New debate over Clinton reaction to election loss; Uproar over college professor watchlist

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," December 19, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, GUEST HOST: Breaking tonight, Europe. Once again, on edge as the Islamic State claims responsibility for a man plowing a truck into a crowded Christmas market in Germany's capital. There are multiple fatalities.

Welcome, everyone to "The Kelly File." I'm Martha MacCallum in tonight for Megyn Kelly. So, in what is initially believed to be a, quote, "deliberate attack," a truck driving at high speeds plowed into one of the Christmas market that are so famous in Europe this time of year. This one in Berlin during their busiest evening hours. There are a number of deaths. At least 50 are said to be injured. You see the scenes. From today. And this horrific situation. One suspect is dead. The other has been arrested by the police. In an attack that's eerily similar in style to the terror attack in Southern France that took the lives of 86 people.

For the latest on this story, we turn to Trace Gallagher in our West Coast Newsroom.  

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Martha, this Christmas market is in the very heart of what was the old West Berlin. Very near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. That is the famous church half destroyed in a 1943 bombing raid. Police say the truck was traveling around 40 miles per hour, jumped a curb, on to a sidewalk, before slamming into tables and wooden stands filled with people. And not just Christmas shoppers and revelers, but also, many who had just gotten off work. The driver fled the scene and was reportedly later arrested.

A passenger in the truck was found dead inside the cab. Police say he may have been killed in the crash itself. Both ISIS and al Qaeda have called on followers to use trucks to attack public places and this attack comes less than a month after the U.S. State Department issued a warning for U.S. citizens in Europe to be on heightened alert around holiday festivals, events and outdoor markets. A British tourist even commented that he didn't see a lot of heightened security. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not see any concrete bars to stop things like this driving in. And I know we had them in Birmingham to stop that. We were in the market outside the cathedral. And we had just had a Gluehwein and then as we were leaving the large truck came through. It went just passed me, passed my girlfriend. I think it missed me by three meters.  Missed her by five. It came in to the entrance. Hit the sides of the barriers and then carried on past us.  


GALLAGHER: Along with eyewitness accounts, terrified shoppers also tweeted graphic images from the scene. At least nine people were killed and 50 injured but both of those numbers are almost certain to change. Germany has not seen large-scale terror attacks like the bombings in Brussels and the track attack in Nice, but it has seen a number of smaller attacks even prompting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to make an about-face on her immigration policy and call for better vetting of refugees.

Christmas markets are a beloved German tradition. They open the first Sunday of Advent and last through Christmas Eve. Investigators remain on scene but so far there are no reports of any weapons or explosives on board the truck. And a man who says he owns the truck is now telling authorities he believes it was hijacked or as we would say, carjacked -- Martha.

MACCALLUM: Joining me now, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, the former House Intelligence Committee chairman. And Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer, CIA trained Intel operative.

Gentlemen, welcome. Good to have you here tonight.  


MACCALLUM: Here we are once again. Let me go to you first, Mr. Hoekstra, your thoughts on what we are seeing unfold in Europe tonight.  

HOEKSTRA: Well, I think you have to put this in the larger context, Martha. What you have is, on Saturday you had an attack in Jordan. Ten people were killed including a Canadian tourist. Today you had the ambassador -- of the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated. By the Muslim brotherhood, al Qaeda affiliated individuals. You have the attack in Germany. You have the ongoing struggle in Mosul and Iraq. You have what's going on in Syria.

We are not really doing very well against the radical jihadist groups, whether it's ISIS, whether it's al Qaeda, whether it's the Muslim Brotherhood. They still have a lot of momentum and we have lost a lot of ground. You know, through the rest of this Christmas season. Leading up to the inaugural. I think we could have a very, very bloody path.

MACCALLUM: Is there -- Tony, is there any political sort of momentum that's going on here? I mean, the spate of attacks that we have seen, you just heard outlined by Chairman Hoekstra, what do you think?

LT. COL. TONY SHAFFER (RET.), CIA TRAINED INTEL OPERATIVE: Well, Pete is correct completely. I mean, look, we have to look at the pattern. The problem is we have not actually implemented a policy which works to get ahead of these folks. We have lost momentum. While we're gaining ground in Mosul and Iraq, look, the rest of the world is on fire. So and as Pete said, we have got to be very concerned about our own upcoming events.  Christmas, New Year's Eve and the inauguration are three big targets.

And let's be honest here. The techniques that ISIS is now employing, the so-called lone wolves, they're not lone wolves. You can go online and Martha you and I could become a radical if we wanted to go and train ourselves. So this is a program. They're doing this with great forethought. And now we know that through the Somali refugees who attacked recently with knives and twice now in Europe. On the 14th of July, in Nice, France that used a truck to similar effect were seen this is a valid technique of terror.

