Did back-channel report blow up collusion narrative?

Andrew McCarthy, senior fellow at National Review Institute, says if Team Trump had been colluding with Russia during the presidential campaign there would have been no need for Jared Kushner to discuss a possible back channel to Moscow


This is a rush transcript from "The Fox News Specialists," May 30, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Hello I am Eric Bolling with Katherine Timpf and Eboni K. Williams. We are "The Fox News Specialists."

The White House pressing back against the anti-Trump smear campaign, responding this afternoon to new reports about Jared Kushner's alleged role in a proposed communication back channel with Russia during the transition.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The attorney said that Mr. Kushner's volunteer to share with congress about what he knows about this meetings. What your question assumes are a lot of facts not substantiated by anonymous sources that are far being leak out. You are asking if he approves of an action that is not a confirmed action. I think Secretary Kelly and General McMaster both discussed in general terms back channels are an appropriate part of diplomacy.


BOLLING: That is the point. This new reports lack any substance evidence in any wrong doing, but the innuendo being push by the mainstream media is so thick you could choke on it. Additional Michael a long time personal lawyer to President Trump confirming to Fox News that she has been asked to provide information to the Senate and House Intel Committee's over the Russia probe, however he said he is not cooperating claiming is a quote, total fishing expedition. Now Kat, we are getting in the whole Russia probe thing, but on Sunday Robert Deniro went to Brown University and called - told this graduating senior of their coming out into what he calls a tragic dumbass comedy. Can you imagine for five seconds if that was President Obama that is someone is holding?

KATHERINE TIMPF, CO-HOST: Of course not. Trump was treated differently. What kind of person thinks that is awesome. It was absolutely desperate. Just write a joke.

EBONI WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: You are right, Kat. The Democrats will pay a price. You have to have a mess compelling to the American people. Otherwise a long time of Donald Trump in the White House.

BOLLING: In the meantime, they will harp on the Russian investigation. Today's specialist is a senior fellow at the national review institute and editor at the national review and a former chief assistant U.S. attorney that led to terror prosecution. Andrew McCarthy is here. He received his ph d from Yale, University, a former aide to Margaret Thatcher and a former policy adviser to three U.S. presidential candidates. He specializes in foreign policy, doctor Nile Gardiner is here. Andrew let me start with you. Your thoughts on all this back and forth, is there any there?

ANDREW MCCARTHY, NATIONAL REVIEW: There is no there, there. The thing that is important that people miss with this story about Kushner it blew up the collusion conspiracy. There would already be back channels to Russia. No reason for Kushner in December weeks after the election to set up a back channel to Russia had there been one about the campaign. I know they love the story, it exploded the story.

BOLLING: We talked about this yesterday. We talked about the fact under President Trump there were back channels that were set up with Russia. In fact, John Kerry Obama Secretary of State developed those back channels. Every president that there have been back channels, the Kennedys as well, right?

NILE GARDINER, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: that is right. The Obama administration went to extraordinary lengths to appease the government. There was not the same kind of scrutiny of the Obama administration's action. When you look at Obama's track record with Russia and Iran, it's a track record and with Hillary Clinton as well when she was Secretary of State. There was not this kind of tremendous scrutiny.

BOLLING: Why is that?

GARDINER: That is a tremendous question. There is a double standard being applied. When you look at the policies of Trumped -- Trump administration towards Russia they are tougher than the Obama administration. The Russians are not gaining anything from the new Trump presidency. The Trump presidency talked about expanding sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine. This was tougher language coming from President Trump.

WILLIAMS: I am not impressed with tough language. I am impressed with tough action. We are too little and too late. I hope for America's sake you are right.

BOLLING: Before he left Obama lifted sanctions.

WILLIAMS: It was a mess either way, Michael Cohen and him, not coming forward. I can't believe he was asked. Privilege, I mean certainly most of this information will be privileged and no lawyer in his right mind ethically would breach that client confidentiality arrangement.

TIMPF: This whole thing is that way. People are asking Sean Spicer questions they know he can't answer. It's like a kind of conversation you have over drinks. Like gossiping and chitchatting with friends than a kind of thing that can be televised.

BOLLING: It's all a charade. If you were a courtroom with a judge they would not allow it to go on. The judge would say knock it off.

MCCARTHY: This has been going on for decades. Decades of back channels. Let's point this out for the 1,000th time zero evidence of collusion between Trump, Trump administration and the Russians influencing the election.

