tv The Journal Editorial Report FOX News December 30, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
at seven. "the journal editorial report" is next. muck -- ♪ ♪ paul: welcome to this special edition of "the journal editorial report" as we look back on the highs and lows of president trump's first year in office and ahead to the challenges that await him in 2018. i'm paul gigot, and we begin this weekç with a look back at the president's first year from the rocky rollout of the travel ban to the triumphant passage of his historic tax overhaul. here with a look at his accomplishments and setbacks is columnist and deputy editor of the "wall street journal" dan henninger, columnist kim strassel and assistant editorial page editor james freeman. all right, dan, let's start with trump, the year, and a
republican congress too. how do you size it up? let's look at the high points. >> oh, the high points? well, we would start with the tax reform act of 2017. that was a very high point. the highest point at the beginning was the confirmation of neil gorsuch to the supreme court. and i suppose we should also mention that there were all of the regulatory rollbacks of obama's regulations using the congressional review act. but once passed, through the end there weren't a lot of high points because they spent most of middle of the year trying toç reform obamacare. that was a failure. but, you know, they've gone off on a true high. the economy is strong, tax reform act should probably propel that economy, so they've got the winds at their back going into the 2018. paul: we do want to talk about the economy in more detail later, mary, but i think the deregulatory agenda is really both what congress did with the congressional review act. it'd only been used once before,
i think they've used it 13 or 14 times this year. but what they did in trump's agencies with this idea of a regulatory budget, if you're going to add a regulation, you better get rid of others, i think that that is an unsung triumph this year. >> right. and that goes to another big accomplishment which is the people he put in some of these places were so key. people like scott pruitt at the epa, scott gottlieb at the fda and sort of an awareness that the hostility to business -- almost as much as the actual regulations, but the overriding message from the obama administration thatç basically business was a problem -- that reversal, i think, has made a big difference in the economy this year. paul: all right. james, i'm going to come to you for the low points, or at least some of them. because i think there's this paradox here. you've got these sort of to successes, accomplishments of congress, but then why is he under 40% in the polls?
how do you explain that? >> yeah. i think his -- if you could say the big failure of the year in contrast to the substantive accomplishments is his failure to sell himself politically to the american people. paul: still swing voters. >> he's still bumping along, and i think a lot of it is despite what is turning out to be a pretty significant record of achievement in year one, he often says things that even his supporters wish he didn't say, tweets things they wish he didn't tweet, and i thinkç it'a historically hostile media, but he's also given them an opening to attack him with a lot of we'll say imprecise statements. [laughter] some people say lies. i would say often he is being judge by a higher standard, but he needs to be more accurate, i think, if he wants to avoid handing a sword to his enemies in the new year. paul: kim, i guess i'd point as well to some of the chaos in the white house mt. early part of his presidency -- in the early
part of his presidency and the travel ban, ultimately the third will probably be upheld by the supreme court, but the question is did you need that message particularly right out of the blocks? and then i think just the white house staff, you know? anybody could walk in there at any time for the first two or three months and say, hey, boss, what's doing? agd put anything on his desk. now john kelly's come in as chief of staff and 'em posed some order -- imposed some order but not total. >> yeah. but i don't think it gets the notice that it probably deserves, paul. if you look at the first six months of this administration versus the last six months, it's almost night and day in terms of the stories that are coming out, the palace intrigue. remember, the beginning of this was this death match between steve bannon and reince priebus, everybody angling to get their initiatives in front of the president, to bring the other one down with leaks to the press. kelly came in, that has mostly
stopped. he also got some other people in working around that seem to be functioning on making the presidency work and be thoughtful about policiesç and their rollout so you don't have another travel ban problem. you know, so now at this point it's more a question of how do you control the president himself. the internal workings seem to be generally on track. paul: that's the million dollar question, how do you control the president. i don't think you're ultimately ever going to do that entirely, dan. >> no, i don't think so. he'll keep tweeting. i think some of the tweets and the use of twitter could be more productive talking about his accomplishments because, just as james was suggesting, he is dealing with a hostile media. there is one oh element that i think is worth noticing. trump's approval is down below 38%. that's the lowest for any president since the 1950s. bill clinton was at about 57% in december. but we haven'tç historically -- we have an historically
