tv Special Report With Bret Baier FOX News December 20, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
he earned it so much respect from both the left and the right as well as military men and women so it's sad to see him go, who doesn't respect him? >> greg: set your dvrs, never miss an episode of "the five" ." "special report" is up next. >> bret: this is a fox news alert. there's plenty of breaking news to tell you about tonight, we are less than 30 hours away from a clock literally striking midnight on part of the federal budget. a stopgap spending bill that does not include money for the president's border wall appears to be in danger tonight. meanwhile the commander in chief is considering another major military withdrawal and is now looking for resumes for the top job. defense secretary james mattis is retiring, the president tweeting that out as his records h
resignation letter came out moments ago. can a deal get done in time, the house majority leader joins us in minutes, we start off with chief white house correspondent on the north lawn, a very busy place. >> earlier this week the president seemed to back off of a stringent demand that congress give him billions of dollars to build a border wall. after the senate left him empty-handed last night, the president is back on the hard line. at a white house ceremony the president threw down a gauntlet to congress. >> president trump: i've made my position very clear. any measure that funds the government must include border security -- it has to. not for political purposes but for our country, for the safety of our community. >> there was a certain amount of politics to it. he initially demanded $5 billion
for the wall, than the white house said he would likely be okay with 1.6 billion if he could find the rest of the money elsewhere. after the senate gave him nothing, the presidents based demanded he get something so he summoned the 12 house republicans to the white house for a frank discussion. >> the president informed us he will not sign the bill that came up from the senate last evening because of his legitimate concerns for border security. >> him he said what the president sent over was just kicking the ball. >> the white house would not say what the minimum requirement is, telling fox news only let's see what the house could pass. the president is insisting he get some money from the border barrier. >> president trump: essential to the border security is a powerful physical barrier -- walls work, whether we like it or not. >> president trump is standing
by his decision to pull u.s. troops out of syria despite getting an ear full from his republican colleagues. >> i don't know how this decision was made it came out of left field. it has rattled the world i can promise you that everything that happened in iraq is going to happen in syria unless we change course, i can promise the president if you reevaluate this position you will have a lot of support. >> in response to senator lindsey graham's criticism, the president tore a strip him. saying "hard to believe that lindsey graham would be against saving soldiers lives and billions of dollars." >> this is a very bold move for mike president trump, it's what he promised the american people. >> russian president vladimir putin also applauded the president's move saying donald is right, the
incoming house speaker nancy pelosi also took aim. >> a decision that is dangerous, and in the decision that is a christmas present to vladimir putin to give him lessons in syria but whatever it is, it's frivolous. unworthy of our men and women in uniform. >> president trump has announced a steel slap barrier instead of a wall hoping that language might be more palatable to moderate democrats, the president also citing tremendous dangers on the border including large-scale inflows of criminal and drug activity making a case for national security and that the military should build the wall. or steel slat barrier, whatever you want to call it. >> bret: will talk about that in just a minute. fears over a possible shutdown
made another bad day on wall street that much worse, the dow cratering 464 today. the s&p 500 was down in the nasdaq lost eight. in december all indices have lost more than 10%. president trump is also considering a drawdown in afghanistan, that's in addition to what we just heard about syria and there is going to be a change of the top at the pentagon. jennifer griffin with the breaking details of the resignation of defense secretary jim mattis. >> a tweet from the president "general jim mattis will be retiring with distinction at the end of february after having served as secretary of defense for the past two years. during his tenure, tremendous progress has been made especially with respect to the purchase of new fighting equipment. general mattis was a great help to me in getting allies in other countries to pay their fair
share in military obligations. i greatly thank him for his service. "the truth is this was not his choice, he was pushed out by the president, we just received his resignation letter from the pentagon. it says he will leave his job on february 28th. his influence has waned in recent months, one senior u.s. official told me they had never seen morale as low in pentagon meetings as they had in the past few days. he was not in favor of pulling all u.s. troops out of syria but the president announced it anyway after speaking by phone with the turkish president last friday. news broke moments ago that the president went to pull thousands of troops out of afghanistan beginning last month, i'm told it's much more than 3,000 troops that will be pulled out and this is likely the beginning of the end of the u.s. involvement in afghanistan. the key line from the resignation letter "because you have the right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours, i believe it is right for me to
step down from my position. the end date for my 10-year is february 28th 2019. he was referring to his belief in working through alliances and not belittling alliances. he was not in favor of president trump announcing months early a replacement for the chairman of the joint chiefs. if we learned at that time the president did so to undercut mattis, tension with the white house has been apparent for months. the last time he came down to speak to the press and the pentagon was a month ago. >> bret: with that line in the resignation letter and the timing coming the day after the syria announcement, it's impossible to separate the two. >> you can't separate the timing of this announcement today but it has been sometime incoming, certainly pulling all of the u.s. troops out of syria, that's not something he could go along with.
