This is a rush transcript from "The Story," May 26, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Breaking tonight, President Trump takes America first to the world stage at the G7 as ISIS "calls for all-out war" now on the west. The U.K. Military standing ready for whatever comes next, and Egyptian Christians are the latest bomb victims today. A look now at how Islamic extremism is changing our world day by day and country by country. Good evening, everybody, I'm Martha MacCallum. Here's "The Story."
On the eve of Ramadan and in the wake of a call to war from ISIS, the U.K. is searching for another bomber who may still be out there -- as another even more deadly attack kills Christians in Egypt. A dozen gunmen in black masks sped up alongside buses and started shooting into the windows at families who were traveling to a monastery. ISIS' goal is to wipe Christianity out of this area and sadly they are making progress. Many have left their towns which their families lived for centuries. This map shows four recent massacres too in churches on Palm Sunday that have killed nearly a hundred people. So back home, a frightening reminder from our own Homeland Security Chief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY CHIEF: We've had four major terrorist attacks in a week in four different places -- by the same, generally the same groups, it's nonstop. The good news is for us in America, we have amazing people protecting us every day but it can happen almost here anytime. I was telling Steve on the way in here, if he knew what I know about terrorism, he'd never leave the house in the morning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That is chilling. We start tonight with Senior Correspondent Rick Leventhal on the overwhelming pressure right now on security forces in England, Rick.
RICK LEVENTHAL, FOX NEWS CHANNEL SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Martha, to say this city, in this country, are on edge would be a major understatement -- not only is the threat level still critical but armed police are writing and patrolling trains for the time. And major trauma centers have been told to prepare for the possibility of another terror attack this weekend which is also a holiday weekend here in Great Britain. And now, with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan -- starting tomorrow; comes a word that ISIS has called on followers to rise up in an all-out war on so-called "infidels in the west." The attack on Ariana Grande fans in Manchester Arena, Monday night was just the latest in a wave of terror that's put intense pressure on MI Five, the British intelligence agency.
There's been a shock rise and plots here, at least five reportedly disrupted -- in the past two months alone -- with authorities juggling an estimated 500 active investigations focusing on 3,000 persons of interest. The workload facing officers and agents is described as unprecedented -- and one of the people who were on the radar was the arena bomber: Salman Abedi, believed to be the man in a brown robe seen last July, taking out the trash at its family home. More than a dozen raids related to this investigation have led to a significant evidence in around of at least eight terror suspects here in Manchester, including Abedi's older brother -- as we've been reporting -- his younger brother and father are also being questioned Libya. But Martha, the focus tonight, as you mentioned is that making sure there are no other potential bombers out there.
MACCALLUM: Rick, thank you very much. So, here now with more: Pete Hoekstra, a former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a former Trump Campaign Advisor. Pete, welcome, good to have you here this evening. You know, you listen to the words of John Kelly, the Homeland Security Chief, and he says if you knew what I know, you'd to be terrified leave your house.
PETE HOEKSTRA, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE FORMER CHAIRMAN AND FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: It's a very sobering segment -- talking about this threat. ISIS declaring, you know, a worldwide threat against the west; the success that they've had in just the last week, Libya, Syria, Yemen, these are still failed states, you know, where the suicide bomber in Manchester probably has links to. It's a very sobering weekend as we go into Memorial Day weekend, and I think the president is trying to bring some focus, some energy, and some urgency to the world community that this problem needs to be dealt with.
MACCALLUM: You know, one of the things that happen this week was another rebuff in the courts of the extreme betting that the president wanted to put into place. And you just have to ask yourself when you look at the pattern of this particular bomber as the latest example: in the United Kingdom, who was on a watch list which is different, we should point out than a no-fly list, but nonetheless but he was allowed to fly back and forth from Libya, to Syria, back to the U.K. while he was somebody who was on this list of 3,000 people. It seems like it shouldn't be that hard to prevent that kind of travel for someone who was already on the radar, Pete.
HOEKSTRA: No, it shouldn't be. I mean, it's really outrageous with what the courts are doing. You know, what the president is trying to do is put in restrictions on people who are traveling from countries that are known "failed states." In reality, what we need to do is even more vetting. Think about the suicide bomber in Manchester, this was a young man that was born in the U.K. and would have relatively visa proof access to the United States of America unless for some reason we got him on a watch list. We need to strengthen our vetting; we can't continue to have these large holes and allowing people to come in.
