This is a rush transcript from "The First 100 Days," April 21, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST: The attack on Paris by ISIS affiliated terrorists lays bare the vulnerability of this critical U.S. ally two repeated strikes. Now, more and more, a part of life in France. And it raises the question of how much more of this can free people abide? Will this latest hit impact the choice of the French as they head to the polls this weekend to elect their next leader. This, happening just hours before a big coup for the White House today, as President Trump and his team negotiate the release of an American woman held for three years in Egypt.
Hello, everybody, I'm Martha MacCallum. It is day 92 of the first 100. We start in France, where we're learning more about the suspected extremist believed to be behind a deadly sneak attack on police officers in Paris last evening. He's a Frenchman who had been on the radar of authorities for years. And this isn't the first time that he has attacked police. This American tourist was a witness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN FINNEY, AMERICAN EYEWITNESS: We saw the shooter in black, he had a black rifle, what looked like an AR-15, it sounded like an AR-15. He rang at about 10 shots towards the police on the road. And -- but at that time, my wife yelled, "run," ran to the corner as fast as we could. It was absolute chaos and panic, with all the -- well, the people hit me on the street. People were falling down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Terrifying. This attack comes just days before the first round of voting in the French Presidential Elections. Both President Trump and former President Obama have now injected themselves to a certain extent in this race. In moments, we'll be joined by House Homeland Security Committee member Congressman Peter King, but we begin with Greg Palkot in Paris with the very latest. Greg?
GREG PALKOT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL SENIOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Martha, it is looking like pretty much a normal Friday night here in the Champs-Elysees in Paris. It was anything but normal Thursday night. In fact, I am standing at the very spot where that guy got out of his car last night with an AK-47 rifle and shot point-blank into a policeman, killing one police officer, seriously injuring two others, and hurting a tourist. And then, he ran. And then, according to eyewitnesses that we have spoken to, the shots rang out round after round, bringing him down and killing him.
Today, the police identified the man as Karim Cheurfi, 39 years old. He's a French native with a very long record. He has spent 14 years in jail on four different sentences and including another failed attack on policemen. Now, police say that they didn't see any signs of radicalization while he was in prison through all that time, but they do admit that they have found on his body last night a handwritten note, a defense of ISIS. And in fact, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Now, as you noted, Martha, all of this is happening on the eve this coming Sunday of the first round of French Presidential elections. While most of the candidates called off their campaigning today, they had some strong words, including one of the frontrunners, the anti-immigrant, right-wing front national candidate, Marine Le Pen. She said there should be a crackdown on the border. She said there should be a crackdown on terror suspects. And yes, there were some eyewitnesses from America. We spoke with the couple who was here on their 30th anniversary. They were here in Paris with their three children. And they were face-to-face with terror. Take a listen to a little bit more of what they saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FINNEY: -- with the gun, and he started shooting bullets in the air. And the police were in the streets, so it's a very terrifying moment.
PALKOT: Had he shot the policeman already?
FINNEY: We saw a man go down. OK.
PALKOT: You saw a man go down.
FINNEY: Yes, we did.
ANGELA MAGGARD, AMERICAN EYEWITNESS: He did this, and it went in this direction. I saw him move it. And when he did that, I could see very clearly the machine gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's unbelievable!
MAGGARD: And I knew it was a terrorist event, I knew it was an attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FINNEY: Amazing stuff. These folks, Martha, told me that, in fact, somebody was looking after them today and last night, not for everybody, though. Back to you.
MACCALLUM: Greg, thank you very much. So, here now, Republican Congressman Peter King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee and chairman of the counterterrorism and intelligence subcommittee. Congressman King, good to have you with us always.
PETER KING, HOUSE HOMELAND SECUIRTY COMMITTEE MEMBER: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, once again, France is withstanding yet another attack. They've had so many. What are your thoughts from what we saw last night in Paris, and what it means for us here at home?
KING: Well, first of all, again, our thoughts and prayers have to be with the people of Paris and France and the suffering that they're going through. Listen, this shows that ISIS is a threat everywhere. And at almost any time, certainly, it's a threat here in the United States. I do believe, though, that we are in a better position than France. France over the years has had a much more hostile Muslim population living within its borders.