So, we've got to get ahead of this. We have to study this hard. We have to do two things rapidly. Figure out how to better use intelligence and then use that intelligence to be proactive. We cannot take chances and pretend the somehow the threat does not exist. It exists. It's being very effective in Europe. We have to be ahead of it and do better here to make sure we don't have a massive loss of life during key events now upcoming within the next few weeks.

MACCALLUM: I mean, for the president-elect, Pete Hoekstra, you can plan your agenda domestically. You can talk about the economy, you can do what you do to save jobs. But these are the events that land in your lap as president. This is what you have to deal with and you can be proactive.  Talk to me about what you see so far in the individuals that are going to be taking these tasks on and how you think they will approach it.  

HOEKSTRA: Well, I think I'm very encouraged by the people that Mr. Trump was putting around him. These individuals, they recognize the threat.  They are not afraid to say Islamic terrorist. They recognize the threat.  They are -- I think they are going to be on offense and going after this threat. Right now, these radical jihadists, they have, you know, they can plan and prepare, they have safe havens in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan. We have to get rid of the safe havens.

I think that's exactly what Donald Trump and his team will do, they'll form alliances with our allies in the Middle East and go on offensive to take away these safe havens. It does not mean American boots on the ground. It means equipping our allies who are willing to go after ISIS and al Qaeda in the region. We can do it. They can do the job. They just need American leadership.  

MACCALLUM: Tony, in terms of Vladimir Putin and the role that he's played in Syria, and the alliance that he has with Assad and Iran, when Pete Hoekstra talks about our allies, how does all that line up? Who are they?

SHAFFER: Well, that's -- the allies we now are working with basically two locations. We're talking about the Arab states and Pete is correctly -- completely correct. We have been working with Mike Flynn before he went over to join Donald Trump on an Arab NATO. We have got to organize our Arab allies to both put together their own concepts for their own defense, we have to organize a success. As Pete says, we then have to go after the safe havens all over the place. Libya, Iraq, Syria, anywhere they're at.

And with that Vladimir Putin does share this interest regarding ISIS but that is about it. We cannot believe for a minute that somehow Vladimir Putin is going to be our ally. We have to look at NATO, the real NATO and that's another thing we've talked about doing. One of the things Martha I know for a fact, NATO is not been used to actually counter the terror threat in Europe. My first assignments in Europe back in 1985 was to do counterterrorism operations under NATO. So, we have done this before. So, we have to figure out a way to best organize those on our side and then rapidly aggressively set them forward in motion to go after these terrorists groups both in the Middle East and in Europe.  

MACCALLUM: Yes. Chilling developments tonight. Pete Hoekstra, Tony Shaffer. Gentlemen, thank you so much for weighing in.  

Also tonight, what was supposed to be a formality turned into an ugly display of partisan politics when it came time for the Electoral College to cast their votes?

Up next, we'll show you who ended up paying the price.

And First Lady Michelle Obama suggested the election results left America without any hope. Sean Spicer has been working with the Trump transition team. He's here on that.

And then a student group comes under fire for assembling a list of professors and accusing those teachers of using the classroom to push only their leftist agenda. Both sides in a fiery debate straight ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: White supremacist and a vice president that is one of the most anti-gay humans in this country.



MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, a last-ditch effort to keep the president-elect from taking office is getting some new momentum at the last minute despite the fact that President-elect Trump won by dozens of electoral votes. One Republican elector was announcing this morning that he would be casting his ballot for Governor John Kasich instead of the President-elect.  And with voters urging their electors to vote for Hillary Clinton, Kasich or basically anybody, who's not the man who won the presidential election, one of President Obama's top advisers suggesting that this movement is likely to do more harm than good no matter what the outcome.

Fox News politics Chris Stirewalt joins us in a moment but first, we go to Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen with more tonight. James?

JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Martha, greetings from Washington with the Electoral College voting today to formalize Donald Trump's victory, officials with the Republican National Committee were keeping close tabs on the 306 Trump electors. Protesters determined to block the President-elect from receiving the 270 electoral votes he needed in today's balloting, turned out against all odds in all 50 state capitals.  Upwards of 200 demonstrators you see braved the freezing temperatures in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania chanting among other things, no Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA.  


ELSA LANKFORD (ph), ANTI-TRUMP DEMONSTRATOR: I'm here today because I feel like it's the last chance we have to really save this country. I mean, Hillary won the popular vote, I'm hoping that we can make some kind of difference. Like the last-ditch effort.  


ROSEN: Inside, however, all of the keystone state's electors cast their ballots for the President-elect. The 20 Electoral College members are GOP activists in some cases handpicked by the Trump campaign. A privilege permitted under state law. Indeed, in the first ten states that Donald Trump won that voted today, there were no defectors. The first so-called faithless elector to materialize appeared in Maine where Democrat Hillary Clinton won and the elector switched his vote to Bernie Sanders.

