Krauthammer: Critical element missing from Trump NATO speech

Syndicated columnist weighs in on 'The Story with Martha MacCallum'


This is a rush transcript from "The Story," May 25, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Tonight, the White House is apparently readying a team of "street fighters" to go on offense as soon as the president returns on Saturday. Good evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum and here is "The Story" tonight. They know that they are facing an onslaught with this Russia investigation and this "deep state" Intel leaks and backlash. And that the response so far that they have had has been more or less flat-footed to all of this. This team, according to the reports, will work separately from the rest of the White House.

They're going to try to clear the decks for those who are focused on work and on legislation pushes. It is likely to look like a war room similar to the one constructed by the Clinton team during Lewandowski the scandal. This is they recognized that this is a battle that is going to go on for the duration of the Trump presidency. So, who is involved and what is going to look like in action? Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich joins me in a moment with his take on what is really going on at the White House and what he thinks should go on at the White House. But first, we begin with Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry live on the White House lawn and how they intend to tackle this. Hi, Ed!

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martha, the bottom line is I'm hearing from some of the president's top advisors tonight that he is fed up with all of these attacks and as soon as he gets back from this foreign trip, he's planning to take the fight to his critics much more aggressively. The president beefing up the White House staff with what you call that "war room," basically, aimed at getting much tougher onto big issues. Pushing back against leakers inside the so-called "deep state of government" and dealing with the various investigations of the Russia allegations.

Phase one of all this was the president picking as his outside counsel, this tough New York attorney Marc Kasowitz. One advisor telling me that Kasowitz is "ready to rumble." Phase two of this, the spotlight is now on Dave Bossie and Corey Lewandowski. They are two trusted hands from the Trump campaign who could be - I stress, could be added to the White House staff. Advisors say that both men would prefer to stay on the outside, help the president there, but this is such a critical moment in his presidency that they would be hard-pressed to say no if they ask them directly. In fact, look at how Lewandowski answered the question when our own Tucker Carlson pressed him directly on whether he might join the White House staff for crisis communications.


COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, let me be very clear, and I think everyone knows this. My loyalty is to the president, and to make sure that his agenda which he ran on and if that means I can help the president by doing that, of course, it would be a privilege. But let me be clear, I got a great life. I love doing what I'm doing.


HENRY: Now, this leaves open the question of what happened to Sean Spicer and other top White House aides. I'm told by the president's advisors there's nothing imminent on Spicer or other top aides right now, and that this is more about addition than subtraction in terms of beefing up the White House staff. All of these moves, by the way, are aimed at walling off the president from the investigations, so you can focus on the economy and health care. But again, he is going to have to stick to the playbook, not get focused on going off message as we've seen before. Martha.

MACCALLUM: All right. Ed, thank you so much. So, here now with more tonight: Newt Gingrich joins us on the set, the author of the new book "Understanding Trump." And that goes to a lot of exactly what we're talking about here tonight. So, what do you expect when he gets back on Saturday? What's his offense going to look like?

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SPEAKER: Well, I don't know yet, and I think the most important person in all this is President Donald Trump. He's coming off of a trip which is historic, a trip where he was disciplined, where he didn't tweet randomly, where there were Spicer wasn't holding various press gaggles. They stuck to the message they wanted to send. They established a discipline, planned approach.

If the president comes home and remains disciplined, that he's willing to be the leader of a team rather than just a -- somebody who goes off on his own or whenever he feels like it. He could become very formidable. And my advice to him would be, to get a guy the caliber of a Dave Bossie and a Corey Lewandowski. Let them do the fighting. You go out and talk about jobs, you talk about health care, you talk about infrastructure, you bring the country together, you're the positive creator of these things and stick within the boundaries of working with the team. And don't get off on all of the stuff.

MACCALLUM: Just like Donald Trump. Just like Donald Trump.

GINGRICH: Well, he's got a big - I mean, this decision to make.

MACCALLUM: But let me take you through a scenario because here's what's going to happen. After he gets back, we're going to see James Comey, testified. It's not going to happen as quickly as we thought, right? So, he will testify. We know that one of the big problems was when he started to speak out about his side of the story; the president kept poking the bear, calling him a nutjob, you know, calling him names behind his back. So this time, he's going to have to bring that in. He's going to have to say, I'm not going to address this.