The United States, I think, critical of certain elements of the Muslim community here in the United States. There is no organized opposition. We don't have areas -- there's almost no-go areas as you see in some parts of France. Also, France has a North African population -- is it Algeria where there are colonial issues over the years. So, the issue with France is somewhat more difficult than here in the United States.
But having said that, we still can never let our guard down. I mean, as Secretary Kelly said there is case after case being opened up, the FBI in this country and counterterrorism cases, Jim Comey have said that all 50 states have investigations going on now. So no, we can never, ever let our guard down.
MACCALLUM: You know, in terms of the traffic that goes back and forth, and training of potential terrorists, and then we know that was the publications that ISIS puts out -- put outs, many of these people can radicalize at home. It's so difficult to get to the root of this. But does the increased action against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, does it make anybody any safer in other parts of the world?
KING: It has to. But again, it's -- you know, it makes it so much safer, but on the other hand, you have all these trained ISIS fighters in Syria, for instance. 10,000 Europeans, I believe, is, you know, the latest count we have. Well, if they are driven out, they're going to be back in Europe. And many of them are from countries that have Visa waiver privileges, which means people in those countries can come to the U.S. without having to get a Visa. Now, we put certain precautions in place, but that relies on European intelligence knowing who's gone to Syria and who hasn't.
So, you know, this is a -- it's a -- it's a metastasizing movement, you have the trained fighters from Syria, you have the people who can be just indoctrinated, radicalized over the internet. You've seen any number of those cases here in the United States. And then you have agents and they would be trying to actually get into the United States. So, you know, this is a -- it's a multipronged war. And we have to fight it at every level.
MACCALLUM: You know, once again, in this situation we learned that this person is somebody who was "on the radar," which we have seen time and time again. So, the question becomes how can -- how can you, and can law enforcement, is it possible within the realm of, you know, a free moving populace track some of these people down before they take action?
KING: Yes, first of all, we have to try. We have to do what we can do. I know polices like in New York, the NYPD has done that over the years. Now, they've gotten a lot of resistance from the civil liberties union, The New York Times, and others, but you have to do a certain amount of intelligence research and investigation. For instance, the perpetrator in Paris. My understanding is there was evidence back in December, he was trying to purchase weapons from a jihadist. And that he also made threats against the police. But they didn't feel there was enough evidence to try him.
But still, a person like that, you have to monitor them. I know you can have a lot of names on the terrorist watch list, but somebody who with this evidence was actually trying to purchase weapons from a jihadist, where there was evidence that he was threatening the police. Even if it's not enough to stand up for a criminal conviction, they have to be watched and monitored. That's one thing we hopefully we learned from Orlando and San Bernardino.
MACCALLUM: And Boston as well where they were on the radar and they weren't able to get them. We know the terrorist watch list is unwieldy. It is hundreds of thousands of names long, and focusing on that is one of the things that perhaps might get us a little bit further down the road. Congressman King, thank you so much. Good to see you as always.
KING: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, there are new questions after President Trump and former President Obama appeared to pick sides in the upcoming French election. In the hours before the terror attack, President Obama called one leading center-left is the way he described. We'll talk about that. This candidate seen here in the picture posted to social media. His name is Macron. And then today, President Trump telling the A.P. that last night's attack will most likely bolster the chances, perhaps, of Marine Le Pen.
Marc Thiessen, Fox News Contributor and American Enterprise Institute Scholar; and Mark Alderman, Democratic strategist who served on the Obama-Biden presidential transition team. Gentlemen, welcome. Good to have you here. You know, sometimes the nuances of elections that are across the ocean, we feel doesn't have a lot of relevance, perhaps, directly to us. But it is very interesting. And certainly intentional that both President Trump and President Obama are speaking out about the coming election that we are seeing this weekend in France, at least the first round. Marc, your thoughts?
MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE SCHOLAR: Sure. Well, there are definitely some parallels. And first, I think President Trump is absolutely right that this could have an impact on the election. Le Pen is running as an outsider who's challenging the establishment. The French are arguably very upset with the establishment. There have been instance during the last two years since January 2015, 230 people killed in terrorist attacks in France, in Paris and Nice, multiple attacks in Paris. And now, as you pointed out with Congressman King, they knew about this guy. He might have even been trying to buy weapons from jihadi. He was on the police radar and they didn't stop him, so that's got to be helpful from Marine Le Pen who's running both as an outsider and having taking the toughest line on Jihadism.
