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tv   The Journal Editorial Report  FOX News  December 24, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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see you. >> next "fox news sunday". chris: you're getting quite professional at that. alright guys, three, two, one. >> merry christmas. i'll see yot on "fox report" at seven. >> hasn't been done in 34 years but, actually, really hasn't been done, because we broke every record. it's the largest -- i always say the most massive -- but it's the largest tax cut in the history of our country. [laughter] and reform, but tax cut. [applause] paul: welcome to "the journal editorial report," i'm paul gigot. that was president trump following the passage of his first major piece of legislation that will deliver the most sweeping reform to the tax code in three decades. but while republicans were taking their victory lap, not everyone on can top hill was celebrating -- capitol hill was celebrating. >> now, we know they're popping
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champagne down pennsylvania avenue. there are only two places where america's popping champagne; the white house and the corporate boardrooms including trump tower. >> the gop tax scam is about bleeding the middle class dry to pad the pockets of corporate america and the wealthiest 1%. paul: joining the panel, "wall street journal" columnist and deputy editor dan henninger, columnist kim strassel and mary anastasia o'grady and editorial page writer kate odell. why did they succeed on taxes when they failed on health care? >> right. that is one question, because you would expect a failure to make it harder to succeed. but i think here the health care failure really focused the minds for the gop that, for them, it was do or die for their majority in 2018 to get a tax bill passed. and it wasn't always clear they would choose do. [laughter] but also i think there was a rougher consensus on what a tax
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bill should look like where on health care a lot of variety, you know, some wanted to keep entitlements, others wanted a spending cap, and what's the compromise? paul: so, mary, still some philosophical coherence still there for the republicans unlike health care. some people on the edges did want to turn the tax cut into a more redistributionist tax cut, and that restrained some of the rate cuts on the individual side. but still they got the main stuff done. >> yeah. i think, actually, there's a story about how joe manchin, senator from west virginia -- paul: democrat. >> -- pulled rob portman aside and said, look, we'll come along with you, but you have to make the corporate tax rate 25%. and portman took that back to the republicans, and they said no. i think that shows the level of discipline they decided to adhere to specifically on the corporate tax rate. i mean, that was the thing they wanted to get done. everything else that got done in this was sort of built around
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that. but, you know, the republicans are different than the democrats, and they -- the democrats keep saying that there was this, you know, far right-wing extremism, but there is a difference. democrats believe in, basically, socializing the profits, and republicans believe that you have to create wealth before you try to redistribute it. and their goal here was to change the corporate structure so that there would be more wealth creation. that was a goal that they refused to the let go of. paul: and on that target of the corporate tax cut, dan, i think you've got to give president trump credit for saying 20% is what i want. and by setting that goal and saying we don't want to get away from that, he made it harder for the members of congress to do what comes naturally to them, which is to water everything down the get a compromise. it finished at 21, but very close to the target. >> yeah, i mean, congress needs that kind of template, something to work around. the republicans kind of knew what the traps were in writing
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tax legislation. i mean, you go back to former ways and means chairman dave camp, i think it was back around 2007, proposed a bill. he was succeeded at ways and means by paul ryan. they've been working on this for a long time. it's not as though this was born out of -- paul: right. >> -- the eithers. and kevin brady, incredibly patient. but they knew where the dangers were, and they anticipated them. by the end of it, it was the sausage factory, but this was unlike health care which, as kate was suggesting, was an open-ended free-for-all. this was more disciplined. paul: i remember talking to paul ryan at the beginning of this congress, and he said, look, i've already been through the 20 stages of grief in trying to write a tax bill and all the pain involved in giving one -- taking away one loophole to get a rate cut. and a lot of the members hadn't. but having done that spade work really made a huge difference.
