Published August 10, 2017
This is a rush transcript from "The Fox News Specialists," August 9, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
EBONI K. WILLIAMS, THE FOX NEWS SPECIALIST HOST: Hey, everybody. I'm Eboni K. Williams with Kat Timpf and Mark Steyn. This is The Fox News Specialists. The nuclear crisis with North Korea becoming more and more of a pressure cooker, after his bow to respond to new North Korean provocations with fire and fury, President Trump followed it up today by touted the strength of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. This afternoon, secretary of defense James Mattis also released a statement saying, quote, the DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people. Now in contrast, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempted to bring a sense of calm while heeding to the U.S. territory -- while heading to the U.S. territory of Guam earlier today, which North Korea has threatened with attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think Americans should sleep well at night. I have no concerns about this particular rhetoric over the last few days. I have nothing that I've seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: This afternoon, state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert responded to claims of mix messaging from the administration on the crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEATHER NAUERT, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: The United States is on the same page, whether it's the White House, the state department, the department of defense, we're speaking with one voice. And the world is in fact speaking with one voice. Let's consider what is alarming. What is alarming, two ICBM tests in less than a month. Two nuclear tests that took place last year, it is a big deal what is going on. It's a concern to the world not just the United States. Those are alarming actions. They're provocative actions on the part of North Korea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Now Mark, the spokeswoman there saying one voice, but I think lots of people across America today are hearing a little bit of a dual message, hearing a much more reserved, measured response from Rex Tillerson, hearing something very different from President Trump.
MARK STEYN, THE FOX NEWS SPEACIALIST HOST: Yeah. I don't really mind the fire and fury stuff, because being nice and diplomatic about a one man psycho has not really worked for the last 20 years, which is why we're in the situation we're in. And Trump's aim here, North Korea should never have gotten to go nuclear, and the trick now is whatever he does with North Korea is going to be the template that's applied to Iran, and Sudan, and Yemen, and whatever crazy states wants to go nuclear. So if fire and fury doesn't work, so what? Nothing else has worked. And if it does work, then, you know, that's something that's changed.
WILLIAMS: So be it. Yeah, Kat, did it feel like two different messages for you? Or did it seem like, you know, that kind of duality make sense?
KATHERINE TIMPF, THE FOX NEWS SPECIALIST HOST: It felt like very different messages for me, because I hear something like fire and fury and I worry that could provoke North Korea. It might not just do any good. It could actually potentially cause harm. And I see Tillerson said what he said, and it does make you feel better. It's almost opposite. It's very, very different.
WILLIAMS: Yeah. Do you think it is good cop, bad cop?
WILLIAMS: Totally, OK. We'll meet today's specialists. He is a former CIA covert field operation officer, he's the current president of Diligence LLC, a global intelligence and security firm, he's also a consultant and writer for the television and film industry, he specializes in global crises, oh, what a perfect day -- Mike Baker is here.
WILLIAMS: And he's a former White House Republican congressional staffer, he was also a former intern, wow, for David Letterman, he's currently the host of the Chris Stigall Show on 1210 WPHT in Philly, he also specializes in analyzing the state of politics and comedy, Chris Stigall is here.
CHRIS STIGALL, THE CHRIS STIGALL SHOW HOST: Hi, Eboni.
WILLIAMS: Hey, what's up? Thank you, and I appreciate the three-piece suit, Chris, you know.
STIGALL: Well, listen, after this, I go to my job at Wells Fargo.
WILLIAMS: That's perfect. That's perfect.
STIGALL: I'm just happy I'm wearing pants.
WILLIAMS: Thanks for classing it up, Mike Baker. But in all seriousness, this -- seriously, your specialty, and it's a perfect day, a lot of people across the country might not sure what to feel, what to believe, how serious is it? Is North Korea actually nuclear?
MIKE BAKER, DILIGENCE LLC PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, to be clear, I mean, Mark is absolutely right when he talks about the fact that restrained talk, diplomatic language, sort of an appeasement policy of the past, almost 25 years, got us to this point. And this point being where North Korea has now realized its ambitions of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. So we have that going for us.
WILLIAMS: Some people -- I'm hearing, this is from my callers on my radio show just in general, Rex Tillerson kind of pushing back, saying maybe North Korea is not nuclear, but you're saying.
BAKER: What I'm saying, they have managed to exceed expectations.
WILLIAMS: Got it.
BAKER: The DIA assessment, defense intelligence agency assessment, they tend to be very thoughtful and fairly conservative in their assessments.