At the same time, Trump has to be careful not to embrace Le Pen too much, because she is effectively all of the things the (INAUDIBLE) that the left has of Donald Trump, she actually is. They say that Trump is in collusion with Russia. We now know that that's not the case. In fact, he's taking a very tough line with Russia's President. She took $12 million from a Russian bank, Kremlin-backed Russian bank, and she did it right after endorsing the Russian annexation of Crimea. So, she actually is in collusion with Vladimir Putin where Donald Trump was not, and so, I think he needs to separate himself a little bit from her would be the smart thing to do.
MACCALLUM: Interesting. Mark Alderman, what do you think?
MARK ALDERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: A patriot knows no boundaries, Martha. And the Le Pen campaign has featured a lot of the same ugliness that the Trump campaign did, the scapegoating of Muslims, the embrace of Putin, the holocaust denial, and Le Pen should not be underestimated because the bigotry there is as powerful as it proved to be here. At the same time, all politics is local. And I don't think we can read too much into what happens in France.
The French revolution was supposed to herald a new age for humanity, and the world got Napoleon instead. And I think that this Bannon-esque fantasy of a worldwide nationalist revolt is just demagoguery, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Well, what Marc Thiessen said initially would not put under the same umbrella, some of the things that you slept under there with regards to the comparisons between Trump and Le Pen. However, you know, when you look at the election situation, you know, there's a lot of people in the middle, too. And they do a runoff, and then, you know, they'll see who's in the next round. So, it's not going to be over in the course of this weekend, but we have Brexit, we have these movements that we've seen across Europe, Marc. How do you see it ultimately playing out, Marc Thiessen? And, you know, what does it say about where western civilization and the countries that made it great are headed?
THIESSEN: Well, first of all, I think it's a little bit outrageous to suggest -- I don't recall Donald Trump denying the holocaust, so I think that's the message --
ALDERMAN: The press secretary -- I believe his press secretary stood in the White House and did that a week ago.
MACCALLUM: No, that's not what happened. So -- and I don't want to go down that rabbit hole. That's not what happened. Go ahead, Marc Thiessen.
THIESSEN: Yes. But, you know -- so, they clearly are parallels. I mean, look, Barack Obama entered into the Brexit campaign. And it didn't really work out for him very well, because they -- you said that the British would be in the back of the line for a trade agreement if they did it, and they ignored him. So, I don't think there's going to be a lot of influence there. But it's sort of like it's been interesting, because both of the leading candidates in France are outsiders. It's as if the Republican and Democratic parties were both in third and fourth place in an American election.
The French center-left guy who's sort of the Clinton stand-in in this election. He's an independent who broke with the socialist. And then they've got their Bernie Sanders type, they've got a candidate who's also an outsider who's threatening 100 percent taxation, and he's been sort of fourth place. So, we'll see what -- how that shakes out after the -- after the primary. But it looks like two outsiders who will be the leading candidates.
MACCALLUM: Why do you think President Obama is, you know, sort of inserting himself and supporting Macron?
ALDERMAN: Well, I do think, Martha, that President Obama should come home. I think we need him. He is the leading voice of the Democratic dissent. And I would love to see him advising candidates in Pennsylvania instead of Paris.
MACCALLUM: OK. Mark Thiessen, final thoughts?
THIESSEN: Yes. You know, I think his endorsement of Hillary Clinton didn't work out all that well either. So, you know, I don't know that he's had an impact here on the elections here or at home. I think Barack Obama's brand of liberalism is out of vogue in the United States and in Europe. And he's going to be defeated in Paris just as he was in London and just as it was here in Washington.
MACCALLUM: We'll be watching. Thank you very much, guys. Good to see you both.
ALDERMAN: Thanks, Martha.
THIESSEN: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, still ahead, President Trump playing the part of a diplomat, securing the release of an American who was wrongfully jailed for three years in Egypt. This is the two of them just moments ago, or earlier today in their -- in the Oval Office.
