This is a rush transcript from "The Story," June 15, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Good evening, everybody! I'm Martha MacCallum. Tonight, "The Story" is here at National Park, and so are we. The Congressional Baseball Game is about to get underway given the horrific shooting of five people yesterday, and the still critical condition of Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a man who is on everyone's minds tonight. There will be a moment of silence, shortly. We will take you there when that gets underway.
Lobbyist, Matt Mika, also very seriously injured in this attack. Congressman Steve Scalise's staff though, his Chief of Staff said, "All of team Scalise, current staff, alumni, family, and friends, will be out in full force at tonight's baseball game. It is exactly where Steve would want us to be." So, tonight is about a lot of things: it is about to baseball, it is about camaraderie, and whether there is hope that this act of political violence by a man whose hatred of Republicans led him to attack them while they were practicing baseball on the field of Virginia can possibly lead to greater unity.
Congressman Roger Williams and his legislative aide Zach Barth lived the hell that unfolded yesterday morning, and they are here tonight in solidarity. But we begin with Peter Doocy who's live down at the ballpark just behind me with the breaking details on Majority Whip Scalise's condition tonight. Peter.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL REPORTER: Martha, in the last few minutes, the Republicans have gone to their dugout; the Democrats have gone to their dugout. Each of those parties, political parties, obviously associated with the colors red and blue, but tonight there's a lot of purple and gold on the field. The Republicans and the Democrats wearing Louisiana State University colors on their uniforms, or on their hats to honor their colleague the Congressman Steve Scalise from Louisiana, who is it still 5 miles away tonight at Medstar Hospital where he still lay critically wounded.
His condition has been described as complicated because Scalise needs operations to repair bone damage from the bullet that entered near his right hip, but the bullet also did damage to his internal organs. And those conditions must be addressed first because there has been a lot of internal bleeding that has required multiple blood transfusions. Two of the other gunshot victims from yesterday's ambush in Alexandria are still in the hospital tonight as well. The Capital Police officer, Crystal Greiner, who was shot in the ankle; and the Tyson Foods Lobbyist, Matt Mika, who was shot multiple times and is scheduled for more surgery tomorrow.
And while they recover, the Fed are unearthing a lot of new evidence. The FBI said they have a laptop, phone, and camera belonging to the 66-year-old gunman who is now dead, and they spent a lot of time going through the white conversion van, they believe he's been living in since arriving in Alexandria in March. And say that the two weapons found with the gunmen, a handgun and a rifle, were legally purchased, but they're still working to trace the trajectory of his shots tonight at a ball field across the river that remains closed. This ballpark though, open, even though the Nationals are out of town, and there's so much interest in this red versus blue, Democrat versus Republican, lawmaker baseball game.
20,000 tickets have been sold, and more than a million dollars has been raised for charity. And to put that in the context, they've had this event and just about every year for the last 108 years. They know how many people they need to add to the nationals to set aside pit four, but today they had to call the ball club, the National League Ball Club, and say we need some more room, and the Nationals did accommodate them. And as for that million dollars, that is double what they raised so far and that's just the pre-game total, of course, the game hasn't even started yet.
MACCALLUM: Peter, thank you so much. Let's bring in Fox News Chief National Correspondent, Ed Henry, who combines everything about politics and baseball. He's an expert, of course, in both.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you tonight too, Ed. You know, it's very bittersweet. The enthusiasm, the reason that, you know, there are all these networks lined up here to be here tonight, is because of what happened in that park yesterday morning.
HENRY: At least the lawmakers take this seriously; they play every year in this annual charity game; it goes back to about 1909. And they actually keep stats, and I went and checked Steve Scalise's stats today. And he's been one of their better players on the Republican team in recent years. He is used as a pinch runner a lot because of his speed. He scored four runs in seven seasons. That's a lot for some of these older lawmakers, you know, past their prime, but that's one of this bitter irony is about. Now, he's in the hospitals, as Peter said, five miles away, can't run. You know, he's been medicated. He's now gone through three operations.
And I heard a little nugget from one of his Republican colleagues who told me that Steve Scalise's wife Jennifer and their two very young children were already planning, obviously, before the shooting to come to Washington because the kids wanted to cheer their dad on the ball field. And it breaks your heart to hear those kinds of details. But if there's anything good that comes out of this, as what Peter is reporting, about 20,000 people that maybe here. When I was at Roll Call Newspaper, we sponsored this ballgame. We got nowhere near 20,000 people; Steve Scalise is pulling people together.
MACCALLUM: Yes, he absolutely is. And as you say, he still is in critical condition tonight. Everybody is thinking about Steve Scalise and about Matt Mika, and we're all here at Nationals Park. You can see as the crowd is filling in here, it's fun to watch these guys down there because, you know, they are Members of Congress, they're not professional baseball players, but they are here for this amazing moment in National's Park, in this huge stadium, people are filing and by the thousands down there as we watch them come in.