And so I would take them at almost at their word at this point in their latest assessment, which puts them -- and now, do they have the reentry capability? In other words, they could put a miniaturized weapon. They have that onto a ballistic missile. They have that. Can it survive reentry into the atmosphere? Well, that's the least of the list that they have to go through. But again, I find it interesting, sort of the fire and fury conversation and the fact that -- you know, this situation, the least of our problems right now is President Trump's verbiage.
BAKER: And also, if I might just add real quickly, President Clinton, Bill Clinton, during his administration, at a point -- one of the many points where North Korea is throwing their teddy at of the cot, he publicly stated that if the North Korean regime chooses to use nuclear weapons that will be the end of North Korea.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, you stole my floater.
BAKER: I'm sorry about that.
WILLIAMS: That's just the wealth of your knowledge.
BAKER: You shouldn't leave your papers lying around.
WILLIAMS: I see. I see. I see. But Chris, you know, certainly, again, I agree with Mike. The verbiage and the rhetoric is the least of our problems. The reality is so many administrations have failed to have any action at all around North Korea, so the options are so limited at this point.
STIGALL: Yeah. This is exactly where I think so many Trump voters were excited about the appointment of a guy named Mad Dog. In my view, General Mattis is the guy that needs to do exactly what he did today. And here's the headline from the New York Post this afternoon, Mattis to North Korea, stand down or we will destroy you. I think President Trump if he wishes could say nothing and just let Mattis do the heavy lifting on this and send a clear message. I'll call the shot. I'll make the decision. But I clearly got guys in my corner that are ready to act if you won't stand down.
TIMPF: I think the rhetoric actually makes a huge difference, because it sounded like he was potentially drawing a red line, saying if you threaten us again, fire and fury, that means do something about it. And then they came out and said, yeah, we're going to get Guam. Does that mean we look like we're bluffing? When you say something like that it could easily interpreted as a red line. So it's not the rhetorical but the rhetoric itself, but the actual implications.
WILLIAMS: Can I ask you this, Kat. I think that's a very fair point. Yeah, we can't just be talking for the sake of talking. It has to be backed up with action if we're going to put that out there. But some people I think feel, like you've said, President Trump kind of dialing it up with the rhetoric and provoking possibly. But, I don't know, I kind of see North Korea being the provocateur here.
TIMPF: Yeah, you know -- they are. Of course, they are. But, you know, us versus North Korea, who wins the morality contest.
STEYN: But they just threatened to nuke Guam.
STEYN: Ad we're arguing about whether the president is being too mean- spirited. I mean, what's the point here? Guam is just a territory. If they would threaten to nuke an actual state, we'd get serious about it?
When you were talking about the callers on your radio show, Eboni, we're splitting hairs here. We're arguing about whether they can merely nuke Guam or whether they can nuke Cleveland?
STEYN: And there's no point arguing about where on that continuum we are.
BAKER: Mark raises a really good point at the beginning, which also is getting kind of very little coverage right now, because nobody really wants to think about it. Much like we didn't want to think about North Korea developing this capability, which is that if you allow a nation to do what they want to do, and we did over a period of years. No doubt about it.
Our foreign policy didn't work. Then, they will reach their end game and you shut down your options.
BAKER: We are in the same position, and I will bet a three-piece suit, Chris.
BAKER: That we will be having the same conversation about Iran prior to the next presidential election.
STIGALL: Great point.
BAKER: And so, we have to be very careful about how we deal with this right now. We don't want to be bellicose. I agree with you about the verbiage and about the rhetoric, and the words have to mean something. But we have to understand that aside from the sanctions, aside from being aggressive now, it's time to stop being overly diplomatic with China. We have to be very aggressive with China in explaining that this is one of those few occasions where we have mutual shared interests. We have to think very seriously about the very few options we have from a military perspective.
WILLIAMS: Mike, do you think this moment is kind of the -- not kind of, if the indicator of what national security under President Trump is going to feel like and look like and sound like?
BAKER: Well, I mean -- it's a very interesting question. But to be fair, we are here because of the last handful of administrations.
WILLIAMS: Oh, sure. I'm not faulting the president. I'm just asking like you think this is an indicator, like we're connecting the dots around -- it's North Korea today. Is it Iran, is it all of these others.
BAKER: Well, President Trump maybe unfortunate in the sense that he is sitting in the chair.
BAKER: At a point where North Korea and all these past efforts -- and also coming up, Iran, is going to come to fruition from their perspective under his administration.
STIGALL: Frankly after this, China. As you bring up, China really seems to have been missing this discussion so far. And where do they come down on this should we act?
