President Trump faces a critical decision with latest North Korea launch

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," November 28, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DEFENSE SECRETARY JAMES MATTIS: A little over two and a half hours ago, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. It went higher, frankly, than any previous shots they've taken. The research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that could threaten everywhere in the world. In response, the South Koreans have fired some pinpoint missiles into the water. The bottom line is it's a continued effort to build a ballistic missile threat that endangers world peace, regional peace, and certainly the United States.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I will tell you that we will take care of it. It is a situation that we will handle.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: "We will handle" -- the president here at the White House today, the North Koreans firing an intercontinental ballistic missile traveling higher and thereby farther than any other ICBM that they've been testing. It landed about, as you see here on this map, 1,000 kilometers down in the Sea of Japan. This is now the 24th missile launched in 2017, 16 missile tests. And you see the rack up of the missile tests, missile launches and tests over recent years.

Today, just moments ago, we got word that President Trump spoke to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan about this launch today. The two leaders, according to the White House agreeing that the North Korean regime's provocative actions are undermining its security, further isolating it from the international community. The leaders, quote, "reaffirmed their commitment to combat the North Korean threat."

But how are they doing that, and what is next with this? Let's bring in our panel: Joining me here at the White House, Mara Liasson, national political correspondent of National Public Radio; from St. Louis, Matt Schlapp, contributor with The Hill, and from our Washington bureau, Tom Rogan, commentary writer for The Washington Examiner.

Tom, first to you, it seems like what has been happening has not been working. And this pause that we saw from North Korea ending today in a big fashion.

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW: And I think that's exactly right. And I think what you do see is the specific terms here is the North Koreans showing a capability that far exceeds anything we've seen up until this point. I think there will be some shock in the White House and the Pentagon and in the intelligence community about just what has happened here. I think for President Trump now, the critical decision is, do you exert pressure on China, specifically Chinese financial entities, or do you take military action? Because what we have seen with this test is the failure of, or the unwillingness I think more likely, of the Chinese government to put the kind of pressure on to Kim Jong-un's regime that would be necessary to force him to the table.

BAIER: I asked Michael Anton about that earlier, and last night, General Jack Keane was talking about this Chinese envoy in the two ways it could go.


GEN. JACK KEANE, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: If they start testing again, it's likely that the envoy from China who just visited recently and was trying to negotiate with them, that that has not succeeded to the point where North Koreans are willing to start standing down somewhat and maybe get into some kind of a negotiation phase as a result of it. But if the testing resumes and the bellicose resumes, we are kind of back where we were.


BAIER: So we are back where we were.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: We are back where we were. And the president has put so much stock in getting his friend Xi to solve this problem. He has tweeted about it, he's boasted about it -- Chinese President Xi. And it doesn't work. According to General Keane, the envoy went there and they started testing again. So I don't know what kind of pressure that the U.S. can put on China to get it to put pressure on North Korea if it doesn't want to.

BAIER: The U.N. Security Council meets tomorrow. They are already the biggest sanctioned country in the world.

LIASSON: They're the biggest sanctioned country. This is more that the Chinese can do. They can cut off all of those oil shipments that the U.S. wants it to do and it hasn't done it yet.

BAIER: Matt?

MATT SCHLAPP, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: Yes, China can do a lot more, and I hate to use an old term, but the axis of evil between these nuclear powers and the border with China is incredibly troubling. I do think it's not widely discussed but a lot of people believe there is some significant computer hacking going on with these missiles that is causing them to hit the Sea of Japan and not a more menacing target, which I hope is true. But the problem is with even that strategy, it just takes one to get through that system, that defense, and we are in a whole new world of chaos.

I don't blame Donald Trump for this. You can say his diplomatic approach has not worked yet, but he inherited a 20-year problem, which was to kick the can down the road. And now he's faced -- this is the biggest challenge of the Trump presidency -- he is faced with terrible options, and he's got to do something that takes away this nuclear menace from reaching our allies and maybe even our own shores.

BAIER: Yes. And we were just there in the DMZ, and really it's seconds if the U.S. military launches that the artillery from North Korea would hit Seoul. And the shelters there, you just wonder how that would all happen if there was a military action.

I want to talk quickly about this other big development here in Washington and that us the Abu Khatalla trial coming to an end. Tome, three out of 18 charges found guilty, but not for murder for the Benghazi attack that left four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador in Libya, dead in 2012.

ROGAN: Right, and I think here you see in the most, in the clearest possible since the repudiation of, quite frankly, in my point of view about the Obama narrative of counterterrorism in the sense that you bring people into civilian courts and allow them to use federal criminal procedure to their own benefit rather than employing, as President George W. Bush endorsed and President Trump we believe endorses, the military tribunal system. And again, I think there is a real palpable sense of anger on a lot of different parts tonight about this result and what it says in terms of the American pursuit of justice.

BAIER: Yes, we haven't heard from the 13 hours guys yet, but we did hear from Tyrone Woods' father, a statement from Charles Woods saying "This is outrageous. It's a miscarriage of justice. Like the driver of the getaway car is just as guilty as the robber who kills the bank teller. An accessory is equally guilty of a major crime in this case, which was the murder of my son Ty Woods. I am very bothered by the fact that the U.S. gave constitutional rights and due process rights to a foreign national who allegedly killed Americans outside the U.S." Mara, this is the battle, the back-and-forth that we go through all the time about whether military tribunals or the process, the judicial process here in the U.S. is the way to go.

LIASSON: That's right. And Donald Trump has been very clear about which he prefers. He wants military tribunals. He likes the idea of using Guantanamo. But he has some decisions now because when terrorists commit crimes during his administration, he gets to have some control over that, including the New York City bike path.

BAIER: And there's another Benghazi suspect who is now in the U.S.

LIASSON: Right, so presumably he would want them tried in different way.

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