'The Story' looks back at 2017's naughtiest and nicest
This is a rush transcript from "The Story," December 22, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MELISSA FRANCIS, GUEST HOST: President Trump touching down in Florida to celebrate Christmas at Mar-a-Lago just a short time ago, getting something of a hero's welcome from throngs of supporters. You can hear from all those cheers there. And the reason could be, that just a short time before his arrival with the stroke of a pen, he signed into law the biggest tax overhaul the American people have seen in decades, just in time for Christmas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I watched the news this morning, and they were all saying, will he keep his promise? Will he sign it by Christmas? I called downstairs, I said get it ready, we have to sign it now. This is, again, the biggest tax cut, biggest reform of all time. So, it's an honor to have you with us. And we will sign this right now. This is something I'm very proud of. Great for our country. Great for the American people. Thank you all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: And maybe the holiday peace-offering, President Trump delivering this message to Democrats who are struggling to find a way forward in the face of the major he legislative loss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No Democrats had supported this tax cut legislation, will they regret?
TRUMP: The Democrats very much regret it. They wanted to be a part of it. It just doesn't work out. But I really do believe, and I said on social media today, I really do believe we're going to have a lot of bipartisan work done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: But while the president is calling for reach across the aisle, new reports tonight that his party his warning him of a "2018 bloodbath" with Democrats hoping the tax bill will fall on its face, giving them a major opportunity to take back Congress next year. Fox News Chief National Correspondent, Ed Henry, joins me with more on these new reports.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you, Melissa.
FRANCIS: Yes. So, how much do you put in those stories?
HENRY: Well, it's interesting because, you know, there is a whole lot going on for the president right now. And the fact of the matter is, that he was trying to show that this is going to be a political winner for him. And they go through this whole deal with the signing ceremony. The fact that Democrats have been saying it's going to fall on its face. But what a difference a few weeks can make? It was not too long ago the healthcare reform had failed and everybody was saying he's not going to get anywhere at all. The fact of the matter is, he was saying I'm not going to get on the road very much to sell this because it's going to sell itself. And then as you mentioned, he gets to Palm Beach, Florida, for the holidays, and you can see that there were big crowds there, and the president was calling out to them that how do you like the idea of paying less taxes?
FRANCIS: Right, everyone likes that. Who doesn't like that?
HENRY: Everybody likes that idea, right? You would think so. He was almost back in campaign mode. But you're right, that's a marked contrast from what we're hearing about what happened at the White House, Wednesday. It was the meeting where sources say it got pretty tense as Trump advisor, Corey Lewandowski, suggested to the president the White House political operation led by Bill Stepien doesn't have his back. There was talk of big adjustments that are needed ahead of those 2018 midterms. At that session, top aides like John Kelly, Kellyanne Conway, Hope Hicks.
Part of the concern for Republicans, that you mentioned, is that various polls have suggested this tax package is deeply unpopular as Democrats charge it's only for the rich. But GOP Leaders believe those numbers are going to brighten as paychecks fatten. Look at this, typical family of four, earning $75,000, will receive income tax cuts of more than 2,000 bucks. Two more big companies today announced bonuses for workers: Sinclaire Broadcasting and PNC, that's on top of AT&T, Boeing, Comcast, Fifth Third Bank and Wells Fargo.
Even though Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi insisted such benefits would not reach workers, today she doubled down saying, "The insulting crumbs Republicans give working families are meager," Melissa, meager, "and temporary. And that's for the families lucky enough not to face a tax hike right away." The president looked ahead and said he's getting beyond this and he's going to win on other issues. Watch
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Infrastructure is by far the easiest. People want it, Republicans and Democrats. We're going to have tremendous Democrat support on infrastructure, as you know. I could've started with infrastructure. I actually wanted to save the easy one for the one down the road. So, we'll be having that done pretty quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Now, check this out. Democrats now talking about this tax cut being breadcrumbs? Well, we checked it out. Back in 2012, in the campaign led President Barack Obama was touting the #$40 campaign.
FRANCIS: I remember that.
HENRY: Remember that for a very small tax rebate. That's the bottom line, Melissa. Republicans are saying -- look, the polls suggest this is deeply unpopular, there's going to be more than 40 bucks in lots of paychecks. And overtime in 2018, that's going to help Republicans.
FRANCIS: Yes, it has to. It's just -- it becomes so insulting when they talk about 1,000 bucks, that's crumbs. I mean, I don't know who thinks a thousand bucks are crumbs other than Nancy Pelosi who is super rich.
