This is a rush transcript from "The First 100 Days," April 26, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In less than 100 days, I have signed 13 such Congressional resolutions to cancel federal regulations and give power back to the people. I've also signed over a dozen executive actions that reverse federal intrusion and empower local communities. Thomas Jefferson put it best when he said, "I believe the states can best govern our home concerns. With this executive order and the many actions we have taken in less than 100 days, we are providing our states and communities with control over the matters that are most important to them.
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MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE FIRST 100 DAYS" HOST: The President arguing that he has accomplished a lot so far. And make no mistake, this week is a full-court press to drive the President's agenda. You've got the biggest tax overhaul proposed in 30 years. And health care repeal and replace, that appears to be back from the dead. It is day 97. I'm Martha MacCallum. Good evening, everybody.
So, it's just three days to go until that first-mile marker, the administration brought out the big guns today on the issue that was a number one last night with our audience in our town hall in Ohio. They wanted tax cuts and economic growth. Here's the President's top economic advisor, Gary Cohn, on whether he thinks his plan can pass.
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GARY COHN, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL DIRECTOR: This is quite a historic day for us. This isn't going to be easy. Doing big things never is. We will be attacked from the left and we will be attacked from the right. But one thing is certain: I would never, ever bet against this President. He will get this done for the American people.
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MACCALLUM: So, with one step forward there and also one step back today, another judicial decision that seeks to derail the President's move on sanctuary cities. As a federal judge slaps down President Trump's order to withhold federal funding from those sanctuary cities, President Trump, just moments ago, making some stunning remarks about the courts. We will tell you what he said in just a moment. We'll be joined by constitutional law expert, Jonathan Turley, who says he thinks the judge in California, in this case, has jumped the gun.
But first, we start with Trace Gallagher live in our west coast newsroom with the latest on the story tonight. Trace?
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: Martha, President Trump, who is clearly annoyed of being dealt another setback in the Ninth Circuit Court today, said he has absolutely considered proposals to split up the Ninth Circuit. Trump is referring to legislation repeatedly introduced by GOP lawmakers that would carve out some states currently under the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit and put them in a new court.
The President and many GOP lawmakers believe the left-leaning Ninth Circuit is unfair to conservatives. The comments come one day after District Judge William Orrick, appointed by President Obama, blocked the administration from taking away federal funding from sanctuary cities, saying the cities would face "irreparable harm" if the policy was put into place.
In his ruling, Judge Orrick cited what he believes is a key contradiction saying the administration has given a very narrow definition of a sanctuary city, and yet, has vowed to widely enforce it. The judge even cited Trump's campaign rhetoric when he promised to use federal funding as a weapon against jurisdictions that do not comply with his immigration policies. Here's the San Francisco City attorney who brought the lawsuit followed by the President. Watch.
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DENNIS HERRERA, CITY ATTORNEY OF SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: This is why San Francisco had to stand up on behalf of people everywhere, be they immigrants or native born. As Americans, we all have a duty to confront injustice, even when it emanates from the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you surprised by the Ninth Circuit ruling?
TRUMP: I'm never surprised by the Ninth Circuit.
TRUMP: As I said, we'll see them at the Supreme Court.
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GALLAGHER: Chief of Staff Reince Priebus called the judge's decision "an overreach," and also vowed to immediately appeal the decision, of course, before it gets to the Supreme Court, it would first go to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is likely to still be intact. Martha?
MACCALLUM: We will see. Trace, thank you.
Joining us now, constitutional law expert and George Washington University law professor, Jonathan Turley, who wrote about this decision today. Jonathan, good to see you tonight. Thanks for being here. I love your description of this judge as, you know, sort of a hunter with buck fever who, sort of, he sees something rustling in the woods and fires his gun before anything has actually happened.
JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR: Well, you know, it's a curious decision. It's a preliminary injunction, but I think it's more premature than preliminary. President Trump has not designated a single sanctuary city. He's not denied a single dollar. And that raises a real question as to whether this situation is truly right. President Trump could and would wisely wait for Congress to put conditions on the next round of grants, which are just around the corner. I think Congress can do that. That's where I disagree with some of the judges' analysis.
I think that Congress can condition some federal funds on their cooperation with immigration policies. Now, there are some dicey questions there. If they want, for example, cities to hold people after they were entitled to be freed, that raises other constitutional questions. But I think that the court is off-base in terms of granting a preliminary injunction at this stage.