Meantime, an Arizona elector pledged to Donald Trump described the intense pressure he has faced including an instance where a car cut him off and its inhabitants started videotaping him.  


ROBERT GRAHAM, ARIZONA ELECTOR: They slowed down behind, they got in front of my car in one of that traffic light, they were taking pictures and that happened two days in a row and two different people but again slowly passing in front of our house, same car, same people. And that kind of intimidation for me being the state party chair has been not normal but it's a little bit more -- I'm much more public but the other electors, this is a new experience for them all around.  


ROSEN: The results of today's voting by the Electoral College will be certified in a Joint Session of Congress next month with Vice President Biden presiding. And if that goes off without a hitch, Martha, then the never Trumpers are just going to have to snatch the Bible right out of Mr. Trump's hand on Inauguration Day.  

MACCALLUM: That will be the last thing left to them. James, thank you very much.

ROSEN: You bet.

MACCALLUM: Joining me now, Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt.  Chris, good evening to you. Your thoughts on how all this is played out today?

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR: Well, the Lucy and the football phenomenon with people trying to use procedural end-arounds to derail Donald Trump is something to behold. We watch him in the primaries. We're going to have strategic voting and I'll vote for you and you vote for me and we'll team up and we'll block him in Utah, da-da-da-da-da, which gives way, we -- at the convention and we'll use procedural rules there and now we get to this further role. Which, by the way, serves to substantially weaken people's confidence in the institutions.

You heard the woman who said, we won the popular vote and now it's up to the Electoral College. Hey, that's not how that works. You can't go ask electors to undue their own jobs.  

MACCALLUM: I mean, the irony of the railing that the left has done against the Electoral College and now they decided that it's sort of the last arrow in their quiver, and it's the best thing that ever happened. Number 68 I think it was in the federal papers, right?

STIREWALT: That's right. And by the way, they're all federalists now for the next couple of hours. They're all federalists until the end of the day and then they will say, well, never mind. We're populist again.  

MACCALLUM: Yes. So, where does all this lead? You know, you talked about the sort of effort to delegitimatize the presidency of Donald Trump. We have seen Krugman writing about this as if it's sort of the end of the earth. I know you wrote about this today, Chris. Your thoughts.  

STIREWALT: Well, look. I take nothing away from the sincerely devastated hopes of individuals who believed the campaign rhetoric, who believed a lot of the media coverage that said that we were in the incipient state of fascist rule. And also by the way one of the other things Democrats put on Donald Trump was that there would a global thermonuclear war and all life would die.

So other than that, the stakes are low. So, I understand for some people who see the world that way that this is real anguish and that they're really sincere. But outside of those folks, there's a lot of deep cynicism working here on the under current. People like John Podesta who got behind the effort to flip the Electoral College, he knows better but what they're trying to do, what Democrats are trying to do is mar Trump's presidency before he assumes it. There's always a little bit of that but when you assault the very institutions on which the Republic stands, then you have got some dangerous antics.  

MACCALLUM: It wasn't all that long ago that Hillary Clinton was horrified that Donald Trump said that, you know, if there's a state that's really close and it needs to be contested, that he wouldn't necessarily close that door. She felt that that was, you know, sort of a mis-carriage of the justice and democracy of the American way but now she's not saying anything, Chris. She hasn't stepped forward to say whoa, whoa, whoa. We had an election and this is done.  

STIREWALT: Trump got reproved, perhaps rightly so, for a lot of loose talk about the riggedness of the vote. One thing to talk about a rigged system, let's talk about the vote being fixed, that was maybe dangerous. And Hillary Clinton scored points on that. Where's she? Where's the voice from that side that comes out and says, people, respect the decision.  Respect the process. Respect the institutions so that we can preserve them. If you really were concerned about fascism in America, you would strengthen institutions, not weaken them.  

MACCALLUM: Chris Stirewalt, thank you so much as always.  

STIREWALT: You bet.  

MACCALLUM: So, as we await the final tally of those electoral votes, a closer look at why and how Hillary Clinton lost where it counted most.

Doug McKelway has that story for us tonight. Doug?

DOUG MCKELWAY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. Despite all of the blame directed at FBI Director Comey and WikiLeaks and at Russia, there remain a several factors in Hillary Clinton's loss that many Democrats may be unwilling to acknowledge. Karl Rove described it like a bubble of denial.  


KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: We didn't lose the election because we lacked a compelling message. We didn't lose the election because we had a lousy candidate. We didn't lose the election because we were far too left wing. We didn't lose the election because we were status quo and a year of which people wanted change.  


