This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 2, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL ANCHOR: Hey, Greg -- happy new year.  Thanks.

This is a Fox News alert. I'm Bret Baier.

The President is ringing in the new year by laying out his position on just about everything.

The President turned his first cabinet meeting of 2019 into a stream of consciousness media availability in which he touched on Obamacare, gasoline prices, foreign policy and how he would fare as a general. But the headliner continues to be the partial government shutdown and the President's demand for a border wall.

Correspondent Kevin Corke is at the White House tonight where some of the top players in Congress for both sides of the aisle just met with the President a short time ago. Good evening -- Kevin.


That they did. In fact, just seconds into the briefing on the border wall Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was actually interrupted by the presumptive incoming speaker Nancy Pelosi. Just a window into the mood if you will of the tone of that meeting and perhaps the best indication, Bret, that the shutdown can last for quite some time.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It could be a long time and it could be quickly. It could be a long time. It is too important a subject to walk away from.

CORKE: A defiant President Trump today, just ahead of a planned White House briefing on the border, issued a stern warning to the arriving Democrats. No wall, no deal.

TRUMP: As long as it takes. I mean look -- I'm prepared. I think the people of the country think I'm right. I think the people of this country think I'm right.

CORKE: Is there a number below $5 billion that you might be willing to accept in order to reopen the government and get this thing forward?

TRUMP: I would rather not say it. Could we do it for a little bit less?  It so insignificant compared to what we are talking about.

CORKE: What he is talking about, say White House officials is supporting the women and men of ICE and border control who man the front lines in the immigration battle and have repeatedly asked Washington for help. And that means a wall, full stop.

REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA., HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: The President and Vice President stayed here over the Christmas holidays and there was absolutely no negotiation from the other side. So they want to keep delaying and have a government shutdown while President Trump has said he wants to secure the border.

CORKE: The President has proposed a DACA deal to entice Democrats to cut a deal for wall funding, but if the result of today's briefing was any indication, even that may not work.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: On our last meeting the President said, "I'm going to shut the government down". They are now feeling the heat. It is not helping the President. It is not helping the Republicans to be the owners of this shutdown.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: We're asking the President to open up government. We are giving him a Republican path to do that. Why would he not do it?

CORKE: Also in the cabinet meeting today the President reiterated his position on the war in Syria. U.S. Forces should leave the country and leave the fighting to others in the region.

TRUMP: Syria was lost long ago. It was lost long ago. And besides that, I don't want -- we are talking about sand and death. I never said I'm getting out tomorrow. I said we are pulling our soldiers out and they will be pulled back in Syria and that we are getting out of Syria.

CORKE: On Iran the President took credit for damaging Tehran's standing in the Middle East in the short time that he's been in office in part by killing the Iran nuclear deal.

TRUMP: Iran wants to survive now. Iran was a power in the Middle East.  They were going to take over the whole Middle East.

Iran is in trouble. And you know what, I would love to negotiate with Iran. They're not ready yet, I don't think. But they will be.


CORKE: Congressional leaders told reporters following the briefing today, they've been asked to come back here to the White House on Friday to continue negotiations -- Bret.

The real feeling here is after Nancy Pelosi is elevated to speaker once again perhaps the conversations will improve. We will have to see together.

Back to you.

BAIER: Kevin Corke, live on the north lawn. Kevin -- thanks.

Mitt Romney is not even officially in office as a U.S. Senator and he is already stirring up major waves within his own party and his own family.  The former Republican presidential nominee is renewing unpleasantries with the current president, writing that President Trump's character falls short. And at the same time he is dragging his niece into the fray.

Correspondent Ellison Barber explains.


ELLISON BARBER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Serve and volley between the sitting president and an incoming Republican senator.

TRUMP: If he fought the way he fights me, I'm telling you he would have won the election.

SENATOR-ELECT MITT ROMNEY, R-UTAH: I haven't decided who I'm going to endorse in 2020. I'm going to wait and see what the alternatives are.