HENRY: That's a lot of families, and it means a lot to them. And when you hear the president talking about infrastructure, the onus is going to be on him, though. Is he really going to reach across the aisle to Democrats? Is it just talk? Is he going to get them on board on infrastructure spending? That can create a lot of jobs too. He's been talking about that all year; they haven't moved on.
FRANCIS: I don't know. I mean, it's about spending. So, everybody loves to spend. Let me ask you about this news that we just got: Attorney General Jeff Sessions' directing review of the handling of that Cassandra case project, Hezbollah.
HENRY: Look, this is a Politico story that really went after the Obama administration a couple days back, and said that they basically went lightly on cracking down on a drug ring run by the terror group, Hezbollah, all because President Barack Obama wanted to save the Iran nuclear deal. One of his signature achievements that President Trump has said is a disaster. Obama officials are saying the story was exaggerated, but today the Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department is going to look into it.
Look, the bottom line is, you have a lot of Democrats saying that the Republicans are just trying to distract attention from the Robert Mueller investigation with these various probes. But the fact of the matter is you hear people in the White House saying you have to follow the law and you have to follow the ethics. And if there was wrongdoing in the Obama administration, if there was wrongdoing with Uranium One and Clintons, this Justice Department is going to go after it.
FRANCIS: Yes. Although, the American people see -- when will we see results? There you go. Ed Henry, thank you.
HENRY: You too.
FRANCIS: Here now with some reaction, Eric Beach, Chairman of the pro- Trump Great Alliance; and Javier Palomares, former Member of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, he is also President of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Democrat supporter of the tax bill. So, I'll start with you, Javier, what is it that you like about it that other Democrats are not finding so appealing?
JAVIER PALOMARES, PRESIDENT OF U.S. HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND FORMER MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL DIVERSITY COALITION FOR TRUMP: Well, you know, let me start by saying, Melissa, that you know, I'm not a political strategist, my views are not grounded on a political ideology, my views are grounded on economic reality. And the reality of it is that the average American business was being taxed at a rate of about 44.6 percent. And we needed -- desperately need help on our taxes. And what this new tax bill allows us to do now is take a 20 percent deduction on our taxes. That gets us in an area where we can become a little bit more creative with our funds, we can become more, you know, drive even more jobs than we are driving now. Currently, American small businesses create two thirds of all jobs in this country. This is nothing but good news for America's small business community.
FRANCIS: So, Eric, if that's true why is it that Democrats say that, that 20 percent pass through deduction that he was just talking about there for small business owners, those are -- that's rich people? I mean, that's rich people, they should not get that money back?
ERIC BEACH, CHAIRMAN OF THE PRO-TRUMP GREAT ALLIANCE: Well, I am a political strategist. I can tell you what, I mean, the Democrats are so overconfident, you know, that Americans love, you know, or hate corporations, that they resent, you know, success, and, you know, that they want higher taxes, that they're going to run on that platform in 2018. So, I think what you're seeing in this tax bill which you also didn't mention was the Obamacare penalty repeal, if you will, that is going to lead hopefully to the entire repeal of Obamacare.
So, I think this leads well to a good 2018, plus the electoral map that really where Donald Trump is strong. And I think what you're seeing inside of the Republican Party are candidates that are coming together that really appeal to the masses, because they're Trump coalition type of candidates. They're running on that same type of platform that propelled Donald Trump the victory. That was, you know, (INAUDIBLE) legal immigration, protecting our border. It was getting better trade deals and creating U.S. jobs. So, I think this tax bill is a step in the right direction, and we're going to see that lead to a very good 2018.
FRANCIS: Javier, is there a price to pay for one side or the other? I mean, both sides really stood on ground saying the mass is going to bear out the truth. That your paycheck is going to be bigger or you're going to get your taxes raised by Washington, again? I mean, either side is wrong, because either one or the other is true. It can't be both. So, is the side who's wrong going to pay for this?
PALOMARES: You know, I think that it's very dangerous to look at this purely from a political perspective. We need to look at the economic needs of this nation. What I'm very happy to see is what I had hoped for. You mentioned earlier, you know, friends like Brian Roberts announcing at Comcast, announcing that he will be paying out thousand-dollar bonuses to over 100,000 Comcast associates. He announced as well that they will be investing over $50 billion, over the next 10 years, into improving their infrastructure. Guess who is going to help them improve their infrastructure? It's our American small businesses. Again, this is -- I look at this from an economic perspective, I look at it from the reality of the marketplace.
FRANCIS: Yes, but it's going to be stimulus. Yes, without question. Go ahead, Eric.