MACCALLUM: That's exactly my point; this young man was on the watch list, he was under surveillance in the United Kingdom. So, you know, I just think -- it sort of belies all common sense, because the truth of the matter is that if he hadn't been permitted to come back into the country, these people would all be alive today. I mean -- you know, we have to find the system that says, OK, if you are here, you're being watched. So, if you decide to go Syria to Libya, we have to just let you know you may not get back into your home country. We just want you to know that up front.
HOEKSTRA: That's exactly right. And you know, the words that you use: common sense. Going to Syria, going to Libya, going at a repeated times, makes absolutely no sense at all to let these people come back into the country without some extreme venting. But how do you monitor? I think the number that Rick quoted was 3,000 people on a watch list in the U.K. And this weekend, the U.K. is going to be living with their military riding the trains, riding on buses, being on the public street. You know, right now, these folks are winning. They are changing how we are living, at least, how our closest ally is good to be spending the week this weekend. We ought to all be concerned that in 16 years, we've not made much progress if any progress since 9/11 in defeating this threat.
MACCALLUM: Pete Hoekstra, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight, Pete.
HOEKSTRA: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, joining us now on how this becomes a global flight, which, of course, it already is: General Jack Keane, chairman of the Institute for the Study of War and a Fox News military analyst. General Keane, good to see you tonight.
GEN. JACK KEANE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL MILITARY ANALYST: Good to see you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: You spoke yesterday, and we had a conversation with Charles Krauthammer about it last night in terms of the focus of NATO. And I think we have a map that shows the number of attacks that have happened across Europe. And I know you feel strongly that NATO, although their original purpose was to fend off Russia -- and that remains a focus -- they've got a bigger problem on their hands right now, do they not?
KEANE: Yes, absolutely. The way to defeat this, certainly -- is to form an alliance, recognized that this is a multigenerational problem, we're fighting an ideology much like Fascism, and Nazism, Communism in the 20th century. And when they formed safe havens, you have to crush them and you have to have a sense of urgency to do that. Well, we don't do that properly; we get 9/11, because we didn't do it properly in Afghanistan, and we're not doing it properly in Syria. This is the problem that NATO has. They -- ISIS formed the safe have in Syria in 2012, they were routed over Iraq in 2014 with 30,000 fighters -- they group from several hundred.
They were able to plan, train, recruit, and inspire, and direct attacks outside Iraq and Syria as we painfully are aware of; 32 of them in NATO countries alone. NATO and the Arabs should've crushed that safe haven in Syria years ago and it's still there today. And it's because NATO and their leaders are not serious, they are not taking this threat seriously and there are other leaders in the world like them who lack the political and moral courage to see the truth and to tell their people the truth; that's not what they're doing.
MACCALLUM: I mean, one of the immediate responses after the Manchester bombing was to make sure that there were no hate crimes against people who live in the neighborhoods where this young man came from. Now, nobody wants hate to be directed at someone who has no reason to deserve that kind of treatment. But for that to be one of the initial reactions and one of the equally weighted reactions, seems a bit foolhardy, does it not?
KEANE: It absolutely is. Listen, most of these European nations are helping the threat of radical Islam to grow inside their nation. They have open borders -- that's number one, that's a fail policy. Multiculturalism is a failed policy in these Muslim communities. That is where the majority of the threat comes from; they're all Muslims, they live in Muslim communities, and they know each other. In those communities, the unemployment rate is either two times or some cases four times the normal rate in these countries: the sense of isolation, disenfranchisement, and lack of political and social justice for the people are all inside those communities. That's how I threat grows.
MACCALLUM: It is worth pointing out, though, that it was an Imam and someone from Muslim community group who flagged this young man in Manchester twice to counterterrorism officials and said this guy is someone you need to keep an eye on. So, why he was allowed to fly back and forth from Libya and Syria -- is another question. Quick question though, for you on Egypt, because this is horrific -- the reports that we're getting and that people were killed, pulled off these buses, they were gunned down, there were children involved, and there were ISIS or Islamic extremist propaganda pamphlets that were left at that scene. So, this is the beginning of Ramadan, Jack.