Guest: there is no there, there. Everybody has been consistent.

WILLIAMS: right. The investigation hasn't concluded yet, right?

GARDINER: You are innocent until proven in the.

WILLIAMS: You are. I am not in favor of indicting President Trump. I want to be fair of the process and let it play out.

TIMPF: Is this over-processed?

WILLIAMS: 12 months from now and it's still going on, I will give that.

TIMPF: I don't think it is. People saw these questions. Spicer did at certain points today but not consistently. Say there is an investigation. Say as little as possible.

WILLIAMS: We have a new general council now. Shut the hell up on TV. John Sununu went off on the Russian probe earlier today.


JOHN SUNUNU, FORMER ADVISER TO GEORGE H.W. BUSH: You're asking hypothetical's on hypothetical.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: I am taking your temperature, your comfort level with all of this.

SUNUNU: The only discomfort I have is with folks in the media trying to create this without having the courage to tell me what I should be concerned about.


BOLLING: The media asking the hypothetical's of Sean Spicer.

TIMPF: What kind of use of anybody's time is that?

BOLLING: We have two lawyers on the set. What is going on with the media?

MCCARTHY: To Eboni's point there is a counter-intelligence investigation involving Russian. The only subject of the counter-intelligence investigation is the foreign power that might have an impact on American interest. What they're doing here that is unfair is taking a situation where there is a proper investigation and putting it with a criminal investigation which there is no basis for.

BOLLING: He called himself a target. If you are just a person of interest it's different than a target.

WILLIAMS: That is correct.

GARDINER: There is no target and no subject. This is what is so, dishonest about what they are doing. Target and subjects are terms of art in criminal investigations for who the grand juror might indict. It has nothing to do with the counter-intelligence investigation. What is the foreign power doing that might compromise American interest?

GARDINER: The key of course is the on-going leaks here which are believe extremely damaging. Leaks to the Manchester terror investigation designed to create a division between the United States and Great Britain. Fortunate no such division emerged thanks to the strong leadership and President Trump reasserted the special relationship. The reality is there are individuals who are leaking highly sensitive information for political reasons.

BOLLING: Why is the media not interested in the leaks? Certainly not to extent that they interested in finding some sort of collusion between the Trump administration and the Russians?

TIMPF: They had an agenda ahead of time.

GARDINER: It's a largely political story here. The reality is that U.S. policies toward Russia have not softened. It's very important, though, that the new Trump administration send a very clear message to Moscow. They are not our friends, partners, nor allies. It's important for President Trump to send that message.

BOLLING: So there is an appearance among the American people that we still have an offensive or distrust of Russia? What is the purpose of what you just outlined?

GARDINER: I think the clear statement from the president would say there is not a clear Russian again.

BOLLING: He bombed a Syria air base.

GARDINER: Absolutely. That is a powerful statement to make. The Russians are not our friends. I think the U.S. has to reflect that.

MCCARTHY: You want the Russians to know that there are certain lines out there.

TIMPF: I have issues with structuring foreign policy about what the media will say. There may be some truth to. That I agree with Eboni, I want to see the investigation go through. The way that people are reacting now based on having no evidence insurance questions. I agree. That shows how it hurts the country. Trump has to worry about that. Rather than saying what would be best for the country?

GARDINER: It's in the U.S. national interest to stand up for the Russians. They are the enemy of the free world.

WILLIAMS: I don't like fishing expeditions.

BOLLING: We will leave it right there. White House staff shake-up is this getting President Trump's agenda back on track and later, mayhem in the Texas legislature over the state. We will be right back.


WILLIAMS: The White House shake-up underway. The first person out the door White House communication director Michael Dubke who is resigning after 3 months on the job, so is this the beginning of the White House staffing overhaul to get President Trump and his agenda back in the driver's seat. Something is not working. Changes need to ham. You can't have Trump saying one thing and his team saying another thing. Communication is what it comes down to.

BOLLING: As far as the Russian investigation goes we talked about how Trump is hiring a staff but putting together a war room to combat any narrative they don't feel is fair, which I think is a great start. Of course you will have turnover. You have people in communication, all levels. Miller, I can't remember his first name. He was going to be their communication's director. It will come to me. Sean Spicer was going to take that job. They realized he could not do both so they brought in Dubke. Dubke didn't like the way the operation was running. He put in his resignation 10 days ago. I said for a long time on this show, the communications department was the first thing they need to fix. I think they are doing it.

