Rep. Ron DeSantis on the fight to get info from the DOJ

This is a rush transcript from "The Ingraham Angle," April 6, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

PETE HEGSETH, FOX NEWS HOST: Good evening from New York City. I'm Pete Hegseth in tonight for Laura Ingraham. This is "The Ingraham Angle." Don't worry. Laura will be back on Monday for sure.

It's big news night and we have covered coast to coast. President Trump today making a bold move against Russia, but will the left ever give him credit? We will have a debate about that.

Plus, Michelle Obama took a cheap shot at President Trump last night. Is she plotting her own White House run? We'll analyze that situation as well.

And the Department of Justice is still accused of slow walking documents related to the Hillary Clinton email case to Congress. What do they have to hide? A member of the House Judiciary Committee will be here to explain.

But, first, Democrats plotting to defy our commander-in-chief. President Trump sending up to 4,000 National Guard troops to the border. That's about a brigade size. Some Democratic governors say they will refuse to allow troops from their states to partake in the plan.

Fox News correspondent, Gillian Turner, is here with more. Good evening, Gillian.

GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Pete. So, in the wake of President Trump's decision to dispatch National Guard troops to secure the southern border, the Pentagon has now announced they are creating a special border security cell of their own. The cell's official mission? Backing up border patrol agents, according to the secretary of defense.


GENERAL JIM MATTIS, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We are looking at how we can best provide support to the Department of Homeland Security. We'll figure it out. It will be consistent with law and the spirit of Congress. No problem.


TURNER: But don't let that mission statement fool you. The new cell has got a crucial role to play, it will serve as liaison between the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, making sure they are staying 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


RON VITIELLO, ACTING DEPUTY COMMANDER OF U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PATROL: Watching monitors, border cameras and sensor feeds, those kinds of things. They will be helping us in the backroom activities. We used them previously to help repair roads and vehicles. Used them to do intelligence and analysis for intelligence. Aviation is a big part of what we hope they bring.


TURNER: And perhaps even more importantly, the cell will conduct reconnaissance on the ground and in the air. But, with the now new order signed for 4,000 National Guardsmen at the border things are getting sticky at the state level. Some U.S. governors are supporting the move.

Arizona's governor tweeted this afternoon, he'll be sending around 150 Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border and the state of Texas stepping in also. They have committed already to deploying 250 troops, all within the next 72 hours.

And Governor Abbott released a statement saying the plan, quote, Reinforces Texas' long standing commitment to secure our southern border and the rule of law. Arkansas and Mississippi also lent their support to the plan, but other governors, like Kate Brown of Oregon haven't been as supportive.


GOVERNOR KATE BROWN, OREGON: There has been absolutely no planning. There has been absolutely no collaboration with the states. This is just something that the president reeled off to distract from the problems that he is having in Washington, D.C.


TURNER: In polarized times like these, Pete, when it seems likely we're careening towards a total political breakdown, I console myself with the words of Abraham Lincoln, who said America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedom it, will probably be because we destroyed ourselves -- Pete.

HEGSETH: Important reminder. You mentioned, Oregon, Montana and potentially Nevada have indicated they don't want to participate. Any other sense that other Democratic governors will join in new form of resistance and say we are not sending troops down to the border wall?

TURNER: Yes, it's possible. For example, California surprisingly, seems to have remained teetering on the edge. They have not necessarily registered their discontent with the plan. So, if they went in President Trump's direction, I think it is possible we see some other Democratic governors.

HEGSETH: Very, very interesting because if you go along with the Trump administration and Democratic governor you are now complicit as some of the grassroots would see it. Gillian, thank you very much for your time. Appreciate it.

TURNER: Thanks, Pete.

HEGSETH: All right. Well, joining me now for reaction is Dan Crenshaw, a Republican running for Congress in a border district in Texas, Texas second district. He is a decorated former Navy SEAL. We've also have Allen Orr, an immigration attorney here to debate. Gentlemen, thank you both for being here.

So, Commander, I will start with you. You know, we have a situation here where the president sees an eminent national security threat based on the status of what's happening on our border.

Congress will not deliver on a border wall and the funding that he wants. So, he says we are sending the troops. Now we know there are limitations in what they can do at the border. Is this an important step and will it help stem the tide?

DAN CRENSHAW, FORMER NAVY SEAL, RUNNING FOR CONGRESS: Absolutely. He's making good on his promise to the American people. That's what he ran on. He ran on a border wall. It looks like that border wall for now temporarily will have to be enforced by National Guard.

We have a long history of this in Texas and frankly, we have been footing the bill. We realized this is a national security issue and we spend our own money to actually put Department of Public Safety troops on the ground to help assist law enforcement.

We also put National Guardsmen on the ground regularly to help with counter drug operations. It's nothing new to us. It's important to us and frankly, it's time for the federal government to help out.

HEGSETH: Allen, so Dan Crenshaw just mentioned the Department of Public Safety in Texas. Based on their statistics from 2011 to 2012, over 245,000 criminal illegals have been arrested in Texas alone, 1,000 -- over 1,000 homicides, 77,000 arrests, assault arrests, 78,000 drug arrests, 7,000 sexual arrests.

These of illegal aliens in Texas alone arrests between 2011 and 2018. Yet, based on some of the commentary I've seen you say, there isn't a crisis at our border. We do not acknowledge that we do not at the federal level have our hands around the border and now is the time to address it.