STEYN: It suits China to have North Korea where it is. And its suits -- and North Korea suits every other nation because it sending the crazy countries in the world, of which there are dozens, the message that if you go nuclear, America can't touch you. That's a bad message.
TIMPF: That they want respect, right? That's why they want to go nuclear on the first.
WILLIAMS: They want to play with the big dogs. And certainly, I think the engagement makes them feel good about that level. But China, to me, they have been the greatest enablers of North Korea's ability to get to this level. And that's why I really feel some kind of wave, really towards the continued efforts -- and correct me if I'm wrong here, Mike, to kind to continue to engage them, to kind of play along with us -- I mean, at what point do we have to stop that?
BAKER: Well, no doubt -- we have to continue that. We can't stop that. We have to understand that we may be getting to a point, and China I think is signaling with that vote over the weekend, for the U.S. draft and resolution, that they realize there's a shift here, there's a problem here.
And I think they're starting to see that, yes, it was in their advantage to enable North Korea for a long time. It may not be in their advantage now in the very short term. And I think we will see, if we're smart in how we play China, I think we'll see them come to the table with a different mindset and we have to be aggressive.
STIGALL: To that point, Mike, would it be maybe taking Japan aside and saying what can we do help you? Maybe arm you up a little bit, start strengthening the neighbors. Maybe China takes interest then.
BAKER: That's all part and parcel of it, right? And that's the difficult part of this. If we talk about things as if it's this or it's that, or it's this. It's all these things. It's the sanctions. It's working with China very aggressively. It's dealing with our allies. It's getting the missile defense system back into South Korea. They have a very progressive president who put the kibosh on that. Kibosh.
TIMPF: Yeah, it's a technical term.
BAKER: It's a nuclear weapons term, yeah,
TIMPF: Mike, I completely agree.
STEYN: That's what we've been going wrong, you put the kibosh. The problem though, when you say can't we persuade Japan to militarize and everything? We have a ridiculous situation where the world's wealthiest nations can't defend themselves, and absolute economic basket cases whose GDP is barely measurable are becoming nuclear powers. How long do you think that arrangement is going to last?
TIMPF: We can defend ourselves.
STEYN: No, but Japan can. Australia, may be. New Zealand, could. I mean, look at that part of the world, those wealthy countries who can't.
TIMPF: I don't think anyone is saying that this is a good situation. I also don't really think it's that surprising because we've seen North Korea talk like this, when there's been sanction in the past. What they're looking for is respect, and that's why they have this nuclear program that they're developing. And when we respond to that by sanctioning them and sort of like grounding them, that doesn't make you feel very respected. It makes you feel like a child, and then they're lashing out with their little temper tantrums. We have
BAKER: I'm sorry. We've always had a carrot and stick approach with them, right? They rattled the cage and throw the teddy out of the cot and we do something, and then eventually they get something in return, or China gets something in return. And so, the problem is now, here we are. We're at the end of the road. They've got what they want essentially. And so, the game has changed. We can't continue that process unless we're willing to say, I don't mind. We don't care if little Kim has weapons that are capable of reaching the U.S. if we're OK with that, then fine. Let's step back and focus on other things.
WILLIAMS: Final question to you, Mike. I mean, you said earlier it's about playing -- the smart play in China, you kind of articulate what that would be from your vantage point.
BAKER: Well, I think we need to -- look, our interest and China's interests rarely intersect, right? Here they do, you would imagine that you would think. So I think what we need to do, and I'm sure it's happening even as we speak. Look, a lot goes on off the radar screen that we don't need to know or typically find out about. But we need to sit down with Xi and the authorities there in China, and in no uncertain terms say, look, we can either wrap this up with a military confrontation that is going to be devastating to the peninsula and to you. They're right there.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, refugee crisis.
BAKER: Or we can find a way to resolve this. And whether that means regime change, fostered by the Chinese authorities, whether it means some type of effort with unification, again, with the Chinese authorities right there. Who knows?
WILLIAMS: Well, when we return, the FBI raids the Virginia home of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. What this means for the Russia probe? Stay with us.
TIMPF: A new twist in the Russia probe. FBI agents conducted a predawn raid of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's Virginia home. Fox News confirms that on July 26, agents executed a search warrant taking documents and other materials related to the investigation around Russia
2016 election meddling. According to the Washington Post, those FBI agents work with special counsel Robert Mueller. Eboni, they don't really give out warrants for no reason as far as I understand the process.
WILLIAMS: Yes, so there's actually a requirement, which is probable cause. But I will say, Kat, it also a little aggressive, arrayed, really? This isn't like a cartel.
