Sen. Mike Lee says he 'couldn't agree more' with President Trump's decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News @ Night," December 19, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SHANNON BREAM: All right. Hello and welcome to “Fox News @ Night,” I'm Shannon Bream in Washington.

And we begin with a Fox News alert. Breaking news tonight from the Wall Street Journal. President Trump picked to be the new attorney general. Penned a memo months ago calling a key aspect of the special counsel's investigation into the president fatally flawed. So, did the memo factor into the president's decision to pick Bill Barr? When did the president know about the memo?

We have reaction tonight from inside the administration, Harvard professor, Alan Dershowitz and Senator Mike Lee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But that's not all. It's a very big breaking news night. It's official the Republican House Freedom Caucus wants President Trump to veto a short- term spending bill. A move that would effectively shut down the government on Friday. To send a statement to lawmakers about funding for his border wall.

Tonight, putting a pressure on the White House that has soften its position on the president's $5 billion demand. So how will the president respond as his base is asking tough questions about what happened to the campaign promise to build the wall?

Let's start with correspondent Ellison Barber who is following the political fallout for the president from the border wall battle tonight. Good evening, Ellison.

ELLISON BARBER, CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Shannon. The Senate voted to approve the stop-gap spending bill funding the government through February 8th and potentially avoiding a partial government shutdown.

Now, it will head to the House where tonight a small but powerful group of conservatives are urging the president to veto it.


BARBER: Rush Limbaugh.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Trump gets nothing and the Democrats get everything.

BARBER: Ann Coulter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Ann Coulter vote for Donald Trump for reelection?

ANN COULTER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, nor will I think most of the supporters. Why would you? To make sure, I don't know, Ivanka and Jared can make money? That seems to be the main point of the presidency at this point.

BARBER: Freedom Caucus chairman, Mark Meadows.

REP. MARK MEADOWS, R-N.C.: Let's build a wall and make sure that we do our job in Congress.

BARBER: All frustrated with the president they've supported. And Meadows says the president needs to veto the stop-gap spending bill unless it includes the funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

MEADOWS: Mr. President, we're going to back you up. If you veto this bill, we'll be there. But more importantly, the American people will be there.

BARBER: And he says failure to do so will cause major damage to the president's 2020 reelection campaign.

REP. JIM JORDAN, R-OH: $5 billion for the wall, reform our asylum laws.

BARBER: Members of the House Freedom Caucus say they want to amend any spending bill to ensure that it includes funding for a wall and close this so-called catch and release loopholes. It's a long shot, but they held a special order tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now is the time.

BARBER: Giving speeches calling for those very things.

REP. SCOTT PERRY, R-PA.: The feeling is that we've had two years under this new president where immigration reform was the central issue and we haven't -- we really haven't accomplished a great deal in Congress. And as the waning days of the majority slip out from under us, we want to make sure we accomplish something.

JORDAN: Now they're talking about kicking it to February 8th. You've got to be kidding me. I'm supposed to believe, we're supposed to believe that we're then going to build the border security wall and keep our promise from the 2016 campaign? No way.


BARBER: The Senate took a House approved bill and added provisions to it to fund the government. The House is expected to take up the bill from the Senate in its current form. We're now hearing that the House rules committee will meet tonight. They should be getting their meeting underway to set up their plan for debate tomorrow any minute now. Shannon?

BREAM: All right. Ellison, thank you very much.

And as the Senate does its part and it now since that short-term spending bill over to the House, a group of GOP House members says, not so fast.

All right. So let's talk to some House members. Bring in a member of the House Freedom Caucus, Republican Congressman from Georgia, Jody Hice. And Congressman Mark Walker from North Carolina who is the chairman of the Republican Study Committee. Welcome to you both, gentlemen.

REP. JODY HICE, R-GA.: Thanks, Shannon.

BREAM: OK. So, Congressman Hice, we've heard quite a bit from the House Freedom Caucus tonight. They want this president to stand firm and say no to this measure. There are others who are cautioning, including your GOP Colleague, Congressman Peter King. Here's what he has to say about a shutdown.


REP. PETER KING, R-N.Y.: As a Republican from the suburbs, it would definitely hurt the Republican Party politically. We would be blamed for this. Maybe not in the states that the Freedom Caucus represents, but I can tell you in the states where the suburban areas, this is a bad issue.


KING: In the 2020 elections, they should keep that in mind.


BREAM: So, how far do you want to see this go?

HICE: When we're talking border security, we're talking national security. And within that context, we ran on this. The president ran on this, Iran on this, most of the people in the Republican Party ran on this. I mean, we all heard the chants of literally millions saying, "Build that wall. Build that wall."