MCKELWAY: Exit polls bear out much of what Rove says. They showed that 62 percent of voters felt that America was seriously off on the wrong track.  And while Clinton won 89 percent of the Black vote, it was short of President Obama's 93 percent back in 2012, same with Hispanics. While Clinton outperformed Trump among Latinos by 38 points, she fell short of Obama's 44-point edge. Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg acknowledges what few in Hillary's inner circle will not.  


SIMON ROSENBERG, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It may have been admirable and articulate and thoughtful but there was always a sense that she wasn't going to able to motivate people the way that her husband did or Barack Obama did, something she said herself.  


MCKELWAY: Those weaknesses might have been overcome with an aggressive campaign schedule in the latter weeks of the campaign but Trump did a third more rallies in the final weeks.


ROSENBERG: We made fun of those Trump rallies. Right? Twenty thousand people. Incredible passion, energy. Clearly that was a mistake.


MCKELWAY: The Clinton campaign may also have committed the classic mistake of battle fighting the last war. By focusing on traditional TV ads and door to door campaigning while Trump was tapping into twitter, three media and local news coverage of those huge rallies, all are populous, dissatisfaction with centralized government was bubbling up not only in the United States but across the world -- Martha.

MACCALLUM: He was on to something. Doug, thank you very much.

So, joining me now on whether any of those reasons is to blame for Hillary Clinton's electoral loss, one of President-elect Trump's earliest supporters in Congress, Representative Sean Duffy and Fox News contributor and nationally syndicated radio host Richard Fowler.

Good to have both of you with us tonight.



MACCALLUM: You know Richard, you listen to all of this and you see the finger pointing that is going around in the Clinton camp, some coming from Bill Clinton, some coming from other places, James Comey is the reason that they lost. All sorts of things. So what do you make of it? Do you think it's helpful for your party?

FOWLER: Well, I think the former president's wrong and I think John Podesta is wrong on this point. We lost this election because we failed to have an authentic, convincing conversation with the American people. Many of the issues that we as Democrats care about. One of those being raising the minimum wage. I think throughout Hillary Clinton's campaign she changed the position a couple of times on that. Now the question becomes - - now here's the larger argument, right? Because she actually did won the popular vote which means Donald Trump will come in as president with a nation that is absolutely positively divided.

And he's going to have to find a way to bring our nation back together and I think that is where, you know, we need to see if he can do it and I think what Democrats have got to do and I think as we have this sort of party chair battle going on as it is, is figure out how we begin to have a conversation with the American people, how we begin to have a conversation with working folks and figure out where they are and be the party that represents them which I think we didn't do in this election.  

MACCALLUM: Yes. But Sean, it seems that one of the things that Donald Trump tapped into is that there were people obviously who had voted for President Obama twice in previous elections and they didn't like the way the policy affected them in their lives. They didn't think that it works for them anymore.

DUFFY: That's right. So this is a change election, Martha. People wanted a different pathway forward than the progressive liberal policies of the last eight years of Barack Obama and place where I come from in Wisconsin, people were concerned about skyrocketing health care costs and lackluster economy, not new jobs with not better wages. The Southern border, Martha, where people are coming into our country without a permission or consent, but even then ISIS that inspires people here in America to take up arms and kill innocent American citizens, you see now what's going on in Turkey and in Berlin.

All of those things taken together made people come out and say, we want a different direction, we want a change. And for Democrats, many of them are looking to say, you know what? This could have been an e-mail leak or this was the fault of the FBI. Bill Clinton came out recently and was saying that it's the fault of angry white voters. The truth is, this is the fault of the Democrat Party that didn't have a message that resonated with Americans in the rust belt where I'm from but all across the middle income sphere of our country and if they don't have an honest conversation about what cost them the election, they're going to be in the political desert for years to come.  

MACCALLUM: What do you think, Richard?

FOWLER: No. Listen. There's some truth to that. Now, where I disagree is that I thought, let's take for example, the state of Maine where Donald Trump won the rural areas of the state of Maine because -- their delegates are sort of -- their electorates are sort of partisan. But the minimum wage, the issue won in Maine, right? A lot of these places where Donald Trump did win you saw very populist liberal ideals win out on the ballot which means this country is divided.

People voted for Donald Trump believe they should raise the minimum wage which is where the Republican Party faces this real interesting intersection. Are they going to be a party that continues to stand up for corporations and stand up for tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires or are they going to start talking to these new voters that have acquired under Donald Trump? Are they going to vote to raise the minimum wage?  

DUFFY: Hey, Richard.  

FOWLER: Are they going to vote to expand health care coverage to folks who are really struggling to make ends meet.  

MACCALLUM: I have to go.  