BARBER: The clash sparked by a blistering op-ed in which Senator-Elect Mitt Romney criticized President Trump arguing his presidency made a deep descent in December. Mr. Romney says the President abandoned allies. "On balance," Romney writes, "the President has not risen to the mantle of the office. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership and qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent's shortfall has been most glaring."

Though Trump endorsed Romney's presidential and senate campaigns, in a word, their relationship has been complicated.

ROMNEY: Donald Trump lacks the temperament to be president.

TRUMP: I watched this poor sad Mitt Romney --

ROMNEY: The bullying, the greed, they showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics.

TRUMP: The guy is a stone cold loser. He choked. When you are a choker you can never give a choker a second chance.

BARBER: After Trump's win in 2016 the two seemed to bury the hatchet with Trump nominally considering Romney for a cabinet position. The two even discussed it over dinner.

With Mitt Romney swearing in tomorrow, the relationship is off to a rocky start.

TRUMP: I would like Mitt Romney to join in that spirit because you know, we are doing some great things. We don't need another Democrat.

BARBER: Now the question is what exactly can Romney do? As his predecessor once said, Romney has to earn his influence. He is a first- term junior senator albeit with heavy name recognition.

ROMNEY: And just doing things symbolically that hurt someone that you are opposed to doesn't make any sense. But if there are places that the President wants one thing and I think that's wrong, well, I will vote with my conscious and not with his.


BARBER: The chair of the Republican National Committee Ronna Romney- McDaniel is Senator-Elect Mitt Romney's niece. She is siding with the President here. In a tweet she did not use her uncle's name, instead she referred to him as an incoming Republican freshman senator and said it was disappointing and unproductive that his first act is attacking President Trump.

Romney says that McDaniel is a loyal Republican and that she is doing what she believes is best for the President and the party -- Bret.

BAIER: Ellison -- thank you.

The illegal immigrant charged with murdering a California police officer appeared in court a short time ago but did not enter a plea. A judge suspended proceedings and ordered a competency evaluation for Gustavo Perez-Arriaga.

Perez-Arriaga is accused of killing Newman police Corporal Ronil Singh during a traffic stop. The case reignited a national debate over sanctuary policies. Perez-Arriaga had previous arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol. Authorities say he was planning to flee to Mexico.

While people around the world were celebrating Monday night, customs officials at the U.S.-Mexico border were trying to repel dozens of people trying to enter the country illegally and violently into the new year.

Anita Vogel shows us what happened.


ANITA VOGEL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: A showdown at the U.S.-Mexico border rings in the new year as Customs and Border Protection agents fired tear gas and pepper spray to stop what they called a violent mob hurling rocks and rushing towards the U.S.

RODNEY SCOTT, CHIEF BORDER PATROL AGENT: Our agents responded with the least amount of force they possibly could to protect themselves and the border and did actually secure the border in this area. One agent was hit square in the face with a rock.

VOGEL: It was smoky and chaotic and some news agencies dispute what came first -- the rocks or the tear gas. Nonetheless, many migrants were seen attempting to climb over and even crawl under the border fence near San Diego. Migrants trying to get to the U.S. say they are just looking for a better life.

AMELYA CELAYA, HONDURAN MIGRANT (through translator): It has been very hard. It hasn't been easy for me. I'm a mother and I have a family. I have four children whom I left in Honduras. It is very difficult but for a future there has to be a will.

VOGEL: Amnesty International called for an independent investigation of the incident adding, quote, "Using tear gas against men, women and children seeking protection is cruel and inhumane.

The scene was similar to another at the border near San Diego this past November when CPB agents fired tear gas into Mexico when roughly 500 migrants attempted to cross the border. Agents said just like this time, they were responding to men throwing rocks at them.


VOGEL: Officials say on Tuesday about 45 migrants turned back to Mexico and 25 were arrested including two teenagers. According to the Department of Justice, 9 out of 10 asylum seekers who request asylum after being detained or arrested are rejected -- Bret.

BAIER: Anita Vogel in L.A. Anita -- thanks.

Let's get some perspective now from acting ICE Director Ronald Vitiello.  Mr. Director -- thanks for joining us.

RONALD VITIELLO, ACTING ICE DIRECTOR: Thanks for having me -- Bret.