MACCALLUM: All right. So, you just feel like they have jumped the gun, as we said, before the President has really laid down any proposition here, any injunction, any action against any particular city, or labeled anybody a sanctuary city. I want to put up some of the tweets that President Trump put out because I know that in the past, you have taken offense or been unhappy with some of what he has said about judges and about the circuit courts. He said, "First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban, now it hits again on sanctuary cities -- both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court."
Then he goes on to say, "Out of our very big country, with many choices, does everyone notice that both the "ban" case and now the "sanctuary" case is brought in the Ninth Circuit, which has a terrible record of being overturned." And he also spoke out about this later in the day, Jonathan, and said that he'd like to see the Ninth Circuit breaking up. He'd like to do away with it. Can he?
TURLEY: Well, you know, you can -- well, you can almost hear the Justice Department attorney's popping tongues every time these tweets go out because they're not helpful for their case. They are also manifestly wrong. This is not judge shopping. These judges are selected randomly. When you file, you get the initials of your judge when you have what's called a "conformed" copy. It's done randomly. But more importantly, many of these sanctuary cities are in California. Where else would they file?
So, I don't think this is a good example of form shopping. But once again, this impulse to strike back at the judiciary or individual judges is not healthy for president. You can't be at war with every institution, the press, and the courts. You know, sometimes, cases are filed where the controversy is. There's a controversy here. He himself has criticized California cities for being sanctuary cities. I think he has a valid issue here. He is -- he is saying that we shouldn't give you federal grants if you're obstructing rather than supporting our policies. Fine. But those cities are in the Ninth Circuit. And so, they have a right to go to court and that's where it will be heard.
MACCALLUM: Jonathan, thank you. Always great to hear from you. Good to see you tonight.
MACCALLUM: So, here now, Dana Loesch, host of "Dana" on BlazeTV and Julie Roginsky a Democratic analyst and Fox News Contributor. Good to have both of you here tonight. Julie, let me start with you. What do you think about what Jonathan Turley had to say and the President weighing in here?
JULIE ROGINSKY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I agree with Jonathan Turley. Again, I'm not a lawyer but it strikes me as something that anybody who's a layman would know or laywoman which is that the executive branch really stay out of (INAUDIBLE) branch of government, especially the judicial branch. And this judge made a decision that the judge and his legal opinion thought was the best decision that he could make. It is not up to the President to weigh in on that other than to say "We will take this to the Supreme Court," which, of course, is his right. I'm sure calling it a ban is something that the Justice Department probably is popping tongues over because if you remember Sean Spicer said, "This was actually not a ban."
MACCALLUM: But, you know, it's interesting what Jonathan Turley brings up, and I want to get Dana to weigh in on this because she -- he's basically saying, you know, this is an idea that has come out of the White House and been put forward. But they haven't labeled anybody, specifically a sanctuary city yet. So, does it suggest that there is any bias on the part of this judge, that he is already taking this action before there is anything specific to be reacting against?
DANA LOESCH, BLAZETV DANA HOST: It does, Martha, seem as though he got a little bit ahead of himself. I don't know you were directing this to Julie (INAUDIBLE)--
MACCALLUM: Yes, I was. Go ahead, Dana.
LOESCH: And Julie -- yes, Julie and I are in the same boat, and that we like to -- we both love the law and it's really -- as she was saying in layman's terms so you can understand this. When I look at Justice Orrick -- and, Martha, this is also the same judge that he was involved in the Center for Medical Progress and Planned Parenthood case as well. This is someone who was appointed by the former president, who wasn't just appointed by the former president, but he also bungled money for him, too, which I think is significant.
The reason that I bring that up is because the leeway that he -- I seem to think that he would give someone like a Democrat, if there was a Democrat in the White House instead of a Republican, because he said specifically in this, too, that he was looking at what Trump had tweeted and things that he had said, and he was using that as part of his interpretation of this, which to me seems a little bit over the top.
And furthermore, yes, you know, he can say that it really -- this is ultimately something that the executive -- the White House can't weigh in here, that this is a legal matter. But at the same time, Martha, even if this is just something -- these are only I think what, fewer than -- less than $100 million that we're talking about here, and San Francisco, one of the sanctuary cities, wouldn't even be affected. Still, Congress ultimately controls how these grants are going to go out. And Trump could go back and say, "Well, then I guess I'm going to suggest that Congress that they block federal funding for these cities in the future."
MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean it is in California, but it's in a junction that applies to the rest of the country. So, this is the second time that the President has tried to do something that he sees as making places more safe and secure that has been overwritten by a -- by a federal judge in that part of the country, Julie. I mean, you know, this is what the president can say, you know, this is -- "You can talk about things I said in the campaign, but this is one of the reasons I got elected."
ROGINSKY: It may be but the law is the law. And look, a judge in the Republican part of the country, or a Republican judge for that matter, can make a determination of federal judge that the rest of us have to live with regardless of whether we agree with that or not. So, to say that a judge federally makes a decision that the rest of us have to live with, that's our system, that's our system of government. The President can't complain about that. It's what we've all lived under our entire lives.
MACCALLUM: We can complain about it.
ROGINSKY: Well, he can certainly --
MACCALLUM: But he might not be able to do anything about it.
ROGINSKY: You're right.
ROGINSKY: We all get the right to complain, that's true.
MACCALLUM: All right. No complaints with you two. Thank you very much.
LOESCH: Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you guys tonight.
So rare joint statement from State Defense and the director of National Intelligence says a very serious statement today. "North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons is an urgent national security threat to our country." General Jack Keane here with the backstory tonight. And for the first time since Congressman Devin Nunes stepped down from the Russia probe, the man now tasked with picking up that investigation, Representative Trey Gowdy, joins us exclusively tonight.
Plus, the United Nations says that changes to health care may put the United States in violation of human rights. Yes. Ari Fleischer very fired up on this, and he and Marie Harf are raring to go when we come back.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know there's a lot of noise right now over this bill. But my one and only goal and this has been to try to make this bill something that helps the health insurance market survive.
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TRUMP: I never said repeal and replace ObamaCare. You've all heard my speeches. I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days. I have a long time. But I want to have a great health care bill and plan and we will. It will happen. And it won't be in the very distant future.
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MACCALLUM: Well, that was just weeks ago after that first failed to pass on health care. President Trump promised that there would be a win eventually on health care reform. And tonight, there are brand-new reports of a vote to do that, possibly as early as Friday, which would put them on day 99. The urgency behind this rework GOP plan nearing how Americans are feeling. Take a look at the brand-new Fox News poll numbers tonight. Which is a higher priority? Fixing the health care system gets 71 percent. Reforming the tax system gets 26 percent. Speaker Ryan, confirming earlier, that he and the more conservative wings of the party are nearing a consensus.
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PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: We want to give the states the ability to kind of customize the reforms to maximize the ability to lower premiums and protect people with pre-existing conditions, and that's exactly at the heart of what the MacArthur amendment does and I think it helps us to get to consensus.
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MACCALLUM: So, will they get there? Joining me now, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Congressman Mark Meadows. In a big turn of events, his group endorsing this latest GOP plan today, after refusing to go along with a plan that they saw last month. Congressman, good evening. Very good to have you here.
MARK MEADOWS, UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE OF NORTH CAROLINA AND FREEDOM CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: It's great to be with you, Martha. Thanks so much.
MACCALLUM: So what is so different about this one? We all remember the sort of comical moment when President Trump said to you, you know, "I'm coming after you, Mark." He is very much wanted you on board. There were some pretty tough words for the House Freedom Caucus after this went down and it definitely hurt the President's numbers. So, what is it about this version that you are okay with?
MEADOWS: Well, I think the fundamental question for all Americans is will the bill that we pass lower their premiums. And that's what the Freedom Caucus has been standing for from day one. We believe the original bill didn't go far enough. This new waiver allows for not only the states to be able to tailor-made it as the speaker was saying, to actually wave out of some of the ObamaCare mandates.
But it was also a Freedom Caucus amendment that put this high-risk pool that was going to drive down premiums. So, some of the modeling we've done actually means that we'll see as much is a 38 percent reduction in health care premiums. And that's really what made the difference for me and many of my Freedom Caucus members today.
MACCALLUM: No doubt, the President would love to see this happen on Friday. Is that a realistic hope?
MEADOWS: Well, I think it's realistic but it's an expectation that I don't want to put out there. Well, you know, we have so many times that we put a date that supposedly corresponds with something, and then, the American people are disappointed. They'd rather us get it right and make sure that it happens. So, whether it's this Friday or next week or the week after that, I can tell you that real reform is coming. It's a matter of days, not months, and so I'm very optimistic that we'll get it done in the right fashion.