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>> and they have worked on this for a decade at least. and, look, i think one thing that got overlooked in all of this is that when it came down to it, people have focused on some of these big deductions that did get saved in the bill. you know, we still have a mortgage interest deduction, still have the charitable giving deduction, the compromise that they did on s.a.h.t., state and local property taxes. but a lot of junk went away. so in that regard, this was a reform. because with, in the end, that was the only way that they could get, in the end, to those lower rates, was to get rid of a lot of the giveaways and make it a cleaner code. and that's a big victory in this bill as well. paul: kim, what do you make of the relationship between donald trump and capitol hill coming out of this? do you think it's -- what does it tell us about that lesson? because remember, they didn't work very well together on health care, but on in this one they did. >> no. the outpouring of love is
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something to behold from both directions. [laughter] paul: some of it's phony, i must say. [laughter] >> i would say so too. but what -- look, the important message that has come out of this is i think both sides have wondered at times be there's value in working with each other. and what this has shown is that there is value. that the entire party benefits. so those republicans who have been a little wary of this president, they're still going the go after him when he's off course, but i i think some of them were worried that, you know, it wasn't to their benefit to work with him at all. they've changed their mind, and donald trump realizes there's no benefit of calling mitch mcconnell and paul ryan a bunch of establishment phonies. they can get stuff done. paul: and not a single democrat, kate. how do you explain that? >> well, i think in some sense the party has moved left since 1986 when democrats helped write the the 1986 bill. not alone just pass it. you had bill bradley from new
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jersey who was proposing top rates for exchanging carveouts which is now, basically, essentially a republican position. paul: but even in 2003 -- 2001, rather, a dozen democrats worked with george bush. >> right. i think democrats are betting on even in a better economy people's personal distaste for trump and the high intensity of the resistance to him is going to make them turn out and vote to for democrats. so they don't want anything to do with the tax bill. >> i do think that republicans would be smart to manage expectations. i think one big mistake the president's making is to talk about the stock market. paul: yeah. >> because the stock market is going to behave as it's going the behave -- [laughter] and there's a lot of external factors that could affect it. paul: sure. >> and that will not mean that the tax reform was not good. but if he ties them together, that will damage people's opinion of the reform. of. paul: i think one thing we know, mary, the stock market is going to go down at some point. [laughter]
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and you don't want to be hostage to that prettily. >> we'll see next -- politically. >> we'll see next year. democrats are relying on opinion polls because the press has been very negative about this. 17% of people think they're not going to get a tax cut. about 80% will. and as that develops over the course of next year, i think attitudes towards this bill are going to change, and democrats are going to be standing there saying we were against the whole thing. paul: all right. still ahead, as company like at&t, comcast and wells fargo react to the gop tax plan, we'll take a closer look at its economic impact in 2018 and 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.
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♪dedicate yourself and you can find yourself♪ ♪standin in the hall of fame ♪yea ♪and the world's gonna know your name, yea♪ ♪and you'll be on the walls of the hall of fame♪ ♪you can be a champion ♪be a champion ♪in the walls of the hall of fame♪ ♪be students, be teachers be politicians, be preachers♪ ♪yea, yea ♪be believers, be leaders, be astronauts, be champions♪ ♪standin in the hall of fame ♪ ♪ >> we're going to see something that's very special. we're bringing the entrepreneur back into this country. we're getting rid of all the knots and all the ties, and we're going to -- you're going to see what happens. and, ultimately, what does it mean? it means jobs. jobs, jobs, jobs. paul: president trump touting the economic benefits of the
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republican tax cut, promising they'll create jobs and bring entrepreneurs back to the united states. scott hodge is president of the tax foundation which released its analysis of the bill this week. among the highlights, over the next decade the plan will boost gdp by 1.7%, raise wages by 1.5% and add 330,000 new jobs. so, scott hodge, welcome. good the you back. >> thank you, paul. pallone: i'm looking -- paul: i'm looking at that economic impact, and, you know, it's not all that large, and it's not as large as some of the predictions, your analysis of some of the proposals as opposed to this final legislation. what happened in the end to reduce your expectations? >> well, paul, there are really two economic stories here. one's the long term, and the other is the short term. and as you know, so many provisions in this bill have been sunset after about seven years that the long-term prospects for growth are quite small.