In Egypt, the negotiator in chief pulling off a deal even President Obama failed to close. The behind-the-scenes details of this remarkable story straight ahead. And all eyes focused on North Korea. New questions tonight surrounding Iran's nuclear ambitions as Fox News is now learning that they are accelerating their programs. Pete Hoekstra, David Tafuri here to debate the future of that agreement, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Everywhere you look, if there's trouble in the region, you find Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: The fallout from the Obama administration's Iran nuclear deal forcing some mixed signals inside the Trump White House this week. Earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson officially notified Congress that Iran is meeting its commitments under the agreement, but now, President Trump sparking some new questions on the deals future after levelling some pretty stern comments on this yesterday. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as Iran is concerned, I think they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed. It was a terrible agreement. They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement. I can tell you that. And we're analyzing it very, very carefully, and we'll have something to say about it in the not-too-distant future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Pete Hoekstra, a former House Intelligence Committee member and former Trump campaign National Security Advisor, David Tafuri a former State Department official under President Obama. Welcome, gentlemen. Good to have both of you here. David, let me start with you. Are we getting mixed messages out of the administration on this?
DAVID TAFURI, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We definitely are getting mixed messages. You know, as you mention, Secretary State Tillerson certified to Congress this week that Iran is complying with the deal. On the other hand, President Trump says that Iran is not complying with the spirit of the deal. There's a slight difference there, but it's still got to be very confusing for Iran and for those who are watching this. We ought to be honest and pragmatic about this. The deal wasn't as good as it should have been when we signed the deal in 2015.
But we're somewhat boxed in. Iran has stepped back its ambitions to develop nuclear weapons, and it is complying in that sense with the agreement. Also, we have given up many other things that Iran wanted, and when it bargained for this agreement, we've given them money that was sanctioned, we've eased sanctioned on them, and there are other countries that are parties to this agreement. SO, we have to take a pragmatic approach. Keep the agreement in place and try to find other ways to curb Iran's influence in the region, in ways that Iran is supporting terrorism and fomenting instability across the region.
MACCALLUM: And they're doing that all over. I mean, the supporter of the Assad regime, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, perhaps North Korea as well in many instances. So, Pete Hoekstra, one of the things that people are so critical about in this deal was that it didn't press for behavior modification of Iran before there was an agreement in place. And now, aren't we sort of reaping the complications of that?
PETE HOEKSTRA, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE MEMBER AND FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Oh, that's exactly right, Martha. As you pointed out, number one, they are emboldened, and importantly, they are in enriched Iran with all the money that has come in, that has flowed into with the lessening of sanctions and those types of things. You know, number one, Tillerson did certify that technically Iran is meeting the requirements of the deal. But as the President pointed out, it's not confusing at all. It's very clear. They're not living into the spirit. The spirit of the agreement that was laid out by the Obama administration is if we get this agreement with Iran, we're going to see a change in behavior. We're going to see Iran become a stabilizing force in the Middle East, and everything but that has happened. Syria, Yemen, it's disaster. The most important thing is, though, is they are a close ally of North Korea. What type of support are they providing to North Korea as the United States and China might be trying to put the screws to the North Korean regime?
MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, the idea was that they wanted to sort of change their place in the world, to some extent, and that they were willing to curb their nuclear ambitions in order to get that in exchange, David. And we've seen absolutely no evidence of that. Isn't that the bigger issue here?
TAFURI: Well, I disagree with Congressman Hoekstra in a couple of different ways. First of all, this is confusing. Remember that President Trump said during the campaign that he was going to rip up the Iran deal on day one. That hasn't happened. And you have to be honest about that. And Secretary Tillerson's certification to Congress shows that he doesn't intend to do that and he's not going to do that. And he's broken that campaign promise. So, we have to be honest about that.
Second of all, nobody at the time of the Iran deal was put in place thought that Iran was going to become a positive force or a stabilizing force in the Middle East. Nobody thought that. We knew at that time when we sign the agreement, and again, I didn't support the agreement at the time, but we knew we were just getting Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions, and normalizing relations to a certain extent. But we also understood that Iran was going to continue to do the things that it's doing in Iraq and in Syria and in Yemen, as you mentioned, Martha, which are not in the U.S.'s interest. And we have to find other ways to curb Iran's influence --
MACCALLUM: All right. We got to leave it there.
TAFURI: -- and confront Iran, which the last administration was trying to do. And this demonstration I hope will do it in an even more robust way.
MACCALLUM: All right. Pete and David, thank you very much, guys. Good to see you both.
HOEKSTRA: Thank you.
TAFURI: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, also tonight, President Trump reveals a new and accelerated timeline on tax reform and health care, the two big things that most Americans who voted for President Trump would like to see happen and soon. Austan Goolsbee and Guy Benson here on whether this can get done before the 100-day mark, which is looming, I would point out.
