Duffy offers advice for 2018 midterms, talks fate of AHCA

Congressman gives his take on 'The Story'


This is a rush transcript from "The Story with Martha MacCallum," May 5, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Breaking tonight, the dictator of North Korea apparently believes that there is a plot out there to kill him, and that the United States and South Korea are planning to drop a slow acting biochemical bomb on the dictator. He's also lashing out now at his neighbor China for the first time, so it's isolation in the Hermit nation setting in. They have three Americans being held in prison there, more on that coming up. But first tonight, Democrats out in force to convince voters in the states that they want back, that this new health care bill will kill them.


REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: Tens of thousands of Americans will die if this bill passes. That's a fact.

GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: People are going to lose their lives. People are going to lose their health coverage. People will die if this becomes law of the land.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can only hope that my colleagues come to their senses before inevitably handing so many Americans to a death sentence. Make no mistake. People will die as the results of this bill.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: If the bill passed today in the house became law -- thousands of Americans will die.


MACCALLUM: There you have it. Good evening, everyone. I'm Martha MacCallum. It is May 5th, and here is "The Story." We start with this ad, remember this one? When a Paul Ryan look-alike pushed that poor old grandma right off the cliff? Some would say, that it kind of backfired on Democrats because in time Obamacare was one factor that may have led to Dems losing 75 seats in the House and Senate, and perhaps the Presidency.

Because last October, as you well remember, rising health care premiums may have had as much impact, or perhaps more, that the news that came from Jim Comey. So, are they playing their cards right here? In moments, Wisconsin Congressman, Sean Duffy, is here with the challenges that face the Republicans ahead. But first, Chief National Correspondent, Ed Henry, on the sometimes surprising reactions as this health care bill starts to head to the senate. Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS: Good evening, Martha. Some reaction from the left has been hysterical with some lawmakers charging, as you say, that TrumpCare will literally kill thousands of Americans by forcing them off their plans with skyrocketing premiums, even though that's happening right now. One liberal activist creating a website -- complete with a giant photo of a graveyard letting you pick which Republican Congressman to send your ashes to.

Missing from the attacks, the bill that President Trump was celebrating in the rose garden will change dramatically in the senate. Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is keenly focused on moderating all of this so it does not lead to Republicans losing control of congress as some have predicted. In fact, Obamacare was an electoral disaster for Democrats in two midterms and in the 2016 Presidential, and top Trump official today noted -- Americans are basically already risking death or at least other calamities from premiums soaring ridiculously high in states like Arizona.


TOM PRICE, UNITED STATES HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: There are individuals right now who are not able to gain the kind of coverage and care that they need for themselves and for their families. So, people are being harmed right now by the current system. That's what the President won't tolerate. That' what we won't tolerate.


HENRY: But the President may have handed Democrats off a blunt weapon in the next stage of these negotiations -- by blurting out during a meeting with the Australian Prime Minister that his country has a better health care system than America. Music to the ears of Socialist Senator, Bernie Sanders, who merely tweeted out, "Thank you, Mr. Trump, for admitting that universal health care is a better way to go. I'll be sure to quote you on the floor of the Senate." Newt Gingrich today though, had a dire prediction of his own, telling Fox, that if Democrats get their way on single payer -- America is headed for bankruptcy. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Ed, thank you. So, our next guest voted "yes" on the health care bill. He hails from a solidly red district, but what about Republicans who are on the shakier ground for the 2018 midterms, who are being attacked by Democrats for this bill? Congress Sean Duffy joins us now. Congressman, welcome. Good to have you with us tonight. Thank you, good to have you here. I want to start by playing that sound bite from last night. We watched as the President sat down with the Prime Minister of Australia at the USS Intrepid here in New York. And here's that exchange that Ed referred to.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a failing health care, I should say this to great gentlemen and friend from Australia because you have better health care than we do. But we're going to have great health care very soon.


MACCALLUM: Some say that was a big whoops, Congressman.