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and you're seeing it there in those results. that's really the result of only cutting the corporate tax rate. now, in the short term because we have five years of temporary full expensing for capital investment, we are seeing a great deal more growth. and that is, in fact, we see the economy growing instead of 2% growth, about 2.4-2.5% growth over the next couple of years. so really unless we see a lot of those temporary provisions made permanent, we're going to see a lot of this taper off at end of the next decade. paul: okay. but as you know, congress is always elected every two years, a new congress, so they can do what they want with the tax cold, and i guarantee you they will. >> sure. paul: but if you're saying some of those provisions like expensing, if that's extended, then you're going to get the greater growth in the future too. >> as a good example of that, we modeled this plan as though it were permanent and found it would boost the long-term level of the economy by 4.7%.
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paul: okay. >> so about three times what we got because of all the temporary provisions. so there's a great deal of promise here if all of it's made permanent. paul: okay. one of the reasons they didn't make it permanent is they had to fit the numbers inside that ten-year budget window that congress has concocted for itself. >> exactly. paul: so they can revisit this policy and extend those if need be. i want to talk to you about some of the criticisms leveled at this bill, one of which is that this is really a tax increase on the middle class as nancy pelosi says. is that true? [laughter] >> no. in fact, everybody gets a tax cut in the middle class. in fact, even the liberal tax policy center brookings said this plan will knock over four million people, low income people, off the tax rolls, increasing the amount of non-payers to about 48% of all filers. that's incredible. that means, actually, this plan is much more progressive than what the left is owning up to. paul: okay. now, people also say, well,
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look, the business corporate tax cuts here are permanent, but the middle class tax cuts go away, therefore, it favors business. >> well, as you know, lower corporate tax rates eventually translate into higher productivity and higher wages. there's a ton of economic research to show that that's true . and so we're actually showing that wages will rise by at least 1.5%, probably even more as we go on through the next decade. paul: all right. another criticism, is this an incentive -- as "the washington post" wrote -- for businesses to move capital overseas because of the new, basically, a minimum, corporate minimum tax? >> goodness no. i think that the 21% corporate tax rate will be a tremendous incentive for companies to bring a lot of those activities back. in fact, i think it'll bring a lot of activity from foreign-owned companies to the united states. i think the people that ought to be worried here are the politicians in germany and
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france and japan who have extremely high corporate tax rates now. we've leapfrogged over them from becoming one of the least competitive countries to now one of the most competitive tax systems in the entire world. paul: in fact, there's a study out of germany from last week that suggested exactly that, and i suspect you're going to the see germany and france and maybe other countries cut their corporate tax rates as well to stay competitive. now, the other big criticism that's leveled here is the deficit. it's basically saying, you know, it's a 1.5 trillion formal number that they allowed under the tax bill to increase the deficit. and some people say it's going to be much larger than that because of the sunsetting tax provisions that we discussed earlier. what's your response to that? >> well, even with a modest economic growth that our models suggest that this plan will generate, it's going to generate about $5 trillion worth of new gdp over the next decade, and
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that's in turn going to produce about a trillion dollars worth of new tax revenues or for the federal government. so the overall cost of this plan will call from about $1.5 trillion to less than $500 billion. that's $50 billion a year in order to get $5 trillion worth of new gdp. i think that's a pretty good trade. paul: but is there a chance that, in fact, it could actually generate more revenue, if we get growth up to 3% for two, three, four years, it's going to be even higher than that. >> yes. especially if they're made permanent, we are going to see growth continue, and that's all good for federal treasury and the economy. paul: thank you, scott, appreciate it. when we come back, despite strong sign that is the gop tax bill help the economy, polls show that americans are less than enthusiastic about the plan. so can republicans sell it to voters ahead of the 2018 it's all pop-culture trivia, but it gets pretty intense. -ahh. -the new guy.
