; Labor, 20 percent drop; State Department, 29 percent.

Conservatives like this. So all day long before -- you know, while this was being mashed out on TV, the left was saying this can't happen. This budget doesn't do what it says it's going to do, because you'll never get 3 percent growth. And they're hung up on 3 percent growth.

Let me tell you a little bit about growth. From 1947 until this year, the United States has had over 3 percent growth. We've had 3.21 percent growth, and we've had as high as 16.9 percent growth. So when you give people more of their own money, when you spend wisely, that brings growth. When you reform taxes, 3 percent is not unattainable. Hell, we had 2 percent growth under Obama, and it was a disaster.

FLEISCHER: You know, and Eric what you just said is the key to balancing budgets. And that's why the last budget got balanced.

I was in the room when they were having the negotiations in '97 about what they called the balanced budget legislation. And one day, the budget numbers came in, a budget cruncher came in and said, "We have a couple hundred billion more in anticipated revenue, because the money is flooding in," because economic growth was so great in the mid-'90s. That's the key to getting this done. And so I approach it that way.

But the other thing that's missing in this budget is there's nothing on Social Security reform and nothing on Medicaid reform. And those are the entitlements that are driving much of the excessive costs. And when you don't touch those, you do have to go harder after the rest of the programs. That's a lesson about leaving entitlements alone.

WILLIAMS: And I think the reason that those are never touched, Ari, is -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- I think that politically, the consequence is still very high. When someone goes out and they touch those programs, people get deep into their feelings.

I am someone that believes in incentive based policy, but these cuts, Eric, they actually don't bother me. I will tell you, though, you show me somebody's budget, and I'll tell you what their values are. So my only critique is why so much inflated spending around some of the Border Patrol?

BOLLING: Military, homeland security.

WILLIAMS: And I love the military.

BOLLING: Border security.

WILLIAMS: It's a lot of more.

BOLLING: A conservative's dream budget.

WILLIAMS: Everything we save, we racket it up over here, right?

TIMPF: It still isn't a fiscally conservative budget.

WILLIAMS: Not across the board.

TIMPF: Absolutely right.

ELLEITHEE: And, you know, you listen to all the economists, you listen to all the people who actually study this, to say 3 percent is not attainable. So there's problem No. 1, that in the short-term, 3 percent is not attainable, so it's not going to hit the marks.

No. 2, we are 52 minutes into the program before the issue of the CBO numbers that came out today on health care, on the Republican health care bill came out, and it shows that 23 million people are going to lose health care under this plan.

FLEISCHER: That's not what it said.

ELLEITHEE: It is what it said.

FLEISCHER: Insurance, not health care.

TIMPF: There's a huge difference between health and...


TIMPF: And I don't like the Republicans' plan.

ELLEITHEE: There's going to be a lot of people out there who lose the ability to pay for health care. That is reality.

FLEISCHER: ObamaCare...

TIMPF: Here's the thing. I really resent the idea that, just because the government is going to stop providing something to someone, that that means automatically that people are not going to stop getting it. This is the way people freaked out in 1996 when Bill Clinton did welfare reform. People said kids were going to be dying, others were going to be out on the streets.

ELLEITHEE: I don't want...

TIMPF: People got jobs. People got jobs, and then people actually got resources from other places besides the government, from charities, when they needed them. And actually, the rate of infant deaths went down.

This kind of -- this kind of hysteria -- hysterics coming from everybody. Everyone is going to die. Everyone's going to get sick, and they're going to die. And everyone's going to be so poor. And da-da-da-da. It's not that serious. And a lot of times private solutions are better, and we employ these kind of tactics of hysterics.

ELLEITHEE: But what are we missing?

TIMPF: And that keeps us from ever being able to consider private solutions. Well, you did. You said that people are going to be without it. Because the government's not providing it, doesn't mean they're going to be without it.

ELLEITHEE: People are going to lose insurance. Insurance is going to become more difficult for more people. It's going to be more expensive for more people.


BOLLING: That's a tall comment coming from -- under Obamacare, they just released on Tuesday, yesterday, they released a 105 percent increase in premiums across the board.

ELLEITHEE: In large part because the president is destabilizing it...

BOLLING: A hundred and five percent, Mo.

ELLEITHEE: ... by creating so much uncertainty in the insurance market.

BOLLING: That's pre -- data, though.

ELLEITHEE: The reality is -- the reality is...

TIMPF: All right.

ELLEITHEE: ... that more and more people are going to be, a lot of the programs that the president spoke to during the campaign, people he said he wanted to help, are going to have a harder time under this budget, while a lot of Republicans are...

TIMPF: We've got to get going.

ELLEITHEE: ... walking away from it.

TIMPF: We've got to get going, everybody. All right. Don't go away. We're going to "Circle Back" with our specialists, Ari Fleischer and Mo Elleithee, right after this.


BOLLING: All right. Time to 'Circle Back' with our specialists, Ari Fleischer and Mo Elleithee. Ari, I'm going to start with you, former secretary -- press secretary under George W. Bush, 43. I noticed that Sean Spicer has been noticeably absent from this foreign policy trip camera.


BOLLING: Anything unusual about that?

FLEISCHER: No, that's what I did, too. When you travel abroad, you let the president be the messenger. He carries the weight. He gets the pictures of him. You don't do a briefing. And that's one of the joys of those foreign trips, too. It's like a day off.



WILLIAMS: Very nice. I'm going to go with Mo. Hillary Clinton, saying her piece about the budget, is this an effort by her to reassert herself into the political conversation?

ELLEITHEE: No, I don't think so. I think she still plays an important role in the party. And you've got all these disparate groups trying to make up the resistance. And I think a lot of it is adrift. I think a lot of just competing messages. So there need to be a handful of big Democrats to kind of focus the conversation, I think, from time to time.


TIMPF: I have a question for you, too. So you said karaoke bars?


TIMPF: Do you have a specific song that you always go with?

ELLEITHEE: I don't choose the song. The song chooses me. 

TIMPF: The song chooses you?

ELLEITHEE: I am but the vessel. I am but the vessel.

TIMPF: I understand. I feel that way myself.

WILLIAMS: I love it.

BOLLING: So we have a couple of seconds here, very quickly. Has anyone seen "Twin Peaks?"


BOLLING: Guys, can anyone tell me what the heck is going on? I spent two hours watching it. I couldn't figure it out.

WILLIAMS: You should have been watching "The Bachelorette." That was your first problem.

BOLLING: My wife likes "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette." I won't be doing that one. "Twin Peaks," nobody?

ELLEITHEE: No. Sorry. Ari doesn't even know who Katy Perry is.

WILLIAMS: Touche, touche.

FLEISCHER: You got that right.

BOLLING: With a 13-year-old daughter, no less.

We've got to leave it right there. I'm going to say thank you to our "Fox News Specialists" today, Ari Fleischer and Mo Elleithee. Thank you guys both very much.

And we thank you all for watching. Make sure to follow us on social media, @SpecialistsFNC on Twitter and Facebook. And remember, 5 o'clock will never be the same. "Special Report" coming up right now. Five, four, three...

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