ALLEN ORR, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: Well, I think there are ways to address the issue of immigration crisis and actually the border wall and actually an individual wall and a human wall is not the way to best address the issue.

And to best sort of show that this is a man-made crisis as right now, it's been 12 months into the administration, and now all of a sudden after this last call of Congress, which there was sort of a DACA deal for a wall that he sorts of ran away from that we now want to deploy people to the truth.

It sounds like to me that Texas has it under control for the state of Texas. That's really what the concern is right now. A little of federalism and what the National Guard is in place to do. So, states have the drop to put these individuals in place to do what they do at the national level then why should the federal government sort of step in --

HEGSETH: But Allen, why not now? Is immigration not a federal issue? Texas may have stepped up to do its part, but ultimately, this is something that effects all of us and what the federal government should be doing. You say why now. I asked why not now if we haven't stem the tide and Congress hasn't delivered?

ORR: Right. Because there is no way to put humans in the way of the danger of standing at the border, one for the National Guard officers, because when you think about National Guard officers, they are part of community. They are firemen and police officers and teachers that are part of communities that keep them strong and keep them safe

You are removing people from communities and putting them at the border for a threat that doesn't exist. For what reason, right? There is no (inaudible), no caravan. So, sort of show me the statistics of why (inaudible).

HEGSETH: Again, the threat that doesn't exist. Dan, I will go to you as well. I rattled off those statistics, 245,000 criminal illegals since 2011 to 2018 arrested in Texas alone. We are talking homicides, assaults, drugs, sexual assault over 10,000 for weapons. He says -- Allen says, no threat here. Humans can't do it. If not humans, then a wall how do we get our arms around this? And is it not a national security issue? We've got an invasion problem here.

ORR: It's a national policy issue.

CRENSHAW: He did say one thing that was absolutely correct, which is that we waited too long. We should have done this before. We should have done this a long time ago. Frankly, it has been done before. The left is losing their minds about this, but it was done by Obama and by Bush in 2006.

So, he is right that we have waited too long. He's also right that it's a dangerous border. So, you can't simultaneously say that the threat doesn't exist while also saying it's a dangerous border and too dangerous for the National Guard.

The National Guard is going to be doing down there is be the eyes and ears for our law enforcement. That is the role they are going to play and it's a very useful role and it's a role we need in Texas.

And the Department of Public Safety here in Texas knows very well that we don't have the manpower to man every single inch of this border. So, this is extremely helpful and we welcome that help and it is a federal issue.

This isn't international border. To say that the states have the resources to do it is wrong, it's not true. Texans are on the front lines and we are tired of footing the bill.

HEGSETH: Allen, as Dan has said, if you don't have people there then you got to have a wall. Now if you don't to send the people there, Allen, if you don't believe that the National Guard serves a proper function there, which could be a legitimate argument if that's your true concern. Wouldn't you then say, well, now it's time for a border wall? We have to do something.

ORR: Absolutely, you would have to do something. And some of the ways to sort of stem this problem without spending wasted money is to sort of look at technology because if people are really just there to sort of look and observe, that is something we do with iPhones and cameras and trip wires.

There is no need to have a human person there to sort of look and see what's going on. So, that argument sort of falls weak there and sort of the concerns of what can happen the danger at the border --

HEGSETH: Wait, iPhones and trip wires are not a wall, a beautiful 30-foot border wall that is in actual obstacle that interdicts people trying to come across your border.

ORR: If you are understanding the roles of what the National Guard can do at a port of entry and with regard to hear the plan doesn't exist as the governor of Oregon sort of said that these individuals are not allowed to detail people or be involved as regular police officers. So, therefore, they are only there to sort of be in the background, which he said --

CRENSHAW: We need them to be the eyes and the ears for law enforcement.

HEGSETH: Yes. You've been a Navy SEAL, you understand that an obstacle without oversight is not effective. So, if you have eyes and ears on an obstacle, you have both layers necessary.

CRENSHAW: That isn't wrong that we also need electronic surveillance to bolster this effort. I mean, it's a combination of both, OK. With any operation and to say this operation wasn't planned or there is no planning, there's no talk about it, of course, there is.

OK, this is a very simple military operation. We want to stop people from crossing a border. All right? So, you need electronic surveillance. You need people on the ground and then you need law enforcement in conjunction with that in order to be able to arrest and detain.

ORR: The defense secretary basically just said in your own in (inaudible) that they were coming up with a plan that would be enforcement that would sort of comply with laws. So, therefore, there can't be a plan because if there was a plan, then we'd already have seen that.

HEGSETH: Of course, the Pentagon is going to present a plan for this and these things -- at least we can all agree that we need a border wall, right, Dan?

ORR: No. We don't need a border wall.

CRENSHAW: We can agree on that. There is a temporary solution until then.

HEGSETH: Temporary solution because Congress cannot get out of their own way. Appreciate both of your time this evening.

CRENSHAW: That's why I'm running for Congress.

HEGSETH: You got it. We need more Navy SEALS in Congress. I can go for that.

Well, the 2018 midterms are just seven months away. We can fully expect Republicans to campaign on protecting the border and keeping Americans safe from illegal aliens. As for the Democrats, well, several Democratic candidates are actually calling for the abolition of ice. Don't believe me?

Well, Randy Bryce who is challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan Wisconsin's first district recently just told the truth and told Newsweek, quote, "I think that ICE should be abolished, and Congress should explore which existing agency could best House immigration and customs enforcement," end quote.