>> bret: thanks. another fox news alert fox news alert, moments ago the house passed a procedural move to set up another spending bill. the budget fight could go right down to the deadline tomorrow otherwise facing a partial shutdown of the u.s. government. let's find out what's happening on the front lines at this minute. peter doocy's on capitol hill where the drama is unfolding. >> what happens if you minutes ago and it shows the conservatives who really want to take advantage of their majority before nancy pelosi takes over at the beginning of the new year did that. the procedural boat easily passed, it was 221 to 179 and notable -- 400 members voted. that's important because late last night only 300 on average were voting. the whip team came back and they
started calling around to members who had already gone home for the year asking anybody that was not a hard no to head to for their car or the train station or the airport just to get here. there is an issue, the senate cannot accept this bill, they passed something different last night. they are having an issue with math because senator bob corker told me a little while ago he was driving home tomorrow to tennessee and he's not going to come back until january 3rd. he's not the only one who wants to go home for the holidays, the senate was in such a hurry they were singing christmas carols ahead of passing their version of the spending bill. >> bret: will head back for details, let's get additional perspective now. thanks for joining us. how do you think that's get
solved? >> we've already had 75% of the government funding were debating the last 25%. this is about national security and border security. the senate sent over to us what is a continuing resolution that funds the government with no border security in there. even though we have already been funding and building the wall. remember the hurricanes in north carolina and florida and georgia, all the devastating fires in california. there are two separate bodies it happens on every bill. we will take a continuing resolution, add $5 billion to that for border security. we'll also add the money for disaster relief because they can't wait, a lot of those individuals can't wait. we'll send that over to the senate. they can take action, we don't have a problem until friday, tomorrow late.
i think there are some differences and we can find common ground, the way the government is designed to find common ground and come to a solution. >> bret: do you think you have the votes in the house? >> we will pass it tonight and we will send it to the senate. >> bret: you have chuck schumer saying we aren't doing it, you have senators over in the senate who lost or are stepping aside and they may decide they aren't going to do this. where's your optimism if you have any about getting it passed the senate to avoid a partial shutdown? >> if you listen to chuck schumer just a week ago he said he would fund the wall at 1.6, $1.8 million, is he now saying he would not do that? if i look at what he voted on a few years back, he funded and voted for a wall in that process as well. is he changing his position from
the past? this is the challenge the american people have to understand. the republicans are in the majority but the rules say you have to have 60 votes in the senate. it comes down to does chuck schumer want to shut the government down over the idea of protecting our borders? think about the number of people who have been caught illegal, the number of criminals who have been caught, also the number of children who have been saved from human trafficking -- this is important. disaster relief for a number of those states who have been waiting months for this money to come through. is he going to go home for christmas? >> bret: you went to the white house, the president -- what did he tell you? he's not going to sign it even though going in you do not believe they were going to sign a cr? >> the president has been very clear about getting border security, the houses been clear about it. the only person who has changed position in this is
chuck schumer and one of the concerns of why he has changed his position is it comes to nancy pelosi's vote for speaker, that comes january 3rd. she has a very tight vote going through, chuck is afraid that if he does something about doing something with border security it will upset those new freshmen democrats that are more socialist coming in for her boat. i think the american people are more important, i think our security is more important than that and we can do bigger things. let's deal with this and solve it. >> bret: what do you tell the 380,000 employees that would be furloughed, they wouldn't get paychecks ahead of christmas. understanding that 75% of the government is funded already but 25% still has a number of peopl people. >> that's why we are doing this today so we can get this all done. how many times -- we have almost