WILLIAMS: You have been consistent on that. The messaging has to be in sync. You can't -- not just dual but competing narratives like out of the Comey thing. This is part of the Trump administration that many people like. In the private sector, if you are not doing a good job, you get fired. Turnover doesn't bother me.

MCCARTHY: They will have a big problem until they get their own people throughout the bureaucracy. If they don't get the internals of the messaging right, that is a disaster itself. In terms of moving their agenda forward. In they don't get their own people in the bureaucracy forget it.

BOLLING: That will help plug the leaks. That is where the war room is brilliant. This is what we have and put it out to communications people.

GARDINER: It's a very, very bold step. No doubt about it, if you are the White House communicator. It's one of the toughest jobs in the world especially in the counter environment. The president does best when he focuses on policy. Last week in the overseas tour that was one of the best weeks of his presidency. Very policy focused. When he sticks to policy initiatives, I think it's a far more positive agenda. When there is a sort of fixation on the defense against the media, the White House struggles there. A strong policy focus with clear-cut conservative politics is better.

BOLLING: The reporters don't want to talk policy. They want to talk investigations.

GARDINER: That is true.

MCCARTHY: The foreign policy trip had a finite agenda. Everybody was on the same page. The big problem I think they have domestically they are never on the same page. With Comey, the department of justice sayings it's the memo. Then the next day Trump says something.

TIMPF: If you are not communicating, those problems will still exist. No one can read Trump's mind. You have to make sure first that there is a unified message. That created a lot of problems.

WILLIAMS: But to your points, the clock is ticking. It's only 6 months into this administration. The mid-terms will be coming and the Democrats are out for blood. The president has to get his agenda -- getting rid of people or unclogging leaks. Get your agenda on message so people have a clear individual of the success of this administration.

BOLLING: There are successes happening every day.

WILLIAMS: I don't think I am losing sight of them.

BOLLING: All the people want to talk about in the mainstream media is the Russian investigation.

WILLIAMS: Up next, chaos breaking out on the floor of Texas state legislature over the state's new anti-sanctuary cities law, right after this.


WILLIAMS: Welcome back to "The Fox News Specialists," now time for the docket. To put a bullet in your head, not one, but two rounds of grown men almost are having a fist fight. I am describing the inner street city of Chicago, but the state house in Austin. All hell broke down as legislatures threatened each other and almost came to blows. A Republican (inaudible) threatened to shoot a Democrat but only in self-defense, because he threatened his life. This ridiculous and almost dangerous scenario gives us a little image of how polarizing the debates on sanctuary cities has gotten. That was in responsibility to Texas's new law that demands that local police chiefs and sheriffs under the threat of jail or removal from office comply with federal request to hold criminal suspects for possible deportation. It's like a 2010 Arizona show me your papers measure what allowed police to ask about a person's immigration status during traffic stops. That was eventually struck down in court.

I don't believe in cherry-picking which laws to follow and which ones to disregard based on politics or anything else. The moment you enter our country without following our legal immigration process, you are subjected to deportation. Our immigration system is slow and broken, but two wrongs don't make a right. You can't get to break our laws without consequence. But this Texas law raises concerns about the 4th amendment protection. If skin color is the only test to ask for someone's immigration papers, we are not doing what our forefathers intended and the constitution is not worth the paper it is written on. We are better than our lawmakers asking like criminals themselves. Surely we can come up with a legal way to fix this immigration problem, Counselor, what is your take and prediction around the state of SB4?

MCCARTHY: My take is there is nothing inappropriate of being asked to be identified what your immigration statuses. The Supreme Court had held it is fine. It is not the most intrusive thing actually that happens in a lot of interaction with police so I think people whipped up about it unnecessarily. You don't want to enforce the federal immigration law.

WILLIAMS: I'm coming to you very quick, Eric, on it. But I do want to ask you this. So if it's constitutional, in your view, why do you think the Arizona law saw such challenges and ultimately was struck down, because it said that it was encroaching on those Fourth Amendment protections?

MCCARTHY: The whole Arizona law was not struck down.

WILLIAMS: Not the whole thing, but...

MCCARTHY: Right, 3/4 of it. And then there was nothing that the court held that said that you can't ask somebody.

