This is a rush transcript from "The Ingraham Angle," December 26, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

LISA BOOTHE, HOST: All right, well, I'm Lisa Boothe in for Laura Ingraham and this is “The Ingraham Angle,” live from New York City tonight. And coming up, the Left once again politicizing a tragedy, blaming President Trump for the death of a migrant child.

We'll tell you what really happened and talk to a border patrol agent about the challenges these agents face with the massive influx of illegals at our southern border plus the President and the First Lady making a surprise visit to our troops in Iraq and affirming his pledge to defeat ISIS.

So why are the liberal media still criticizing his commitment to a military success. And a new developments in a fight for faith. As the Supreme Court gets ready to decide whether a cross memorial for World War I veterans is a religious symbol.

There's a new filing to protect monuments like this one in Arlington National Cemetery. Also the Christmas police are still on the job tonight and suggesting that making children sit on Santa's lap sends the wrong message in the wake of the #metoo movement.

But first, we begin tonight with the shutdown showdown. Senators returning to Capitol Hill tomorrow on what will be the sixth day of the border budget battle. Democrats refusing to give President Trump the money he needs to build the wall.

The President in Iraq earlier today saying he won't back down either.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long do you think the shutdown will last Mr. President?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Whatever it takes. I mean, we're going to have a wall. We're going to have safety. We need safety for our country.


BOOTHE: Chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel is live in Washington D.C. with all the details. Mike.

MIKE EMANUEL, CORRESPONDENT: Lisa, good evening. Today was the first business day after the Christmas holiday of this partial government shutdown and there appears to be no real movement. In Iraq President Trump was asked, "how long this partial shutdown could last?"

And he continues to sound like he's determined to fight for serious border security.


TRUMP: Whatever it takes, I mean, we're going to have a wall, we're going to have safety. We need safety for our country. The folks are saying can we have some drones, can we have technology? Technology is bells and whistles. You have to have a wall. We need a wall so when you say how long is it going to take?

When are they going to say that we need border security, when are the Democrats going to say, don't forget, the Democrats all agreed that we need a wall until I wanted it.

EMANUEL: The standoff between the President and top Democrats has been ongoing for more than two weeks. The President demanded significant funding for the border wall during his meeting in the Oval office for the top Congressional Democrats.

Since then leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer have ripped the President for not bringing certainty into people's lives and "different people from the same White House are saying different things about what the President would accept or not accept to end his Trump shutdown, making it impossible to know where they stand at any given moment."


EMANUEL: Tonight a long time New York Republican congressman said, it is time for these leaders to figure it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just have a thing against government shutdowns. I think they end up being counter-productive. But now that we're in it, I think it's important for the President and the Democrats to come to the table, find a way to negotiate a compromise here. But to me the wall is essential.


EMANUEL: But sources say the talks are all going through Nancy Pelosi who faces a critical vote to become Speaker on January 3rd and some suggest, she has no incentive to cut a deal until she's officially Speaker. Then Democrats will be the majority in the House adding a whole new dynamic to this fight. Lisa.

BOOTHE: It's going to get interesting. Thanks Mike, appreciate it.

EMANUEL: Thank you.

BOOTHE: And joining me now is Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs, member of the House Judiciary Committee. Hi congressman, how are you?

REP. ANDY BIGGS, R-ARIZ.: Great, how are you doing, Lisa?

BOOTHE: I'm doing well and Congressman, you also recently sat down with the President on Saturday to talk about this very issue so what is it going to take to break this stalemate.

BIGGS: Well, what it's going to take is Chuck Schumer is going to have to bite the bullet and they're going to have to fund the wall. They need to pay $5 billion which is a substantial reduction from the $25 billion that it will take to actually build the wall.

They need to move - this is - it's all this Chuck Schumer's court right now, there's nothing on the President's desk, the veto or sign. This is Chuck Schumer's shutdown right now.

BOOTHE: What incentive do think Democrats have to come to the table or to negotiate or to get President Trump any funding? You know, Nancy Pelosi is going to take over likely as Speaker of the House just next week and Democrats are going to have control of the House.

So you know what incentive do they have to play ball here?

BIGGS: What's going to incentivize them are two things is that if they really love this country and recognize that the border is insecure right now and that we have to have a wall, that's one thing. The other thing that I think will do it is if they realize that that their base are significant number of bureaucrats and they're the ones who aren't getting paid in the shut down and they're going to get some pressure from their base to come to the table.

And the reality is they're the ones that have chosen to shut this down actually, not the President.

BOOTHE: Well and Congressman, isn't this really a lot of this about politics, is the way I see it, you look - there are a lot of Democrats including Senator Chuck Schumer, the voted for fencing along the southern border, clearly they're not against some sort of physical structure being along the southern border.

So is it the wall is just semantics game and a politics game, isn't this just about denying President Trump that campaign promise that he made.

BIGGS: Yeah, you know, I actually believe or not, I have friends in Congress who are Democrats and we talk and I asked them, I said, what's the deal here? You know, one lives by the border wall. I said, what's going on? I said, why won't you give us anything for border wall? I live in a border state, we're concerned.