99% of it all agreed to. the only difference here is chuck schumer changed his position about doing nothing along the border. your viewers have watched what's gone on with the caravan, ten terrorists today get caught going through. that's a fundamental difference we need to protect. what do you talk about those individuals of an entire city wiped out in california? for those farmers that have to plant again from the hurricanes that hit from north carolina? or the air base that was hit down in florida as well? these are things that need to get done this year and we should put people before politics and it's going to come down to chuck schumer and what does he want to do? >> bret: steel slats, was this talked about at the white house? >> what people see today and what he has built already going
forward, the new design -- it protects and you can view through it because of the flats that are going through, i think these are some of the ideas when you look at what chuck schumer and dianne feinstein and what others voted for a few years back in the senate, i think if they see this they would be more apt to support border security as well. >> bret: defense secretary jim mattis announcing his resignation, there is no shading the fact that it comes after the announcement of a withdrawal of troops from syria, your thoughts on this? >> i want to thank general jim mattis, think of his distinguished career. this is a man who has been serving his country since 1969 when he was 18 years old he signed up for the marines. he was in the first battle of falluja, so many of what has happened in the success of america in the last number of years he has been a part of. the success that he has had as secretary of defense as well.
there's a difference of opinion going forward but he has served his country well and he has fans on all sides of the aisle. and he i have ever talked to that has been under his service has respect for him and i do as well, i want to thank you for his service. >> bret: are you concerned about the turnover in this administration? general flynn, general h.r. mcmaster, the cia director getting changed, two of them have left. are you concerned that this is a direct result from the presiden president? >> it is a natural after the first two years because these jobs are very trying on an individual. i've heard about general mattis thinking about leaving prior to this, i know decisions have been made and i respect his decision. i've looked at the cia, he moved up to secretary of state. there are changes going through but you want to get the very best people and i think jim mattis has been the very best
going forward. >> bret: are you concerned about the syria and move? >> i've watched with this administration been able to do, combating isis in making the influence of growing our military -- i have concerns with the decision the president has made. i think there are things we should look on that especially from a strategic point of view around the world. what that decision will make for our future allies going forward. >> bret: i hope you are not here through christmas. we'll touch base tomorrow. we had intended to bring my interview without going interior secretary ryan zinke, but breaking news changes everything, it change that plan. we will have that interview tomorrow night assuming we don't have a lot of breaking news tomorrow night. will the president's pick to be acting attorney general have to recuse himself from the special counsel investigation, plus is there a speed bump for the ag nominees nomination?
party chairman tom perez says six of the debates will be next year 2019 starting in june with six more in 2020. he says the specific criteria for qualifying for the first two debates will be announced next month. immigrants seeking asylum along the southwest border will no longer be released into the u.s. while their cases play out. this move is crucial according to the administration, it will force the migrants to wait in mexico. homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen made the announcement today. >> mexico has informed us that they will commit to implementing measures on their side of the border to facilitate the process by providing humanitarian assistance. they have announced migrants will receive humanitarian visas to stay on mexican soil, they will be given the ability to apply for work and other protections while they await a legal determination. >> bret: she will be a guest of shannon bream tonight at 11:00. if the new policy -- those who
have received an immigration court date. it does not apply to children traveling alone. president trump's major complaint with his former attorney general's jeff sessions decision to recuse himself from the special counsel investigation, tonight we learn whether his temporary replacement will have to do the same thing. here's catherine herridge. >> after a six-week ethics review, attorney general matt whitaker is free to oversee the special counsel investigation. painting a more nuanced picture of the decision-making. during the process, a senior ethics official voiced concern over his previous and negative media comments about the probe. the official said it was a close call but favored recusal out of an abundance of caution.