You know, the big thing that we've all talked about a lot since this happened yesterday morning, Ed, and what a shock it was to everybody, obviously. And we see some of them coming up to the field now. And there's Roger Williams, who you're going to hear from him just a moment on the crutches. He broke his ankle as he went into the dugout running from the shooter, and he is here tonight. You're going to hear from him in just a moment. But the unity question, Ed: can it happen, can it make a difference?
HENRY: You don't want to be pessimistic on a night, like tonight, when we want to be very optimistic. But you hear these lawmakers after 9/11, after various tragedies say, "We're going to come together," and they come together for a brief time and then they go back to their respective corners very quickly. Maybe tonight we're going to see a tribute video, we're expecting from President Trump-that might be why they are gathering now.
MACCALLUM: We should point out that they're getting together, literally, at this moment. They've all joined in the middle of the field.
HENRY: You know the significance, Martha, is getting around second base because remember, Steve Scalise was manning second base on that practice field, not here in National's Park but at that practice field in Alexandria when the horror - the video when you hear the audio of the fifty-
MACCALLUM: You can hear they're chanting behind us, Ed.
MACCALLUM: You can hear everyone chanting: USA. It's a very moving here tonight, I have to say. I mean-
HENRY: And they're coming together for a prayer.
MACCALLUM: And now everyone is kneeling down to pray. Let's take a moment here.
[A MOMENT OF SILENCE]
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
MACCALLUM: A moment of silence, a moment of prayer at second base as we start at Nationals Park on this evening. It's a weighty moment that Steve Scalise is in a hospital just a couple of miles from here, as we have been talking about with Ed Henry. Matt Mika, who is a lobbyist with Tyson Foods received shots in the chest, he has undergone at least two surgeries and is expected to have more. And we also want to remember the Capital Police Officers: Greiner and Bailey, who saved us so many of these-
HENRY: After being wounded, and they get backed off, and they take this man out. And it's remarkable because when you see the significance of Democratic and Republican lawmakers praying together, out by second base here at Nationals Park. Second base, the position that Steve Scalise's played, and where he was shot when he was taking those ground balls. And you know, when you hear that video from yesterday, how awful was the 50, 60 shots going off.
And the accounts of lawmakers who said, Steve Scalise was crawling from second base to the outfield to try to not get shot again. And you don't want to focus on the negative; you want to think about the positive: the cheers we hear behind us now in this crowd. Like I said, when I was at Roll Call Newspaper, we would be lucky to get a couple of thousand people at a minor league ballpark where we did this game originally. Now it's here at Nationals Park, a major league ballpark, that seat 40, 50,000 people. It's not full. But as you said, about 20,000 people, that is a remarkable statement.
HENRY: And we expect President Trump next.
MACCALLUM: We do expect President Trump. We're just listening to some of the singing that is happening on the field. Let's listen to that for a moment.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
MACCALLUM: You hear the cheers going up from the crowd. As we listen to the singing, we listen to the - we observed a moment of silence a just moment ago. We do expect to hear from President Trump in just a moment, you'll see him on the big screen. He has a message that he wants to convey to this entire group gathered here this evening at Nationals Park on a really momentous day when the country tries to pull together after a horrific attack at a practice yesterday, where the GOP was on the field getting ready for this big match tonight which is a huge tradition. So, President Trump in just a moment; Ivanka Trump, we're told, is in the crowd tonight, she is here for the game. And Ed Henry is joining me here as we watch all of this get underway, and they head to their dugouts. They've been practicing for this big moment. They've got a big crowd to watch, Ed.
HENRY: They still want to win the game. But you know, I spoke to Republican House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, a few moments ago and he was saying, "You know who I hope wins tonight? America." He said, "You know, we like to battle. Each wants bragging rights: the Democrats or the Republicans." But he said, "Tonight, we just want a close game, and we want people to come together." And you're right, let's take a step back; it's not just about what happened yesterday. Think about what's happened in the U.K., in France, and the threat of terror all around the world. And we don't know, the FBI, the ATF are still investigating what motivated this shooter yesterday, and whether anyone else is involved. Law enforcement believes right now that nobody else was involved. But the country is on edge right now.
MACCALLUM: It's so on edge, you know. And we need a little baseball. We need a little coming together. I've never experienced the kind of anxiety that exists in the country right now, that some people compare it to the late 60's during the Vietnam War, but there's a lot going on and you can kind of feel a bit of relief tonight. And you have to be impressed with the fact that there was almost no hesitation that this game would indeed go on. It was shortly after the attack yesterday that it was announced, and we're going to hear in a moment from Congressman Williams, and also from Zach Barth, who's one of his legislative aide who-
HENRY: And this moment with President Trump-
MACCALLUM: They're ready to go.
HENRY: Well, think about President Trump yesterday in the immediate aftermath of this, he made a bold statement at White House about unity and coming together, he's faced a lot of criticism for the division in the country right now. Then, last night, on his birthday, he and the first lady go to the hospital to visit Steve Scalise, thank the Capital Police who were there and as you say, Joe Barton, the Republican Manager, coming out now. We expect - as you say, with Congressman Williams as well, we expect a video tribute from President Trump in a moment. This is an opportunity for him, as well, when you talk about the country on edge to bring people together.