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♪ ♪ >> what this represents is a promise that each and every one of us made to the american people last year. it is a promise that is kept today. >> we have a simple message for our republican friends: republicans will rue the day they passed this bill, and you can bet democrats will make sure of that. paul: republicans and democrats on capitol hill spinning very different tales of tax cut. so how will the bill's passage play out in 2018? we're back with dan henninger, kim strassel, kate odell and "wall street journal" columnist william mcgurn. all right, dan, can republicans sell this thing, and what do they have to do to sell it? >> well, it's not as though they're trying to sell merely an idea. they have passed an enormous tax
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reform, the entire tax code. they have reduced tax rates, indeed, on the middle class, on corporations. you've got perhaps $2.5 trillion of overseas money being repatriated back to the united states. the economic effects, i think, are going to be pretty significant, and they're going to have to wait until at least mid year to see what's happening. and then they're going to have to be able to cite that as a result of what they did in passing this bill. against that we just saw tax -- chuck schumer saying this is a disaster. there is an almost mindlessness to the democrats' opposition on this bill. they're the ones who presided over less than 2% growth for eight years of the obama years. you've come up to the possibility of rewriting the tax code, and they say we will not participate -- not only will we not participate, they have no alternative other than to oppose what is going on. paul: paychecks in february withholding will increase, kate. presumably, that will help if you actually have a job and you
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get more take-home pay. but why is the bill so unpopular now? >> well, i mean, we've had press coverage that, as we've discussed, has been very skewed, and people perceive they're getting a tax increase when they're not. and, yes, we'll sort that out in february. i think also it must be fun to be chuck schumer and get to predict armageddon and have no one hold you accountable when it happens -- paul: or if it doesn't. >> excuse me. the left is making this argument corporations have said, hey, we're going to give $1,000 bonuses to some of our employees, and the left saying, hey, what's $1,000? that tells you more about the worlds they live in than it does the gop. paul: pretty extraordinary, at&t, $1,000 bonus for 200,000 employees, comcast for another 100,000 employees. a lot of companies starting to do this. and the response is, oh, well, you know, who cares? that's just p.r., well, a $1,000 check, elle take it. >> right. i think that gets to the real
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question for 2018. it's not the political question. a lot of people that would normally vote democratic put donald trump in office because they thought he was going to recover the economy in some way and make their lives better. and the question is whether they feel that. and this $1,000, for families or, you know, for a mom or dad saying this might be a new tv or piano lessons for someone, it's really foolish, i think, to dismiss. and if you look at the democratic -- i mean, the party says their stuff, but you were a football player in college. this is the 12th man on the field is the crowd, the press, the coverage of the tax cuts. victims of trump tax cuts and so forth, it's just -- it's mind-boggling. paul: go ahead, kate. >> no. i was just going to add these bonuses that we're seeing, they're the icing on the cake. what we have been talking about for several months is when you cut corporate taxes, you spur investment and make workers more productive. that is what leads to long-term wage growth. not that companies decide to
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give away more money that they keep directly at the end of the year. paul: and yet, kim, we have often seen in some midterm elections which usually help the opposition for the party in the white house, sometimes a faster economy, faster growth doesn't necessarily translate into votes if the president himself is up popular. unpopular. so that's still a risk here for the republicans. >> correct. and the time frame here is short in that, look, this bill will have some immediate effects. we've seen that from corporations. and it will help long-term growth or longer-term growth. how quickly that kicks in and the sense of well-being that a growing economy leaves with people and they connect that to a president who on a daily basis often manages to offend people. we just saw what happened when you had the president and his poor approval ratings hanging around the neck of ed gillespie who was the republican running for governor in virginia, and he
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lost and lost fairly badly in a state that, you know, should have been getable. so this is, i think, the bigger question is can the republicans running in the midterms run on that tax success without necessarily running hip and hip with an unpopular if he still is at that point? >> yeah. and it's going to affect politics next year. the republicans talked about wanting to reform medicare and social security. mitch mcconnell said at the end of the week i'm not doing that unless i have democratic support, taking a big piece of legislative activity off the table. paul: all right. still ahead, deputy fbi director andrew mccabe grilled on capitol hill this week. his testimony reportedly raising more questions than answers as republican lawmakers get set to republican lawmakers get set to issue new