his senior advisors considered the appearance issue and recommended against recusal. this morning the deputy attorney general who had primary oversight responded. >> we have continued to manage the investigation as we have in the past and it is being handled appropriately. whether it's bob mueller or rod rosenstein or matt whitaker, this investigation is going to be handled appropriately. >> bill barr is now the president's choice to lead the justice department and sent a memo questioning the legal basis for any obstruction case against president trump for firing fbi director james comey saying as i understand it, it's premised on an insubordinate reading of the law. it would have grave consequences far beyond the immediate confines of this case and would do lasting damage to the presidency. rosenstein seem to push back on the analysis. >> the memo that you made
reference to reflects his personal opinion, he shared his personal opinion with the department, lots of people offered opinions but they don't influence our decision-making. >> the fact that he holds this deeply misguided view and chose to launch them in an unprovoked attack on the special counsel unquestionably disqualifies mr. mr. barr. >> the house intelligence committee voted to send the transcripts adding it may indicate whether he's considering lying to congress, that legal strategy was used against michael: the president's personal attorney. >> bret: up next staunch allies of the united states not happy with the syria strategy. a ninth person has been killed in france is a yellow vest protest even as the number of demonstrators falls. that protester was hit by a truck in southwest france, the
movement started a month ago when drivers demonstrated against a fuel tax hike. two chinese citizens have been charged with hacking in order to steal data from u.s. companies. government agencies and military service members. prosecutors made the announcement, they alleged the hackers breached more than 45 entities in 12 states, the suspects are not in custody. a french newspaper reports airbus is under u.s. just is the part negation. they say they could face fines of several billion euros as part of the combined probes and allegations of fraud, corruption and bribery. just some of the other stories beyond our borders tonight
>> bret: you're looking live on capitol hill, they are expected to brief reporters and just a matter of minutes, this obviously as we get closer to a possible government shutdown a lot of back and take a listen. >> the president informed us he will not sign the bill that came up from the senate last evening because of his legitimate concerns for border security. >> president trump: we need the wall, the democrats know it, everybody knows it.
it's only a game when they say you don't need the wall, you can look at their eyes and say they are not telling the truth. >> democrats are not budging on the wall. we favor smart, effective border security. there are not the votes of the republican house for the wall, there are not the votes in the senate for the wall, what's the end game here? >> bret: the house majority leader said he does have the votes in the house, we will see as they get ready to pass this piece of legislation. there you see what has been enacted already, about 75% of spending. were talking about that read part but it still deals with a lot of people, you're looking north of 800,000 people, the furlough rates really hit commerce, treasury the most, it's possible nonessential workers would still work but they wouldn't get paid. some others wouldn't be allowed to show up for work.
it comes before christmas, the one upside is they did get paid this past week ahead of christmas. this is going down to the wire as you look live on the hill. let's bring in our panel, byron york is the chief political correspondent of the "washington examiner" ." i may interrupt you if i see senator schumer and the minority leader nancy pelosi. your thoughts as this developed today include the president -- it happened fast. >> we saw a whole bunch of stories that he was caving and he was going to agree to this, we had a lot of criticism of him by rush limbaugh and ann coulter, paul ryan and kevin mccarthy go over to the white house and he is not going to sign this bill that the senate has passed. one interesting thing here, in this procedural vote that he was reporting about he said they had 400 votes which means that republicans have gotten a lot of
their members back in washington. i think they had 217 votes in that boat and they believe they can pass this. they were quite affected by these predictions from nancy pelosi and you just heard chuck schumer predicting it as well, they were affected by these democratic projections they didn't have the votes in the house and i think they are trying to say we do. >> bret: here is schumer earlier and the president talking about money. >> a trump shutdown will not convince a single democrat to support bilking the american taxpayer for an ineffective, unnecessary, and exorbitantly expensive wall. >> president trump: our nations has spent trillions of dollars and sacrificed thousands of lives defending the borders of foreign nations. i'm asking congress to defend the border of our nation for a tiny fraction, tiny fraction of the cost.