REP. SEAN DUFFY (R), WISCONSIN: That is a big oops because freedom and choice and competition are the factors that you need to reduce costs. But going back to your point, Martha, about whether we'll go to only have few seats in the house, you see that Democrats right now, they've activated around Donald Trump? They hate him.

If we're going to win in the next election cycle, we need have to have Republicans that are activated, which means that Republicans in the House and the Senate are meeting the promises they've made to the American people. So, if we get health care done, which leads us to get taxes done, which leads us hopefully grow the economy and put more people back to work with better jobs, that's how we actually win. But if we deflate our base and don't meet our promises, Democrats, for sure, will walk away with victory in 18 months.

[19:05:12] MACCALLUM: All right. I want to get back to the point though, that was made in the sound bite because it goes to a deeper issue that may cause this bill to run into some problems in the senate. Because -- as you heard Charles Krauthammer say yesterday, this sort of opens the door to a nation that has the Federal government largely involved in the health care of the people of this country, in a way that we will never go back from. I heard Senator Rand Paul talk about this. He said, you know, he's not happy with this bill that came from the House because it really does put us in a place that could end up with a single-payer system which is exactly what the President praise last night.

DUFFY: First off, I don't think that's going to be the case. Our bill that goes to the senate, I think that's the base tax to start with, but they're going to put their fingerprints on it, they're going to adjust it and modify it. But what we've done, which is a little different from what Dr. Krauthammer was saying is, you know, Democrats would've taken us towards a single-payer system.

Our bill, actually, brings us closer to no choice in competition, giving states the right to help craft plans for people, giving individuals the right, hopefully, to pick plans that meet the risk that they have in their life. So, Martha, if -- I mean, what Obamacare did was, you have to buy a Rolls-Royce. Well, not many might be able to afford a Rolls-Royce car, but if you let me buy a Ford Fusion, that might be able to accomplish my needs to get to work and keep me going. So, what we're doing is bring closer to choice and competition, and further away from a single-payer.

MACCALLUM: All right. Congressman, thank you very much. Good to talk with you today. Joining us now with more, Alex Canning, is a Republican Strategist; and Julie Roginsky is a Democrat Analyst and Fox News Contributor. Welcome to both of you. I want to play a moment that, I don't know if it stays more about the maturity level on Capitol Hill or about the jubilance that was really experienced on both sides last night. Let's watch this.


CROWD: Na , na, na, na. Hey, hey, hey goodbye


MACCALLUM: I would have though that's a basketball game. But apparently, they were "Na, na, na. Goodbye!" to each other there from the Democrats to the Republicans on Capitol Hill yesterday. Julia, are they overzealous in their enthusiasm on the Democratic side?

JULIE ROGINSKY, DEMOCRATIC ANALYST AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: No. I think they see exactly what Republicans are back in 2010 which is a wave of opposition showing up in town halls all across the country, to say that this legislation which we don't -- let's remember, we don't know much about this legislation. It's not been scored by the CBO, there were no hearings held on it. It was pushed through very quickly. And the reason for that is because, obviously, the Republicans wanted to do something, but we don't know exactly what it is.

What we do know, is that if you're basing it on the previous legislation which this one mirrors, there'll be over 20 million people thrown off their health care role. States will be able to price people out of markets with preexisting conditions to the point where they won't be able to afford their health care. And so -- in addition to that, provide huge, huge tax rates for the wealthiest among us. So, when you package it in that way, I think Democrats feel very empowered by the fact that they will have something to take to the American people a year from this November--

MACCALLUM: The debate already exists, because so many people have, you know, have deductibles that are at such a high level that they actually don't have any health care coverage right now. So it can be argued clearly on both sides. But it is interesting, Alex, when you look at some of their force today, political for example, that has changed two-dozen of their house races to look unquestionable now for Republicans who are in Democratic counties, Democratic districts who won last time. You think, what do you think?