GINGRICH: No, I have two pieces - I have two pieces of radical advice. One, turn off the television, because--

MACCALLUM: He has them everywhere as you know.

GINGRICH: Well, Trump reacts to it. It's fine to look at it for information. It's really self-destructive to allow yourself to dance to their tune. Two, when you have one channel that's 93-7 negative according to the Harvard study, cancel the daily press briefings. These people are not reporters; their attackers. Why would you give them an hour every day to try to figure out clever ways to attack Spicer? It doesn't get you anywhere.

MACCALLUM: That's a new point. How (INAUDIBLE) going to look because I think you all know you can't-

GINGRICH: Who cares?

MACCALLUM: You can cancel the daily press briefings, but I don't know if that's a good approach, but do you see fewer news conferences? Do see him come out a little bit more often and address the issues?

GINGRICH: Why do it at a news conference? If he wants to give a speech, give a speech. If you want to go on Facebook, go on Facebook. If he wants to sit in the oval office and talk to the American nation; Presidents can make news.

MACCALLUM: But he's - he handles it well when he gets out there and answers questions with the press.

GINGRICH: He does handle well. But he doesn't necessarily handle it well on his topics. I mean, it doesn't help him to be tactically clever on the topic that gets him on - and his topics are simple: we need to pass health care, we need to create jobs, we need to build infrastructure, we need to cut back on red tape. He needs to remember what messages he's trying to send and measure his weekly performance against getting across his messages. The fact that he's able to beat these folks, which he can. I mean, no question in my mind, Donald Trump versus ten or 15 reporters is not a fair fight; he'll just beat them. But he doesn't necessarily beat them in a way that helps them.

MACCALLUM: Let me ask you one more question because you know the hill better than anyone. I spoke to Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House the other day, and I pressed him a little bit on whether or not the GOP was going to stand by the president through all of this. And he was very noncommittal. Here's what he said.


PAUL RYAN, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SPEAKER: I have no idea what these investigations are going to produce because they just got started. So, I'm not going to prejudge where this independent investigation is going to go as it follows its facts. There's one in the house, there's one in the Senate, and then there's FBI one.


MACCALLUM: What do you think?

GINGRICH: Well, I think that - first of all, it's reasonable to suggest that is not going to involve Trump personally. I mean, I think it's - you know, Reagan got to a rare encounter and nobody thought it involved him personally because this is not like some of the other problems. Second, the Republicans need to understand something. They're going to lose the House if they get involved in a civil war over President Trump. And I think the idea of Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker in 2019, she's sober every Republican in the country. They need to fight among themselves less, they need to fight with the Democrats more, and they need to understand they had better be one team while there are going to be a minority.

MACCALLUM: One last question for you. The latest story because there seems to be something that drops pretty much every night around this time, is that Jared Kushner is the only person who's a current part of the administration that is a person that they're interested in with regard to this investigation because of meetings that he had in December with Russian bankers and Russian officials, your thoughts?

GINGRICH: Well, my first thought is: did they have a single name source to the story? Is there a single person - this is the Washington Post that's most disgusting. Did they have anyone who's going to go on record and say yes?

MACCALLUM: Well, I think - you know, based on the meetings that were had, they would like to discuss with them. What was discussed?

GINGRICH: Well, look, first of all, I think he was assigned the job of meeting with people by the president-elect. So, guess what, he met with people. My question though is when you see these kinds of stories, as you point out, they happen to crop up every day either in the Washington Post or the New York Times, they play, you know, Ping-Pong. There's an unknown source that have told us today, I find that frankly sickening.

These people -- you know, you have a President with a great, amazing, historic tour. He was very successful with the NATO, he was very successful with the Pope yesterday, and he was unbelievably historic in Riyadh with 58 leaders. But three unnamed sources this afternoon, having a drink with a Washington Post reporter, secretly leaked; how do you know any of it is true? And furthermore, if it's from Mueller's investigation, he should be enraged and he got to lock somebody up. I mean the people who - the people who leaked the British story were not in the White House. They were in the Intelligence Community and they ought to go to jail.

MACCALLUM: We're going to get to that in just a little while. Newt, thank you! Good to have you with us tonight. Thanks for coming by.

GINGRICH: Thank you!