polarized electorate. republicans approve trump by 80%. democrats it's 7% and independents it's around 40%. you have a country that is completely torn apart, and you do have a lot of media over there on the side of the democrats. so this is an uphill battle for donald trump. paul: let's talk a little bit about foreign policy, because i think a high point probably was his statement with the firing of missiles when syria used chemical weapons. in contrast to obama, he said you can't do that. and yet so much of the rest of foreign policy is a work in progress. we don't know what's going to happen with north korea, on syria, for example, we're still waiting. >> well, he's made some really important gains againstç isis - paul: good point. >> and i think that's his big win for the year. one of the problems on foreign policy is he doesn't understand the economic engagement that's important. i mean, giving away the trans-pacific partnership basically left china to write its own ticket for trade in
asia. and he wants to destroy nafta. i think that's also a big negative for him and makes him unpopular with so many people who would normally be supporters, but they see their jobs at risk. and he also has, i think, made a big mistake by characterizing immigration as a liability to the united states. paul: well, now there you opened up at the large second a larger debate. all right. after we come back, after aç rancorous year in washington, president trump and republican leaders say they're optimistic they can work with democrats in 2018 on common policy goals from infrastructure to immigration. we'll take a look at the prospects for bipartisanship next. ♪ ♪ no matter how the markets change... at t. rowe price... our disciplined approach remains. global markets may be uncertain... but you can feel confident in our investment experience around the world. call us or your advisor... t. rowe price. invest with confidence.
♪ ♪ >> i really do believe we're going to have a lot of bipartisanç work done, and maye we start with infrastructure. because i really believe infrastructure can be bipartisan. >> well, i think one thing you can say about this year, it was pretty partisan. i don't think most of our democratic colleagues want to do nothing, and there are areas, i think, where we can get bipartisan agreement. paul: president trump and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell striking an optimistic tone after a bitterly partisan year in washington. so from infrastructure to immigration, are there opportunities for cooperation with democrats in 2018 as
republicans try to push forward with their agenda? let's turn to mr. optimist himself, james freeman. [laughter] do we really think that there's a shot here, and what are they going to work on? infrastructure, really? >> well,ç optimism is kind of a funny term in this context, because when you talk about infrastructure for taxpayers, the optimistic hope is often don't do anything, don't spend any more money. [laughter] i think that's the danger here, that a bipartisan deal like previous transportation appropriations bills, like the obama 2009 stimulus becomes a raid on the taxpayer. let's hope not. paul: well, and just to the point, james, democrats want to spend public money on infrastructure. >> right. paul: they don't want to have float bonds that you can leverage some public money with more private financing. they just want you, sir, to write a big check. >> yeah. and that's the danger in seeking a deal here. i hope the president is focused
on streamlining, if he does anything with infrastructure, making it easier to build things in the u.s. again so you don't have a decade of environment aral impact statements and various -- environmental impact statements. >> well, you know, it's an interesting political question. if the economy strengthens, jobs continue to be created, that would0b the moment to do infrastructure, when the economy's healthier. but if chuck schumer tells his union supporters we're not going to do business with this guy, wait until we take control of the government, then we'll do infrastructure, i think a lot of unions are going to say i don't know if we're going to buy that deal. trump helped the coal industry, and this is the moment to get those jobs while you have a bird in the hand. so i think there could be pressure on the democrats to do a deal. paul: i think, mary, there's a chance on immigration. you've got the daca bill that democrats want, and maybe combine that with some border enforcement to get a possible deal. there could be a deal on a de minimis financial reform of a kind that's been moving in a
bipartisan fashion in the senate. not going to repeal dodd-frank, but maybe a portion of it particularly for smaller banks. i don't know that there's much else. >> no, i think the democrats are going to want to obstruct, and they see that as a way to win big in november. they can say the president didn't accomplish anything. and in particular, you know, on things like daca, i think they'll try to use immigration against him unless he makes some kind of a big concession thereç where he accepts these children in return for the wall. even there i think he's going to have a lot of trouble. paul: well, and i think, kim, i don't know, do you think there's any more cause for bipartisanship here anywhere going forward? >> look, what do democrats care most about right now? winning the house and the senate. paul: right. >> so the fundamental question they're asking themselves is do they make their chances better by passing something that americans want by working with
republicans, or do they do it by rallying their base, getting them excited and getting them to turn out? paul: which means opposing everything, right, kim? kim, that means opposing just about everything. >> exactly. that's right. that's how you -- you resist, you resist. this is also what the ascendant wing of the liberal party wants, the progressive wing. so i think that those forces are just so strong that it will be very unlikely that they will step up to do something in a bipartisan manner. >> yeah, i think kim'sç right, and this is why mitch mcconnell is telling paul ryan, basically, we're not going to try to go after any of the really big entitlement programs, because mitch mcconnell is famous for saying if you want to govern, you first have to win elections. paul: and with only 15, they lost a seat in alabama, so there's only 15 senate republicans. james, as i look at the sort of left-wing intelligentsia, their conclusion is resistance works. trump is down mid 30, upper 30s.