Joining me now for reaction is David Ward, a former ICE agent, who also worked on the border. David, thank you for your time. So, Democrats are clinging to the ideas that getting rid of ICE is going to get rid of this problem for us. What do you say to that?

DAVID WARD, FORMER ICE AGENT: You know, we live in a great country where people as vacuous as Bryce can run for a congressional seat and make a statement like he did to abolish ICE -- I mean, who does he expect to work in the interior of the United States to go after criminal aliens that have eluded other police departments? Now one thing about --

HEGSETH: Maybe nobody, I mean, is this not indicative of a viewpoint that says we want borderless world. One order does not matter to us.

WARD: But Democrats will not be happy until immigration is completely abolished. There is no border patrol, border, wall, ICE, nothing, and people come and go as they wish in the United States.

Let me tell you something about this, Mr. Bryce, if you're listening. You know, ICE agents arrested over 38,000 criminal aliens. You made a statement that we're out there arresting children and the families and stuff.

Let me tell you something ICE is going after particular comments that are criminal aliens, have warrants for arrests, fugitives from justice that came into the United States after reentry, after deportation. That's who is being targeted and over 38,000 have been arrested. Did you also know that over 2,200 pounds you have Fentanyl have been seized by ICE.

HEGSETH: Yes. I mean, the drug problem, the gang problem, the violence problem, all very, very real. But it's not just this one congressional candidate in Wisconsin, you've got a congressional candidate in Indiana, New York. It seems to be in the bloodstream of the Democratic Party --

WARD: It's that progressive talking points that are doing this. They don't want immigration enforcement. They want this entire country to be a sanctuary for the world's problems. We can't do it. Our citizens are in danger.

Look at what happened on 9/11. It was immigrants that did that. They brought down the towers, and since then illegal aliens and foreign nationals have been killing U.S. citizens since that time even before then, of course.

HEGSETH: We walk a lot about the border and rightfully so because that's where so much of our problem emanates from, but as far as ICE is concern, these are visa overstays as well. These are people -- a lot of people that come here legally and decide not to go back. And ultimately without ICE --

WARD: Fifty percent of your illegal alien population are people who violate our visas that come into the United States. The visa waiver program is another big problem that we should take a real close look at and abolish that.

Immigration is the Achilles heel of this country. If we don't control it, if we don't control our borders, don't go after the illegal aliens that are within this country, we are going to have a real serious problem within a very short period of time.

HEGSETH: They say, well, ICE has only been around for 15 years. It's a short-term agency. I mean, this is the talking points of the left are "abolish it" because it's something new. Explain to our audience the history there.

WARD: OK, since 1933 immigration has been in effect, we have had special agents from 1933 to 2003 enforcing immigration law. The Department of Homeland Security was created because of 9/11 through the 9/11 Commission and ICE became immigration special agents. That's only difference was the name.

They all go to the same school. They all enforce Title 8. I would like to know who this guy thinks is going to enforce Title 8. All of our agents go through an academy to learn how to enforce it.

HEGSETH: Well, of course, I mean, I guess, he is counting on self-deportation ultimately. I mean, really, they mock out idea until their entire premise is built on it. But you say deliberate operation and focus target is what ICE is about and the boogeyman is they make it look like they are running around rounding people up.

WARD: Look, we only have 20,000 at most, ICE agents throughout the entire United States, that's half the size of the New York City Police Department, but we have 11 million people that we might be looking for. It's a small number. So, we have to concentrate on the most effective use of our manpower and it's going after the criminal aliens that are causing harm in these neighborhoods.

HEGSETH: Make sense. David, thank you for your time and for your service to this country. We appreciate it.

A state that has over 2 million illegal immigrants is California and its voiced opposition to this administration more than any other state. While our next guest goes even a step further, he wants California to succeed from the union from the United States.

Marcos Ruiz Evans is the president of Yes California, a group advocating for the golden state's independence from America. Marcus, thanks for joining us. Casual viewer tonight is going to say that sounds pretty radical.

I may not like those sanctuary states, I don't like the fact that they are telling me coffee is bad for me. I can't stand the regulations and the social justice there, but seceding, does that make sense?

Do we have you? Marcus, do you got me? We may have lost Marcus. We will try to get him. He was on Skype. It was a tough connection. An interesting idea for those in California that are fed up with the fact that the federal government seems to be ignored by officials there who prefer to live in sanctuary states and sanctuary city with some municipalities fighting back. An interesting idea for a Calexit. We will try to get Marcus back.

Well, moving on, the Justice Department yet again missed a deadline to hand over documents to Congress about the Hillary Clinton email case. We will tell you what that's all about directly ahead on "The Ingraham Angle."


HEGSETH: Welcome back. Even with Trump in the White House, there is no love lost between the Justice Department and the House Judiciary Committee. Our own Ed Henry is here to tell us all about the latest controversy -- Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pete, pressure is building on the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, because the Justice Department failed to meet a deadline to give the House Judiciary panel 1.2 million documents related to three big cases involving the FBI and DOJ.

The Hillary Clinton email probe, FISA abuse in terms of spying on the Trump campaign and details of the FBI's internal recommendation to fire their number two, Andrew McCabe. Frustration continues to build about Sessions amongst some of the president's supporters because, remember, this subpoena came into his department from a fellow Republican, the House Judiciary chairman, Bob Goodlatte, who wants a second special counsel to probe all of these matters.