MACCALLUM: So, in a uniquely Trumpian speech that Newt Gingrich just mentioned at NATO earlier today that had European leader sort of tittering on the sidelines, the president slammed the weakening of this organization in the recent years, and said it's only an alliance, it's everybody pays and everybody stands up to terrorism. He was scoffed at roundly by many in the media.

So, is Charles Krauthammer's scoffing or is he praising? He's coming up next. Also, as police ramp up the hunt for more accomplices and potential plots in the wake of the Manchester massacre, here's why hospital trauma units are now on standby in England tonight. Plus, a straight A, Christian High School student banned from attending graduation because she is pregnant. She is here to tell us why she is fighting back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been really hard to accomplish all my goals and all my dreams. We're going to have to get it back (INAUDIBLE), and we're going to do it together.



MACCALLUM: President Trump took his first NATO summit by storm today as shocked European leaders looked on. He called on nearly two dozen of our closest allies to pay their fair share towards defense in their countries; critics called it "ill-timed scolding," while supporters cheered this type of straight talk that's long overdue.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: I have been very, very direct with Secretary Stoltenberg and members of the alliance in saying that NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations. But 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they're supposed to be paying for their defense. Over the last eight years, the United States spent more on defense than all other NATO countries combined.


MACCALLUM: And you, and you, and you, and you, you might as well have been pointing down the line there. Doctor Charles Krauthammer, nationally syndicated columnist, and Fox News contributor joins us now. Charles, good to have you here tonight!


MACCALLUM: What do you make of that moment?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I think we're looking at the wrong thing. I think the scolding was unnecessary, although it has a long history. American congressional leaders coming back to the 50s have complained about NATO's lack of contribution, lack of support. There's nothing new there. But what was new and I think the real headline was, that after everything had been teed up for the president of the United States to reassure NATO that we would stand with them, the president refused to say the simple phrase: "we will honor article five," which is if one of us is attacked, all of us is attacked. And the fact that he was speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the fact that it's only been invoked once when the European states-

MACCALLUM: Which he pointed out.

KRAUTHAMMER: Declared - he pointed it out, but that's not why he was there to remember some history. The reason he was there, was because he campaigned talking ambivalently about NATO, saying it was obsolete, threatening America withdrawal. He had sent his surrogates to Europe to sell yes, of course, we're going to honor article five. He didn't say it. It's the omission that is the huge news here, and it's barely incomprehensible because it means that whatever deterrent exists from the United States is thereby weakened by simply not saying the phrase everybody was waiting for.

MACCALLUM: All right. But let me pause at this. This is a president who- you know, everybody knew what the attitude was going to be when he arrived there, right? I mean, he spoke a lot about what he saw as the shortcomings of NATO, and you have them all lined up there. They have not done - you know, it's an alliance. So, an alliance means that it's an agreement. Part of the agreement is that everybody finds a way in the budget of their country to carve out enough money to give 2 percent towards their own defense so that the alliance works, right?

The other part of this alliance that has been missing in the minds of many people is that they have been attacked time and time again by Islamic radical terrorists. They've lost hundreds of people on their own soil. And the president - and so, he got three things; he got them to sort of come towards the idea of paying their fair share print, he got them to agree to better intelligence sharing in a new unit that they said that they would construct, and he got them to agree to be part of this coalition that will fight ISIS as a group. So, you know, do not see those as small victories at the very least?

KRAUTHAMMER: Small, extremely small, and very symbolic, very little substance. NATO was not constructed to fight terrorism.

MACCALLUM: But that happens to be where we live right now. I mean, that's the threat that faces them that is more immediate than any other.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's not the most immediate. The most immediate is that Russia that's on patrol, that's on the prowl that has invaded Georgia and attacked two provinces, invaded Ukraine, detached the Crimea, and next thing: has all these threatening gestures towards Eastern Europe. Estonia is defenseless if the Russians decide to take it over.

MACCALLUM: But if you talk about strengthening NATO, aren't you talking about strengthening NATO on that front as well? I mean, Russia does not want to hear that we are encouraging everybody to pair their fair share. And that we're looking to strengthen NATO because they know what that means, no?

KRAUTHAMMER: We're talking about a relatively trivial difference. We're talking about roughly $100 billion. The GDP complained combined of NATO is about a $30 trillion. That $100 billion is not going to make a dime's worth of difference if there's any invasion. What makes a difference, what deters the Russians is not that Estonia which happens to pay 2 percent or 2.5 percent which will get you lunch.