MACCALLUM: It certainly is, Ed, and we're watching as they kind of get ready to get this underway. And it's - you know, it's a long-running tradition, about 100 years, they've been playing this game. They did take a couple of breaks during the depression and also during the world wars when these games were not played. There is also a great story about a boat that was happening in the early 1900's and they couldn't find some of the Congressman in order to get a forum. So, I think they're all over the ballpark, so somebody ran over to get them and said: come on, you've got to come back to the vote.
HENRY: And you talk about the heartache from yesterday on this practice field. But I've been to these practice fields with the Democrats and Republicans before, covering it as I covered Congress, and they take it seriously. You know, these are these older members and they want to be in shape, they want to show their constituents, they want to show their colleagues that they still got it. They might not still have it but they want to show it.
MACCALLUM: That's the way men are. And also, they let women start playing in the game in the 1990's, I haven't seen any yet this evening but I'm sure there's one out there.
HENRY: I didn't think you were going to go there, but you want there.
MACCALLUM: Well, you know, it's just a fact. So - I mean, these guys are just living their childhood dreams right now, right? The high fives, they're getting announced at Nationals Park. You know, it's not difficult to imagine why they decide this is something they'd like to do, and that they take it very seriously. We just saw a Scalise sign in the stadium there. And boy, we wish him well, and we pray for him, and we hope that his surgery is successful. He's got, probably, a long road ahead. And it is-
HENRY: Three surgeries already.
MACCALLUM: You know, the other thing we don't know, you talked about the FBI investigation, Ed. And one of the things that we're going to see, I think, on this - when they go into his social media and his laptop, was he targeting anybody in particular? I mean, this is the Majority Whip; this is the person who pulls the boats together. And that's a question that's still unanswered.
HENRY: No doubt about it. And you know, you talk about these lawmakers - we saw Senator Jeff Flake a moment ago, he has the uniform from the Arizona Diamondbacks, his home state. And so, you're right, these guys want to have a little bit of glory, they want to wear the major league uniform. But interesting is, you can see on the Chiron right there, Republicans and Democrats coming together to where caps from LSU, and that's the uniform that Steve Scalise wears hailing from the value state.
MACCALLUM: Indeed it is. And we just saw another Louisiana player down there with an LSU t-shirt, and there the Loudermilk, who is one of the people who has suggested that perhaps Members of Congress, should be able to carry - be armed in order to protect themselves. So, that's something that's going to get a lot of attention. We're going to talk to a couple of Members of Congress about that in just a little while. But Loudermilk is one of those who believed that if your home state allows a concealed and carry permit, you should be able to carry that privilege with you when you come to Washington.
HENRY: There are a growing number of these lawmakers in both parties who say they feel like sitting ducks right now. With this division in the country right now, with the social media, people getting fired up, if you don't vote the way they like it, they don't just say I disagree with you. Now, people get pretty angry and there are concerns.
MACCALLUM: So, let's take a look at the interview that we did earlier this evening with Congressman Williams and Zach Barth, let's take a look.
MACCALLUM: Joining me now, two men who lived to tell a story of yesterday's ambush: Congressman Roger Williams of Texas injured his leg escaping the chaos but he is here tonight serving as the GOP's third base coach while on crutches albeit, he's joined by his legislative aide, Zach Barth, who was shot in the leg. Gentlemen, thank you so much. It is a beautiful night out here. Congressman Williams, let me start with you. When you look at where you were yesterday, and you think about where you woke up this morning and got in here tonight, what's it like 24 hours later as you look back on what happened?
REP. ROGER WILLIAMS, R-TEXAS: Well, it's hard to compare, Martha. It's - what had happened yesterday was something that nobody ever thinks they'll be involved in. But we literally thanked the Capital Police, we've saved 25 Congressman and some staff members. It was a moment that we all have our story. Zach has his story; I have mine. But we can't give enough praise to the Capital Police that, literally, saved a massacre that would've happened yesterday.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, you were huddled in that dugout when officers Greiner and Bailey took this shooter down. Describe for me, Zach, if you can what it was like in those moments when you were waiting in that dugout with Senator Flake and others? What was that like?
ZACH BARTH, CONGRESSIONAL STAFFER: You know it was a harrowing moment from the beginning; I was out in center field shagging fly balls when the shooting started. You know, time kind of stood still after the first crack of the rifle, and somebody said run. And I ran as far away from the shooter as I could. Ran to the right field, you know, corner right field, got down to the ground, there was nowhere for me to go. Then he turned his sights to me and started shooting at me, everything started popping around me.
I got struck in the leg, and at that point, I decided I wasn't going to be a sitting duck for this guy. I needed to get out of there, so I ran down the first base line, jumped in the dugout and that's where I met up with Congressman Williams, we grabbed each other. You know, it was very - you know, there's a lot going on, very stressful. But in that moment, we knew that the Capital Policemen were there, you know. Agents Greiner and Bailey, they were protecting us. And it was scary, it lasted for about ten minutes, we prayed to God, and we had each other and we were just trying to stay alive.