WILLIAMS: So it's not -- I think it's the asking of the question as I understood the opinion, I think it's how it's implemented. Like so many things, like Stop and Frisk. It's not unconstitutional on its face either. It's having the reason to stop and having what's, you know -- being necessary.

BOLLING: Can I jump in here?

WILLIAMS: Go ahead.

BOLLING: I love "The Docket." I understand where you're coming from. I even have a solution to it, which we've talked about. I think there are ways to -- of fixing some of the immigration problem.

But you keep applying constitutionality. Let's remind everyone that these are illegals -- illegal immigrants who come over here; they're not U.S. citizens. Now, they -- they don't get the full...

WILLIAMS: They sure don't.

BOLLING: ... the full monty of constitutional protection.

WILLIAMS: Protection. But you know who does? But you know who does, Eric? Black and brown people that are United States citizens.


MCCARTHY: Well, but even illegal aliens, even if you think somebody's got dope in their house, and they're an illegal alien, you don't get to knock the door down. You have to go get a warrant.

WILLIAMS: Right. The due process.

BOLLING: Due process is one thing.

MCCARTHY: That's the Fourth Amendment.

BOLLING: Of course it is, but they don't get Second Amendment protections. There are a lot of -- they don't get to vote. So let's not -- let's not apply the full Constitution to this -- this group.

WILLIAMS: I won't. I hear you, and I wasn't doing that. I'm actually talking about American citizens that might have their Fourth Amendment rights impeached by this.

Go ahead.

TIMPF: Yes, absolutely. I don't think she was saying against illegal immigrants but against people that might have...

BOLLING: Yes, but that's -- that's what this discussion is about.

TIMPF: ... to stop and have -- not necessarily. I think that the point was that it could lead to profiling, where people who are citizens but are of a certain ethnicity would be targeted for something like this. And also, there are constitutional issues when it comes to separation of powers and all of that.

I think that, when I see something that happened like in this in Texas, a lot of protestors having a sign and saying, "I'm illegal, and I'm staying here. And I'm -- you can't do anything about it." What is with that kind of attitude? Who can justify that as OK?

Because there's some of these stories that you'll say, OK, you know, someone who's 26 and came here when he was 12 years old. You're 12 years old, and your family's going to the United States, I can say, "No, Mom, I'm not supposed to"? You're going to go with your mom, because you're 12 years old.

But as soon as you take this attitude of, like you said, taunting, what good is that doing? And that does make people angry.

WILLIAMS: Doc, let me get you in on this...


WILLIAMS: ... because some people do feel like the ends justify the means, and that's why I said in "The Docket" for me, two wrongs don't make a right. Our immigration system has serious problems, and it's way too hard, I think, for some people to get in here. Not all.

But does that make this OK? This type of just "We're going to bypass it; we're not going to even pretend to follow the law"?

GARDINER: Well, first, I want to say thank God for Governor Abbott and the state of Texas for enforcing the rule of law. Sanctuary cities, the idea that you can have cities that violate the rules of the land. I mean, it's just absolutely preposterous, in fact. And I think that it's only right that states crack down on sanctuary cities. And I think Texas is leading the way here.

I do think, even in liberal Europe, you would have sanctuary cities existing, although you could say Germany is a sanctuary country, I'd imagine. But the idea that you know, you tolerate the idea of safe havens for illegal immigrants, I think that -- you know, that goes against, really, the very foundations of the United States, based upon the rule of law in this country.

MCCARTHY: I'm not -- I'm not -- with due respect, I'm not with you all the way on that. I mean, the states are sovereign. And that's the way it is in this system. If they want to have a policy that's more open to people of questionable pedigree, in terms of their legal right to be here, that's OK with me. I just don't want to pay for it.

BOLLING: Yes, but there are those who say...

WILLIAMS: California is -- a lot of that.

BOLLING: ... and your repair of that is you pull back federal funds, right? Well, there are people who say that's unconstitutional.

MCCARTHY: Well, you can't have both. You have to do it one way or the other.

BOLLING: I agree with you; I agree with you.

Here's the other issue we have here: we want states to be -- we want to push our laws to the states, right, the way we do with marijuana laws. So you can't also have it both ways. Either you're going to...

WILLIAMS: Those are competing. Supremacy...

BOLLING: If you're going to break the marijuana laws on a state level, or municipal level, do you also pull back federal funding from these states because of their breaking the marijuana law?

