NSA Director Rogers testifies on Flynn, leaks and unmasking

This is a rush transcript from "The Fox News Specialists," May 9, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

EBONI K. WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: Hey, everybody. I'm Eboni K. Williams, along with Kat Timpf and Eric Bolling, 5:00 will never be the same. We are "The Fox News Specialists." Let's meet today's specialist. He is president of the government accountability institute, author of the bestselling book, "Clinton Cash," the untold story of how and why foreign government and businesses help make Bill and Hillary rich. He's also the Breitbart News senior editor at large, and he specializes in gun collecting, Peter Schweizer is here. He's the chair of the medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He's a member of the council on foreign relations and is known as the chief architect behind ObamaCare, but he specializes in being a chef, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is here.

Well, OK, so doc, I have to ask your favorite dish to cook?

EZEKIEL EMANUEL, CHIEF ARCHITECT OF OBAMACARE: Well, I like -- I have a raspberry rhubarb which I like at the end of a meal.


ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Ask Peter what he's favorite gun to shoot at.

PETER SCHWIZER, AUTHOR: I like shooting lots of guns. I'm actually right now applying to the federal government to get a permit for a fully automatic machine gun. So, if that comes through in six or seven months, come on down and we'll have a shoot.

BOLLING: Absolutely not.

KAT TIMPF, CO-HOST: I don't know. I don't think I would handle that well. A machine gun?

BOLLING: I've got a nice 45 that I absolutely.

SCHWEIZER: Terrific.

TIMPF: I'll fall down the stairs to much for that.

WILLIAMS: Machine gun and raspberry dessert, I think we have a nice combo here. So let's get started with today's top story, leaks and unmasking in the spotlight during yet another key senate hearing today. This time NSA director Mike Rogers was in the hot seat facing off with senators over illegal leaks and the role in the controversy around former national security advisor Michael Flynn.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody took that information that we gained through collection with Flynn and gave it to the Washington Post.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Somehow it got to the media. That's clear.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: That is a crime.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: And that's a leak. That is illegal, yes, sir.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Are you concerned about people taking the law into their own hands no matter how noble they think the event may be.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, sir. Which is why I've gone to my work force in writing and said let's make sure we understand what the professional ethos of our organization is. We do not engage in this behavior. If I catch you engaging in this behavior, I'll hold you criminally liable.


WILLIAMS: Admiral Rogers also faced tough questions over surveillance and the reported unmasking of Trump campaign members by the Obama administration officials.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a record of every request made?


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: So there's a record of who made the request to unmask the conversation involving American citizen?


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: There is a record of whether or not you granted it.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a record of what the person did with the information once they got it?


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know of Susan Rice ever asked for an American citizen to be unmasked?

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I'd have to pull the data, sir. I apologize.


WILLIAMS: All right, Peter, I'm going to start with you. We saw Senator Graham there, you know, reiterating a lot of his concerns from yesterday, and I feel pretty confident he's going to get to that list. He's very, very concerned with that, who these people were, what they ask, and if they're permitted to ask it. But, also a Senator we didn't see in that clip, but Senator John McCain, he has some very pointed questions today on these issues, particularly the worst-case scenario. How bad this thing can get. He spoke specifically, Peter, around going from just extrapolating this info to actually manipulating it. How concerned are you around that escalation?

SCHWEIZER: I'm very concerned. I'm concern of both sides of this. I've always said from the beginning that these Russia issues ought to be investigated. However, I think it needs to be a more broad investigation, not just the Trump team, this effort that the Russians have had to try to manipulate or steer elections has gone on for quite a while. So I think you need to look at the commercial ties of Carter Page, you've also need to look at the commercial ties of people around Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state who had commercial deals with the Russians.

EMANUEL: Excuse me. Let's be quite clear. It's the people around Trump who had all the connections to the Russians.


EMANUEL: Flynn talked to them, lied about it, and he was left -- the national security administration for 18 days, he was in the situation room in talking with Vladimir Putin, in talking with prime minister of Japan, Abe, and the Trump administration did nothing about it.

TIMPF: There's reports that Russia is doing this to other countries now, too. So it shouldn't be about.


TIMPF: I'm not. Whether to take down Trump or whether to support Trump, it should be about protecting ourselves as a country.

EMANUEL: The Trump administration had 18 days of information that Flynn lied to them about talking to the Russians, that Flynn could be easily compromised by the Russians and was still allowed to be there and be in the situation room with classified information.


WILLIAMS: I think -- I don't think anyone is defending Michael Flynn.

SCHWEIZER: Here's the problem, and I agree with you completely that that needed to be dealt with. But here's the problem.


SCHWEIZER: It is being dealt with right now.


SCHWEIZER: What's not being investigated is when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, her husband was taking large speaking fees from Kremlin-backed banks. John Podesta, who was advising her, was on the board of a small energy company that received a billion-dollar investment from a private -- sorry, a government investment fund run by Vladimir Putin.

EMANUEL: You have Trump's campaign manager on the payroll of the Russians.


WILLIAMS: Kat, E, let's get you in. We're hearing this exaggerated partisan thing, but what's solely out there?

BOLLING: A couple of things, Eboni, you amply point out that Senator Lindsey Graham led this judicial subcommittee. I have a real problem with what Lindsey Graham did. And you're right, Peter, what he did was he brought Sally Yates who was fired, she was summarily fired after ten days of acting attorney general by the Trump administration. And James clapper, who lied, who willingly, and knowingly, admittedly lied to a senate panel years ago about whether the NSA was spying on Americans, so he gave them this huge platform to state their case. Yes, they've got questions. My question is this, where was the extensive interview of the Clinton.


EMANUEL: Tom Cruz -- I mean, Senator Cruz.

TIMPF: They look very similar, yeah.


BOLLING: John McCain was asking questions as well. John McCain and Lindsey Graham have been never Trumpers. John McCain wrote an op-ed yesterday.

EMANUEL: They voted with the president every time.

BOLLING: . Rex Tillerson state department. Here's the question, why do you on the left always have a problem -- the real issue here, the only law that was been broken by any measure so far that we've learn, any measure, is the actual leaking of Michael Flynn's name to the Washington Post.