MACCALLUM: You guys have a bond that will never be broken I'm sure, all of you who want to through this. Congressman Williams, when you learn that this shooter was after specifically Republicans what went through your mind? And what you woke up this morning, did you think that all of this was just surreal?
WILLIAMS: I thought that - yes, you know, when he said he was looking at Republicans, you know, I don't know that this Republican-Democrat issue, this man evidently had a lot of anger; he took it out this way. I think we work hard in Congress across the country and dialing down the rhetoric that we sometimes have. And I hope this game, which had to be played tonight, will begin that process of bipartisanship, loving our country, and agreeing to disagree in the proper way. So, I hope this is the beginning of a new era and I think it needs to be. So, this game should've been played and I'm glad that we are playing it.
MACCALLUM: Zach, when you came to Washington, you're a young man. I'm sure you have a lot of dreams about how the thing would be here. How do you feel that this has changed you in terms of your outlook for the future?
BARTH: You know, I don't know that it's really changed all that much, I'm still passionate about what I do, to causes I believe in. You know, I'm a public servant, and I come to work every day for the people we represent. And nothing about that is going to change, you know. If anything, it's going to give me, you know, more drive and more fire to do what I love.
MACCALLUM: You're a remarkable young man, and you are very brave, and you're a great sport to be out here tonight after what happened to you last night. And Congressman Williams, you're the coach for the third base, so how is the GOP team going to do tonight?
WILLIAMS: Well, we got a good team. We won last year, as you know, Martha. And we got a better team that we have last year. If our pitchers throw strikes and we don't make any errors, I think will score runs. I had somebody asked me today, "What's the difference between watching this game tonight, Congressman?" And I say Yankees and Red Sox-it's the same game, it's just in slow motion. That's what we're going to see tonight.
MACCALLUM: Gentlemen, thank you so much. Zach, we wish you a speedy recovery. And again, you are an amazing sport, you've got a lot of the spirit, and we're very glad that you are both OK. Thank God, for those Capitol Hill Police Officers, who saved so many of you and we thank you both for your service to the nation that you're doing here in Washington. Thanks, guys and have a great night.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
BARTH: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: They were both so impressive, and they are having a great night down there, we've seen both of them on the field just moments ago. So, after initially coming together in the wake of this shooting attack, several lawmakers in some ways have become a split again over the issue of threats, death threats, in some cases that have been sent to some of these Members of Congress. Unfortunately, my next guest knows too much about these dangerous threats, this man allegedly called Congresswoman Martha McSally telling her to, "Be careful when she returns to Tucson," and that her days were numbered. Here now Republican Congresswoman, Martha McSally, joins me up here on the rooftop.
REP. MARTHA MCSALLY, R-ARIZONA: How are you?
MACCALLUM: A lot of mixed emotions right now.
MCSALLY: It really is. They just put up Steve's picture, and now he's not here with us, he's still in our prayers, and his family, but we're coming together for an American tradition, were not going to be stopped. We're here, you know, uniting us a team, a Congress, and all the supporters. So, it is bittersweet.
MACCALLUM: Tell me a little bit about what happened to you with this person, because it reflects on the experiences that many people are having these days.
MCSALLY: Well, I also represent Southern Arizona. And in 2011 Gabby Giffords was shot, and we had six people killed, and Gabe Zimmerman, the first Congressional Staffer killed in the line of duty in my community. And so, we had this individual arrested pretty swiftly for three separate threats, indicted on three counts threatening to kill me.
MACCALLUM: I'm sorry, control room? All right, we're going to stop for the national anthem.
MCSALLY: So, I'm going to salute.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
CROWD: Oh, say! Can you see by the dawn's early light what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming. And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say! Does that Star - Spangled Banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
MACCALLUM: Beautiful moment. It is really moving to be here on this spectacular night and to listen to our anthem and to watch all these Members of Congress. You know, Congresswoman McSally, is standing here with me and she was saluting the flag as members of our military and were listening now to this beautiful singing from the field. Tell me a little bit about what that means to you.
MCSALLY: Well, I wore the uniform for 26 years and so many of us put our lives on the line, you know, for our freedom, for that flag. We unite around that flight. And this is a beautiful moment tonight, to be uniting in this moment behind that flag. For those of us were willing to put our lives in line, for our Capitol Police who put their lives on the line every day, for Crystal and David who stopped the massacre from happening. Tonight is about uniting around that flag, and I think not just tonight but tomorrow and beyond.
[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]
MACCALLUM: We're just taking it all in here. We are awaiting a statement from President Trump here shortly. You spoke about unity, and hoping that if goes, and you know, you can remember these moments as you look back - and the color guard is passing as we watch all of this, we want to be respectful of the things that are happening on the field at the same time while we're taking all this in. So, Congressman, what happens now, Congresswoman, in terms of unity?