ALEX CANNER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I mean, I just totally disagree with that assessment. I don't think Republicans are going to be punished for doing exactly what they said they were going to do when they ran for election last fall. Look, America's health care system needs improvement. I think the Democrats are being incredibly cynical to just vote against this for pure politics.

I mean, the reason they were singing on the house floor yesterday is they think this is going to be good for them politically because they think the policy is going to fail. I mean, it doesn't get any more cynical than that when you're talking about people's lives. The Democrats really want it to be constructive, if they want to provide an alternative to the American voters, they would've been offering a constructive criticism, but they are not. They're not up -- bringing any ideas, they're just opposing, opposing, opposing.

MACCALLUM: It's a very good point. So, Julia, is that possible in the senate, because senators have said that they're going to start from scratch. If Democrats are concerned about the things that are failures within the current law, why don't they get together and produce something that they think is good for the American people in a bipartisan way?

ROGINSKY: Well, they did produce something they thought was good for the American people, which is the Affordable Care Act. And now the Republicans are in charge--

MACCALLUM: But what about -- I mean, you can't--

ROGINSKY: You can't acknowledge that it has problems. Well, of course. Listen, we could've always had tweaks to this, but Republicans never wanted to do that over the last eight years. We're going to have a CBO score within the next week, and it's going to tell us exactly what the damage will be.

[19:10:03] MACCALLUM: But we've seen the CBO scores, and they are never right, Julie.

ROGINSKY: Well, no. Martha, come on. We haven't seen a CBO score that has anything to do with this piece legislation. We have no idea what this legislation does.

MACCALLUM: Well, we saw the first, the first round, and it said 24 million people are going to lose their health care, but there are holes to poke in that, in that read.

ROGINSKY: Listen, if you're not going start to look at this nonpartisan CBO score that something that we're going to poke holes in, then nobody's going to agree on anything. That's going to be everybody going to the matches and they're on their own side--

MACCALLUM: Well, reality has a way of rearing its head.

ROGINSKY: Reality says this, reality says that this piece of legislation is going to allow people who have preexisting conditions to be priced out of the market. That is a fact. Tom MacArthur, New Jersey three, who was supposedly a mother of the two state-roots, cut a deal with the most radical right-wing Republicans and allowed that to happen.

MACCALLUM: Alex, last word and we got to go.

CANNER: Well, the senate's going to improve what the House failed, what would the House passed. Democrats have an opportunity to be part of that or they can be against it, but voters will not punish Republicans for doing what they promised to do, which was fixed America's broken health care.

ROGINSKY: I'll bet you $1 that's not true.

MACCALLUM: That's why congress has low remarks across the board on approval. Boy, wouldn't it be a nice situation if we could get people together to come up with something that's good for the American people? Thanks, you guys. Good to see you both.

CANNER: Thanks, Martha.


MACCALLUM: Coming up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's physical evidence of the rape and sex assault.


MACCALLUM: Remember that, the high school rape case story that found two illegal immigrants fighting to stay free, takes a big turn. So, what is their status in this country now? I want an update on that story that we talked a lot about here. Plus, videos like this puts cops in this country on the hot seat, of course.

But now in Seattle, police are fighting to have the right to view the video that comes from their own body camera before they write up reports. We're going to debate that, coming up. So, the President's extreme vetting orders have been shut down by two courts, but maybe he doesn't need them. Is tough talk working better than an Executive Order? Mollie Hemingway and Matt Bennett, here to debate next.



[19:15:54] TRUMP: I was elected to change our broken and dangerous system. And thinking in government that has weakened and endangered our country and left our people defenseless!


MACCALLUM: Remember that, back in March? The President's extreme vetting orders were shut down twice by judges. But an interesting thing is happening at our borders anyway. Trace Gallagher explains, from our West Coast newsroom. Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: Martha, President Trump's Executive Order -- banning refugees lasted exactly seven days before it was blocked by a Federal Court, and yet it continues to have a major impact on the number of refugees being allowed into the U.S, and here's why. In response to the United Nations saying a few years ago, that there were more refugees worldwide that in any time since World War II. President Obama began increasing the number of refugees the U.S. accepts.

