Are Republicans wasting their health care mandate?

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

EBONI K. WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: Hey, everybody. I'm Eboni K. Williams along with Eric Bolling and Kat Timpf. We are "The Fox News Specialists." Congress just face plant on repealing and replacing Obamacare despite promise after promise that they would get it done, senate Republicans are coming up empty handed to their vow to voters. The senate's repeal and replace bill died last night after two more GOP defections. And today, senate Republican starting to move for a straight Obamacare repeal vote, but the Republican senators already announcing they would not vote for a straight repeal, effectively killing any chance of any health care bill going forward, at least for now. Now, majority leader Mitch McConnell is indicating that he wants to still hold a vote on straight Obamacare repeal this week, even knowing that it might fail. President Trump responding to the collapse in congress this afternoon.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Let Obamacare fail, it will be a lot easier. And I think we're probably in that position where will just let Obamacare fail. We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We'll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they're going to say how do we fix it, how do we fix it, or how do we come up with a new plan. So, we'll see what happens.


WILLIAMS: OK. Eric, I see where the president is going with this, and it sounds a lot like somebody advise to you what recommended for him. But this different than what we heard from Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the press conference. I heard a lot of obstruction, and obstruction, obstruction. I've got to tell you, Eric, I wasn't impressed with that obstruction argument from President Obama. When you're the leader of the free world, it's your job to work around obstruction.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: OK. I'll give you that. Look, you're right. We've been saying this at least on this show, we've been saying this. They need to repeal this Obamacare beast right now. In agreement that this is not the right time to replace it because we don't have good replacement for it, it needs to be repealed. Now -- or forever be on record saying that you voted against repealing Obamacare. Now, you put up the full-screen of those three senators, let's talk about them very quickly. Shelley Capito, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski, two of the three of them voted to repeal it 18 months ago, now, all of a sudden they're saying they're not going to. I will tell you, they will get primaries, all three of those will be primaries, 2020 for Capito and Collings, and Lisa Murkowski in 2024. They will get primary if they vote against repealing Obamacare. And the bottomline is they'll probably lose their seats.

WILLIAMS: Kat, though the repeal without a replacement, is that just a political statement at that point?

KATHERINE TIMPF, CO-HOST: Well, I think that it would be at this point because they know that they don't have the votes for it, but I still think that they should do it. I agree with Eric, I think that they said that they were going to repeal it and didn't repeal it.

WILLIAMS: They need to replace it, maybe some time down the future. We'll meet today specialist now. She's a columnist for the Washington Times, a former White House spokeswoman for President George W. Bush, and a radio host with her husband, Matt, on Sirius XM patriot station, and she specializes in cooking big Cuban meals, Mercedes Schlapp is here. And he was a speaker at the 2016 Republican National Convention, he's also a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel, and he's the chairman of GOPAC, but he specializes in being a good listener, what a great quality, because that's how he gets all his info, David Avella is here with us again. So Mercedes, I was kind of discussing with both Eric and Kat around, I get the notion of repealing Obamacare. I've been one of the staunchest critics of these sky-high premiums that hurt all Americans, but I was hopeful for a replacement. What do you see the GOP going on that issue?

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, THE WASHINGTON TIMES COLUMNIST: Well, I think there's a huge sense of frustration, obviously, coming out of congress, not being able to bring both moderates and conservatives to the table to get the job done. This is why Republicans were voted, and there was a clear mandate of repealing and replacing Obamacare. Why? Because when you look at the fact that there is a destabilization in our individual insurance markets, that's troubling. When you have the fact that you're still seeing premiums continue to rise, I mean a family of four next year will have -- it will increase to 40 percent in terms of what their health care costs will be in many cases. I mean, Eboni, it is troubling. And the mere fact that the Republicans cannot come to that middle ground, where you see this division amongst moderates and the conservatives, I think that it's just a disturbance for the American people. They're not fulfilling a promise.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. And David, I'm hearing from the president, and also, really, from the GOP in its totality, a lot of criticisms around the Dems, that they're not getting on board. There not being a part of this. And I think that's fair and that's accurate. But, my goodness, first things first, right, before you ask for Dems to get onboard, does the GOP have to get on the same page with this?

DAVID AVELLA, GOPAC CHAIRMAN: At some point, Republicans and Democrats are going to have to go home to their constituents and explain when they said last year during an election that we're going to repeal and replace, or reform, if you're a Democrat, Obamacare, what they thought that meant. And so much of this discussion of, why it's a disservice to the American people, is all about how many people the government is going to pay for in giving the Medicare. And it says nothing about the fact that there are doctors every day not accepting new Medicare patients. So what happens to those Medicare patients? They don't continue to get coverage. And we haven't talked about the things that really need to start happening in health care reform. We need innovation, we need consumer predictability and freedom for them to pick the plans they want. We need states, not the federal government running the insurance markets. We don't allow states to sell insurance policies across state lines, so how about letting states actually dictate what their policies are going to be.