EMANUEL: No, that's not the only thing.

BOLLING: Yes, it is. Everything else.

EMANUEL: Let me finish.


EMANUEL: Here we have Flynn who lied to the vice president, here we have Flynn who actually met with the Russians, and he was allowed to stay in the administration for 18 days after they knew that he lied to them.


BOLLING: The FBI didn't tell them.

EMANUEL: And the Russians could easily have turned him because they have information that he lied.


BOLLING: I totally respect.

EMANUEL: Having a mole from the Russians in the White House the most dangerous thing.

BOLLING: You do realize that every U.S. senator, whether Republican or Democrat, will meet with the same people that Michael Flynn met with.

WILLIAMS: I want to speak from a legal standpoint.

EMANUEL: He had -- the Russians have black male information on him that he lied to the president.

BOLLING: You've kept saying every senator.

EMANUEL: No, it's not every senator.

WILLIAMS: You know what.

EMANUEL: You thing every senator have black male information?

WILLIAMS: Stop, stop, stop.

TIMPF: Yeah, I kind of.

WILLIAMS: We can debate this all day long. To your point, E, about what crimes are afoot, legally -- actually, we don't know that yet, E. We don't know that yet.


WILLIAMS: We don't know actually -- no, no.

BOLLING: Yes, we do.

WILLIAMS: We don't definitively know if Michael Flynn.

BOLLING: You did not leak the name of Michael Flynn to the Washington Post.

WILLIAMS: We know that, but we don't know if that's the only one. We don't know that Michael Flynn is not going to come up.

EMANUEL: Michael Flynn also testified that he didn't meet with the Russians and that is illegal.

TIMPF: Yeah, and he's out, and he should be out. I don't think anyone is defending that. I think that we should wait, and we should all be on the same side of figuring out what happened because it all affects us as Americans. It's politicized on one way or the other, whether it's pro- Trump or anti-Trump, I don't have a horse in the race. I'm independent politically. I just don't understand why it has to be so political when it is something that affects all of us.

SCHWEIZER: Here's the issue. The issue is, is this just about General Flynn or this about, which is what everybody said it's about, investigating Russian influence on American political figures in the election?


SCHWEIZER: If it's the latter, we should look at all instances where that might have occurred, not just General Flynn. That's all I'm calling for. And I don't understand why the resistance if we're going to look at Donald Trump's commercial ties to Russia, if we're going to look at those of his campaign manager, why are we not going to look at those as it relates to the Clintons.

EMANUEL: It's also the case of when the president knew about General Flynn, and what the president knew about it.

BOLLING: Yeah, but again.

EMANUEL: Immediately fired him, suggest that there's compromising information.

BOLLING: We don't know that.


BOLLING: Dr. Emanuel, what do you have? There's been no evidence of collusion.

EMANUEL: Sir, we don't know yet.


BOLLING: Hold on, guys. We don't -- not fired for colluding with the Russian, he was fired for lying to the vice president.

WILLIAMS: But that, E, doesn't necessarily mean that he didn't do that. We don't know that yet. But, let me get -- right here. Peter, you make an excellent point. That's one of my questions. What we also know on both sides of this, is there was actual intelligence from the NSA that there was Russian interference going back to at least 2015. So let's talk about that, doc. Why are we just now hearing about this kind of coming out of this election when there was actual knowledge, real actual knowledge around this going back to 2015? Why are we just hearing that?

EMANUEL: I don't know the answer to that question, but the fact of the matter is that, you know, we put -- President Obama put sanctions on the Russians for this meddling in our democracy, and President Trump wants to take them off. That's what they were discussing.

TIMPF: Doesn't you not knowing the answer to that question, doesn't that bother you?

EMANUEL: The thing that bothers me the most is someone who the Russians have some information on and can blackmail in the White House, in the situation room. That is having a mole.

TIMPF: You can be bothered by more than one thing. I do, every day.

BOLLING: President Obama vetted Michael Flynn, kept him vetted, kept him with the highest security clearance in 2015, when he was -- when he was meeting and doing speeches for R.T., and still you're going to blame Trump for an 18 day window.


EMANUEL: He's the national security advisor. He has access to more information than anyone else. He's in the situation room.

BOLLING: He's got top level security clearance.

EMANUEL: Look, that's a totally different thing. You've haven't been in the White House.

TIMPF: And he's out.

WILLIAMS: We've to go, but I promise we will get back to this. I think when it comes to Michael Flynn there's plenty of blame to go around. One of our specialists was the architect of ObamaCare, and the other one thinks that the GOP's plan doesn't go far enough to repeal it. As the bill heads to the senate, we'll debate its fate with our specialists, up next. And make sure also to follow us on social media, @specialistsfnc on both Twitter and Facebook.


BOLLING: The left has been in hysterics for days over the past -- the house health care bill, and as the legislation heads to the senate, liberals are trying to dupe Americans into thinking a GOP overhaul would lead to an epic disaster for the health care system, as if ObamaCare hasn't already smashed into an iceberg. No offense, doc. What the left doesn't want you to know is that the senate will likely improve this bill, taking the necessary time and action to ensure more affordable and access more access to health care for all Americans. Here's Speaker Paul Ryan defending his signature legislation earlier today on "Fox & Friends."


REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., HOUSE SPEAKER: The legislation should not take that long. Hopefully it takes a month or two to get through the senate.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think it will happen by the fall.

RYAN: Hopefully it takes only a month or two. Because we need to get people the ability to plan. Insurers are pulling out very, very quickly. And we need to show the insurers that there's a better system coming. Stay in the market.


BOLLING: Now, Dr. Emanuel, I like to highlight your distinguish academic career and credentials. Amherst University -- Oxford University -- Harvard Medical School where you got your M.D. -- PHD in political philosophy.

EMANUEL: Build them up before you cut them down.

BOLLING: I want you to know, I did my homework for you. I know you're coming.

EMANUEL: How many books?

BOLLING: I'm not sure. Here's my question. Do you agree ObamaCare is failing?

