This is a rush transcript from "The Story," June 6, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Breaking tonight, reports say that James Comey will not argue in his testimony that the president tried to obstruct justice in their now famous meeting about National Security Michael Flynn. It's a big development tonight ahead of the testimony; only the two men know what happened in that room. They were actually alone and that time. And now, it sounds like Thursday is going to be testimony before Congress, and perhaps, an ongoing Twitter rebuttal from the president. Stay tuned for more ahead on that tonight.
Good evening, everybody! I'm Martha MacCallum and this is "The Story" for Tuesday, June 6th, the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. And we will recognize our greatest generation tonight as well. But first, to the White House where the president tried to get out from under and get the GOP to focus on his agenda, starting with Senate action on health care.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: If Congress doesn't act to save Americans from this Democrat-inflicted catastrophe, next year is only going to get worse - it'll get a lot worse. I don't know how it can get worse than 203 percent, but I'm sure the Democrats will find a way. Almost every major insurer has already pulled out for 2018. The House took an important first step to rescue Americans from this calamity. The Senate, I'm sure, will follow a suit and get a bill across the finish line this summer that will be great health care for Americans, and I'm looking forward to seeing it-
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, the agenda, as you know, has been mired and overhang from the Russian investigation, the tweet dispute with the London Mayor this week, and of course, the GOP's infighting as Democrats try to use the chaos to their advantage. Joining us now for an exclusive interview tonight House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, who was just in there with the president and the other GOP Leaders at the White House. Sir, welcome, good to have you with us tonight.
REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA., HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: Good to be with you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, how did it go in there and how is progress moving along with all of this?
SCALISE: It went really well. You know, we talked with President Trump and Vice President Pence about moving forward on our agenda, about repeal and replacing ObamaCare, about cutting taxes for families, and creating jobs and getting the economy back on track. And there's been, obviously, good movement in the House. We passed the health care bill. The Senate's working on that. And we talked about the steps that are being taken to get through the Senate so that the bill can pass, ultimately, and get to President Trump's desk, so a lot of really productive conversations about how we get this agenda. Not only moving forward in the House and Senate but signed by President Trump.
MACCALLUM: All right. And I mean, as you say, you guys did your part on the first, you know, Part A; now, it is Part B, and it looks a little tougher in the Senate. You have some very strong dissension-it appears, from Senator Rand Paul. You can only lose a couple of votes. Lindsey Graham was just on moments ago and he seems to be suggesting that he'll do what he can to get to 50, he said. But he said, you know, to the president: "don't own something that you don't have to own." He seems to be leaning towards letting to collapse over time and then bringing Democrats to the table. Why is that a good idea or not?
SCALISE: Well, first of all, we all are seeing the failures of ObamaCare play out across this country. Ohio just had the announcement by Anthem that they're literally pulling out of more and more counties in Ohio-I'm sorry. Iowa already had almost their entire marketplace collapse. In Louisiana-my home state-we've seen over 120 percent increases since ObamaCare took effect. It's not responsible for us to sit by and let this train wreck happen. We're trying to rescue people from the calamities of ObamaCare. And I think that's the right thing to do-it's what we campaigned on, and we've got to deliver. We passed a bill out of the House that will lower premiums and put patients back in charge of the health care while protecting people with pre-existing conditions. I know the Senate is working on that too.
MACCALLUM: But you know, a lot of people criticized - let me just jump in, if I may. A lot of people criticized the House for that big ceremony at the White House saying, you know, "look, you're only at best about a quarter of the way there. You've got a long haul here." And I think one of the things that people on your side of the aisle are concerned about is that there's not enough unity in the GOP, and perhaps not enough support for the president's agenda. Is the Republican Party, 100 percent behind this President on what he wants to accomplish?
SCALISE: Well, I think you saw the House come together very - in a very united way behind President Trump's agenda, specifically, on passing the repeal and replace bill. And now, the ball is in the Senate's court and they're working very hard to get there; I talked to them today, not only with Leader McConnell but John Cornyn, the Senate Whip and they're working very hard to build that same consensus. And look, Martha, they're running into the same issues that we ran into-in the House, and that is we all know ObamaCare is failing.
And I don't think anybody wants to sit on the sidelines and just watch it collapse because it's millions of people who are losing health care, its millions of families that are paying double digit increases with ten, $12,000 deductibles. The law doesn't work; we need to change it. And ultimately, I think there's framework that we passed in the House to show how to do it. If the Senate can make better, that's great but I think it's important to pass a bill.