Plus, up next, an American charity worker wrongly jailed in Egypt for over three years is now home thanks to moves by the Trump administration. Do this remind you of a scene that we saw 36 years ago? Mollie Hemingway and Larry Korb weigh in on that question when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are very happy to have Aya back home. And it's great honor to have her in the Oval Office with her brother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNE ANCHOR: Live from America's news headquarters, I'm Trace Gallagher. New information on the deadly terror attacks in Paris. Investigators are trying to figure out if the gunman who was killed after shooting and killing a police officer had help. A note praising the Islamic state was found near his body. He was also questioned back in February, but released for a lack of evidence. Police say he has a long criminal record.
Here in the U.S., President Trump tweeted, quote, "The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on president election." The President suggesting the attacks will help the campaign of Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate. The too-close-to-call election is Sunday.
In England, Queen Elizabeth turned 91 years old. She spent the day watching horse races. This marks her 65th year on the throne. The Queen was honored with multiple 21 gun and cannon salutes across the country. I'm Trace Gallagher. I'll break in if news breaks out. Now --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AYA HIJAZI, EGYPTIAN AMERICAN CHARITY WORKER: All but eight people (INAUDIBLE)
TRUMP: Good job, right? That's a (INAUDIBLE)
HIJAZI: Wonderful job.
TRUMP: That's even better than I thought.
HIJAZI: Yes, sir.
TRUMP: We are very happy to have Aya back home. And it's a great honor to have her in the Oval Office with her brother. And thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Nice moment today in the Oval Office. An Egyptian American, who was imprisoned in Cairo for three years, is now back in United States today. The President and his aides striking a deal with the Egyptian President to free Aya Hijazi and her husband and four other charity workers who were held. There are the pictures of the President, not too long ago, with President el-Sisi. The Obama administration had taken a crack at resolving this situation. They were not able to see it all the way through the end, but that happened indeed today. So, Trace Gallagher takes us through it from our west coast newsroom. Trace?
GALLAGHER: Hi, Martha. When Aya Hijazi and her husband touched down at Joint Base Andrews late last night, her family was elated and surprised. They, like many others, did not think the release would happen so soon. Hijazi who grew up in Falls Church, Virginia and graduated from George Mason University, was working in Egypt with a foundation that she and her husband established as a haven for street children in Cairo. But in May of 2014, Hijazi and her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, who's Egyptian, were charged with child abuse and child trafficking.
U.S. officials and human rights groups widely dismissed the charges as bogus. Saying the Egyptian government presented no evidence and continually postpones hearings and trials for no reason. Experts say Hijazi became the global face of Egypt brutal crackdown and civil society.
The Obama administration unsuccessfully pressed the government for Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for their release. Then three weeks ago President Trump tried to reset U.S.-Egypt relations by inviting president el-Sisi to the White House. Despite the state department under the Obama administration accusing el-Sisi of human rights violations, including the murder and torture of its own people, Trump embraced him saying he was fantastic. The Trump administration said there was no quid pro quo for Hijazi's release. But they were apparently assured that despite the outcome of her trial, she would soon be back in the U.S. An indication that president el-Sisi would pardon her. Then last Sunday, she and her husband were acquitted of all charges. At the White House, President Trump welcomed Aya Hijazi home, saying she showed great strength in her ordeal. The White House is clearly painting this as a significant foreign policy achievement, though human rights groups are calling on President el-Sisi to release thousands of political prisoners. Martha?
MACCALLUM: Ok. Trace thank you. Mollie Hemmingway, senior editor of the Federalist and Fox news contributor, and Larry Korb, senior fellow at the center for American progress, also served of assistant defense secretary during President Reagan's first term. Good to have you here. We made that analogy of swords of the Iranian hostages being released, Larry, at the beginning of Reagan's term. Do you see parallels?
LARRY KORB, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: No, I don't. What happened with the release of the hostages the day President Reagan took the oath of office, the Iranians had started those negotiations in September before they even knew who would win the election. And after everything was settled, they waited until Carter left office, because they despised him for having given the shah who overthrew medical treatment in the United States and also for the failed rescue thing. We were not involved at all in the negotiations.