BAIER: Well, Happy new year.

I know this is a busy time for you all. Can you just give us a status report? I know you were a part of the presentation that was given to members of Congress and the administration. What is the status on the border now if you had to put it into terms that people at home can understand?

VITIELLO: Yes. We are facing an unprecedented crisis that affects the security at the border and then there is a humanitarian mission that goes along with the work that CBP and ICE are doing down there at that border.

We are seeing numbers of about 2,000 people coming to the border each and every day; 65 percent of that 2,000 are either children that are coming alone or families coming with their kids. And so that changes the enforcement dynamic. It changes the flow of traffic. It changes the resources that CBP is applying to that problem and then what ICE has to have in reserve to respond to these arrests.

And so that dynamic is encouraging people because of loopholes in the law.  It's encouraging people to come to that border. And what you saw on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day early morning in San Diego is the challenge that CBP has.

And in ICE we're on the other half of that, right. Everybody that they arrest comes into our custody. And under immigration law, 73 percent of every detainee we take into custody are people that under the Act are mandatorily detained. So we're running out of resources. And the status quo is just not acceptable.

BAIER: You know, the President is obviously fighting for funding in this shutdown, partial government shutdown battle in Washington for his border wall and that effort.

In the meantime there are people who were not going to get paid.  Newsweek headline December 27th, "Government shutdown: More than 54,000 border patrol agents to work without pay".

Is this part of the shutdown going to be a problem for you all?

VITIELLO: Well, it's an issue because you never know what will happen as it relates to the politics of it, right. Any time that there is a lapse in appropriation, those of us that are in law enforcement are also required to come to work even though there is no money available for people to be paid.

So depending on how long it goes, that is a disruption to people's lives and livelihoods. Not many of us in America, as you've seen in the reporting earlier this week can afford to miss a few paychecks in a row.

BAIER: Here's the HHS secretary today talking about children detained.  Take a listen.


ALEX AZAR, U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: In calendar year 2018 we received approximately 51,000 unaccompanied alien children referral -- almost double from the previous year. Currently there are almost 13,000 unaccompanied alien children in our care and we expect that number to rise during the new year.


BAIER: So that number -- 13,000 in U.S. care, illegal alien children expected to go up. Obviously two cases got a lot of attention in recent weeks. How big of an issue is this in battling that along the border?

VITIELLO: Yes, it is a tragedy. We have -- we're in a situation because of the way the law is operationalized that people are encouraged to bring their children to the border or send their kids alone to the U.S. border because essentially they are coming in to CBP care.

They are transferred by ICE into HHS, what the Secretary spoke about. They try to care for those kids and then they place them in the United States.  We are encouraging this behavior by the way the law is operationalized.

If it doesn't change it will continue and in my experience we will see record numbers of people coming throughout the year. We are already in unprecedented territory as it relates to the statistics -- 65 percent of everybody that comes to the border now is either a child that's alone or with a family member.

BAIER: Do you think that the semantics in this back and forth over the border wall is what is going to come down to? That it's going to be called border security or something else to get past this? How important is the wall to your calculations in doing what you do?

VITIELLO: So I was in the border patrol for 33 years before I was asked to be the acting director in ICE. I was very disappointed to see in that room today that there were people who were in this discussion that were saying a wall doesn't work.

I can tell you that through 33 years in my experience, half of which was on the line, those agents need an enduring capability to slow people down if they come across that border. It provides an anchor for them to add technology, access roads and patrol response to protect that border.

You always have a safer border where you have that barrier. There is no question in my mind about that. And people who don't believe that doesn't work, why do they have fences around their homes? Why do they lock their doors at night?

It makes no sense to me that this is getting bottled up in the politics.  Walls work. We also need reforms in the immigration law and how it is operationalized. But both of those things together will safeguard the border. It will give agents a safer place to work and protect the country better.

BAIER: Director Vitiello -- we appreciate your time tonight.

VITIELLO: Thanks for having me on.