MCSALLY: Well, now, we need to keep it going, and I think we all need to do our part. I mean, for those of us who are in public office, but really everyone in the country in the community, I think we have to look inside our hearts and ask how we got here. And what can each of us do to have this be a turning point? Crisis always can equal an opportunity, and think now is our opportunity. I'm doing a Facebook live session with my Democratic friend and colleague, Kathleen Rice, to show that kind of unity to have people be able to tune in. We're going to have other members stop by as a guest.
MACCALLUM: It's great.
MCSALLY: You know, again, just to show we are stronger together than we are separate. We agree on more than we disagree on. I've worn the uniform - and the enemy out there in other places that are trying to kill us in our way of life and take it away, and they're not amongst us. We have to remember that and stay true to that. We can have sincerely held disagreements; we can have rigorous debates which we should, but we can still honor each other and maybe listen and maybe learn something from each other. So, I think it really matters the tone, it's hot and boiling right now.
MACCALLUM: It really is.
MCSALLY: The threats were -- happened against me, and the man was arrested. I said to my friend, (INAUDIBLE), I just feel like it's only a matter of time before someone takes action. And sadly, that's happened and it's got to stop.
MACCALLUM: Congresswoman, thank you very much. We couldn't agree more. And we hope that there is some hope for the future in the wake of the sadness and the difficulty and the trauma that has been experienced by those who are in the hospital still. Thank you very much, Congresswoman Martha McSally, joining us tonight. Up next, we are awaiting a message from President Trump. We will be right back with that after the break. Live from Nationals Park with "The Story."
MACCALLUM: What a moment we just witnessed. We want to show this to you at home. This is Officer Bailey who was injured and who took down the shooter with his -- Officer Griner who was also working with him at the field. They showed him as soon as the shooting started to happen. There's Joe Tori, legendary coach of the New York Yankee's, out there with Officer Bailey as he threw out the first pitch. I mean, it is just an incredible night in baseball.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS: Now an official of major league baseball. So he's representing major league baseball, out here tonight, showing support for the capitol police, as law enforcement officials who stepped up yesterday. They probably saved, as you heard on your program last night, a couple of dozen lawmakers, their lives.
MACCALLUM: And you talk about the debate over guns, which we're not going into in this minute, but the man and this woman, these officers, who showed up with their arms saved the lives of probably 15, may be more people yesterday.
HENRY: Lawmakers, and staffers, and others.
MACCALLUM: And they're the first to tell you because they've watch it all play out. And this man is a true hero, Officer David Bailey, we commend him tonight. What a wonderful moment.
HENRY: The ovation was incredible, this crowded just roared.
MACCALLUM: Really beautiful moment. And so we're watching sort of the two sides of the story here tonight, Ed, you have a really good feeling that's happening.
HENRY: Unity here.
MACCALLUM: At this field and coming together. And then you have the divisiveness it's happening out there in the media and in some places on Capitol Hill unfortunately. And one of the stories out there tonight is the New York Times that is now backtracking a bit after publishing a debunked conspiracy theory as fact in an editorial piece called America's lethal politics. They falsely linked Sarah Palin to the 2011's assassination attempt of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Chief national correspondent Ed Henry with me throughout the course of this here tonight, has been looking into this story. This was an egregious error.
HENRY: Yeah, because think about the context, you're talking about a situation where a Republican lawmaker and other Republicans were targeted by a left-wing activist, basically, who said he wanted to go after Republicans based on his Facebook posts and whatnot. You don't have people blaming Bernie Sanders just because this man, the shooter who was now dead volunteered for Bernie Sanders. Nonetheless, the New York Times decided, let's go after Sarah Palin with this debunked theory. Here's what they put in the editorial, in 2011, when Jerry Lee Lochner open fire in a supermarket parking grievously wounding representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear.
Before the shooting, Sarah Palin packs circuited a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under the crosshairs. Now, there's one problem, there's zero evidence that Lochner, the shooter in that case, was actually inspired to do any of that shooting, any of that carnage by Sarah Palin, so now a correction from the Times. An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitements in the 2011 shooting of Gabby Giffords, in fact, no such link was established.
The editorial has been updated to clarify that in the map distributed by a PAC before that shooting, electoral districts, not Democratic lawmakers weren't depicted beneath stylized process. So here in the New York Times that it's always so high and mighty about the separation, church and state, between news and editorial, and then basically just getting the facts completely wrong in this editorial, and smearing a Republican in Sarah Palin at a time when it was actually a Democrat, basically, who went after the Republicans. And you don't hear a lot of people blaming Bernie Sanders today, but the Times decided let's go back to 2011, and let's blame Sarah Palin. It's remarkable.
MACCALLUM: It's bad form to say the very least. Ed, thank you very much. I want to bring in Bill Bennett, who was the host of the Bill Bennett podcast and a Fox News contributor. Bill, a lot -- juxtaposed this evening, were looking at this great shot as they begin this baseball game tonight, and we're just talking about that story of the New York Times which they corrected. But the one line that they added really undercuts the meaning of the entire editorial. So to add one line that corrects it and not apologize for ever printing it in the first place is pretty tricky territory.