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♪ ♪ paul: new developments in this week in the russia probe as deputy fbi director andrew mccabe faced two days of questioning on capitol hill. and according to house intelligence sources his closed-door testimony on tuesday raised more questions than it answered. mccabe's seven hour testimony conflicted with statements from previous witnesses, prompting republicans to want new subpoenas for fbi and justice department staff. we're back with dan, kim and bill. so, kim, what is the big takeaway here from the mccabe testimony? what should we know about it? >> the biggest one is what
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republicans did or did not learn about this infamous dossier and the fbi and doj's use of that in their decision to launch a counterintention probe into president trump. paul: this is the steele dossier, the so-called steele dossier. >> the steele, yes. that was commissioned by the democratic national committee and the hillary clinton campaign. mccabe was asked about what they did, and he was at great pains to stress all the efforts that the fbi and doj went to corroborate some of the allegations in it. but what's interesting here is, apparently, in the end he had to admit that the only thing that they could find in it that was true was that a trump satellite operator, carter page, once traveled to russia. nothing else. so i think that raises more questions because if they couldn't find anything true in it, were they nonetheless still using it as part of a probe or
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as a justification for getting wiretaps on trump campaign officials? paul: and carter page has admitted he took a trip to moscow. >> right. if this is the only thing they had, then the question is what did they use, if they used it at all, in the application for a fisa warrant? paul: which is extraordinary. just step back for a second. they basically asked a court, if it's true, based on a dossier commissioned by the opposition campaign to have the fbi able to spy on a presidential campaign. >> which almost a year and a half later the assistant fbi director canner verify only one fact, the travel fact about page? it's really outrageous. the house, other committees are becoming involved, oversight, judiciary, and they need to see the fbi files. there's a file in this case, they need to see those files. the other larger question is the more the investigation goes on, the more the questions are about the investigators. it doesn't mean that bob mueller's dishonest, but when he first assembled this team, we
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were told these are strict professionals. they're entitled to their opinions. we have an fbi agent who's supposed to be a counterintelligence guy squawking to his mistress, you know, about trump and opening himself up to all sorts of vulnerability to blackmail with an affair. of we've got andrew wiseman who, you know, applauded an obama holdover for defying a presidential order. we've got bruce orr, his wife is working for the people that produced the document. do you get the word professional when you read those actions? and it's, i think they're largely discrediting themselves. paul: but none of this, of course, relates to the credit, to the central question, dan, of collusion. >> yeah. paul: senator mark warner who is the ranking democrat on senate intelligence said this week that he thinks, actually, there's more fire than smoke, and he's not releasing any details, but he thinks this is the biggest thing he's ever going to do in his professional career. and he warned the president if you fire mueller, this is a
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constitutional crisis. >> yeah. well, coming up with sayings here, there's a little boy who cried wolf over and over again when there was no wolf, and no one would believe him. i mean, after listening to bill go through all of these issues, roll back to why we are here. way back in january the story of collusion emerged, and every media outlet -- paul: the allegation -- >> the allegation. every media outlet in washington was running stories based onion mouse intelligence sources -- anonymous intelligence sources that there was collusion between the trump campaign and the russians. then we get a special prosecutor. we roll all the way up here to december, one of the top officials at the fbi, mccabe can, goes and appears before i can't think, and the best he can give them is that carter page visited somebody in russia. [laughter] so the members of congress in these committees and the american people are at the point of asking what is going on here with this investigation? why haven't we reached a closure or -- >> further to dan's point, go
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back to the beginning. devin nuñes was ridiculed -- paul: chairman of the house intelligence committee. >> -- was ridiculed on, a crazy man for what he's doing. they trumped up some charges against him in the ethics committee which were dismissed but designed to handicap the investigation. look, i think the house and senate are getting close to answers, and if you watch the hearings now and you watch, for example, christopher wray deal with congress -- paul: the fbi director now. >> -- and rod rosenstein, congress wants the documents. it's extraordinary we have federal agencies telling the elected representatives of the american people that they can't see the documents they need to do their job. i think, i think there's more subpoenas coming, and i think there's going to be some contempt findings if they don't turn this around. paul: briefly, bill, do you think the democrats want trump to fire mueller? >> oh, absolutely. why would he fire mueller now when his team has become the subject of discussion?