MACCALLUM: I mean, polls show that this is a very serious issue for a lot of voters out there. They want action on this. And so, just one more time I want to press you on this, can the GOP come together on this issue? You were in there with the Senate leadership; we all know that there's, you know, difficulty with at least two votes on the Senate side. So, how confident are you and when do you think that Americans can expect to see something clear in the Senate and get into the conference? Give us a time frame.
SCALISE: Well, first of all, I think it's imperative that we get this done. And again, we passed it in the House. I'm very confident the Senate can come together and get something passed, too. They've got their own challenges that they're working through. I think you've seen Leader McConnell talk about July 4th is a deadline that they'd like to achieve, you know, getting a bill brought up to the Senate floor and vote-we want to hopefully pass. So, that's a good timeline, I think, to look at. But again, they're doing the work they need to do just like we did in the House. And it's important not just to President Trump, but to the country that we get - that we provide relief for families from ObamaCare.
MACCALLUM: All right. Congressman Steve Scalise, thank you, sir. Always good to see you!
SCALISE: Thanks, great to be with you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, joining me now on how this happened is Ari Fleischer, who served as White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush; and Juan Williams, co-host of "The Five" and a Fox News political analyst. Ari, you heard me pressing him on whether or not the GOP's side can come together, and he obviously is making it sound like, yes, everything's going to be fine, something's going to be passed the Senate by July 4th. What's your take?
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: He has to be right, because if he's wrong, what is the point of having Republicans control the Congress? And the base of the Republican Party will not show up in the 2018 midterm election if they don't get things done, which is what they're there for. So, it is hard. Congress is slow. I remember in Bush's first year, the tax cuts were signed into law in June of 2001-first year of the president's term. The big initiative education didn't get signed into law until January of 2002. So, Congress is always slow, but the challenge here really is, the Senate this summer. Mitch McConnell has got to start to put his foot on the gas and bring those Senators together to make sure that they do pass health care, otherwise, what is the point?
MACCALLUM: Yes. Ari, are you concerned that they are not on the Trump train, so to speak. On the GOP's side, that they're nervous about him, they're nervous about the tweets, they're concerned about this Russia thing, and they're not sure if they really want a, you know, be the one out there on the limb supporting him at this moment?
FLEISCHER: But they should do the exact opposite. They are nervous, they are worried about the president, and the staff, and all the noise that's surrounded the White House. But if that is the case, what you need to do is: be known for something else. And you should be known for doing the people's business. You should be known for passing laws. If you can do that, you will make other noise that's better than the noise that's coming out of the White House. And that's where the public would like Republicans to be focused on.
MACCALLUM: All right. Let's put one of the president's tweets up there. And I want to get, Juan, your thoughts on this. He says, "The fake MSM (Mainstream Media), working so hard trying to get me not to use social media. They hate that I get the honest and unfiltered message out." Is this stepping on his agenda or is it helping it, Juan?
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST AND "THE FIVE" CO-HOST: Well, he's obviously stepping on his agenda. He had a very bad exchange after the London attack, and I think it undermined not only the relations with the British; we've seen the Prime Minister Theresa May, the Mayor of London, all fired back at President Trump, even the acting U.S. Ambassador to Britain from the United States-disagreeing with his boss. So, I don't - but undermining the case for the travel ban, I think, was particularly pernicious if you are concerned about the agenda. I mean, even some of his biggest followers, you know, Kellyanne Conway's husband: George, saying, this is just not helpful if you are trying to win by votes on the Supreme Court.
But let me - just allow me a moment, Martha, just to respond to Ari Fleischer. Because I think, Ari is right when he says this is what was promised. But the reality is at the moment that if the Republicans are to try to achieve something on health care, they have only about nine days. Now, to the 15th of this month because they have to get it done by then to get it scored by the Congressional Budget Office, which is required under the reconciliation approach they're taking. And then, you'd have to talk about a conference with the House. And we know how divided and how narrow the victory was in the House. So, I just - I think I understand: Ari Fleischer gives good advice, but it's not realistic. I think you can't sell this to the American people as realistic at this point.
MACCALLUM: I think, Ari that people are so fed up hearing that Congress doesn't have enough time to get stuff done. I mean, years go by, and you hear the same argument over and over again: "Well, after the recess; and before the election; and after the election." I mean, it's just - it's ludicrous!
