Trump argues 'fake news' doesn't acknowledge progress

Does the president have a point? The debate continues on 'The Fox News Specialists'


This is a rush transcript from "The Fox News Specialists," July 3, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

KATHERINE TIMPF, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Kat Timpf along with Charles Payne filling in for Eric Bolling, and Mercedes Colwin in for Eboni K. Williams. We're "The Fox News Specialists."

Just when you thought the war between President Trump and the media had reached a 10, it smashes through to an 11, may be 11.5. Unless you've been too busy firing off roman candles and bottle rockets, you have noticed that president has tweeted out a mock wrestling video of himself body slamming super imposed CNN logo. White House officials claim the president's tweet was meant to be a joke, but a lot of people in the media aren't finding it funny.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Is this president trying to impersonate Hugo Chavez, Recep Tayyipp Ergogan, Vladimir Putin? This is exactly the kind of language that leaders use when they're trying to undermine the press.

FRANK RICH, WRITER-AT-LARGE, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: It's insanity. I mean, it really is. I mean, obviously, it's an attempt that might be successful to drum up violence against journalists, which is something he's been doing right along.

DAVID ZURAWIK, MEDIA CRITIC, BALTIMORE SUN: It's a really disturbing look at the man running the country. Look, you take somebody, you slammed them physically to the ground, you put a logo on identifying them, that's what fascists did in the 30's to people.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's going to get somebody killed in the media. Maybe that will stop him.


TIMPF: Should all, probably, come as no surprise that the president telegraphed his latest media offensive during remarks at a celebrate freedom rally this weekend.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The fake media is trying to silence us, but we will not let them because the people know the truth. The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I'm president, and they're not. We won and they lost. The fact is, the press has destroyed themselves because they went too far.


TIMPF: The press went too far. What do you think?

CHARLES PAYNE, GUEST CO-HOST: Well, I mean, this is a battle that's been going on, but I think the post description with respect to that scene and super imposed wrestling thing, that's -- you want to talk about hyperbolic, that was so exaggerated to compare it fascism.

TIMPF: Yes, Chaves.

PAYNE: . some of the worse things in human history that telegraphed disasters to come. This is nowhere near. I mean, listen, we know wrestling is what it is. It's a fun fake medium that everyone knows. People take their children to it. And so, the idea that is somehow incite violence, incite someone to harm a journalist is so far-fetched that they do themselves a disfavor in my mind by going there.

TIMPF: But Mercedes, on the other side of that, I agree. But on the other side of that, don't you think that perhaps President Trump does himself a disservice when he does things like this? And if not, what good does it do?

MERCEDES COLWIN, GUEST CO-HOST: I mean, frankly, it's a joke. I mean, certainly, looking at that no one can take it seriously and say somehow that the president is inciting violence. There's no one that anyone can really look at that and say that seriously. And frankly, obviously, it passes the smell test. No one is going to take it seriously. They know it's a joke. And, of course, you've got the mainstream media who's really seizing upon it even when you saw that -- whey they said, oh, isn't this going to incite someone to kill someone from CNN, of course not. There's no conceivable way.

TIMPF: Well, let's meet today's specialists. She's a political analyst from Rasmussen Reports, a former news anchor on Blaze TV, and was a speechwriter for former senate majority leader Bill Frist, but she specializes in making oven roasted cauliflower, Amy Holmes is here.


TIMPF: And he is an attorney, he's a host on the legal website, and he's the co-host of, Always in Fashion, on 770 WABC radio, so naturally he specializes in everything law, Jesse Weber is here. All right, Jesse, from a legal standpoint, this is obviously not a threat or something that can be called inciting violence.

JESSE WEBER, ATTORNEY: This is a first amendment right. It's free speech. You can say this. And, yes, no one would look at this and think of it as a threat or its inciting violence. Well, people do things. We can't control what people do. Now do I love the idea of the president using twitter in this form? No. But let's break it down. The voters voted for this man because he's not like a cookie-cutter politician with normal answers and everything like that. He speaks his mind. He is who he is. And he did absolutely nothing illegal here. And I think People are blowing it a little out of proportion.

TIMPF: Amy, here's my thing though, last week he had a great week in terms of his war on media between the story with Anthony Scaramucci with three people getting fired over that, and then that tape where the producer was saying that the ratings are more important than ethics. Do you think he loses ground when he does something like this, though? Because I think it allow CNN to make themselves the victim.

AMY HOLMES, POLITICAL ANALYST RABMUSSEN REPORT: I agree with you, Kat. I think that he body slammed his own message when he posts these types of videos. But Charles, I take your point. Is he actually inciting violence? Does that mean families who watch this together are going to go out and tackle somebody the next morning? And -- the CNN media analysts at CNN, when he said leaders like Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, Recep Ergogan, uses this type of language -- I'm sorry, they don't just use language, they use death squads. They use hit squads. I mean, so the hyperbole from the American media is silly and totally out of proportion. And I think it's sort of a chicken-little thing because who's going to be listening to them anymore? I mean, Gallup just found -- just a couple of months ago, that, in fact, the public has more trust in Donald Trump then they do the mainstream media.