EMANUEL: No, ObamaCare is actually has been more successful than anyone thought. Twenty two million people covered. Health care costs have actually flattened out. There's been a slower rise in premiums than under the Bush administration. Under the Bush administration, employer premiums went up 80 percent in his 8 years. Under the Obama administration they were -- percent. Quality is improving. There is no effect on employment.

BOLLING: Doctor?

EMANUEL: Medicare trust fund extended for nine years.

BOLLING: I have pages and pages of this. So I'm just going to give you two. Premiums, from mid-level benchmark plan, healthcare.gov states we're up by an average of 25 percent in 2017 alone, Blue cross, blue shield, just warned that the affordable care marketplaces are in their early stages of a death spiral.

EMANUEL: OK. Let's just go to what you say. The two things you said. First of all, both the congressional budget office and Standard & Poor's evaluated the exchanges and said they're stable. They're going to go on. And by the way, there are some things, three or four things Republicans could do that would stabilize the marketplace. Enforce the mandate, give the cost-sharing subsidies, and reinsurance.


TIMPF: The mandate is not incentive or more people wouldn't be buying in.

BOLLING: Hang in there. Peter, in -- you're in Virginia, live in Virginia?

SCHWEIZER: I live in Florida.

BOLLING: OK, in Florida, 50 percent rate increase for Maryland, 35 percent rate increase for Northern Virginia, 29 percent increase for the districts of Columbia next year alone.

SCHWEIZER: Yeah. I told a friend I was going to come on and talk with Ezekiel about health care, and he said that's like playing a pickup basketball with LeBron, in terms of knowledge. All I'll say is, if you lose Bill Clinton, I think the war is lost. Bill Clinton said last fall that ObamaCare is crazy. And what he basically.

EMANUEL: He did not say that.

SCHWEIZER: He did say that.

BOLLING: Crazy system.

SCHWEIZER: Yes, crazy system. And the example he used is a guy that worked 60 hours and saw his deductible go way up, and have seen the costs go way up. And my point is simply -- look, the system is not working. People know it's not working. The problem that I have with the reform bill right now is it's essentially saying we're going to be half pregnant. I think we've got a fundamental choice right now. We could continue down this direction that we're going of greater government stay intrusion or we decide we're going to have a free market oriented health care system.

EMANUEL: Look, under ObamaCare, what happens? People go to a marketplace, they choose which insurance company they want, private insurance, and they get subsidized for it. That's the free market at its best.

TIMPF: Government subsidies are not the free market.

EMANUEL: That's the best. You cannot afford health insurance without the government subsidizing it. Right now, the average family premium in the employers sponsored marketplace is $18,000. That is not because of ObamaCare.

BOLLING: What's the deductible on that, sir?

EMANUEL: In employer-sponsored insurance, it's pretty low. It's probably.

(CROSSTALK) BOLLING: This was supposed to cover nonemployees sponsored people, right?

WILLIAMS: Exactly.

EMANUEL: I'm telling you that it's expensive. And the reason it's expensive is underlying health care costs, not ObamaCare. In ObamaCare, it is a free market allowing people to choose which insurance company they want.


EMANUEL: That is the free market.

BOLLING: Eboni, you remember when they're selling ObamaCare, they say we're going to bend the cost curve down.


BOLLING: They haven't bent anything down. The cost curve has done nothing but skyrocketed.

EMANUEL: Sir, you're absolutely wrong.


EMANUEL: That is a matter of fact that is incorrect. We have kept health care costs under control for the last five years. As a matter of fact.

BOLLING: In '17 they skyrocketed, in ‘18 they're going to be worse.

EMANUEL: That's premium, that's not health care cost.


EMANUEL: I'm not playing with the game. You're misquoting things.

WILLIAMS: OK. I'm going to actually speak for my personal experience for a second, doc, please, thank you. E, you've ask the question, I would like nothing more than for health care to come down in this country. As someone for a very long time now has paid for it myself. Subsidies are fine. You know the only problem I have with them, doctor, is that they do not benefit the young and healthy among us. You know what, we end up paying significantly more, it becomes unaffordable for us, so I have done for many years now. I have paid the penalty because that makes more sense to me. It is more affordable for me to pay out of pocket. I'm just going to be straight up with you. You may not like it. It doesn't sound so easy, but it's the truth. When I do the math of $700 a month premium makes no sense to me.

I want to make another point. Peter, you talked about being half pregnant. I'm going to use that to segue to a problem I've had with the reconstruction so far with the senate, why the 13 men? And I just don't mean optically from some gender based talking point, I mean politically because what we're setting up here is going to be a eco-chamber possibly around this bill, where you've got strong Republican women in states like Maine and West Virginia who are going to politically be able to say I didn't get my say in what this should look like, and they might be that -- those two votes. They're going to make this thing vetoed.

TIMPF: There's so many problems with the Republicans version of the bill. I'm not defending that one at all. I think that some of the things that are problem with ObamaCare, I heard they could be even worse. Like we were just talking about the individual mandate, not really enough of an incentive for a lot of people, particularly, young and healthy people to go buy insurance, and the Republicans replacement is, hey, through the eye of the market. When you go in the market, we'll charge you more. That's a reverse incentive. So I don't see premiums going down under this current plan.

EMANUEL: I was just in Montana, fly-fishing, and my guide said to me, you know, before ObamaCare I was paying $600 for a family per month, for a family premium. Now under ObamaCare, he's paying $45 a month, and his wife got treated for breast cancer.


EMANUEL: It depends on how much you earn. That's the subsidy.

BOLLING: Let me give Peter a word before we go. Peter, a lot of these stuff, a lot of these increase in premiums and deductibles hit in '17 and '18. Aetna is saying that they're down to just -- from 15 states down to 4, 18 of 23 health care exchanges have gone belly up.

SCHWEIZER: Yeah, that's right.


EMANUEL: You've got to be very careful about what you speak about and you haven't been careful at all.

BOLLING: Coops established by ObamaCare and it failed.

EMANUEL: You said exchanges. The exchanges are not failing. The exchanges are very stable according to Standard and Poor, and the congressional budget office.