FLEISCHER: The American people have been saying about Washington for years: "Wake me up when it's over." When you people stop fighting and stop arguing, just wake me up. But what they do want Washington to do is to pass laws, and then involves Congress, involves the White House. I actually have faith in Mitch McConnell. I think he is a man who really does understand the nuances of the timing of the Senate when to push when to let up. And he's pushing now because he needs to.
MACCALLUM: But Ari, they thought if they got the House, and the Senate, and then White House, and this man of action-this President who was going to shake things up in Washington that it was going to be different. And the window on that, I think, might be closing.
FLEISCHER: But Martha, that's why I gave you the example of what happened in the first year of George Bush.
FLEISCHER: We had a Republican Congress for at least a short period of time and the Senate. Congress is slow. And even an outsider like Donald Trump cannot change that. But still, what Republicans have to do is focus on their knitting that they need to pass the law. And that's -
WILLIAMS: But Ari, I think the knitting at the moment-
FLEISCHER: If they don't do that, the only thing people will know is Donald Trump's tweets and all the controversies.
WILLIAMS: But I think the knitting at the moment from Speaker McConnell's perspective is tax reform, and that is the big ticket-that and the federal budget after September. And he thinks you got to get these other stuff out of the way, and he just going to have a vote and say, you know what, we gave it the old try guys, but not possible.
MACCALLUM: Oh my Gosh! Sounds familiar, right, everybody? All right, thank you so much. Thanks, Juan. Thanks, Ari. So, coming up next DHS Secretary, John Kelly says that our safety is at risk without President Trump's travel ban. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: It has nothing to do with religion or skin color, or the way they live their lives, but all about security for the United States and nothing else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: As London's Mayor says President Trump is not welcome in the U.K., the president is not backing down. And today, this scene at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Is this the world we live in now? Former House Intelligence Chairman, Pete Hoekstra, joins us on that shocking picture. And also these shocking new details about the Georgia DOJ Contractor, Reality Winner, is her name, accused of leaking documents that prove Russia tried to hack our election. Judge Andrew Napolitano on what kind of shape she is in, legally when we come back.
MACCALLUM: So, this is the scene today at the world-renowned Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France-on the right-hand side of your screen. And that was the scene in London that you just saw moments in England on Saturday, as throngs of people were running away and many of them had to put their hands behind their heads in order to get out of there safely. So, these are exactly the images that terrorists want to see so that we can keep them on the run and keep America safe. How do we do that?
Watch this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: There are more terrorist hotspots and foot soldiers now than almost any time in modern history. We expect that some will look to travel to the United States to carry out attacks. With this context in mind, the president has issued a clear direction in the form of an executive order to the entire executive branch to prevent the entry of aliens who seek to do us harm. I can tell you right now, because of the injunctions, I'm not fully confident that we're doing the best we - all that we can to weed out potential wrongdoers. Bottom line: I've been enjoined from doing things that I know would make America safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Here now, former House Intelligence Chairman, Pete Hoekstra. Pete, when I hear those words ringing through my head, I can only imagine if something happens here. And then, we will replay that sound bite of Kelly, the Homeland Security Secretary, saying that he didn't have what we needed and that the vetting, the ban, that the president want to put in place was necessary.
PETE HOEKSTRA, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: That's exactly right. It's really almost unprecedented that the courts are taking this kind of action and limiting the president and the executive branch's ability to keep America safe. You know, this travel pause, all he's saying is from six countries that are failed states where we can't properly vet. Let's have a pause until we can put in place the proper procedures to make sure that we know who's coming in, and we've made a conscious decision and a conscious vetting process.
MACCALLUM: You know, a lot of people look at the way the president talks about this, though, and they say he's his own worst enemy because what he wants is-sounds quite practical when put the way that you put it. But let's put the tweet - of his tweets, recent, in the past 24 hours or so on the screen where he says, "that's right, we need a travel ban for certain dangerous countries, not some politically correct term that won't help us protect our people!" But calling it a ban is precisely what, you know, got the hairs on the necks of these judges standing up straight and said, you know, you can do that, it goes back to your rhetoric from the campaign trail, and it looks like you want to keep people of one certain religion out of here.