BOLLING: But why didn't they put that in, though, David? Why didn't the Republicans.


SCHLAPP: I'll tell you why because the budget reconciliation, you can't do that.


BOLLING: But Mercy, come on, you and I are good friends. You know we can go ahead.

SCHLAPP: What I'm telling you.

BOLLING: . and go nuclear. Go nuclear. They can go nuclear on this.

SCHLAPP: You really want to go nuclear?

BOLLING: Yes, yes.

SCHLAPP: If the Democrats -- when the house and the senate, you don't want to go nuclear.


BOLLING: Why they needed to go nuclear because we're going to end up with this. We're going to end up with -- maybe no repeal and no replace, and if they just go nuclear on this, this is what they could've done. They could have added things like competition.

SCHLAPP: It would forever change, historically, how the senate would be run.

BOLLING: Who cares?

SCHLAPP: I care.


BOLLING: Mercy, this is not constitutional. There's nothing in the constitution that prohibits going nuclear on this. They're turning the senate body into a similar simple majority on -- look, elections have consequences. You put that in there.

SCHLAPP: They do. And the Democrats would probably decide to go nuclear because they did in the past.


WILLIAMS: There's President Ford. I was going to say, that's one of things, David. We're talking about going across state lines. Everybody has talked about it, when given the opportunity. I'm very surprised and disappointed that the GOP didn't take that opportunity. I agree with Eric on this. I think the consequences would have been far less than what the reward would have been had that been in place.

AVELLA: Here's the next step. Next step ought to be starting to move forward on these things and putting pressure on the eight Democrats who were up next year in states that President Obama easily won. So Joe Mansion, Joan Donnelly -- getting pressure on them, adding them to the 52 Republicans to get us the 60 percent on things that people can agree on.

TIMPF: OK. But I agree with Eboni that, although, you can blame some of this on Democrats, I guess, fine. But look at -- the Republicans have control of the house and the senate, and the president is a Republican. Can you imagine if any other entity in the entire universe ran the way that congress is running? Imagine if you had a mechanic shop where they just tell you that your car is broken and you drop it off and they say, well, we don't know how to fix it, but it's definitely super broken and we know that. You're going to pick it up and everyone is screaming about how to fix it. A doctor that just tells you you're sick but doesn't know how to make you better? I mean, can you imagine anybody else getting away with it? It's absolutely insane. They've had seven years here.

BOLLING: Let me just give you a very simple way to get this done. Look, you get these three senators, or get one of the Democrat senators who are up, who ran -- who lost, who won, but Trump won in the state. West Virginia, right? West Virginia, Trump won by 40 points. Now you have a senator there that's going to run, a Democrat, who should come over. Here's what you have to do. Repeal, right? Repeal now. Get the repeal underway, and then go to these Democrat senators who are going, look, you're up for reelection in a state that Trump holds. You're going to lose your seat unless you vote along the lines of what the Republicans put forth as a replacement.

SCHLAPP: Which is where President Trump is at and where Mitch McConnell is, where I think they're saying it's less about time and more about the quality of the reform. So they're willing to say, let's move on repeal, and then take the two years to have the hearings and to get to that point. However, the American people cannot wait any longer. We need significant changes now. And Eric, I think that if they keep postponing it, I mean, they've had eight years to think through what has to get done. We need to have significant entitlement reform especially in the area of Medicaid. We need to move it back to the states.

WILLIAMS: Repealing alone, Mercedes, without a replacement I don't think satisfies what you're demanding, which I think is what the American people want and what they mandated with this election. Eric, let me go back to what you just said, though, you're talking about ways to fix this in terms of votes. I think it would probably work. But what if instead of talking about the need to get more votes to get it passed, we actually approve the policy itself, and then the votes would take care of themselves.

BOLLING: Exactly what you're talking about. Four things that conservatives complain about Obamacare, competition across state line, drug prices, why is it you can produce a drug in America and it's cheaper to buy in Canada? Drug pricing, total reform, and hospital pricing and transparency. Those are for things we said Obamacare didn't have, but guess what, neither did the GOP replacement bill. That's a problem. Now, Mercy, this is where.

SCHLAPP: I love it.

(LAUGHTER) BOLLING: . because the only way you're going to get those things in there is by using the nuclear option. And guess what, that becomes a bill, that becomes good for the American people instead of a bill that, for the vast majority of people who are using Obamacare, it's going to be a higher premium if it stays that way they're trying to sell it to us.

SCHLAPP: I mean, will Mitch McConnell move toward the nuclear option? It's unlikely, but in this sort of congressional cycle that we've seen, anything is possible, at least with what we're seeing.

WILLIAMS: Can I just say what I see here, it's what Eric is talking about is a risk. And I understand that when you're talking politics of this stake and this magnitude, those risks feel nerve-racking. But I think it's a risk that would pay off, Mercedes.

SCHLAPP: I do think there's a lack of boldness coming from the Republican side in the sense that you had the 2015 repeal, 48 Republican supporting the repeal, and now several Republicans backing away.