Goodlatte said he was left with no choice but to issue that March 22nd subpoena because he had gotten only a fraction of the Clinton email probe documents he had requested and basically nothing, completely shut out of potential FISA abuses.

So, Goodlatte wrote to the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, quote, "Given the department's ongoing delays in producing these documents, I am let with no choice but to issue the enclosed subpoena to compel production of these documents."

Now, in his defense, the FBI director, Christopher Wray, has said he has more than two dozen FBI staffers trying to help the Justice Department provide these documents on what he calls a rolling basis about every 10 days to two weeks.

Other House Republicans like Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan are raising questions about whether the FBI and the Justice Department are really serious about cooperating. Noting this exchange that they have uncovered between FBI employees about what gets redacted before the records are even sent to Capitol Hill.

One FBI employee says in this exchange, quote, "Are you sure you want me to keep you redacted for the congressional production?" The second FBI employee responds, "is that an option?" The first one adds with a smiley face emoji, quote, "You will be redacted."

That kind of slow walking may help explain why Kim Strassel today wrote in the Wall Street Journal that House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes issued a subpoena way back in August 2017 for Justice and the FBI to turn over documents that might show how central that anti-Trump dossier was to the Trump-Russia collusion investigation how it all started. Guess what, Nunes, months later is still waiting -- Pete.

HEGSETH: Ed, thanks. A lot there. Let's bring in a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Ron Desantis, a Republican from Florida who joins us from Naples tonight who is also running for governor in the fine state of Florida. Representative, thanks for being here. We really appreciate it.

So, I know that your chairman, Goodlatte, is not satisfied with the speed or volume of what DOJ has produced. As a member of that committee tonight, where are we on their ability to produce documents that you need to see?

REP. RON DESANTIS, R-FLORIDA: Well, they are dragging their feet. They have been doing this for a long time. Not only with the Judiciary Committee, but as Ed mentioned with Devin Nunes on the intel Committee.

Here's the thing, Pete, if you were the subject of a Justice Department civil enforcement action and they were asked subpoenaing documents from you, you would not be able to get away with these excuses if you were a private business. You would have to produce the stuff.

So, it doesn't work that the government has a different set of rules. So, I think the question is, are we going to actually put the might of our institution behind these subpoenas and enforce them.

Because you remember, when the IRS was dragging its feet, I mean, we held Lois Learner contempt, didn't follow through with that. Guys like me tried to impeach the IRS commissioner for stonewalling on the targeting investigation, John Coskinin, it didn't get through Congress.

And so, we have certain tools at our disposal. We can use the power of the purse. We hold officials in contempt, and ultimately, if they're still incalcitrant, we can impeach these civil officers. We have to be willing to do that. Otherwise, I think they are just going to try to run out the clock on a lot of this stuff.

HEGSETH: So, you have civil officers, but Representative, you've also got, you know, representatives, political appointees in these departments appointed by President Trump. I actually had the opportunity about an hour ago to speak to a senior DOJ official involved in these matters.

And they point out a couple of things, they said this is the first week since they have doubled the amounts of agents. They are trying to put the pedal of meddle on producing documents. They also noted that another thousand pages will be delivered for your committee by Monday.

And that they just sent a letter to Devin Nunes saying that they are going to accommodate his request for other members outside the committee to review the FISA application. So, if more people can see those FISA applications and more documents are being produced, do you feel like you could get to a place where DOJ is acting in good faith? They're just haven't had the resources to do it?

DESANTIS: Here is why I'm skeptical of that, I hope that that's right, and I hope that we, the American people, get what they are entitled to. But remember what Nunes has been trying to get, he has been trying to get those initial documents about how this whole Russia co-collusion with Trump campaign narrative started from the FBI.

They won't give that to him. That's not a million documents. I mean, that's the something. There is probably one piece of paper that officially opened this investigation. He has been asking for months and they will not produce it.

So, I hope they are turning over a new leaf, but I just got to say, you know, the last six to eight months has been one of continually frustrating Congress' prerogative to get these answers to the American people.

HEGSETH: To that point, take us under the hood a little bit because it seems like we hear at the last minute from the DOJ, we are not going to meet the deadline, right, that day, that moment. Are you at least hearing, days, weeks before, hey, guys, this is not a deadline we are going to meet?

We are working as hard as we can. We want to produce these documents. Is that communication happening or is it truly mostly quiet and then you find out not going to happen yet, we need more time?

DESANTIS: I think it's mostly quiet. I mean, I think that there are instances where Nunes is engaged with Rosenstein or Wray or Goodlatte can do that. It's important to point out, I mean, you know, Sessions maybe wanting to do the right thing.

Some of these guys maybe, the people are actually on the ground there are part of the permanent bureaucracy. And they talked about that kind of cute exchange where they like, we are just going to redact this, almost joking about it. That type of attitude I think makes it very difficult to get this stuff done in a timely fashion.

HEGSETH: So, your concern is not the rank and file necessarily at the FBI or DOJ or maybe not, you know, the attorney general or Wray or others who may be. It's that middle layer that has the ability to slow walk it or throw a wrench in the gears and stop the process. Is this a deep state accusation or is this a bureaucrat -- or do you think there's something that really hide it?

DESANTIS: Well, I just think at the end of the day bureaucracies tend to protect themselves. That's just the instinct of it. You have a lot of people there who are dealing with this. They were not appointed by Donald Trump. I mean, they are kind of career folks.

So, I think that's the instincts to protect the agency, to withhold and not produce as much, and I'm not even saying it's hurting nefarious reason, but I think that's the instinct that we see time and time again.