MACCALLUM: No, but it is symbolic, and that symbolic is important, isn't it? It's paying, it's commitment, and it's understanding that you are in this together, that you are part of an alliance. When you make sacrifices at home in order to do what you promised you would do to be part of that very important alliance.

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, we have had this chronic problem of America paying an unfair share since the founding of NATO in the 40s. There is nothing new here and yet through all that time when we had to bear the unfair burden - if you want to put it in Trump's terms - which was protested, particularly in Congress for decades. All that time we prevented: A. a nuclear war; and second, Russia marching into Western Europe and we preserved a continent we, in fact, liberated the eastern half of that, by means of NATO. That's what NATO did fair share or not.

I don't oppose getting others to pony up, but it makes no real difference, it's a very narrow view of NATO. And right now, what's important is not to turn into an anti-terror instrument, it's the clumsiest to do it. Anyway, all of the 28 nations are in the anti-ISIS alliances as nations. So, now what's happened with Trump's trip? NATO as an institution is going to be part of it. That will not change anything. And just beside the point, the one thing that Trump overlooks, the NATO nations are represented in Afghanistan. Many of them have a higher per capita loss of their soldiers then we do. So, the idea that they haven't lifted a finger to fight terrorism is simply wrong.

MACCALLUM: All right. Charles, thank you.

KRAUTHAMMER: Strong letter to follow.

MACCALLUM: All right. Thank you very much. Charles Krauthammer, always good to talk to you, sir! Thank you very much! So, coming up here tonight, a Republican congressional candidate -- you may have heard, facing criminal charges for something he did just hours before he was about to, most likely, win an election. Our reporter saw it all happen with her own eyes and she will explain exactly what went down in that room. Then President Trump, moving quickly to repair ties with the British after Intelligence leaks related to the Manchester bombing threatened that special relationship, but there's breaking news on that tonight and we will bring it to you. Mark Thiessen and Zac Petkanasm on all of this, coming up after the break.


[19:26:00] MACCALLUM: Tonight, England is bracing for another possible attack. 72 hours after a homegrown terrorist murdered children and their parents at a concert in Manchester, England. The British authorities are warning every single U.K. hospital to "prepare for a further incident." Investigators say that they discovered a bomb factory in the home of the killer and that there was more material for bomb making that was not there and that was in the room, and all of that has raised a lot of fears that somewhere out there, there could be another bomb that's ready to go. Senior Correspondent Rick Leventhal joins us once again this evening live from Manchester. Rick.

RICK LEVENTHAL, FOX NEWS CHANNEL SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: And Martha, off the top, we want to share some new video with you that we obtain from Sky News. Sky News can confirm that this is the home of that Salman Abedi shared with his family, and the video shows a man believed to be Salman Abedi taking out the trash. So, it's a bit strange that this person walking outside and putting rubbish in a canister here in Manchester. Again, can't confirm 100 percent if this is Salman, but people who've seen this say they believe it is.

And Sky News has confirmed that this is his home which is the piece of video that surfaced of this man who was believed to have carried out Monday night's terror attack. And of course, the investigation into this attack remains at a very high pace. Police have been carrying out a raid across the city and across the suburbs, including one about 40 minutes north of us in a town of Wigan tonight. And that led to the evacuation of the neighborhood when the police found what they believed were suspicious materials inside the home.

They called in the bomb disposal teams, eventually, they lifted the cordon and allow the neighbors to come back but the investigators remained unseen. And police tell us that all of these raids or many of these raids have actually resulted in compelling and important clues. And they say that the arrest of eight people in the U.K. so far had been significant. The was arrested, including the suspect Salman Abedi's older brother here in Manchester, his father and younger brother arrested in a Tripoli, Libya, where authorities say the 18-year-old brother Hashim confessed to knowledge of the plot and said that he and Salman Abedi belong to ISIS.

Authorities say that Salman may have gotten terror training in Syria, but they're also very concerned about leaks of the investigation to the American press, including the suspect's name and evidence photos of the bomb aftermath that were published in the New York Times that led to a lid on info sharing between Manchester police and U.S. authorities. We are told tonight that the lid, Martha, has been lifted, that the British authorities got reassurances from the U.S. that those leaks would be clamped. And President Trump has also asked the Justice Department for a thorough investigation of this, but again, we're told the lid has been lifted and these two sides are now sharing information again.