BEACH: But, Melissa, I mean, you have to look at it through a political lens when no Democrat supported it, and that even included, you know, Obamacare mandate. You look at a place like Arizona where Bob Parsons of Go Daddy also announced that he's going to do a million dollars in bonuses. I mean, 121 percent Obamacare, where it's destroying Arizona families. And you have candidates like Kelli Ward who's running in Arizona that says, hey, enough is enough. And so, I think you have to look at it from that type of prism. And you know, I think the Democrats made a big mistake here when they railed against tax reform, and something that's trying to be achieved inside of Washington, D.C. for, you know, more than two decades. So, again, you know, a tribute to the leadership of the Republican Party, but make no mistake, the Democrat did not come across the aisle for this tax reform bill.
FRANCIS: Gentlemen, thanks to both of you.
PALOMARES: Thank you.
FRANCIS: Karl Rove is former Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, he is also a Fox News Contributor. I mean, 2018, first of all, seems like it's a little bit of a ways off, that we're going to have a lot ups and downs between now and then, but is it one the major factors? Do you feel like you're doing today than you were before the president took office? Do you have more money in your bank account?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: You know, that's important. The state of the economy tends to be the important consideration in a midterm election. In fact, in almost every election, it is. But the question is going to be: how much do they attribute it to the president? And what's interesting to me is the president is less popular in the polls than any of his policies than most of his policies. Particularly, if you don't have the word Trump connected to a particular policy on immigration or tax reform. So, the president needs to do better in terms of causing Americans to say well, you know what, he's growing in the office. You know, some of those weird things that he's been doing, he isn't doing anymore, and that will be helpful. And to do that, he's going to be focused on his policies.
FRANCIS: But Karl, let me pause you for a second. Because the audience is throwing up all the pieces of paper at the camera and saying that right their television, and saying that they don't believe in polls anyway. That the polls didn't bear it out last time. And you know, we hear that again and again. So, maybe, people just don't -- when they're not calling the right people, they don't want to admit in the phone call they like the president.
ROVE: There were some polls that called the election right, and take the election in Alabama. That was presidential election year turnout among Democrats. There were more votes cast in a special election in December than were cast in the regular 2014 midterm election. So, what we saw was a lot of people came out to vote who are nominal Democrats to vote for Doug Jones in the reddest of red states. And poll, the exit polls said they were doing so in order to send a message to President Trump. If we sort of say it's conservatives, oh, don't worry about it, the polls are really wrong, we've got a gigantic majority out there that's going to help us. We're going to go down to a screaming defeat in the fall. We are in a tough, tough fight, where we have to have the best candidates in order to hold onto the Senate and the House.
FRANCIS: So, what do you think that Congress should do from here in order to help with that situation? Because, you're right, I mean, that was the introduction of this segment. They were saying the White House is concerned about 2018 and it's putting a group together to try and figure out what to do. So, what would be the next best thing to take up or is it about messaging?
ROVE: Well, there's a lot of components. We could spend the next hour talking about it. But I wrote my column this week in the Wall Street Journal about this issue because, as part of the White House discussions, The Washington Post wrote a story clearly quoting on background White House aides saying, the president wants to go out and spend 2018 campaigning and he wants to have a lot of rallies. And I said that's a very bad idea. The president ought to spend 2018 focused on his job as president and advancing an agenda that makes a difference in the lives of ordinary Americans. And he should down play politics; he's not very popular.
And the way to become more popular is to become less political and more involved in this agenda. It's like now, the president is getting a burst of good press, is it because he's attacking Meryl Streep? Or, you know, attacking Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer? No, it's because he is heralding the passage of an important piece of legislation that will make a concrete positive difference in the lives of Americans. Got to have more of that in 2018.
FRANCIS: Let me ask you real quick before we go, because I want to ask you about these reports in Vanity Fair about Steve Bannon potentially running. Bannon called an advisor and said he would consider running for president if President Trump doesn't run for re-election in 2020, which he has told people is a realistic possibility. He said that Trump only has a 30 percent chance of serving out his term in private conversations. What do you think about all of this back and forth?
ROVE: Well, I want to divide it into two things. First of all, apparently, Bannon has said to a number of people on a number of occasions that he thinks President Trump only has a 30 percent chance of making it through his term. So, I accept that that's more likely. The other one that Bannon himself is contemplating a bit for the presidency is based on one conversation that Bannon supposedly had with one individual that is then reported to one reporter. And so, I'm less, less, you know -- that's less believable to me. What's interesting about the story is, frankly, what Bannon says himself on the record, which I think is really interesting.