MACCALLUM: So, what happened last time was that the things that made the moderates happy made you folks unhappy. So, now that you are happy, are the moderates unhappy again because some of the states will have the ability to charge people with pre-existing conditions more for their health care, and also to opt out of some of the requirements that were put in place for these plans under ObamaCare. So, have you got the Tuesday group and moderates on board here?
MEADOWS: Well, I mean, obviously, they're whipping their group. You know, I'm responsible for the Freedom Caucus, but I think that's the beauty of the MacArthur amendment. What it does is it gives governors, individual states, the rights to do that. And so, you talk about pre-existing condition that coupled with high-risk pool that we're putting in place, actually makes sure that those pre-existing conditions are taken care of in a way that it's more affordable.
But it's not just that, Martha, it's the other aspect. You know, I've -- we've done some modeling that would suggest that some of the premiums for 50-year-olds are now going to be able to buy premiums cheaper than they can for a 30-year-old on the Affordable Care Act. That's significant savings and that's none too soon on getting there.
MACCALLUM: All right. I got to go but quickly, is Congress going to have the same deal that the American people have on this?
MEADOWS: Of course, I'm 100 percent guaranteeing that. I'm not going to vote any and for anything that gives me a better deal than the American people. That would be wrong and we're not going to do that.
MACCALLUM: All right. And what are the chances of a deal on Friday?
MEADOWS: You know, I would say they're 50-50 at this point but may be leaning more towards the 60-40 in favor.
MACCALLUM: OK. All right. Congressman, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight. Thanks for coming by.
MEADOWS: All right. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, as Congress grapples with repealing ObamaCare, Democrats apparently not alone in taking dramatic measures to protect the former president's signature law. Now, the United Nations - the United Nations is weighing in on ObamaCare. And they say it may be breaking international law if it is changed. Here with more, Ari Fleischer, served as White House Press Secretary under President Bush; and Marie Harf is the former State Department's spokesperson and a Fox News Contributor. Welcome to you, both. I mean, this is a very stunning letter from the U.N. You know, you think about the fact that Saudi Arabia sits on the Women's Commission and that Iran takes their turn on the Human Rights Commission, but they are horrified and they think we may be breaching people's human rights here, Ari, if this health care law leaves some people without coverage.
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes, the United Nations wants to lose more support of the American people even faster, this is the way to do it, to impinge or think they can impinge on the national sovereignty of the American people.
But one important caveat, Martha, this was signed by one official on the Human Rights Commission. It's not clear who he's speaking for, whether he's speaking for himself or clearly he can't speak for the entire United Nations but it's insidious nonetheless. It makes my head explode. The idea that an international organization can sit in supervision of America and our Congress and our democracy, you know, this is why globalism is losing ground to Nationalism. And this is why the E.U. is losing support among European Nations. It's this idea that they're superior and they can pass judgment on things that always have been for the better of the people because they spring from democracy and natural sovereignty. The U.N. should play no role.
MACCALLUM: You mentioned the person who put this letter out. And I just want to put just because I think this is fascinating, this is the title of the person who put this letter out. Let's put it up on the screen, so everybody, you know, you know what your title is at your job, right? His name is Mr. Dainius Puras. His business title, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. Marie?
MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: I mean, you can't make it up. I actually thought it was a joke when I saw that title this morning. I'm not kidding. And you will be surprised or maybe not surprised to hear that I generally agree with Ari on this. You know, of all the reasons that I think the Republican proposal will be bad for the American people on healthcare, the U.N. being upset with it is not anywhere on my list. So, I think it was sort of silly and bizarre. And I really did honestly think it was a fake story this morning. I know it's not but we have real questions to grapple with in this country as we head towards another vote on health care, and this should not be part of the discussion. I completely agree here.
MACCALLUM: Yes. And Marie - and earlier in your talking points, you brought up the question that I just asked Mark Meadows. And were you satisfied with his answer that members of Congress will indeed have the same plan that is given under this new law?
HARF: Absolutely. I was - absolutely, Martha. I was very glad you asked the question, I was very glad that he answered it in a - in an incredibly strong manner because I didn't think that those stories today saying members of Congress might exempt themselves. We're a really big problem both substantively and politically. I was a little curious that he was optimistic about getting a vote on Friday. They still have to prevent government from shutting down before they go home this weekend. And so, I'm not sure they'll get a vote on it that quickly but it does seem like there's as momentum here. We do need to actually see the details of what's in this new compromise, though, and I don't think we've seen enough of that, and I don't think independent experts have been able to really get their hands into the substance yet.