TIMPF: No one is doing anything.
WILLIAMS: And Paul Manafort and his legal team had said that they are cooperating, so that part did feel a bit dramatic and theatrical. But, yes, to your point, you have to have a probable cause requirement, satisfy for a judge to issue a search warrant, so we know at least that much of a burden approve is afoot.
TIMPF: Mike, so why the predawn thing? I mean, that sounds very, very intense.
BAKER: It's not something you want in the morning, a knock at the door, and you're not even awake.
TIMPF: It's the FBI.
BAKER: Standing there in your hoodie footie or whatever you wear that you sleep in. And so.
STIGALL: There's a picture.
BAKER: But, you know, I think, he has been, according to all reports, providing documentation to the various intel committees, the senate committee, and congressional committee. So it is interesting, although, sometimes it's a little pro forma. And what are they looking for? Well, if I'm going to be doing the raid on Manafort, I'm looking just for very limited things. I'm looking for tax records. I'm looking for foreign bank accounts. Those are the sort of things that the bureau would be doing.
Look, these guys are great. I've got a tremendous amount of respect for the FBI. I think -- you know -- terrific. And I have no problems with the FBI doing a very objective investigation. I'm very comfortable with that. Mueller, I don't know. I have no idea about Mueller. But the FBI.
TIMPF: Are you going to be OK.
STEYN: With all due respect to Eboni's former profession. There is another reason why they do this. And I find U.S. federal justice somewhat more malodorous than Mike does. And what they're doing, Paul Manafort -- they've got to turn a couple of the number two and number three guys.
That's how it works.
WILLIAMS: They need cooperation.
STEYN: Cooperation is like -- kind of mob town in this. You go, you kick the guy's front door down at 4:00 in the morning, you go through his house, you find something that you can use to turn him. Who do they want to turn him against? Trump. So I don't necessarily feel -- and again, with all due respect to your former profession, these nice little phrases like probable cause.
WILLIAMS: All those pesky constitutional requirements.
STEYN: Yeah. How required it is when the FBI wants to go and knocking on your door at 4:40 in the morning. I don't know. And so, I don't necessarily think this means Paul Manafort is a criminal.
WILLIAMS: Oh, no, I don't think anybody thinks that.
STIGALL: This happened back on July 26, the president can't send a tweet without us knowing about it within seconds. I mean, everything this White House does is leaked within an instant. How bizarre is it that this comes out now, right? I find that profoundly bizarre. Also, Donald Trump kicked Manafort out some time ago because of this very thing. And Comey himself said that Trump told him if there's something going on with my campaign as it relates to Russia, let's get to the bottom of it. I know this continues to be this cloud of Russian conspiracy surrounding Trump. But if Manafort has done something, I feel like Trump pushed all along, let's get to the bottom of it. But Manafort hasn't been tied to Trump for a year or more.
BAKER: That was it for all two months. And so -- yes, I agree. The mechanics of it are they -- you know, you're always looking for leverage on potential witnesses. There's no doubt about that. But, you know, if they're going in there, and who knows what they're looking for. It would be speculation in my part to say. But I'm just saying, if they're going in there, it's highly likely they're looking for information related to payments from foreign countries.
STEYN: Yeah. But he's done business with Russia for 20 years or whatever. You can't do business with Russia for 20 years without doing something that falls afoul of some stupid technical regulation in the United States.
WILLIAMS: But that's still to your point. Even if that's true, that doesn't put Donald Trump on the necessarily.
TIMPF: I wonder for a while whether he would take the fall for anything that may have happen that was inappropriate. I mean, he was the campaign manager. It was at the height of the speculation what's happening. He was at that meeting. And now he's got the predawn raid on his house.
STIGALL: He's the patsy. I would think in any normal news cycle we would had known about that the same morning it happened. Why are we finding out about that today?
BAKER: Kudos to all those people who knew about this and were able to keep their yap shut for almost two weeks now. You're right, somebody leaked, and usually leaking is a product of timing.
STEYN: Because the timing is right on this. The entire Scaramucci reign as communications director.
BAKER: That's exactly right.
STEYN: So this might be the only thing the Trump administration.
WILLIAMS: Drip, drip, drip.
STIGALL: Why this? This is the one secret that's been kept.
WILLIAMS: I would say, pretty unremarkable, like what you're saying. I mean, you know what, obviously, this makes sense. They're cooperating. Again, the raid, the middle of the morning knocked, it all feels very dramatic.
BAKER: I do like how Mark referred to the Scaramucci reign, as though it was an era.
TIMPF: It was.
BAKER: A week and a half.