TIMPF: Yes. So, at the same time, tweets like this, I think -- people say Trump's a fighter, Trump's a fighter, but what does he win by doing this? I can't.

PAYNE: He does reinforces the idea amongst his core supporters that he is a fighter, he's an anti-politician, he's someone who could be honest, that they're so used to politicians being manufactured somewhere by lobbyists and consultants and never being true and honest. So they feel a connection. Their connection with President Trump actually gets deeper with something like this. And the only thing I would say is, it's not about, hey, either or. He shouldn't tweet or he should. But I do think that last week in addition to the things you were talking about, there were some major positive things with the economy. Manufacturing, which, by the way, the Chicago area was at a three year high, the number match the day. The market rocketed to a new all-time high. This is the stuff that -- and all Americans, you can't dismiss it, and it's a beautiful message because guess what, the mainstream media will never report that.

COLWIN: But you know what, in this digital age, people don't want conduits. They want immediate information. They want immediate access. The fact that they have direct access to the president directly a lot of America applauds it. They don't want that type of boundary to get to the message.

TIMPF: And I understand that. I'm just saying a lot of the same people who think this is funny might not think it's funny when if it was President Obama and a Fox News head getting punch out. I'm just trying to be consistent. Like you said, completely legal. This is not a legal issue whatsoever, but is it appropriate? And is it the best way to get his message forward? As far as that -- I would have to say no.

WEBER: Here's my thing. Look, I hold the president, I hold President Trump to a higher standard and I hope we all do the same thing. But it is nasty out there in the media and we don't have any kind of civility whatsoever. Do I think that this was a great idea for him to do? No, but I don't think it's right what the media is doing. We have to have respect for the office. We have to have respect for the man. And if it happens in one side, people will see in the other side.

HOLMES: Kat, to you point though. I would say, look, this video did overshadow, for example, that he unveiled a new energy policy, new energy that's going to be helping our economy that's going to be a boom for America, but we're not talking about that. We're talking about body slamming.

TIMPF: Right. And he did -- when he was posting that, he knew his supporters would think it was funny. When I saw it, I knew his supporters would think it was funny. But in terms of getting his actual message out, I think it might make it harder for the larger America. All right. Well, amidst all this uproar, President Trump tried to bring some focus back to his agenda today, tweeting, quote, at some point the fake news will be forced to discuss our great jobs numbers, strong economy, success with ISIS, the border, and so much else. And Kellyanne Conway echoed the president sentiment earlier.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: The media now moved on from Russia to cover themselves. And I doubt that's going to help their 14 percent approval rating. The American people see that they're trying to interfere with the president communicating directly through his very powerful social media network channels, but also they notice they don't cover the substance of the issues.


TIMPF: Right. I mean, nobody would say that it's fair. Obviously, polls show that overwhelmingly negative coverage of President Trump. However, he doesn't want the media covering the media. Why would he be tweeting something like that?

PAYNE: Well, I think he's proven to be the ultimate troll and he's having fun at their expense, but by the same token he is.

TIMPF: You called him the ultimate troll?

PAYNE: Troll of the media. He's having fun with the media. He's like saying, hey, listen, two can play that game. By the way, my platform is bigger than yours. But having said that, though, he also understands, and Kellyanne makes the point, that he's never going to get the sort of respect that he -- just basic common flat respect for getting our political ideology that he thinks he deserves. And so, I like this morning, for instance, after that particular tweet it was all about meetings he's going to have leading up to the G20 meeting. So he's resetting and I think this is the week to do it. We've got job reports on Friday. So, again, what we're seeing going on in this country, today, when the Dow was up almost 200 points, I bet you not a single one of those mainstream media outlets talked about it, even though people's 41K's are as healthy now as ever in the history of America. So guess what, he tries to balance it, I think. And I think he's also in New Yorker. I'm a New Yorker. We're counter punchers. And sometimes you start counter punching.

TIMPF: And that we are. Roll up our sleeves and go to it.

HOLMES: I think that there might actually also be some method to the madness, if you will, the Kennedy -- senator on media has also found that even people who didn't know or have an opinion if the media was fake news, just hearing that phrase over and over puts it in their mind. Yeah, that is fake news. So Donald Trump drawing attention to that, actually, raises a lot more skepticism in the general public.

PAYNE: The president of South Korea calls -- also mention fake news when he was visiting last week, so you're right. It's not just Americans, but around the world the term fake news gaining a lot of traction.

TIMPF: There have been issues with particular stories. But, of course, some people are concerned at the same time, Jesse, that -- do you think this has any weight of this being an attack on the idea of an independent press?

WEBER: Well, I'm glad we talk about this because this isn't the main issue here. His options are limited in how to actually respond. Many people say why he doesn't just do defamation lawsuits over anybody that's saying anything negative commentary. That's a very high burden.