>> bret: there are some senators already home. how does this logistically work? i tried to press the house majority leader on the logistics of getting it passed the house and getting it passed the senate, how does it come to completion? >> the senators we are told by the vice president yesterday that they could pass this and go home. a stopgap, short-term measure. >> bret: it has the 1.6 billion for the wall? i don't think it did. >> that's old money, it hasn't even entirely been spent. they let them go home and a congressman who was close to leadership and knows what's going on told me at 5:32 -- even if it failed, the president would come to his senses. there wasn't a senate plan there was a president trump comes to his senses plan. i think the nation's
fourth-graders know this is no way to run a lemonade stand, this is irresponsible. the markets are rattling on the prospect of a shut down that's turning on and coulter's tweets. the president time and again is contemptuous of process and compromise. he knew when he said he wouldn't spend another spending bill like this eight months ago, the time to produce the votes in the senate was the election, he doesn't have 60 votes, he must compromise. he was offered a deal he refused to take it. he took four positions. >> bret: i understand. i get it. if he listens to mark meadows and jim jordan -- >> they don't know what they're talking about, this is political malpractice, they are wrong. >> bret: here is chuck schumer and nancy pelosi walking to the microphones, we will listen and
with you and analyze on the other side. >> good evening. for a number of weeks now house and senate democrats and republicans have worked together to put together an appropriations bill to meet the needs of the american people and to keep government open. somehow or other and i don't know what the answer to the question is, the president of the united states prefers to shut government down and will resist any opportunity to keep government open. we are completely ready as we have been for a while bipartisan, bicameral legislation to pass the appropriations law and have a continuing resolution for the seventh bill if we cannot come to terms on that. we've offered that to the president, we've offered him a continuing resolution with seven bills in it.
yesterday the house passed legislation overwhelmingly and now we have the distinguished leader in the senate talking about that. the president is doing everything he can to shut the government down. you have to ask the question why does he not believe in government? does he not care about the american people? doesn't he know that the economy is uncertain? doesn't he follow the stock market that he likes to brag about? there's something wrong with this picture especially in the holiday season and so if they make the bill bad enough, they were able to get enough votes on the house side. for a shameful bill that is unworthy of this house of representatives and certainly of the american people. here's the distinguished leader from the senate.
>> thank you, leader pelosi. today's events have made one thing clear, president trump is plunging the country into chaos. the stock market is down another 500 points. general mattis is stepping down and we know he has disagreements with the president on syria and on the wall. now president trump is throwing a temper tantrum and creating the trump shutdown of the government. last night the senate passed unanimously a bill proposed by leader mcconnell. all speaker ryan has to do is put it on the floor of the house, it will get a majority of votes and the president can sign it and avoid a shutdown. unfortunately, president trump was attacked this morning and last night by the hard right and
fearful, he backed off his commitment to sign this bill. republican leaders told us yesterday that he was ready to sign the bipartisan bill that passed the senate unanimously. every democrat and every republican to avoid a government shutdown. the bill contained neither democratic demands or republican demands. it said to the american people we have a way to keep the government open and leader pelosi, leader mcconnell and myself have done everything we can to avoid a shutdown. president trump wants one. he has asked for 125 times and he said in front of us he would be proud to shut down the government. it's nothing to be proud of. the bottom line is simple, the trump temper tantrum will shut on the government but it won't get him his wall.