And the question ultimately comes down to, are we going to do what we promised the American people we would do?

BREAM: Well, a couple of headlines for you tonight about this not getting done. CNBC says this. "The short-term bill would mean Trump would fall short once again in its ongoing effort to secure money for the wall. One of his key campaign promises."

The Washington Post says this. The GOP-controlled Congress on Wednesday severely undermined President Trump's drive for border wall, embracing a short-term spending bill that would keep the government open, but deny any new money for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border."

REP. MARK WALKER, R-N.C.: Yes. There are many people tonight -- there was a whip count done this evening. Whip count is like the next day, you may have a major piece of legislation. I can tell you with the Republican Senate Committee Freedom Caucus or other members, that whip count did not go well on this CR.

Guys are tired of it, they're fed up, they believe the well is important. Rush Limbaugh talked about it today. He was right, the wall itself is symbolic. Border security as a whole is very important.

I will say this, we did reach 193 Republican votes just a couple of months ago on a specific bill that had $25 billion authorized as well as the Interior Enforcement component. The wall is going to be crucial. It is tied to President Trump. He's got to get it done, but there are components that we've got to make sure that we do as well.

BREAM: OK. So if you know the Democrat votes are not there in the House or the Senate to get to $5 billion which the president wants. He said maybe there are other ways he could move around the money. Maybe in the Defense Department. That kind of thing.

None of those seem to be happening right now. So, is it a matter of choosing between a shutdown and what? I mean, because you don't have votes to move this forward.

HICE: Well, I mean, we've got to put it on the table. There again, we've made a commitment to the American people what we would do and the president has been very outspoken on this as well. And as recent as last week, being very outspoken on his position on this. And I believe the American people are with him.

All I can say is for my constituent's perspective, my phones are being lit top with constituents who are angry that it seems as though when we have the chance right now to do what we said we would do. This doesn't seem the will to get it over the finish line.

BREAM: And what we're looking at is a short-term measure that would go through February 8th. There are seven agencies, that still need money, very important agencies. But Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who is a Democrat, they'll be in charge, come January, once they're sworn in, says this, when House Democrats assume control in two weeks, my primary focus will be to pass reasonable spending legislation that does not find President Trump's wasteful wall.

So, where are you with this to February?

WALKER: Hypocrisy blows me away. Nancy Pelosi had no problem when he set up that jumbo jet with that $1.8 billion to Iran, yet we can't get $5 billion -- actually, $3.4 billion of additional money to be able to continue this wall.

It is important and it's not just about preventing illegal immigrants. The amount of drugs that ICE agent seized just last year, 800,000 pounds, 900 children, Shannon, were rescued from human traffickers. We've got to be able do something to protect the American people and protect these lives as well.

BREAM: What do you think is the impact on the president's 2020 reelection run if this wall doesn't happen?

HICE: Yes. I think he's walking on thin ice. All of us are. Again, we get what we deserve when we don't do what we say we were going to do. And this is a major issue that the president ran on that the American people massively got behind him on, and this is something we just got to deliver.

And now is the time. If we think that Nancy Pelosi is going to fund the wall, as you just read, that's not in their plans. In fact, their plans include just the opposite. They're going to do everything possibly to prevent it from occurring. So we've got to get it done right now.

WALKER: But if you're going to go as far as shutting down the government, you also have to have an exit strategy. How do you get that worked out? How do you come back? It's not just about shutting the border or shutting down the government, even though I do believe, if it comes under protecting the American people, everything should be on the table.

BREAM: All right, gentlemen. Thank you for coming in after late night on the Hill. We know tomorrow is a big day for your vote and the House as well.

WALKER: Always a privilege.

BREAM: We'll be watching.

HICE: Thank you very much.

BREAM: Thanks.

All right. Our other top story tonight. By now, you've heard that President Trump has declared victory over ISIS and has told the Pentagon to get our troops out of Syria. So, what about reported claims to get out of Afghanistan too? Trace Gallagher is on the case for us. It's a big breaking news on the Mueller front as well. Good evening, Trace?

TRACE GALLAGHER, CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Shannon. The decision to remove the entire U.S. force from Syria, some 2,000 troops surprised virtually everyone and officially marked the end of an extended ground campaign against ISIS.

After the decision went public, the president tweeted, quoting, "We have defeated ISIS in Syria. My only reason for being there during the Trump presidency."

And this evening, the president release this video statement. Watch.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I've been president for almost two years, and we've really stepped it up, and we have won against ISIS. We've beaten them and we've beaten them badly. We've taken back the land. And now it's time for our troops to come back home.


GALLAGHER: White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said this does not end the global campaign against ISIS, quoting again, "The United States and our allies stand ready to reengage at all levels to defend American interests whenever necessary."