MACCALLUM: Yes. You know, if we can put up the president's approval numbers because we have a brand-new Fox Poll tonight. And I want to get to Ari's thought on this. Basically his -- he was at 48 percent in February, now at 45 percent. And it looks like in March, he took a little bit of a hit perhaps because of the failure to pass health care. And we see also in those poll numbers, Ari, that fixing this problem is very important to the American people. 71 percent say they want to see it fixed. Do you think they can do it on Friday? Do -- are you concerned about a government shutdown? And do you think these will be accomplishments that people will be happy with that could help those numbers rise?
FLEISCHER: Well, I'm no longer concerned about a government shutdown. I think that's been taken care of.
FLEISCHER: I think in terms of this bill, you have to recognize, the Republican conference is like a seesaw. You've got moderates on one side and real conservatives on the other. And the two have to find balance. And it's a real question here about whether this agreement that was announced by the conservatives is going to tip the seesaw and throw the moderates off of it. I would've much prefer to this be a joint announcement between the conservatives and the moderates. That would give me more encouragement that it has the votes to pass.
But clearly, what is the point of having Republicans in the House of Representatives if they cannot unite among themselves and understand the seriousness in which the American people want the Republican base especially, wants ObamaCare repealed and replaced? This is essential for them to get it done, so we know they can do their job. And if they tease us and try to do it again and don't do it, then it's a (INAUDIBLE) on their house.
MACCALLUM: -- very unhappy. And those approval numbers are going to go back down even further. You guys, thank you so much. Good to see you both tonight.
HARF: Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So just ahead, a remarkable meeting today. All 100 senators got on buses and they went to the White House to hear the unvarnished truth about how bad the North Korea situation really is. General Jack Keane joins us in a moment. And for the first time since Congressman Devin Nunes stepped down from the house probe into Russia's interference in our presidential election, now one of those who was on the case, Congressman Trey Gowdy, joins us exclusively next.
MACCALLUM: Some big new developments now in the investigation into Russia's meddling in the presidential election. You remember the House probe was thrown into disarray weeks ago when its chair, Devin Nunes, decided that he had to step aside amid controversy involving the Trump of surveillance claims.
Today, that intel committee got back together. They met this morning. They were overseen by a group including Congressman Trey Gowdy who speaks exclusively with us in moments. All of this amid fresh allegations that President Trump's former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, may have broken the law when he failed to disclose payments that he received from the Russian and the Turkish government.
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REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, R-UTAH: Personally, I see no information or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, D-MARYLAND: I agree with the chairman. He was supposed to get permission and he was supposed to report and he didn't, period. I mean, there is no evidence of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So here now in a "The First 100 Days" exclusive, Congressman Trey Gowdy who was one of those overseeing the House probe. Congressman, good evening. Good to have you with us tonight.
REP. TREY GOWDY, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So you regrouped today to get this thing back in motion. What are your next steps?
GOWDY: Start interviewing witnesses and accessing documents. That's the lifeblood of any investigation and we need to do it as one committee in a bipartisan, apolitical way, but Marta, you have to have the witnesses come forward and you have to have access to the documents. That's the lifeblood of any serious investigation.
MACCALLUM: So, are you getting what you need on the White House on this?
GOWDY: We are in some aspects. In some aspects -- I wouldn't say the White House -- the administration as a whole, we're going to need more documents. I think they are aware of that. Mike Pompeo is not only a friend but a former colleague. He has pledged his support. I'm sure Admiral Rogers at the NSA will as well.
To the extent there's an ongoing criminal investigation, it makes it a little tougher for DOJ to share everything, but it's a work in progress. We're not there yet, but I'm optimistic that they also understand we can't do our jobs without all the documents.
MACCALLUM: Alright, so when all this sort of came to a screeching halt a little while back, it was about to happen, that Sally Yates and James Clapper were going to testify and John Brennan about what they understood about Michael Flynn and the larger picture here. Are you going to speak to them?
GOWDY: We are going to speak to them, whether it will be a public setting or a private setting, I think that will be determined by Chairman Conaway and ranking member Schiff. I've been pretty vocal. We had one public hearing in which the witnesses almost 100 times said they could not answer the question.