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i mean, i think he has the constitutional authority to do it -- paul: you think it would be unwise. >> unprudent to do it at this point. and now we need more questions about the investigators. paul: all right. still ahead, amid rising global threats, the president outlined his administration's national security strategy this week. what it tells us about the emerging trump d after my dvt blood clot, i had a lot on my mind. could this happen again? was my warfarin treatment right for me? my doctor told me about eliquis. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots and reduces the risk of them happening again. not only does eliquis treat dvt and pe blood clots... eliquis also had significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. eliquis had both and that turned around my thinking. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. if you had a spinal injection while on eliquis call your doctor right away if you have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily...
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interest. paul: that was president trump outlining his administration's national security strategy this week in a speech that identified the growing global threats to the united states and called out key national rivals by name. so what does it tell us about the emerging trump foreign policy doctrine, and does the rhetoric match the administration's actions so far? let's ask cliff may, he is president of the foundation for defense of democracies. good to see you again, cliff. what's the biggest takeaway we should have from the president's new strategy? >> it strikes me as hard-headed, realistic, coherent, very different from president obama's last national -- paul: how? how different, why is it different? how? >> so i would say in this way: president obama essentially believed that america's role was to lead the international community from behind and allow the arc of history to bend towards justice. [laughter] i would say that president trump
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believes that we should be leading from the front, our allies, we should be worrying about the military threats we face from rogue regimes as well as revisionist powers and that if the arc of history is going to be bend, we're going to have to bend it. paul: you know, i think the strike aring thing there is the revisionist powers reference, in my estimation. he mentioned two countries by name, china and russia. he said they are attempting to change the global order. they are attempting acts that are contrary the american interests, and we need to counter them as competing powers. now, that's very different than president obama. do you, do you agree with -- i mean, is he right in identifying those two countries? are they the main threats? >> i, they are the main threats. they may not be the most imminent threats, but they're the main threats. china is, clearly, a long-term threat and has very important plans for to be the hegemon of
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asia and then to go beyond that. the things they're doing in other parts of the world. russia is much weaker than china, but russia is not, as president obama thought, a country with which we can get along if we just reset relations because we have loads of common interests. keep in mind that both russia, china and i would say iran as well, these were all in history great empires. paul right. >> they all are angry they are not great empires again, and they intend to be great empires again. and they have various means and strategies to get to that. we have to recognize that and not think that we can just sing "kumbaya" and all get along. paul: well, and i should mention the strategy does say, look, we can deal with these countries. it's not as if we're implacably hostile to them, but you need to address, in fact, the challenge they pose, and we need to do so from a position of strength including the military buildup which i have to say so far we haven't seen very much of. so that's why i want to ask you about the connection between rhetoric and policy.
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have we seen in this first year a real connection between that strategy and implementation, practically speaking? >> only a little bit. i mean, i am hopeful, as i think you are, that this tax reform means that the u.s. has growth not at 1.8%, but at 3, 3.5 or even higher. we need a fast growing economy. only if we are prosperous and strong economically can we do a all the things we need to do including economic warfare which backs diplomacy, including a much larger and stronger military than we have now, one that no nation can match. it should be absolutely clear that nobody can, that nobody can challenge us. if they can challenge us, they will. so peace through strength is an important part of it. has that been implemented yet? it has not. but hopefully, this is the blueprint for what president trump will try to build starting in 2018. having a national security strategy before the end of the year is pretty good compared to other administrations that have off taken longer to do this. paul: another thing that's
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reassuring about it particularly from the campaign rhetoric that president trump had was the reliance on alliances. he basically said the strategy says, look, we need to depend upon alliances as a force multiplier for american influence and power. and for nato and east asia, that's very reassuring. >> that is, indeed, and we should have better relations with those or who are allied with us. we should have worse relations with those who don't. the u.n. vote yesterday at the u.n. which was a poke in the eye from a lot of nations that we give a lot of money to should be something -- and i think it will be -- that we're very cognizant of going forward. i think also, and this surprised people, this was not at all an isolationist or non-interventionist national security strategy, and it also made the point that one of the strengths of the u.s. is that it is a free country, that it is democratic. we may not want to go abroad nation-building, but we do want to support reformers and those in other countries who have the same values we have.