BILL BENNETT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah. Well, the New York Times admitted fault for a minute and then corrected itself. It readjusted itself back to its course. This was a very moving moment with Officer Bailey out there. This is the way America works through things, this amazing country. I was thinking of a line from Virgil, here's two things mortals touch the mind, and there are tears for passing things, here to the honorable finds its due. And you heard of the cheers for the honorable Bailey and Griner. There is something to celebrate here.
But look, divisiveness will go on, bitterness will go on, anger will go on. I have a couple of ideas that I think we could use moving forward. Could we start, Martha, at the outer edge and say no more death threats. No more representations of the deaths of your political enemies or your political opposition. Martha McSally is exactly right, these are not our enemies. This is the opposition. Our enemies are ISIS and al Qaeda. But no more death threats, no more holding heads, no more putting the president in the role of Julius Caesar being assassinated, no more blowing of talk about blowing up the White House. Let's all agree to that. Second, maybe as it's against the law to threaten the lives of the president, it should be against the law to threaten the lives of any public official. Can we just start at that point and then see if we can work our way back to greater stability.
MACCALLUM: Great point, Bill. In terms of the president, we are expecting a statement from the president. What role would you like him to play in that?
BENNETT: You know, I've always wanted to do color, I thought that pitch was a little high for a strike, but never mind.
MACCALLUM: The rules are a little different here tonight.
BENNETT: Everybody wants to get on the baseball game. Here I am -- I'm ready to go. The president has been pitch-perfect on this whole thing, and it's great to see that video of the president and Steve Scalise who is a fine congressman and a fine spokesman for Americans truth and values. I love the way the president would see him quietly in the hospital, you know, they didn't use the siren, they stop at stoplights, quite remarkable, good for the president, very good.
MACCALLUM: Bill Bennett, thank you so much, good to see you as always tonight, sir.
BENNETT: You're welcome.
MACCALLUM: Let us know what you think about the balls and strikes, we'll check back with you. So joining me here at the park, Matt Bennett has worked in the area of gun policy for 17 years, including formerly as communications director for Americans for gun safety, and is on the board of Sandy Hook promise. Matt, good to see you as always.
MATT BENNETT, THIRD WAY CO-FOUNDER: Good to be here.
MACCALLUM: Your thoughts as we watch the game get under way and we reflect on what happened yesterday.
MATT BENNETT: Well, you know, unfortunately, in more than 20 years I've been following this issue, we have these horrible tragedies and there's never a silver lining in any of these. And anyone who says there is, is crazy. These are horrific events. However, there can be good that comes from of them, if there is a degree of stability, as Bill Bennett was saying, that we get in our elected officials, that's a good thing. What I would like to see is a degree of movement on gun safety. We haven't had a significant gun safety bill signed into law at the federal level since 1994. I think it's about time (INAUDIBLE)
MACCALLUM: You know, when you look at the cities that have the tougher rules, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and you look at the proliferation of crime in those cities, and that's one of the arguments that people use against more laws. And many people say there're so many laws that we have in the books that we don't enforce. So, you know, is there some middle ground for people who want to have the right to protect themselves and the kind of work that you do.
MATT BENNETT: There's no question. Look, there's a second amendment right to own a gun, the Supreme Court has ruled there is no debate about that. And there is plenty that we can do to protect people's rights to own their guns, people can own as many guns as they want as long as they're law abiding citizens. What we really need to do is close the two big loopholes that were left in the Brady Act in 1993, that is you can buy a gun online or at some gun shows, not all, without going through a background check and that's crazy. Most gun owners think that's nuts. And we've got to close those.
MACCALLUM: do you think there's any hope, you know, for unity -- and we all feel this. I mean, I'm minded tonight of the game after 9/11 when President Bush throughout that pitch, I mean, that is a moment that none of us will ever forget. But unfortunately, they don't last.
MATT BENNETT: They don't. But that kind of cheer gives you a little bit of hope. People cheering for the red and the blue team and that's what America is about. And let's hope that this is a moment where we can turn a corner.
MACCALLUM: We should have a baseball game in the background every night when we do the show.
MATT BENNETT: That will be fantastic.
MACCALLUM: I think it's pretty great. Thank you so much, Matt. Good to see as always.
MATT BENNETT: Good to be here, thanks.
MACCALLUM: Thanks for being here tonight with us. So President Trump making good on his campaign promises to improve the veterans affairs administration, change is coming, V.A. secretary David Shulkin joins us here at Nationals Park with the plans right after this.
MACCALLUM: The Story coming to you live from Nationals Park tonight in Washington, D.C., of the congressional baseball game. And moments ago, we heard from President Trump, we want to show you at home, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I want to thank members of congress, their staffs, and baseball fans across the country for supporting tonight's congressional baseball game. This game is always an important moment for both parties to come together to support charities, build friendships, and celebrate our national pastime. But, as you all know, tonight's game is taking on a much deeper level of meaning, beyond anything that we would have thought.