SCHLAPP: There was a grandstand vote as opposed to, now it's high-risk. It's time to make that move by the Republicans. And I'm disappointed quite frankly. I wish they could get to a point from a conservative and moderate standpoint where they can agree. But conservative say doesn't go far enough. The moderate say it's gone too far.

BOLLING: Can you at least acknowledge that it's Paul Ryan and the house leadership.

SCHLAPP: They got it done.

BOLLING: What done?


SCHLAPP: They passed their bill. They put the risk. It was ugly, it was horrible, they watered it down.

BOLLING: And Mitch McConnell and the senate leadership side, that they presented two bills that they just can't get through. Don't forget, the senate bill has to go back to the house. Donald Trump is 100 percent right. They failed the American people.

SCHLAPP: Sorry, but not in the voter's minds. It will be the Republicans who failed. It will be.

AVELLA: It's easy to blame congressional Republicans, but let me say this. We are a party that believes in the states running things. We had to be for repeal as a governing philosophy. We ought to be repealing -- basing our success on what laws we repeal and not what laws we pass. And under that scenario, we ought to be having state after state send legislation and waivers to Tom Price at HHS.

SCHLAPP: But that's not happening.

AVELLA: . allow him to do away with it.


AVELLA: Just didn't pass, and so now we have an opportunity to move in that direction.


BOLLING: Yes, there are three who say they're not going to. John McCain, maybe on a train coming this way. Who knows? But they do -- if they get two of these people to change their minds and sign onto this, it can still be repealed and do exactly what you said. Go state by state and get waivers from Obamacare. From what infrastructure left of Obamacare.

AVELLA: We can do that now.

BOLLING: . and get what? Then you got two years to fix it. No, you can't do it now -- Obamacare.

AVELLA: You can get -- states can get waivers.


SCHLAPP: Tom Price has push through about 12 of these regulations. The things that we never saw those waivers come to fruition under President Obama. But, yeah, Secretary Tom Price.

AVELLA: That's better?


SCHLAPP: No, I think it seemed wrong approach. I believe that action is needed now in terms of repealing and replacing Obamacare. It is not a perfect bill, but it does allow for entitlement reform. It does stabilize the insurance markets, the individual insurance market, which is two of the areas that need to be fixed.

TIMPF: Everyone keeps talking about getting more GOP members, the GOP in congress, more Republicans in congress. I think about it and I don't even know what that means. I don't know what being a member of the GOP or being a Republican even means when you look at a bill like this. We say things like small government, that's not a small government bill. The house bill.

SCHLAPP: Look, we inherited a mess with Obamacare. And you have to decide whether you're going to put a band aid on it, or.

WILLIAMS: Come on, Mercedes. I adore you dearly, as well. But that language is not going to fly at this point, Mercedes. GOP controls the house, the senate, and the White House. They had seven years to get behind a conservative health care plan that brings down premiums, right? And that's not we're seeing in either the house or the senate bill. That's just very simple.


TIMPF: They should have said so, instead of getting people to vote for them on something that they can't seem.

SCHLAPP: There's a process called amendments, and one of the amendments that could work is the Cruz-Lee amendment, which what it do would allow for the insurance companies to come up with their plans that actually don't have to fit the Obamacare situation, but that gets tricky with individuals that have to deal with pre-existing conditions. It also allows for health savings accounts in this amendment, which would be a conservative amendment, to be used to lower the premiums.

BOLLING: We're all talking about something that is already -- basically, that ship has sailed. So let's talk about something that hasn't sailed yet.

SCHLAPP: So should we plan the funeral service? I'm trying to decide.

BOLLING: I mean the repeal it's not over yet. They're still an opportunity for Murkowski, Capito, or Collins, to come around and say, you know what, I voted for this thing in '15 because it was politically expedient for me to do it, now when the chips is on the table, I have to get back to the table and do what I did before.

WILLIAMS: And better be ready.

BOLLING: You had two years to fix Obamacare without it being Obamacare.

WILLIAMS: And better be ready, Eric, to really roll up the sleeves and do real work on the fix, and because I got to tell you, it can look like a scape goat, tap out, easy way out to repeal with no real replacement plan.

BOLLING: Don't come up two years from now and go, oops, we didn't do anything about it.


WILLIAMS: Straight ahead though, top Obama officials preparing to face congressional investigators over unmasking, and the number of officials under scrutiny might be growing. Stay with us.


BOLLING: Amid the hysteria around Donald Trump Jr's Russian controversy, the probe into unmasking by Obama administration officials around the 2016 election is very much heating up. Fox News is now confirming that Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. has agreed to testify before the house intel committee at a date to be determined. Among other top Obama officials appearing behind closed doors on Capitol Hill this week, over unmasking and the Russia probe, former national security advisor Susan Rice is now slated to speak with the senate intel committee. I'm going to go to you, Eboni, because I'm trying to figure out why the delays, why they're finally agreeing, and why in the world are they doing this behind closed doors?