And they said, well, you know what, one said, I don't like the rhetoric that President Trump uses and the other one said, we're not going to give President Trump victory. And so what I'm telling you is, it is politics, Lisa. That's the problem is they don't want President Trump to have a victory and in so doing, they're preventing this country from having the safety.

When I hear people, just today even some more people from the border telling me, Andy, they're crossing our property, we've got to have - we've got to have border wall and you know what, that's what we need to do, not politics, we need good policy which includes a border wall.

BOOTHE: Well, speaking of the policy aspect, even beyond the wall, the big crisis we're facing right on the southern border is asylum seekers and we've seen a massive influx and people seeking asylum from Central America. Can you tell the viewers a little bit about what's going on with asylum seekers and why we're seeing this influx of central Americans doing just that?

BIGGS: Well, what's happening is when an asylum seeker comes across the border, we do an immediate little evaluation and then they end up staying, we can't keep them longer than 20 days and so we can't process them because the influx is so great, I mean there's thousands upon thousands.

And so for instance, in in the Phoenix metro area, there's been almost 4000 of them released since October until about two weeks ago, that's the total from two weeks ago that are coming here seeking asylum, they're released into the interior, we pay for them to go wherever they want to go because we can't afford to hold them.

And that's what's happening is catch and release and we're giving them a notice, please come back we say for your court hearing to prove that you really are someone who qualifies and you know what, almost 90% of them don't even qualify for asylum yet they're already here in this country, most of them never go back for the hearing, that's what's going on with the asylum policy that we have today.

BOOTHE: Well, something that's not really been reported as much is this deal with Mexico in keeping asylum seekers in Mexico while they're waiting for their immigration cases because as you pointed out. you know 90% don't actually granted asylum in immigration court and the problem is a lot of them go missing in between that time and when their cases come up so why is this so important?

BIGGS: Well, if you can keep them in Mexico which by the way has offered asylum like for instance, the caravan, most of the silent seekers, they've offered them asylum.

If you keep them there then it gives us time to process them before they get released into the interior because once they're released in the interior, they're effectively lost until they commit a crime or something like that where we can actually track them down and I.C.E. can can get hold of him except for unless there's a sanctuary city that's not going to cooperate with I.C.E..

So we have all kinds of obstacles that keep us from actually controlling the folks that are coming into our country. That's why the Mexico basically keeping them there until they're ready to come in or qualified to come in is so important because it's going to reduce the number of people who come into this country illegally that we can't track, we can't - that we don't know who they are.

BOOTHE: Is Congress doing anything to address the asylum issues we're seeing?

BIGGS: We have basically put together a series of Bills, I know the freedom caucus has put together some ideas and some Bills to try to get this going but the first thing that has to happen really is the border wall.

And when I talked to my border patrol agents here, they say Andy, we need the border patrol - we need the border wall first because once we get the border wall, it's going to actually put people into a channel so they're coming to the ports of entry we can control that better and then we can start dealing with interior problems like asylum.

BOOTHE: Well, real quick, how long do you think the shutdown's going to last?

BIGGS: Well, since the President's holding firm and the Democrats have said, they're not willing to budge on this, I would think we're going to go at least another couple of weeks actually.

BOOTHE: All right, well Congressman, I really appreciate you joining us and giving us some insight on this issue, thank you.

BIGGS: Thanks Lisa.

BOOTHE: And as the border budget battle heats up, the Left is using this opportunity again to politicize the death of a migrant child blaming President Trump and his administration for the tragedy. Nancy Pelosi saying, "We all have a moral responsibility to ensure all children of God are treated with compassion and decency. The death now of two children in the U.S. custody is unconscionable."

Democratic whip Steny Hoyer saying, "House Democrats will not stand idly by and watch as our nation's most fundamental values are eroded while innocent children are held like prisoners in cages and their lives placed at risk."

And Democratic congressman Bennie Thompson going even further than that saying, "It's clear that the administration's fly-by-night mass detention policies and changes to the asylum process are not working. The welfare of children in our care must be a top priority."

Chief correspondent Jonathan Hunt is live in our west coast bureau with the real story. Jonathan.

JONATHAN HUNT, CORRESPONDENT: Good evening Lisa. As of the beginning of December it was according to the Department of Homeland Security, more than 10 years since the child had died in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Now two children have died in the space of a month, the latest an eight year old boy, Felipe Alonzo-Gomez first taken into custody around 1:00 PM on December 18th near El Paso, Texas. The boy and his father were according to CBP officials given regular food, water, and welfare checks before being transferred to the Alamogordo border patrol station on December 23rd.

On the 24th at around 9:00 AM, an agent noticed the boy was coughing and his eyes were glossy and was taken to a nearby hospital. At 12:45 PM, he was diagnosed with a simple cold and given Tylenol. Around 30 minutes later though, his fever had spiked to103 degrees. He was held for further observation.

But 90 minutes after that at about 2:50 PM, he was released from the ER with a prescription from Amoxicillin and ibuprofen. The boy and his father were taken to a temporary CBP holding facility where at 7:00 PM fully paid vomited.

But according to CBP his father said the boy was feeling better and declined further help. At about 10:00 PM, Felipe was again nauseas and was being taken back to the hospital when he vomited again and lost consciousness. Hospital doctors could not revive Felipe. He was pronounced dead at 11:48 PM on Christmas Eve.