The Trump presidency -- this is after he got fired. The Trump presidency that we fought for and won is over because Bannon is leaving the White House. "I'm free, now that I have been fired from the White House. I've got my hands back on my weapons," namely the Breitbart Web site. "I have power." I mean, that seems unhinged, frankly. And then, what he said about Roy Moore in Alabama "on the record." He said, this is when the charges came out about molesting young girls, he said you have to double down. In other words, deny, deny, deny. And, "this is Alabama. The age of consent is 16 for a reason." All those seem sort of weird to me.
FRANCIS: Yes, to say the least. Karl Rove, thank you. Merry Christmas to you, my friend.
ROVE: Merry Christmas to you.
FRANCIS: Move over Donald Trump, Rosie O'Donnell declares war on Ben Shapiro? And this one is ugly. Ben is here exclusively to respond to Rosie, that is coming up. And how many times did President Trump have to say, I am not going to fire Robert Mueller before the media actually believes it? Where does this story come from anyway? We're going to try to get to the bottom of it. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to ask you personally what your reaction would be if the president tried to or did fire the special prosecutor?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: Democrats and some in the media are raising the alarm and warning that President Trump may fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. This, despite the Trump administration's repeated denials of the possibility. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Firing Mr. Mueller, or any other of the top brass involved in this investigation would not only call into question this administration's commitment to the truth, but also to our most basic concept rule of law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you planning on firing Robert Mueller.
TRUMP: No, I'm not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wants to shut down these investigations and he wants to fire Special Counsel Mueller.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to ask you personally what your reaction would be if the president tried to or did fire special prosecutor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think, John, there would be an uprising or revolt.
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: For the 1,000th time, we have no intentions of firing Bob Mueller.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: Here now is Alex Conant, a Republican Strategist who served as the Communications Director for Marco Rubio's Presidential Campaign; and Jessica Tarlov, author of "America in The Age of Trump" and a Fox News Contributor. Thanks to both of you for joining us. Alex, this is a story that won't go away.
ALEX CONANT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It really won't. You now, I spend my days here in Washington talking to reporters. That's what I do for a living. And I can tell you that the Mueller investigation is number one most talked about topic in Washington. And what a lot of reporters say, they don't necessarily report it, but I think what a lot of reporters think is that Jared Kushner did something wrong. Mueller will indict Jared Kushner for it, and the president will fire Mueller because he doesn't want to see his son-in-law prosecuted. That's a theory. There's a lot of ifs there. But I think that that is feeding a lot of this. And just so reporters, the correspondents, they want to get Republicans on the record saying -- saying what they would do if the president fired Mueller.
FRANCIS: But that's like what if you do, you know, if it snowed in August, Jessica.
CONANT: Right. It's such a hypothetical.
FRANCIS: I mean, so, you could ask any type of question you want if you don't have this person, who was in the room, said that he's considering it. I mean, this is another one of those stories where you don't have someone in the room on the record saying that this happened and, in fact, you have just the opposite. You know, the White House saying again and again no, emphatically. There's nothing you can even read into their statements. What do you think, Jessica?
JESSICA TARLOV, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND AUTHOR: Well, I think what they're going off on is actually what members of the Trump administration, the president himself, conservative pundits, conservatives in the house are doing, which is to undermine the Mueller investigation. You had just this week the -- Trump's lawyer said that Mueller illegally obtained e-mails during the transition. That's absolutely not true. You have Bob Mueller being called a bad manager. You have calls for a second special counselor. I mean, all of this adds up to creating a sentiment in the public that Bob Mueller is just a liberal. And we also know that he's a Republican, and Christopher Wray, as well as the Republican who's even donated to Republican causes. They took the Peter Strzok text messages, which I might myself took issue with, certainly the one about the insurance policy, to make it out that the FBI is full of liberal who love Hillary Clinton.
FRANCIS: OK. Let me go back to Alex, because Jessica didn't say anything just now about evidence that President Trump wants to fire Robert Mueller. And in fact --
FRANCIS: OK. So, if you're talking about undermining --
JESSICA: It is, that's what they're doing.
FRANCIS: -- the investigation, it actually gins it up more, Alex. I mean, it makes it seem more intense, and more valuable, and more nefarious if he's saying he wants to hire him. I mean, it's having the opposite effect.
CONANT: Well, look, I think anyone who supports President Trump would recognize what a terrible idea firing Bob Mueller would be --
CONANT: -- for the reason you just said. Not only would it cause a constitutional crisis because congressional Republicans would be outraged. But -- and the public would immediately assume that Mueller has something, that there's something there. That is why the White House is cooperating 100 percent with the Mueller investigation. There've been no complaints from the Mueller's team that the White House is not cooperating at any point. Why? Because the moment the president and the White House stopped cooperating, the public will just assume that there is something there.