KEANE: Yes. And we're going to have a wave of attacks worldwide, unfortunately, because the attacks always go up during Ramadan. It may surprise our viewers; there have almost been 500 radical Islamic attacks this year alone. And that we're averaging 28,000 fatalities a year as a result of it. A few years ago, it was only 3,000; this is what we are facing, of course, they're targeting Christians, they're targeting Jews, and as we know they kill mostly Muslims because of this threat is taking place within the religion of Islam and they consider their nonbelievers who are Muslims people who can and should be killed.
MACCALLUM: This bus was on the way to Saint Samuel monastery, and these people had to have known that they were taking their lives and their hands to go there on this bus, through this difficult area. And tonight, 28 of them including a lot of children are dead because they were brave enough to go there to try to carry out their religious mission. General Jack Keane, thank you, sir, always good to see you.
KEANE: Good talking to you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, we brought to this report last night: President Trump reportedly organizing a team of "street fighters" to head off his Russia issue as soon as he gets back from this foreign trip. Tonight, there are new developments on what this team will look like. Plus, assault charges didn't stop the GOP from holding onto a Congressional seat in Montana, but will members of Congress have issues serving with Greg Gianforte? We're going to ask, one straight ahead. And Bernie Sanders in attack dog mode during a grilling on the Hill with Mick Mulvaney that's getting a ton of attention lately. As the Budget Director, we're going to show you how he bit back when Karl Rove joins us.
MACCALLUM: A fiery flash on Capitol Hill over the CBO's estimate this week that 23 million Americans will be left uninsured by the president's health care plan, that number disputed by many on the right and setting off a heated exchange between Senator Bernie Sanders and White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney about the legitimacy of the CBO Director and his projection about plan. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, D-VERMONT: He made a dismissive remark about them, even the CBO -- you guys appointed a Director.
MICK MULVANEY, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET DIRECTOR: And again, all I'm telling you is that the results are awful.
SANDERS: But you appointed him, so let's go with that.
MULVANEY: I measure, I measure performance by results, Mr. Sanders, and you continuously--
SANDERS: Your opinion is that the results are terrible. I'm suggesting that it was a member of the Trump administration who appointed this gentleman, not some kind of radical Democrats.
MULVANEY: So, we can agree then, that the CBO puts out bad data.
SANDERS: No, thanks. We can agree that you, guys, are beating up on a man that you appointed because you don't like his results. But anyhow, get back to the question--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: There you go. Karl Rove joins us now, Fox News political contributor and former Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush. Karl, welcome, good to have you here. Interesting exchange on a number of levels with Bernie Sanders and Mick Mulvaney, what'd you think of that?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I thought it was a pretty sharp exchange and reflected as the attitude in Washington. Look, the CBO says if that the Republican plan is passed, that 23 million people will lose their insurance coverage. Well, how can 23 million people lose their insurance coverage if ObamaCare is repealed, when only less than 11 million have gotten coverage with insurance policies under ObamaCare? It doesn't make any sense. What they're referring to is 23 million people will not sign up if ObamaCare is repealed. But the estimates from the CBO on ObamaCare have been traditionally very, very bad.
Here are the CBO estimates for what enrollment would be this year starting in February of 2013. There are a 26 million people will be enrolled this year. The next year, they said, in February of 2014, they said 24. They repeated that in March of 2015 and in March of last year -- they said 15 million people would be enrolled in ObamaCare as a result of the law. Now, what was the reality? The actual number is just over 10 million, which means that their estimate, they estimated -- overestimated by 16 million or 260 percent in 2013, 14 million in 2014 and 2015 or 240 percent more. And one year ago, one year ago, they overestimated by 150 percent, they were half again as many people estimated to be on ObamaCare as are actually on ObamaCare. So, I think, Mick Mulvaney is absolutely right, why trust their numbers?
MACCALLUM: They tend to take a look at what the taking away the program would do, but not necessarily what the replacement part of the program would do.
ROVE: Excellent point. Making insurance cheaper and providing more options is likely to generate more people signing up but they don't look at the effect of marketplaces, they look at what the government does. The government always gets it right, therefore they overestimate. Markets never get it right, therefore they underestimate. They did the same thing on the Medicare Part D; they overestimated the cost and underestimated how many people would sign up.