But Trump ally and frequent advisor, Senator Lindsey Graham does not like it. Look.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: I think ISIS is more likely to come back, because I don't agree with the president that they're defeated in Syria and Iraq.


GALLAGHER: Florida senator, Marco Rubio, called the decision a major blunder. National security advisor, John Bolton, argued that a precipitous withdrawal in Syria would embolden ISIS to make a comeback.

And in September, Defense Secretary James Mattis said, quote, "Getting rid of the caliphate doesn't mean that you then blindly say, OK, we got rid of it, march out, and wonder why the caliphate comes back."

Kentucky GOP senator, Rand Paul, who clearly opposes foreign intervention, applauded the move.

And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the U.S. pullout will not impede his country's ability to defend itself against regional threat.

So the question now is, what's next? The president has clearly been frustrated by the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and has floated the idea of also removing troops there.

In fact, the only reason he says he's keeping troops in Afghanistan is because experts told him U.S. forces are still need. But experts also told him U.S. forces are needed in Syria.

And President Trump's envoy to Afghanistan has reportedly reached out to Taliban's top figures, trying to launch peace negotiations to end the war before President Trump pulls the troops and the plug. Shannon?

BREAM: OK. And, Trace, on another subject, we're getting breaking news tonight about attorney general nominee, Bill Barr. What can you tell us?

GALLAGHER: Yes. The Wall Street Journal just broke a story that might play a role in the confirmation of the former attorney general, Bill Barr. It turns out back in June, Barr wrote a memo to deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein that lays out his argument for why the law does not support any obstruction of justice case against the president.

The Journal says the memo was unsolicited and written in Barr's capacity as a former attorney general. The concern, of course, is whether the memo factored into the president's decision to nominate Bill Barr. But Mr. Barr claims he told the president about the memo and that it was after he'd been offered the job.

In fact, sources close to the confirmation process told the Journal that White House attorney, Emmet Flood and Bill Barr, both say the sequence was that President Trump met with Barr, offered the job, then they talked about potential confirmation pitfalls.

The article also quotes Rod Rosenstein saying the memo had no impact on any of the current investigations. Of course, the memo will now be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee tonight or sometime tomorrow. Shannon?

BREAM: Trace Gallagher on the West Coast. Thank you very much.

OK. Barr's memo describing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's approach on this issue of obstruction of justice as grossly irresponsible which potentially disastrous implications for the executive branch.

So let's bring Harvard law professor emeritus, Alan Dershowitz for instant reaction to tonight's Wall Street Journal report. Professor, welcome. Good to have you with us.


BREAM: OK. I want to read a little bit of what we're getting from the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. He says, "Many people do offer unsolicited advice directly or through the news media, about legal issues they believe are pending before the Department of Justice. At no time did former Attorney General Barr seek or receive from me any nonpublic information regarding any ongoing investigation, including the special counsel investigation. His memo has had no impact on the investigation."

So two-part question for you. Should it and will it? Because of the political optics that the left may want to use to their advantage?

DERSHOWITZ: No and no. I have read the Wall Street Journal account. I haven't read the memo. Obviously, it's not yet public. But I agree, with everything I've read in the account, he's making the same argument I have been making now for over a year, namely, the president cannot obstruct justice simply by exercising his authority under Article II.

He would have to, in order to obstruct justice, bribe witnesses, destroy evidence, do what Richard Nixon did, that's exactly the argument I've been making. So not surprisingly. I agree with it 100 percent. And it will not impact the confirmation. Why? Everybody in America has an opinion on this. He wrote his opinion to the deputy attorney general. Absolutely approximately.

I wrote my opinions in op-eds and I express the on television. There's no difference. And I think it would be absolutely irresponsible for the Democrats to try to stop the confirmation of an extraordinarily well qualified nominee for attorney general based on this memo which, to me, expresses the law properly.

But even if it didn't express an opinion, that every American has the right to have. The virtue of this is we now know his opinion. We don't know other people's opinions. If somebody else were nominated, he would have secret opinions but he would hold them just as strongly. So it would be wrong to hold up the nomination and I believe the nomination will not be held up.

I believe that Barr will be the next Attorney General of the United States and will serve with great distinction.

BREAM: OK. So of course, the question is that -- and many are going to raise, critics of the President and critics of Barr potentially, when did the President know? So a source close to this whole confirmation process tells me as Trace reported that the President talked with him, had a good conversation at some point offered him the job and after that Barr said to him, I need to tell you about this memo that's likely to come up in the confirmation process.