In 2017, the number was supposed to be 110,000, but President Trump's Executive Order reduce that number to 50,000. And even though his travel ban was blocked in early February, his order to cap refugee admissions at 50,000 stayed in effect until mid-March. And by then, the State Department had already "adjusted the pace of refugee arrivals." And the numbers dropped dramatically. In March, the U.S. accepted 2,070 refugees, that's the lowest monthly total since 2013. In April, 3,316 refugees were allowed in, which is the second lowest total since 2013. The White House maintains, there has to be a balance between humanitarian needs and security. Here's Sean Spicer back in April.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the number one goal of this President is to make sure we protect our people, our country, and to keep those people from having to flee.


GALLAGHER: We are also seeing the national refugee numbers mirrored on a local scale, ministries around the country are reporting a steep drop in the number of refugees that they are helping relocate. For example, the Episcopal ministries in Wichita, Kansas, was geared up to settle 110 refugees this year. So far, they have had but 16. An expert says because of the perception that it's tough to gain entry into the U.S., even when the State Department begins to pick up the pace of refugee arrivals, it'll take a while for the numbers to rise. Martha.

MACCALLUM: Very interesting. Trace, thank you. So, here now with more. Mollie Hemingway, Senior Editor at the Federalist and a Fox News Contributor; Matt Bennett, co-Founder of Third Way and former Deputy Assistant to President Clinton. You know, it's interesting -- I'm kind of looking a lot of different arenas, whether it's the economy, or foreign policy, or this issue, Mollie. And you do see the President's rhetoric having an impact without necessarily the need for legislation or judicial action in the extreme vetting case. What do you think?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST SENIOR EDITOR: Well, it is interesting. Particular, what this means, is that the State Department has sort of voluntarily following what the President wishes, which is how it should be done. But the State Department sort of initially sent out, I don't know if you remember that -- a resistance memo about how they were going to resist the President.

In fact, they have gotten the message about his policy and it has gotten through. I also think it's true that particularly with immigration and refugee issues, messaging externally has a tremendous effect. You saw this not just with refugees, but now with southern border immigration where people just voluntarily deciding if they are going to enforce their immigration laws. Now is not a good time to try get and into the country illegally, or if they are doing better vetting, maybe this is not the right country for me to try to enter.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Matt, what do you think?

MATT BENNETT, THIRD WAY CO-FOUNDER: Well, I think it may be true that Trump's rhetoric is having an impact on the refugee flow, but I think it's a bad thing. For two reasons. One is, this is not how great countries are supposed to act. As Trace noted in his report, this is a moment where there are massive numbers of refugees, these are desperate people displaced by war and terrorism and gang violence. And they need help, and great countries help when need.

One of the darkest hours in this country is when we were turning back ships of Jewish refugees coming from Nazi Germany. We should not be repeating that terrible moment in our history. The other thing is, refugees are good for America, just like all immigrants are. 40 percent of the fortune 500 companies that are American were founded by immigrants of the children of immigrants.

[19:20:28] MACCALLUM: We're talking about, you know, not letting in legal immigrants. And many people who have done great work in this country did come here legally. Look at the history of, you know, coming through Ellis Island, and you know, getting your papers, going through the process and making it work. That's one thing. The refugee issue -- I think it's interesting to note what Sean Spicer said, Mollie, and that is that, you know, that perhaps the better course given the numbers and the fact that most of these people would much prefer to stay in their own country, is to help to solve the situation at home. And that situation eroded greatly over the past eight years.

HEMMINGWAY: Right. It's also worth noting that even with these decrease numbers, there have been more Syrian refugees who have been brought into the country this year than even all of 2015. So, it's not that it's a complete throttle on refugee resettlement, but just a re-calibration of same. It's also true that people should care very much about their fellow man, they should care about not just their fellow Americans in terms of making sure the security of this country is good, but also about people who are in hardship.