MACCALLUM: That's good news, Rick. Thank you very much! So, as Rick has just reported, the U.S. and U.K. are sharing Intelligence again about the terror attacks. Here for more on all of this tonight: Mark Thiessen, American Enterprise Institute Scholar and a Fox News contributor; and Zach Petkanas is a former Senior DNC Advisor and a Clinton Campaign Aide. Gentlemen, thank you for being here this evening. You know, there's so much that we're learning in this case reports today that he called his mother and said forgive me on the phone just shortly before he went in there and killed parents who were waiting for their children, killed children who were waiting for their parents. I mean, it is an absolutely horrific crime.

We also know that there were several attempts by the Muslim community that he lived in, to put up red flags on him. People contacted - the Libyan Muslim community leader contacted the National Terrorism hotline and said, we're concerned about him, he's expressing militant viewpoints. And then, an Eman at the Didsbury Mosque did the same thing. So, we have a couple of things to take on here. Marc, let me first ask you about this intelligence sharing and the photos that surfaced in the New York Times and CBS, which the Trump campaign - Trump presidency got some backlash for. Is that justified?

MARC THIESSEN, AMERICAN ENTREPRISE INSTITUTE SCHOLAR AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It's not President Trump's fault that it happened, but I understand why the British are upset - they have every right to be upset. I mean, if you think about it, in the last two weeks, we had two major leaks that have, A, burn two major allies, U.K. and Israel as sources of intelligence on ISIS, and B, helped ISIS by giving them information about sources and methods about how we collect intelligence. The leak that the fact that Israel was behind intelligence we had on an ISIS plot to blow up planes using bombs on computer hard drives, and now this information about not just the photos of the bomb but the name of the bomber. I mean, these are intelligence trails that are intelligence committee has to follow in order to find out if there's an entire network behind this, they may have other plots. They may have plots for the United States or against U.S. interest in the world. We need to keep those intelligence trails warm. And leaks are incredibly damaging to us.

MACCALLUM: I mean, is the indication that we have is that the FBI and the New York Police Department who has a base in London, where the people who had these photographs, not necessarily intelligence, but it was photographs that they didn't want to get out. And as you point out, you know, it shows-- demonstrates some of the materials that were used and they didn't want that to go out there. How did that end up being something that was reflected poorly on the administration?

ZAC PETKANAS, FORMER SENIOR DNC ADVISOR: Well, look, I agree with Marc, I mean, this is the second time in a month in which this administration has leaked information from some of our key allies, and it's alienated both of them. First Israel, when he leaked highly classified information to the Russians that actually put an Israeli spy, who was undercover and infiltrated ISIS, in danger. And now we have -- him having to go and apologize to the United Kingdom for leaking this information to the press. I mean, the level of incompetence from this administration.

MACCALLUM: It's highly unlikely -- you know, I understand on the first count. The second count is highly unlikely that somebody who is on team Trump was going to give that information to the New York Times and CBS. Doesn't it seem a little odd to you.

THIESSEN: On both of them. It wasn't team Trump.

PETKANAS: Well, I mean, I think that the modeling that we're seeing from Donald Trump at the top, I mean, we have the commander in chief, the president of the United States, willy-nilly handing out intelligence to adversaries. And so, you know, I think that when you model that kind of behavior for your administration, this is the kind of thing that happens, and it's absolutely absurd and, frankly, dangerous. I mean it put our national security at risk. And so, this is very disappointing behavior from this administration.

MACCALLUM: Marc, last thought.

THIESSEN: Donald Trump has been warning for months about the danger of leaks coming out. It's not just that these leaks, it's been leaks of his phone calls with world leaders. It's been all sorts of intelligence coming out. He's been warning and warning and warning and people like Zac are saying, oh, it's just to distract from Russia. Well, now we see the real national security implication of this and no one was taking it seriously. Maybe now that is Theresa May, the British prime ministers who saying exactly what Donald Trump is saying, which is this leaks are damaging. Maybe we'll finally take it seriously.