DUFFY: The largest companies in America give to the Democrat Party.  There's a connection between big government and big business. And just here in Wisconsin, you had Russ Feingold giving the exact same message that you're giving. And Ron Johnson won with a huge margin, the first time a Republican senator won in a presidential cycle since 1980 so that message hasn't worked, Richard.  

MACCALLUM: All right. We have the leave it there.  

DUFFY: You can talk all you want with big business but it's a Democratic Party --


MACCALLUM: I have to jump in.

DUFFY: Look at ObamaCare --

MACCALLUM: Representative Duffy, Richard Fowler, we're going to have that conversation for -- this can be ongoing for months and months. Thank you very much to both of those gentlemen.  

In the meantime, also tonight, the President-elect pushing back after First Lady Michelle Obama suggested that the election results left America without any hope.

Sean Spicer has been working with the Trump's transition team and he's next on that.

Plus, what happens when the Trump family takes residence at the White House? Political commentator Cokie Roberts has watched many come and go from the White House and she is writing about this. She joins us live straight ahead.


KELLY WRIGHT, FOX NEWS: Live from America's News Headquarters, I'm Kelly Wright in Washington. Here's what's happening. The news out of Berlin is grimmer tonight. German police now reporting that the death toll from a horrific terrorist attack there has risen to 12. Nearly 50 others have been hospitalized, some in very bad condition. It happened at a Christmas market. The killers used a truck to ram through the crowd of shoppers and sightseers. Many of the victims are crushed to death. The driver of the truck has been arrested and alleged accomplice died at the scene.

Today's assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey is also being called a terrorist attack. Andrey Karlov was gunned down at a photo exhibit in Ankara. The killer, an off duty cop told horrified onlookers, he wanted to make sure Aleppo, Syria, would not be forgotten. He was later shot dead by police.

That's a look at news this hour. I'm Kelly Wright.

Now back to "The Kelly File." For all your headlines, log on to

MACCALLUM: Developing tonight, President Trump pushing back after First Lady Obama tells Oprah Winfrey that she suggests that the election results have left America with no hope. Listen.  


FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: See, now we're feeling whatnot having hope feels like. You know? Hope is necessary. It's a necessary concept. And Barack didn't just talk about hope because he was thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. I mean, he and I and so many believe that if you -- what else do you have if you don't have hope?


MACCALLUM: Hmm. So that interview does not air until tonight. The news leaked on Friday, prompting Mr. Trump to address those remarks during a weekend rally. Here's that.


PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: Michelle Obama said yesterday that there's no hope. But I assume she was talking about the past, not the future. Because, I'm telling you, we have tremendous hope and we have tremendous promise and tremendous potential.


MACCALLUM: Joining me now, Sean Spicer, Chief Strategist and Communications Director for the Republican National Committee, Sean, good to see you this evening.

SEAN SPICER, RNC CHIEF STRATEGIST: Great to see you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, your thoughts on, you know when you watch Michelle Obama talking to Oprah Winfrey and Oprah is shaking her head, in understanding and you are so correct about this, you so right, there is just no hope left and everybody's feeling it, what goes through your mind having seen what you saw through the course of the election?

SPICER: I think for a lot of folks that were all in on Hillary Clinton who didn't see this coming, I understand their disappointment frankly, but I think that is part of the problem is they never fully appreciated that Donald Trump was tapping into something in America that folks in Washington, D.C. and New York City, Big metropolitan areas didn't understand what was going on throughout America which is that people are frustrated with business as usual and what Donald Trump brings is not only hope, but real change and an end of business as usual. You saw this with the Carrier thing. He is going to pick up the phone and get things done.

And I think for a lot of people who are tied in to the, you know, for lack of a better word, the business as usual and the idea of everybody playing their certain part in Washington, watching somebody come in and it is going to shake up the place whether it's the Veterans Department, the V.A., or the IRS, or the State Department, or the Department of Defense, and start bringing real change, start respecting the taxpayers money is going to be a big, big eye awakening experience.

MACCALLUM: You know when you look at this elector situation that we have been watching today and the results won't be finally announced until January the 6th, your thoughts on the pushback from these electors and the idea that they need to change their mind and change the votes essentially of the people who were in their state?

SPICER: Well, I think there are two things that are really interesting.  One is prior to the election, it was the Democrats and a lot of the pundits in the media that talked about making sure that we all stood hand to hand and talked about the integrity of the voting system and now that they have lost the election, they held several recounts in states, and frankly, in Wisconsin Donald Trump picked up votes and now challenging the electors, they are intimidating them. The frankly being -- it's unbelievable what they're doing and I'm appalled that there's so little outrage at what is going on and the intimidation, that they have cast people who constitutionally there to cast the votes part of the process is unbelievable.