Do you think that it will come up in the confirmation process or that people will with respect to Mr. Barr and his long-time reputation and bipartisan support across the aisle, they'll take that answer face value?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think the Democrats will take advantage of it. By the way, for me, it wouldn't matter one bit if he had told the President before or after. The President is entitled to know what his nominee's views are on every possible subject. And his nominee's views are very traditional. The President of the United States under article two he has the authority to fire, has the authority to pardon, has the authority to stop investigations.

Thomas Jefferson did it, Lincoln did it, Roosevelt did it, Kennedy did it. It's traditional. So -- and I think Barr correctly describes the argument that Mueller seems to be making as an extreme and unusual argument and I think Barr has the better of the argument. So even if he had told the President of it before and the President took it into consideration, I would not view that as a disqualification.

But certainly if the President nominated from the first and he's an extraordinary man with extraordinary background. Former Attorney General of the United States, somebody who's has done great work in the private sector. He is the perfect nominee for attorney general from a Republican. And I think that it would be irresponsible for the Democrats not to give the President's his person.

Also, there's been some discussion, will he have to recuse himself? Of course not. You don't recuse yourself just because you have strong views about important subjects, he has no involvement other than as a private citizen expressing his views. And he expressed them exactly the way we want people to express them. And a discreet confidential memo to the deputy attorney general which somebody leaked. He didn't leak it.

If he hadn't been leaked, nobody would know about this except the people who received the memo, the President and people close the President. So I think this is an interesting story, but in the end, I don't think it will be have any impact on Barr's nomination. It certainly should not have any impact.

BREAM: All right. Professor Dershowitz, thank you for joining us on a breaking news night. Great to have you.

DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.

BREAM: All right. It seems there are many would like to see President Trump go down the impeachment road. If you watch several channels, it seems to be -- well, they say a done deal. And the media is fueling the fire. Some examples tonight from Fox News Media Analyst and host of Fox's "MEDIABUZZ", Howard Kurtz.


HOWARD KURTZ, MEDIA ANALYST: Pundits and prognosticators are taking their criticism of President Trump to new heights of harshness as the investigation heat up.

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: If we've never seen a President of the United States who actually acts more in some ways like a common grifter.

KURTZ: Even some respected presidential historians are less measured when it comes to this one.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It hasn't been as bad since the 1850s and that didn't end up too well in the Civil War that 600,000 people died in. I think that at some he might resign.

JON MEACHAM, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: If in fact Donald Trump knew about the Russian efforts on his behalf, then there's a live question about whether he has been giving aid and comfort to the enemy which is the definition of treason in the constitution.

KURTZ: Fox's Andrew Napolitano says Trump may even have been named in a sealed indictment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he may be an already indicted coconspirator?

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, JUDICIAL ANALYST: That I don't know about, but it could be because we don't know what's been sealed.

KURTZ: Michael Cohen's plea in a raging hush money payments triggered new levels of outrage.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, HOST, MSNBC: Donald Trump will be, must be impeached because of the crimes prosecutors say he committed in the Michael Cohen case.

KURTZ: Politico and Vanity Fair write that Donald Trump Jr. has told friends he expects to be indicted. His lawyer's denial hasn't stop speculation about Robert Mueller targeting the family.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, MSNBC: What if he were to say he would let the children walk if the old man does the same. That would be giving up the presidency in exchange for acquittals all around, not just himself, but for all his kids.

KURTZ: Critics of Michael Flynn's guilty plea such as the Wall Street Journal editorial The Flynn Entrapment argued that a judge might toss the case.

JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Judge Sullivan can throw out this guilty if he concludes the FBI intentionally interfered with their target, Flynn's constitutional right to counsel.

KURTZ: But the judge granted a delay after signaling Flynn might get jailed.


KURTZ: With guilty pleas from the President's former campaign chairman, lawyer, and national security advisor, the prices had plenty to cover but that's not enough for those who want to attack him with predictions of doomsday scenarios. Shannon?

BREAM: Howard Kurtz, thank you very much. All right. Late tonight, the Senate moving to avoid a government shutdown as we heard but the stop gap resolution does not include President Trump's $5 billion for a border wall. Senator Mike Lee fresh off the floor and abode is here to weigh in. And we'll also gage how he's feeling about U.S. troops being pulled out of Syria and much more. Stick around.


BREAM: Many comparing President Trump's move today on Syria with President Obama pulling out of Iraq, including plenty of Republicans. Senator Mike Lee of Utah joins us now to tell us about his view. We got to many topics. But let's start with Syria. I want to play a little bit of what your colleagues had to say on The Hill today and there's a split among the GOP. Here are couple of those.


SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: I'm proud of the President today to hear that he is declaring victory in Syria. Most of the voices around here like to stay everywhere for all time and they believed that it doesn't work unless you go somewhere and stay forever.