TARLOV: But don't you think that there's something troubling about the negative comments that coming out of Trump team about the investigation?
FRANCIS: No. Jessica, I'm going to stop you right there. I'm going to stop you right there, because I think what it is, is exactly what you said. It's people saying that he wants to fire him because it is a way to make it seem like there is more there. It would be so stupid to fire him because it would make it look like he is trying to hide.
TARLOV: I agree that it would be stupid to fire him. But if you undermine enough, if say fake news enough, that if something does come down, if those reporters get their way and Jared Kushner is going to be indicted, then the Trump team can say it was bias, this is off. This isn't reality. You have pardon coming --
FRANCIS: But that's not about-- that's not about these rumors that he is going to fire Mueller.
TARLOV: He can't fire him because the entire world would explode about that. But he can continue to undermine him and the credibility of the intelligence community, and specifically the FBI in case something does happen.
FRANCIS: All right. Thanks to both of you.
TARLOV: Merry Christmas.
FRANCIS: Still ahead, amid escalating threat from North Korea, the U.N. Security Council is taking new steps against the rogue regime. But will they work? Plus, the world on heightened alert over concerns of a terror attack on Christmas. This, as we are hearing about reports about a thwarted attack here at home. We have details ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously, Christmas coming up this weekend, Christmas masses. We're going to have full counterterrorism mobile aides.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: Just breaking moments ago, the Ninth Circuit of Appeals in Hawaii proclaiming President Trump's travel ban a violation of federal law, ruling the ban goes beyond his authority as commander-in-chief. However, the Appeals Court stopped short of blocking that order. Instead, issuing a stay pending a ruling by the Supreme Court. We're going to keep you posted on any late breaking details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Should the North Korean regime conduct another nuclear or ballistic missile test, this resolution commits the Security Council to take even further action. It sends the unambiguous message to Pyongyang that further defiance will invite further punishment and isolation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: That was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley earlier today after the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to impose new sanctions on North Korea in response to the rogue regime's recent ICBM launch. That missile is said to be capable of hitting anywhere in the U.S. Aaron Cohen is a 21-year Israeli-trained security and counter-terror veteran, and the founder of Aaron Cohen Soft Target Security Training Systems.
Sir, thank you so much for joining us. You know, this is just 24 hours after the U.N. goes down a completely different road condemning the U.S. Today stood together all 15 members and imposed these new sanctions, including China and Russia. How significant is that?
AARON COHEN, ISRAELI-TRAINED SECURITY AND COUNTER-TERROR VETERAN: Well, it's really significant and it's also ironic how the U.N. as soon as -- as soon as their organization is threatened in any way by Pyongyang like we're seeing here, they flipped the script very quickly, but that's neither here nor there.
This is very significant. The reason why is because North Korea is attempting, in fact, getting closer to being able to launch a ballistic missile which can, in fact, hit our country. That's a very real thing.
And so, the president, along with his national security counsel laid out a security plan that does what you have to do with terrorists. And why do I call this guy a terrorist? Because a terrorist will fire at civilians unprovoked. That's what they do.
COHEN: How do you deal with them? You got to go for the neck. You got to bite down and you got to make sure that they can't move and that they can't get access to their funding. And so, the attack of the finances and by restricting funding to North Korea through very hard sanctions is exactly the security play that's required.
So salute to Donald Trump, and I salute the woman who is at the U.N. making that announcement also. I think she is fabulous. I think she is no nonsense.
COHEN: I love hearing her, put it to the U.N. It's absolutely --
FRANCIS: These are very tough sanctions.
COHEN: -- my favorite thing I have been listening to in the last couple days.
FRANCIS: You know, not quite as far as President Trump wanted to go, he wanted to cut off all oil imports. This very dramatically limits them far below where they are right now, where they only had been reduced by about 30 percent at this point. Now they are almost gone.
But he also wanted to have all foreign workers sent back to North Korea from everywhere else that they are working, would generate so much cash for the nation.
COHEN: That's right. That's right. And by essentially what he is doing is creating choke points to the labor. What that does is it essentially puts everybody on watch, which is, look, if you are going to export something to North Korea, if you are going to export goods there, if you are going to work and bring any kind of expertise back, whether -- you know, as well as the oil, we are going to constrict.
Even though it's only 30 percent like you mentioned, still millions of barrels per day. And so, again, you deal with terrorism. Again, coming from the Israeli perspective here, my unit never went out to the low level terrorists. We went after the management. The management guys, the financiers, the money guys.