hey, that's great, we're poised to take back the house and the senate, this is beautiful. you know, we'll repeal the tax cuts, forget about that, we'll reregulate when we get back power, don't worry about that. just keep resisting. >> yeah. well, they have to ignore the results of the special elections this year for house seats, but -- and they also have to ignore trump's record of achievement, his historic tax cut. paul: yeah, but we'll repeal that, don't worryç about it. >> politically, they still have him down there at 40%. i think the problem for them is can they sustain being the party of resistance, of essentially to points of the american economic revival if it continues as it has lately. can they, can they hold out for six, eight, ten months if the economy continues to grow, if it continues to perform at a higher level and create jobs. i think that's not a good position for them to be in as the cranks essentially talking down an economy that's getting
better. >> yeah, i mean, fundamentally they have to hope for something bad to happen to the american people. >> well, look, in november the democratic national committee had its worstç fundraising monh in nine years. there is a lot of internal dissension inside the democratic party over how far that party has gone left, and that includes some people in congress you would call progressives who are very upset. the democratic party's internal fights are going to be something to watch in 2018. paul: kim, briefly, how -- what does the president have to do to get his approval rating up? obviously, the tax bill, we hope, you know, he hopes will help. the question is, though, what does he need to do, and how does he need to behave this year to have those back up at least to the mid 40s? >> one of the biggest things that ever matters to a presidency and its approval ratings are just the economy. so if you begin to see the effects of the tax cut, people feeling more money in their pockets and optimism, that could help. bét, look, he's going to have to
sell his policies, and, as james said, put more focus on using those tweets to help himself rather than hurt himself x. that's just something i'm not sure this president has the ability to do. paul: all right, thank you all. still ahead, fresh off their senate victory in alabama, democrats are looking ahead to the 2018 midterms with increasing optimism, but are predictions of a blue wave premature? larry sabato looks into his crystal ball next. ♪ ♪ i am totally blind. and non-24 can throw my days and nights out of sync, keeping me from the things i love to do. talk to your doctor, and call 844-214-2424.
♪ ♪ paul: as we look ahead to 2018, all eyes are on the midterm elections and the battle for control of congress. and with most polls showing president trump's approval rating hovering in the highç 30s, democrats are feeling optimistic about their chances in both the house and senate. so what should we expect heading into the midterm campaign? earlier i spoke to larry sabato. he's the direct kerr of the center for politics at the university of virginia. welcome, larry sabato. good to have you with us. now, we are entering 2018, and the democrats i talk to are already saying we're going to pick up the house and probably the senate next november.