BOLLING: That's a spiral according to Blue Cross, Blue Shield.


EMANUEL: I can tell you what the problems are.


EMANUEL: We didn't do enough on cost control. We have to do more on cost control.

WILLIAMS: Clearly.


EMANUEL: Let me just say something. Speaker Ryan's plan, there is not a word in the bill about cost control. Not one word about cost control.

WILLIAMS: I am not impressed with Speaker Ryan's plan for the record.

SCHWEIZER: Here's the fundamental reality. I'm not a health care policy expert, but I know a little bit about economics. And here's the reality of economics, in any sort of situation that you have a scarce good or service, you're going to have two things happen, either you're going to have rationing by price and that the price is going to be high and it's going to be difficult for some people to afford, or you're going to have rationing by a government bureaucrat. And that's why I think you have the problem with sort of being half pregnant is we're going to face a choice.

I think Charles Krauthammer is right. In 7 years, we either going to have to move to some sort of single-payer system which I know you have not really been in favor of in the past, or we're going to have to fundamentally change the system. You can't do this halfway. And I think if you give people a choice of paying high health care costs and having that be a barrier, or having a government bureaucrat like you have in the U.K. saying we're going to pick and choose who gets service when. And they've got 18 week waiting list now for major surgeries in the U.K., and the British health medical association has said.

EMANUEL: There's no waiting list in the Netherlands. There's no waiting list in Switzerland. There's no waiting list.

TIMPF: We are nothing like Switzerland. You can't compare this to Switzerland.

EMANUEL: You want a free market? Right now, the average cost per American is $10,000. American families cannot afford a $40,000 to cover themselves under the free market approach.

TIMPF: This is not a free market approach. We've never had a free market.

(CROSSTALK) BOLLING: All right. A preemptive strike against Texas sanctuary cities by the state's attorney general, could their days finally be numbered? Don't mess with Texas. We'll be right back.


TIMPF: Texas is tightening its squeeze on sanctuary cities after a big sanctuary crackdown became state law this weekend. Ken Paxton, Texas attorney general is now filing a preemptive lawsuit against Austin and other sanctuary locations. He explained why earlier today.


KEN PAXTON, TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: We had heard that they were not going to comply. We also heard about some other entities who are not going to comply. Instead of waiting for multiple lawsuits around the state and dealing with this over a long period of time, we decided let's get it on. We believe our law is constitutional, and we're ready to go. A similar law was passed in Arizona, it was upheld up by the U.S. Supreme Court. And so, why wait.


TIMPF: Eric, I'm assuming you like this, right? You're a fan of this?

BOLLING: I am a fan of state law of pushing into the states. The governor of the state says we are going to uphold federal law, then guess what.

TIMPF: Sure.

BOLLING: Law enforcement is there to enforce the law that they're told to enforce and this is one.

TIMPF: No cities in the state were listed by the Justice Department as lacking in compliance. So that's why I'm just wondering it seems like a political posturing to me. They weren't listed as non-compliance.

BOLLING: Here's the bottom line. Trump is the wall. Seventy percent reduction in border crossings. But as he points out, very aptly and very importantly, that the reason why a wall needs to go up is for not only just illegals coming across. It's for human trafficking. It's one of his biggest pet peeves. People are coming over. Women are being sold.

TIMPF: It's more than a pet peeve of mine. I'm antihuman trafficking.

BOLLING: No, no -- but women are being sold into human trafficking. It's Godawful, and that's why the wall needs to go up.

As far as sanctuary cities goes, look, you don't like it in Texas? You don't like your governor? Either vote for someone else or go to California or Washington state where the sanctuary policy is alive and kicking.

TIMPF: Ezekiel, looks like you want to jump in. Here.

EMANUEL: I'm mystified by this, because as I understand it, that law doesn't go into effect until September 1. So how can you begin to prosecute cities for not enforcing the law...

WILLIAMS: I can tell you.

EMANUEL: ... that doesn't actually go into effect?

WILLIAMS: I actually can tell you.

EMANUEL: And as you point out, these cities haven't been cited as being noncompliant with the federal government. So I mean, I think the attorney general just wants headlines here. It's not clear that there's any violation.

TIMPF: Eboni, want to answer his question?

WILLIAMS: I will answer your question, Doc. So you actually can, and it's not entirely uncommon to have these type of what we call preemptive litigation efforts. Trying to get in front of it, trying to anticipate, for political or other reasons, why some people might not comply.

My issue, though, is this, Kat, just from a legal nuanced place: He talks about the constitutionality, the A.G. here. It's actually going to be in question, not because of necessarily the lettering of the law. Because he's right; law enforcement is to enforce the laws.

But there's a clause in this ban, right -- or -- that talks about how law enforcement can just ask for papers, so to speak.

TIMPF: Right.

WILLIAMS: Ask for immigration papers. And when you put that into practice, that can oftentimes look discriminatory, because sometimes what you have, a situation where the probable cause to stop you is just off the color of your skin. And if it starts to go that way, as some people said it did in Arizona, they're going to have constitutional challenges on their hands.

TIMPF: And how would it not go that way, though? I don't think they would ask me for my papers if I were out there. I think that that -- that would be a real concern.

WILLIAMS: Of course it's going to be constitutional.

SCHWEIZER: But -- but again, there's a fundamental question here, and I'd be interested to know, you know, what Zeke's thought is on this. I mean, do you agree that, if the federal government has certain immigration laws, that whether cities agree with them or not, they should enforce them? Wouldn't you agree with that? There are federal laws that trump it?

EMANUEL: The local police, right, their main concern is they want to have a safe community.

SCHWEIZER: I understand that.

EMANUEL: And principle No. 2 in a safe community is you need good community policing. There's no good...

SCHWEIZER: So this is...

EMANUEL: Let me just finish it. There's no good relationship between the community and the police department, you will have a lot more crime; and people won't be reporting crime. And what Austin is concerned about is exactly this: that they go out and they're papering everyone. And the immigrant community is not going to participate, and crime is going to become much worse, and they're going to have unsolved crime.