The CBP Commissioner called it a tragedy and says, agents do all they can.


KEVIN K. MCALEENAN, COMMISIONER, CBP: Our job is to try to identify any children that need medical care and get them to a hospital as quickly as we can and we're doing that and we're doing that with heart every day.


HUNT: Just three weeks ago, a 7-year old Guatemalan girl died after spending nearly eight hours being held at a remote CBP outpost in New Mexico. Her father had told CBP agents, his daughter was in good health although it's unclear that he understood what he was being asked given that his first language was neither English nor Spanish but an ancient Mayan dialect.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen today announced a series of steps designed to identify sick children more quickly and get them help, she's asked the Centers for Disease Control to investigate the uptick in sick children crossing the border.

The U.S. Coast Guard Medical Corps will assist CBP's medical programs, more medical professionals have been requested from the Department of Defense and most immediately old children apprehended by CBP will now get a more complete medical assessment as soon as possible.

The issue here what does as soon as possible mean. It's obviously undefinable and frequently, Lisa, having been on both sides of the border, I've seen this, you get these agents who are working in very small teams frequently coming across groups of very large groups of illegal immigrants in remote areas of the border.

So the practicality of immediate medical inspections is questionable at best. Lisa.

BOOTHE: Jonathan, thank you. Joining me now is Art Del Cueto, Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council, and Immigration Attorney Saman Nasseri. Guys, thank you so much for joining me tonight. Saman, I want to start with you, you saw the quotes from Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer basically criticizing the federal government about what happened to this poor young child.

Obviously our hearts are with his family, nobody wants to see anything like this happen but it looks like at least according to what Jonathan laid out that care was provided and they were paying attention to him and monitoring so why is this the government's fault?

SAMAN NASSERI, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: First off, I would - I hate to see when people are using a dying child or a sick child to further any political agenda. Republican or Democrat, it doesn't matter, that should not be used here for any reason and with that said, I don't think it's a matter of whether or not good care or bad care was given to the child.

We heard just earlier a lot of these individuals coming over the border, Spanish and English are not their language, they speak - most of them speak indigenous dialect from Guatemala. So he might not have understood what the sickness was or what was going on with his child to be able to communicate that properly.

BOOTHE: You know, Art, I want to go to you, how dangerous is this journey from a country like Guatemala, I assume just being around all those different people or just being around so many people and also making such a long trek clearly probably isn't good for someone's health but how dangerous is that journey?

ART DEL CUETO, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: I mean, it's got to be dangerous. Not only are you having to deal with the actual traveling and the length of it.

But like they said earlier, if they did have a problem with the language, how did they communicate when they were traveling through Mexico, you have to try to communicate through Mexico, you got to make sure you have proper food when you're traveling through there, you have to worry about corrupt law enforcement that's taking money from you.

You have to worry about the smugglers, the bandits, I mean, there's a lot of things that goes into this. If an average American citizen put their child through that, the United States citizen would definitely be prosecuted for child neglect or child you know, endangerment.

And I mean, it is very tragic.

BOOTHE: And what are their conditions?

CUETO: Don't get me wrong, it's extremely tragic.

BOOTHE: And what are their conditions like.

CUETO: The conditions where we're holding?


CUETO: Where they're being held?


CUETO: You know, they're - I was just there a few days ago at one of the detention facilities here in Arizona and some of the doors were open and they allow the children to come out and talk to us once in a while. There was one particular 13-year old Guatemalan boy that I saw and I called him over towards my computer that I was at and I asked him, you know where he was from.

He said he was from Guatemala. We spoke briefly, he said he didn't know where his parents were. At that point, I said, okay, you know, be careful, you know stay safe and everything and he walks back to the area where he's being detained.

And I said, grab some cookies and he grabbed cookies, there's cookies around, they were able to give him cookies. He said, thank you and I gave him some juice but there was other kids that were out there watching movies that are being taken care of and that's in just our detention facility, that's not the actual detention facility where they're being held you know at for longer periods of time.

But none of these kids are being mistreated, it's a very tragic thing that happened but I think honestly people need to go and talk to the hospital themselves and see what kind of best diagnoses was actually done on this child.

BOOTHE: And Saman, Art laid out sort of the dangerous journey and the different things involved, why would the media and the Democrats then, why don't they discourage this kind of journey because it seems to me the way to keep people safe is to discourage people for making those kinds of trips so why aren't they doing more to do that?

NASSERI: So the journey's already happened, right? They've already gone here, they're here with their kids. What the issue is, is CBP is not going to take custody.

BOOTHE: But even before that, but with all due - to prevent further children and parents making this dangerous journey, I understand some people are obviously order here, they've arrived at the southern border but what about future people, future caravan, shouldn't the media, shouldn't Democrat, shouldn't members of Congress try to encourage people to not make that trip, to not make that dangerous journey?

NASSERI: I completely agree, I've said for a long time and it's not a - and like I said, it's not a Republican/Democrat thing, it's Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration Services, they need to do a better job of vetting these cases out in the countries where these people are and setting up posts where these people can actually get vetted for asylum before they have to track all the way through Mexico while they're in their own country.

And the problem is the lack of access to those resources in their own countries to be able to come over here and that is a problem. I practice it first-hand, I see it first-hand. It's a major problem, the wait times are years and years so yet, to them, it's worth the risk to come over here because that's the only chance when you get to try to ask for asylum.