And most investigations I'm familiar with in the previous life were done confidentially. Then, you share the results at the end. But the process is confidential. But that's above my pay grade to make that call and Chairman Conaway tells me that we're going into a public hearing, I'll be ready.
MACCALLUM: There was some discussion that perhaps Sally Yates had presented some of this evidence with regards to Michael Flynn to the president, that she may have made someone in the White House aware of it. Is that a question that you need answered? And if it's not answered in a public forum, do you think that the American people will feel like they have heard the whole story?
GOWDY: Well, at some point, the American people will learn everything that we've learned. It's just a question of when and having grown up in a courtroom, the judge tells the jury you can't decide the facts until the last witness has testified. So she is one of the first witnesses. I would ask everyone to withhold judgment until every witness that has relevant information has talked.
I knew former attorney general Yates before she was the acting attorney general. I have a wonderful relationship with her. She was a really good prosecutor. And to the extent she has information the committee would be interested in, I'm sure she will be forthcoming with that.
MACCALLUM: What about on the Senate side because there has been some speculation that they're slow walking this. You know, and I think some people look at it and it kind of reminds them of what they saw on the other side of the fence with the Hillary Clinton investigation, that people aren't being forthcoming, that they're not particularly anxious to dig into this issue. What's your take on that?
GOWDY: Well, I don't believe that. I think Chairman Burr -- I don't know the ranking member, but I know Chairman Burr pretty well. Investigations take time. The Cataldo (ph) prosecution, you'll remember, the one suspect charged in Benghazi has not even been brought to trial yet. I don't hear folks complaining about that. That's been years ago.
Investigations take time. You only have one opportunity to do it the right way. So, as long as you are making incremental progress and you're gaining access to new facts, the amount of time something takes is dictated by how much information you're uncovering.
So, it could just as easily be a positive sign that it's taking them longer than they may have imagined. They may be uncovering more information. I don't judge the efficacy of an investigation based on the length of time.
MACCALLUM: Alright, Trey Gowdy, Congressman, thank you very much. Always good to see you.
GOWDY: Yes, ma'am. You, too.
MACCALLUM: So, it was way back in the 1980s, the last time we saw a real tax reform. Since then, the code has become more complicated, the government has taken a little bit more out of your paycheck perhaps. So, is there a revolutionary change coming to your taxes? And who would actually benefit from it? Also, tonight, 100 senators met at the White House behind closed doors in a secured room to hear the reality about North Korea's nuclear weapons program and the reportedly unstable man who controls it. General Jack Keane joins us next.
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SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: It was encouraging to see virtually every senator there, both Democrats and Republicans and it was a long and detailed briefing.
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ADM. HARRY B. HARRIS, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND COMMANDER: I believe that we have to look at North Korea as if Kim Jong-Un will do what he says and there is -- right now, there is probably a mismatch between KJ (ph) use of rhetoric and his capabilities.
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MACCALLUM: New details tonight on just how serious this administration takes the threat of a nuclear North Korea. The White House convened a rather rare meeting today, in terms of where it was. President Trump's team took the unusual step of inviting and briefing the full senate onto the grounds of the White House. They were in an auditorium at the old executive office building and they were basically briefed on the strategy against Kim Jong-Un and what he presents to the world. Ted Cruz, the senator, described that meeting afterwards.
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CRUZ: It was encouraging to see virtually every senator there, both Democrats and Republicans and it was a long and detailed briefing. All of the steps we're taking to try to prevent that very dangerous situation from getting even worse.
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MACCALLUM: Afterwards, a jolting statement came from state, defense, and DNA, saying, "North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons is an urgent national security threat to our country." Joining us now on just how urgent, General Jack Keane, chairman of the Institute for the Study of War. General, always good to have you with us. Why do you think the White House decided to do it this way today, this meeting?
JACK KEANE, CHAIRMAN, INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR: I understand President Trump was briefed that they were -- have this brief over to Congress. It's in the basement of the Visitor Center is where all of these special rooms are, that are debugged, et cetera. And he said, why don't we do it over here. And it never has been done.
And you know, I think the president is pretty different. He does a lot of things that have never been done. So, this was one of them. I think he also wanted to be there. Usually, 100 senators don't show up to these briefings no matter how important they are.
MACCALLUM: Well, because he do things differently, I think maybe he likes the visual --
KEANE: Oh, I think he does.