HOEKSTRA: Well, it has nothing to do with religion. He talks about country. You know, and actually, when you think about it, a ban of people coming in from Libya, from Yemen, places that are failed states where you can't do anything right now to go through and identify the people trying to come in, a ban might not be a bad thing. But what he's asking for, right now, is just a pause. He might say a ban is the best thing. But guess what, the court say, I can't do that. So, I'll go with a pause, as much as I'd like to have the ban.
MACCALLUM: All right. I want to play a sound bite from Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, and get your reaction to this.
HOEKSTRA: All right. Yes. OK.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: I don't think we should run under the carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances were his policies go against everything we stand for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: It's that, Pete.
HOEKSTRA: The "everything we stand for." This is one where or the U.K. has admitted that they have made serious mistakes in their war, in their maintaining the threat against radical jihadists. They've let way too many people into the country that posed a threat. Once they have gotten into the country, they've let them espouse, and to Germany this ideology that has led to the attacks in Manchester and London. Our President is saying let's not make the same mistakes that they've made in London, that they've made in the U.K. Sure, we're allies, but that's - you know, our President stands against everything that, you know, that they stand for, absolutely. That's - it's outrageous.
MACCALLUM: I want to put up, very quickly, the picture of Youssef Zaghba, because we show the other two individuals yesterday. He was once arrested trying to get into Syria, and then he was released. So, once again, you know, it seems that if you could just - you know if someone leaves the country to travel to an area where it appears that they may be training, don't let them back in.
HOEKSTRA: I think if they're going to Syria, if they're going to Iraq, they're going to Libya, they are gone. Revoke their passport, they can't come back. They've indicated who they are and what they want to accomplish. Put in place the laws and the legal framework to keep their mouth, to keep them out of the United States, to keep them out of Europe. And let them go to the Middle East. Let - you know, don't let come back.
MACCALLUM: If you could stay - you want to stay? Stay. If you want to leave, you have to understand that you're probably not going to be able to get back into the country. And if you're willing to take that risk, then, go ahead, right? Pete Hoekstra, thank you, sir.
HOEKSTRA: It's - yes. It's their choice.
MACCALLUM: Always good to see you. Thank you. So, we are learning more tonight about the story that we gave you last evening about the potential motive of a Georgia woman allegedly at the heart of a bombshell leak that confirms that Russia attacked our voting system, or attempted to attack the voting system, prior to the 2016 election. So, we now know that this young lady, 25-year-old, Reality Winner, is her name, was apparently no fan of President Trump.
Her social media accounts loadable expletives written criticism of him. Like this one, "I'm losing my mind. If you voted for this piece of-you can figure out the rest- explain this. He's lying. He's blatantly lying and the second largest supply freshwater and country is now at risk. #NoDAPL #NeverMyPresident #Resist." She's a contractor for the federal government. Here now: Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano. Judge, you know, starting just fresh off of that, I mean, she has every right to tweet whatever she wants.
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: Right. It's probably inappropriate that somebody that has a National Security clearance and who therefore works for the president. Remember, the NSA is in the military; she's a contractor for the military, expresses views like that. But she does have a constitutional right to do it. But I would argue that she actually helped the president by what she released. Because she released a reputable proof that the NSA knew that the Russians attempted to affect the outcome of the election by planting cookies.
You know, attractive links, in a 122 city and county clerks around the country who in the business of counting votes. And if any employees in one of those 122 offices clicked on the link, then, the hacker would be able to manipulate the outcome. President Obama denied that this happened. We now know that his NSA knew that it happened. President Putin, who none of us really believed, denied that it happen. We now know that he was lying.
MACCALLUM: Why did President Obama deny it happened?
NAPOLITANO: Well, who knows why President Obama said what he said. But he denied as late as Christmas, with Christmas time 2016-
MACCALLUM: There was anything that actually effective voting?
NAPOLITANO: Correct, which was after the NSA gathered the information that this woman released last week.
MACCALLUM: But they're not saying that there was an impact on the voting outcome in these countries, correct? They're saying that it was "attempted." That they tried to infiltrate the election but they weren't successful.
NAPOLITANO: Do we actually - if you read the report, the NSA acknowledges in the report that it does not know whether or not any of these cookies was linked, whether or not there was any manipulation. But it knows for certain that hackers in Russia access the tabulation software of 122 counties and cities in the United States. And this woman, and she's in legal trouble, she's going to be prosecuted for it even though I don't anybody responded to her.
MACCALLUM: Will it be like she'll go to jail?