if the bill before the house, everyone knows it won't pass the senate. speaker ryan, leader mccarthy have cynically put it on the floor of the house knowing it can't pass the senate, everyone knows it can't pass the senate. it's a cynical attempt to just hurt innocent people and do just what president trump wants even though they probably know it's bad for the country. the bottom line is very simple. there's still hope. leader pelosi and i have put two proposals on the table, we have not taken them off, that would avoid a government shutdown and get a majority of votes in the house and the senate. leader mcconnell had put on the floor last night a proposal that would avoid shutting down the government. it is a shame that this president who is plunging the nation into chaos is throwing another temper tantrum and going
to hurt lots of innocent people. the trump temper tantrum may produce a government shutdown, it will not get him his wall. >> reporter: what happens next in the senate if the bill follows? >> leader mcconnell said he will schedule a vote, it clearly will not come close to getting the 60 votes that he needs, and then leader pelosi and i and probably senator mcconnell will help the house will then consider passing the bipartisan unanimously passed a bill that the senate would pass. whether they will do that or not, your guess is as good as mine. donald trump wants a shutdown and they seem to be so afraid that they are going to along, we'll see. >> reporter: a couple minutes ago you told us that you were shaken by jim mattis'
resignation. >> i'm shaken because of the patriot secretary mattis is, i think everybody in the country should read his letter of resignation. it's a letter of great patriotism, respect for the president, but also a statement of his values where he talks about the unique and comprehensive system of alliances that we have. we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries with strategic interests. it's a beautiful letter about our values as a nation in terms of our national security written by a patriotic american who was a comfort too many of us as a voice of stability in the
administration. look at this week, the president taking troops out of syria without the full consultation with the leaders of his own administration. the president taking actions that encourage his secretary of defense to issue a letter of resignation. he is reversing his position about signing a bill. maybe he thinks if government is shut down he can golf more comfortably -- that's not how it works. government must work even if you are golfing for two weeks. there is something very wrong with this picture and this resignation is one just agreed from secretary mattis and secretary pompeo, it was one week ago. our troops look to secretary
mattis as a leader and now he is going to be leaving them. this is very serious for our country. >> secretary mattis was one of the few symbols, the few items of strength and stability in this administration. everything that indicates stability, everything that indicates strength, everything that indicates knowledge is leaving this administration. general kelly, general mattis, so many others. mcmaster. there is chaos now in this administration, this week is one of the most chaotic weeks we have ever seen in american government and amazingly they want to close the week -- president trump does -- by shutting down the government. shutting down the government. we all know that secretary mattis had disagreements with the president on syria and the wall.
some have speculated that the president was going to demand that he started building the wall which he knows he can't do by law and maybe that's one of the reasons he stepped down. >> reporter: do you think there's any reasonable prospect that a shutdown could override his veto? >> you would have to ask our republican friends. >> the worse he gets, the more they rally around him. this just to refer back to what leader schumer said about the voice of stability in this administration and the people who have great leaders who have left the administration in dismay. that is what this administration has been about. we don't want to be fearmongers in terms of our country, this great country can withstand just about anything but it shouldn't have to.
it shouldn't have to. i'm shaken by the resignation of general mattis, what it means to our country, the message it sends to our troops, the indication of what his view is of the commander in chief. [reporter questioning] >> our soldiers, 2.15 million of them, our civilian employees looked up to general mattis. i'm sure they feel it's a great loss, i'm sure most americans feel it's a great loss and everything like this that happens, a resignation of a strong leader gives american people less and less faith in president trump. >> it's all the more reason for us to pray for our country. our country has been blessed in so many ways throughout the
centuries and decades. by leaders. one of them general mattis. this is a very sad day for our country. read his letter, have you read his letter? read his letter. and examine the activities that have led up to it and what it means. because of his leadership, we are safe. we have to pray that we are safe and continue to make sure the american people are safe, that is the oath of office we take to protect and defend and we will. we shouldn't have to do so because of the temper tantrums of the commander in chief. >> reporter: they are going to be forced to confirm in a very short period of time. he will work with this new round? >> unlike previous presidents democratic and republican, there
is no consultation. they don't call us and say what do you think of this person or that person? most of the nominations have been so below par in their ethical standards, in their ability to govern, in their ideology which is so far over and i hoped there would be a change but given the past group of nominees -- i don't. they are going to get very thorough examinations, they are going to get serious questions. in the past, almost all of them have not passed muster. >> bret: senator chuck schumer and house minority leader nancy pelosi briefing reporters they're all about the way forward and also the big news of the night defense secretary jim mattis resigning, retiring but really resigning. if you listen to the resignation letter and specifically what's in there. let's talk about the shutdown and the way forward.