By playing tonight, you are showing the world that we will not be intimidated by threats, acts of violence, or assaults on our democracy. The game will go on. I want to take a moment to send our thoughts, love and prayers to Congressman Steve Scalise and his entire family. Steve is our friend, he's a patriot, and he's a true fighter. I know you all will be playing extra hard tonight for Steve. We pray for all of the victims of this terrible crime who are still recovering, including Zachary Barth and Matt Micah. Both of whom are respected and cherished by so many.
We also praise special agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey of the capitol police for their heroic deeds that saves so many lives. What a great job they did. And we thank all of the members of the Alexandria fire, police, and rescue. In Washington, we have our disagreements, but we all agree that we are here to serve this nation we love, and the people who call it home. That's the source of unity. And more than ever, we must embrace it so that on this special night, I leave you with three great American words that for generations have torn down barriers, build bridges of unity, and defied those who have sought to pull us apart. Ladies and gentlemen, let's play ball.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: And play ball is what they are doing down there, sometimes falling over each other but they're having a great time. And the crowd is responding as if they were at a major league baseball game behind me. So I'm very happy to tell you that joining me now is our Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Good to see you tonight, secretary.
DAVID SHULKIN, VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY: Glad to be here.
MACCALLUM: What are your thoughts on this event tonight?
SHULKIN: Well, first of all, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Just being here and seeing this excitement of everybody here. But this is really a reminder of what brings us together in this country and it's so great to see.
MACCALLUM: It really is. You know, you have been working hard, and I know your waiting to get all of your people in place at Veterans Affairs. But your department is something that has been very high in the list of this president. In terms of the change that has happened just over the course of this week, something that everyone complained about for so long was that they couldn't fire people who weren't doing a good job at these hospitals. How soon will it be the case that that will start happening?
SHULKIN: Well, on Tuesday, the president is going to sign this bill, and we've been working hard. And, you know, what you see here tonight is really what you're seeing in congress. When it comes to our veterans, there aren't Democrats or Republicans. This is really a bipartisan issue. And so, we saw both the senate and the house work hard to pass the accountability bill, and the president is really excited to sign this.
MACCALLUM: You know, you worked in a prior administration, and I remember the prior head of Veterans Affairs complaining in front of congress, he said, I know that these things are happening in hospitals, but I don't have the authority to fire anybody. Why would the entire administration not want to give him the right to do that? It makes no sense.
SHULKIN: Well, I don't really understand why it's so different now. But, you know, the president is so committed getting this fixed. And I think people have just been fed up not seeing our veterans get the right type of services they need. And now, everybody is rolling in the same direction and everyone wants to see this fixed and that's certainly why I'm here.
MACCALLUM: All right. So how soon after he signs that bill do you expect to start the see some of the dead wood cleared out from these hospitals and the people who are involved in them?
SHULKIN: Well, we're going to be making decisions immediately after he signs this bill. And it's going to be clear to everybody who works in the V.A. that it's a privilege to be there, and that we only want people who are really there for the right reasons.
MACCALLUM: You heard the applause for that.
SHULKIN: Yes, I did.
MACCALLUM: People really like that idea.
MACCALLUM: In terms of another part of the bill that would have cut funding for some of the older veterans. Now, obviously, you want to trim where you can, but you kind of got pushed back on that and changed their mind. Tell everybody what happened with that.
SHULKIN: Well, we've proposed a budget which is a great budget for veterans, it really showed the president -- more money in almost all areas for veterans care. But we look at areas that we think all programs can be improved. And when we took a hard look at it and the president was supportive of this, this proposal that we made was going to hurt too many veterans, it was going to take away money from those who couldn't afforded it, so now we're back looking at different ways that we can make this budget work.
MACCALLUM: So I know that older veterans were very concerned about changing that program which would have given them more money because they -- people who can't look for a job for whatever reason. Is it possible that you would reintroduce that for veterans down the road, in the future, not one's who are benefiting from that now, but change it for future generations?
SHULKIN: Yeah, I do think that there are possibilities that we're looking at. We're going to work with congress to make this work. But if we will designed a new program, I'm not sure we would do it exactly like what we had the program in place right now, but we don't want to be withdrawing benefits from veterans who are relying on it. And we don't want to do anything that will hurt our current veterans. But I think looking at how can we make it work better in the future. That is a responsibility that we have.
MACCALLUM: Have you made it easier for veterans to -- if they're on a waiting list, that they're not getting the care they need to go to a private provider?
SHULKIN: Absolutely. We're doing several things. First of all, we're publishing all of our wait time, so for the first time, veterans can see. But we're also making it easier for them to get into the private sector because we don't want veterans waiting for care.
MACCALLUM: All right. Thank you very much, David Shulkin joining us tonight as we watch the game below us. A lot of excitement going on here at Nationals Park as we -- I can't see the score, can anyone see the score from where you are? We're going to get to the score in just a moment. Let me see if I can turn around and take a look. It's 2-0, the Republicans are winning. Did you know that it's 39 to 39. So in the history of this game being played, Republicans have won 39 times, and the Democrats have won 39 times. So tonight is a very exciting, separate even from all of the very serious reasons that we're gathered here tonight, in these large numbers. This is going to be a tiebreaker because it's 39 to 39. And I think they tied once in the history of this game.