MACCALLUM: Mollie what do you make it in terms of -- you know because the Obama administration was very critical of el-Sisi and they were critical of President Trump meeting him. And yet, sort of bringing him in and sort of putting him inside the circle has started to be a catalyst, at least, with the release of these initial hostages.
MOLLIE HEMMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST SENIOR EDITOR: Right. President Trump has been criticized for not condemning the authoritarianism of so many different world leaders, whether Putin or Xi, Erdogan or el-Sisi and it is definitely in contrast to how President Obama condemned him, famously banned him from the White House. President Obama also sought to release of these hostages and failed. This shows that this can be a beneficial way to be publicly quite friendly and privately to apply pressure. And it's a balance of how some people emphasize pushing American values. Some people emphasize pushing American interest. I think it's pretty clear that President Trump is someone who was focused on American interest.
MACCALLUM: It so fascinating, Larry, to watch the sort of the art of the deal and motion on the global stage. What has changed clearly is the tone. And there are conversations with entities where there weren't before. And we have seen movement. We've seen movement in China with regards to the North Korea situation. It's a different tactic, a different way of getting at these problems. Do you see it as a positive or not?
KORB: Well, I'm happy that Mrs. Hijazi and her family have been released. No doubt about it, but the question is. What about the thousands of other people who are still there? Remember, el-Sisi took power in a coup and after he took power, he killed and basically imprisoned thousands of people in effect by inviting him to the White House, you are basically turning a blind eye to what he did. Now I would've hoped that the president, while he was here, would also have denounced him for that and say, well, you are our ally, we need to deal with you. We will give you military aid. You've got not just this wonderful woman but all of the other people. What are you going to do about that?
MACCALLUM: Some might say you have to start somewhere. And the release of these people might be the beginning of something that we will see. We've got to go, great topic and thank you both for being here today, more on that coming up.
Tonight, President Trump's week 13 in the White House Judge to a close. Our panel of political science professors has their red pens out to grade the week. Stirewalt, Anderson and Fowler, ready to go. Were the 100 days run out without a big legislative deal? The White House is pressing now for something on tax reform or health care, or maybe both, signaling tonight they want this thing moving.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: We will get tax reform done. It will be sweeping. It will be significant. It will create a lot of economic growth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So there is now an ambitious new timeline for two new pieces of policy unveiled by President Trump just hours ago. The president saying that he will propose massive tax cuts as early as next week, which I would point out, is before the 100 days runs out. Fox News can now report and attempt on health care reform could happen just as soon. Joining me now, Austan Goolsbee, serves as President Obama chief economist and as an economics professor at university of Chicago's school of business, and Guy Benson as political editor at townhall.com and Fox News Contributor, gentlemen welcome to the both of you. The clock is ticking. The president says 100 days doesn't mean anything, but we know that in some ways it does, it is a benchmark. If nothing else, people look back on and judge you by at least in some extent. Is it possible? Let me start with you Guy that we get some sort of bundle on tax reform and health care, at least something marked off for people to look at?
GUY BENSON, TOWNHALL.COM: May be before the first 100 days? But in terms of passage, I don't think that is realistic. You've got the health care bill that is being worked on right now and I know the White House is pushing hard to get a vote in the house next week so they can hold that as a legislative accomplishment within that time frame, but I spoke to senior sources at Capitol hill, leadership sources who are really trying to temper expectations and throw cold water on that. I do believe the president and the speaker at the same page. The sequencing here that makes the most sense is Health care, then tax reform, and I do think the fact that the president is going to roll out his plan next week. It's probably an indication that he is feeling some of that political pressure to maybe not have some results, but feel like there is momentum, or the ball moving in the right direction.
MACCALLUM: Austan, how important is it to put something on that side legislative ledger, so to speak, by the end of the week?
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, PRESIDENT OBAMA'S FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST AND ECONOMIC PROFESSOR AT CHICAGO'S BOOTH SCHOOLS OF BUSINESS: You know-- It's hard to say. I mostly agree with what Guy said. I think there is a danger. If you got it in your head, "I've got to do something before the 100 days is done", you can't actually do anything except, maybe, not shut down the government. And if you are just rushing to get something out on the table and said, oh, at least I came up with a plan. I think there is a danger that you make a mistake. In the way, that is what happened with health care. If you remember, they rushed to get the first Trumpcare out on the anniversary of the ACA. But they were rushed, the thing fell apart.