is their optimism warranted? >> they're on a sugar high -- [laughter] after doug jones' win in alabama and also ralph northam's big win in virginia. but, you know, a lot can happen in ten months. we all know)pá. so i'm going to wait and see. i think democrats certainly will pick up seats. it's a midterm election. paul: right. and that normally means the opposition party picks up seats. but when you're looking at the head to head polling right now, democrats have something like an 8-10 point advantage in the polling number of who should run congress. that's a big advantage. they also have a 10-point advantage in enthusiasm with their voters versus republicans. that usually means big pick-ups. >> yes, if that holds. if that holds, they will win the house, and they might be able to stave off any defeats in the senate which is incredible when you think about it because they're defending 26 seats, 10 of them in states that presidenç
trump won in 2016. the republicans have only 8 seats up on the ballot and only 2 of them are vulnerable. so i would say if democrats held their own, paul, they'd be doing extraordinarily well. if it's a giant wave -- paul: right. >> -- yeah, they'll win the senate too. but i'm talking about a giant wave. we're not there yet. paul: all right. so what might change? well, one thing that just change ld, we now have this tax bill. and if the republicans are clearly enthused about that, they think this is going to help them as their paychecks show up, how do you see that affecting psychology in the election? >> we're in such a partisan age, paul, that i can see the republican voters who would have voted republican anyway saying, yeah, that tax bill is terrific, it already. and the democrats will all say, huh, where's my money? it all went to corporations, it all went to the rich. now, the one difference it could
make if republicans are right in their analysis of the tax bill, if, then republican voters may be able to close at least some of this enthusiasm gap which does exist. of the -- the democrats have the enthusiasm edge for 2018 just like republicans ended up having for 2016. paul: now, the other thing that republicans are touting is the growth of the economy. this is the fourth quarter of 2017, looks like we're going to come in about 3% growth again, that would make three quarters in a row. if the tax bill helps and the economy continues to expand at that kind of a pace which we haven't seen for anyç extended period for a lot of years, how will that play in the election? >> it's bound to help some republicans. here's the problem that republicans have: already close to 60% of americans say the economy is either good or excellent. in some polls it's the highest percentage in many, many years having that positive a view.
but at the very same time, president trump is at 35, 37, 41% depending on the survey. so he's not benefiting from the better economy. could that change? yeah, it could change. but it suggests that there's a big gap between the evaluation of president trump and the evaluation of the economy. and it's the president's approval rating, i think, more than anything else that determines many of the results in aç midterm election. paul: so the opposing party just comes out to paste defeat on the president they don't like, and the only people on the ballot that they can vote against are the republicans on the ballot. [laughter] so how did -- the president's approval rating, i don't know, i've seen it 35-40 depending on the poll, if, what does he need to get back to to be able to have at least a break even or give republicans a fighting chance to do better? >> he needs to be about where he was on election day. paul: 45, 46 -- >> 45, 46%. and, look, paul, we all learned
about polls in 2016, you know? if we knew the lesson before, we relearned it. let's remember probe there's a nonresponse -- probably there's a nonresponse rate for his supporters, forç republicans don't like the media, don't like polls. so add two or three points to whatever his approval rating is. that's what i've learned to do. he's not as far down as some of the polls have him, but he's not as high as he needs to be if republicans are to hold their own in the midterm elections. paul: well, for years democrats have been complaining about the so-called gerrymanders in thes states that make it easier for republicans to hold the house. you're saying suddenly that's not going to be as powerful for republicans this time and maybe overcome -- or have democrat complaints maybe been overwrought on that? >> no, gerrymandering does have an impact, there's no question. but what happens is interesting. if the wave goes high enough, it simply washes overç the advante that gerrymandering gives in
specific districts. but is the wave going to be high enough? in virginia this past november, it was high enough. paul: it was high enough. >> the candidate for governor won by nine points, and it was enough to pull in 50 out of 100 members of the house of delegates for their party. but, paul, the democrats got 55% of the popular vote for the legislature, and they got 50% of the seats. you see, there's still a gap, and it's generated by gerrymandering. paul: all right. we're going to watch closely. thanks for being here, larry sabato. >> thank you, paul. paul: when we come back, with a red-hot stock market, robust retail sales and co%sumer confidence at a 17-year high, the economy is closing out the year with a bang, so will the good news continue in 2018? ♪ ♪ ç