NAPOLITANO: I think she will go to jail. The president is aggressive on prosecuting leaks, even links that helped him. She revealed that the NSA knew about this and that there was no connection between it and the Trump campaign.
MACCALLUM: OK. Judge Napolitano, as always, thank you.
NAPOLITANO: You're welcome.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you.
NAPOLITANO: There are bad leaks and there are good leaks.
MACCALLUM: Depending on who you are.
MACCALLUM: Thank you very much. All right, so still ahead tonight, new developments coming up this evening and the brutal death of Penn State fraternity pledge Timothy Piazza: a story we have followed since the beginning. Four months later, the university is now making changes to the Greek system. Is it too little, too late? The Piazza family attorney tells us exactly what the school is really doing. But first, there are two big breaking stories tonight out of Washington.
New details on why we won't hear from fired FBI Director James Comey in terms of what we won't hear, rather, in that testimony on Thursday. We'll tell you that. And a new report says that Attorney General Jeff Sessions considered resigning over the tension that he currently has with President Trump. The big story tonight! Ed Henry, standing by at the White House breaking details on both of these, right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What message do you have for Comey ahead of his testimony?
TRUMP: I wish him luck. Thank you, everybody!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, reports just hours ago that former FBI Director, James Comey, is unlikely to say that the president attempted to obstruct his investigation into former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. ABC's Jonathan Karl tweeting this at 2:31 Eastern today: "Comey will stop short of saying @realDonaldTrump obstructed Flynn investigation." Ed Henry joins us now with the backstory tonight from the White House where there is also news about the apparently short-lived war room that was assembled to try to fight that Russia story. Ed, good evening to you!
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Martha. There is still angst tonight here at the White House among some of the president's advisors over the fact that even if James Comey's testimony, as you suggest, could wind up being underwhelming, they still expect here that the media is going to hype this beyond belief. And remember, NBC's Chuck Todd, on the last couple of days, declared that this will be on par with the hearings over Watergate, a Ron Contra, and Anita Hill.
And that virtually, the whole nation will stop to watch at least some of the sensational moments of Comey's testimony. Because in addition to Fox and the cable channels, all of the big three networks are planning to give the former FBI Director gavel to gavel coverage on Thursday. Chuck Todd promising this testimony could "shake the country." Except - remember, that before he was fired, Comey testified under oath that his Russia investigation had not been impeded. And now as you noted, ABC News adding tonight that in fact, Comey had told a friend that he will testify on Thursday, that the president did not try to obstruct justice. Interesting because the president himself here today at the White House seems to be trying to lower the temperature of what has been a testy relationship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: What message do you have for James Comey ahead of his testimony?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I wish him luck. Thank you, everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: He wishes him luck. But still, the specter of Comey under the bright lights, on camera for the first time, detailing his meetings and phone calls with the president, could be politically damaging and we are learning the president may not have as strong a team as they were hoping to defend him because the vaunted war room we've been reported on, in which he wanted to staff it up with advisors like David Bossie, Corey Lewandowski, for rapid response to Russia investigations, may be falling apart. Politico saying that the president has decided that it makes more sense to instead have the operation run out of New York by Marc Kasowitz, his street fighting outside attorney in New York, who benefits from being close to the president. But some of the president other advisors worry that this attorney sometimes gets the president a bit wound up. And that leads us to what the president himself be doing on Thursday.
Press secretary Sean Spicer today said, look, the president has a busy schedule. He's going to be speaking to religious leaders on Thursday, making it like he's not going to be paying attention to Comey's testimony. But Robert Costa of the Washington Post who has good sources, he says tonight that he hears the president may be tweeting on Thursday, reacting to Comey in real time. We've never seen that before, Martha. A president live tweeting a congressional testimony like this.
MACCALLUM: I mean you just can't make it up. But, yes, it seems that is a possibility, as you report, as well, that the president could be weighing in while we're watching this because it's really two men who were in that room who had two different takes on what happened in there. Before I let you go, I want to ask you about this other news that is breaking tonight, that Jeff Sessions may have offered to resign.
MACCALLUM: There's been friction between the president and Jeff Sessions over his decision to recuse himself from this Russia story.