MACCALLUM: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Zac Petkanas, Marc Thiessen, good to see. So still ahead tonight, a high school senior banned from her graduation because she is pregnant. So why is Planned Parenthood coming after her? Maddi Runkles is here exclusively to tell her story. And a Montana congressional candidate charged with assaulting a reporter just hours before the polls open. Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna was in the room and witnessed it all. She joins us next.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: You were waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill and it just came out, and.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: We'll talk to you about that later.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, but there's not going to be time. I'm just curious if you could.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Speak with Shane, please.




MACCALLUM: So everybody is buzzing about Montana's special election to fill their one house seat that they have that was vacated by Ryan Zinke into the Trump administration. But everyone's focus on is not necessarily for the reason that you might think. Last night, the Republican candidate, Greg Gianforte, got so incensed by a reporter's question that he allegedly body slammed him. Gianforte put out a statement largely denying the report of events, but that was before the tape came out from the Guardian's Ben Jacobs. Listen.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: You were waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill and it just came out, and.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: We'll talk to you about that later.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, but there's not going to be time. I'm just curious if you could.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Speak with Shane, please.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sick and tired of you guys. The last time you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with The Guardian?

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: You, last night did the same damn thing.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: You're just body slamming, you broke my glasses.


MACCALLUM: Wow. Fox News correspondent Alicia Acuna was standing in the room and she watched all of this. She joins us live tonight from Bozeman, Montana. This is some story, Alicia.

ALICIA ACUNA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is, Martha. And I wasn't there just by myself. I was also there with Fox News photographer Keith Reilley, as well as Fox News producer Faith Mangan. The three of us were in the room setting up for a prescheduled interview with Greg Gianforte. We were in the middle of setting up. He walked into the room, and we just-- introduced him selves, exchange some pleasantries, started talking about food in Bozeman, very nice. And then, about 2 minutes into the conversation, Ben Jacobs with the Guardian walked in and started asking questions about the congressional budget office score on the Republican health care bill. And as you just heard, Gianforte said that he would get to him later. Jacobs so persisted and Gianforte then again told him to talk to Shane who was his press guy.

And then at that point, that's when the three of us saw Gianforte take his hands and put them up on either side of his neck, grabbed him, take him, push him, throw him onto the ground, kind of jump on him on the side and start punching him. He punched him about two to three times, saying I'm getting sick and tired of this. At that point, we said Jacobs kind of scrambled to his knees and try to collect his glasses, and you've heard him talk about how they were broken. He was on the ground when he said that.

And then got up and started asking us what our names were. We were sitting there -- honestly, just in stunned silence, couldn't believe what we were witnessing. And Martha, as you mention, this was yesterday on the eve of the special election and the polls close here in about two and a half hours. But I should also mention that Montanans have been voting for the past -- almost four weeks now, and this morning when the polls open, 37 percent of the voters that already cast their ballots when the polls open. So it really is something that we can't say whether -- how it's going to impact this election in terms of the results, but it's definitely had an impact here in Montana, and everywhere else, obviously.

MACCALLUM: Yeah, that's for sure. Alicia, thank you very much. So after all this happen, there's a fun cue, some in the media decided that there was really only one person to blame for this. Watch.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it possibly tied into the fact that we have a president that's constantly putting rage against reporters.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: A guy assaults a reporter, which again couldn't be too surprising in an age of Trump where he calls the press the enemy of the people. These reckless words have consequences.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Because the guy who is in office now has said very horrible things about reporters and has said that the reporters are the enemy of the American people.


MACCALLUM: You get the idea. So here now, Attorney David Wohl, and former deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton, Matt Bennett. Welcome to all of you. David, let me start with you, what do you think?

DAVID WOHL, ATTORNEY: Well, I think that was absolute absurdity to blame President Trump. Yes, he's angry at the media. The media has spent the last 18 months trying to destroy him. The news hasn't been fair and balanced from the mainstream media. It's twisted. It's distorted. It's whatever they need to say to try to take Trump down. But the idea that -- Mr. Trump's anger towards them serves as incitement for this gentleman punching or hitting or assaulting a reporter is absolute garbage. And by the way, the same people who are saying this said nothing when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama made disparaging statements towards Trump supporters who then attacked numerous times by Clinton and Sanders supporters at rallies. Believe me, I saw it twice. Attacks, assaulted, injured, property damage, they didn't say a word. What a shock.