BOOTHE: Art, what do you think of that?

CUETO: You know, it's - I think it's a cop-out. I'm going to straight up say it, I think it's a cop-out.

BOOTHE: Why is that?

CUETO: To put the blame on the United States, to put the - I mean, to put the blame on the U.S., to put the blame on the Department of Homeland Security, you know they're doing everything they can do out there. There's a right way to do it and there's a wrong way to do it and it certainly isn't you know, crossing the border illegally, jumping a fence.

They could easily you know, ask for asylum in the areas where they're at, they can go to the embassies of the U.S. there, they were given some type of asylum within Mexico, they refused to take it, there's a way that they can enter the United States through the ports of entries and they don't do that.

I mean, I understand. I understand that you know, they're going through rough times, I get all that but you know what? There's a right way to do things and the wrong way. If you come to my home, you need to knock on my door, not break in through my window, it's that simple.

And it has nothing to do with the race, it has nothing to do with what political aisle you sit on, the reality is we need to secure our borders, we need to have security and the people that are elected in political positions need to start caring about the United States citizens and the people that truly represent.

BOOTHE: What I want to hear both of your take on this other story that's going on. So despite what many in the media and particularly liberal media is reporting about the caravan being a bunch of innocent victims. So U.S. Customs and Border Patrol says that they just caught two more members of MS-13 gang and two convicted and previously deported sex offenders trying to cross the border.

So Saman, why is there this downplaying that somehow criminals cannot be in the midst of these caravans. Obviously the bulk of the people trying to get over here aren't bad people but why is there this downplaying that somehow bad people aren't in the mix.

Secretary Nielsen said, I think it was a while but not too long ago, saying that there are 600 criminals among the caravan so why is there a downplaying of something that just seems like common sense?

NASSERI: I think the numbers like the hundreds are the exaggerations because there's no hard line proof of that but I will say--

BOOTHE: But Saman--

NASSERI: It's always going to be there.

BOOTHE: But it's also just common sense, if you have a group of people coming in, do you not think bad people are going to try to exploit that?

NASSERI: Every time, that's been the problem for decades and decades. This caravan isn't something new, this caravan isn't something that's only happening now that we have President Trump. The caravans have been coming to the border for decades.

I mean, if you guys remember when Obama was President and a plane landed with hundreds of children on it. You know what, I mean people remember that. Those children were treated, they were separated from their families, this is something that's been going on for a long time.

I'll say it again, it's a systematic issue, I wasn't - I'm not attacking DHS or USCIS. What I'm saying is that their process and their system has to change because if the system doesn't change, we're going to keep running into the same problem.

BOOTHE: Well, my issue isn't that these - the caravans haven't been going on, my issue is the downplaying of the fact that there could be bad people in the mix, that was the point I was making but thank you both for joining me tonight. I really appreciate it, thank you.

NASSERI: Thank you.

CUETO: Thank you for having us.

BOOTHE: And President Trump makes a surprise visit to our troops in Iraq and doubles down on his pledge to defeat ISIS so why is the liberal media calling the trip a failure. The debate after the break, stay with us.


BOOTHE: Welcome back. President Trump is heading back to the White House at this hour after a whirlwind surprise trip to visit our troops in Iraq and Germany. The secret mission comes a week after the President announced, he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria.

A decision that has fuelled backlash from both sides of the aisle. Fox's Lucas Tomlinson has the story from the Pentagon tonight. Lucas.

LUCAS TOMLINSON, CORRESPONDENT: Lisa, there's more than 5000 U.S. troops currently deployed to Iraq including special operations forces. These troops are used to train and advise local Iraqi forces but could be used to launch ISIS strikes if necessary.

But President Trumps says the terrorist group isn't nearly as threatening today.


TRUMP: Two years ago when I became President, there were a very dominant group. They were very dominant. Today, they're not so dominant anymore.


TOMLINSON: Since the President announced all 2000 troops to be leaving Syria, the Pentagon says more than 30 airstrikes have been launched in eastern Syria, killing hundreds of ISIS fighters. More evidence the terrorist army isn't quite defeated.

U.S. officials want ISIS and its ideology have spread to other continents including Europe and Africa where terror attacks have been launched in recent days.

In Iraq not all U.S. troops are training local forces. The U.S. artillery on Iraq's border with Syria has been shelling ISIS positions around the clock in eastern Syria. The last known ISIS stronghold is the city of Hajin located within the range of those cannons.

At its height in 2014, ISIS controlled an area, the size of Ohio. During President Trump's first year in office, airstrikes against the terror group increased 33%, roughly 40000 bombs were dropped on ISIS last year. This year airstrikes have sharply reduced as fewer ISIS targets remain on the battlefield.

Today, ISIS only holds 1% of the territory once held in Iraq and Syria. Despite the gains against ISIS, the security situation in Iraq remains tense, one of the reasons the President's visit remained secret and the President and First Lady only spend a few hours on the ground at a U.S. controlled air base west of Baghdad in the middle of the night.

The President spoke to Iraq's new Prime Minister over the phone. Security concerns prevented a face to face meeting but President Trump hopes his Iraqi counterpart can visit the White House next year.