HENRY: Yes, this could be explosive tonight. Interesting, Martha, I just spoke to a White House official, they're say they simply not commenting on these reports we're hearing that Jeff Sessions at one point, offered to resign as attorney general. The president, the New York Times is reporting tonight, said, no, declined to accept that offer of resignation. Nonetheless, that tension still exists because remember, what the president is mad at. He's mad that months ago, Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russian investigations because of his own role in the Trump campaign, and the president believes that led to Robert Mueller being named as special counsel because they could not keep this investigation at the justice department, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. It also surfaced that he had had a meeting with Kislyak, and all of that sort of went into the big ball of wax. Thank you so much.
HENRY: Good to see you.
MACCALLUM: So here now with more tonight, Marc Thiessen, former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush, and a Fox News contributor, and Emily Tisch Sussman, campaign director at the center for American Progress Action Fund. Welcome to both of you. It strikes me also -- you know, I think it's interesting that James Comey -- because he's been sort of sending out little smoke signals about different things over the course of this because he hasn't spoken out since he said that he had notes and put that out there about his meeting with President Trump. But Marc, the other thing that appears to be stuck in his craw, and many would say rightfully so, is that the president said that he told him three times that he was not under investigation. That also may be something that he wants to come clean on and tell his side of the story on Thursday, Marc.
MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it's entirely possible. And look, this is a self-inflicted wound by the president. He should have never fired James Comey in the way he did. He should have never insulted him. He should have never put that in the letter. He should have not tweeted about him constantly. So he's all this drama that's coming up has been created by Donald Trump. What Donald Trump needs to do is treat this as a big wave that is coming at him. And what you do with a big wave is you dock. You go under the water, let the wave pass, and then get off and start swimming again. He needs to be president of the United States. He needs to stop tweeting about Russia. He needs to stop tweeting about Comey.
THIESSEN: I would be against live tweeting. That would be insane. What Sean Spicer said is that the president has a busy schedule. He's going to be talking to religious leaders. He should just be as presidential as he can on Thursday. Let Comey have his day. All this buildup has come to this moment. Let it happen, it will pass. People will talk about it. They would talk less about it if Donald Trump doesn't pour logs on the fire, and gasoline on the fire by adding his own commentary. Let it go away.
MACCALLUM: All right.
THIESSEN: Duck the waves and then move on and be president of the United States, for crying out loud.
MACCALLUM: And Emily, I'm sure that everyone who's in opposition to the president will be perfectly happy to let the waves go right over and wash on to the shore and let it all go away, right.
EMILY TISH SUSSMAN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR: Look, I couldn't be in stronger agreement with Marc. Trump is absolutely making it a bigger deal more than the media circuit. It ends up feeling like a page out of House of Cards, or something like that. But the reality is it's very serious. We do know that Russians hacked the election. We know that from 17 different agencies. We do know that Trump then fired Comey. And now, Comey act is being called to actually testify to what interacted, and whether he feels like he was fired because of the investigation potentially into Trump. That is very serious. And that we should take seriously.
And I think to make it a large circus, the American people deserve better than this. They deserve a president who can actually focus on the issue at hand where he appears to be being driven by narcissism and bad decisions. Firing your nonpartisan FBI director in the middle of an investigation as to whether a foreign power hacked into our election is a very big problem.
MACCALLUM: All right. I want to get your thoughts on this. This is Sean Spicer at the briefing today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: How would you describe the president's level of confidence in the attorney general Jeff Sessions?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I have not had a discussion with him about that.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Last time you said that, there was a development.
SPICER: I'm answering a question, which is I have not had that discussion with him.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) confident in his attorney general?
SPICER: I said I have not had a discussion with him on the question. If I haven't had a discussion with him about a subject, I cannot to speak about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SUSSMAN: They're only four months into the presidency, not great.
MACCALLUM: Marc, your thoughts?
THIESSEN: Yeah. I mean, the last thing that Donald Trump needs is more chaos, right? Firing his attorney general or raising questions about whether he's going to fire his attorney general, these are things that he does not need. What Donald Trump needs to do is do what he did on his foreign trip. What was the great thing about that foreign trip he went on, for ten glorious days there was not a single tweet about James Comey or Russia or fake news. He gave a great speech in Saudi Arabia. He met with the pope. He met with world leaders. He defused a crisis over intelligence leaks with the British. He was president for ten days. And then, as soon as he came back, it was tweet storm. Self-destructing tweet storm after self- destructing tweet storm. Just stop.
MACCALLUM: That's a tongue twister.