TIMPF: I will never forget it. All right, coming up, some good news for immigration bill backed by President Trump, and new statistics shows a major surge in the crackdown against illegal immigration. Don't go away.
STEYN: President Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration is cranking up. According to new government data, there was a 31 percent combined spike in removal orders and voluntary departures during the first six months of the Trump administration, compared to the same period last year. That jump is coinciding with positive news for an immigration plan backed by President Trump. According to a new poll by Politico, 61 percent of voters support a proposed points system for potential legal immigrants, which, in fact, a criteria such as English proficiency and work skills. I stumbled on the word proficiency.
STEYN: Mike, you're an immigrant to this great land. Did you come in the official way or in a flat boat skip across the Rio Grande?
BAKER: I was airdropped in. We did a halo into the United States. I've been here ever since. No, I am from somewhere else. I still have my dual citizenship, U.S.-U.K. citizenship. And -- so I'm conflicted on this, right? I have a real great appreciation for what immigration has done for this country and continue to do for this country.
At the same time, you know, I'm a law and order guy, right? So, I don't see necessarily why it creates all the angst to say, you know, I'm in favor of immigration, but at the same time, I'm in favor of orderly immigration.
I don't know, you know, where that line is. It's way above my paygrade. But, when they start talking about simply trying -- here's where I think I can speak best to. The kerfuffle over better vetting of potential people coming in from war-torn states, chaotic states, right, that turned into such a chaotic mess when they were talking about it. That, to me, made perfect sense, right?
Step back, do a review of how we process people who are coming in. We have a right to know who's coming to this country. We have an absolute right.
EBONI WILLIAMS, HOST: I would say we even have an obligation.
BAKER: We have an obligation. But, you know --
BAKER: That's above my paygrade.
MARK STEYN, HOST: But Chris, this is beyond that. I mean, this shows that 61% of the people in this country, half the people in this country, actually want a reduction in legal immigration.
CHRIS STIGALL, "THE CHRIS STIGALL SHOW" TALK RADIO 1210 WPHT: Well, I know you take calls on your radio show, Mark, and I do, too. Something that I found since Donald Trump started talking about this issue. Blue-collar Democrats, working-class Democrats, particularly those on construction sites are deeply, deeply concerned about illegal immigrants taking their work and undercutting their wages. This is such a winning issue across the board in labor sectors.
And I think that's what really pushes it. People that are both skilled and maybe unskilled labor that feel their jobs and their wages are just being dropped like a rock.
KATHERINE TIMPF, HOST: It's a misconception, it really is a misconception that immigrants just come here and take things. They don't actually -- adding workers to the economy grows the economy. And we talk about illegal immigration. Most economists agree that it's not a good idea to cut that in half, especially when we have so many job openings in the United States right now. I understand that, you know, it's easy to think, oh, well, if they're taking the job, there's not going to be a job for me, but it's much more complicated than that.
STIGALL: But you don't think guys are being loaded up at Home Depot to work in construction site this afternoon as opposed to --
WILLIAMS: I that's one narrative, Chris, and that happens. I've seen it happen, absolutely it does.
STIGALL: Yes, I did, too. I get...
WILLIAMS: But you know what -- and I do, too. But there's another part of immigration that also happens. And so I think you don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater is the truth, right? So we can absolutely have a secure border. We can absolutely vet who comes into this country from a war-torn situation and we can absolutely fix a broken legal immigration system that to Kat's point makes sure that America gets the best and brightest from across the globe.
STEYN: Are you in favor of that, Eboni? There's an English-speaking and Australian-style points system.
WILLIAMS: I'm not mad at the complete meritocracy. I do think we have to watch some of the requirements. So we don't want to limit, you know, what could be otherwise bright and important talent that can have an economic benefit to the country just because someone necessarily they have to speak English. So, I think there may be -- could be more variations there. But I'm OK with some meritocracy.
TIMPF: Yes, I didn't speak English the moment I entered the United States either. Technically, I was born here but I didn't speak it. And I figured it out.
STEYN: You're a done deal. America didn't have a choice, Katherine, if you arrive in a maternity ward --
TIMPF: Yes, but when I arrived here, no idea.
STEYN: It's the people we get to choose. I mean, this is a thing, Kat, everyone's -- everyone who's pro-immigration tends to be pro-immigration for sentimental reasons, for mythically.
TIMPF: No, for me, it's economic reasons. Absolutely.
TIMPF: 5.7 million job openings in this country and a lot of them are very low-skilled work where you don't necessarily need to speak.
STEYN: But they're going to be replaced by automation.