No money, no terror. No millions of barrels exported here. No labor being able to be able to carry out North Korea business. Again, by constricting or putting choke points, you are softening that terrorism. FRANCIS: I don't want to run out of time. I'm glad you brought up terrorism because that is your expertise. And I don't want to run out of time without asking you about this plot that was uncovered in San Francisco.
It was stopped in time. You know, the assailant was posting things on the internet pro-ISIS. But, also, you know, was a shooting specialist. He had a lot of training and a very specific plan. How dangerous was this?
COHEN: Well, he is a former marine. Marines are dangerous. Marines are trained to kill people for a living. That's why we go to war with them. We train alongside the marine corps at our counter-terror warfare school in Israel. They are extremely lethal. That's what they are trained to be.
Just like Defense Secretary Mattis, you know, he has a plan when he walks in a room to kill everybody. That's how well marines are trained. You want them in war. They're fine instruments of counter-terrorism and urban operations.
But in this case, you had a radicalized again online, an inbreed terrorist that was created here through indoctrination, I don't know exactly what it was, but extremely dangerous guy.
Hats off to the FBI for getting to jump on this guy and being able to put him down and getting those warrants in time. We just want to make sure now that our soft target defensive security measures are in place.
And I think going into the new year, coming out of this holiday, I wouldn't be surprised if the president is looking at putting together some type of soft target security apparatus to be able to look at this thing. FRANCIS: Aaron Cohen, thank you. Coming up, Rosie O'Donnell declares war on Ben Shapiro, and this one is ugly. Ben is here exclusively to respond to Rosie. That is coming up.
Plus, they made their list and hopefully they checked them twice. Chris Stirewalt, Mollie Hemingway, and Wendy Asefo are here with their take on who has been naughty this year, and who has been nice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a liar.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let the kid talk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You disgust me. How can you live with yourself?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just cool it, zippy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You sit on a throne of lies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, I'm not kidding here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are a fake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a fake?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would you like to be dead, huh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's kidding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stink.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you are going to have a good Christmas, all right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like beef and cheese. You don't smell like Santa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCIS: That is not very nice. With Christmas closing in, it's time to check who is in the nice list this year and who is getting a lump of coal in their stocking. But in place of Santa, we got an all-star panel here with their picks: Chris Stirewalt, a Fox News politics editor; Mollie Hemingway is senior editor at the Federalist and a Fox News contributor; and Wendy Osefo is a professor and political commentator.
Chris Stirewalt, I'm going to start with you. Donald Trump is at the top of your nice list? I'm so surprised about that.
CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR: Why? You think he is not nice? FRANCIS: No. I'm surprised you put him there along with Speaker Paul Ryan.
STIREWALT: Well, certainly Trump has demonstrated much niceness in 2017. He has been surprising to both his critics and his supporters, and that's one of the best things that a politician can do or be is to surprise.
It's what got him into the race. And it's what made him the Republican nominee. And his capacity to surprise is also included that he has been a lot more agreeable and amiable than a lot of people thought that he would be.
And Paul Ryan is a good twin for him there because, in fact, Ryan started out, the Trump presidency ready to fight with Trump and drag over broken glass his agenda, and in the end, they finished the year simpatico.
FRANCIS: Yes, a big victory will do that for you. Molly, you have Taylor Swift at the top of your nice list. Why is that?
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, SENIOR EDITOR AT THE FEDERALIST, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Taylor Swift is the only celebrity, if not the only American, who can go 10 minutes without screaming about politics. And I think this should be commended in a year when --
FRANCIS: Yes, she's smart. She likes to make money.
HEMINGWAY: She understands that this is not related to her -- that talking about politics is not why people like her, and she is able to set it aside, even though many people have tried to bully her into joining the resistance vocally, so kudos to her.
FRANCIS: Yes. Why did you put Ronan Farrow on your list? I mean, he's a great reporter, but --
HEMINGWAY: Yes. Well, it was tenacious and dogged reporting that led to the Harvey Weinstein scandal --
HEMINGWAY: -- being put out publicly. And he put his own resources and reputation on the line and most certainly helped women who would have been -- who would have been harmed by him in the future. Had he not done it -- people had rumored about it for so long, but he is the one who actually got it out there. FRANCIS: He got the goods. He did the real work. There is a lot of people who deal in unnamed sources, and he was there with all the details and, you know, really good old fashioned journalism. Wendy, you have Hillary Clinton on your nice list.
FRANCIS: When I think of Hillary Clinton, there are a lot of words that come to mind. I'm not sure it is necessarily nice she's right at the top, but how come this is for you?