THIESSEN: That was the best week of your presidency, keep it up.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, guys. I've got to go. Emily, thank you. Marc, thank you. We're out of time. Thank you, guys. We'll see you next time. So coming up, still ahead, why these students may be very unhappy about the new pick of the education department, and why he just may give many in America hope for higher education.
MACCALLUM: The education secretary Betsy DeVos naming first amendment advocate Adam Kissel as her deputy for higher education. He's expected to bring some very big changes to college campuses. Trace Gallagher in our West Coast newsroom with more tonight. Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS: Martha, Adam Kissel has long been the defender of students rights and academic freedoms, and there are many who believe Kissel will strongly push back against guidance that was issued during the Obama administration, concerning campus sexual violence, specifically the 2011 dear colleague letter that said, when it comes to sexual misconduct, colleges should not use the beyond a reasonable doubt standard but instead a preponderance of evidence standard. In other words, more likely than not that a student is guilty. In a 2011 off ad published in the Huffington Post, Adam Kissel wrote, quoting, how does it make sense to trust campus judiciaries with getting serious crimes right under the lower standards? When students often or not even allowed to have attorneys or to face their accusers and cross-examine them.
Washington Democratic senator Patty Murray, the ranking member of the senate education committee, has not responded to Kissel's appointment, saying, quote, I'm deeply troubled this higher is another concerning sign that President Trump plans to make it more difficult for survivors of campus sexual violence to get justice. Democrats are also criticizing Kissel's years of working for the Koch foundation, which has given millions of dollars to create college programs that promote conservative and free- market ideas. Kissel himself has many times argued that colleges are intolerant of diverse ideas and silence those they disagree with. Martha.
MACCALLUM: Fascinating. Trace, thank you. So joining us with more, Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, Richard Fowler, senior fellow at the New Leader Counsel, both are Fox News contributors. Welcome to both of you. Richard, let me start with you. This is an issue that I have done a lot in. I did an hour-long documentary on what's going-on on campuses with these sorts of judiciaries that are made up of three professors who have no necessary background in sexual assault cases, who decide the fate of the accused on their own, and that accused is often not allowed to even have an attorney present. So, how is that due process? How is that right? And how is the Obama administration get away with that?
RICHARD FOWLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, here's the thing. I think we have to do a little bit more around how we deal with sexual assault on campuses. I'm not sure if this pick is the right pick to do that. But I think that there is some middle ground that both conservatives and progressive members in the senate can come to on how we deal with this issue. My problem is Mr. Kissel has less to do with that and more to do the fact that he has no experience, actually, administrating higher education programs, is what his position does, his position sort of aims at helping institutions, providing guidance, providing dear college letters on how to implement federal laws and on guidance on whether the best practices in higher education institution. This individual has never worked for a higher education institution, number one. Number two, he has no experience in it. And number three, I have no problem with the president getting his team, but I would hope his team would be qualified. And this individual -- secretary isn't qualified.
MACCALLUM: All right, let's get Mollie perspective. Mollie, what do you think?
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: This is a man who has work in higher education policy for decades. He's one of the most preeminent scholars on this. In terms of understanding the importance of free speech for students and faculty, and understanding the importance of due process rights for students. There is no reason, no justification for a student losing their due process rights simply because they are on a college campus. It's actually quite disturbing that people might think that you don't have those due process rights. This is a guy who has literally written the book on these things, understands the importance of good guidance, good policymaking. This was something that the Obama administration definitely messed up on in terms of protecting first amendment and due process rights for students, and is far overdue that we correct this.
FOWLER: But Mollie, two things here, one, he has no experience in actually administering policy, number one. And number two, he has no experience in writing policy that will become law. Without those two things he's incapable of doing this job.
HEMINGWAY: Well, actually, the one thing we know is that most administrators at college campuses are doing a really bad job administrating college campuses.
MACCALLUM: And some of them have quite a bit of experience at it.
HEMINGWAY: . it's not -- but also he has been battling campuses that have problems where they don't.
FOWLER: Just because he's been battling campuses, that's a qualification?
HEMINGWAY: Well, actually, I think that when you're looking at what's happening on college campuses right now in the real world, there is a huge problem across the country where students aren't being educated. They're losing their rights. They can't have free discussion. And I think people recognize it's time for a serious change. And the fact of the federal government has been part of the reason why we're having a limitation of freedoms on campuses is something that needs to be corrected.