MACCALLUM: Matt, what say you?

MATT BENNETT, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Look, obviously, the blame for this resides solely with Gianforte. He has had some sort of problem when asked a question about the CBO score, he committed assault.


MACCALLUM: Predictable and an innocuous question, yeah.

BENNETT: About as predicable and innocuous as it gets, exactly. And look, yes, I think you could argue that there is a general laying of a foundation that Trump has done in attacking the press relentlessly every single day, but the blame still resides with Gianforte. I will say this, the lying that you refer to in your opening that his campaign did, that is a direct product of what we seen out in the White House, and out of the president every day where they just lie with impunity, and that is exactly what Gianforte's guy did right after this until he was called out on it by your crew.

MACCALLUM: I don't know how you really ascribe this person's personal behavior to anybody other than.

WOHL: You know the reality is that this is what Mr. Trump deals with. This is a twilight zone reality that he deals with every day. This is the media pretending to be fair and balanced, the non-Fox News media that is simply out to take him down, and this is part and parcel of it. And the idea that somehow he had any effect on what this gentleman did -- I'm sure it was a stressful campaign in Montana, it's hard to believe it's very stressful.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much you guys. I've got to leave it there. We're out of time. Thank you. So coming up tonight, Maddi Runkles, is a girl who had a 4.0, she was student body president, but she will not be walking at her graduation next week at her Christian high school because she's 18 and she's pregnant. But she's a fighter, and now she's taking on Planned Parenthood. She said they would have told her that having this baby would've ruined her life. Up next, an inclusive interview with Maddi and why she says she's fighting back.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Planned Parenthood is all about women's rights, but I can't think of anything that is less empowering to telling woman that she can't do it.



MACCALLUM: So this story is getting a lot of attention around the country. A Christian school defending their decision to ban a pregnant student from participating in a graduation ceremony next week because she violated the schools abstinence pledge. Pro-life groups argue that the school should instead be praising the teen for the decision that she made, which is not an easy one, to keep her baby. So in moments, we're going to have an exclusive interview with Maddi, coming up. She is at the center of all this. But first, Trace Gallagher tells us the story and the background from our west coast newsroom tonight. Hey, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS: Hi, Martha. Maddi Runkles found out that she was pregnant in January, and in February, she notified the school. The 18- year-old straight-A student was then told by Heritage Academy that she be suspended, removed as student council president, and would finish the school year at home. The Runkels' family appealed and the school finally decided that Maddi could finish the year with her 14 classmates but would not be allowed to walk with them at graduation. The principal issued a statement saying she signed the school pledge, and then broke it, adding, quote, Maddi is being disciplined not because she's pregnant but because she was immoral. But Maddi think she's being punished because her mistake is visible, and she believes the school is missing an opportunity to set an example for the pro-life community. And pro-life groups are now defending her saying her school is making it more likely that young women will choose abortion over embarrassment. And while Maddi Runkels is gaining support, she has also been called out and criticized on social media by her fellow students and their moms. But she'd be the first to admit it won't be easy, watch.


MADDI RUNKLES: I'm working really hard to accomplish all my goals and all my dreams. But I've got to have a little guy falling right next to me, and we're going to do together.


GALLAGHER: Yeah, Maddi's baby boy is due September 4th, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Trace, thank you very much. So joining me now for an exclusive interview with The Story, is 18-year-old Maddi Runkels, join by the president of pro-life group student -- for life of America, Kristan Hawkins. Welcome to both of you for being here tonight. Maddi, did you ever think you're going to find yourself in the middle of all of this?

RUNKLES: No, not at all.

MACCALLUM: I mean, I know how this happen, but how did this happen?

RUNKLES: Well, after I told my school, the punishment that they gave me was just like a normal punishment to any other kids whose broken student pledges received before. I was given an unofficial suspension. I was taking out of all my leadership positions, and so punishment was done and over with. And then I came back and they said -- four months, you're not going to be able to walk in your graduation. So it was just dragging out my punishment over six months because they found out the end of January and graduation is in June. So I thought that was way harsh and is not like anything any of the other kids who've broken the student pledge have received before.

MACCALLUM: When you went to them, to your school, and your dad was involved with the school, right? He was on the board at that time. He notified them, I believe, right?