♪ ♪ paul: the u.s. economy closing out 2017 on a high note in addition to the stock market surge, consumer confidence remains strong and unemployment is at its lowest level since 2000. president trump optimistic that the boom will continue, tweeted this week, quote with: all signs are that business is looking really good for next year only to be helped further by our tax cut bill. will be a great year for companies and jobs. stock market is poised for another year of success. we're back with dan henninger,
kim strassel, mary anastasia o'grady and james freeman. so, mary, does look to me like the economy certainly here in the last nine months hasç moved up to a new level of growth of about 3% from 2% the obama kind of doldrums. you agree, and how do you explain it? >> yeah, it's looking pretty good. we mentioned before the deregulatory environment. the trump administration says that they have deregulated 67 former regulation -- paul: and do you think that's a big factor? >> i do, i do. i think that, you know, regulation is, it's empirical that regulation puts a boot on the neck of the u.s. economy, and if you can lighten that -- you need regulation, but it should be a light regulatory touch. and the obama administration just went all out on regulation. you also have cheap money, and, you know, the fed says they'reç going back, you know, they're going to raise interest rates in 2018, but we're just getting back to something normal. and a normal kind of interest
rate scenario, i think, will also be helpful for the economy -- towel. paul: okay. so you don't think that rising rates will necessarily slow down growth? >> not if it's, you know, taking the fed funds rate back to something that is historically normal. obviously, if you start to get into, you know, what it looks like in the early 1980s, that's a different ballpark. we don't have that problem. we don't have an inflation problem. and part of that, a big part of that goes to the private sector because, you know, all of the um improvements in productivity are part of what holdsç down inflation while, you know, you're able to grow. paul: james, some of our friends on the right -- i mean, on the left, rather, larry summers called it a sugar high -- >> yeah. paul: -- gets the fed fueling things but also the short-term tax cut, perhaps, anticipation. so it's all phony. what do you think? >> yeah. well, keep in mind a lot of those people were saying in october of 2016 that a trump win
would tank the markets. so we have to realize that these are people who have been wrong a lot lately, and what they've especially been wrong about is the idea that the obama new normal was as good as it gets. paul: secular stagnation -- >> secular stagnation was the term and thisç belief that the u.s. economy can't grow the way that it used to. i think we're seeing lately that it can. i think we should expect that will continue because we just got a historic -- i know we've talked about mr. trump overstating things, but he did not overstate, this is the biggest corporate rate cut ever. we're going back to the corporate income tax rate of roughly 80 years ago. so this is a huge -- paul: that's before you were born. >> a little bit, yes. huge pro-growth stimulus for the economy, and it's, and it's really the change -- to get back to answering your question, we went through a decade where we tried government of intervention in the economy whether it's
through the fed and interest rates or it's government spending. every year when obama first came into office, his white houseç overstated, overestimated how the economy would grow. now we're getting back to real economics with people creating jobs. paul: kim, what about the risks going forward? i guess the one i would put at the top of the list is trade policy. if the president pulls out of nafta, if he decides to pick a trade fight with china and it escalates out of control, that could really be a jolt to confidence and growth. >> yeah, that is by far the biggest risk. i think one of the surprises so far is that the president hasn't implemented some of his worst ideas on trade that he came into office with. there have been a few moderating influences there pulling out ofç the trans-pacific partnership was unfortunate. we'll see where they go from there. look, i think the other risk is the president spends a lot, too much time talking about the
stock market and suggesting that that is a measure of health of the economy. at some point that market, probably it's overdue for a correction, and it's going to come down. hopefully that does not, you know, it's not a bursting of the asset bubble and that that doesn't have ramifications for the economy as well too and confidence out there. paul: well, she raised the asset bubble, dan. i want to talk about that. because if you assume that some people have smart economists, as the fed was doing what mary described, it was explicitly to float asset prices, okay? that's happened. all right?ç it didn't help so much the overall economy as much as some people hoped, but asset prices are up here. as the fed normalizes, are asset prices, you know, headed for a fall, a correction? >> they could be headed for a correction. they could be headed for a decline. i don't think we're going to be headed for asset prices falling off the cliff because the real economy is genuinely strong. and i think that is what is going to be the big political
story of 2018, what happens to this economy. because we have all of these suggestions in 2017. consumer confidence is at a 17-year high, unemployment is at a 17-year low, manufacturing is at a 13-year high of. it's as though we have just ova presidency. and so the question now is will that hold, and if it does, it's going to give a huge boost to this presidency's prospects. >> i think what we can be shul sure of is when -- absolutely sure of is when the private sector keeps more of its own money rather than giving it to government, by definition you're going to have a better investment and growth scenario. now, things can happen including north korea, you know, lots of external factors. but the u.s. economy's going to be better off with more money in the hands of the private sector. paul: still ahead, from islamic state's defeat in syria and iraq to north korea's nuclear threat, general jack keane joins us with a look back at the highs and lows of the year in foreign policy andç a look ahead to the