TIMPF: It's important to note that there is an exception here for people who are witnesses to crimes or people who are reporting a crime. They're not -- the community may not see it that way, but it is important to note that there is that exception.

WILLIAMS: The sheriff spoke out about this. Her name is Sally Hernandez. She's the Travis County, kind of the Austin area sheriff. And she said, "Look, I don't like it. I don't agree with it. I do have those community concerns" that Zeke is talking about, "but ultimately, I will enforce it as law."

BOLLING: And we, as conservatives, or myself as a conservative, have to applaud what's going on in the state of Texas. They're saying, "We will uphold federal law."

Now, look, California has blanketly said, "We're not going to push sanctuary on anyone. We're not going to push anti-sanctuary on any one of our communities." Fine. That's fine.

Again, that's why elections have consequences on -- straight down to the governor level. Your governor is your CEO of your state. Your governor makes that call. You don't make that call as mayor of Austin, Texas.


SCHWEIZER: Do you really -- do you really want to say on the left that local officials now can decide optionally whether they're going to enforce federal law?

TIMPF: They can't constitutionally. They can't -- they can't be faulted (ph) to the federal government.

EMANUEL: Almost all local...

SCHWEIZER: Exactly. That's exactly right.

EMANUEL: Almost all local officials have said, "If the federal government gives us a warrant or a reason that this person is suspected of committing a crime, we're going to turn the person over."

BOLLING: Well, the crimes are being illegal, sir.

EMANUEL: What -- what they want them to do is...

BOLLING: They've all committed a crime.

EMANUEL: No, no.

BOLLING: They came here illegally.

TIMPF: That's not -- that's not really the issue...

EMANUEL: That's not the issue.

TIMPF: ... in this particular case we're talking about. Some of them are just traffic violations.

BOLLING: Of course it is. Of course it is.

TIMPF: But we -- we have to move on.

BOLLING: This is the issue. If they're going to -- if they're going to violate...

TIMPF: We have to move on.

All right. Fighting in Afghanistan is escalating as President Trump could send now at least 3,000 more troops to the region. Is it the right strategy to defeat the Taliban? Don't go away.


BOLLING: Welcome back to "The Fox News Specialists." And our specialists today are Peter Schweizer and Dr. Zeke Emanuel. Now let's continue the conversation.

President Trump considering a major troop surge in Afghanistan. A Pentagon plan under review would send up to 5,000 more U.S. troops into the fight with ISIS and the Taliban. The White House explained the potential strategy shift this afternoon.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: One of the things that he has asked his national security team to do is to actually think the -- rethink the strategy. What are we doing to achieve the goals that you are asking about? How do we actually, how do we win? How do we eliminate the threat? Looking at the mission and the strategy. And that's what the team has been doing holistically, not just in Afghanistan but the total -- beyond Afghanistan, it's also the way that he's asking them to look at the threat that ISIS was.


BOLLING: Spicer was also asked if this would mark a broader change in President Trump's foreign policy beliefs.


SPICER: I think that his priorities remain the same, but he's going to do what he can to make sure that he protects the country and our people and threats that directly affect the United States.


BOLLING: All right, Peter, this is one of the things, as a conservative, small-government conservative -- it may be a touch of libertarianism in me -- I don't like this idea. I mean, you know, look, I agree that President Obama probably declared "mission accomplished" too soon in Afghanistan, and it's still a problem. But I don't like sending more troops. No more Americans.

SCHWEIZER: Yes, there's not any great choices here, honestly. I mean, we kind of had them on the ropes in 2010. They've resurged, the Taliban has.

And here's really the issue. The issue is: do we just not do anything in Afghanistan and risk having the situation we had with bin Laden, where terrorist groups create training grounds, and they use that to launch sophisticated attacks on the west? Or do we try to at least keep them off balance?

And I think that's what the strategy is. This is not a surge designed to try to achieve victory. Because I think they recognize the American people don't want to send 100,000 troops to Afghanistan.

But on the other hand, I think if you leave Afghanistan alone, you risk a terrorist organization get a large territory where they can do the kind of training and planning that leads to sophisticated attacks in the United States. I don't think we have a choice.

BOLLING: Dr. Emanuel, you know, a lot of this could be blamed on Barack Obama, who declared victory in 2014, said, "This is over." And it's clearly not over. The Taliban is alive and kicking, as is ISIS.

EMANUEL: Let's see, it was George Bush who invaded Afghanistan. And...

BOLLING: Yes, but he didn't end the war. Obama ended the war, 2014.

EMANUEL: Look, and President Trump in 2011 said, "Let's pull the troops out as soon as possible."


EMANUEL: And he was all for pulling the troops out.

You know, my perspective is Afghanistan has defeated many other countries. Britain in the 19th Century, the Russians. We've been there for 15 years. It's not a good investment.

And the question is, is 5,000 troops going to make a difference? We had way more troops there, and I seriously doubt 5,000 troops is going to make a difference even with a changed strategy. And so it's more...

TIMPF: Condoleezza Rice asked that question: what is the strategy? What is the point? You're just adding more troops? Is there any changed strategy? Like I said, 15 years, hundreds upon hundreds of billions of dollars, and it's not that simple.

Trump says he wants to do this so we can do more winning? But this isn't like laser tag where you have the red team and the blue team. And if you're on the red team, and you shoot the blue team as many times as possible, then you win. It's so much more complicated. There's people who are on our side and are then our enemies. There are people who are our enemies, but they're fighting our other enemies. And they will unseat certain rulers, and then new problems arise.

It's so much more complicated. And we've been throwing so many resources out there and getting nothing in return. So why are we throwing more resources at it?

BOLLING: Let me tell you, $2.25 trillion, 2,300 lives lost. Eboni, is it time to just let them -- let them be them?

WILLIAMS: Yes. For me, I appreciate the strategy and the thought behind it, but we've put 100,000 troops on the ground in the Obama administration. We saw no real return on that.