GRAHAM: This to me is an Obama-like decision. I hope I'm wrong but I don't think I am and I have no understand of why we're doing this. To me, it is an - ill-conceived idea, the downside is really great and the upside is pretty small.


BREAM: All right. So the warnings are dire that Russia and Iran and Hezbollah, those guys are all celebrating today and Assad too. What do you make of it?

SEN. MIKE LEE, R-UT: One of my colleagues just called this an Obama- like decision, I couldn't disagree more, I couldn't agree more with the President's decision. Look, by definition, this is the opposite of an Obama decision. Obama got us involved, Trump has taken us out. Congress has never declared war or authorized a use of military force in Syria, we shouldn't be there anyway. We have Congress doing that.

BREAM: President Obama got in a lot of heat, he got a lot of criticism from across a political spectrum for telegraphing when we were going to leave and how -- what that did for people. And, you know, we're hearing from President -- or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today saying, listen, we'll respect the U.S. but Israel's got to be worried about what goes on there too if we pull out of this particular situation. LEE: Sure. I understand that, we've got to look at what is in the interest of the United States, one of the concerns I had from the outset with Syria is that officials with the Obama administration, officials in the Pentagon at the time could never give me a straight answer, what is our objective. Are we -- are we trying to oust Bashar al-Assad? If so, what is the post Assad-Syria look like?

And is it going to be any more friendly to our interest? What is our objective there? They couldn't answer that and Cnever authorized it. That's a problem, that's why I applaud President Trump's decision.

BREAM: Do think we have fully defeated ISIS as the President said today?

LEE: If the President says that we've done that, I believe him. The President has access to more intel than the rest of us get. And I trust his judgment on this. I think he made the right choice.

BREAM: OK. And let's talk about the report just out of the Wall Street Journal tonight. The Attorney General Bill Barr, this memo that he sent over the summer, done as a private citizen but clearly telegraphed how he feels about the President and potentially trying to bring obstruction of justice charges against him. That will come through you at the Senate Judiciary Committee, so your reaction.

LEE: I agree with what Professor Dershowitz said a few minutes ago. This is an individual who was writing as a private citizen, he wasn't speaking for the government, he wasn't whispering in the President's ear, he was expressing his own opinion on a matter of legal concern. This is a person who was eminently qualified and a person who should be confirmed as the next attorney general.

BREAM: OK. Word this week that there is $10.68 billion in aid going to Mexico and Central America and a lot of folks reacting saying, why can't you come up with $5 billion for the wall if we can do that.

LEE: Right. It's an outstanding question. And in the end, President Trump wasn't even saying he had to have that, he was just saying remove existing restrictions on existing funding extremes and yet even that was too much for the Democrats. Why? Why would they not want our borders secure? Why would they not want to make sure that America national security os protected by protecting our border.

That's a very significant question, one for which I think they've got to provide an answer.

BREAM: OK. And quickly you spearheaded a big bipartisan win this week in this criminal justice reform bill, it is a big deal and something that brought people together across the aisle. You know, one of the folks out there tweeting it was one of the best stretches of your eight years in the Senate getting this done.

LEE: It was fantastic and look, we couldn't have done this without the support of President Trump. I'm very grateful to him and Jared Kushner for pushing this forward. The President showed bold leadership. This is how we were able to get 87 votes. Bipartisan super majority in the Senate. This will end up passing the House of representatives tomorrow and be signed into law by the President and I think him for that.

BREAM: Well, they are very busy now with the funding bill that you sent over. So a busy week leading up to Christmas. Thank you for making time to stop in.

LEE: Thank you.

BREAM: Good to see you. All right. Will President Trump deliver the border wall he promised his based or is this a read my lips moment? And now a contemporary design for the wall. Check it out. Now everyone is excited about it. And also tonight, the House Freedom Caucus calling on Congress to fund the wall now.


JORDAN: You got to be kidding me. Really? I mean, February 8 when Nancy Pelosi as speaker do we really -- I'm supposed to believe, we're supposed to believe that we're then going to build the border security wall and keep our promise from the 2016 campaign?


BREAM: Jim Jordan fired up. We'll see. More border wall analysis from our power panel after the break. Stick around. Doug, Tom, and Ralph. Are they fired up too?



TRUMP: On the fence. It's not a fence. It's a wall. You just misreported it. We're going to build a wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wall is a very specific thing for the president's base. For the president's base, the wall, with those words, "the wall," means a lot. It's like -- this is one of the read-my-lips-moment for this president.