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a trump doctrine emerge this year, and what are likely to be the global flashpoints in 2018? earlier i spoke with retired four-star general jack keane. he's a member of the commission on national defense strategy and a fox news senior strategic analyst. general keane, welcome. we're now a year into the trump presidency. you've seen what they've done in a year, now we've had their new national security strategy out which so is there such a thing as an emerging trump doctrine, and what is it? >> yeah, no doubt about that. i mean, i think what we can safely say is that this last year of action culminating in the national security strategy can eliminate any concern that people had about the trump team being isolationist, disengaging from the world, not appreciating america's global leadership or not valuing the importance and significance of allies and partners. the reality is that the trump team is promoting american
global leadership, returning it to a world stage. and what they've been advocating is peace, security, prosperity. they spentç the entire year reassuring allies of the same. in the indo-pacific, in the middle east and also in europe. and they've also demonstrated -- they haven't had a lot of crises, but they've demonstrated a willingness to confront our adversaries in a way that their predecessors, you know, were not willing to do. so i definitely think contours of a trump policy, national security foreign policy that clearly is right in front of us. paul: okay. now, one of the things that struck me about the document, the strategy document, was the clarity and forthrightness with which they identified threats. they identified china and russia by name as revisionistç powers who are seeking to upset the global order and undermine u.s. interests. they mentioned north korea and iran as two rogue states who are
a threat and, of course, then you have the trans-national threats. but it's that -- overall what i read was they think this is a very dangerous world and getting more dangerous. do you agree with that? >> oh, i totally agree. i don't think there's a period of time that compares with this. we have to go all the way back to the end of world war ii with the rise of the soviet union. when obama wrote that document in the second year, i mean, it had all sorts of ambiguity and a lack of clarity about what the problem is, much less what to do about it. this principledç realism, as te trump team calls it, i mean, it is refreshing. they are calling it the way it is. we're back in an era of big power competition again, paul, with russia which is a near-term, dangerous threat to us and china, without any equivocation, is our long-term strategic challenge which i think given its economic engine and its desire to replace the united states as the preeminent
global par in the world, this will -- power in the world, this will occupy american presidents for most of the 21st century as the major, major challenge we have. it will dwarf our challenge with the soviet union. and, yes, they've identified the regional threats of north korea to regional stability along witç iran, and they know that radical islam is thriving. paul: well, and so let's take -- let's try to break out some of the differences on specific policies or regions where, other than the rhetoric, where the policies have changed from the obama era. and i want to push back at you a little bit, because as i think about how they've approached russia, for example, i haven't seen a really big difference with obama on, say, syria, for example, a big change. now, they're just recently changed and they're going to send lethal weapons, at least moderate lethal weapons to ukraine which is a change, but where's been the other policy shifts from russia? >> no. what -- the issues with russia have been largely rhetoric, and
enunciation of a changeç in policy with very little implementation, in my judgment. and when you point to syria, the real issue in syria is less russia, it's more iran. iran is dominating syria. they have now established a land bridge that the institute for the study of war forecasted they would do -- paul: i remember. >> -- between iraq, going through iraq, going through syria and going to lebanon. and this is a very dangerous situation because iran fully intends to encroach on israel. they will begin to bring missiles into syria. they've got 160,000 in lebanon. i think it will produce a crisis maybe in 2018, but certainly likely in 2019 where israel will have toç take some action. and we have no strategy to contain this threat. paul: okay. i want to look ahead now a little bit on 2018. you mentioned that potential israel/iran flashpoint. what else should we be looking for, what areas, what countries
for potential flashpoints? >> well, clearly, the crisis in north korea is going to come to a showdown in 2018 -- paul: really? that soon? >> he has said that they will have the capability in months, not years. public statement by the director of the cia. so that tells me that we have, we have a showdown coming. china is still likely the best path for that solution but, listen, i know for a fact that north korea's pushing coal still intoç china and getting money n return. paul: sure. >> that fuel is still flowing into north korea despite all the u.n. sanctions. so there's, the economic squeeze in north korea is not happening. this makes it -- i mean, not happening to the degree that we want it to. this makes the military option more preeminent and certainly a very dangerous situation. i think in 2018 we have got to craft a new strategy in dealing with china. we've got to really use some imaginative statecraft to come up with what this strategy is. the current one is failing miserably, and we're on a