WEBER: What I'm saying is do what happened with CNN, you had an issue with the story that came out and three journalists resigned because there was a little bit of pressure put on them because that story wasn't true. You want to go after fake news, really use fact-checking, go after stories where there seems to be uncorroborated stories and go after that.

HOLMES: Even retracting that story, issuing the apology, and those three journalist resigning, that was also under threat of potential lawsuit. So I think you need to put more pressure on the media to get the fact.

WEBER: Would you rather have that or these videos? I don't know.

HOLMES: I rather have the truth, really.

WEBER: There you go.

TIMPF: I rather have -- no. Marist and NPR released a new poll asking Americans about civility under President Trump, 70 percent say U.S. politics have gotten less civil since he took office. Just 6 percent say they have improved. I mean, what do you guys think? They pretty obviously have gotten worse, come on, let's be honest.

COLWIN: They're going to blame the executive branch.

TIMPF: That's not what the poll said. The poll didn't say it's his fault. They said it has gotten worse under President Trump. It's didn't say because of.

COLWIN: I mean, as a litigator I've seen a lot more vocality in replace where people are voicing their pain much more forcibly. But that's because the laws are in place, not because the executive branch of government.

PAYNE: Let's face it, this is a trend that began a couple years ago in the country that was really amplified during the campaign where you had civil wars within families, where friends broke up, and now what's been revealed is America, we're looking at ourselves in a mirror. We're tribalistic nation of individual eco systems and bubbles, and we're having a hard time interlinking them and communicating. It is a problem. It is something that ultimately for the sake of the country we've got to figure out a way to fix. So it probably has gotten worse, but it began a couple years ago.

TIMPF: Do you think it starts with President Trump, though? Do you think he should try to avoid doing things like this to try to take us down that road, Amy?

HOLMES: I think it's obviously -- it's a food fight that's going on between the president and the media. But I would give our audience just a little perspective. I encourage you to google Japanese parliament floor fights. I mean, that's nothing.


HOLMES: Congress is nothing like that. I also encourage you to look at the House of Commons when they have questions time, I mean, they're out booing.

PAYNE: They know how to do that in a way where they can take it and not have the sort of after -- they don't have the animosity, right. That's an interesting trait that their politics are more in your face but they don't carry with them, and the anger is isn't there.

TIMPF: All right, coming up, a repeal only vote on ObamaCare gaining momentum in the senate. Is this the winning strategy for President Trump and Republicans to move forward on health care? Stay with us.


PAYNE: Repeal ObamaCare first, then replace it. That strategy for health care reform is gaining steam with Republicans in the Senate. Advocates for the proposal push their case over the weekend, if repeal and replace, if that bill fails to get through.


SEN. MIKE LEE, R-UTAH: If politically, for some reason, we can't get that done, what we ought to do is get back to what I've been suggesting for the last six months, which is to push full repeal and then embark on a iterative step-by-step process to decide what comes next.


PAYNE: And splitting health care reform into two, getting a warmer reception with the Trump administration.


MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR FOR LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: If the replacement part is too difficult for Republicans to come together, then let's go back and take care of the first step and repeal. That's an option. And then, at that point, if you've repealed it, you can come back with a replacement effort that could be more bipartisan.


PAYNE: All right. Looks like what we're seeing here is the needle is moving further to the conservatives, further to the fiscal conservatives, either -- you know, honest to goodness, Repeal then replace or something that matches the rhetoric that we've heard from the last seven years.

TIMPF: Yeah. And it's good to hear, but at the same time do that when it's all said and done. What about the moderates? What about the fact that in so many people's minds, the idea has shifted that government should be micromanaging health care and insurance, even though these people are conservatives in name, that's certainly not a conservative point of view. I love yours personally.

PAYNE: You love having the repeal?

TIMPF: Yeah. I repeal, absolutely. Because for seven years -- I mean, first of all, I hate hearing what a mess it is, and the fact that they're all eating hot dogs and fireworks. I mean, we're all at work, OK. I mean, come on. Get it together. As important as all of our hot takes are, the American people, and I know they really are, something that's a little more important, probably, is health insurance. And people elected these people in large part because of that. And they're just saying, all right, well, I'll go on vacation. We'll worry about it. Maybe we'll repeal and replace. Maybe we'll do whatever, I don't know. We're thinking about it. That's not good enough for me.

PAYNE: You know, Mercedes, I always say Republicans made a big mistake when they opted for one word and that was replace. When they're gone with repeal the American public says, you know what, you're right, I did lose my doctor.

COLWIN: Right.

PAYNE: . my premiums they go up. My deductibles went out. Yes, let's just repeal it. But then when they have to replace it, put this onus on themselves, and they've accepted big government by saying, yes, the government, the federal government should be in charge of one sixth of the economy. So with that parental responsibility, you start to throw out things like fiscal responsibility.

COLWIN: Sure, absolutely. Look, as an employer, I have 1200 employees in my law firm. Our health care had gone through the roof. We're paying 30 to 40 percent more now under these new changes. So, frankly, it really boils down to this, slow it down, repeal it, and then take it step-by-step. You're only going to get one shot of this. Make sure that what you're going to put in place is above board and something that you can live with because it's going to go.