BREAM: OK. So, what started out as vision for wall is now morphing into a fence, or as the president not a concrete wall but artistically designed steel slats. Now, conservatives are worried the president may have just had his own read-my-lips moments with the conservative base or that they may get nothing at all. All right, time now for tonight's "POWER PANEL": Fox News Contributor and former Clinton Pollster Doug Schoen, Fox News Contributor and former Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan and Ralph Terry who runs a foundation in the name of his nephew, slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Gentlemen, welcome to all of you.



BREAM: OK. So, we want to play something that the president said earlier this year when he signed onto a giant spending bill that had things in that conservatives didn't want. It left out things that they wanted. Here's what he said then.


TRUMP: There are a lot of things that I'm unhappy about in this bill. A lot of things that we shouldn't have had in this bill but we were, in a sense, forced if we want to build our military, we were forced to have. There are somethings that we should have in the bill, but I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again. I'm not going to do it again.


BREAM: Ralph, is he about to have to do it again? Ralph?


BREAM: Is he about to have to do that again after pledging he's not going to sign another bill that doesn't meet his goals, including one of them is this wall?

TERRY: I don't think so. I think President Trump will do exactly what he said. We need a wall. He knows we need a wall. The Terry family is very close to the Border Patrol family, trying to keep our nation safe. And that wall is just another tool that we have to keep the citizens of the United States safe and secure.

BREAM: Well, Doug, obviously, right now, Democrats say: no, you're not getting the five billion. So, if the president is going to keep digging in about the wall, although it sounds like it's a softening from the White House, what happens if he shuts down the government when he said last week, "I'll own it."

SCHOEN: Yes, he's in a lose-lose situation, Shannon. There's not going to be a wall now. They don't have the votes. It's not going to happen. They're not going to get the 1.6 billion that they had last week for border security that could have been positioned as a wall. And if it shuts down, he will be blamed, it will not work to the Republicans' advantage and he will face a degree of chaos with a Democratic House that will be down to his detriment.

BREAM: All right. Thomas, Ben Shapiro writing for The Daily Wire says this, "It's a pretty gutless move for the administration to back down from a fight over the wall after revving up Republicans for precisely that fight, especially since back in January, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was forced to back down from his own shutdown attempt while trying to push President Trump to grant amnesty to so-called DREAMers." Thomas, how do you see this playing out.

HOMAN: Well, I tell you, I thought long and hard about what I'm going to say tonight. Since he's been the president, I've given 200 -- probably 200 interviews with the media about border security. And I've said it many times, I've worked for six presidents and no one has done more for border security and public safety (INAUDIBLE) than this president. And I support him 100 percent.

However, Friday, if he doesn't get the money he needs for this wall, he needs to shut the government down -- I disagree with the last speaker, it is a win. Because stood there on national T.V., he said, he'd take ownership of this issue. That is a president who takes border security and the sovereignty of this country very seriously. He shuts it down if he doesn't get his money, and he owns it. And by doing that, he leads. The few Republicans who do not support him, the president still needs to make this move. He needs to lead in this issue. He got elected on this issue, the American people are counting on this issue, and the 20,000 men and women of the Border Patrol, they need this. This will help protect and makes their job easier.

BREAM: OK, I want to play something from Senator Cornyn today, obviously one of the top Republicans in the Senate, about previous votes on these issues and positions on this issue by Democrats. Here's what was said.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN, R-TX: The irony is, at one point, during the comprehensive immigration reform debate, Democrats are willing to pay $40 billion for border security during the DACA, the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrival. The negotiation with Senator Schumer offers $25 billion, now $5 billion is unacceptable.


BREAM: Ralph, your family has paid dearly and very personally over this issue. Are you worried it's become so politicized that nothing will get done?

TERRY: I think it's time to put politics aside. I think of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer had sons or daughters in the Border Patrol, the wall would already be built. The security of our nation, the security of our citizens, and the safety of our Border Patrol agents should be utmost in their minds. It's not a political issue. It's a safety issue.

BREAM: But Doug, at this point, with Nancy Pelosi, looking like she's going to clinch as the new speaker, but hoping to coalesce around her and get those votes she needs to be the next speaker, why would she have any reason to move at this point? I mean, even if there is a government shutdown, what would bring her to the table or change her position in any way?

SCHOEN: There's nothing as far as I can see. And what Senator Cornyn said is right, the Republicans have blown it. The Democrats in the past were prepared to do what I think is a reasonable bill, enhanced border security in exchange for the DREAMers or some pathway to citizenship for those who are here illegally. I still think it made sense, but frankly, given the way this has been bungled by the Republicans, there's not going to be a wall, Republicans will be blamed, and Nancy Pelosi, as you suggest, Shannon, will be emboldened.