MCCARTHY: I say yes, but I'd like to see the federal government doing a lot less and the states, if they want to have these generous policies, fine, but they pay for them. Don't socialize the costs onto everybody else.

WILLIAMS: These conflicting jurisdictional issues keep coming up.

The U.S. conducting its first ever test to shoot down an ICBM missile today, and the military now reporting -- thank God -- it's a success. What it means for the standoff with North Korea in a moment.


BOLLING: Welcome back to "The Fox News Specialists." Our specialists today are Andrew McCarthy and Nile Gardiner. Now let's continue the conversation.

The U.S. military conducting its first ever test to destroy an intercontinental ballistic missile in mid-flight just a short time ago, and the military now declaring it a success. It's a critical advance for the technology, as North Korea races to develop a long-range missile that could potentially hit the U.S. mainland.

Just this morning, North Korea issued a defiant new language, promising to, quote, "deliver a" -- quote -- "bigger gift package for the U.S." following yet another successful shorter-range missile test on Sunday.

Nile, I want to start with you. The USS Nimitz is on its way. Ronald Reagan is there. Carl Vinson is there. We have three carrier strike groups in the Korean area -- peninsula area. What is China thinking? Why aren't they leaning harder on North Korea?

MCCARTHY: Well, that's a very good question. The president is saying all the right things. Increasing the pressure significantly, boosting the American military presence in the region. He's also, of course, reaching out to the Chinese here. And China, of course, has been very slow to move, and they have been very slow to move for many, many years, even decades on the North Korean front.

We do need to see more action being taken by Beijing. If they don't, then certainly, the United States needs to ramp up these existing sanctions against North Korea and also the military presence in the region. Without a doubt, I think the intercontinental ballistic missile threat posed by North Korea looms larger and larger by the day. That is their ultimate goal, you know, to strike against the United States. They're not that far off now.

BOLLING: And Kat, that -- that test that we performed this morning. That missile defense system launched from California, went into outer space and knocked down an intercontinental ballistic missile. They called it something like shooting a bullet with a bullet, at something like more than 1,000 miles an hour at point of contact. That's a big message to Kim Jong- un.

TIMPF: Absolutely, and boom, it was a success, so kind of check yourself, sort of a thing there.

But yes, China needs to do a little more. I did like Trump's little tweet to China saying, "But they're trying very hard." Something that we call -- millennials call sub-tweeting. He was kind of sub-tweeting a country, which was very interesting. But they do need...

BOLLING: Trolling. Sub-trolling.

TIMPF: Sub-trolling. He's you know, kind of like, "Hey." He's trolling them. But -- which is an interesting way to handle it that everybody was talking about. Everybody was paying attention to it, because this would be a serious issue for everyone including China. So I don't really understand it. Like you mentioned yesterday, they'd have a refugee issue. They'd have all kinds of issues.

But that's great to see that that happened. And whoever is responsible for that should be having a great day and go celebrate and have a drink.

BOLLING: And yet this guy, this Kim Jong-un, Eboni, continues to defy America, even defying China.

WILLIAMS: Yes, he's defying the world at this point. And you talked about it very accurately, Eric. China's got all the incentive in the world to get this right, get aggressive. I don't know what they're waiting on exactly. But what I'm glad to hear is that our government is not waiting, is that we are getting in front of this. We're not being reactive; we're being very proactive. And I'm so happy that this was a success today.

MCCARTHY: Yes, but let's remember, China regards the United States as a geopolitical enemy or a foe, at least. North Korea is still very useful to them. And part of the reason that they haven't taken action is precisely because they're testing Trump. They have other disputes with us in the region.

It's not like a situation where they think the only problem in the equation is North Korea, which is a problem they're actually quite used to dealing with. A rabid dictator on their border. What they don't want to have happen is regime change in North Korea, where you have a a democratic government set up, which is very destabilizing for China. So as long as that dictator is useful to them, he'll be there.

BOLLING: Yes, OK. So then let me ask you this. I know we're not supposed to do this. We're probably not even supposed to talk about doing this. But is there some sort of covert action being -- taking place, going on right now where Kim Jong-un is taken out?