FOWLER: It's his position only revolved around protecting freedoms on campuses and the work he did on -- and I think he would be even more than qualified. But this position requires limitation of access to facilitate programs for low axis, first generation students, individuals with disabilities in higher education, encouraging low income families to get involved in the higher education process. He has no experience in any of that. So I'm not sure how we supposed to be able to do the job.
MACCALLUM: The education secretary is allowed to pick the person that she would like to be her deputy.
MACCALLUM: And they obviously have things on their own agenda that they would like to put forward, including more tolerance, more due process on campus. So shouldn't she be allowed to pick the person that she'd like to help her in the work that she's doing?
FOWLER: Martha, is obvious that Betsy DeVos and Kissel have a clear agenda here. That's not the problem. The agenda in the problem is the fact that he's not qualified, remotely.
MACCALLUM: All right, you made that point. Thank you very much. Richard and Mollie, we got to go. I'm sorry guys. Thank you so much. So coming up next, new developments tonight in the brutal death of Penn State fraternity pledge Timothy Piazza, a story we've been following here very closely. Now the university has made changes that you need to know about. Is it too little, too late? The Piazza family attorney Thomas Klein is here next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's going on today?
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: We have a friend who's unconscious. He hasn't move, probably going to need an ambulance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That was a 911 call from Penn State's Beta Theta Pi Fraternity back in February. The call came way too late to save Timothy Piazza. It was 12 hours after he drank a dangerous amount of alcohol, hit his head multiple times, and was left for dead by his fraternity brothers. Now, Penn State says they're making changes in the wake of this horrific event, including zero tolerance for hazing, no underage drinking, and the university will take control of all investigations. But that is not enough for the family of Tim Piazza. Joining me now, Thomas Kline, attorney representing the family. Thomas, welcome back to the program tonight. We've been waiting for this new initiatives to come from Penn State to get a sense for how serious they are about their respond, what do you make of it?
THOMAS KLINE, ATTORNEY: Sure. Well, the initiatives are just that. They are proposals. Penn State has not taken any action. And there's a difference between words and actions. We support the words. We now look forward to the actions.
MACCALLUM: So the university has said that they will monitor and oversee. What do you think they mean by that exactly? Are they going to be standing in these fraternity houses or have a representative there during these pledging rights, also known as hazing?
KLINE: Martha, that's the point. We don't know. The Piazzas have asked for change. Penn State has committed to change. Change is needed throughout the country and fraternity life and on campuses, where hazing, underage drinking, and other abuses are out of control. The problem is that the devil is in the details. We don't have one detail on paper. We don't have one policy, one procedure, one regulation. Any disciplinary rules actually put to paper. The therefore clause of the resolution adopted by the Penn State board of trustees literally says that the board of trustees authorizes themselves and the president to get back to themselves to formulate an implementation of the policies. That's the difference in which we have with Penn State right now, not their motive, not their plan to make changes, but rather, what are these changes going to be? At Penn State, there is a notorious and lengthy past year, which has led us to believe that there might not be fruitful, meaningful changes. We're looking for meaningful changes and that means the implementation of actual rules, regulations, policies, and procedures.
MACCALLUM: We've detailed the video that exists of Tim Piazza's death, essentially, what led to his death. Let's play a moment of my interview with the family about that video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I really don't want to see the video, but when I have said is that if the president of the university and the board of trustees watch the video with me, I'll do it. Because they're capable of making significant change and that's really what we want to see.
MACCALLUM: Have you ask him to sit down and watch it with you?
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I think after today, I have.
MACCALLUM: Do you think he will do that?
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Eric Barron, the president of Penn State, just about 20 seconds, is that ever going to happen and will it make a difference?
KLINE: Well, we'll see if it happens. The invitation remains open. It would make a difference because President Barron should not only carefully read every word of the grand jury report, but he should also see what actually happened to Tim Piazza. It's very painful, to state the obvious, for Piazza's, for my clients, but the president of the university should see what happened.
MACCALLUM: Thomas Kline, thank you. We'll have you back for more. Thank you, sir. Quick break and we'll be right back with more.
MACCALLUM: Seventy three years ago today, allied forces landed in France on D-day. It was a day that we change the course of the world, thanks to our brave, greater generation, and their defeat of Nazi Germany. They heard these encouraging words. You're about to embark upon a great crusade toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The freemen of the world are marching together to victory. I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory. And that they did. Thanks for watching. Tucker is up next.
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