And so, you know, we have uncovered so much already, with so many questions, and I just think this posture that they have taken doesn't suit the interest of the American people at all. We need a full accounting of how all of this stuff happened.

HEGSETH: Absolutely. Part of that full accounting is what the inspector general is doing at DOJ. Any updates yet on when we might get a report on Michael Horowitz, his investigation, which a lot of people think is going to expose a great deal of things behind the scenes.

DESANTIS: Well, he started in January of 2017. We thought by the end of the year, that didn't happen. Then we said February that didn't happen. Then we said March, no, now April. So, I don't know. I think we need to get it because here is what I think is important.

I think there will be some interesting, important stuff in there. But I think the fate of people like Peter Strzok, the notoriously anti-Trump agent that talked about preventing Donald Trump from being elected with an insurance policy, Lisa Page, his lover.

I think their fates are tied to that IG report and I don't think that the FBI or Justice is going to move to fire them until that report comes in because they want that to be the justification.

So, a lot of my constituents say why are these people still there? I would like to see them move out too, but I think once the report hits, I think that could probably be the factor that leads for them to be terminated.

HEGSETH: Very interesting moment indeed. Congressman Ron Desantis, thanks for your time this evening. We appreciate it.

DESANTIS: Thank you.

HEGSETH: And now we are going to circle back to our previous segment. Hopefully you stuck with us about whether California should secede from the union. Joining us now via Skype, we hope the connection is solid is Marcus Ruiz Evans, the president of Yes California, a group advocating for the golden state's independence from America.

I will post the same question to you. So, unhappy with sanctuary state, standard of living, even telling us that coffee is bad for us, whatever your grievances, a lot of people especially conservatives, independents frustrated with the status of California. Is the option at this point to say we want out?

MARCUS RUIZ EVANS, PRESIDENT, YES CALIFORNIA: Yes. I think it is for Californians and for Americans. Reuters did a poll in January of 2017. It showed 47.5, 47.5 percent of Californians were not, quote, "not opposed to having a discussion about the secession" and 32 percent were for it, but a larger percent said let's do it. Let's talk about this.

And then when you look at Rasmussen did a poll in February 2017, 41 percent of Republicans said go ahead and take off, won't bother us in the slightest, 32 percent of Americans said they, again, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

So, those polls were taken before the sanctuary battle. Those were taken before Sessions flew to California and said, you can't secede. Before all of this hoopla, we had half of the Californians open to the idea of talking about secession.

Forty one percent of Republicans who control the federal government and one third of Americans in general are saying I'm open to this. That is before the difficulties that we have been in now. (Inaudible) do that poll again now.

HEGSETH: Is this a reflection that you believe America and California have irreconcilable differences that ultimately the (inaudible) are indifferent that a divorce is necessary at this point?

EVANS: Yes. I mean, obviously, whenever you talk to anybody, they will say it's very clear that California and America are in war, a battle, there is this constant legislative battling with each other.

I agree with Jeff Sessions on this pun point very specifically. This is not a stable way to govern. Constant battling, lawsuits, challenges in court, the inability to actually execute policies, saying anything you do I'm going to do the opposite. That is highly unstable for any government.

HEGSETH: You can't run a United States of America, a republic, when an entire state is flaunting federal law and saying we're not going to follow it. At some point that all brakes down. I understand the argument that you're making. What is the path to something like this, briefly, the path to something like this actually happening?

EVANS: It's very simple. A lot of people think that Cal-Exit is crazy simply because they don't know the laws. Here in California we can file an initiative on wide variety of things. We filed initiatives saying we want to put a vote in front of Californians asked if they want to leave America a couple times. It's approved by multiple California attorneys general. So we can have Californians take a vote and say do a majority want to leave America.

The next thing is you have to go to Congress and ask for permission to leave. A lot of people think you can't secede. That is ignorance. Texas versus White is a Supreme Court case after the Civil War, after the Civil War that says if you get consent of the states, you can leave. And finally, we think that America will let us go. I mean, watch Fox News. Watch TV. See how conservatives are talking about it.

HEGSETH: At the same time, it's the sixth largest economy in the world as well, and while there might be massive differences, that would be one heck of a ballot showdown. I know there is likely a ballot showdown in 2020 as well about California being a sanctuary state. This would take it to a whole other level. Marcus Ruiz Evans making the case for #Calexit. We will follow how America and our relationship with California continues. Appreciate your time tonight.

EVANS: Thank you.

HEGSETH: You got it.

Well, President Trump thought backing down when it comes to China. We'll tell you how he is helping American workers on this showdown coming up next.



HEGSETH: The United States and China are each threatening to issue multi-billion dollar tariffs on one another, sparking some fears of a trade war and causing the Dow Jones Industrial average to finish down over 500 points today.

But President Trump top economic adviser Larry Kudlow says it's all part of a plan to make things better for Americans.


LARRY KUDLOW, NATIONAL ECONOMY COUNCIL DIRECTOR: This is being done in the name of growing the American economy at a much faster rate than in previous decades. It's part of the whole package of lower taxation and regulations. Trade world, you have got to play by the rules. And if you change this, if China comes on board and joins the rest of the world, right, if they do that, everyone will benefit.


HEGSETH: Joining us now for reaction to that and the entire debate is Gordon Chang, an expert on China and author of "Nuclear Showdown, North Korea Takes on the World," and Tori Whiting, a trade economist at the Heritage Foundation. Thank you both for joining us tonight. Tori, you join us from Washington. Gordon, thanks for being here in studio. Appreciate your time.