Peter, when you talk about your son reporting in just a matter of days to serve this country, I would want that investment to be something worthwhile. Something that we get a real return off of. And I'm not convinced, respectfully to President Trump, that this is going to bring us any. I don't see it. And when Condoleezza Rice talks about it, I'm asking those same questions.

SCHWEIZER: Well, and I think those are fair questions to ask. I think also, though, you have to look at not only what troops you have there but what is their mission? What are the rules of engagement? What's their purpose?

Clearly, the strategy under Bush and Obama was essentially nation-building and trying to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table. And the history of getting radical movements, whether Islamist or otherwise, to come to the negotiating table is extremely difficult.


EMANUEL: But the history of beating guerillas is also not a very good record.


EMANUEL: And 5,000 -- I mean, here's the thing is, it feels again like it's, to borrow your phrase, half-pregnant. Yes, OK? Five thousand troops are neither here nor there.


EMANUEL: And that is I think, a serious problem. Plus, we don't have a strategy. The president has never articulated it.


SCHWEIZER: ... articulated it.

BOLLING: What was President Obama's -- what was his strategy, other than "I'm going to get us out of all our conflicts."

WILLIAMS: And he learned an important lesson.

BOLLING: Way too early, what he did in Iraq, and certainly, now we're finding out way too early in Afghanistan.

EMANUEL: No, look, I'm not sure I agree it's way too early in Afghanistan. It's not clear that we can -- that there is a strategy to win in Afghanistan.

TIMPF: How long are we going to stay there before we admit, "Hey, maybe not"? We keep throwing more and more resources. We haven't accomplished anything.


SCHWEIZER: But here's a question. Do we really want to create a circumstance where, in Afghanistan, you have terrorist groups creating the infrastructure that allowed them to, God forbid, conduct another 9/11 in the United States? That is the cost.

WILLIAMS: But Peter...

SCHWEIZER: That's the cost.

WILLIAMS: But Peter, do these 5,000 troops give us a different result?

SCHWEIZER: That I don't know.

WILLIAMS: That's my question.

SCHWEIZER: That I don't know, but that's a very fair question to ask.

TIMPF: And what do we -- do we stay -- how long do we stay there then? How long do we stay there and keep sending more troops? How long?

SCHWEIZER: There's no -- there's no good choice to say...

TIMPF: Ten more years, 15 more years, 20 more years, forever? How long? You have to ask.

SCHWEIZER: There's no great choices here. There's no great choices here.

EMANUEL: But wait a second. Should we be spending money there and getting nothing for it? That's what we've been doing. It's -- talk about foreign...


BOLLING: We have some breaking news right now. The producer's in my ear. We're not going to take this commercial break. James Comey is resigning. Is that what you're telling me?


BOLLING: James Comey has just announced he's going to step down as the head of the FBI. I'll bring you in on this.

He's been under a lot of scrutiny, you know, back and forth with the Clintons, with Hillary Clinton's emails and whatnot. They're blaming -- the left will blame Comey for Trump's win. Your thoughts on Comey backing down now?

SCHWEIZER: Well, I have a sense that this is probably based on his testimony, where apparently...

EMANUEL: He lied.

SCHWEIZER: ... he made a statement that was not accurate. Whether it was an intentional lie or a slip of the tongue, who knows?

But it basically came out that he claimed, I think it was, thousands of e- mails that Huma Abedin had forwarded to her husband, and that is apparently not correct. I think it's maybe a dozen or six or whatever it is. So I think it's grounds to a step down.

Look, he had a very, very difficult job. I personally think that he should have been much more robust in investigating the Clinton emails, and he should have at least convened a grand jury to let voters decide.

I also think, from my experience, there was an investigation of the Clinton Foundation, but there was a lot of resistance from the top. So I think it was a good idea for him to resign, but it's a very difficult job for anybody to step into at this point.

BOLLING: To my recollection, I can't remember a director of the FBI or, frankly, any of the intel services having such a high profile, high broadcast profile as James Comey.

EMANUEL: Well, I don't know. J. Edgar Hoover had a very high profile.

BOLLING: OK. Did he have...


EMANUEL: So beyond that the fact is that this is a guy who violated the rules inside the FBI and the Justice Department by announcing an investigation 11 days before an election and potentially...

SCHWEIZER: That's not what he did.

EMANUEL: Yes, he did.


EMANUEL: Potentially throwing the election. The polling is pretty clear on that. And...

BOLLING: This is important, guys. I'll let you finish, but we're just being told now, Sean Spicer has just told the press that the president has accepted the attorney general's recommendation to dismiss...


BOLLING: ... dismiss James Comey. Go ahead. Your thoughts now? A little different than he resigned.


BOLLING: He's been dismissed.

EMANUEL: Right. I don't know what he thinks James Comey is doing, then. And why...

WILLIAMS: I'll say -- I'll say this. I think that I've talked on this program, E., a lot about restoring credibility to our government agencies, particularly, as an attorney, the Department of Justice. I think this is an important first step.

I defended James Comey for a long time, a long time through this election, and ultimately, with what Peter talked about today, those misstatements of facts, whether intentional or not, the sloppiness of the investigation with Hillary. Just all of it, it's a mess. This will go a long way in rehabbing the credibility of DOJ.

BOLLING: Let me get Kat to weigh in here.

TIMPF: No -- nobody trusts the DOJ right now. Every time someone says something, it's "Maybe they misspoke. They misspoke."

I don't trust anybody except for my dad at this point. I watch these hearings, and I say, "Well, do you really think so?" And I don't think I'm -- Doc, I've got to say, you're saying that this goes back to him announcing the investigation. I don't think that had much to do with it. What else was he supposed to do?

EMANUEL: Be quiet.

TIMPF: Because him not announcing that, that would have been a politically-motivated decision.


SCHWEIZER: Here's the problem. Here's the problem.

EMANUEL: You're not supposed to say anything in the last two months before the election.

SCHWEIZER: No. Zeke...

EMANUEL: That's a long-standing rule at the Justice Department.

WILLIAMS: Who made that rule up?

SCHWEIZER: Here's the problem. A week before he had testified on Capitol Hill under oath, and he made the statement that there was no ongoing investigation on email. It was over. New information presented himself.