GARDINER: I don't know. I expect all sorts of scenarios are being mapped out, as they are on so many strategic fronts, actually. But with regard to Kim Jong-un, he's a lot more dangerous than his father, and his father was no saint. And, you know, Kim Jong-un has conducted, I think, three times as many missile tests as his father did in 18 years. Kim Jong-un's been in power for just five years, actually. So an extremely dangerous individual.

I do think the approach being taken by the Trump administration so far is the right one. But you can be sure they're certainly gaming up all sorts of potential scenarios, worst-case.

BOLLING: Can we also point out that President Xi of China was at Mara Lago when Donald Trump launched the 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria. So Xi knows that Trump is not afraid to pull the trigger. You'd think at some point China is going to say, "Back off now, Kim Jong-un."

MCCARTHY: Yes, they should be doing that. And also, of course, the Chinese play a big role, as well, in terms of North Korea's nuclear weapons development. After all, a lot of the technology transfers are from Beijing or from businessmen based in China going to negotiate North Korea. We need to be able to crack down on that through Beijing, and the Chinese do need to be a lot more cooperative if we're going to see...

TIMPF: What we did in Syria is not really comparable to what we'd have to do in North Korea and the situation. Of course it was the expression of being tough enough, not being afraid to show that we're tough. But that -- everybody knows what it would cost us to get involved in something like that. So I think that they're really just testing us. They're going to push us as far as we'll -- they can.

MCCARTHY: And will -- and will China.

WILLIAMS: Exactly. So you think they're -- this is China calling President Trump's bluff?

MCCARTHY: China loves to appear like they're being helpful while they're doing nothing. And that's...

BOLLING: Well, they're not doing nothing. They're actually building islands in the South Sea against...

MCCARTHY: I meant with North Korea.

BOLLING: All right. We'll leave it right there.

WILLIAMS: Trying hard.

BOLLING: Portland, Oregon, mayor calls for the shut-down of free speech and anti-Sharia Law rallies in the wake of the city's brutal stabbing attack. How is this the answer to fighting hatred? Don't go away.


TIMPF: A battle over free speech coming to a head in Portland, Oregon, in the wake of Friday's stabbing rampage, where a suspect with known extremist beliefs killed two people and severely wounded another. The city's mayor is now calling for the cancellation of two upcoming events: a Trump free speech rally and an anti-Sharia Law protest.


TED WHEELER, PORTLAND MAYOR: My main concern is that they are coming to pedal a message of hatred and of bigotry. I'm appealing to the organizers of the alt-right events to cancel the events that they've scheduled.


TIMPF: The mayor also writing on his Facebook page, quote, "I'm calling on the federal government to immediately revoke the permits they have issued for the June 4 event and to not issue a permit for the June 10th."

Both events take place in a plaza that's on federal land.

All right. Yes, I have just one concern with this guy, just that he's putting his own convenience over the First Amendment. So ideologically, I have a problem with it. And also logistically, if you're worried about free speech people getting too mad, what you're going to do is take away their speech and that's going to make it better? I don't see any justification for this.

BOLLING: The ultimate hypocrisy.

TIMPF: Absolutely. I don't see any justification for this. What do you think?

BOLLING: Do you remember -- you don't remember this; this was before your time. But maybe the late '80s, early '90s. The KKK, as despicable as they are and were, were allowed to march in Skokie, Illinois, a predominantly Jewish neighborhood.

Look, and Kat, you're right. Free speech is -- speech is protected, even if it's ugly and gross and hateful. And in this case, it's anti -- it's still talking about free speech. And that's what he's shutting down.

MCCARTHY: I hear that they're coming here to peddle a message. And the buzzer in my head goes "Ehhh." That's the end of the -- from the First Amendment perspective, he's allowed to come to peddle a message. As long as it's not incitement to crime, then he can peddle the message.

WILLIAMS: So I, as I'm sure everyone at this table, abhors what happened in Portland. Tremendous, horrible violence took place.

You know what, Eric, to your example, that must have been around my time. I actually, as an undergrad at UNC, went and protested the KKK. Our black student movement...

BOLLING: Good for you.

WILLIAMS: ... peacefully went and protested, because we wanted to engage in a dialogue in that type of intellectual thought.

This kills the First Amendment protections. And it actually is a circular end-run argument around the very thing they're saying they're trying to prevent.

MCCARTHY: It's an adoption of Sharia standards, too, which is -- which is the more frightening thing. Look, if you say, you know, apostasy from Islam under Sharia is a death sentence, or Sharia systematically discriminates against women, that's not hate speech. That's fact. Now I wish it wasn't.