MACCALLUM: And the first thing that they did, if I understand this correctly, was they wanted to hold an assembly, essentially to publicly shame you.

RUNKLES: Yeah, that's how it came off because my principal said that this matter are kept between the student, the school, and their families, but then he was there saying that he wanted to publicly announce what I have done and I told him if that's going to be the case that I'm going to tell students myself, and parents were invited to the assembly too. It was the high school and some of the parents showed up, and so I told them what I had done.

MACCALLUM: You stood up there in front of everybody. What did you say?

RUNKLES: I wrote a statement up just telling them what had happened, that I'm pregnant, and that I was being sent away from school. And I got up there, my parents were sitting behind me, my brother was sitting in the front row. And I immediately started crying because I was so embarrassed that I had to sit there and admit my mistake when no other kid has ever had to admit what they have done wrong. And my dad wrote through the statement, the first task and he got choked up and then I finish reading it.

MACCALLUM: So you stepped in and you took over. They put out the statement that Trace just showed and they said, you know, Maddi is being disciplined not because she's pregnant but because she was immoral. How do you feel about that?

RUNKLES: I agree I had to be disciplined. I broke the rules. I have no problem with that. I accepted the consequences. But I never thought that my consequences would be drag out. No kid has ever had consequences drag out like this.

MACCALLUM: You had backlashes from other moms and other students, what's that like?

RUNKLES: It's horrible.

MACCALLUM: What did they said about you?

RUNKLES: Just nasty things. I need to grow up, keep my mouth shut, take my consequences, I'm 18, and that's not the point. I'm not trying to get my school. I'm not mad that I have to suffer the consequences. It just the fact that I have been punished over the course of six months, and that sends a message to people, you know, you confess, you're going to be made an example of, you're going to be embarrassed, but if you keep it, good job, we're just keep turning our heads away.

MACCALLUM: So take me to the thought process when you found out that you are pregnant, what options did you consider?

RUNKLES: Definitely abortion at first because I was so scared. And I'm a Christian, I'm a practicing Christian, and you know, I knew it was wrong. I knew I should be thinking that, but I had seen the way girls like me had been treated and I didn't want to be that girl.

MACCALLUM: So you kept the baby and you were punished do you think unjustly, Christian students for life. I know she could have gone to Planned Parenthood she said, but she felt like they're not empowering to women which I thought it was quite interesting. What do you think about all this?

KRISTAN HAWKINS, STUDENT FOR LIFE AMERICA PRESIDENT: That's right. I mean, that's the message that Planned Parenthood stands every day to teens across the country that you're not strong enough to do this. And what's so amazing about Maddi's story was she was courageous and she went to her parents, told them what happened. She volunteered to speak in front of her entire school. How many of us would be willing to go and confess (INAUDIBLE) publicly? But what's happening right now, was so sad about this situation is that this is a national conversation that's needed to happen a long time ago. About how Christians handles the sin of premarital sex, but then if a woman gets pregnant.

MACCALLUM: What about the mercy and the forgiveness part?

HAWKINS: Exactly. And that is exactly -- that's the question I asked the principal. What about grace? What example have you shown to every student in the school, what they have done has told every girl in that school it's better just to have an abortion and cover this up.

MACCALLUM: Just about 10 seconds. What's your biggest concern about what happens after the baby is born?

RUNKLES: Becoming a mom at 18. I'm still growing up myself, and I have no idea what to expect.

MACCALLUM: You'll have a lot of support from your family, I think.

RUNKLES: Yes, definitely.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much. Good luck to you.

RUNKLES: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: We'll be right back after this.


MACCALLUM: One last story, Queen Elizabeth brought smiles to the victims and their families today, when the 91-year-old monarch visited the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. She who has seen so many victims of war and attacks in all her years called this one, quote, very wicked. And she assured the parents and the children that, quote, everyone was united behind them. And she added that the awful thing was that everyone was so young. Today, we learn the names and the identities of more of these victims. Let's put them up so you can see them. Chloe Rutherford, 17 and her boyfriend Liam Curry, 19. Eilidh Macleod, 14 years old from the Scottish island of Barra. Off-duty police officer Elaine McIver, her husband and children are among the injured, and Philip Tron and his stepdaughter Courtney Boyle. That's the story tonight.


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