WILLIAMS: I'm going to start with that one Eric. Many people wanting to see them, just like we've seen Comey and several others recently out in front of the viewing public. But I think the goal, Eric, is to get the most information and the most powerful and probable information behind closed doors, that's the only chance. Honestly, if they were in front of the American people, you're not going to get anything, zilch, zada, nada, from Powers or Susan Rice.

BOLLING: And Kat, on March 22nd, Devin Nunez, who is running the house intel committee, said that Trump aides may have been inappropriately unmasked. Trump also said Susan Rice may have broken the law by unmasking. That's really is the issue here. It's the unmasking inappropriately of General Flynn that we're talking about.

TIMPF: For me, there are two issues here. One is potentially yes, that it was inappropriate. I think that she acted in a politically motivated way. I think all you have to do is look at her past to know that. However, I also know, which is something that Eboni brings up all the time, that there's -- the standard is so broad that it's a very easy cover for you to do something politically motivated. So I think there's another issue which is to look at what those standards are. I know that Senator Paul has said that if you are going to be unmasking a politician or a candidate you should have to go to a judge and sign up for that, which would be a great way to prevent these kinds of politically motivated actions.

BOLLING: Mercy, why in the world would Susan Rice think that it was important to unmasked General Flynn when the NSA, the FBI, and the CIA had done their due diligence and didn't think they needed it on this.

SCHLAPP: Well, that's exactly the underlying question. What's your political motivation behind this? This is Rice unmasking Michael Flynn. But the person to watch here is Samantha Power, and it's because when you're looking -- my information is that the intelligence reports are basically very telling. While we might not get a lot from these closed-door meetings. There're going to use a lot of big lawyerly terms. I think you're going to see that it's in this intelligence report that there -- that's where they're going to find a lot of this information, Eric.

BOLLING: Why you think they emailed someone and said, hey, look what I've got here?

SCHLAPP: I think that the intelligence committee will have that information, and the person to watch there is Samantha Power.

BOLLING: David, some of the other news that broke this afternoon was that Dianne Feinstein, Senator Feinstein, said that she had spoken to special counsel Robert Mueller, and that he was OK with Donald Trump, Jr., and Paul Manafort testifying in an open hearing.

AVELLA: Yeah. It will be interesting and insightful. But I must say, when all this news came out, President Obama must have went, oh, my gosh, every time she says something she raises more questions than answers questions.


WILLIAMS: I don't think so at all.

AVELLA: And when you think about it, if you watch any Sunday show she was on, she raised far more questions about the actions that happen in that White House, who knew about what was going on, and in a White House that was politically motivated as that White House was, to think that she was the only person that knew about these unmasking, it requires a suspension of reality.

WILLIAMS: No David, what I'm saying is, I completely agree with your -- the end of your analysis, he's not impounding his head talking about, oh, my gosh. He'll probably be thinking this is exactly how we planned it. Susan Rice is very well-positioned, probably along with Loretta Lynch, to be the best place to fall women for the Obama White House because they are put in a position to where a lot of the questions and unanswered questions and sketchiness of politically motivated things that for sure came out of the Obama White House fall on them, and the consequences they have at this point are going to be very small.

AVELLA: So Eboni, you're saying, ultimately, they're counting on these ladies not to tell the truth.

WILLIAMS: Oh, wow, David, that's exactly right. They're not going to give all the information out. They're going to go to their graves knowing many of the secrets kept by the Obama administration, and that's something -- designed.

SCHLAPP: There's two other points here that we need to look at. One is, who, for example, Susan Rice possibly shared this information with. You're only supposed to have that intelligence information for yourself. Did it go further into other officials?

WILLIAMS: That would make it possible a leak.

SCHLAPP: That's correct. The second question is, going back to the leak to the press.


BOLLING: It had to leak because it got out.

SCHLAPP: Exactly. That goes back to the leak of the press.

WILLIAMS: We know it leaked, but do we know that Susan Rice -- can we prove.

SCHLAPP: We can't prove.

WILLIAMS: . can we prove that Susan Rice leaked it?

SCHLAPP: We don't know the answer to that question, but that is the fundamental question of this unmasking, which is, how did these leaks get to the press, and who's responsible for that?

BOLLING: Well, I don't know. Comey seems to like to give some stuff to the press.


SCHLAPP: Classified information.

BOLLING: So let's get back to this. So if it wasn't politically motivated, then what in the world else would a political appointee in the White House have an issue with trying to find out the name of General Flynn as an operative?

TIMPF: I agree with you. And that why I said that I agree with you, that it probably was politically motivated. The difference is you can't really prove that.


TIMPF: All you have to do is say that it provided some foreign intelligence value and she's covered.

WILLIAMS: And she can also say, Eric and Kat, that she did it for context. That's also a nice catch all. She can say context for national security. She said, well, I can understand how this possibly relates.