TOMLINSON: Outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis did not make the trip to Iraq. President Trump says, he's in no hurry to find a replacement. Mattis' Deputy, Patrick Shanahan takes over as acting Defense Chief next week. Lisa.

BOOTHE: Thank you Lucas and the liberal media has been hammering the President for not visiting troops in war zones for months but now that he is gone to Iraq, they're still not satisfied. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What Donald Trump did by going to Al-Asad airbase was essentially do the minimum. By not meeting with the host government, I think what Donald Trump did was essentially re-confirm what not only Baghdad but also governments around the world suspect that he sees no need for partnership, that what he sees as a transactional relationship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a lot of gaslighting about what U.S. forces are doing in other theaters and less of a focus frankly on the ongoing stabilisation mission and counterterrorism mission that the forces in Iraq are performing.


BOOTHE: Joining me now is Buck Sexton, a former CIA officer and host of The Buck Sexton show and Jim Carafano, Vice President of National Security and Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation. Hi guys.



BOOTHE: All right so Buck, I'm going to start with you, can President Trump ever win?

Not in the minds of his critics. This was pretty astonishing, there were people who and I mean media organizations, that's some pretty big blue checked folks on Twitter as well who were just hammering the President in the hours leading up to his visit for never having visited any of our troops in a war zone.

And then the line afterwards was, well, they shamed him so effectively in the days before, you know what, it actually takes weeks to plan a presidential visit like and as we've seen now from reporting, that was the case.

But then there's also the criticisms of his time there, anyone can see the video, the troops are really happy to see their Commander-in-Chief as they are honestly are going to be to see any Commander-in-Chief that visits them in the field but they're particularly happy it seems to see Trump and I can understand why.

And if people are saying, well, he didn't meet with the host government, the policy speech he gave wasn't enough or it was too much or it was too political, they never give him any credit, Lisa and this is not new. It's really just Trump Derangement Syndrome has no boundaries or borders.

BOOTHE: Well and speaking of making it political so you've got Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby said this and I want to get your opinion after this, Jim. Listen to this.


JOHN KIRBY, RETIRED REAR ADMIRAL, UNITED STATES NAVY: It is in fact a campaign slogan that is a campaign item and is completely inappropriate for the troops to do this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not supposed to do this?

KIRBY: Not supposed to do this and I'm sure that their bosses seeing that, they're not going to be happy about it but look, the President has to take some ownership of this too. Every time he's around military audiences, he tends to politicize it and he brings in complaints and grievances from outside the realm of military policy.




CARAFANO: Look, people have been complaining about Trump being Trump since before he even started running for president, and he is never going to change. And all of this does is obfuscate the reality of what's going on. The president goes to the Middle East two years into his presidency, and what has happened? We are not having a million refugees flooding into Europe from the Middle East anymore. ISIS, their physical footprint, which was the big problem of ISIS to begin with, has virtually disappeared. Thousands of foreign fighters not flooding into the Middle East. Iran has been put on notice.

I actually think his record speaks for himself. If it had been any other president, any other president except Donald Trump, people would be trumpeting this as the triumph of two years of successful foreign policy in the region.

BOOTHE: And Buck, let's get to the policy a little bit about the decision to pull out of Syria. So President Trump on the trip talked about how the stated goal was to defeat ISIS, we've accomplished that job. Have we?

BUCK SEXTON, HOST, THE BUCK SEXTON SHOW: We have certainly put ISIS on the defensive in taking away its caliphate, which was the stated mission. The reason the president has done this, has made this statement, and quite honestly, I think it could have been done in a way that was maybe a little more time and collaborative with some of the other decision-makers that he is going to have implement this -- it was unveiled rather quickly. But the reason he is doing it is because he is trying to shift the U.S. away from what has been going on since I was a sophomore in college, which is we invade countries, we stay in those countries, we never leave those countries, and we are then responsible for rebuilding, for training, for funding, for preventing security collapse, during Iraq, during Afghanistan. He does not want that to be true in Syria.

They are obviously very real concerns about our Kurdish allies. There's also the possibility of an ISIS resurgence. But there's always going to be downsides to not having the single greatest military in history of the world in a country holding it together. We are never going to reach a point where it is a better thing for us not to be in a place like Syria. So I think the president is trying to do what he can with the realities of the timetables he has.

BOOTHE: Jim, I think there are a lot of people who are split on this issue, like myself, but for individuals that are proponents of staying in Syria, when is ever the right time to leave for those people, do you think?

CARAFANO: There is no good argument for keeping a footprint in Syria. This notion that somehow if we can hold onto peace and Syria, we will provide space to participate in the political sentiment. There is not going to be a political sentiment. Syria is owned by the Iranians and the Russians. That is not going to change unless somebody wants to fight World War III over it.

Sensible people will say, look, the issue we have with the president is not to say we are going to transition our footprint in Syria. It makes perfect sense. It is how we do that. And I think quite honestly, the way the president announced it, and we still don't really understand what the plan is for Syria, that's what I think has created a concern. Do it in a way that we don't sacrifice the gains that we made and we can con.. to protect our interests.