PAYNE: And yet, Amy, the irony here, in my mind though, is that if you read the tea leaves properly, perhaps the one shot that Mercedes is talking about will be something that's more akin to what the moderates want because Medicaid expansion is involved and getting a few Democrats on board. I hate to say it, but that might be the easiest route for them to go.

HOLMES: Ding-ding-ding-ding. You just hit the magic button there, is that Medicaid expansion. Thirty two states including the districts of Columbia opted for Medicaid expansion. If you repeal and you don't have a reform effort, then all of those low income working families are going to have their health insurance threatened. So you see Republican governors don't want it. Republican senators from states where Medicaid was expanded, they're looking -- let's do reform, let's look at a moderate attack. And Mitch McConnell, the senate majority leader, he has said we're not going to split up repeal and replace. And there's a reason for that because, Kat, to your, point, do they get anything done up there?

TIMPF: No. But if they do, I like to know.

HOLMES: If they repeal, are these moderate Republicans going to roll the dice and think that reform is going to be happening a year from now? I don't think.

PAYNE: Jesse, making the problem even worse is that President Trump was so successful, some of those former blue states that took Medicaid expansion also, now -- you know, you now have Republicans in the house, I mean, the governorships and things like -- it's a serious mess.

WEBER: I just can't believe where we're at. We have seven and a half years to figure this. And I think we're talking about GOP lawmakers and people who are opposed to ObamaCare. Seven and a half years to work with Democrats, moderates, to try to come up with something and here's where we're at. I'm going to take the position of John Kasich who said you want to repeal it. What does it even mean? What are you going to replace it with?


PAYNE: But you have a one year clock.


PAYNE: . so the Repeal goes into place, August 2018, then use the clock is ticking for, honest-to-goodness, brand-new bill. Forget about all the other stuff and trying to appease everyone.

HOLMES: But Charles, are you willing to take the risk they'll actually get it together a year from now when they had seven and a half and they didn't?

PAYNE: You know, it's one thing -- and to argue that something is a flop. It's another thing to fix it. You're finding it out the hard way. They've got to figure something else. So I would think that -- I personally would love to see honest-to-goodness repeal.

TIMPF: We have this garbage, sort of half-and-half thing, it's has the same problem as ObamaCare. It will fail too. And then we'll wind up with single-payer.

PAYNE: Also, I don't want to see the health insurance companies get a $50 billion.

TIMPF: Exactly.

PAYNE: . wet kiss.


COLWIN: That affects employers. I mean, the employers -- this is a real problem for employers, when you're talking about premiums that are going 30, 40, 50 percent higher.

PAYNE: Yes. But if they take them down for a couple of years and use it as $50 billion backstop, and then when that runs out they rocket them back up another hundred percent like they did on ObamaCare.

TIMPF: Right.

PAYNE: We're left at the same place.

TIMPF: And those payouts were the same kind of things that Republicans, a lot of them were talking about being illegal and unconstitutional just a few years ago. And now it's like, hey, let's try this. Come on.

HOLMES: Kat, I just want to stop calling 26-years-old, kids.


TIMPF: Exactly.

PAYNE: I have my 20-year-old sister.


TIMPF: She appreciates it.

PAYNE: Yeah. She's sighting an administrative source -- reporting that the White House senior advisor Steve Bannon is actually advocating for a tax increase on the wealthiest U.S. taxpayers. The hike would help pay for those middle and working-class tax cuts, this according to the administration source. Bannon wants the top tax bracket to have a, drumroll, a 4 in front of it. Now remember, the current income tax rate right now, 39.6 percent. Jesse, what do you think about this one?

WEBER: Well, that's going to really hurt.


WEBER: I'll speak on behalf -- the advocates. Here's the thing, we all saw President Trump going to the 21 club here in New York and say we're going to lower your taxes for the wealthy individuals. But speaking -- if you are speaking for the wealth individual between 39 percent federal tax, nine percent state, four percent local, they're arguing we pay our fair share. We voted for a candidate that we thought would provide some sort of relief to us. And the minute he gets in there, if he's going to be going with Steve Bannon's plan, that's going to change things up. Having said that, the idea of spreading attacks base to everyone, to give more money into the hands of consumers and following that plan might be the right logic here, it's not an easy answer.

TIMPF: Well, I'm not for redistribution of wealth regardless of what party label a person places on themselves. I know Trump is a populist candidate, but I don't think this would have a chance getting through congress anyway. Or I hope not.

PAYNE: Well, 61 percent of folks in this new Gallup poll said they want a tax cut for the middle class. That's the most you're going to see across party lines.

HOLMES: Well, they were going to pay for it with repeal and replace of ObamaCare. I think this is what's called a trial balloon and I think it's going to pop on July 5. I don't think you see Republicans getting behind raising taxes. No chance.

PAYNE: Mercedes?