(CROSSTALK) SCHLAPP: Here's the deal. Sounds like something that the CIA should handle and not the National Security Council. That's exactly where it falls.

BOLLING: You know what else we need to understand here, and, Eboni, correct me if I'm wrong, but when you go and testify on the hill, in front of congress, you're not really liable for anything. You can lie to congress on the hill and correct the record later and everyone says, OK. You corrected the record. You can't do that to the FBI, as Mercy points out, but you can do it to congress.

WILLIAMS: You sure can, and I agree. I think if you're going to testify in any open setting like that it should be under the wager of perjury.

AVELLA: Eric mentions the news that came out about Feinstein and Comey. The other news that came out today, as John Roberts on Fox said, is now we found out another person in this Eric Trump meeting. How many people were at this meeting? Are we the only five people that weren't in this meeting? At some point it was in the ballroom. How secretive was this meeting supposed to be?

TIMPF: Well, the thing that bothered me about it is the story keeps changing on that.

SCHLAPP: I'm with Kat.

BOLLING: Russian real estate developer, who's.


SCHLAPP: It would have been critical for Donald Trump Jr., and the team, and his lawyers, basically, to just be upfront. If you're already going to go out there and talk about this issue, you should just be upfront and share what happened, or share the details of the meeting.

BOLLING: Straight ahead, President Trump slapping around with new sanctions, but also grudgingly recertifying Iran's compliance with the nuke deal, and what that means for the U.S.-Iran clash over the Middle East. Next.


TIMPF: High tensions between the U.S. and Iran taking a new turn over the last 24 hours. The Trump administration is slapping new sanctions on Iran that target its ballistic missile programs and support for terror organizations.

But the administration is also reluctantly recertifying Iran's compliance with the 2015 nuke deal, while blasting Iran for violating the spirit of the agreement.

The moves all come after Iran's sentencing of an American graduate student, Xiyue Wang, to ten years in prison on dubious espionage charges.

Again, this isn't new for Iran to say, "You were spying" and sentence to prison without that likely being the case.

President Trump was very critical of the Iran deal. I understand why he can't back out of it. Do you understand? Or is that something that irks you a little bit?

BOLLING: I'm not sure he's not going to yet. I mean, the reason why the recertification happened is it's a mandatory -- there's a timeline. You have to recertify, or it, you know, begins to dismantle. So they recertified it, but I will guarantee you, my last molecule in my body, that they're talking about ways to blow this deal up and start over and get a better deal or completely walk away from the table.

TIMPF: That's difficult, though, Mercedes, because this isn't just us in the United States. This involves many other countries.

SCHLAPP: That's right. That's right. And I think that's what makes it so complicated. With that being said, I wish we could just withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal. They're saying -- the administration is saying there's a comprehensive review of the U.S. policy towards Iran. That's what they're focused on.

I think the steps that the Department of Treasury took on the sanctions are a solid step, a good first step in -- in trying to target these entities that are involved in the ballistics program and dealing with criminal activities.

But it is surely not enough, especially when you're saying that Iran continues to violate, whether it be not allowing international inspectors to come into the country, accelerating its ballistic missile program, basically exceeding the limits on the uranium -- uranium enrichment, it's very problematic. And they still -- I mean, these are bad actors, and we have to do what we can to stop this deal.

WILLIAMS: I'm going to disagree with you a little bit, Mercedes, because I really don't know...


WILLIAMS: Because it's fun.


WILLIAMS: I'm just kidding. I miss our old days when I was doing that every week.

But, you know what? I don't think the sanctions are any kind of step in any direction, quite frankly, because we know the previous ones we had in place didn't work, really, at all. I don't think there's any thwarting Iran. As you say, they are a bad actor.

SCHLAPP: What, but we have the -- now we have an Iranian -- the Iranian nuclear deal. That has actually empowered them.

WILLIAMS: That's what I'm...

SCHLAPP: I mean, that's where we need to be. That's where we have to go, which is withdraw from this Iranian nuclear deal.

WILLIAMS: Correct.

SCHLAPP: Take this first step with these sanctions.

WILLIAMS: But I don't think -- that's why I'm disagreeing, Mercedes. Just I don't think the sanctions are even a first step. Maybe...


WILLIAMS: Because they literally don't work. There is no thwarting Iran's bad acting at all.

AVELLA: It needs to be -- it needs to be a first step of many steps.

SCHLAPP: There you go. Thank you, David.

AVELLA: And I -- I know the administration, there is much discussion going on in the administration about exactly what to do. And they have -- they have their eye exactly where it needs to be, which is Iran is to develop these missiles, and not that they're going to; their leaders are smart enough to know they cannot have a battle against the U.S. and win.

But what they can do is have a nuclear program that they sell to a rogue terrorist group who bring it across an unsecure border, which we currently have, and allow much destruction -- against the U.S.

WILLIAMS: Can you answer one question for me? Tell me one thing the sanctions do.


WILLIAMS: One thing they actually do.