So I'm first and foremost somewhat disgusted with the role that the Democrats and folks on the left and a lot in Hollywood have done to undermine the electoral process, that I think is the real big take away in this, but secondly it is amazing just as I mentioned they failed in the recount in Wisconsin by allowing more votes to picked up in Washington state today, Martha, four Hillary Clinton electors switched their vote, three to Colin Powell and one to a woman named faith spotted eagle. Those four electoral votes, who are supposed to be for Hillary Clinton through the effort, not only that she did not pick them up, she lost them, so it's almost weird how many times their efforts backfire.

MACCALLUM: You know I want to get your thoughts on Donna Brazile who over the weekend pointed the finger basically at President Obama and she felt, he abandoned them in their time in need at the DNC and that he should have been more forceful in investigating where these leaks were coming from.  These leaks which revealed e-mails that were basically written by John Podesta and others, which made them, look bad and she felt that it undermined the entire system.

SPICER: Well, look. The president went out on his press conference on Friday and said, I told Vladimir Putin to, quote, knock it off and he did.  And then Donna Brazile went on another network this past Sunday and said, no, in fact. The efforts kept coming all through the end of the election and I have to really -- I'm almost concerned that these folks can't figure out exactly what's going on when you got the chair of the Democratic National Committee contradicting what the President of the United States said. You have got Josh Earnest the Press Secretary making outrageous claims and they're shooting in so many random directions. I really do feel bad for them and I am not sure what level, what step they're in on, on their 12 steps program for getting over the lost in this election, but I do wish them well and I hope they get better and have a good Christmas.

MACCALLUM: I hope you have a good Christmas, too. Sean, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.

SPICER: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Coming up, an ugly fight explode on college campuses as a student group goes after some of the professors who are rallying against Mr. Trump and then gets accused of McCarthyism.

Plus, Cokie Roberts next on what happens when the Trumps become America's first family.


MACCALLUM: Developing tonight, new controversy regarding the press after President-Elect Donald Trump hosts a select group of journalists at the Florida resort for an off the record chat. One of the reporters in attendance then posted this picture to twitter saying, quote, Christmas at Mar-a-Lago, @realDonaldTrump, relaxed and chatty. Hosts press for drinks, off record but pics, ok. Now the meeting is a target of criticism with a reporter for Huffington post saying, quote, over past week, Trump's mocked the press on thank you tour and canceled first news conference since July.  Here's how the reporters have responded. So, I'm joined by Cokie Roberts, Political Commentator for ABC News and NPR and author of a new book "Ladies of Liberty, the women who shaped our nation," Cokie good to have you here.


MACCALLUM: Thank you so much for coming in, so your thoughts on that, the Christmas photo at Mar a Lago? The fact that he hasn't really taken any real questions has been quite a while.

ROBERTS: It's time for to have a press conference and that would be useful for everybody, for him included. But it's always a hard question about what you do about these off the record circumstances, particularly with someone you don't really know well.

Donald Trump has not developed a relationship with the press. They haven't covered him for years on Capitol Hill or the governor's mansion or something like that and so to have an opportunity to sit down and talk to him is probably useful, but it is a problem when you can't seem to report it. They're always tough calls.

MACCALLUM: I think both are true. The press conference needs to happen, but I understand what you're saying, in terms of building a rapport, that background, getting to know each other a little bit, can open the doors for better future dialogue down the road. So, Cokie Roberts said it's ok. The picture is ok, that was posted on twitter, but the news conference must come and get ready for that.

Beautiful book, you have written many books, obviously and this one Ladies of Liberty just came out it is based on your prior book, but this one is geared towards young readers. And you talk about the fact that Louisa Adams was the first, first lady to be born outside of this country. She was an American. Her father was stationed in Britain. But Melania is a fascinating part of this story. What are your thoughts on her?

ROBERTS: Well I think she is going to do fine. She certainly was probably gob smacked, right? Wait, we won?


MACCALLUM: She claims, she always believed. She said if he runs he will win to her credit and I think people were startled and she may have been one of them.

ROBERTS: Mrs. Obama has been very clear that the door is open. That she will be welcoming to her as Mrs. Bush was to Mrs. Obama and I had, Martha, the huge privilege of twice having the opportunity to interview Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Bush together. And they really are friends. And they -- they have forged a relationship that I think will continue forever, because there are lots of issues they're interested in, particularly bettering the lives of women and girls around the world.

And I think they will stay very involved in that. But Mrs. Obama was very clear about how much help Mrs. Bush gave her and said the door is open for me to help, because nobody knows what it's like until you're there, there is no particularly if you have not been first lady of the state and that was the case for Mrs. Obama and certainly the case for Mrs. Trump so I think it's a wonderful, wonderful thing the way these women really do help each other.