WILLIAMS: Even if it is hate speech, even if it were, that's also protected.

TIMPF: Yes, hate speech is also protected speech. People say -- they seem to forget that. What do you think, Nile?

GARDINER: Well, I think the First Amendment is sacrosanct. And you know, you have to defend freedom of speech. And once you're on the slippery path of suppressing free speech, that's a path to totalitarianism. And America is all about freedom of speech. And I think that as long as you have freedom of speech in America, this is still a free country. And we have to defend it.

TIMPF: His only argument was that it was going to make things kind of harder for him. It's going to make the city a little more to be of a mess, be a little bit more difficult. Yes, it's a little hard to be the mayor. If you don't want a hard job, I don't know; go work in marketing or whatever else. Get a normal job and relax. Don't do that, you know what I mean? A job that's now where you're going to have to deal with things like this.

WILLIAMS: I know some people that work in marketing.

TIMPF: I'm not saying it's bad.

WILLIAMS: I'm kidding.

TIMPF: I'm saying that you won't to deal with these kinds of things, where you won't have to deal with protests. That is your job as a mayor to deal with these exact kind of issues. You can't just opt out of it.

BOLLING: And can -- right, and this is federal land; this is a federal plaza. He has no jurisdiction over what can and -- cannot be said or done there. And those permits were permitted in -- they'll go through with it.

WILLIAMS: Yes, of course.

MCCARTHY: You can't have a functioning democracy if, every time an uncomfortable subject comes up, we can't talk about it, because people are going to shout them down.

BOLLING: Unless it's Berkeley, California.

MCCARTHY: Right. Charles Merry (ph) or Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Heather McDonald or any of these -- they can't even speak in a classroom.

WILLIAMS: This is the problem with your country right now and why we are so divided amongst these class and racial and cultural and regional lines. People don't feel they're being heard. So we have to stop the knee-jerk reaction to silence voices and opinions we don't like.

TIMPF: Your whole -- as an elected official, your whole job is supposed to be to, above all, protect our freedoms. And if you're going to put your own convenience over that, then maybe you should get a different job.

All right. When we return, we "Circle Back" with our specialists, Andy McCarthy and Dr. Nile Gardiner, right after this.


WILLIAMS: Time to "Circle Back" with our specialists, Andy McCarthy and Nile Gardiner.

All right, start with you, Doc. You have worked for both U.S. and British governments. What's the biggest differences?

GARDINER: That's a very good -- that's a very good question. I think there are, of course, a lot of similarities. I would say that, you know, there are no two greater nations on earth than the United States and Great Britain; and the special relationship between our two great countries is the most powerful force for freedom today.

And so I've been very privileged to work with political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. And it is, of course, a tremendous privilege to be living in the United States now, which is a true force for liberty and freedom on the world stage. Long may that continue.

BOLLING: Can I follow you up with this question? So we saw Brexit. We saw the anti-globalist, nationalist, populist movement. You go from Britain to here in the United States with Donald Trump. Can it continue?

GARDINER: Yes, I think, you know, Brexit is an immensely powerful force. It's a tremendous force for freedom, and Brexit is also great news for the United States, as well. And I think that it's going to strengthen the special relationship between the United States and the U.K. And Brexit is also going to tremendously impact the whole of Europe, actually. I think you are going to see a tremendous drive for sovereignty and self- determination.

BOLLING: Can it spread?

MCCARTHY: Yes, I think so, absolutely.

TIMPF: Yes, and Andrew, I wanted to ask you about the Trump-Russia investigation. If you could give one piece of advice for Trump on handling this and his team, what would it be?

MCCARTHY: We have to make it clear that there's a proper counter- intelligence investigation of Russia that he's interested in and wants to get to the bottom of, but that this is being used to create a criminal investigation that doesn't exist. And I don't -- I don't think that point should be that hard to get across.

TIMPF: Don't hear people making it, really, at all.

WILLIAMS: Well, Andy just did. There you go.

Thank you so much to our "Fox News Specialists" today, Mr. Andy McCarthy and Dr. Nile Gardiner.

And thank you all so much for watching. Make sure you follow us on social media, @SpecialistsFNC on both Twitter and Facebook. And remember, 5 o'clock will never be the same. "Special Report" up next.

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