BOLLING: Eboni, there are -- and where sanctions didn't and won't work with North Korea, because we don't have any trade with them. Frankly, North Korea and China are the only -- the only place that it's going to work is if China put sanctions on North Korea.

Iran's different. They have 4 million barrels of production a day or so of oil. And when we embargo that oil, and we say you can't trade with Iran, or you're violating a sanction, we'll slap sanctions on you, it really hurts their economy. Their economy was really hurt for many, many years with these sanction until the genius Barack Obama decided to lift the sanctions and send them $150 billion in cash.

TIMPF: I think Eboni's point is, is that going to change their behavior, though? Right? That's the point.

BOLLING: Sanctions? In Iran, it does.

WILLIAMS: It hasn't, though. We know that they've still been developing. That's how we know...

BOLLING: Yes, yes. They at times were struggling with these sanctions. They were hurting. The average Iranian...

WILLIAMS: But there are sanctions currently in place. Correct? Of course there are. Come on, Eric.

AVELLA: People suffer. And ever we saw throughout the Middle East. People are only going to suffer for so long before they go after their own leaders. It is a first step. It's not an end step.

BOLLING: We lifted the suffering, though.

TIMPF: It's really tough. It's a tough position for President Trump to be in, because you just remove the deal, they keep the money and we just don't get to monitor at all any more. We have all these other countries involved.

BOLLING: Going forward, if you put those sanctions back in place where you can't trade, do a massive oil embargo on Iran, that is choking their economy the way, you know, Russia gets choked when the price is going down.

AVELLA: That's right.

WILLIAMS: But we do have current sanctions. I'm just saying they're not that effective.

SCHLAPP: Well, we have a nuclear deal in place, also, which is making matters worse. So that has to be the first thing to deal.

WILLIAMS: I know. I think -- I agree. I think it's a terrible, unenforceable deal.


TIMPF: All right. Well, looks like we're not going to solve it now. Coming up...

BOLLING: Twenty-five minutes.

TIMPF: ... what's ahead of the U.S. Border Patrol union is touting is nothing short of miraculous. Stay tuned.


BOLLING: Welcome back to "Fox News Specialists." Our specialists today are Mercedes Schlapp and David Avella. So let's continue the conversation.

Despite the gridlock in Congress, President Trump is still scoring big successes with one of his signature issues: stopping illegal immigration. The head of the U.S. Border Patrol union is heaping praise on the Donald. Watch.


BRANDON JUDD, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: What we've seen is nothing short of miraculous. If you look at the rhetoric that President Trump has given, it's caused the number of illegal border crossers to drop down something that we've never seen in the history of the Border Patrol. We've never seen such a drop that we currently have.


BOLLING: And the latest figures from immigration officials show apprehensions at the southwest border have plummeted 53 percent in the first six months of this year, compared to 2016. Apprehensions are used to gauge how many people are trying to illegally cross the border. Miraculous, indeed.

Kat, Trump is the wall. I've said it before. Apparently, the wall's not even up yet, and he's -- he's got immigration -- illegal -- down.

TIMPF: I'll tell you, I am all about using tough rhetoric to control the border, because rhetoric is free. It costs taxpayers nothing. So I'm all about that.

I don't think it -- it makes sense, right, when you hear the difference in the way he speaks, people listen; and they get scared and they won't want to come. If they think that they can come and that they'll be fine and that will provide for them, then, of course, they're not going to be scared away. I think we both agreed on making legal immigration easier.

In terms of controlling the border, as a libertarian, that is a no- government, free solution; and I'm all about it.

BOLLING: OK. Eboni, they're crediting this -- this plummeting illegal immigration issue, because the illegals are afraid of Donald Trump enforcing the law.

WILLIAMS: I think this is great. I totally agree with Kat: this is free. Rhetoric that invites people to a nice comfy space to break our statutes and laws is something that I do not support, I don't stand for. That's the problem I have with sanctuary cities.

So yes, I think if President Trump can be effective and have tangible decrease in this type of illegal behavior just by speaking about it, it's so good, in fact, maybe we don't need the wall.

TIMPF: There you go!

BOLLING: So down 53 percent, that means you know what? There's 47 percent to go.

SCHLAPP: That's right, that's right. First of all, you have to remember that during the summertime, when you see the -- basically, the increase of illegals coming to the United States. It was something that we saw under President Obama.

I think what you're seeing here with President Trump is that there is clearly a message being sent to Central America, South America, basically saying the door is -- you know, you've got to come in; there's only one way to come in and that's legally.

This does not solve the problem, though, of dealing with the visa overstays. Over -- close to over that 47 percent of individuals who come illegally are visa overstays. So we have a fundamental problem with our immigration system, which what we're seeing, it's bureaucratic. It's arcane. There needs to be fundamental changes made to that, and I think that that's going to be one of the areas that needs to be looked into.