BREAM: And Thomas, I want to read a letter from Saagar Enjeti who covers the White House for the Daily Caller, he is a frequent guest with us here. The headline is: "Is Trump blowing his last chance to get the wall?" What do you think, Thomas?

HOMAS: Absolutely. Look, if he doesn't get the money Friday and he doesn't shut the government down, he lets continues kicking the down (INAUDIBLE). He loses, Chuck and Nancy win. But Mr. Terry, who made some great comments a minute ago, I've said it many times myself, let Chuck and Nancy a strap a gun to their hip, put a Kevlar vest on, and go stand on that line and tell the men and women of Border Patrol they don't need this fall.

BREAM: And Ralph, I want to give you the final word here because this is something that you've dedicated your life to now, and your family feels this every day, what is your message to the president as this vote looms?

TERRY: President Trump, as Brian always said, do the work. Do what you told us you were going to do and get it done.

BREAM: All right. If he's watching tonight, we'll see if he gets the message. All right, Brian, Doug and Thomas, thank you all for weighing in.

SCHOEN: Thank you so much.

HOMAN: Thank you.

TERRY: Thank you.

BREAM: President Trump declaring victory over ISIS, announcing the U.S. and troops will leave Syria. But will our departure breathe new life into terror threats in that region? We're going to talk to Dan Hoffman, former CIA Station Chief, right after this break.


BREAM: The decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria for some is going to be viewed as potentially positive in Turkey. President Trump and Turkish President Erdogan have talked several times in the last few weeks, most recently on Friday. Now, the withdrawal could hurt the Kurds have been a thorn on the side of Erdogan. So, let's bring in former CIA Station Chief and Fox News Contributor Daniel Hoffman to talk about all the different pieces of the puzzle, great to have you with us.


BREAM: OK. So, Jim Hansen tweets this: "Why are we caving in to Erdogan? The Kurds have our allies in the fight to kill ISIS. Now, we're going to let Turkey slaughter them? This is not winning." David Frum tweeting this: "Isn't one likely explanation of the Trump-Syria announcement that it's part of the price Ankara to go easy on the Saudi crown prince? The 2000 U.S. personnel are deployed with Syrian Kurds -- a big irritant to Ankara. Syrian Kurds now weakened." I mean, they are a key player here, they have relied on us, what happens when we leave?

HOFFMAN: And we've relied on them. So, the U.S. has a relatively modest contingent, 2,000 troops doing, primarily trained and assists with the Syrian Democratic forces, made up primarily of those Kurdish troops. The Turks consider them to be an offshoot of the outlawed PKK. And so, the United States has also served as a deterrent to potential Turkish attacks - - that is of concern to us, for sure.

BREAM: OK. So, the president says today: "We've defeated is in Syria. My only reason for being there during the Trump presidency." I asked Senator Lee earlier in the show, he said: "Listen, if that's the president's characterization, I believe him; he has access information I don't." But you know there are plenty of people speculating that this is going to be not a great thing to leave any kind of vacuum there.

HOFFMAN: Right. I would say that we virtually eliminated ISIS geography, may be 95 percent of it. The concern is that some of those fighters are going to melt into an insurgency now and there is still maybe 20,000 or so of them, total, in the Iraq-Syria battle space. And so, that is the first reason why we might not quite be ready to bring out troops on the second as General Mattis and Ambassador Bolton have noted is that our troops served as a deterrent and some skin in the game against Iran. This administration has been tougher on Iran than any -- with maximum pressure, sanctions and tearing up the GCPO. This is also a place where we need to take on Iran and I think that's also an issue that some of the lawmakers are concerned about.

BREAM: Yes, and Senator Sasse, one of them Republicans says, "The president's generals have no idea where this week's decision came from. They believe the high-fiving winners today are Iran, ISIS, Hezbollah. The losers are Israel humanitarian victims and U.S. intelligence gathering." How is not affected by this decision?

HOFFMAN: I'd add Russia to the list. I was listening to the Russian news, and their foreign ministry spokesman was saying that it's a good thing the United States is withdrawing. Listen, all of those groups want us out and Syria is a petri dish growing threats to us here in the homeland. I guess, if I were to invoke the late Charles Krauthammer, I'd say it's probably better to fight them there than have to defend ourselves from them here and having that intelligence gathering capability and serving as force multiply for the Kurds who were doing all the fight as, in my view, at least, it is of value.

BREAM: I got a letter that I printed out on way out here, because it's a bipartisan letter that came in late tonight just before the show. A group of bipartisan senators, Democrats and Republicans alike, writing this letter to the president expressing their concerns about him withdrawing from Syria and asking him essentially to reconsider the situation. Do you think that he is, you know, persuadable on this issue?