BAIER: Well, what do you think? Do you think the President will get his border wall on this back-and-forth in the partial government shutdown? Let me know on Twitter @BretBaier, you can use the #SpecialReport or on Facebook at

Thousands of federal employees are back at work tonight in Washington.  Many others however are still at home as we have just talked about with an extended and for now unpaid holiday break.

Correspondent David Spunt has the latest tonight from Capitol Hill.


DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It's a new year and it's back to business for federal workers across the country. Or is it?

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are off work, many starting off 2019 without a paycheck. Trash cans on the National Mall in Washington are overflowing, spewing out onto the ground. Smithsonian Museums are closed, national parks around the country turning people away.

RALPH SNAKE, TOURIST: It is too it has come to this, you know. I mean people should learn how to agree to work things out.

SPUNT: The National Zoo is also closed.

YAEL KRIGMAN, BAKED BY YAEL: UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The zoo has been shut down due to political gridlock. And it's definitely having a huge impact on our business.

SPUNT: More than 420,000 federal employees classified as essential are reporting to work without pay. But they aren't doing it quietly. On Monday the American Federation of Government Employees filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration arguing it's illegal to force those employees to work for free.

Those workers won the lawsuit during the shutdown in 2013 under President Obama. That shutdown lasted 16 days. Tomorrow is day 13 for this partial shutdown.

Leader Nancy Pelosi is poised to become speaker tomorrow for a second time as Democrats take over the House. One of the first orders of business will be to vote on the proposed Democratic House rules. Among them, a rule that will make it harder to oust the House Speaker mid-session. Members will also now have to pay for all types of discrimination settlements out of their own pockets. The Democrats also want to have a real 72 rule, meaning members will have a full three days to look over large legislation so they have time to process the ins and outs of a bill. Republicans only offered parts of three days.


SPUNT: And don't expect those rules to go through without with any opposition. Representative Ro Khanna of California and incoming Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York both say they will vote against the pay-as-you-go rule. That's when the deficit increases. That means cutting other entitle programs. They say it just doesn't make sense economically.

Busy day tomorrow on Capitol Hill -- Bret. Just about 10 minutes ago, Nancy Pelosi, the presumed House Speaker walked right by me. I asked her is a deal is in the works. She just smiled and kept walking -- Bret.

BAIER: David Spunt, live on Capitol Hill. David -- thanks.

Next, plenty of new faces in this new year for President Trump's cabinet.

And later, why an American accused of being a spy by the Russians was in Moscow in the first place.


BAIER: The new year is bringing with it a significantly new cabinet for President Trump. Seven of the advisors in today's meeting have acting or similar adjectives in front of their job title.

Rich Edson takes a look tonight from the White House.


RICH EDSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: President Trump's first cabinet meeting of 2019.

TRUMP: It's going to be a very exciting. I think it's going to be a very good year.

EDSON: It looks much different than the one that began in 2018.

It was acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan's first cabinet meeting sitting in the seat James Mattis recently occupied.

PATRICK SHANAHAN, ACTING U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The team is executing operational training every day. The collaboration has been seamless.

EDSON: Even though Mattis is no longer part of these meetings the President had some notes for his former defense secretary.

TRUMP: But what has he done for me? How has he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. As you know President Obama fired him and essentially so did I.

EDSON: Over the past year Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and White House chief of staff John Kelly have left the administration.

And there are more cabinet changes coming. About a third of the cabinet officials of this afternoon's meeting are acting in their roles including the chief of staff, defense secretary, attorney general, interior secretary, EPA administrator and ambassador to United Nations.

While the President considers permanent replacements, Mick Mulvaney spent his first day in his latest Trump administration role -- acting chief of staff.

TRUMP: I want to thank Mick Mulvaney. He has been really an activist. He has got great energy. And he is doing a great job as chief. We appreciate it. He pulled everything together very quickly.


EDSON: The senate also has a say on the makeup of the President's cabinet.  Senators will consider the President's nominees for EPA administrator, U.N. ambassador, attorney general and eventually, nominees for the several other open cabinet positions -- Bret.

BAIER: Rich Edson in the White House briefing room. Rich -- thanks.