COLWIN: There are so many people that say we pay enough taxes, let's give it a break.

PAYNE: I will say this though, if the administration is going to push for a 15 percent low rate for corporations, they put themselves in a serious pickle, particularly, if they have middle America pay for it with stupid things like a border adjustment tax. That's just my opinion. I think you're making a huge mistake trying to appease the real serious globalists out there when you have middle-class Americans who just need a break. Let them keep a little bit more of the money. All right, straight ahead, at least 29 states now saying they'll defy President Trump's voter fraud commission. So what's behind the stonewalling? We'll be right back with that.


COLWIN: Welcome back. At least 29 states are now saying they will not fully cooperate with the voter fraud panel establish by President Trump, and its request for voting data. President Trump established a panel to probe allegations of voter fraud in recent election and he's not taking defiance from those states likely. Tweeting this weekend, quote, numerous states are refusing to give information for the very distinguish voter fraud panel. What are they trying to hide?

And Jess, I'm going to turn to you, because frankly, this comes up quite a bit. Just at a local level, I ran for local office. And there had been some allegations, some voter fraud irregularities, where dead people were voting in the election. It was very simple. Voter laws are there. You ask for the information, and you retrieve that information, whether through subpoena, through litigation. Why are these states being so adamant when there are voter laws out there that say that that information can be disseminated?

WEBER: Well, there's a lot of these laws in certain states like Maine, Tennessee, Kansas. And Kansas, Chris Kobach was the vice chair of this commission. That's his own state. It forbids them from releasing certain private information of these voters. This is a privacy issue.

We're talking about Social Security numbers, birth dates, things of this nature. So releasing that information, these dates are not even allowed to do that. And when you have that, the problem is, is you don't have any concrete evidence of voter registration fraud, which is a serious issue. But because you don't have that information and a compelling reason, then people say this is a waste of taxpayer money and time.

SCHLAPP: I'm going to follow up on that, because Charles, let's talk about right to privacy. That's a big issue, obviously. We all feel very passionate about it. But if you've got these allegations out there, then don't they have to be explored to make certain that Changes are made for the next election?

PAYNE: Well, I mean, obviously, and certainly, you would think some of these so-called red states would want to do it.

But there's also this notion that we've been talking about in this country for this last -- over the last eight years, and that's states' rights. And I think some of these states are just naturally, it's a knee-jerk reaction, defiant. You know, the state of Mississippi normally would cooperate with the Trump administration but I think there's a sense of defiance there.

But here's the irony. If they pay the right political consultant, they probably can get all of this information out there. It's probably all for sale for the right consultant anyway. That's sort of the irony of the whole thing.

TIMPF: Let's be fair, though. A lot of cyber-security experts are saying that potentially, as you were saying, this could lead to more hacking of the data, or potentially manipulation of the data. That's -- whenever I hear that there's privacy concerns or privacy concerns, that's always something that I really, really listen to.

Do I think that that is the earnest concern in all of these cases? Of course not, because as we all know, there is a certain segment of the population who all they have to hear his Trump wants to do this in order to decide, well then, "No way on my end." Just because it's a personal thing.

But I do think that cyber-security concerns have got to be taken seriously. I don't want people knowing my business, especially not the government.

SCHLAPP: That's a great point, Amy. So look at -- let's take a look at that issue regarding cyber-security. So aren't there consumers out there, they go to the store, they want to apply for a credit card. They'll give that information to, let's say, Victoria's Secret, Target, any -- any...

HOLMES: That's very interesting, Mercedes.

SCHLAPP: I know, that was the first thing that went to my head. But if you think about it, there stores -- you've got the credit card. That consumer is going in, giving all that information. Their name, where they live, their Social Security information. How come there's -- there's this huge concern? When the federal government really has a compelling interest in that information, they're saying, "No, don't give them that information." What's the difference?

HOLMES: Well, Mercedes, the key word is that they're giving that information. It's not being taken by a third-party and sent to a central location within the federal government.

That if I go to Victoria's Secret, that's my choice. If I give them my credit card, I know that I'm going to beginning a lot of catalogs in the mail for the next five years. And that's a choice that I make freely as a consumer.

These -- these governors are saying, "Wait a minute. Those voters didn't agree to this."

And when it comes to cybersecurity, you know, it's a lot harder to hack 50 states then one centralized database. I understand that.

PAYNE: With all due respect, I think the cybersecurity thing is not the real concern there. I think it's more of a...

SCHLAPP: I think it's territorial.

PAYNE: ... an animosity toward the federal government that, by the way, has been well-earned over a long period of time. Just a big frustration and concern when dealing with the big government.

SCHLAPP: Jesse, as a lawyer, let me ask you this. So what -- what does the executive branch of government do. There -- are there these serious allegations that there was voter fraud. What do they do, then, if the states aren't complying? What are the steps?

WEBER: First, lay out how you're exactly going to use that information. And listen, we live in a day and age where Russia is constantly on the nave. Make this an issue. You really want to show that there is no Russian interference in our election? Let's prove it. Make it very clear how you're going to use that information and for what purposes.