MACCALLUM: Unfortunately, you never find out what's in it until you live through it, for the most part. In terms of the language of Mick Mulvaney, which I find fascinating, you know, he's talking about a taxpayer budget. And he's saying, look, it's fine to spend all this money on these programs, but it's your money. So, are you OK with us spending this money on this program if the program has been proven over years to not work, or if maybe there are too many people? Maybe, you know, 30,000 is too many people to work at the State Department. He's sort of approaching this in a novel way. Politically, can this work? Is that an argument that can resonate across America, Karl?
ROVE: Only if people back it up with actions, and with -- and there's not just only one voice making this argument. Look, I thought he did a terrific job at that press conference the other day when he made the point that Washington has a different kind of math than the rest of the country. In Washington, as he said, if you spend $100 this year and you spend $100 next year, that's a cut. If you spent 107 next year, that's a cut. And let me give you a real practical example: the Democrats are going around saying you're cutting Medicaid and the Republicans are on the health plan by $880 billion over the next ten years. Well, this year -- excuse me, wrong whiteboard. This year, Medicaid -- we're spending $389 billion. Under the Republican plan in ten years, we would spend $469 billion in FY- 27, that's $80 billion more than we're spending today and 21 percent more and they would say -- the Democrats would say, well, that's a cut because it's less than what they would like to spend, not what we need to spend.
MACCALLUM: Thank you for the lesson. A lot of kids across America wanted to know whether allowance has been cut for the last five years. Thank you very much, Karl, we'll see you soon.
ROVE: You bet. Thanks.
MACCALLUM: So, last night we brought you reporting on how President Trump intends to punch back against unfavorable stories and he has a team of so- called "street fighters" that are ready to go. So, what does that mean? Who are these street fighters? We've got new reports for you on what to expect when the president comes back to Washington. Plus, there is this; the newest member of Congress facing an assault charge, how does one member of his conference feel about working alongside this fine young man. When we come back, Congressman Sean Duffy joins us after the break.
JONATHAN HUNT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Live from America's News Headquarters, I'm Jonathan Hunt. President Trump says the U.S. is standing with the Egyptian people in its fight against terrorism. Thousands of mourners are attending funeral services for the victims of an attack on a busload of Coptic Christians. It happened about 140 miles south of Cairo, at least 28 people were killed, and dozens wounded. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack which came on the eve of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Pentagon announces plans for a critical missile defense test a week for the first time. The test will try to intercept an intercontinental range missile. The plan is to more closely simulate a North Korean nuclear warhead aimed at the mainland U.S. The North Koreans have yet to launch an ICBM; the test is set for next Tuesday. I'm Jonathan Hunt; now back to "The Story with Martha MacCallum."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN JACOBS, THE GUARDIAN POLITICAL REPORTER: We were waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill and it just came it.
REP. GREG GIANFORTE, R-MT., REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT: We'll talk to you about that later.
JACOBS: Yes, but there's not going to be time. I'm just curious if you could--
GIANFORTE: Speak with Shane, please.
(SOUND OF PHYSICAL CONFRONTATION)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Oh, boy! So, that infamous tape of the alleged assault on a reporter did not stop candidates Greg Gianforte from becoming a congressman. In his victory speech late last night, the newest member of Congress since charged with assault, took the moment to apologize.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIANFORTE: Last night I made a mistake. And I took an action that I can't take back. And I'm not proud of what happened. I should not have responded in the way that I did, and for that I'm sorry. That's not the person I am and it's not the way I'll lead in this state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, how is this going to go when he gets to Washington? Wisconsin Congressman, Sean Duffy, is here. Congressman, welcome. Some have said that they're not all that excited about welcoming Mr. Gianforte to Congress, how do you feel about working with him?
REP. SEAN DUFFY, R-WISCONSIN: Martha, my arms are open, I'd rather have Mr. Gianforte, who's going to caucus with Republicans; help our agenda: making America great again, as opposed to Mr. Quist who had caucused with Nancy Pelosi and be opposed to our agenda. This isn't pretty simple, I can't wait for him to get to Washington and lead on behalf of Montana and the U.S.
MACCALLUM: All right. But you know, to those who say -- look, the president has set this tone across the country; this kind of politics rough-and- tumble, what do you say?