BAKER: I think it is much more complex and I think Kat is right in that regard that, you know, it's not as if, you know, there's a finite number of jobs, there take my job, that job doesn't exist. I mean, it is a much more complex issue here. But I do agree 100 percent, look, there's no reason we can't fix this and fix it in a proper and a humane way.
BAKER: Right? We all can agree. Immigration is important.
STEYN: OK. And, Mike and I are going to be the first to self-deport. So no worries about that.
Straight ahead, President Trump is firing back at Mitch McConnell for saying he has "excessive expectations", where new polling showcasing Americans' growing anger with Congress. Stay with us.
WILLIAMS: Well, welcome back to the FOX NEWS SPECIALISTS. Our specialists today are Mike Baker and Chris Stigall. Let's continue the conversation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is feeling the heat after criticizing President Trump during remarks at a rotary club in Kentucky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Our new president -- and of course, I've been in this line of work before. And I think had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the Democratic process. And so, part of the reason I think people feel like we are underperforming is because too many kind of artificial deadlines, unrelated to the reality of the complexity of legislating may not have been fully understood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: It was a little bit -- as you might imagine, getting a sharp reply from President Trump who tweeted this afternoon, "Senator Mitch McConnell said I had "excessive expectations," but I don't think so. After7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?" Helping highlight that point, a new poll from CBS News shows the nearly nine in 10 U.S. adults think that the current Congress isn't getting much done. Also a new poll from Gallup shows that just 16 percent of Republicans approve of the job Congress is doing. That's down from 50 percent in February.
Mark Steyn, I'll start with you. You talked about arbitrary timelines. But isn't seven years has a nice healthy timeline?
STEYN: No, I would like to wrap up the two great issues of our time. I would like to draw Mitch McConnell on the presidential palace in Pyongyang. And I would like whoever is running Kim Jong-un's nuclear program to be the Senate majority leader, because he gets things done in leaps and bounds.
And that's the kind of guy. People are sick of hearing from the Republican side why nothing can be done.
STEYN: It's not like that when the Democrats are in control.
WILLIAMS: Yes. To that point, Chris, you know, a lot of people felt like President Obama, his first two years where he had a Democrat-controlled House Senate and then of course even the White House, not a ton got done. And he saw what that obstruction look like in the last six years of his presidency. President Trump has it all right now, why is more not getting done?
STIGALL: And those first two years, it was put foot on the gas pedal one issue on one issue only and --
WILLIAMS: Health care -- of their health care.
STIGALL: -- ObamaCare. They got it. McConnell, it takes a lot of stones to go home after taking the whole month of August off and saying, well, these things take time.
WILLIAMS: Seven years.
STIGALL: Yes. That is just the audacity of taking August off and saying these things take time. Kind of insulting.
TIMPF: Also, it's kind of like gas lighting, honestly, because to say that President Trump is the one that was -- had these unrealistic expectations, no, everyone in Congress that the Republican ran on that themselves.
WILLIAMS: Yes, they did.
TIMPF: They were the ones saying --
TIMPF: -- vote for us, we'll repeal and replace. We'll do that. So I don't think that it was President Trump saying this, no, no, you said that yourself and you didn't follow through.
STIGALL: How many times have you heard people say rank-and-file Democrats wouldn't cross Nancy Pelosi, wouldn't cross Harry Reid? How many times have you ever heard anyone say, don't cross Mitch Mcconnell?
BAKER: Have you seen Harry Reid? I wouldn't cross it. You know, he's like Steven Seagal.
BAKER: With all due respect to Senator McConnell, I love the fact that, you know, he says people have the perception that we're underperforming.
It's because they're underperforming.
BAKER: And every time you listen to a congressman or a senator, it's always they. You know, we -- you know, I can't understand this obstruction but they've got to get things going. And at what point do you just say, you know, that's it. Throw the bums out.
STIGALL: But this is --
STEYN: But this is why Trump is the president because people got sick of this kind of Republican Party. That's why Jeb isn't president, that's why Lindsey Graham isn't president. That's why none of us got --
STIGALL: It is always the sanctimony of you rubes are not sophisticated enough to understand what we legislators do.
STEYN: Frankly, I know, what is it? And I don't know what Mitch McConnell and those guys do when they get to the Senate at 9:00 in the morning and then they go home. What do they do?
WILLIAMS: Lunch, they have lunch.
TIMPF: They have lunch.
WILLIAMS: They have breakfast. They have lunch.
STIGALL: They've got a nice gym.
STEYN: They say he's a great backroom dealer, don't you think? He's a great parliamentary.