collision course. and here's why. china, china is a rising power, and they're trying to overtake a ruling power. that has always led to war with some few exceptiona. we've got to figure out something, you know, to avoid that. we also have to figure out in 2018 how to compete in the gray zone. and what i mean by that is russia and china both blur the lines between peace and war, and they advance gee wrote politically by -- geopolitically by blurring those lines. and we're not doing very well at pushing back on it. you mentioned ukraine and crimea, china, the east china sea, the south china sea, the daily grind and aggression that they use against our allies in the region and not using the instruments of war to grind them down to take away some of their sovereignty. we do not have good strategies to deal with that, and we've got to fix that. paul: all right, jen keane, thanks for being here -- general keane. whenç we come back, charges of collusion clouding president trump's first year. so what have we learned so far
about the trump/russia connection, and will the investigations heat up or fizzle out in 2018? ♪ ♪ nick is a logistical mastermind. when it comes to moving packages on a global scale, nobody does it better. he's also an avid cookie connoisseur. dig in, big guy. but when it comes to mortgages, he's less confident. fortunately for nick, theres rocket mortgage by quicken loans. it's simple, so he can understand the details and get approved in as few as eight minutes. apply simply. understand fully. mortgage confidently. rocket mortgage by quicken loans.
charges of collusion between his campaign and the russians. so with inquiries in both houses of congress as well as special counsel robert mueller's sprawling probe, just what have we learned so far about the trump/russia connection, and are the investigations likely to heat up or fizzle out in 2018? so, kim, take up that question. stepping back, let's look at what do we know right now aboutç trump/russia so-called collusion? >> here's what's notable, paul, is that you've had all these inquiries -- the fbi, intelligence agencies, special counsel robert mueller, endless numbers of committees in congress -- and yet what we've found is the same names that come up again and again and the same episodes incidents. so you have a couple of satellite russian advisers, carter page and george papadopoulos, who went to russia. but these were public meetings. you had a meeting between donald
trump jr. and a russian lawyer, although no information was exchanged. but again, the same fourç or fe accusations, and nothing has come of it. so we really, we have not got any public evidence so far that there was any collusion whatsoever between the trump campaign and the russians. paul: so, kim, let me -- >> does bob mueller have something else? paul: well, that's the question. i mean, is there something else that these folks -- he's copped a plea with in particular, michael flynn has pled guilty to lying to the fbi. papadopoulos has also pled guilty to a relatively minor charge. so the question is, is he turning them, and do they have other evidence. and i guess we just don't know that. >> we don't knowç that. now, there has been some speculation out there that what he's actually attempting to do with those pleas is to get those two men to put evidence forward
to wild an ab instruction -- to build an obstruction case against the president. the problem with that is a very highly political and legally dubious thing to suggest that you can go after the chief executive of the country on an obstruction charge. paul: well, and what the obstruction charge is about is because he fired the fbi director, jake comey. that would be it. and -- james comey. and presumably because he wanted to stop an investigation into the russia probe, i mean, intoç russia/trump collusion. but there's no collusion, it's kind of hard to prove an obstruction case against a non-crime. mary. >> yeah. the problem here is that the fbi seems like -- and mueller seem like they are just casting the net as wide as they can to find something. we know that this is what happens with special counsels -- paul: right, they all do -- >> a lot of people think it was of a mistake in the first place to even name a special counsel for this. the likelihood that mueller just
one day says, you know what? i didn't find anything, it's pretty low. paul: all right. what about, dan, the other side of in that mary alluded to, the fbi role in theç 2016 campaign? we've had a lot of evidence come out about the anti-trump sympathies of some of the fbi people and the prosecutors working on the mueller probe. it doesn't mean, in my view necessarily, that the mueller probe is tainted, it just means that it makes it harder for him to be able to sell to the american public that he is looking at this in a fair-minded way. >> that is the key point, i think, paul. it will be harder for him to sell this to the american public or at least half of the american public if they can divide it between democrats and republicans. so i think the difficulty here is that what the democrats believe is that there was obstruction. senator dianne feinstein said on television identifying the idea to go easy on mike flynn. paul: right. >> that's the obstruction.