SCHLAPP: And you can limit it. I mean, you don't necessarily have to give the entire Social Security number as the request was in. Just do the last four digits.

WEBER: Least intrusive means possible, and I think you might have a way to do it.

SCHLAPP: All right. Well, President Trump putting a new squeeze on China to help North Korea. Can it finally convince China to play ball? Don't go away.


PAYNE: Welcome back to "The Fox News Specialists." Our specialists today are Amy Holmes and Jesse Weber. So let's continue the conversation.

President Trump putting new pressure on China to help confront North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, the president calling China's President Xi Jinping to stress the urgent, growing threat from the rogue state. The outreach comes after a $1.4 billion U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and the U.S. Treasury sanctioning a Chinese bank with alleged ties to North Korea.

But will all these hardball tactics finally get China to truly step up against Kim Jong-un? Kat, will this work?

TIMPF: It seems like nothing works. This is the foreign policy nightmare that we've been dealing with forever, essentially. But I do like the way that President Trump is dealing with this by at least trying. Our sanctions are certainly not enough. This is a guy who doesn't care if his people starve. But when you talk about a military action, that would just be guaranteed mass carnage.

PAYNE: There's the irony, of course. South Korea gets a new president, and the first thing he does is stop us from deploying the THAAD missile system onto the auspices he wants to do an environmental study. So if we can't get South Korea to help us protect South Korea, Jesse, we're in trouble.

WEBER: I agree with you. I love what President Trump is doing here. I really do.

You can't bury your hand in -- bury your head in the sand and think that this is a conflict between the U.S. and North Korea. If there is a conflict between these two, it is going to affect everyone on the planet, including China, who has such good ties to the United States of America. And -- and going after that bank that had ties to North Korea, go -- providing weapons to Taiwan is a good -- it's not a threat. It's a good motivation for them to wake up.

PAYNE: The problem, though, Amy, is that China hates that we did this deal with Taiwan. And speaking of belligerence, they're still developing those man-made islands in the South China Sea. They're militarizing them, and they're putting weapons on them. So you know, they get to hide behind Kim Jong-un's ignorance, but they're sort of guilty themselves.

HOLMES: Well, certainly, and they have their own, you know, regional aspirations. You're talking about...

PAYNE: I think they've got global aspirations.

HOLMES: They do. But don't forget, though, North Korea is a nuclear-armed country with the madman you know, at the head of it; and he's been threatening that he's going to try to develop a missile that will come across the Pacific Ocean and hit California. So this isn't just a problem for South Korea.

I had a chance to chat with Gordon Chang, an expert on China, and what the president is doing is exactly right. Which is Chinese money laundering, going after their banks. He's like, look, if you put the financial squeeze on the Chinese, then all of a sudden, you might start to see some cooperation.

What we already know, though, is that China has already agreed that they are going to limit their energy exports to North Korea, to put the screws on.

PAYNE: That's not enough. That's not enough. Since then, I think there have been at least five missile launches, including not too long ago this rocket that shows that now they're getting intermediate ballistic capabilities. At some point, they'll have long-range capabilities of hitting in mainland America. So if they have nukes already, than they have the missiles to put the nukes on. At some point, it's going to trigger us to take offensive action.

SCHLAPP: It's a real threat to the United States, no doubt. Something extreme has to be done. This is the same dictator who reportedly fed his own uncle to hungry dogs. I mean, this is someone who needs a wakeup call, needs extreme measures. And kudos to President Trump to take the...

TIMPF: When you say "extreme measures," what exactly do you mean?

SCHLAPP: Well, I think ultimately, it's going to have to take military.

TIMPF: You understand we're talking about, you know, tens of millions of dead people, if we do that, right? It's not something to just be said lightly.

SCHLAPP: No, it's -- I'm not saying it lightly, Kat, but with someone like this, who really does under -- experts have come forward and said this -- North Korea is a genuine threat to the United States. Something has to be done.

TIMPF: There's a saying in North Korea, I believe it is: "America brings a knife, we bring a sword. If they bring a gun, we bring a cannon." They're obsessed with destroying us. They know that if they hit us -- I mean, Kim Jong-un is crazy, but he's not suicidal. So I mean, I think he might just enjoy toying with us, to an extent.

SCHLAPP: But I think the point is here, though, when it comes to China is that we all know we need China's cooperation...

TIMPF: Right.

SCHLAPP: ... in order to then, you know, discipline North Korea. Hopefully, you know, open it up to be a freer society.

TIMPF: I like how President Trump is handling this now. Let me be perfectly clear.

PAYNE: Maybe it's not disciplined.

HOLMES: And it may not work because he's so extreme.

PAYNE: The grandfather did 15 missile tests, and the rest of the world paid him off to stop. The father did 16 missile tests, and the rest of the world paid him off to stop. So far Kim Jong-un has done 82; 82 since 2011. What does he want? Obviously, it's always worked to blackmail the rest of the world, and they've always been paid off. They've been rewarded for this.