DUFFY: Well listen, Martha -- I mean, this is a new story, we don't condone violence; he shouldn't have gotten aggressive with this reporter. But this reporter doesn't come to the conversation with clean hands either. He was asked to leave, sticking a microphone in Mr. Gianforte's face; we all know the country was watching this race and you have a lot of liberal media types and they're trying to take him down. Trying to get a bad quote and smear his campaign.
But with that said, what I wished would happen here when we look at the violence, the media has told this story of what would happen in Montana over and over again. But what they do, is they refuse to tell the story about happens at Trump rallies when conservatives are getting beaten up -- or at Berkeley when conservatives want to go and listen to a conservative speaker; they don't tell that story. Or a Republican congressman at Town Halls, where they're getting ruffed up and shaken up, they don't want to when the left behaves poorly; they just want to tell the Republican story when they have a bad act.
But I think the country has to start to heal here. We've got to call out bad behavior on both sides of the aisle; the media has to be part of that calling out. They can't just call out Republicans, they too have to call out Democrats, and they're not doing that.
MACCALLUM: All right. Congressman Sean Duffy, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.
DUFFY: Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, for months now, this conventional wisdom has painted a picture of Republicans against the ropes but as they continue to win special elections -- like the one in Montana, is that an argument that works? For that, we turn to Chris Stirewalt, Fox News politics editor. Chris, hello there! Good to have you with us tonight.
CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL POLITICAL EDITOR: Happy Friday!
MACCALLUM: So, what do you make of that argument? You know, there's so much tittering about, you know, how much trouble the Republican party is in, and here's just another example; we heard all over the place of how rough things are for them and it was pretty rough in that interview room, you have to admit that. But is there a larger indication for how the party is doing?
[19:29:26] STIREWALT: Well, this is not the happiest season that the Republican Party has ever had; no question, but this election is a long time from now. So, when we look at three special elections -- relevant special election votes that we've seen so far, Democrats are outperforming what we would expect them to do by about eight points. Now, If they did that next year, there would be a lot of districts; certainly enough to give them a majority in the House, if they were to keep up a performance at this rate and to do it across the country, they could win -- they would win the House and do it handily.
But there is a lot of football to be played between now and then. If the Republicans get their act together, if they start governing well, if the administration shifts out of the scandal mode and Russia mode and into legislative agenda and things go well and the economy is good, this can all change. So it's just simply too soon to make a determination about next year.
MACCALLUM: What do you think about these stories about this war room that's been put together, you know, you mentioned that in order to get anything done, they're going to have to get some of that, you know, sort of into another lane. Is that even possible in the Washington that we all live and work in today?
STIREWALT: It is my belief that for the time being, at least, Robert Muller is a godsend for Donald Trump's presidency. It is a great thing for this administration to have this go in the hands of somebody I've said was-- the closest thing we have today to -- mountain Landis to go in the hands of this trusted person. This person esteemed by prior presidents of both parties. That can take this over. The number of leaks will go down come. The amount of focus will increase, and you get to the possibility that this will be dispatched in some reasonable period of time instead of bouncing around in congress.
I think the special investigation works to the White House advantage. The question is will they take advantage of the window that opens. There will be this period of time where now they can say great. That's being handled over there, we're complying. Now let's talk about taxes, let's talk about tax cuts. Let's talk about jobs. Let's talk about national security. Let's focus the issue over here. If they take advantage of this moment, they can start to change that dynamic for their fellow Republicans across the country facing tough races.
MACCALLUM: In order to get this stuff through, they have to have a unified GOP though. And there's all kinds of indication that that is not the case. That they don't support the president a hundred percent, that they're kind of waiting to see how all this stuff goes, how problematic is that for them, Chris?
STIREWALT: It gives them some additional leverage with the president. Remember, this is always a negotiation, the relationship between the executive and the legislative branch regardless of whether they're in the same party or not is always about that negotiation. The Republicans in congress want a more conservative agenda from Trump. Trump wants more quick action and may be slightly more spending than the Republicans in congress want to do. They've got to figure it out. They did budget this week. I didn't hear any clarity from them about what exactly their tax plan is. It's time. It's time. You've got to go. You've got to put your tax plan out there or you're going to run out the clock.