I'll start with you, Gordon. They're making the argument that you can't have free trade while China benefits from unfair trade practices. And if you don't take this moment for the showdown it's not going to work. Are they taking the right stance in the Trump administration right now?

GORDAN CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN": I think they absolutely are because we now do have, as you point out, Pete, a trade outlaw at the center of global commerce. They have been gaming the system and they actually are threatening the entire World Trade Organization global architecture. The problem is the Chinese have been stealing intellectual property from the United States somewhere between $225 billion to $600 billion a year. They are leaving the Trump administration no choice. Yes, no one likes tariffs. No one likes trade friction. No one likes industrial policy. But in an innovation economy, if you can't protect innovation, you don't have an economy.

HEGSETH: Absolutely. Tori, if state run companies are benefiting from intellectual theft and selective tariffs that they apply, and at the World Trade Organization China is considering a developing nation and as a result gets preferential treatment, how is America supposed to play on a level playing field?

TORI WHITING, JAY VAN ANDEL TRADE ECONOMIST: Listen, I honestly do not think that tariffs are the right way to go. Gordon makes an interesting point there that the Trump administration or that China is the one that's possibly going to be ruining the world trade system. The United States is going against the World Trade Organization and doing unilateral measures instead of using the international organizations that we have in place to enforce the rules.

And there is history that actually backs this up. In every case that has been litigated between the United States and China at the WTO, the United States has won. And in nine of those 10 cases China has actually changed its behavior, and the USTR has validated the fact that China has changed its behavior.

HEGSETH: Gordon here is shaking his head. Is that true? And should we appeal to the WTO.

CHANG: The facts are true. But the story is if we have this perfect record at the WTO against China, and China is becoming more mercantilist, which they certainly have been for the last seven or eight years, the WTO is not the answer.

The real problem here, Pete, is that the dispute resolution mechanic at the WTO actually encourages trade violations because there is no penalty until there is adverse decision. And what China has done is they've done violative acts or procedures or policies, and they wait five or six years or whatever, and then when there is adverse decision against them, they take it off, but then they start something else which is equally violative, and they have been gaming the system. It doesn't work.

HEGSETH: I'm being told that if President Trump takes these actions, massive industries in the Midwest and elsewhere are going to be undercut. This trade war is going to hurt American workers ultimately. What's your take on that?

CHANG: That's completely overblown. You hear this, for instance, soybean farmers are not going to be able to sell their products. That's not true. If China were not to buy from soybean farmers in the U.S., which they can't do anyway, but let's say they were, so they would have to buy from Brazil. Brazil has only so many soybeans, which means they can't sell to their traditional customers. So American soybean producers will sell to Brazil's customers. The same principle applies with regard to Boeing craft.

And also people say Walmart is not going to have anything to sell. We will buy from Bangladesh, Mexico, Guatemala, whatever, they will be this substitution. China really will be hurt if we put tariffs on them. So these arguments about tariffs don't really work when you think about the way the global system operates.

HEGSETH: Tori, Gordon is arguing that the free market finds way and without this brinksmanship, without this showdown, without the threat of terrorists you're never going to get them to back down and they're going to play on this slanted field, where, as I said before, state-run companies are able to game the system against companies here that have to play by the rules.

WHITING: Listen, here's the thing. I'm not arguing that China is not a problem. They absolutely are violating the international trading system, and it is up to the United States as well as our international allies who are obeying the rules to hold China accountable. All I'm saying is tariffs are not the way.

HEGSETH: So things have gotten worse. Our trade deficit has increased. Presidents have said they want to do something about it but they have been completely ineffectual. Don't you like the fact at least this president has made changing that dynamic a priority?

WHITING: Listen, the trade deficit is a really poor measure for evaluating the health of an economy. The United States is doing great. The administration has really done a great job at lowering taxes and lowering regulations to make this a great place to do business. Tariffs are going to increase costs. And we have seen this in the past. In 2002, President Bush imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum products, and the United States lost 200,000 jobs in one year because of higher steel prices. So there are consequences for tariffs.

HEGSETH: Gordon, we also the larger macro aspect here which I'm most passionate about is a rising China that wants to throw its weight around militarily, economically. And does a showdown like this change the mindset of a permanent president now in China seeking to be a dictator who wants more power regionally and globally? Is this the kind of showdown we need to have to check the rising power of China?

CHANG: We absolutely do because we have had a succession of American presidents who have warned China on various dangerous conduct on the part of Beijing, but we never carry through. So we have taught the Chinese to ignore our warnings.

Now we have got a president who actually means what he says. He shows flashes of political will. I hope he carries through because this is exceedingly dangerous not only for the United States but for the world as well. We need the Chinese to act responsibly. And our policies up to now have completely failed to do that. What we have done is we have emboldened the worst aspects in Beijing by allowing them to do what they want.

WILSON: Xi Jinping has a Chinese dream by 2050 that looks a lot different than the America dream, and if we don't blunt that the world could look very different by then as well. Tori Whiting, Gordon Chang, thanks very much for this informative discussion on a Friday night. Appreciate it.

All right, coming up next, Michelle Obama resorts to a parenting metaphor to compare the Trumps and Obama president. Think candy and carrots. Except she gets everything upside down. We'll explain a little bit more next.