BOLLING: David, Donald Trump has been soliciting, I guess, invitations from construction companies, engineering companies about how to build this wall. Honestly, he mentioned the solar panel wall. I've seen a couple of prototypes. It looks amazing, actually, and would pay for itself.

AVELLA: It does. It's the type of innovation that we need, because we need 100 percent security that bad actors aren't coming across the border, one.

Two, the president should be praised for the efforts that he's doing to make sure folks in Venezuela live in freedom and so, thus, they don't feel the need to come to America.

And three, he is working on the visa issue, Eboni, to make sure that the workers we need get here.

All that said, let me also add I think it goes to a bigger picture. If you want to look at where the success in the Trump administration is coming, look at all the cabinet secretaries and the things they're doing, whether it's what Scott Pruitt is doing at EPA, Rick Perry is doing at the Department of Energy to help create jobs and get more sources of energy going, whether it's here, with the border security with what Kelly is doing, we ought to be doing segments on the Trump administration's cabinet secretaries and the success they're having.

SCHLAPP: President Trump is going to run into problems -- Eric, you're going to love this. Of course, you won't be surprised that Congress probably will not likely want to provide funding for building the wall. They did provide, I think, it was $1.6 billion in what would be some of the infrastructure, in terms of for immigration, but that is where you're going to find another battle with Congress which is that of providing that for the wall.

BOLLING: Let's make Mexico pay for the darn wall. I still think there's ways to do that.

SCHLAPP: There's ways to do that. They're, like remittances.

TIMPF: Name one way.

BOLLING: I've got one, right?

SCHLAPP: I've got one, too.


BOLLING: We import 2 million barrels of oil per day and oil products from Mexico. Every day, it comes through pipeline. Right? Instead of paying that much, say the price is $42 per barrel. Pay them $41 per barrel, put a dollar in escrow for every barrel that comes. That's $2 million per day towards that wall. Put it right towards the wall. It doesn't affect the price of oil one iota. And Mexico can't go anywhere else with that oil, because it would cost them too much to send it to China.

WILLIAMS: How about this, Eric?

BOLLING: There's one.

WILLIAMS: How about Al Gore, Donald Trump, solar panel wall.

BOLLING: I love it. I love it.

WILLIAMS: Deals with immigration and it would be environmental.

BOLLING: I've got another way. Use Mexican laborers and pay them whatever. Use their laborers and they'll kick it in. Let Mexico pay their own labor. There's ways.

TIMPF: How do you force them to do that? I think you can't.

BOLLING: Well, the oil way, they have no choice. Anyway, we'll leave it right there.

O.J. Simpson preparing to face his parole hearing on Thursday, and now the odds of his release from prison are literally in his favor. In other words, the Juice may soon be loose. Look out, ladies.


WILLIAMS: Will O.J. Simpson walk free from prison this week? With his Thursday parole hearing approaching, an early release for the Juice is appearing more and more likely.

Now, despite serving only the minimum nine years of his 33-year prison sentence, new reports indicate that no one at Thursday's hearing is expected to oppose Simpson's release. That includes the victim of his botched Las Vegas robbery back in 2008 and the prosecutor who actually put him in prison. But there are a few things that could still trip up O.J.

Mercedes, many people, this is like, wow. You know, because a lot of people, although he went to prison for the robberies, felt that this was some type of circular justice around the acquittal, of course, of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.

SCHLAPP: But the parole, what they look for, what the judge looks for is, is O.J. Simpson ultimately, is he a danger to society?

WILLIAMS: In this moment.

SCHLAPP: In this moment. They also check to see what the stakeholders think. And then they also look at the biggest factor, which is age.


SCHLAPP: He's 70 years old, and what they do know in terms of statistics is that you have a 40 percent recidivism -- if I'm saying that correctly -- recidivism in terms of criminals who come out, go back into jail. If you're over the age of 70, that number of recidivism is in the single digits. So they don't feel that he would be a danger.

WILLIAMS: Eric, in addition to his age, he's been, like, a model prisoner. They're saying O.J. is leading a Baptist prayer group. He's working in the gym. I know you can't believe this; he is the -- you'd appreciate this, former baseball player that you are -- commissioner of the prison yard softball team.

BOLLING: What a stand-up man. Unbelievable.

WILLIAMS: You know? I mean, he's just a model prisoner.

BOLLING: Here's my question to you, Eboni. Can Ron Goldman's family -- or can Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown's family show up at this and have a -- not have a say. I guess they don't have a say, because he was acquitted on that. But can they just have a presence there? I mean, if I were them, I'd just go outside.

WILLIAMS: Show up in the galley?

BOLLING: Yes, watch the people walk by and go, "You're going to let this guy out? Look at us."

WILLIAMS: You know what, Eric? It's a public hearing so certainly, they could, you know, be present in that way. But, Kat, obviously, the judge would be very leery of that, because they don't want to just obviously look like they are punishing O.J. in this moment for the crimes that he was legally acquitted of, although found liable in civil court.