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you can say that's kind of conventional conservativism or even neoconservativism. i kind of find it reassuring. paul: okay. so what's the biggest, the president's biggest success so far in the first year? i guess i would suggest it's probably the defeat of islamic state in iraq and syria. would you agree with that? >> i think that's an important one, although i think there's a challenge there. because if the defeat of the islamic state redownsed the islamic republic of iran, that will be an impyrrhic victory. right now i do think james mattis and h.r. mcmaster understand the threat that iran represents as it's trying to build an empire that will include iran as the major power in iraq, the major power in syria which will be its client. it almost pretty much runs lebanon through hezbollah, and, of course, it's fighting in yemen. i do think that there is a recognition among the sunni-arab states that this is a huge threat and that the u.s. and israel are needed to counter the
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threat of iran. so, yes, it's a good thing that isis is defeated, but we can't stop there. paul: big questions. all right, thank you, cliff may. appreciate it. >> thank you. paul: when we come back, a nuclear deal at any price in a new report says the obama administration killed a criminal probe into hezbollah during negotiations with iran. those details are next. ♪
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♪ ♪ paul: did the obama administration interfere with a federal criminal investigation into hezbollah to curry favor with iran during nuclear deal negotiations? a report this week in politico details those allegations saying that the administration worked behind the scenes to thwart a decade-long investigation by the drug enforcement administration into the iran-backed terror
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group's drug trafficking operation. a billion dollar business that smuggled cocaine into the united states. we're back with dan henninger, mary anastasia o'grady and bill mcgun. mary, what's the core allegation here? >> well, the dea, after 9/11, began doing more investigations in latin america, particularly many colombia where there was a drug trafficking organization going from the farc which is a rebel group that traffics cocaine and a lebanese organized crime unit that was connected to hezbollah. and that was called operation titan. that grew and combined with other things into something called project cassandra. and that operation was, basically, going after the innermost circle of the connections between cocaine trafficking from latin america and the leadership in hezbollah that is backed by iran.
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paul: and the claim is that that was shut down by obama administration because it would have offended iran which, of course, hezbollah's a militia more or less of iran. >> yes. and not only do the dea agents say that as they got close to in this inner circle, they were stymied at every turn by the administration, but they also say that the administration did not go after the big fish that they had indicted. and one of them was a lebanese arms trafficker, and two of them were very big cocaine traffickers from venezuela. paul: okay. the obama officials deny this. what's their defense? >> well, the administration says look, you know, this is just the dea. there's the cia, there are many more agencies in washington that are trying to stop terrorism. and sometimes you don't want to close in on a particular suspect because it would give away a larger operation that's
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important. and, but the problem with that defense is, for example, there's written testimony from are a former treasury official -- from a former treasury official in the obama administration in which she says that, basically, they were told to back off hezbollah and iran issues because of the negotiation going on regarding nuclear, nuclear power be arms in iran. >> yeah. paul, the interesting thing, three points, "the politico" story also said that not only did the u.s. back off, but that iran had made the request, and-a show of goodwill. they knew they had a problem with these groups, and they asked them to do it. so it was in response to manager from tehran. two, a lot of the dug business is controlled by -- drug business is controlled by terrortists. there's a lot of money for it, so we shouldn't be surprised. and, three, should we be surprised that the obama
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administration -- i think wasn't it ben rhodes that called the iran deal the obamacare of the second term? is this was a priority for them. ben rhodes bragged about how he manipulated what he called dumb and naive journalists who knew nothing into reflecting the administration line. so why should we be surprised when we you were learn something like this? paul: and, dan, why this matters, hezbollah is the militia of iran, and they are using money that they have -- they have now assembled 160,000, an estimate, missiles that could be aimed at israel in the next conflict. and i think we're headed towards another, maybe not soon, but eventually, another israel/hezbollah war. >> yeah. well, you know, i think what happened here was the obama administration made a choice. in obama's mind, the iran nuclear deal was the most important foreign policy thing he was going to achieve. he thought it was going to bring more stability to the middle east, and i'm sure they thought that this dea administration investigation into hezbollah was a second-level priority.