MACCALLUM: Chris Stirewalt, thank you, always good to see a friend.
STIREWALT: Have a great weekend.
MACCALLUM: You, too. So coming up right here, big news out of the G7 summit in Italy, today, as the Trump administration had some pretty sharp words for Russia that people felt did not hear yesterday. But the president set to return to the states tomorrow. There's a war room that is being put together of street fighters we're told at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Governor Mike Huckabee and Richard Fowler, weigh in after this.
MACCALLUM: So President Trump is signaling that he wants to bring up the big guns when he gets back to the White House. He is said to be assembling a group of, quote, street fighters. One report says chief strategist Steve Bannon may be the leader of that group. The president's counter puncher fighting back against the Russia probe, the media, and the so-called deep state leakers, this is senior advisor Jared Kushner is allegedly eyed as having relevant information, perhaps, in the FBI's Russian investigation. He has said he is happy to speak with whoever wants to hear with him. So here now, on reports inside the White House and what we could learn from them, Mike Huckabee is former governor of Arkansas, and Richard Fowler, national syndicated radio host and Fox News contributor. Gentlemen, welcome. And governor, let me start with you. Do you think this is a good move?
MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: It's a great move. I'm a big fan of Steve Bannon. And a lot of people have thrown their various stuffs at him. Let me tell you something, this is a guy who's got a masters from Georgetown in national security, and MBA from Harvard, was smart enough to invest in the Seinfeld Show and still gets royalties off of every episode. This is not some just-guy out there. He was a Goldman Sachs vice president executive, worked at the Pentagon, navy veteran for seven years. Steve Bannon is one of the most capable people. He doesn't go around talking about what he's done, who he is, but he is a wartime consigliere. And that's what this Trump White House needs.
MACCALLUM: "Godfather" reference there. Richard, is it time for those kinds of tactics?
RICHARD FOWLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think it is. I think we needed those tactics about three months ago from this White House. So I actually agree with Governor Huckabee on a lot on these. I'm not sure if Steve Bannon is the person to lead this up. But this is similar to what President Clinton did in the `90's when he had Lanny Davis, and he had this sort of -- the team that worked on the scandal stuff and the other team that was working on the agenda. The president has to double track, right? He has that one track dealing with Russia, trying to get to the bottom of these leaks, maintaining his surrogates, making sure all of his surrogates are saying the right thing. On the other track he has to sort of fulfill his, quote, unquote, make America great again agenda, which is failing because he can't seem to get ahead of his own leaks and scandal situation he has going on.
MACCALLUM: So with regard to Jared Kushner -- Mike Huckabee, let me go to you on this. The suggestion is that they want to speak with him, his people have indicated that no one has reached out to them but that they are very willing to answer any questions that they might have. And we've heard pushback from the White House on this saying, yes that was his role. He was reaching out to foreign leaders during the transition and having meetings and discussing things with them as they got ramped up. Do you see any problem here?
HUCKABEE: Well, the problem is that all these publications keep running numerous stories. I mean, an unending -- just flourish of these stories, every one of them sourced by Casper the unfriendly ghost. Not one of them is a name. None of them are anybody other than, official within the administration, intelligence committee source. There's nobody that stood up and said here's what I have and it's serious, and here's my name, you can quote me on that. So it's unfounded rumors and nonsense just to derail and distract from President Trump's agenda.
MACCALLUM: That doesn't keep Democrats, Richard, from suggesting that his security clearances should be revoked because they want to ask him questions.
FOWLER: Well, I think we have to find out what Jared Kushner knows here. Here's where I disagree with the governor on this sort of leak thing. Don't get me wrong, I think this White House has a problem with leaking, and Mr. Apprentice should work on really trying to get to the bottom of these leaks and manage this government. But that being said, you can't get mad at the journalists who're reporting these stories, and a lot of times, Martha, this White House whether they like it or not, they corroborated at the end, right. With that being said, I think we need to find out what we know about this investigation, we need Muller to do his job, we need the senate intelligence committee to do their job, and get to the bottom of who talks to the Russians, what they said, and how do we make sure the Russians never collude in our elections again.
MACCALLUM: I mean, we've been talking to Russians about a lot of things for many, many years, Governor Huckabee. And so far, there's not an indication that there was collusion. There is an ongoing investigation by a special counsel, Robert Mueller. Is there any way -- is this just the way that Washington operates now, or is there any way that this White House can get anything done? Because we all know this is not going away anytime soon.