MACCALLUM: -- which he focuses on quite a bit, of all of the senators getting on buses and they have all gone over to the White House, and no doubt, you know, that crosses the radar of perhaps the person they're talking about, right?
KEANE: I think it's good optics playing into China or playing in North Korea, playing also in South Korea and Japan where our allies are so concerned about what's taking place, yes.
MACCALLUM: So, I mean, obviously the main question here is how far along are they in a nuclear missile -- a nuclear warhead that could be put on an ICBM that could threaten the United States of America?
KEANE: Publicly, we don't know the answer to that, and I doubt if they told the senators what we do know in terms of the specifics of that. They probably gave them a range of time, a year or two years, maybe a little bit longer, that sort of advanced technology to be able to miniaturize a nuclear peace.
Ballistic missile is not a problem. They already have 1,000 missiles. They export missiles on a regular basis to Iran and to Pakistan. They are good at missile development, despite some of the failures. But the challenge by intercontinental missiles and ballistic missiles in general because there's a reentry problem that you have to have.
MACCALLUM: So our cyber ability, and there has been a lot of speculation that perhaps that is what has made some of their recent missile tests unsuccessful, that we have somehow been able to intervene in them to make them unsuccessful. Does that work to slow them down, to keep them kind of spinning their wheels a bit?
KEANE: Absolutely. It slows them down. It hurts their confidence. But what has got us so concerned about Kim Jong-Un, I mean his grandfather and father brought in nuclear weapons, and that actually guaranteed the preservation of the regime. We would grant that. But he pursued the development of ballistic missiles to deliver that weapon not to South Korea, but to deliver it to Japan, to bases of the United States throughout the region and possibly to the United States.
And then he accelerated this program. And he has a myriad of weapons. He has developed submarine launched ballistic missiles and he's test fired it successfully. That's a dangerous capability all on its own because we have to detect it. Now, their subs aren't as quiet as ours, we probably can find those submarines.
He has developed land-based medium range ballistic missiles and he's doing the intercontinental ballistic missiles. And he's put this thing on fast forward, and that has got our concern because of the speed at which he is moving to do this. And you have to take him seriously.
MACCALLUM: You know, I always go back to what we learned about the meeting between President Obama and President Trump, that President Obama said, you know, this is your number one concern. North Korea is your number one concern. What do you think may have been shared? And obviously it was a classified briefing today, but this man, Kim Jong-Un, why does he hold so much mystique and so much -- why is everyone so disturbed about the kind of person that he is?
KEANE: Well, I think because of the inflammatory nature of his rhetoric and talking about, you know, throwing missiles and nuclear weapons at innocent people.
MACCALLUM: They have these bigger than Broadway extravaganzas where they're blowing up things in America.
KEANE: Exactly. So, that has got our concern. And he enjoys our reaction to this, to be frank about it. I don't think he is necessarily -- there's something fundamentally wrong with him, because he does have a strategy. And his strategy, one would think is he's preserving his regime, but he wants considerably more concessions from the United States from South Korea. And that's what his objective is.
But the way he is going about it certainly is alarming. And it's got our attention, as it should be. Now, you mentioned President Obama. I found it stunning that he raised this as his number one concern. Yet, for eight years, he did so little about it. Strategic patience, as the administration has rightfully admitted, is an absolute failure.
Strategic patience has do nothing. So, this administration has taken Kim Jong-Un to task, as we rightfully should because this is fundamentally about protecting U.S. interests, our allies in the region, and the American people.
MACCALLUM: General Jack Keane, thank you, sir. Always was good to see you.
KEANE: Good talking to you Martha.
MACCALLUM: You too.
So coming up next, there was a blueprint that was unveiled by the White House today as they take the first steps in the most ambitious overhaul of the tax code that we've seen and three and a half decades. So will it make you happier next tax season? We'll have the details. Charles Hurt and Mo Elleithee coming up next.
MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, the Trump administration unveiling their much anticipated tax reform plan today. It includes a radical overhaul for both individual and corporate tax rates. Peter Doocy is live on Capitol Hill tonight with the details for us. Hi, Peter.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi Martha. The Trump administration tax plan is to let people keep more of their money by lowering rates and then raising the amount they can deduct. So-, for example, the standard deduction for an individual's income right now would nearly double. It's about $6,300 a year presently. It could be $12,000 a year.