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paul: sure. >> okay? they made that choice. paul: sometimes you have to make those choices in government. >> that's right. except that hezbollah is iran's primary proxy in the middle east. they fight for them in iraq and in syria, and as they you were t suggesting, they have hundreds of thousands of missiles aimed at israel, and we may yet pay the price for that prioritization. paul: briefly, mary. >> i don't think we should underestimate, iran is deeply into venezuela, hezbollah blew up the i jewish community center in 1994. that's a danger too. paul: all right. we have to take one more break. when we come back, hits and misses of the week. david. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..."
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through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. ♪ each of these food boxes represents a gift of life for people here in israel who are in desperate need. these are very difficult times for israel and the jewish people as the government spends more and more of it's resources for battling terrorism. the situation has become a crisis. every week the lines get longer and longer. this $25 food box will provide one desperately needy family here in israel with food, with hope and with a note inside each of these saying that it is from christians and jews in america who seek to bless them. israel and it's people need your help now. you can make a life changing difference
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by calling and saying that you will give a $25 food box to help a family in need in israel. thank you and god bless you for your support.
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is america's number-one you kmotorcycle insurer. yeah, she does purr! best bike i ever owned! no, you're never alone, because our claims reps are available 24/7. we even cover accessories and custom parts. we diget an early start! took the kids to soccer practice. you want me to jump that cactus? all right. aah! that lady's awesome. i don't see a possum! ♪ ♪ paul: time now for our hits and misses of the week. kim, first to you. >> so, paul, on christmas morning thousands of tiny tots are going to be open train sets, and one of the first things
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they'll learn is if you drive too fast, they'll come off the rails, because even kids are smart. this is a miss for amtrak whose own engineers have not mastered this concept and, again, killed three passengers in washington state. it's also a miss for congress that continues to subsidize an outfit that has a safety record like this. it's time for it to end. there are better uses for taxpayer money. paul: all right. mary? >> a hit for sparks therapeutics. this week it got approvals for an injected gene therapy that treats a genetic eye disease that causes blindness in some 3,000 americans. now, the price hasn't been announced yet, it could be as much as a million dollars, but i think the larger point is that cures for genetic diseases which even a decade ago seemed hopeless are now coming on line, and if history is any guide, they will be more and more available to the general population. paul: a very exciting time in
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drug discovery. bill. >> paul, remember charlie brown when he was assigned to go out and get a christmas tree, and he brought this pathetic, little tree back, and everyone mocked him? that's happening in rome now. the mayor of rome gets a miss for putting up this tree that has been nicknamed mangy by the romans. some think it's a symbol of rome's decline, but it's being mocked everywhere for all the needles that it's shedding. paul: dan. >> every year the maris poll asks people for the single worse, most annoying word that they can think of, and this year for the ninth straight year in a row, the most annoying word out there is "whatever." [laughter] who can doubt it? now, they didn't even include my own personal favorite which is when you to a sales transaction, the salesperson goes, "no problem." [laughter] to which i say, "no comment." paul: all right. that's it for this week's show. thanks to my panel. thanks to all of you for
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watching. i'm paul gigot. merry christmas to everybody: we hope to see you right here next week. ♪ ♪ could be a major job opening at the fbi with deputy director andrew mccabe is planning to step down as growing allegations of political bias have turned him into a lightning rod for criticism. welcome to america's news headquarters. i malia gabriel. >> and i mike emanuel. he will hold on to his current position until he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits. the present meeting andrew mccabe is racing the clock to retire


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