General Motors has reached a threshold for selling electric vehicles that triggers a phaseout of a $7,500 federal tax credit. Reuters is reporting GM sale of 200,000 electric vehicles in the U.S. last year means the credit will fall to $3,750 in April on the way to a complete disappearance by April of next year.

Apple is warning holiday season revenue will fall below projections because of weak iPhone sales. CEO Tim Cook made the prediction in a letter to shareholders released after the stock market closed today. He attributes most of the revenue drop to China where the economy has been slowing and Apple has faced tougher competition from Chinese competitors.

As we mentioned, again that news broke after the markets closed today.  Stocks were up on the first day of trading of the new year. The Dow finished ahead 19, the S&P 500 gained 3, the Nasdaq jumped 31. Stock futures are showing a rough day is ahead tomorrow, basically because of that Apple news. We'll see.

Up next, the latest on an American being held in Russia accused of being a spy.

First, here is what some of our Fox affiliates around the country are covering tonight.

Fox 8 in Cleveland as authorities try to figure out why six passengers fell ill on a Frontier Airlines flight from Cleveland to Tampa. An airport representative says there is a possibility the illnesses are connected to a drinking fountain. The fountains in the Frontier concourse at in the airport have been shut down as a safety precaution.

Fox 29 in San Antonio, as a former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julian Castro is expected to announce his decision about a possible presidential run during an event January 12th. Castro launched an exploratory committee last month. He served as the San Antonio mayor before joining the Obama administration in 2014.

And this is a live look at New York from Fox 5. One of the big stories there tonight someone on Long Island is ringing in 2019 as a multimillionaire. One person matched all five numbers plus the mega ball in last night's $425 million drawing. Seven other players won at least $1 million after matching all but the mega ball.

That's tonight's live look outside the Beltway from “Special Report.”

And as we head to break -- I didn't know this until I saw it on air. But this week my staff collected video messages to mark the ten years since I took over anchoring the show from Brit Hume. A couple more tonight I'm told -- a surprise for you and me.


JIMMY KIMMEL, TV HOST: Hey Bret -- it is Jimmy Kimmel. I wanted to wish you a happy 10-year anniversary. Ten years is a long time. You know, the traditional gift specifically for you on ten years is this -- bear spray.  So unless it gets confiscated, look for this in the mail and congratulations.



BAIER: We are learning new information tonight about the American citizen being detained in Russia on an espionage charge. Correspondent Benjamin Hall tells us who Paul Whelan is and what he was supposed to be doing in Russia.


BENJAMIN HALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: His family says he was in Moscow attending a friend's wedding, then suddenly he was arrested for spying.  The former marine is now held in Russia. Forty-eight-year-old Paul Whelan, who received a bad conduct discharge from the Marines, is now the head of global security for a Michigan based auto parts supplier. He disappeared suddenly on the 28th. Three days later on its website, Russia's federal security service, the FSB, claimed he had been caught during an espionage operation, but gave no further details. He faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Secretary Pompeo and the State Department, who finally received consular access to Whelan today, are now working hard to determine what prompted the arrest.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We have made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges and come to understand what it is he has been accused of. And if the detention is not appropriate, we will demand has immediate return.

HALL: Whelan has traveled to Russia often, and his family strongly deny the charges.

DAVID WHELAN, BROTHER: My brother is not a spy. Paul's background is in law enforcement. He has military experience. He's in corporate security.

HALL: Experts say the arrest could be a response to the jailing of Maria Butina, a Russian citizen living in the U.S. who recently pled guilty to acting as a secret agent for the Kremlin trying to infiltrate U.S. political groups. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the case fabricated. But there has been growing tit-for-tat retaliation between the countries, and many fear Paul Whelan may now be used as a pawn.


HALL: Just last week President Putin said in his Christmas address that Russia would never arrest an innocent person just to exchange them for someone later on. Some experts say that's exactly what has happened.  Bret?

BAIER: Benjamin Hall in London, Benjamin, thank you.

The outgoing U.S. ambassador to United Nations is ripping one of the U.N.'s most prominent agencies. Nikki Haley says UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, is among the most corrupt and politically biased U.N. agencies. She says the U.S. withdrawal from what she calls this cesspool is now official.