HUCKABEE: Well, one of the smart things they're doing now, they're realizing you have to play offense and defense. Play offense with their own agenda because they have to play defense, too. If you don't play both ends of the court you're absolutely going to get crushed. And that's why I think bringing Bannon on at this role as defensive coordinator, very smart move. One thing I want to take issue with my good liberal friend Richard Fowler is this.
MACCALLUM: Quickly, please.
HUCKABEE: When he said that the journalists aren't practicing bad journalism, actually, Richard, they are. They're practicing horrible, in fact nonexistent journalism by continuously going with stories that don't have any veracity other than some unnamed source.
MACCALLUM: Present companies excluded of course. I've got to leave it there. So President Trump's 9-day foreign trip winding down, but the media criticism is just revving up with all of this. Chris Wallace has covered multiple White Houses and weighs in on how this trip went, overall, for this White House, very interesting when we come back.
MACCALLUM: Developing tonight, President Trump touchdown in Italy today for his first ever G7 summit. At the top of today's docket for the allies and the world leaders, they were talking about trade and about terror. The president's major focus so far on this fast-paced nine day tour, chief White House correspondent John Roberts joins us now with more from the conference in Sicily.
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Martha, good evening to you. Three reel headlines coming out of today's first day of the G7 summit, first of all, the U.S.-U.K. intelligence sharing relationship is back on a firm footing, second, that the United States is considering increasing sanctions on Russia, and third, that the president is thinking whether to pull out of the Paris climate accord is beginning to, quote, evolve somewhat. Let impact this all, first of all to the intelligence sharing, of course, you know that yesterday the U.K. decided to suspend intelligence of evidence sharing with U.S. counterparts because of leak that were coming out about the Manchester bombing. Teresa May, last night, talk with the president at the NATO summit about it. Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, went to London, today, to apologize to the foreign secretary and it appears that everything is on a firm footing once again.
Second, on Russia, the president chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, yesterday, said that the United States and the president was, quote, looking at Russia sanctions which led some people to believe that the president might be thinking of relaxing the sanctions. At a briefing this afternoon, here in Taormina, Gary Cohn said not so fast, we're thinking of doing exactly the opposite. Here's what Cohn said.
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GARY COHN, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR: We're not lowering our sanctions on Russia. If anything, we would probably look to get tougher on Russia. So, the president wants to continue to go, to keep sanctions in place.
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ROBERTS: And the third big headline on the Paris climate agreement, of course, the president was expected before the G7, Martha, to announce whether or not the U.S. would stay in the climate accord. He decided to delay that decision until after this summit. According to Gary Cohn, again, the economic advisor, the president's thinking on this is evolving. Cohn is saying on the record, quote, I think he's leaning to understanding the European position. He knows in the U.S. there's very strong opinions on both sides, but he also knows that Paris is an important meeting too many of the European leaders. So the president is taking today and again tomorrow to listen to their opinions on this before forming his own opinion and his own decision about what to do. One other thing that happened to note today, during the summit is that all of the leaders got together to sign a joint communique -- a joint statement against terrorism. They do said they all want to get on the same page and act cooperatively, Martha, to sort of act from a position of strength that, you know, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Martha.
MACCALLUM: Very interesting. John, thank you very much. John Roberts is in Italy tonight. So President Trump's nine day journey is starting to head toward the close and throughout, there were some very significant, very pointed moments in terms of the language that we saw the president have towards world leaders, watch.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations. This is a battle between good and evil. This trip is focused on that goal, bringing nations together around the goal of defeating the terrorism that threatens the world.
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So the media focused on some of that, but also elsewhere on what some might argue are the less consequential moments from the trip, watch these.
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MACCALLUM: Chris Wallace joins me know, host of "Fox News Sunday." Chris, good to see you today. We have the orb, we have hand flick, we have the sword dance. We have all of those sorts of colorful things that punctuated the coverage here. But let's start with the serious stuff. What did you make as you look at those speeches and those moments what was the progress made here?