WENDY OSEFO, PROFESSOR AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I had to leave Clinton up there because I just think that overall she has just been a champion for majority of women. Another person who I had on there that I was surprised to actually put on there, I reached across the aisle, and I put Marco Rubio on my nice list.
As a Democrat, you wouldn't expect me to say that, but I think there is something to be said for him when he said, you know what, we need to increase the tax credit for low income and moderate income families. I thought that was really important, and I tip my hat for him. Even though he is across the aisle, that was good job by Marco Rubio.
FRANCIS: OK. We all can't wait to get to naught. So, let's just go for that right there. Chris Stirewalt, is this a misprint or is President Trump also at the top of your naughty list and what is up with that?
STIREWALT: Also naughty. Trump has -- there are a couple few kinds of Trump and of the problems that the administration has had this year. You know, they had a good close, but a very rocky opening. And a lot of that came just from Trump acting out, just from --
FRANCIS: Trump trumping.
STIREWALT: -- when he was being mean-spirited, when he was being unpleasant or unkind of the sake of itself and oftentimes that's where Trump finds himself, is losing ground, failing to gain where he could because he is doing unnecessarily naughty things.
FRANCIS: OK. I saw Steve Bannon on there too. I don't think I need to ask you why he is on the list.
FRANCIS: Mollie, let's go right to your naughty list, environmentalists who hate children.
FRANCIS: Explain that to our audience, in case they don't know about that.
HEMINGWAY: In July, there was this report that if you wanted to take care of climate change, you needed to have fewer kids. And they and feminists joined together and said everyone should have fewer kids which led people - -
FRANCIS: They won or not? (ph)
HEMINGWAY: They were posting pictures of their family and asking which one of their kids they should let go to help with climate change. But just in general, if you are opposed to kids, you are definitely naughty. That's the nicest thing I can say about it. It's really bad to say. FRANCIS: You put Brian Ross on your naughty list. I think I know why that is the case.
HEMINGWAY: Brian Ross and the rest of the political media who had so many bad stories all pushing a false narrative about Russia collusion. All of their errors went in the same direction. It was a really bad year, particularly because they wanted to spend the year holding Trump accountable. Instead they had all these problems. FRANCIS: Wendy, you had the NFL at the top of your naughty list.
OSEFO: I sure did. I thought the NFL really mismanaged everything to do with the Kaepernick protest. Quite frankly, it was about social justice. They fumbled the ball. They should have done more. And then on top of that, I also feel like they blackballed Colin Kaepernick.
You know, he was not able to try out for any team. If they would have brought him on to a team, I believe a lot of this would have been dulled down. And then on top of that, you know, the NFL continues to have issues with their players, not just when it comes to social justice, but also domestic violence. They are not doing their job. So, you know what? Their ratings are down and they are down for a reason.
FRANCIS: Chris, real quick, do you think that President Trump would take more pleasure in being on the nice or the naughty list? Real quick. Just a couple seconds.
STIREWALT: His answer to that question will determine whether or not the Republicans are going to have an OK 2018, and whether or not he gets elected in 2020. It's all about choices.
FRANCIS: I don't know. I mean, the naughty list, that could be how he got in the office in the first place, that willingness to be naughty and go against the great. We got to go. Merry Christmas to all three of you.
STIREWALT: Merry Christmas.
FRANCIS: Thank you for coming on. Rosie O'Donnell has practically made a living off of taking on conservatives, but she may be regretting her latest war.
FRANCIS: A Twitter war breaking out between two prominent voices on the left and the right. It all started with Rosie O'Donnell's suggestion that she would bribe lawmakers to vote against the tax bill.
Ben Shapiro wasn't having it, saying that's a violation of federal law. From there, things got increasingly, well, personal. With O'Donnell telling Shapiro to do things that we can't say here on television, prompting Shapiro to send out this tweet today.
"Just reported Rosie for targeted harassment, mainly just to see if Twitter does indeed have a double standard. Everyone knows if Rosie were conservative, Twitter would suspend her in a hot second. So, Twitter, put your money where your mouth is. Hashtag Me Too."
Rosie replied simply, "Oh, Ben."
Shapiro's response, "Rosie, all victims deserve to be believed."
And the story doesn't end there. Joining us now in an exclusive interview, Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire. I know you just heard from Twitter. I want you to hold on to that for one second, just so we can make sure everybody is up to speed.
Her original tweet which I saw applied by two, where she says, $2 million to Senator Susan Collins, Senator Jeff Flake, if they vote no. "No, i will not kill Americans," that's what she tweeted. I don't know how this is killing Americans. That's OK. For the sour rich, I think it was supposed to say super, but she was impaired in some way while doing this probably with her fingers.