WILLIAMS: I don't think -- but you know what, I don't think they can count because if these Republicans that told President Trump, we have the votes, Mr. President.
STEYN: That's right, yes.
WILLIAMS: Get your pin ready. We're going to have this passed for you in no time. They told him to start with this, they told him to wait on tax reform, wait on infrastructure. Start with repeal and replace. And somebody can't count out there in Washington.
BAKER: If they can't get this done, if they can't get some piece of legislation, tax reform, then obviously they're not going to get the health care issue sorted out. Then, yes, they're going to get slaughtered in 2018. And they frankly deserve it because of how inept they appear to be.
But, you know, at the same time, it's all of them. It's not just the Republicans, it's the Democrat. It's this functionality of Washington --
STEYN: But it's not this -- the Democrats just decided they were going to hammer Obamacare down your throat whether you wanted it or -- and they did it. And they bet that in eight years' time or whatever, the Republicans wouldn't be able to get it together to roll it back.
STIGALL: I want Trump to start tweeting that he's going to rain fire on Mitch McConnell. I want one of those --
WILLIAMS: I do not want that.
STEYN: No. Nobody wants that. No --
WILLIAMS: I don't want that.
STIGALL: Oh, I kind of do. I kind of do. Fire and fiery. Bring it.
WILLIAMS: Empower. Don't forget empower.
WILLIAMS: Up next, the Trump administration considering a controversial proposal to privatize most of the war in Afghanistan. Could it help turn the stalemate into a victory? We'll be right back.
TIMPF: Trump administration is considering a controversial plan that would privatize most of the war in Afghanistan. Proposal calls for 5,500 private contractors to support and advise Afghan combat troops, along with a private air force made up of dozens of planes, to try and break the world's long running stalemate.
Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, has been a chief proponent of the plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIK PRINCE, FOUNDER, BLACKWATER USA: There are still Americans dying there. I think -- like I said, any American left, right or center wants to figure out a way to cauterize this wound, 16 years is enough.
We have another trillion dollars in health care costs that we're going to owe for the Afghan War. So let's bring it to a close. People might not like the idea of using contractors for that. Let's get used to that idea.
It's better than having American soldiers there endlessly. Are we going to be having this conversation in another 10 years?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TIMPF: Baker, obviously, I'm going to go to you first.
BAKER: Yes. Yes.
TIMPF: You stated in the break that you're not a fan.
BAKER: Yes, yes. Give it to Erik Prince and the private contractor world and we'll be having this conversation in another 10 years because for proper motive, they're going to stay there as long as possible.
Look, this is at full disclosure. I've got intelligence and security company. And we moved into Iraq in 2003, had a very large operation there,
700 people. And, yes, we made good jack off of that, right? I mean, so, I can't believe I just said that. But, you know, what I mean, we made cash.
STEYN: Well, yes, yes.
BAKER: So, I think that, you know, at the end of the day, the contractors -- and we were at the very beginning of this. And so we were there when they were trying to form a private contractors association. What does all this mean? What are the rules of engagement? How do you do this? They serve a very important function. But it's a support function.
If we decide that being in Afghanistan is important, then that's a job for the U.S. military, the finest fighting force in the world. And yes, U.S. private contractors did provide support logistically and information support and other, you know, security support. But, to turn it over, and I say this being in the commercial world of security and intelligence, turning it over to private contractors, I think, would be a serious mistake.
WILLIAMS: I think that's incredible integrity, by the way, Mike. I really do. I think that really is as a stand-up argument and analysis from a very objective standpoint...
STIGALL: But to your point, Michael, so you do not have the kind of rules the United States military has, which are historically hamstringing them in a lot of ways. We've heard that. So, I wonder -- in the field. And so, I wondered, is there an element of not being hamstrung where you could really close the sale and finish the job as a private contractor?
BAKER: No, that's -- you're going down a wrong path on that one. And I understand what you're --
STIGALL: I'm just asking. I don't --
BAKER: No, I understand what you're saying, but I think that is the absolute wrong path. If we -- again, if we decide and we've all been in Afghanistan much longer than anybody wants to be, and we should have seen this coming. This is one of those cases where we never seem to learn from history, right? We spent a great deal of time trying to get the Soviets out of there. And if you had said at that time, guess what, U.S. is going to be in here for 16 years. Everyone would've thought you were crazy.
TIMPF: Mark, go on.
STEYN: No, I mean, it is crazy. And it suggests to me that the American way of war does need rethinking. But this is not the way to do it. You know, the NATO occupation in Afghanistan is responsible for 98% of that country's GDP.