Married couples would see a big jump too. They wouldn't have to pay any tax on the first $24,000 of their income. Most individual deductions would go away with this plan except for charitable mortgage interest and retirement deductions. And the tax bracket would get a lot simpler.
Right now, there are seven brackets. If President Trump gets his way, there would be just three. The top rate, 35 percent, middle rate 25 percent, low rate 10 percent. And the corporate tax would plummet to 15 percent from 35 right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY COHN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: In 2017, we are still stuck with a 1988 corporate tax. That's why we are now one of the least competitive countries in the developed world when it comes to corporate tax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOOCY: And that's why administration officials say they are shrugging off concerns here on the Hill about adding money to the deficit because officials believe more people will have jobs and that means more people will be paying taxes and then companies that don't have to pay a higher rate will grow, ultimately paying more taxes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE MNUCHIN, SECRETARY OF TREASURY: What this is about is creating jobs and creating economic growth. And that's what massive tax cuts and massive tax reform and simplifying the system is what we're going to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOOCY: It's tough to tell how much support there is for this tax reform plan though because there is no bill written yet for members to look at and as we saw a few weeks ago with the failed ObamaCare repeal and replace attempt, President Trump cannot rely on Republicans only all the time. Martha.
MACCALLUM: That's for sure. Peter, thank you. So here now, Charles Hurt, political columnist at the Washington Times and Mo Elleithee, executive director of Georgetown Institute Politics and Public Service -- excuse me -- both are Fox News contributors. Welcome, gentlemen. Good to see you. So you know, I guess Peter's last point is probably the most important. Is this something, is this a plan, and let me start with you Charles, that could pass?
CHARLES HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Peter is absolutely right. He can't automatically rely on Republicans on Capitol Hill for anything. I do think that he can make a very good argument that this is something that he campaigned o. This is something that won him a lot of kudos on the campaign trail and this is something that he won on. And, you know, the idea of lowering taxes and simplifying the tax code, and that is exactly what this does, and you know, I realize that Democrats are going to complain about it being a tax giveaway to corporations and things like that.
But there is a lot of arguments to be made that makes the point that, you know, it translate into jobs and jobs -- is another, you know, that's another thing that Donald Trump ran on. And I think that, you know, a rising tide lifts all boats and if they can get this through, and we can improve the economy, it's going to put Republicans in very good situation in two and four years from now.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, Mo, you look at those deductions increasing by a dramatic amount in terms of what you can, you know, just take off your taxable income right off the bat. That's got to make people happy pretty across the board but you did hear criticisms today that this is swayed toward -- that people who have the most benefits are the people with the most money. Do you agree?
MO ELLEITHEE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I don't know because we actually haven't seen a plan, right.
MACCALLUM: We've seen the tax brackets.
ELLEITHEE: They said these are the tax brackets.
MACCALLUM: And we've seen the deductions. And you know the death tax is going away.
ELLEITHEE: I think there are a couple of --
MACCALLUM: -- and the charitable tax will stay.
ELLEITHEE: Yes, I think there are a couple of challenges here, right. Yes, a lot of Democrats are going rightfully ask, you know, and point to the fact that this does disproportionately help the people with more money. And they're going to keep raising questions about the president's tax returns and see how much he personally benefits. That's one side.
The other side though, you're beginning to hear a lot of grumbling from Republicans today on the Hill who are saying, look, in principle, we agree with these brackets, but how are you going to pay for this, because if you don't have some sort of offset, you are going to balloon the deficit and you also promised not to do that. We haven't heard very much from the White House on that point today.
MACCALLUM: Well, I mean they did -- they addressed it to some extent, Charles. They said that because you're going to lose a lot of deductions that will balance that and also, growth, economic growth.
HURT: Absolutely. And I do love it whenever I hear Democrats talk about worrying about the deficit because that usually not something they worry about. But Mo is right, that's a great opportunity. You put these tax cuts through and then, you start cutting because there's plenty to cut around here.
MACCALLUM: We got to go. Thank you, guys. Good to see you both. Don't go away, the quote of the night coming up right after this.
MACCALLUM: So, as the Trump administration rolls out its much anticipated tax plan, the quote of the night is from Albert Einstein, who apparently said this to his tax preparer friend. "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax, said the genius. The friend countered that it was easier than understanding the theory of relativity, to which he said, may be for you." Good night, everybody. We'll see you back here at 7:00. Tucker Carlson is next.
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