MACCALLUM: I mean it is a special role for the nation.

ROBERTS: It is a special role.

MACCALLUM: And it means a lot the way the family is presented and I think it gives stability to the president. In terms of Ivanka, it looks like she is going to play an unusual role and perhaps step in to the social aspects of some of this as well and some policy issues, as well. Kind of like a first lady in her role, as well.

ROBERTS: She is warns us off, you know from time to time about that, but we'll see what role. She is clearly a very important adviser to her father and someone who he relies on and so he is going to want her nearby in some role and we did have actually in this book Elizabeth Monroe, the wife of president James Monroe, their daughter played the first lady role in Washington, because Mrs. Monroe was not well and her name was Eliza Hay and nobody could stand her, so Ivanka might read up on Eliza before she takes her role, because she was mean to the women of Washington and they didn't take it well.

MACCALLUM: They don't like that very much.


MACCALLUM: All right Cokie, great to have you here.

ROBERTS: Wonderful to be with you. Thanks so much.

MACCALLUM: Thank you so much.

So coming up here tonight, a college group decides to call out some anti- Trump professors and the students end up accused of McCarthyism. We'll show you what's going on there. One of those professors and a member of the student group both here coming up next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White supremacist and the vice president he has is one of the most anti-gay humans in this country. And so, we are in for a difficult time, but again, I do believe that we can get past that. Our nation is divided. We have been assaulted. It's an act of terrorism.


MACCALLUM: Wow. You may remember that California college professor who comments about the President and Vice President-Elect went viral for all the wrong reasons. Well it turn out that she is far from alone. One group has created a website to keep a list of educators that they accused of quote, advancing leftist agenda in the classroom. Now the professors are pushing back. They are comparing this to McCarthyism, Dr. Arthur Caplan finds himself on that list and he joins us in just a moment, as well as Crystal Clanton who works for the group that put the list together. But first we go to Trace Gallagher, live in our West Coast Newsroom with more.

GALLAGHER: Martha, the professors watch list was posted by turning point USA, a conservative watchdog group that says the goal is to educate students about free market values. The group says it's no secret that college professors are totally out of line and so to remedy that it's time to name names, to publicly list nearly 200 professors who turning point USA accuses of advancing, quote, leftist propaganda in the classroom by targeting students for viewpoints and for standing up for their conservative beliefs.

For example, one professor made the list for having a student write Jesus' name on a piece and paper then stomp on it. Another held what he called an echo sexual sextravaganza, where participants married the ocean. Julio Pino, an associate professor of history at Kent State University in Ohio made the list, because turning point USA says he was investigated by the FBI for connections to ISIS. Professor Pino denies the allegation and responded by saying, quote, what we are seeing with this site is a kind of normalizing of prosecuting professors, shaming professors, defaming professors.

Others compare the list to McCarthyism saying its true goal is to intimidate professors from speaking plainly in their classroom. Turning point says the site is a great example of free speech, while the professors can say what they want and the website can report what it wants. Martha?

MACCALLUM: So in a moment, we will speak with one of the students in that group. But we want to start tonight with one of the professors who have been singled out by the list. Dr. Arthur Caplan is with the Global Institute for Public Health at NYU. Dr. Caplan welcome. Good to have you here tonight.


MACCALLUM: So how do you think you ended up on that list?

CAPLAN: Well, I was tough on Trump during the campaign. Wrote a long time back maybe a year and a half ago that he was making me nervous about his talk about immigrants bringing diseases, about his making fun of people with disability, about mocking women. He was getting out of control and I said look, this is getting close to kind of Hitlerite flag waving around.  There were a lot of alt-right groups and white supremacist groups, David Duke and so on coming out saying, yeah, go for it. So I was tough on him, and I think appropriately so, proud of it, I think he is toned it down a little bit.

MACCALLUM: Let me just read one of your tweets, all Trump is missing are brown shirts. He has all of the rest. Dismiss him as a buffoon or a joke at the nation's peril. You also said the greatest danger is a man willing to use racism to gain political support to get elected, that shapes his policy on poverty and immigration and so forth, but you said yourself, that is very dangerous to make Hitler comparisons, to compare anyone to someone who exterminated 6 million Jews and 11 million people in camps. So why would you do that?

CAPLAN: Because when you start using racism, which he was, and when you start basically pointing the finger at immigrants as dangers to the public health bringing in disease, you're starting to move down that road. It's not that the metaphor is ever inappropriate. But look, the real point here is debate it.