At that point, he was in a situation where he was either, in effect, lying to Congress or not giving them the full information. He had no alternative, really, other than to inform the committee, which is what he did. It was not an announcement of the investigation. It was clearing up his testimony. And he would have faced...

EMANUEL: Talk about leaks. Everyone knows that making an announcement...

SCHWEIZER: No, he would have faced...

EMANUEL: ... to the Senate and releasing the letter is going to happen.

SCHWEIZER: No, he would have faced legal jeopardy.

EMANUEL: And the fact -- the fact of the matter is there is a long- standing rule no public comments on ongoing investigations or new investigations in the last two months before the election, after Labor Day.

BOLLING: Can we also talk...

EMANUEL: This is well-known that he violated that norm of the Justice Department.

BOLLING: And can we also talk about, I mean, there was a lot of discussion of whether or not James Comey has lost the trust of his investigators. He has literally thousands of investigators working for him, and at one point during the election, they were saying, "We're telling you one thing, and you're saying another thing."

Zeke, specifically, they were telling James Comey that they found enough to indict Hillary Clinton, and he recommended no indictment.

WILLIAMS: And that's why I think this is a good move, E. Because if you're -- if you're an attorney and you're working for the DOJ, an assistant U.S. attorney, this is a problem, because you don't feel respected by your boss. You don't feel like your input is being valued and demonstrated around. And that's what I'm saying.

Depending on who his replacement is, I will give you that, Zeke, for sure. This is an important way by regaining credibility, because I don't think anyone on any side of the political aisle or within the DOJ was very excited about him still being there.

TIMPF: and with the American people, too. It looks like, hey, OK, you can just say anything and get away with it. You can break as many rules as you want and get away with it, especially in the DOJ, we're seeing. I feel that way and I have no -- I think most people do.

BOLLING: Let me just read to you very quickly, and I'm quoting. Ed Henry just emailed us. Quote, "Today" -- this is Sean Spicer. Quote, "Today, President Donald J. Trump informed FBI Director James Comey that he has been terminated and removed from office."

EMANUEL: This is the head of his -- usually, he has a 10-year period, so that it's not a political office. That's the intent. So this is way ahead, and this is a political move.

I think the real question is who he replaces him with, and is he an individual above reproach and with a huge amount of integrity? And I think that's going to be a real test for the independence of the FBI.

BOLLING: Well, you know, who does he bring in? Peter, now you have the attorney general talking about bringing someone in. Remember, the FBI director works for the attorney general. Who do they bring in? They bring in someone -- hire from within or they bring someone from the outside, who they have confidence in?

TIMPF: I'll do it.

SCHWEIZER: I think Zeke's right. You want to have somebody that's independent, somebody that's respected. But this is -- this is, in essence, a thankless job. Look, I mean, you're -- you're stepping into a circumstance where there are number of investigations going on that are very sensitive, very difficult. It's not an easy task to take.

You know, I'm hopeful that they're going to make a very good choice. And let's hope it's somebody that comes in that handles some of these better -- matters better than Comey did.

There was -- there was clumsiness in the manner in which he handled things. Then he would try to correct the record in some way. And more confusion ensued. And I think this testimony was sort of the final statement.

I mean, look, we understand if you're going to make a misstatement, but making a misstatement that somebody forwarded thousands of emails.

WILLIAMS: And it was systematic. It was systematic behavior, which is wasn't.

SCHWEIZER: Exactly. I mean, that's a -- that's a huge, huge mistake to make.

EMANUEL: But I think the real test here is are they going to get someone who's nonpolitical and not partisan and has a very strong reputation for integrity? I think those are...

TIMPF: It's a little impossible.

WILLIAMS: No. No, Kat, it's actually not.


EMANUEL: ... for the FBI.

WILLIAMS: It's actually not. And I hope that they hire an internal candidate. Here's why. Because there are a lot of really good men and women that work for the DOJ. There are assistant U.S. attorneys. They take pride in what they do. They want to restore the credibility to that office, and they are above politics. And they don't appreciate that their office has become a political mechanism.

BOLLING: Mark Knoller, a longtime White House follower/reporter, says -- he just tweeted, "White House says a search for a new FBI director will begin immediately." President Trump calls it, quote, "A new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement."

That's a very good point. And you just kind of hit on that. I mean, it's our chief investigative body...

WILLIAMS: Important.

BOLLING: ... in America. Very, very important who that -- who that...

WILLIAMS: The highest branch, yes.

BOLLING: And the respect -- I mean, that was a big thing, Peter. You remember during this whole Hillary Clinton email scandal, the agents in the field just lost -- lost faith in their leaders.

SCHWEIZER: That's exactly right. And think of -- think of the reversal that took place here. I mean, when Jim Comey was appointed, everybody was saying this is the guy that's sort of straight arrow.

TIMPF: Everybody liked him.

SCHWEIZER: And as the investigation with Hillary Clinton was going on, you had the Democrats that were, you know, sort of, you know, saying that this is terrible, and then when he came out and said he was not going to charge, they all thought he was great.

And among conservatives, it was king of a single -- a similar reversal in the other way.

So you know, look, I think Comey had a difficult time, but he clearly was not up to the task in the way a lot of people thought that he would be.

EMANUEL: I would say I think I have two criteria for a replacement. The person has to have a long-standing record of high integrity. And the person has to be nonpartisan. I think you do not want to get a partisan person in that job.


EMANUEL: And I think the president has to stick to those two criteria. And if we don't get those two criteria, I think it will be a sad day for the country.

BOLLING: Do you think Comey was partisan or nonpartisan?

EMANUEL: When he came in, he was a Republican. He was appointed by a Democrat.

BOLLING: Because liberals -- liberals loved him, and then they hated him.

TIMPF: Right. He made everybody angry.

EMANUEL: The problem is he didn't -- the problem was he offended everyone on both sides, and he did things which looked very partisan, like you know, making an announcement to the public 11 days before an election.

BOLLING: Senator Lindsey Graham just tweeted, quote, "Given the controversy surrounding the director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well." Kat.