HEGSETH: Welcome back. Leave it to Michelle Obama to give a masters course in patronizing, condescending remarks. Last night the former first lady spoke at a conference in Boston where she compared the Trump presidency to her husband's. Listen.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER U.S. FIRST LADY: The eight years that Barack was president, it was sort of like having the good parent at home, the one that told to you eat your carrots and go to bed on time. And now perhaps we have the other parent. Maybe it feels fun to some for now because we can eat candy all day and stay up late and not follow the rules.


HEGSETH: Well, excuse me, but the only person who is actually forcing America and the world to eat their carrots is President Trump. And he is doing that while cleaning up the absolute mess left behind at home and abroad by the Obama administration.

Joining us now with reaction, Fox News political analyst Gianno Caldwell along with radio talk show host Ethan Bearman. Gentleman, thanks both of you for joining us from Los Angeles this evening. Gianno, let me start with you. If candy is crushing ISIS, if candy is tax cuts, if candy is repealing individual mandates, give me more candy. Talk to me about this analogy. Break it down for me here.

GIANNO CALDWELL, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: You know what, Michelle Obama is a very educated and intellectual woman, and to remind her and our audience of comments that she has made in the past, when they go low, we go high. And with that positive reinforcement that she has mentioned before, she should also recognize the fact that there is many people throughout this country who felt angst throughout the Obama administration because of their own conditions.

When we think about President Trump, you may not agree with his approach to things, but he is looking to accomplish the commitment that he made during the campaign. Certainly there are some things that have happened, deregulation has happened which has caused the economy to grow. We are going to probably see three or four percent growth this year. There is a lot of benefits to what President Trump is doing.

Again, you may not agree with his approach. You may not like what he says, but there are some things that are going on. And I think that's something we have to keep in consideration.

And lastly, Michelle Obama, President Obama, they worked very hard for Hillary Clinton. So we also have to keep in mind that there may be some hurt feelings there.

HEGSETH: Maybe just a little bit. Ethan, I will acknowledge, we all parent differently. Some are the quiet disciplinarians, others are the yellers, some let the kids free range parent. There is a lot of different approaches here.

But this particular analogy, to assume it was the Obamas that were the responsible ones providing carrots and Trumps that are out of control, reckless, and letting everybody to stay up at night, tell that to North Korea that is now at the table, or tell that to Iran who is in fear of their deal being scrapped. They are taking a different approach. Can't that be acknowledged?

ETHAN BEARMAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We can also go back and acknowledge that kicking off the campaign included calling Mexicans rapist among other things and starting a Muslim ban. But let's go to the White House where we have had massive turnover. We have people who last 10, 11 days in the White House. We have Scott Pruitt embroiled in yet another massive scandal related to travel and security along with Tom Price and some others. That would be the bad parent side of things here.

HEGSETH: That would be the bad parent side of thing. But this president was sent to Washington to shake it up, to take a different approach, and maybe even to do what he said he was going to do. When parents parent, you want your word to mean something. Previous presidents have said time and time again, for example we are going to move the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And then they would get there and say that seems too difficult. President Trump said no, I promised I would do it and I'm going to do it, just like I said I would crush ISIS and I'm going to do it, just like I don't think you should be on your parent's health insurance forever. That strikes me as something a responsible parent wouldn't necessarily do. So you can't even give him an inch and acknowledge that maybe he has brought some adult perspective to a world that was unhinged after the Obama presidency?

BEARMAN: Very little. And what I also have to add about that, if you are going to talk about parents and kids being on healthcare, we're talking about cutting $1 trillion from Medicaid and Medicare now and abandoning people so they have difficulty getting healthcare. That's problematic. That's not a good parent. That's a bad parent that does that, that doesn't ensure that everybody has full access to healthcare and repealing key components of Obamacare without having a replacement in place. That's not a good parent. That's a bad parent to me.

HEGSETH: That's a strawman.

BEARMAN: You brought up healthcare. I didn't.

HEGSETH: You are saying he wants to get rid of Medicare and Medicaid. If there's one guy in the Republican Party --

BEARMAN: There's $1 trillion that already coming out because of the tax cuts. They're going to cut back Medicaid and Medicare.

CALDWELL: So what we have to keep in mind is President Trump was elected to do a number of different things. Repeal and replace Obamacare was one of them. So what you considered to be a bad parent the American people completely and totally disagree with you, Ethan, because they voted for him to do exactly that.

What I can concede is everything that President Trump does or says isn't correct. So we can acknowledge that, and I think that's something we can all agree on. But when it comes to using this parent analogy, I think that was an inappropriate use of the first lady's time. You can debate on policies. You can debate on his words and tweets. I think that's all appropriate and fair game. But when we are talking about the president of the United States, I think that we should live by the George Bush standard, which was he didn't criticize his predecessor. So he didn't criticize President Obama. Let's allow politics to be as they are and allow us pundits to get on television and debate these issues and keep the energy high.

HEGSETH: I think that's an important point. When you are impugning the motives of the contributor administration as the former administration, fine, you may have policy differences. But by saying good parent, bad parent, they are asserting, just like you did at the beginning of your answer, that his previous campaign statements make him a bad person with ill motives. Can we not just disagree and acknowledge that President Trump has pursued a policy platform he thinks is better for America?

BEARMAN: I think that's part of it, Pete. But you can't refute the idea that by bringing out these bad parts in people, focusing on the other Mexican rapists, Muslim ban, 57 percent increase in anti-Jewish crimes in the United States last year. I have been the subject of many of those attacks. That's what he brought out in people.