And I think there have been talks: "Hey, what do you want? We'll give you some cash if you stop, but you're going to push this to a point of no return." Because as ugly as a scenario as Kat pointed out, the uglier scenario is if somehow they unleash a nuclear missile.

WEBER: We're not where we were ten years ago or 15 years ago or five years ago. What we have today is an unprecedented threat that has to be addressed, and President Trump is doing that.

And the problem is, yes, what we have right now is Japan and South Korea saying, "We will come to you in the event of some sort of escalation," but it's China, the chief trading ally and ally of North Korea, that you have to go after.

And what does he want? What does Kim Jong-un want? He wants everything. He wants there to be no more United States of America. He wants to wipe us off the face of the planet. He wants to be in control. I mean, it's pretty -- when you're the head of your own regime, and no one is talking back to you, your notions of what right and wrong in global politics change.

PAYNE: The best...

HOLMES: What he also wants, though, is to hang onto his power as a young leader of North Korea. I think that's part of it. That this isn't just for external consumption. It is for internal consumption.

SCHLAPP: We are all rational-minded people. I mean, for us to step into the shoes of this insane dictator and try to predict what he's ultimately going to do, we know that unquestionably, that he wants to destroy the United States. That's in his core; it's in his DNA. He wants to do it.

HOLMES: But he's also encircled by old generals who want to know that he's tough. I mean, this is the same guy who used a rocket launcher to assassinate his uncle.

PAYNE: Yes, but here's the thing, guys. One of the things, when President Trump meets with Abe of Japan, remember, after World War II, we made them take a pacifist constitution. I think the key is to let them get rid of that constitution, let them rearm themselves, because it's not just North Korea but that we also need something to stop the imperialist threats and ambitions of China.

HOLMES: Charles, Japan does not want to take on the cost of rearming itself. They're perfectly happy to free-ride on the United States.

PAYNE: I think the reason Abe was elected was to bring back a shogun, samurai spirit that's been (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from Japan for 20 years.

TIMPF: This isn't Syria. This isn't a thing where when we do military action, they're scared away. We do anything, and we're talking about nothing short of World War III. That's what we're talking about.

WEBER: I'm just hoping Dennis Rodman solves all this issue.

HOLMES: Yes, exactly.

PAYNE: We know Dennis Rodman is in North Korea. That's when something may happen.

OK, guys. Up next, my governor, Governor Chris Christie, smashed by a wave of backlash. This after just enjoying a state beach that he shut down. Well, now he's lashing out. Stay tuned.


TIMPF: In our "What is Even Happening?" segment, Chris Christie is getting scorched. Local media snapped the governor and his family hanging out and sunbathing on a Jersey shore state beach yesterday. Just one problem. The governor had closed public access to state beaches due to a government shutdown and budget standoff.

Jersey residents are screaming hypocrisy, but true to form, Governor Christie isn't taking the uproar sitting down.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J. (via phone): The governor has two residences in New Jersey: one down at the beach at Island Beach State Park, and one at Drumthwacket, which is also in Princeton, and it's a park where people come and tour and visit, as well. It's where we live. It's one of the places we live.

And so what a great bit of journalism by The Star-Ledger. They actually caught a politician being where he said he was going to be with the people he said he was going to be with. His wife and his children and their friends. So it's really a bit of -- I'm sure they're going to get a Pulitzer for this one, because they proved -- they caught me doing what I said I was going to do with the people I said I was going to be with.


TIMPF: My favorite part of this was when he was asked if he got any sun, he said no. Then the spokesman clarified, saying, "He didn't get any sun. He had a baseball cap on."

Come on! This doesn't look good. OK? It just doesn't look good. He's not very good at this.

PAYNE: Well, the whole shtick has kind of worn thin. Bridgegate put that to an end. And I've got to be honest with you: I feel so bad for those folks who work for Chris Christie facing prison time, you know, trying to do his bidding.

But having said that, why does the New Jersey governor have two mansions? One on the beach. Did you see that? A million people have left New Jersey in the last 10 years, because we've got the highest property taxes. We've got high taxes. We've got -- we've got a terrible state that's falling apart under our nose, and the -- and the -- he's got two residences, two mansions, one on the beach. Give me a break.

TIMPF: And you know what else, Amy? That's not really his mansion. That's being paid for by taxpayers like you.

HOLMES: And it's not really his beach.

SCHLAPP: Exactly, exactly.

HOLMES: Mercedes, you were telling me during the break that you know the governor.


HOLMES: That he's a brilliant man.

SCHLAPP: Absolutely.

HOLMES: Has a, you know, steel trap mind. So as a brilliant man, he should know that this is one of those "let them eat cake" moments. Or maybe in this case, curly fries. That this is totally inappropriate that he closes these beaches for his constituents. And that's actually something I never understand with politicians. When they want to punish the other side by punishing their voters. It doesn't make sense to me.

PAYNE: Jersey has shot a lot of things down. I don't think that's a problem. It's a terrible...