TIMPF: Right. And if you look at the crime itself, Eboni, as you said, the reason for this sentence seemed to be that people were mad about the murders, which, by the way, totally fair to be mad about that. But the botched robbery, I mean, he didn't even really get to spend any time hanging out with the stuff he was trying to steal. Not that much of a robbery. So I kind of wouldn't be surprised to see him -- him go, but a lot of people would be angry. He's not going to have much of a life after it, either way.

BOLLING: Armed robbery, though.

TIMPF: Armed robbery. A botched armed robbery.

WILLIAMS: Robbery. David, we know that he's already been released on some of the kidnapping. He's already come up on parole technically, but the remaining years that he's served were on the other two charges.

AVELLA: Yes. The fascinating part of this whole story is it's proof that celebrity trumps all. How long has it been since Simpson did this? And here we are; we're still talking about it. Documentaries are being made about O.J. Simpson.

TIMPF: Well, I've watched all of them.

AVELLA: And we're so fascinated by celebrity.

WILLIAMS: You know what, David? I would push back on that. I don't think it's just the celebrity. I think -- I was in elementary school when this happened. I'm sure you were, as well, Kat. And we were all in various stations, but I remember where I was when this verdict was read. I think it was the cultural phenomenon.

AVELLA: But the celebrity quotient. Out here, armed robbery happens every day.

WILLIAMS: No, actually, Rodney King was not a celebrity, and that was gripping in much the same way. And I think it's the cultural dynamics. The celebrity, absently, but also the racial component, the domestic violence component, Mercedes, and all these different aspects together.

SCHLAPP: And in front of the public eye, I think that Americans would argue that O.J. was guilty. And so there is a sense of unfairness. But he went through the judicial process. It is what it is, and now it's his time to go home.

BOLLING: I'm just -- I'm blown away, that he's -- what was his original sentence?

WILLIAMS: Thirty-three years.

BOLLING: Remember, armed robbery, right?

WILLIAMS: Yes. Going to let you finish.

BOLLING: He had some friends come. They pulled the gun.


BOLLING: They held the guy, kidnapping. Or what's it called when you're held against your will? It's not kidnapping; there's another technical. Whatever.

But these are major crimes.

WILLIAMS: They are, Eric, but I've got to tell you, from my experience, he would have never gotten 33 years as a first offender. You've got to remember, criminally speaking, O.J. was a first offender. And I think he was guilty as sin. I think he probably killed Ron and Nicole. But according to the letter of the law, he was found not guilty of that. And 33 years on a first offender was a little bit much, I think, is why we're not seeing opposition from the D.A., Eric, who actually prosecuted him.

TIMPF: He's going home.

BOLLING: I'm just still waiting. I'm waiting for him to spend all that time he promised to spend looking for...

WILLIAMS: Looking for the -- exactly.

TIMPF: Well, he's got to come out first.

WILLIAMS: Find the killer.

When we return, we will "Circle Back" with our specialists, Mercedes Schlapp and David Avella. Stay with us.


TIMPF: Time to "Circle Back" with our specialists, Mercedes Schlapp and Dave Avella.

Mercedes, my question is for you. You're a mom. You have five kids. Five.

SCHLAPP: Yes. Five girls.

TIMPF: Five girls.

SCHLAPP: One is named Kat and the other Eboni. It's really...

TIMPF: So, you know, as a mom, having that experience, is there anything you can maybe offer Congress in their infighting to maybe try to get along with various differing opinions?

SCHLAPP: Yes, very easy. Listen to your mother. So in this case, listen to Mitch McConnell; listen to President Trump. We've got to get this thing done. It's very clear.

I mean, part of this is that sometimes you have to give things up and you have to compromise; and that's part of the deal. And I think that that's a big lesson that you learn when you have -- when there's five children in the house.

WILLIAMS: Mine is also for you, Mercedes. We were talking in the break, and this is my proposal for Iran, and I want to know your take on it. Don't give them out any sanctions. Throw that off the table and let them know on the front end, this deal is coming apart at the seams. We are rescinding the Iran deal in its entirety. How about playing it that way?

SCHLAPP: Yes. I think that's a smart move. I do think that the goal of the administration is to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal. I think that's really the only viable option that we have in order to stop Iran from developing the nuclear technology. Hopefully, they can convince these other countries to join along.

BOLLING: My comment is to David. I don't know if you want to weigh in on this, but this is a real thing. Did you know that right now there's currently a tropical storm Don, which is expected to turn into a Hurricane. True story. And a tropical depression named Hillary?

AVELLA: Really?

BOLLING: What are the odds of that? That wasn't done on purpose; that was done years in advance, these names.

AVELLA: The heightened awareness on politics has never been higher, and it includes even our weather forecasting.

BOLLING: How appropriate is that, Hillary as a tropical depression. Had no idea.

SCHLAPP: She might to be depressed right now. That's not fair, Eric.

TIMPF: All right. Well, thank you to our "Fox News Specialists" today, Mercedes Schlapp and David Avella.

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

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