That does not necessarily mean resettlement, that could mean working very hard to make the region that they are coming from stable so that they don't have to leave and uproot their entire country or get separated from their families. There are many ways to help your fellow man, this is just one of them. What we're having is a policy disagreement about the best way to secure the country's interest and help refugees.

MACCALLUM: I'll give you the final thought on that, Matt, before we go.

BENNETT: Well, to your point earlier, Martha, these are legal immigrants, these are people who have been vetted in many cases for two years. They've filled out all the necessary paperwork, these are not people sneaking over the border refugees--

MACCALLUM: But we aren't talking about the border and about the refugees. But in the refugee case, yes, I agree with you.

BENNETT: Right. So, and their incidents of crimes in the United States is massively lower than people born here. These are good people in need of help, and that can help us and our economy, we should be bringing more of them, not less.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, Matt. Thank you, Mollie. Good to see you both.

HEMINGWAY: Thank you.

BENNETT: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, it was the story that became national news. And tonight, there is breaking news on the rape case surrounding a Maryland high school, brand-new information on all of that is straight ahead. And a bombshell report just out from the FBI says, our nation's police are standing down because political leaders won't stand up. Heather MacDonald and Richard Fowler, debate the role that politics play in keeping America safe next.


[19:26:44] GALLAGHER: Live from America's news headquarters, I'm Trace Gallagher. The death toll from severe flooding in the Midwest is rising. A man died after his vehicle was swept off the road near a flooded creek in Missouri. That marks the tenth death blamed on the rising waters. Heavy downpour has dipped again last weekend, have caused major flooding in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, and other states.

President Trump signing a $1.1 trillion spending bill preventing a government shutdown. The Senate and House both approved the measure earlier this week. The spending bill will now keep the government funded through September. More Americans are back working. The U.S. unemployment rate now hitting its lowest level in a decade. The Labor Department says employers added 201,100 jobs in April, sending the unemployment rate down to 4.4 percent. At the breaking news desk in Los Angeles, I'm Trace Gallagher. Now back to ""The Story.""

MACCALLUM: So, an update to a story that we brought you about a purported rape at a high school in Rockville, Maryland. The allegation that at the time was backed up by police, and it was also reported by the young woman to her school, was that a 14-year-old girl was forced into a school bathroom and raped by two older male students at her high school -- both of whom were reportedly illegal immigrants.

It got a lot of attention, and prosecutors have announced that the rape charges have been dropped against both of these teens stating that the facts in the case did not support the original charges. An important update for you tonight, there are reports though that there are potential charges for possession of child pornography in this case, so we will bring you more as we get it.

It has been an almost year-long investigation and just yesterday, the DOJ announced that there will be no federal charges brought against law enforcement in the death, in 2016, of Alton Sterling. A black man shot by two white police officers in Baton Rouge last July. That event was one of many that triggered nationwide actions by Black Lives Matter protesters and a demand from President Obama's DOJ for an investigation.

Body cameras were a crucial factor in that case, and tonight, there are new questions as to exactly how police officers across the nation would use them in their work, day to day going forward. For more on that, we go to Dan Springer in Seattle. Dan.

DAN SPRINGER, FOX NEWS: Yes. Hi, Martha. Police officers still have plenty of concerns about these body cameras and how the video they shoot is treated. And now, a federal judge in Seattle has given cops a victory of sorts ruling that they should get to see the video they shot before having to write the reports.

It's a growing issue in the U.S., it's about half of big cities now require body cameras for their police officers, and watchdog groups oppose letting cops get a sneak peak. Activists say that defeats the whole purpose of having body cams, arguing that officers will be able to watch the video and get their story straight. Accusers and other witnesses are given the same luxury. Community groups say this makes it hard to hold cops accountable.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look for some reason to make the interaction within the policy or illegal interaction in the first place.


SPRINGER: Now, the Seattle Police Department is under a federal consent decree. U.S. District Court Judge, James Robart had to referee this body cam video dispute.

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