now, that doesn't sound to most people like a major felony or major crime. my concern is that if robert mueller drags this out, we are heading towards a real political crisis because there is no evidence that he's going to come the president. and you're going to have half the country saying the fix was in. paul: also the probe didn't stop. i mean, the russia probe has continued. it's not as if, oh, boy, we shut it down for 48 hours. >> right. and at some point you want to see the goods, or it should be shut down. but i think where it's really most interesting now is that fbi problem in 2016 where youç see james comey, the head of the fbi, giving reason after reason why he should have been fired. and i think what we've seen since then is that maybe firing comey was not enough given the extreme anti-trump bias at senior levels of the fbi. paul: so, okay. [laughter] well, freeman -- >> now here's, here's what i think is going to happen. the oversight committees in the
house and senate want to know what happened. paul: right. >> how did the fbi use this information that came from the clinton campaign against the trump campaign, did they use it to engage the intelligence surveillance power of the united states against the party out of power? so far the fbiç officials, held by many in the justice department, don't want to share this story. i think eventually they're going to have to, because the congress is going to have to enforce those subpoenas. paul: we have to take one more break. when we come back, hits and misses of 2017. ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ paul: time now for our hits and misses of the year. kim, start us you off. >> so, paul, this is a miss for former white house adviser steve bannon and his announcement that he intends to challenge every, pretty much every sitting senator up for re-election this next year starting with the failed alabama candidate roy moore who he backed. look, there is no one thing that could do more damage to the republican party and its ability to govern than a new war with so-calledç establishment senats and house members. so, look, mitch mcconnell is not the enemy here. the enemy here is losing the senate and the house, and that's what mr. bannon is proposing to
do. paul: james. >> paul, this is a hit to federal communications chairman ajit pai. usually these washington regulatory guys, we don't necessarily think of them as the most courageous people in the country, but he showed amazing courage this year, really standing up against harassment, racial slurs, even threats of violence against him, and he went ahead and restored the freedom that allowed the internet to grow. it was taken away in 2015 by silicon valley companies lobbying for something called netç neutrality. it was a bogus issue, he did a great job. paul: mary. >> paul, a hit for advances in space flight made in the private sector this year. spacex, their falcon 9 made twice the number of flights this year, and it's a record for a calendar year for the company. they also made progress in reusability. other companies, jeff bezos' blue origin, sierra nevada's dream chaser. there were a couple of joint
ventures that ran taxis back and forth to the international space straight station. i could go on and on, but you get the idea. government, get out of space recovery. we'll take it from here. paul: dan. >> well, a historic miss to nancy pelosi who called theç tx bill of 2017 the worst piece of legislation in the history of congress. so i guess that would include the fugitive slave act of 1850, sometimes called the bloodhound law or even the smoot-holly tariff wildly thought to have contributed to the great depression. i guess history will judge ms. pelosi's judgment. paul: all right. my hit of the year goes to all those who have served the trump administration despite being called enablers or much worse by many in the press, john kelly, jim mattis, gary cohn and many others took a lot of abuse, but sometimes they save this president from his own worst instincts and move the country in a better direction. that's it for this week's show. thanks to my panel and to all of you for watching. i'm paul gigótx
happy new year. we hope to so you right here next week -- to see you right here next week. ♪ ♪ kelly: we're learning what may have triggered the fbi investigation into russian meddling and any possible collusion with the trump campaign. "the new york times" reporting that it was a tip from an australian diplomat claiming that trump aide george papadopoulos confirmed in him during the campaign saying russia had thousands of hacked e-mails that would hurt hillary clinton. here we go. hello, everyone. welcome to a brand new hour r'side america's news headquarters, i'm kelly wright. molly: and i'm molly line. papadopoulos is a cooperating witness in the mueller investigation pleading guilty to lying to the fbi. kelly: steve harrigan is live