Look, the day the president announced we were leaving Syria, we have actually increased our military activity since he said that. So obviously, we are not just walking away. So I think there is a bit of too much stress here. And the same thing in Iraq. We're in Iraq. We're doing advise and assist mission. We're keeping it so we don't have to go back. And I think we'll keep a footprint in Afghanistan. But the same thing, we are not there permanently. We're providing an advise and assist mission.

So I think this president is really trying to walk a line between running away from things the way Obama did and trying to solve problems by invading countries the way we did in the previous administration.

BOOTHE: Thank you both for joining me tonight.

SEXTON: Thanks, Lisa.

CARAFANO: Thank you.

BOOTHE: Thank you.

Coming up, a World War I cross memorial is under siege and heading to the Supreme Court. This could impact hundreds of monuments nationwide. We will talk to one of the people suing to tear it down and the attorney general leading the charge to keep it. That debate next. Don't miss it.


BOOTHE: I want you to take a look at this World War I memorial. It stands 40 feet tall and has been there for nearly 100 years. Now some non- Christians are apparently up in arms over its shape, and they want it taken down.

Back now with new details is Fox News' chief correspondent Jonathan Hunt. Jonathan, what is going on here?

JONATHAN HUNT, CORRESPONDENT: Good evening again, Lisa. This is a case that focuses on just one memorial in Maryland, but it could have far-reaching consequences impacting monuments across the nation, including some at Arlington National Cemetery.

The memorial at the center of this case is a cross that honors World War I veterans in Bladensburg, Maryland. Its construction was started by community members and mothers whose sons died in World War I, and it was completed by the American Legion. A lower court has ruled that the cross should be removed because it violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, which, of course, reads quote, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

But an amicus brief filed by 30 states says the Supreme Court, quote, "should reverse the lower court's call for its destruction as it's place in our national tradition and broader cultural context make clear the Bladensburg memorial honors both the servicemembers it was built to honor and the constitutional ideals, including in the First Amendment they died to defend."

And West Virginia's attorney general, who led to the group of 30 states in challenging the lower court, said, quote, "We owe a great deal of gratitude to the brave men and women who sacrificed everything for our country. Honoring that sacrifice with memorials that include religious symbols does not violate the U.S. Constitution and is one of the many freedoms these men and women fought to preserve."

Now, the challenge to the 93 old cross began with the American Humanist Association, a nonprofit atheist organization that has, of course, Lisa, filed similar lawsuits across the country. Lisa?

BOOTHE: Thank you, Jonathan.

Joining us now is West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. He is leading the 30 state charge to protect this memorial, and also Fred Edwords, former executive director of the American Humanist Association and a plaintiff in the case.

Fred, I want to start with you. Why are you against a memorial that honors those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms like the First Amendment?

FRED EDWORDS, SUING TO REMOVE WORLD WAR I CROSS MEMORIAL: Because we want to honor them all. And that is our main thrust. We even have a hashtag, #honorthemall, because we feel, and we recognize, that a 40-foot tall Latin cross on government land broadcasts clearly that only Christian soldiers are being honored.

BOOTHE: Fred, it's honoring all of the men who died that are listed on that memorial. How is it honoring them to remove it? That doesn't make any sense, despite your hashtag.

EDWORDS: In 1985, the cross was declared to be in honor of all veterans of all wars. All veterans include Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, atheists, everybody. And we want to honor them all. That is the whole point of our case.

BOOTHE: But it is a memorial honoring them all, the people on the memorial who passed away.

EDWORDS: No, it is not honoring them all. It's a Christian cross that is 40 feet high, illuminated at night that you drive by it and all you see --

BOOTHE: I don't care if it is one feet high. It's honoring people who lost their lives.

I want to go to the attorney general on this. So a lower court actually ruled in favor of Fred and his group, but you are leading the charge along with 30 states, filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, arguing against what they are trying to do here. Why are you doing that?

PATRICK MORRISEY, R-W.V., ATTORNEY GENERAL: A couple of reasons. First of all, thank you for having me on. It's a very important issue because if the Supreme Court doesn't reverse what just happened in the fourth circuit, we could be dealing with a situation where hundreds of memorials across the country may be forced to be torn down.

And we think, just as you indicated, that the purpose of this memorial is to honor the war dead. We know when the peace cross was first put together, this was done to honor 49 individuals who fought in World War I, and they were commemorated. Across the country, there are memorials very similar to this.

But you have to look at the context in which of these memorials are set up. The states and individuals have the right to commemorate the dead. And that's different. That is not a purely religious purpose. Quite the opposite, that is a secular purpose. And so we think this fits very cleanly within the Establishment Clause jurisprudence. We think that the court can clarify this a little bit going forward. But I think that this peace cross was done with private funds, this peace cross was unchallenged for almost 90 years. It has been part of the fabric, the historic tradition within the community. And there is really no reason to tear it down from a legal perspective.

BOOTHE: Fred, I want to talk to you about the slippery slope problem here that the attorney general just addressed. And I also want to read you a quote from the First Liberty President and CEO of Bladensburg Memorial Cross Supreme Court case. We have the quote? All right, so "If this gravestone is bulldozed to the ground, it's only a matter time before the wrecking ball turns on Arlington National Cemetery and the hundreds of memorials like this one across the country."