HOFFMAN: Potentially, he is. I think he changed his course on Afghanistan. That's a good example, where he had his own ideas during the campaign and then he was presented with additional evidence and fact and swiveled in a new direction during the summer of 2017. There's no timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. And so, there may yet be additional discussions and potentially the president could have some different decisions to be made.

BREAM: And really quickly, Sarah Sanders said today from the White House that they stand ready to re-engage at all levels, but there are others who were saying: listen, we could find ourselves back there soon. And if history repeats, this is from Noel Rothman, it will be when our hands are forced amid a terrible reckoning with the mistake we made today.

HOFFMAN: I think the concern is, as the chairman and Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford has noted, one of the reasons we were there was to stay until there was some sort of a peace deal. We don't have that yet. And all of the factors that are causing Syria to be the humanitarian catastrophe that it is today, and that's where ISIS grows, that hasn't changed. And maybe until it changes, and may not for some time, in my view, at least we do need to have some skin in the game in Syria.

BREAM: Well, we'll see. I'm guessing the White House could not have been surprised by the reaction today, so we'll see their response. In the meantime, Daniel, thank you for stopping in.

HOFFMAN: Thank you.

BREAM: It's good to see you. All right, Baltimore has a gun buyback program, but you will not believe with what one mother did with the cash that she got with her gun. Story is next.


BREAM: The Baltimore City Police Department kicking off its gun buyback program this week. Police accepting any firearm or high-capacity magazines offering $200 for a semi-automatic weapon, $100 for revolvers and pump action. So, the local Fox-affiliate talked to one woman they saw returning a nine-millimeter. She says she's using the money to buy an even bigger weapon. The Fox-affiliate talked to another resident in the area who expressed his own skepticism about the buyback program.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't reduce crime. They don't reduce gun violence. They don't work. Well, you know, the typical answer would be, buy another gun, but, no, we've got a cruise coming up, so that's going to buy my liquor package.


BREAM: OK. Guns and liquor. All right, a highly specialized small musicology in New Jersey is up for sale, and the prospective buyer is partially owned by the Chinese government. Correspondent Eric Shawn is digging into why a foreign company wants this little U.S. college.


ERIC SHAWN, CORRESPONDENT: It is a top American college critic say is targeted by China. For almost 100 years, Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, has been one of our country's premier academic institutions for advanced musical studies. But some of WCC alumni warned, all that could be doomed. They say, Kaiwen, a Chinese education company has actually been a government-owned defense contractor for the Chinese navy that's trying to buy the school and could eventually shut it down or change its mission.

CONSTANCE FEE, WESTMINSTER FOUNDATION: I can't even imagine why particularly they might want it but I don't -- I'm not convinced that it's to run a choir college.

SHAWN: Constance Fee is a Westminster graduate, she and her group. The Westminster foundation, are suing to stop the sale, claiming if Rider University, which owns Westminster is allowed to sell it to Kaiwen, Beijing would have a direct foothold in American academia.

BRUCE AFRAN, WESTMINSTER FOUNDATION ATTORNEY: I don't think it's a coincidence that the government of China is focusing its attention on this tiny music school in one of the most sensitive centers of intelligence and defense research in the world.

SHAWN: Rider University would not offer a school official for an interview or respond to Fox News' written questions. But in a statement, a school official argued, Kaiwen is expanding internationally, that it already operates two prominent schools in China and it would be "an outstanding partner capable of preserving what's best about WCC and would be committed to its mission."

Kaiwen did not respond to our requests for comment. This case comes as the University of Rhode Island has become the latest school to cut ties with the Chinese-government-funded institute. The FBI has warned China could be expanding on U.S. campuses for its own national interest. Shannon?


BREAM: Eric Shawn, thank you very much. Time now for our "Midnight Hero." Cooper Dawson, a high school football standout in Hanahan, South Carolina, committed to play football at Syracuse University, and Dawson had his best friend, Kingsley Feiman, who has cerebral palsy to make the announcement. They met as freshmen when Dawson says, he saw Feiman rolling along with a huge smile on his face and said, that someone I want to be friends with.

So, when Dawson was being recruited, he made sure the team spoke with Feiman, so he could also be a part of this whole process and Dawson made sure that Feiman, who is wheelchair-bound, shared in his success. We love this friendship story. Cooper Dawson and Kingsley Feiman, you are tonight's midnight heroes. If only I could talk him to into Florida State instead of Syracuse. All right, be that as it may, earlier in the program during our report in that stopgap funding measure, we used the wrong picture of conservative commentator, Ann Coulter, it was a technical mistake. We apologize. We'll see you tomorrow night.

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