The U.S. and Israel are leaving the group, which has longed been criticized for its anti-Israel positions. The U.S. and Israel stopped paying dues in 2011 when the Palestine was voted in as a member state.

Six people are dead, 16 others hurt tonight after a passenger train on a bridge linking central Denmark's islands hit what officials describe as an unknown object earlier today. Danish media report a tarpaulin on a freight train hit the passenger train, which was going the opposite direction, prompting it to break violently.

Up next, if your new year's resolution is to quit smoking, you have plenty of company. Why quitting between 2019 is so hard.


JACK NICKLAUS, FORMER GOLFER: Hey Bret, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus here.  Ten years on “Special Report”, that's pretty special. And it seems like just yesterday I started watching it, and all of a sudden, I'm 10 years older.  That's the way it goes. But it has been a great show and a great run, and we have enjoyed every part of it. We have enjoyed our friendship with you and Amy. And we wish you continued success.

BARBARA NICKLAUS: You've done it the right way. You've kept your family in balance with Amy and Paul and Daniel. And I know a quote that I've heard you say a lot, to whom much is given, of him will much be required.  And you do that in every angle of your life. So thank you for the memories, thanks for your friendship, and congratulations.



BAIER: One of the most popular new year's resolutions is to quit smoking.  It is the leading preventable cause of death in the country. In tonight's "Addicted in America" report, correspondent Kristin Fisher looks at some of the challenges of trying to kick the habit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What could be more refreshing than Newport menthol cigarettes?

KRISTIN FISHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It was once as American as apple pie. At its peak in the 1960s, smoking cigarettes was considered a status symbol, something the cool kids did. But times have changed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Terrie, and I used to be a smoker.

MATTHEW MYERS, CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS: One of the things very few people realize is that nicotine is one of the most powerful addictive substances there are.

FISHER: So powerful, in fact, nicotine is among the top five most powerful substances in the world according to a new study, behind only cocaine and heroin, research highlighted by the fact that today 40 million American adults still smoke cigarettes.

WENDELL MCMILLAN, FORMER SMOKER: I just definitely never wanted to be a smoker. I wanted to just be able to smoke socially and leave it there.

FISHER: Wendell McMillan became a heavy smoker after having his first cigarette with his friends in high school.

MCMILLAN: I knew it was addiction when I graduated from college and I'm working and I'm taking smoke breaks. I am smoking like a pack and a half at this point. So that is when I said, boy, I don't like this, but I don't know how to really quit it. It just keeps calling me.

FISHER: What helped Wendell and so many others was a program through the American Lung Association that gave him the tools to quit for good.

MYERS: We know how to reduce cigarette smoking. What we've done in the last 20 years is reduced high school smoking rates from over 36 percent down into single digits. It is one of the great public health successes.

FISHER: Over the past five decades, the number of smokers has dropped dramatically. But experts say there are new threats that have the potential to derail progress, the legalization of marijuana and e- cigarettes.

MYERS: E-cigarettes deliver nicotine as effectively if not more effectively than cigarettes do. So what we have seen over the last year is not only a meteoric rise in youth use of these products, we've seen a meteoric rise in youth addiction to these products.


FISHER: And that is especially true for the JUUL's e-cigarette. The company now controls nearly 80 percent of the market. And look at this.  It's small, discrete, looks just like a USB drive, and each one of these tiny pods contains as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes, Bret.

BAIER: Amazing. Kristin, thank you.

Tomorrow night we will talk about the issue of legalized marijuana as our series continues.

Next up, the panel on the shutdown, the border wall, and Mitt Romney. And in the last few minutes we were told that Daryl Dragon, better known as Captain from Captain and Tennille, the singing duo of the 70s and 80s, has died. Media reports say the cause was renal failure. Daryl Dragon, Captain, was 76.



PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It could be a long time, and it could be quickly. It could be a long time. It's too important a subject to walk away from. I was hoping that maybe somebody would come back and negotiate. But they didn't do that.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I asked him directly, I said, Mr. President, give me one good reason why you should continue your shutdown. He could not give a good answer.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, R-CALIF., HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: The president, listening to him, he wants to solve this as well. That's why he's asked to come back Friday.