So I want to know what you think of that, Fred. And also not only that, you look at awards that are given out, military awards. You've got the Army's distinguished service cross, the Navy cross, the Air Force cross. Do you want all those removed as well? Are those not OK with you?

EDWORDS: No. And this is not a gravestone. It is a 40-foot tall Latin cross on a highway median. There is no doubt that a highway median is, one, the government land, and it two, not a cemetery.

BOOTHE: Does it coerce you into changing your belief simply by seeing something?

EDWORDS: It gives the impression that no Jews are welcome in the city of Bladensburg. It presents Bladensburg as though it is a Christian enclave. When I first saw that cross, when I first drove into Bladensburg when I moved out here in 2003, I thought that is ridiculous. That just gives this impression right off -- right at the start. It is unmistakable.

And when it is illuminated at night, all you see is this cross floating in the darkness. You don't know it's supposed to be a war memorial, you can't tell. And in fact the war memorial aspects of it are so small and so minor, they are dwarfed by the size of the cross. In fact, when I first saw --

BOOTHE: I want to get the attorney general's response to that, because, to me, Fred, it seems like you're trying to push you opinion on everyone else in the state of Maryland, as well. Attorney general, your response.

EDWORDS: No. I'm talking about freedom.

BOOTHE: Hold on, Fred, I want to get the attorney general back in here as well. Attorney general?

MORRISEY: This is a war memorial, and in fact it's one of several that's over at the location. So there is a memorial to other wars that were held throughout our country's history. We know that the inscription on the memorial is a secular in nature, talking about valor, talking about honor. You can actually have a memorial whose purpose is mostly secular.

In fact, if you go back and you look at how many individuals who came back from World War I were honored, they were honored by crosses, and there are poems, there are stories that talk about the rows of crosses that were set up. And it's meant to honor the dead. So you can really distinguish that. So it really I think takes a stretch to say this is purely for religious purposes. I think that the history bears out that this is primarily for secular purposes.

And that, once again, if this cross were allowed to fall, then you could see Arlington, some of the cross there in trouble. In my home state of West Virginia, whether you are in Elkins, whether you're at the state capital, there are number of capitals that could fall because this starts to stretch First Amendment jurisprudence and not the way the founders intended.

EDWORDS: That is just ridiculous, because we have worked with Arlington National Cemetery to make sure that humanists and other non-Christians have their symbols on their tombstones. We want a variety of symbols on tombstones because we want to honor them all. And those war memorials that are across the street from the Bladensburg cross are secular in nature and we do not challenge them. We support them. We only challenge the one that is a 40-foot tall Latin cross.

BOOTHE: All right, we've got to get going. I'm sorry, Fred, I don't agree with you. I don't think your honoring them at all. But we've got to end with that. Thank you both for joining me tonight.

EDWORDS: Thank you.

MORRISEY: Thank you so much.

BOOTHE: Coming up, Santa Claus in the #Metoo, NBA superstar LeBron James is finally learning how jobs work. And actor Kevin Spacey's disturbing new video in the wake of his felony sexual assault charges. All of that, next.


KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: Of course, they are going to say I am being disrespectful, not playing by the rules, like I ever played by anyone's rules before. I never did, and you loved it.



BOOTHE: Actor Kevin Spacey releasing a chilling and bizarre video on Christmas Eve, after being charged with felony sexual assault of a teenager back in 2016.


KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: Oh sure, they may have tried to separate us, but what we have is too strong, it's too powerful. After all, we shared everything, you and I. I told you my deepest, darkest secrets. I showed you exactly what people are capable of. I shocked you with my honesty, but mostly I challenged you and made you think. And you trusted me, even though you knew you shouldn't.

So we are not done, no matter what anyone says. And besides, I know what you want. You want me back.


BOOTHE: I am officially creeped out. Spacey channeling his inner Frank Underwood, as you just saw there, told people not to rush to judgment without evidence or facts. But a new report reveals part of the alleged assault was caught on the alleged victim's snapchat video.


KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: If I didn't pay the price for the things we both know I did do, I'm certainly not going to pay the price for the things I didn't do. I feel surprisingly good. And my confidence grows each day that soon enough, you will know the full truth.


BOOTHE: Still creeped out.

Joining us now is conservative commentator Andrea Decker, and Democratic strategist Rochelle Ritchie. So that was weird. Andrea, OK, so if you are charged -- so there's been I think something like 30 people who have come forward and made allegations, and they are allegations. Now he's facing the felony charges now.


BOOTHE: With video evidence. But does this help him to then release a creepy video?

DECKER: No, it doesn't. And when I watch this, I'm wondering, is he denying that all of this is happening, or is he choosing to ignore it? Is he apologetic, or is he not? Really, when you release this kind of video when we know he's going to be charged come January, in just a few weeks from now, it looks like he is not apologetic and he is disconnected with the reality that he is living in. And I think that the American people, thanks to the #Metoo movement, is not going to have it, and it's not going to appreciate the fact that he really needs to own up to his actions and the fact that 30 people are now in the wake of his actions whose lives have been affected because of what he has done and who he is.

BOOTHE: Rochelle, what is your reaction?