MACCALLUM: Austan, when I hear, we were too much of a rush, we can get this to happen, people who work outside of Washington work on deadlines all the time.
GOOLSBEE: Yes, but they don't have --
MACCALLUM: All we hear from Congress is there isn't enough time but we work on something, we have to go on vacation. People are so sick of hearing that they don't have enough time to get anything done. I feel like I've been hearing it for years and years and years.
BENSON: Yeah. There is also the small little detail that Republicans campaign on repealing and replacing ObamaCare for seven years!
BENSON: They had a lot of time to get something together. And what it was the moment, and it arrived, they sort of failed. Again, they are trying to rectify that. They are trying to get the train back on the tracks. The vice president has been instrumental in that process. Yes, I understand a sense among voters saying, all right, guys, Republicans. We put you in charge of everything, which is what you asked for. Now what? They've got some good stuff with the Congressional review act overruling some of Obama's regulation, some executive orders, Neil Gorsuch, but what else?
MACCALLUM: One last quick thought from Austan before we go, Austan?
GOOLSBEE: Martha, I was laughing when you said this. In the campaign, it's not Congress' fault, it's Donald Trump's fault, he ran saying he had a secret plan to defeat ISIS in 90 days, he ran saying he had a repeal and replace for ObamaCare that he had a tax plan, but he didn't have any of those. So now, he has to pay the piper, as it were, and that is what's making it worse.
MACCALLUM: At the end of the day, Congress has to sign legislation. And they had seven years. And the Republican said, oh, we did everything for the house, ascendant, White House, they will be hunky-dory. You will be amazed of what happens. Good to see you all.
So tonight, it is Friday. Spring break is over. It's time to grade the president on week 13. From some New England Patriots we might add, to North Korea this week as well on the more serious note, Chris Stirewalt, Kristen Soltis Anderson and Richard Fowler with their report cards coming up next.
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TRUMP: I don't want to telegraph what I'm doing or what I am thinking. I'm not like other administrations.
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MACCALLUM: Getting close, folks, to the end of the first 100 days of the Trump Administration. This is now week 13. It's a week both on the domestic and foreign policy front with some pretty strong words from the White House along the way. Let's take a look.
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SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Strong red lines haven't really worked in the past. He holds his cards close to the vest.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENTIAL-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Strategic patients have been the approach of the last American administration and beyond. The era of strategic patience is over.
TRUMP: I do not want to telegraph what I'm doing or what I'm thinking. I'm not like other administrations.
JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: When you are binge watching "Madman" on Netflix, TSA is stalking an actual madman.
TRUMP: This bill will extend and improve the veteran's choice program, so that more veterans can see the doctor of their choice. You got it? The doctor of their choice.
MACCALLUM: This afternoon, there were some words that ObamaCare appeal might be revived inside the 100 day mark. True?
SPICER: It's always a potential.
TRUMP: With your backs against the wall, and the pundits -- they are wrong a lot, aren't they quick may
KELLY: Build a war, physical barrier, a see through wall, depending on the conditions.
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We will be focusing on the top priorities first that is what we are going to do.
TRUMP: We are very happy to have Aya back home. It's a great honor to have her in the oval office with her brother.
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MACCALLUM: Chris Stirewalt, Fox News politics editor, Kristen Soltis Anderson is Washington Examiner columnist and a Republican pollster, Richard Fowler is a national syndicated radio show host and a Fox News contributor. Welcome to everybody did what a week that was. Let's take a look at what you thought about it and how the president sort of stacks up in the grade book. Kristen, let me start with you.
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, WASHINGTON EXAMINER COLUMNIST: I gave President Trump a c for this week, bearing in mind C merely means average it is not a bad grade. This is kind of a mixed week. There are some things that went pretty well for the White House. The media all in the weeks leading up to the White House, Easter egg roll, giving them a hard time it went fine, very lovely moment. You have the Patriots come visit the White House. That was signed with a lot of media criticism, players not showing up, these things turned out great. You also had this wonderful moment where you had the prisoner being released from Egypt. On the other hand, I think the situation with North Korea is very worrisome. It speaks to a bigger problem where in the state department, defense department. There are a lot of positions that are left unfilled. There is not a lot of clarity of what America strategy or policy is. When you have something like an American aircraft carrier that one department says is heading toward North Korea, the Korean peninsula, and yet it actually turns out they were heading to the Indian Ocean, that is not a great moment. That is why I wind up giving the president a c for the week.