HEGSETH: You are accusing President Trump of stoking antisemitism?

BEARMAN: It happened under his watch when he is making accusations pointing out all out differences in these different minority groups and saying negative things about them, and then saying they were good people on both sides in Charlottesville protest? Yes.

HEGSETH: He said negative things Jews? He said negative things about Israel? I'm misting something here.

BEARMAN: Now you are equating Israel and Judaism. That is a false comparison.

HEGSETH: No, Jews, I said Jews. Take your pick.

BEARMAN: But you said Israel.

HEGSETH: I said both.

BEARMAN: There are two different topics there. I support him when it comes to the idea that Israel has a right to defend herself. There's no question about that. But in terms of what the effect has been with the alt-right here in the United States and what has happened to Jews across the media, what has happened to a number of Mexicans that I know and what has happened to people like DACA recipients, that's not good.

CALDWELL: I think you are equating something that could happen under any administration with President Trump, and I think that's an unfair criticism.

HEGSETH: I think we are going to have to leave it right there. Gianno Caldwell, thanks a lot. And Ethan Bearman, you guys still have an evening in front of you. I'm jealous on a Friday night from California. Enjoy gentlemen.


HEGSETH: President Trump takes direct aim at Vladimir Putin's inner circle. Will the left finally give him credit for being tougher on Russia that Obama ever was? Stay tuned.


HEGSETH: Just a few weeks ago in the aftermath of a nerve agent attack that targeted a former Russian spy in the U.K., this is practically all we heard from Democrats and critics of President Trump. Listen.


MAX BOOT, COUNCIL FOR FOREIGN RELATIONS: Why on earth does Donald Trump not call out the Russians? They are attacking our allies. They are attacking our allies and he is looking the other way. That is a disgrace.


HEGSETH: That's Max Boot, one of the president's fiercest critics. The president did this instead.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The Trump administration is expelling 60 Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in England.


HEGSETH: But that wasn't enough. Democrats have also been relentless in making this demand.


DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Putin will cooperate for two reasons. One is it's because it's in his interest, or because you are taking tough actions against him like going after the oligarchs on whom he is so reliant, which Trump won't do.


HEGSETH: Someone was listening. So what did President Trump do today?


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We do have some breaking news to bring you right now. The Trump administration is imposing new sanctions on Russian oligarchs and government officials.


HEGSETH: Oh, CNN. But don't expect to stop hearing this from the president's critics.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: There is still the question of why President Trump has not taken a more aggressive public stance against Vladimir Putin. The president has not publicly said anything.


HEGSETH: There are always still questions. So will President Trump ever get credit for cracking down harder on Russia than President Obama ever did? Joining us now with reaction is Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies at New York University. Mr. Professor, thank you for being here, I appreciate it. So I will ask you that question. Will this president ever get credit for cracking down on Russia?

STEPHEN COHEN, PROFESSOR OF RUSSIAN STUDIES, NYU: Well, they keep telling him to get tougher and they keep moving the goal posts, and the end zone is war.

HEGSETH: The critics, you're saying. His critics are saying get tougher. When he does get tough they say that's not enough, and ultimately you are saying if you went that tough it leads us somewhere?

COHEN: Well, I mean, if you want to ask me whether Trump has been tougher than Obama on Russia, if we quantify it, the answer is probably yes. He has expelled more diplomats. He has leveled more sanctions.

HEGSETH: He would like to expel Democrats if he could.


COHEN: Here's the problem. You and I, you've got a family I'm guessing. We are in danger. I would say the gravest danger in regard to Russia since the Cuban missile crisis. We are in a new cold war. It's not a joke. It's much more dangerous than the last. We're in eyeball to eyeball military confrontation, Ukraine, the Baltics and Syria.

HEGSETH: Sure. He sent weapons to Ukraine as well.

COHEN: But stop and think. I'm older than you so I remember this vividly. Throughout my lifetime, every American president, Democrat or Republican, has been empowered to deal with the leader in the Kremlin to keep us out of war and prevent nuclear war.

HEGSETH: Maintain a relationship?

COHEN: Right. By the way, the three presidents who did that the most, it was called detente, were Republicans, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan. Trump senses we're in grave danger with Russia. There is no question about it. He wants to talk to Putin about international terrorism and the new nuclear arms race. If he picks up the phone and calls and says let's talk, his critics will say it's treason. So, well, it's not funny.


COHEN: We are in danger and we have always looked to the president. I didn't vote for Trump. I opposed some of his policies. But his statement that it's essential to cooperate with Russia is the truth. And every American should support that and not attack him for trying to do it because he is our safety wall between disaster.

HEGSETH: You are saying it's a smart move professionally tougher but personally a little bit more friendly. We have to leave it right there unfortunately. In these moments you need wisdom, and that's exactly what we need to navigate this tough course. Professor, thank you very much for your time. Appreciate it. An expert on Russia.

We have got more for you. We'll be right back.


HEGSETH: That's all the time we have tonight. Be sure to catch me tomorrow morning on "Fox & Friends Weekend" both tomorrow and Sunday from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. eastern time with -- not Easter. That's Eastern time. With Abby Huntsman and Ed Henry. You can follow me on Twitter as well @PeteHegseth. It's been a pleasure filling in for Laura Ingraham, who will be back on Monday night. Shannon Bream and the "Fox News @ Night" team are up next. Have a great weekend, everyone. Goodnight from New York.

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