I'm a little disappointed with, I would say, some on the other side.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: We're asking the president to open up the government. We are giving him a Republican path to do that.  Why would he not do it?


BAIER: Bipartisan meeting at the White House, actually in the White House Situation Room today. You can see all the players who were in attendance from Capitol Hill. The main topic, of course, the shutdown, the partial government shutdown, and what's going to happen with border wall funding, or whatever you want to call it semantically. If you think that this is going to suddenly go away, take a listen to the likely speaker of the House coming up, Nancy Pelosi, today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you willing to come up and give him some of this money for the wall, because apparently that's the sticking point?

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: No. Nothing. We are talking about border security.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing for the wall, but that means --

PELOSI: We can go through this back-and-forth. No. How many more times can we say no. Nothing for the wall.

ALEXANDRA PELOSI: She will cut your head off and you won't even know you are bleeding. That is all you need to know about her.


BAIER: OK, there you have it. Let's bring in our panel, start there, White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor at Real Clear Politics, and Bill McGurn, Main Street columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Bill, you listen to this, we are getting anecdotal information inside the room that Nancy Pelosi interrupted the briefing on the border security update when there was talk about a wall. It doesn't sound like there's going to be funding moving forward for a wall. Where are we?

WILLIAM MCGURN, WALL STREET JOURNAL: We are in a game of chicken. And the question is, who blinks first? On paper it makes sense for the Democrats to get the DACA regularization of the people who came here under DACA in exchange for giving President Trump his wall. The president is not going to give up on the wall. It was a central piece of his campaign whether you like it or not. So right now they are in the game of chicken.

The one thing I would say is usually the dynamic is who can blame the other for the shutdown, but the president has already made clear he is willing to take the blame for the shutdown over the funding. And the one thing I would say about President Trump is he has proved himself on trade willing to take a lot of pain, or let the pain get inflicted. So I think we'll find out who blinks first.

BAIER: We had the acting ICE director, A.B., on the show earlier, Director Vitiello, and he put the numbers this way -- 2,000 people he estimates coming to the border to try and get an every day, nowadays, 65 percent of that children coming alone or families coming with kids or kids coming along with them. We have 13,000 in U.S. custody currently. Obviously, it is a serious situation along the border no matter what you want to call it on funding the security.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: There is no question, Bret, and I think that you hear Democrats since the results of the midterm elections saying all of President Trump's rhetoric on the caravan and birthright citizenship and everything else just boomeranged on this and they picked up 40 seats.

I do think that all this reporting in recent weeks about these two children dying and all of the conditions and the circumstance at the border show that we are overwhelmed at the border, and Americans know that. The number of crossings might be the lowest since 2007, but our system cannot bear what's happening. And so that is why I think there's just too much here, too much showboating really on both sides.

I think the Democrats should come to the table and get something out of this and give some money that he can call a wall. Sticking only with border security that is not a wall is fine. They are for border security.  Most border states Republicans are opposed to a wall. And 38 percent of the country in the most recent poll supports a wall only, and it dropped to 33 percent, this is a CNN poll from last week, when they found Mexico is not paying for a wall. So it doesn't have to be a wall.

But Democrats can't be seen as taking border security lightly. They need to make an earnest effort to meet the situation halfway. As I said, it doesn't have to be a wall. But there is no question that this is a situation that we can't -- whether it's the resources that Customs and Border Patrol needs or ICE or anything like that, the detention centers, there is just this huge pot of issues where we seem underfunded and unprepared.

BAIER: And let alone the policy changes that are possible to fix some of that. Ari?

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Somebody needs to explain to me, Bret, how a drone stops the caravan. All the drone and some of this high technology does is alert you that they are coming. And if there had not been a wall between San Diego and Tijuana, California would have been overrun by that caravan and also on New Year's Day.

So wherever the Border Patrol says a wall would be helpful to them to do their job to enforce America's laws, of course there should be a wall. And the obvious compromise here is the Senate is asking for $5 billion, the house is asking for zero billion -- 2.5. If they want to compromise for Washington, and this is the risk Nancy Pelosi will start to have now that she has power, she will be seen as the one who refuses to compromise. The answer between zero and five is obvious. If it stays at zero this is not going to help Nancy Pelosi other than in her caucus. It will not help Democrats with the country.