MACCALLUM: Well that is exactly my point. But here's the problem on college campuses right now. If you stick up for Donald Trump on a college campus, you have ostracized. There are campuses that are very prestigious in this country where if you show support for Donald Trump, your professors will basically shout you out of the room and shout you down as become unworthy to be in that room

CAPLAN: I think it's completely wrong. In my class, you mimic back what I have to say, you're going to flunk. I want to hear arguments and I want to hear debate, I want to hear people engage ideas. I'm not worried about Donald Trump being able to defend himself or his allies or partisan and I'm certainly not worried about making an argument. That is what I am saying to the kids.


MACCALLUM: Do you feel like at NYU on campus that there is a voice for people who are supportive of Donald Trump and that overall the educators that you work with are open to having an honest open debate in the classroom and that students who support Donald Trump will not be ostracized, is that true at NYU?

CAPLAN: Certainly welcome in my classroom. I can't speak for the others.  But in any classroom I want to hear all points of view. And look, a point of teaching is to teach students how to engage in a debate.


CAPLAN: Don't make up a list. Fight, argue, and make an argument. That is the whole point of an education.

MACCALLUM: How is it going to affect them when they hear their teacher say things like you have said in your tweets, I mean they're not going to feel lake that is an open environment where they can come in and speak their mind?

CAPLAN: Why not. Sure it is. And in fact you can engage it just like you are, isn't that a little extreme. Or what do you see a parallel to the rise of Nazism and Hitler. You know, I've written a lot of books.

MACCALLUM: Yes, I see that.

CAPLAN: I know the signs and I think I can get into it. But I don't care if someone wants to engage it or disagree with it.


MACCALLUM: I mean you have someone who won the election quite handedly actually and your people support him, so when you say these sorts of things about him, you're also in essence saying them about the people who support him as well. And they don't feel that, that is a fair reflection on them, do you?

CAPLAN: Not all, but sometimes.

MACCALLUM: The deplorables.

CAPLAN: The alt-right or the white power people, yeah, I see where they're coming from and I worry about it. At the same time let me come back again.  The proper response is not to make up 1950s watch lists. It's to get into an argument, have a debate. What are we dealing with, students that are snowflakes.

MACCALLUM: That is exactly the problem, professor. I've heard this first hand from students at campuses in very prestigious schools. If you so much as open your mouth that you supported Donald Trump, you are pretty much shouted down at the counsel table. I'm going to take you to your word that you're open to that kind of debate on your campus.

CAPLAN: If that happens, trust me. I'll be there for that debate.

MACCALLUM: That is why these people are being listed, because people want them to be aware of the fact that this exists. Dr. Caplan, thank you.  I've got to give the other side a chance here, but thank you for being here tonight.

CAPLAN: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Also with us tonight, the National Field Director of the conservative group that publishes the professor watch list. Crystal Clanton, Turning Point USA, Crystal, welcome. Good to have you here tonight


MACCALLUM: You heard the professor, said he feels it is a sort of McCarthyism ploy to put these people all on a watch list tonight at your website and point the finger at him. Why do you think he is wrong?

CLANTON: Well the people who say these are McCarthy-era tactics, what I say back to that is the consumer of education. The students and parents who are paying for these deserve to see what they're getting. We're not calling for any action, we are not saying in our website, this professors should be fired or have any reprimanded for what they are doing, we are just saying people deserves to know what is happening. This journalism, it's an act of free speech for us to publish this.

MACCALLUM: Do you think freedom of speech is alive and well on college campuses today?

CLANTON: Absolutely not because of what you just talked about. If students speak out against their professors, who are in position and power, they can be in trouble for that and they can get lower scores on their exams and things like that and they are afraid to do that.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I heard kids say, if I ever wrote that on a paper I would get a C or lower.

CLANTON: We hear it all of the time

MACCALLUM: It is unbelievable, I mean, you know education is by virtue of the word and the definition of it to hear both sides of the equation. I mean how do you think -- obviously you think by doing what you're doing is one of the steps to push back and to get us back to a place where we have lively debate on your college campuses, right?

CLANTON: Exactly. And our organization, turning point USA, by putting this together, we want to show students that we don't think the things that happen here are right. We're not saying what students should do about that, we are just saying that they deserve to know, but we agree it is not ok.

MACCALLUM: Crystal Clanton interesting to talk to you and thank you very much, good to have you here.

CLANTON: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Quick break and we'll be right back.


MACCALLUM: Christmas less than a week away. Time running out to get everyone the perfect gift, but Megyn's new book "Settle for More" is perfect for anybody on your list, let take it from Joyce Fisher who gave it a five star on Amazon saying quote, I bought another copy as a gift.  Recommend it highly. William Jackson adds the perfect holiday gift for every young girl or woman on your list. Buy your copy now so you have it in time for Christmas folks. Get out there and do it, you are running out of time.

Thanks for watching everybody. Good to have you tonight. I am Martha MacCallum, it is "The Kelly File."

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