And a prominent -- a very prominent Australian politician said to me just last year that the problem with -- when he was there, is that there's a crusade of fault mentality. Everyone's locked up in the basis. They're enjoying Dunkin' Donuts and Burger King on the base. And outside, all the crazy guys are just running around. If you subcontract the war to private contractors, that's all you'll get and nothing else. You either got to get out or you've got actually rethink the way you fight, isn't it?
WILLIAMS: Can I ask this question, Mike? What does winning in Afghanistan look like at this point?
STEYN: That's great.
BAKER: You know, that -- yes, that's the --
TIMPF: I think it's impossible.
BAKER: -- the big question right there, they don't know what we're trying to sell them. After all these years and all the blood that we've spilled, all the treasures that's been expanded there, the Afghan people in general, they don't have a clue with some pseudo-federal system of government. What are you talking about? And we suffered from sort of this desire to do better and to do the right thing. And that's -- God bless, America because we do want to do it. And we tend to, OK, we make a mistake, we self- correct.
But in Afghanistan, I'm here to tell you, at the very outset of that, when we finish up that exercise in Tora Bora and we started, you know, doing other things and then next thing you know we had a presence in Afghanistan.
BAKER: I had -- one of my first hires in my company was a Russian who was in the military. And he had been in Afghanistan with the Soviet occupation forces. And he was still carrying some shrapnel around. He grabbed me and he said, that was a great effort in Tora Bora, so now get out. He says they're like cockroaches.
BAKER: You step on them here, they come up over here. You never get rid of them. And he was crazed. And it was -- and again, we're making the same mistakes because we want to do better, right?
STEYN: Nobody wants Afghanistan as a colony. The Russians didn't, the British didn't. The Americans decided they were going to do it.
TIMPF: Well, I think at this point conversations that surround Afghanistan have to surround getting out.
All right, we've got to say goodbye to our specialists. You guys have to get out, too, Mike Baker and Chris Stigall. Thank you both so much for joining us. It's been such a wonderful time.
Up next, WAIT, WHAT? Don't go away.
STEYN: And now, for our last segment today, it's time for, Wait, What?
I'll kick things off.
The great Glen Campbell died yesterday. This is one of his first hits, and I love this song, Wichita Lineman. It's actually about a lineman working for the county.
And what I love about it, it's the only song as far as I know about an electrician working for the county. But it's also a love song, and it taught me that love songs don't all have to be moon, June (ph) and stars above, you can do it about a guy on a county road working on an electric pole. Glen Campbell, rest in peace.
WILLIAMS: Absolutely, he may rest in peace.
OK. Well, my Wait, What? is a little more culinary, you know, on "FOX & FRIENDS" last week showing my salmon kebabs. But this is an interesting pop-up restaurant, it is coming right through in New York City, a Cheetos pop-up restaurant. Did you hear about this? A multiple different culinary delights here. We have this winner from a local, like, television show from the food network. And she is literally opening up a pop-up with nothing but Cheeto recipe. So, flaming Cheetos, crunchy Cheetos, big puffy smooth Cheetos, whatever kind of Cheeto you want.
TIMPF: I've heard you can't even get reservations --
WILLIAMS: Oh, sold out.
TIMPF: -- because everybody's got into it.
WILLIAMS: No, I'm dead serious. Everyone sold out.
TIMPF: Everyone's either into it.
STEYN: The Cheeto...
WILLIAMS: Cheeto, tacos, you get a Cheeto, you get a Cheeto, everybody gets a Cheeto.
WILLIAMS: You know, not here for it.
STEYN: And that's booked out.
WILLIAMS: Yes. So, forget about it.
TIMPF: So too bad, so --
WILLIAMS: It's fine, not happening.
STEYN: Yes. Yes.
TIMPF: All right. So I --
STEYN: I don't want to get the restaurant by the toilet and the Cheeto restaurant.
TIMPF: So, I've got animal video again, little animal, little koala in a pharmacy in Australia. He walks right in. And he does kind of behave like a human in the pharmacy. That's very, very cute. Look at -- he just-- he walks around, he's up looking for things and everyone's taking pictures.
And you know what, I just think that that's just very nice because look at him. He's shopping -- seems like he's shopping just like we are or we would. But, he didn't find anything. And I think that that's sad.
STEYN: I had a stuffed koala when I was a kid. I'm all depressed now.
That's all the time we have today. We thank you all for watching. And make sure to follow us on social media, SpecialistsFNC on Twitter and Facebook. Remember, 5:00 will never be the same. "SPECIAL REPORT" starts now.
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