TIMPF: Yes, I agree with that. I think there needs to be a fresh start. I don't know how much good this will do in terms of -- the -- people distrust the office now. I think it's been so bad that people distrust the office. There's going to have to be somebody who's going to be very clearly nonpartisan and without any -- a speckle of suspicion.

EMANUEL: I think...

TIMPF: That's going to be difficult. That's going to be really difficult.

EMANUEL: I think the point you make, Kat, is very important. You know, we've had a long decline in our trust in institutions.


EMANUEL: And this country needs to regain trust in institutions.


EMANUEL: And I think that actually should be our chief concern here. Does the person bring the kind of credentials to it that is going to restore the trust of the American people in the institution of the FBI and in other government agencies?

I think this actually is a big problem, because what we're seeing is an attempt to destroy and undermine a lot of allegiance to institutions.

WILLIAMS: More than an attempt. I think it's been pretty successful.

BOLLING: I have a letter, guys. This -- read very quickly. This came over the wire. It's "Dear Director Comey" -- this is from President Trump. "Dear Director Comey, I have received the attached letters from the attorney general and deputy attorney general of the United States, recommending your dismissal as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I've accepted the recommendation, and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately."

This is big stuff, you guys. "While I greatly appreciate you informing me on these separate occasions that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau." Let me repeat that, "That you are not able to effectively lead the bureau. It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors."

Now, Eboni, let me ask you this. He points out, Donald Trump -- signed "Donald Trump, president" -- that he's not under investigation.

WILLIAMS: Yes, I mean...

TIMPF: He had to get that in there. He had to get that in there.

BOLLING: You don't want it to look like you're dismissing the director of the FBI because you're under investigation. You want someone else to lead an investigation into your own...

EMANUEL: In the first 100 days of your administration, it's a little sad if people think you're under investigation. That's a very bad comment on the current situation.

BOLLING: Well, he couldn't say no. Remember? He couldn't say no in his testimony a couple of weeks ago.

WILLIAMS: That's right. So I think he put it in there, E., for probably a couple of different reasons, but ultimately, I will say I think it's probably one of the best decisions I've seen from President Trump. We absolutely have to start over over. I am horrified by the sacrifice of credibility in some of these departments. Intelligence agencies, DOJ, and State Department. Here's to a new day and a new start.

SCHWEIZER: Yes, I'll say, based on my personal experience, I -- you know, "Clinton Cash" came out in 2015. I had a lot of meetings with FBI people as far as their investigation was concerned. The people that I dealt with at the FBI are all very professional. They're all very gung-ho in a good way. I mean, they want to do the right thing. Whoever it is they're investigating, whether it's the president of the United States, whether it's secretary of state, or whether it's a clerk that has committed a violation of crime. And I think a lot of sort of the parsing and the maneuvering that took place under Jim Comey frustrated a lot of people out in the field.

BOLLING: Allow me to break in, you guys, into the discussion. We have Catherine Herridge on Capitol Hill; not at the White House but Catherine, first of all, can you hear us?


BOLLING: OK, Catherine. Just give us the latest. What do you hear?

HERRIDGE: OK, so I just got off the phone with a former senior FBI official, who said to me that he had been sharing some texts with people inside the bureau this afternoon, and there was no indication at the bureau, and he believes, to Director Comey, that he was going to be fired this afternoon by the president. He indicated that, if Comey had had a heads up, it would have been telegraphed in some way internally, and he would have taken the opportunity to tell the FBI workforce first. But that apparently, was not the case.

I'm struck by this letter that has now been released by the White House to Director Comey. And there are several things here that jump out at me. One is that the decision, according to the letter, to fire the FBI director was based on letters attached here from the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and the deputy attorney general, that they have recommended against -- they recommended for Comey's dismissal as the director of the FBI on the basis that he cannot effectively lead the organization.

What I would say, as means of a back story, that there has been a sense among career FBI agents that the director had effectively boxed himself in; he had created a lot of enemies on the Democratic side and then also on the Republican side. The Republican side for not pursuing criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for the mishandling of classified information in the lead-up to the presidential election; and then also on the Democratic side for not being forthcoming last year about the existence of a counterintelligence investigation that was being run by the FBI into alleged contacts between members of the Trump team and also Moscow.

So we have confirmation from the White House that the FBI director was fired by the president at the recommendation of his attorney general and the deputy attorney general, and that is effective immediately. And based on my reporting, there was no indication at the bureau today that that was going to go down.

Back to you.

BOLLING: All right, Catherine, thank you very much from Capitol Hill.

HERRIDGE: You're welcome.

BOLLING: All right. Quickly, you know, Sean Spicer was about 40 minutes late to that press briefing today. I wonder if they were talking about that. I wonder...

TIMPF: He had some stuff going on.

BOLLING: No, no, if this leaked, you know, how do you answer something like that?

SCHWEIZER: Right. Well, that's right. And I think this experience also shows the tremendous confidence President Trump is putting in the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, because the attorney general writes this letter; and it sounds like it was a pretty quick decision. There was not a lot of deliberation based on this. Shows a lot of confidence in Senator Jeff Sessions, the new attorney general.

EMANUEL: At least from my time in the White House, those kind of decisions would have been much more -- taken more time and been much more thoroughly investigated before it happened.

WILLIAMS: Which must mean...

EMANUEL: And the question of whether, you know, the president is making too many rash decisions and -- just immediately. But I do think...

BOLLING: Well, he did seek the attorney general and deputy attorney general's opinion.

WILLIAMS: I don't know that it's rash. I think...

TIMPF: This has been going on for a while.

EMMANUEL: Exactly. I think this has been a long time coming.

BOLLING: Final thought there.

TIMPF: Yes, I disagree that this is a rash decision. Just because we're hearing about it all of a sudden doesn't mean that it was made all of a sudden.

BOLLING: All right, we're going to have to leave it there. Thank you to our specialists. Bret Baier, "Special Report," is coming up next with some massive, massive breaking news. As we just said, FBI Director James Comey has been fired by the Trump administration. Take it away, Bret.

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