So we also want to bring in some other friends who are joining us this evening, as we move forward here. And you all have been following the story, of course, of the special counsel Robert Mueller who is reportedly widening his Russia investigation to include possible obstruction of justice by President Trump. The president firing back on twitter saying this, they made up a phony collusion with the Russian story, found zero proof. So now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice, he ends it.
Here now is Karl Rove, the former senior advisor to President George W. Bush, and Zac Petkanas, a Democratic strategist and former senior DNC advisor. Gentlemen, we're playing ball as the president said just moments ago. And so we're going to let you play some ball over this issue. Let me bring in Karl first on this, the news broke last night -- and it really wasn't that surprising in some ways, Karl. Everyone likes Karl Rove a lot. They're cheering wildly as you can tell. But the news broke last night that there is this continuing investigation. Something very big is happening on the field right now -- looks like a home run. Big play. Is it a home run? Oh, he's on third. I think he's on third. So Karl, What do you make of this news that the obstruction of justice investigation is going forward.
KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Look, I think it's highly unlikely it's going to result in anything. The president is the head of the executive branch. He has unlimited power to order the end of any investigation. As a former DOJ officials said to me, if John F. Kennedy told J. Edgar Hoover to stop investigating and wiretapping Martin Luther King, would that have made him guilty of obstruction of justice? No it wouldn't. He has the authority. He pays a political price if he does it, but he has a legal authority to do it.
And not only that, but he didn't do it. He said I hope you let him go. Hope is not the same as a demand or an order. And not only that, but the statute, and anybody can Google this, 18 USC 15.05, section 15.05, says that in order to have obstruction, you have to act in a corrupt manner. That would mean that there have to be something the president was trying to hide that personally benefited him. He got part of Michael Flynn's fees from Russia today for attending the dinner from the Turkish businessmen from lobbying on their behalf, or some other extremely weird thing that's just not going to happen. I think this is Performa. I think that having raised the issue, they're going to now just sort of run through it with the three principal people who the president was supposed to talk to besides James Comey.
MACCALLUM: Zac, let me bring you in here, what you think?
ZAC PETKANAS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Sure. What he said is absolute nonsense. I mean just to use his own analogy that we're talking about Martin Luther King Jr. being in our investigation. The only way it would make sense is if Martin Luther King Jr. was a member of Donald Trump's -- JFK's aides, or was one of his top aides and then he called off the investigation. In terms of what Karl said about that he just said he hoped that James Comey does something, that's simply nonsense as well because he actually took action, he fired James Comey. I don't understand the pushback from the White House when he says that they didn't actually do anything because they actually did something to impede the investigation. He fired the FBI director, and then he said very plainly not once but twice, the reason why he did it was because of the Russian investigation.
MACCALLUM: Karl, you want to push back on that?
ROVE: Yeah. Look, first of all, to say this, nonsense that the president the United States is the head of the executive branch with the ability to order this is to ignore the constitution of the United States. I recommend my Democrat friend here go read the constitution. And, yes, if John F. Kennedy ordered the end of an investigation is that somehow different than President Trump if he ordered the end of an investigation? No it's not. And the fact of the matter is the statute requires corrupt activity, corrupt behavior, corrupt conduct, and you can call that phony all you like but it's written in black and white of the U.S. code 18 USC 15.05. Google it when we finish having this fun exchange.
MACCALLUM: All right. Gentlemen, thank you very much. Karl Rove and Zac Petkanas, the argument over obstruction of justice is going to take on a bit of a life of its own in the coming days as those interviews take place, and Robert Mueller will do that as special counsel. But tonight, we are watching this baseball game, and America's leaders taking part in one of America's great pastimes, just 36 hours after the tragedy struck on the baseball field as they practice. Our quote of the night comes from the house chaplain, Father Pat Conroy, and the prayer that he gave to congress and the members who you see on the fields today this morning. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT CONROY, HOUSE CHAPLAIN: We pause to thank you for the courage and sacrificial service of our capital police. Forgive us when we take their daily courageous service for granted. Forgive us also when we seem to forget that words matter and can become seeds that will bring a bitter harvest. Bring speedy healing to our brother Steve Scalise and all those injured in yesterday's shooting. Bring peace and solace to all those affected by yesterday's tragedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: An amazing combination that we have seen of how this country pulls together in difficult times. We all woke up yesterday morning to the shocking news that a gunman had taken down a member of congress, another person who worked on the hill, and had also hit two Capitol Hill police officers who valiant in their duty took that shooter down and protected so many others who were huddled nearby as they tried to hide from that shooter's wrath. Tonight is special, it is about to baseball, it is about unity, it's about what makes America great. We are so proud to be witnessing what we have seen here tonight on this baseball field, and to have heard from President Trump his words of bringing people together of thinking about what matters. We thank you so much for being with us tonight at Nationals Park on this beautiful summer evening as we celebrate what's good.
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