MACCALLUM: Richard, Kristen hasn't heard about grade inflation. I went to high school where there is no grade inflation, but let me tell there is a lot of going on around, but it is not going around Kristen grade book, Richard what do you think?
RICHARD FOWLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND SENIOR FELLOW FOR THE NEW LEADERS COUNSEL: I don't believe in great inflation. I give the president a C-minus. What we heard late this week is the president saying that we are going to get health care done this week. He is letting the pressure of the first 100 days get in the way of actually passing a really good deal or fixing the affordable care act, right quick smack I think this president has huge challenges when it comes bringing the GOP conference together, getting the Tuesday group, which is the more moderate group together with the freedom caucus which I think, getting them together to come up with a health care bill that actually works. And, you know, it's going to take longer than a day, it took Obama a couple of hundred days to get the affordable care act. I think the president should take a couple of hundred days as well to make sure he gets the fixes to the affordable care act correct.
MACCALLUM: The Washington things saying, well, we need more time, take as long as you want. We've got seven years, Chris Stirewalt, to work on this problem. Yes, no way we can have this paper turned in on time, Sir?
CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DECISION DESK CORRESPONDENT: I don't know about flying toasters, I do want to get about that. I think first of all that the president should have been docked points for the Patriots' welcome, everybody knows they are evil.
MACCALLUM: Oh oh! Let's not go there, my friend. You know you are dealing with a Patriots fan in one Martha MacCallum.
STIREWALT: I'm not going to be unjust and not going to punish him in bad judgment and sports team. I will say that overlooked in all of this discussion was he faces a make or break a test on Tuesday. If the Republicans would've lost out right in the Congressional election down in Atlanta, his agenda which, right now, is running on fumes, would be over, would be dead. He would not be able to find Republicans on Capitol Hill that wanted to work with them on anything if they would've lost out right in that election. He won. The Republicans won. It was close, it was scary for him. They won. Richard is 100 percent right, which is the idea that using the arbitrary benchmark, as we know, things that are supposed to last 100 days last longer, longer period than 100 days.
MACCALLUM: There is a long story behind that.
STIREWALT: There is a long story about that. For the president to be whipsawed into acting out like this in the final week, that is not a good idea. His agenda is alive this week and he is ok, he gets a b.
MACCALLUM: A b from Mr. Stirewalt, despite the five time winning champions England Patriots --
MACCALLUM: Yours truly also got to watch that which is also a great moment in the first 100 days. Richard, what are you looking for next week?
FOWLER: We will see what happens. Let's see if he can actually get some language of the health care bill done.
MACCALLUM: They have been on vacation for two weeks. I wanted to point that out.
FOWLER: I think Chris is right, this is historical context. This idea, FDR would send the bill up on Monday morning, and Monday night he'd have it back on his desk sign. What President Trump, the mistake President Trump made when he came into office he accepted the 100 a notion of Washington, D.C.
MACCALLUM: Everyone does that. You can possibly avoid it.
FOWLER: He is supposed to be a different guy in a different president!
MACCALLUM: Kristen, 20 seconds go ahead.
SOLTIS ANDERSON: I would much rather this president put forward policies that are going to work rather than ones that meet some kind of arbitrary deadline. Next week is going to be big not because he says he is going to put tax reform of the table next week, another agenda item coming up that has been much anticipated by the markets, by others out there. Next week is going to be a big maker.
MACCALLUM: I wish you guys were my teacher, because apparently there are no deadlines to turn in papers. I'm good with that. Thank you, guys. We will be right back with the quote of the night, a very appropriate scene from a classic TV show about the White House.
MACCALLUM: As we leave you tonight, and number of our "West Wing" fans suggest that we comb through their favorite White House drama to references to the first 100 days. This is for you.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one to so much take a breath much less figure any of this out. And now this roller coaster is plunging in the transition with its time pressure demands and the inauguration, hitting the ground running the first 100 days, before you know it, the midterms, the new Congress, then we are running again, and we've never had the talk. You've got that look panic in your eyes.
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MACCALLUM: We do have to have that talk, but we'll do it next week when the 100 days comes to a close. Have a fantastic weekend. See you on day 95, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum. Good night.
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