BAIER: OK, Mitt Romney, op-ed in The Washington Post. The headline, "The president shapes the public character of the nation. Trump's character falls short." Obviously there's a lot of history between these two men.  Take a listen.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It is my honor, real honor, and privilege to endorse Mitt Romney.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY, R-UTAH: Donald Trump has shown an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works.

TRUMP: He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said, Mitt, drop your knees, he would have dropped to his knees.

ROMNEY: Donald Trump lacks the temperament to be president.

TRUMP: Mitt Romney choked, pure and simple. He choked. He choked like a dog.

ROMNEY: The policies he's promoted have been pretty effective, and I support a lot of those policies.

TRUMP: I wish Mitt could be more of a team player.

ROMNEY: I'll work with the president as I would, frankly, with any president, which is on those areas where I'm in agreement we'll be able to work together. Where I disagree, I'll point that out.


BAIER: Bill, the president said he was expecting something, but not this.  Your thoughts on this today?

MCGURN: Yes, look, I think this is why people hate the beltway. Mitt Romney, I wouldn't want to say anything bad about him, but he is associated with flip-flops and not having any core beliefs. And his first act is to write an op-ed about character? It is just very disappointing. As if The Washington Post needs yet another op-ed saying how terrible Trump is.

We didn't hear Mitt Romney saying this when he was taking the secretary of state job. I think it makes people very cynical about Washington. I also think it is counterproductive, because if he wanted to have any influence on the White House I think he's just lost it. He may have influence at the Washington Post, but I don't think that's going to help him as a senator.

BAIER: A.B., quickly, it also put his niece in a bit of a bind as the head of the RNC. Ronna McDaniel saying, "POTUS is attacked and obstructed by the MSM," mainstream media, "and Democrats 24/7. For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack Donald Trump as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and the media want and is disappointing and unproductive." She left out uncle or Senator Romney.

STODDARD: Right. I think this was to be expected. You could see that Senator Romney was ready with a response today, saying that she is a partisan party official. It is her responsibility to cheer on its leader and that he had no issue with that, and that he respects her. But certainly, she is obviously prepared for more of this in the weeks and months to come.

And this is something that she has heard a lot from people in the Romney family and Republicans throughout the party. You have heard these comments privately, Bret. So have I. So has Aru and Bill, many Republicans talk this way about the former attachment of the party to fiscal rectitude and moral rectitude and character and the truth and the rule of law. And what Mitt Romney is saying is true.

But he is looking like a huge hypocrite, and he made himself an easy target by doing it the day before he was sworn in when he just sought the secretary of state position from the president two years ago and then ran a campaign where he didn't really criticize Trump to win a Senate seat, blasting him at the broadside the night before he takes office obviously made himself a target.


FLEISCHER: There are two types of senators. There are show horses and workhorses. The show horses are the ones, Democrats who blast Democrats, Republicans who blast Republicans. It's an easy formula for show horse success. Mitt just found it.

The work horse, this is who has got it figured out best with the Donald Trump presidency, is Lindsey Graham. Lindsey Graham knows how to appeal to Donald Trump and criticize Donald Trump. I think Mitt Romney should have followed Lindsey Graham's example and not this op-ed in The Washington Post example.

BAIER: It'll be interesting to see how the media treats Mitt Romney, how they treated him in 2012 and how they'll treat him now. Panel, thank you very much.

When we come back, riding off into the sunrise for a worthy cause.


BAIER: Finally tonight, a California man embarks on a cross country journey.




BAIER: California firefighter Thomas Pittman left early this morning for his Ride into the Light fundraiser, honoring his former friend and colleague Cory Iverson who died battling the Thomas fire in 2017. The 2,500-mile journey from San Diego to Jacksonville, Florida, will raise funds for the Iverson Foundation benefiting mental health of first responders. Thanks for all you're doing.

And thank you for inviting us into your home tonight.

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