HOLMES: You don't think it's a problem that citizens of New Jersey can't go to their own beach?

PAYNE: The governor -- the state is busted. I think the state is busted. And it's just like shutting down the government. I'm not against it if it means that, hey, we need to wake up in this country and, in this particular case, New Jersey. But I don't think the governor should be chilling on the beach.

HOLMES: Right.

TIMPF: Jesse, imagine if he had handled this well. And maybe, you know, took a little selfie, saying, "I can't get on my beach vacation, because everyone else can't either."

Instead, he's partying on the beach when, hey, he should be working on getting the problem fixed. That's what anybody who sees that is going to think.

WEBER: My biggest issue with that was the sandals. I don't think that was a good look, no matter how you put it.

But here's the real issue. The New Jersey constitution says that if you can't get a budget passed, spending is cut except for emergencies and things of that nature. So he didn't have anything to do wrong.

But he's at the point right now where he's like, "I just don't care." He's at the point he didn't get that presidential appointment into the Trump administration like he wanted. I think he's just got to the point with "I'm just going to do what I want to do."

TIMPF: Nobody is saying he did anything illegal.


HOLMES: We've seen him do this before. Remember, there was a huge snowstorm in New Jersey, and he was down in Florida at Disney World. And he said, "Well, hey, I planned to take my family there. What do you want from me?"

We want you to lead.

PAYNE: One of the biggest...

TIMPF: We want you to go back to Jersey.

PAYNE: The state of Illinois is on the cusp of bankruptcy. They haven't had a state budget in three years. And when government can't govern itself, it comes down to the people paying a serious price for it, and that's the more serious point.

TIMPF: All right. Absolutely, yes. Christie, come on. Get something done, please.

All right. When we return, we "Circle Back" with our specialists, Amy Holmes and Jesse Weber.


SCHLAPP: Time now to "Circle Back" with our specialists, Amy Holmes and Jesse Weber.

I've been admiring your shirt this whole time. What a great sparkly shirt.

HOLMES: Sparkles.

SCHLAPP: I love it.

HOLMES: Fireworks we're going to see tomorrow night.

SCHLAPP: I was going to ask you, what are your plans?

HOLMES: Well, after I take a spin through Victoria's Secret...

SCHLAPP: Oh, my God.

HOLMES: ... I'm going...

SCHLAPP: My family will never let me live that down.

HOLMES: I'm going to spend it right here in Manhattan. I'm going to go to Central Park, I think, have a nice little picnic and watch the fireworks overhead.

TIMPF: And there's no shame in underwear, first of all. We're all adults here.

My question for you, Jesse. Tomorrow there is an episode, a new episode of "Fox News Specialists." And my question for you is are you going to be just watching it once at 5, or are you going to be DVRing it to watch it all day?

WEBER: I'm not leaving the studio. I'm just here, so I'd like to see you make me leave.

SCHLAPP: OK. Well, he did bring his bathrobe. I saw the bathrobe.

PAYNE: I wondered what the cot was over there. Now I know.

WEBER: Toothbrush and everything.

HOLMES: What are your plans, you guys?

TIMPF: I don't know. I'm not going to tell that to the world. I don't want people following me. Yes, there's people who are a little too nice, and they creep me out; and there are people who are a little too mean, and they creep me out. So I'd like to keep my plans private. How about you?

SCHLAPP: Charles?

PAYNE: I'm chilling, I think. You know, my granddaughter, she's 4. She's learning how to swim. So I love -- my wife is teaching her. So I'll just probably chill in the back with a book and watch her teach her how to swim.

HOLMES: So you're saying you have a swimming pool.

PAYNE: Yes, I have. Yes, yes.

TIMPF: We'll all be going.

SCHLAPP: It's going to be very warm tomorrow, Charles.

PAYNE: By the way, you've got to check out the cufflinks, too. These are your -- these are your day before July Fourth cufflinks, Captain America.

TIMPF: Love that. I made sure to wear blue today. I wore teal on Memorial Day, and then everyone had a big problem with it. So I'm not going to make the same mistake twice.

SCHLAPP: I've got red.

HOLMES: What are your plans?

SCHLAPP: Just working. I'm working tomorrow. I am, I am, I am. Exactly. I am working. We're open today.

PAYNE: I'll do some research, but I'm not going to work, work. You know what I mean?

But I am excited, by the way, guys. We got some economic data out today that was absolutely phenomenal. I'm so excited, because we get the job summary Friday. So I'm going to celebrate being an American tomorrow and being in this great economy, and we're all going to be happy.

SCHLAPP: Thank you to our "Fox News Specialists" today, Amy Holmes and Jesse Weber.

And Charles and I would like to thank Eric and Eboni for letting us fill in for them today.

We thank you all for watching, and make sure to follow the show on social media, @SpecialistsFNC on Twitter and Facebook. Remember, 5 o'clock will never be the same. And don't miss the show's special, July Fourth special tomorrow. "Special Report" is next.

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