it does not seem like they are going to consider anything that comes out of the house that has a $5 billion for a wall. >> even if the house is able to pass the bill funding the wall, it still has to pass the senate and you see from chuck schumer there's no what the democrats are going to vote for it. they need to break the filibuster. it seems as though the democrats have become more emboldened in their position since that meeting in the white house last week. they have gone from maybe there's some money for the wall to now there will be no money for the wall. this has put trump in a very precarious political position because on the one hand both a shutdown and the wall are unpopular with the public at large but when it comes to his conservative base, if he fails to secure money for the wall which may be his last opportunity, that means the base might rebel and that's the
difference between a president who is at 43% approval and at 37, 36% approval. >> bret: let's talk briefly about a shutdown because it really does look like we are headed there. partial government shutdown. you are looking at a lot of people affected from different agencies who have not been funded yet, there will be people who argue that this is not going to be as painful to see and they are going to eventually solve on the back end of this before anybody feels the pain. >> as far as the general public is concerned that's true, there are hundreds of thousands of employees who will not be paid at christmas time, they will be paid later when the whole thing is resolved. they won't be paid now but in terms of the public at large, 75% of the public -- of the government has already been funded and a lot of what is done here does not affect people's everyday lives.
it's not as if we've never had a shutdown before. >> bret: and the national security people won't be working but they will be working with paychecks. >> somebody protecting our country who isn't being paid for doing it. >> bret: i want to turn to jim mattis, a lot was said there about the resignation letter and i asked about this possibility of him stepping down soon. do you have any plans to leave the administration soon? >> if i did, you wouldn't be the one to know. let me explain something. when the president of the united states, republican or democrat, male, female -- none of that matters. when the president of the united states and i never met mr. trump before i met him as
president-elect when he called me for a job interview, when the president of the united states asks you to do something in america, you just do it. >> bret: turns out i was the last to know. in that resignation letter, secretary mattis writes my views on treating allies with respect and also being clear eyed with both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by decades of immersion in these issues. he also writes the president should have someone who is aligned with his thinking. clearly a signal that comes after the syria withdrawal move and ahead of the afghanistan withdrawal as well. >> he made it clear and there is some speculation about whether or not he was fired and then wrote that letter or whether or not he quit. i was upset that he quit, he might've been fired which makes it worse. in a letter he makes sure to
draw contrast with what he sees as a need to nurture and protect the order that we spent 70 years investing in. he makes clear that respect for allies, coalition building and all of this is part of our long-term national security. i'm speculating here about what we learned today about his conversation on friday with president air dejuan of turkey he would announce an assault, he would leave the kurds hanging with this announcement within a few days, they would just have to be a huge central focus. >> bret: senior official telling jen griffin this was not a forced resignation, he informed his staff after returning from the white house this afternoon. he met with the president at 3:00 p.m., he called his staff for meeting a little after 5:00,
he had handed in his resignation letter and obviously you can extrapolate why that gets to that point. he had been talked about leaving at some point which is why ask the question. >> he is one of the most popular members of the cabinet along with ambassador nikki haley who was not departing at the end of the year -- the word that struck out to me was alliances. he has long held this belief that alliances our force multipliers, they are the instruments of american power and you need to sustain them. they are what increase the deterrent edge. if i think people in washington are shocked, i think people in foreign capitals are going to be even more shocked and more worried about this move -- there is this idea that all of these withdrawals, firing mattis, removing mattis is going to make the world more peaceful.
if america withdraws as we know, bad actors move in and the chances of war increase. >> bret: i have received three texts from different ambassadors concerned with this move and marco rubio republican up on the hill saying he just read the resignation letter, it makes it clear that we are headed toward a series of policy errors that will endanger our nation, damage or alliances, and empower our adversaries. this is quite a week. >> there has been this long theme on the presidency, why are we spending so much money to defend the rest of the world? they should be helping us do that. he is asking people what is our goal in syria? what can we do in afghanistan that we haven't already done in 17 years? the president is now pushing back against the national security establishment. >> bret: a lot happening in the past couple of hours, thanks for inviting us into your home.
>> martha: lots of breaking news tonight as the president doubles down on the wall, on the brink of a shutdown. negotiations are ongoing tonight, and general mattis steps down, a huge story, and we have a great guest on the story for us tonight. does the pentagon very well. any president, as well their general jack keane's joins me in just a moment. president trump announcing a short time ago that general james mattis will "require with distinction this february." bad news comes on the heels of two very controversial foreign policy decisions made by president trump, surprising and their timing, both of them. want to pull