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: I think that this was a very substantial and really largely successful trip by the president. I know there was some concern inside the White House whether they were biting off more than they could chew in these nine days, and traveling all throughout the Middle East and Europe, but it went pretty well. I think when you look at it a week or two from now, or a month or two from now, people are going to point to the weekend in Saudi Arabia and trying to build that Sunni Muslim coalition, 54 nations to fight radical Islamic extremism, Sunni extremism, and to try to isolate Iran. That was really, I think, the most consequential part of this trip. But I think also, the meeting with the European leaders, first at NATO and now the G7, you know, president pretty tough yesterday talking about how the NATO nations need to pay up, need to pay their 2 percent commitment, that didn't plays a lot of the European leaders but I think most people at home are going to think good, good on the president to tell them why they shouldn't be free riders and it shouldn't be on the back of American taxpayers.
MACCALLUM: He got criticized by some who said that he was too friendly, to hand extending to the Saudis given their own relationship with sponsoring terrorism over the years, and too tough on our closest friends in Europe. As you point out, Chris, I think at some ways it's like being with your own family. It's easier to be tougher on them, to be more demanding of them, is it not?
WALLACE: Yeah. And also, I would say this about Saudi Arabia. It wasn't just trying to paper differences over. Yes, he did not talk at least in public about human rights and some are going to criticize him for that. But I will tell you, White House officials say that they've got some teeth along with good rhetoric when it came to those Muslim nations fighting extremism. That they have agreed to cut off financing, both by the government themselves or people inside those countries to radical Islamic groups. And in fact, the treasury department is going to have greater access to be able to monitor whether they're keeping those promises. So that is a significant development, it wasn't just a matter of papering over differences.
MACCALLUM: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, his focus was clearly -- his largest focus on terrorism and recognizing the threat of it around the globe, whether he was in the Middle East or Europe. And President Obama is criticized at times for downplaying it in favor of other things like climate change. Speaking of that, this discussion about the Paris accord, he heads back to Washington, there's no doubt there's a very deep divide among people in the Trump team over whether or not this accord should be kept or to be shelved, and now we're learning is that his thoughts on this are evolving.
WALLACE: Well, that's what one of his advisors said that they're evolving. I will say, I think we could make too much of this because whether the president formally pulls out of the Paris accord or not, he's taken a number of steps in terms of rolling back environmental regulations that are going to make it almost impossible for the U.S. to comply with the kind of guidelines for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that would have been needed to meet the goals. So he could stay in accord, but whether or not -- in fact, there are the policies in place that would allow us to meet our commitments is something different.
MACCALLUM: Just half a minute. But you thoughts in the amount of time the media focused on some of those other moments that we highlighted in the intro, Chris.
WALLACE: Well, you know, my favorite moment -- and I have to say I was a little bit horrified by it is when the president puts the prime minister of Montenegro away so that he can get in front. But what I particularly like is when someone said, well, we're no longer leading from behind.
MACCALLUM: You remind me of a high school kid who wants to get in the front row of a concert. I mean, there was nobody standing in his way at that moment.
WALLACE: I was going to say, there was nobody who is going to keep -- don't put baby in the corner, don't put the president in the second row.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, Chris. Always good to see you, Chris Wallace.
WALLACE: Good to talk to you.
MACCALLUM: So it is Memorial Day weekend, and that means that the engines are starting to revved for the Indy 500. Up next, watch the race but also help our men and women in uniform this weekend. We're going to show you how when we come back.
MACCALLUM: So it's Memorial Day weekend where we remember those who gave their lives in service for our country, and also the brave men and women who serve our country and who are now battling life-changing injuries. At this Sunday's Indy 500, -- host car will have a text to give number for #turnsfortroops and also #soldierstrong, an organization that you may know I'm very much involve. The money that they raise will help provide cutting edge rehabilitation technology to help our troops get back on their feet.
So if you like to learn more the website is at the bottom of the screen. It's a great way to show that you know what Memorial Day is really all about. And here's the quote of the night as we marked the beginning of the month-long observance of Ramadan, as well as the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, President Trump put out this statement today, quote, I will reiterate my message delivered in Riyadh, America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it. During this month of Ramadan, let us be resolved to spare no measure so that we may ensure the future generations will be free of this scourge and able to worship and communion in peace. Thanks for watching, everybody. We'll see you back here on Monday. Tucker Carlson is up next.
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