ROCHELLE RITCHIE, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL PRESS SECRETARY: It is weird and it is creepy. And I am a huge "House of Cards" fan. I actually just finished the season last week, and when I watched it, I did miss the character Frank Underwood. And I feel that Kevin Spacey has this weird sort of connection to Frank Underwood, because if you watch the show, you notice that Frank has a lot of skeletons in his closet, right? And it seems that Kevin Spacey might have a lot of skeletons in his closet.

But I think it was cheesy, but I think it's a little insulting, as well, to the issue of sexual assault and people that are victims of sexual assault. And I don't think it is going to do well for him in court at all.

BOOTHE: Andrea, do you think that was the point, then? As Rochelle pointed out, maybe people miss "House of Cards," maybe he thinks somehow tapping into this, people are going to be forgiving him because they miss him on a show or something?

DECKER: I don't think so.

BOOTHE: I'm trying to wrap my head around it. It's very strange.

DECKER: It is. But the timing of this, right, right before his court date, it really seems like he is trying to move on, move past it. He says in there, I'm coming back and all of that. It really alludes to the fact he is trying to push through the reality and not face the consequences of what he has done.

BOOTHE: We are all in agreement on this one, it's creepy. I want to get your take on this story, as well. So NBA star LeBron James found himself in the hot seat this week after comparing NFL owners to slave owners. Watch this.


LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER: The NFL, they got a bunch of old, white men owning teams, and they have that slave mentality. And it's like this is my team, you do what the -- I tell you all to do, or we get rid of you all.


BOOTHE: Rochelle, I'm not following. What is he trying to say here? I don't see the correlation.

RITCHIE: I think when you use the term "slave mentality," especially when you're talking about white people, there is the automatic reaction to it being necessarily directed towards white people. But slave mentality is something that people use to describe whether you're in an abusive relationship, whether you're working for a boss, a bad boss. But let me finish, let me finish. So what I'm going to say is, though, is that I have also see conservatives called black Democrats slaves, and yet there is no outrage about that.

BOOTHE: Wait, no, no.

RITCHIE: That is true. That is very true.

BOOTHE: Hold on, Rochelle.


BOOTHE: So the average NFL player gets paid $2 million.

RITCHIE: So what?

BOOTHE: How is that an abusive relationship? Hold on for a second.

RITCHIE: So because African-Americans --

BOOTHE: Regardless of race, $2 million.

RITCHIE: Because a person has been given a certain amount of money and given some sort of success, then you should be able to violate them, you should be able to insult them because of their race or because of their gender or because of their preference?

BOOTHE: But how is that happening?

RITCHIE: What do you mean, how is that happening? The NFL has ignored the fact, they ignored what happened to Desmond Marrow. The NBA ignored what happened to Sterling Brown. You know what happened with those two?

BOOTHE: I'm talking about LeBron James.

RITCHIE: But what I'm talking about is this whole protest, this whole thing about the NFL, is rooted in as a result of police brutality, right? You had Desmond Marrow, a former NFL player who was assaulted by the police, the officer was later fired. He is an NFL player. So these guys are recognizing this.

And look, when you are an African-American athlete, when you take off the helmet and you get off that field and off at court, the one thing you are in this country, regardless of anything, is you are black man. And I think that is what they are standing up against because this does impact them.

DECKER: I would have chosen different words.

BOOTHE: But Andrea, I want to get your point on this because nobody is saying -- anyone in the NFL, everyone has a right to believe what they believe, everyone has a right to voice their opinion. No one is arguing that. The issue with the NFL, particularly the kneeling, is the fact they are doing it on the clock. They're doing it during their job. You can't just do whatever you want when you are at work. That is the issue, isn't it?

DECKER: That is the issue. But if LeBron James want to call for reforms for the NFL or the NBA, then do that. But he was irresponsible with his words, not only --

RITCHIE: So when black people are called slave, should I not be offended?

DECKER: Not only for the people that have been enslaved in the past, but for the 40 million people that are still in slavery today, you don't draw that kind of comparison. He needs to be more responsible with his words, with his platform. Call for reforms.


RITCHIE: Should I be called a slave because I have left leaning views? No one is going to say anything about that.

BOOTHE: Christmas may officially be over, but the Christmas police are still out in full force. "The Washington Post" doing a deeply investigative piece on what else, sitting on Santa's lap. Yes, the left is now politicizing the heartwarming and innocent tradition of Santa Claus. Are you pro-sitting on Santa's lap or against, Rochelle?

RITCHIE: So Andrea sort of changed my thoughts on this when we're in the green room, but I'm going to stick, for the sake of argument, I'm going to stick to where I was. Let kids be kids. I feel that these kids should be able to sit on Santa's lap if they want to, if the parents feel comfortable with it and the kids want to do it, let them do it. I feel we are becoming a little bit too sensitive about some of our American traditions, and it is taking away from the excitement of our holidays.

BOOTHE: We've got to get going. Thank you both for joining us. At least we agreed on the Kevin Spacey story, it went a little downhill.

RITCHIE: I love you, too. You are doing a great job.

BOOTHE: All right, thank you.

We will be right back with the Last Bite, next.


BOOTHE: It's time for the Last Bite. Porch pirates, beware.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your name? Did you just steal something? Give it. I'm going to -- call the police. I've got you on camera. Give me the thing now! I am taping you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leave me alone, lady. I didn't take anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you did. I saw you.


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