DME (ph) Susan, DME (ph) Jeff. You responded that if Trump orders Sessions to investigate Rosie, he will be carved into rush more by Friday, which I thought was a pretty good burn. But what inspired you to pile on this mess, because it was already out of control?
BEN SHAPIRO, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, DAILY WIRE: Well, I mean, it was obvious that she had actually violated at least formally 18 U.S. Code 210, 201, one of the provisions. FRANCIS: Bribery of officials. SHAPIRO: Yes, exactly. Specific provision of the U.S. code. In doing so, she had done this on Twitter. And so I sort of piled on a little bit. She responded by essentially telling me to perform an anatomical act on her --
SHAPIRO: -- that certainly would fall under "Me Too" sexual harassment. But what was weird about it was that she told me to perform it on a male appendage of hers. That was weird.
FRANCIS: Let's not get into that, because people could be having dinner right now. SHAPIRO: That's probably smart. And so I responded by essentially saying that she was already a felon. There was no need to make herself into a homophobic sexual harasser as well. Things degenerated from there. FRANCIS: Yes, absolutely. The serious part of this is that she told you to do things to her that of course Harvey Weinstein and lots of people are in trouble for trying to get people to do to them.
I mean, if a man said this to a woman, you say conservative versus liberal, but any of the normal tables were turned, people would recoil in horror and just would really be on your side, but not this time.
SHAPIRO: No question. I mean, if I had said exactly the same words to Rosie O'Donnell that she said to me on Twitter, I have very little doubt that I would have been suspended or expelled from Twitter for targeted harassment or abuse under their rules.
So, I decided to find out exactly how Twitter operated. And so I reported her for targeted harassment and abuse. And then I have now received back their notice that apparently there was no violation of the Twitter rules which is astonishing.
They say that she did not actually perform behavior that crosses the line into abuse. I totally understanding why we can't read these tweets on air because they are really obscene and abusive. But that's why Twitter probably should have done something if they cared about enforcing their own rules.
I actually don't want Rosie O'Donnell tossed off Twitter. I find her far too amusing and sad that she blocked me today. But, that said, I think the Twitter should be held to account for its own enforcement of the rules because it's wildly inconsistent.
FRANCIS: Yes. We are looking right there where you can see that Rosie blocked you. It does seem very hypocritical on Twitter's part which is sort of the focus, because Rosie has gone off a bunch of times before. I mean, she has a long Twitter history.
Some of her best times were during the debate where she called President Trump all kinds of names comparing him to body parts, saying how orange he was. Talking about his appearance. Again, t things that if tweeted at a woman, you know, tweeted Hillary Clinton about her appearance, people would be all open arms.
This is what she was doing to Donald Trump. She even said he was like the snake (INAUDIBLE) little house on the prairie, which I kind of liked for obvious reasons.
But, all these things going on, she is on Twitter but, Twitter does nothing about it when she attacks someone with what should be sexual harassment. Do they have a track record of banning other people for saying things like this though?
SHAPIRO: Well, they do have a track record of at least blocking people's tweets for considered abusive or suspending people who are abusive. They have a track record of going after people for political reasons as well.
Again, their terms of service suggest that you are not allowed to issue tweets like this. But they have a rather arbitrary standard obviously for what they choose to enforce or not enforce. My guess is that they didn't want to open the can of worms that would have necessitated opening in order to take any action against Rosie O'Donnell for suggesting that I do certain things to her which is horrifying in contemplation.
FRANCIS: I am so shocked on the fact that she seemed very sincere and the fact when she went on originally and she tweeted long tweets about exactly how much money she wanted to give to them to vote no. I mean, she sounded very serious.
So, I don't know. There is a lot of debate right now about whether or not that's a violation of the law, since it was on Twitter. We will see. Ben Shapiro, hat tipped to you, my friend, thank you for coming on.
SHAPIRO: Good to see you. Thanks. FRANCIS: Now that we have that solved, we will move on to something a little merrier. We'll be right back.
FRANCIS: OK, so, as moms, we spent a lot of time working on our Christmas cards, so I wanted to make sure that you got one of my holiday cards, too. Merry Christmas, happy new year, happy Hanukkah, all the joy in the world to you, from my family to yours. And we finally took a picture with Santa where everyone's eyes were open.
I mean, that never happens. So I had to show mine off as well. My beautiful children are home watching right now. I love you so much. And my husband, Merry Christmas to you, and to you out there as well. We want to know your story. You can tweet at us, #The Story. Tucker is up next.
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