Transcript

Obama seeking to undermine Trump?; NY federal prosecutor joins Mueller's Russia probe

Obama visits South Korea just days after President Moon met with Trump; reaction from Pete Hoekstra, former House Intelligence Committee chairman, and Marie Harf, Fox News contributor and former State Department spokesperson

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," July 3, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SANDRA SMITH, GUEST HOST: Breaking tonight, President Trump about to board Air Force One to head back to the White House after a weekend getaway at his golf club in New Jersey. His return to Washington comes with a big agenda: from ongoing health care talks to preparing for his second foreign trip as commander-in-chief and his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President, Vladimir Putin. But all his critics want to talk about: are the tweets. That's "The Story." Good evening, I'm Sandra Smith in for Martha MacCallum.

Over the last 48 hours, President Trump stepping up criticism of the mainstream media like this tweet today: "At some point, the fake news media will be forced to discuss our great job numbers, a strong economy, success with ISIS, the border and so much else." But it's something else that has critics accusing the President of inciting violence against the media. Chief national correspondent, Ed Henry, live at the White House with more. Good evening, Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Sandra, despite the frenzy over all of those tweets, President has spent a good part of this weekend working on that substantive agenda you mentioned such as health care. I'm told that he spoke by phone to at least one Senator who is still wavering about whether to support that important Senate bill that the Republicans are trying to rally around. Meanwhile, his Senior Strategist, Steve Bannon, is reportedly bouncing around a tax plan that is bold but may be quite controversial on the right.

Bannon pushing for tax hikes on the rich in order to get tax cuts for the middle class and poor. And the President prepping for that second foreign trip you mentioned; speaking today by phone to leaders of France, Germany, and Italy ahead of this week's G-20 Summit, where the nuclear threat from North Korea, one of many big challenges discussed. Which is why yesterday, the President also spoke in separate calls to the President of China and the Prime Minister of Japan, trying to keep that pressure on the rogue nation of North Korea.

It was the President himself, though, with all of these pressing issues, who tweeted out that video that showed him pummeling CNN. This was spliced video from an old appearance the President made on WWE: "fake wrestling," which he pointed out, but some of the President's allies used that to say it was all a joke, while a series of pundits at CNN have been treating this as something far more serious.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm a CNN commentator. I think that is unacceptable. I think that is the President of the United States taking things way too far. It's an incitement to violence. He's going to get somebody killed in the media.

CARL BERNSTEIN, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: It's not just anti- CNN; it's anti-freedom of the press, it's anti-freedom of speech. It is a definitive statement by the President of the United States.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Is this President trying to impersonate Hugo Chavez? Recep Tayyip Erdogan? Vladimir Putin? This is exactly the kind of language the leaders use when they are trying to undermine the press.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: So, you can see some hysterical responses but also some serious Republicans who did come forward and say that they have concerns. Measured responses to these tweets, GOP Senator Ben Sasse, for example, declaring that the President should simply stop weaponizing distrust to the media, as he said, and focus instead on that packed agenda we mentioned. Sandra.

SMITH: All right, a lot going on. Ed Henry, thank you.

HENRY: Good to see you.

SMITH: Chris Stirewalt is Fox News politics editor; Katrina Pierson is spokesperson for America First Policy and former Trump campaign spokesperson; and Michael Starr Hopkins is a Democratic strategist. All right, Katrina, I'm going to start with you first. Because, perhaps, you can lend some different perspectives that what we are hearing because everyone's had a chance to digest that tweet from the President yesterday. But you know him so well, is the reaction he is getting warranted, Katrina?

KATRINA PIERSON, SPOKESPERSON, AMERICA FIRST POLICY AND FORMER SPOKESPERS OF THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN: No, not at all. You know, I actually spoke to the President earlier today and he was in very good spirits about the economy, about how the Dow was at an all-time, intraday high, about all the meetings he has coming up and all the policies that are on the table. He was just in a very good mood because he does take his job very seriously. And I really don't think that you can equate an edited version of a WWE video from 2007, that was photoshopped, compared to something, let's say, Barack Obama was saying: "When they bring a knife to fight, you bring a gun." We didn't really hear this kind of outrage in the media when it came to inciting violence. And this video was just simply hilarious and I get it. If you are inside the Beltway or if you're in the Coast and you have your Liberal Elite --

SMITH: But Katrina, hilarious until distracts from his accomplishments, right? That's what some of his critics and even some of his supporters are saying. Chris, I'll go to you by this. Katrina's listing of his accomplishments; he's having success in the economy, he's feeling good about what he's doing right now. But then to tweet this, does this distract?

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR: Yes, sure it does. But it may be good politics. It may be better for him in a narrow sense. And that narrow sense is if he can keep supporters fully engaged -- the President does not have very high support right now, but the supporters he does have are deeply committed and loyal to him. That's the same thing; they got him through the Presidential campaign. It could work for him again. So, the approach probably is: keep your supporters at war with the press. It's not substantive, it's not whatever, but you just keep them engage; there's an enemy you keep them on that fight, fight, fight. And then, when you have policy setbacks, when you have other problems, when there are legitimate criticisms, those things aren't going to be heard from the press because again, you've already prejudged. Nothing that they do is going to be fair or valid, but they're the enemy, let's stay against them

SMITH: I mean, Michael, to that point about it being good politics, we had a huge discussion on that numbered on this today. I tweeted it out to my followers literally less than two hours ago, "Was Trump CNN body slam out of bounds?" I have gotten hundreds of responses within minutes mainly from his supporters who say they love it, it's hilarious; they want more of it.

MICHAEL STARR HOPKINS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: And you know, what they may want more of it, but that doesn't mean the President should give it to them. This president is the President of United States and the way he is conducting himself isn't Presidential. There's nothing about this that shows respect to the office of the presidency or his voters, even the people who didn't vote for him.

The way that he treats the press -- and I know that there's always going to be a relationship between the press and the President that's adversarial. It was like that with President Obama as well. But this takes it to a whole other level. I look at my own tweets, my own mentions that I get from people and the level of dialogue is getting more and more harsh, the rhetoric is getting more and more violent and more and more race-based.

SMITH: So, Katrina, I will throw to a poll that talks about just what Michael is mentioning here. When asked do tweets help or hurt Trump's accomplish his agenda? The response was 71 percent say it hurt; 17 percent say it helps. We were told the President walked around the White House after the Mika Brzezinski tweets, taking the temperature of his staff if they liked it. What about that polling of the American people?

PIERSON: Well, I haven't seen that poll. But what I do know is that the American people voted for Donald Trump. And I can tell you throughout the entire primary and the general election, I said over and over again that what you see is what you get. Donald Trump is Donald Trump and he's not going to change. And by the very nature of being President of the United States, makes his action Presidential whether you like it or not. But people have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. No, it is true. And I'll tell you why, because for the month June, there were about 160 tweets, less than 20 were about media bias, but yet the media wants to focus on the tweets that are about them. And that's what's really fueling this.

SMITH: And that's a fair point, Michael, because if we bring up tweets today alone, he tweeted out: "We'll be speaking with Germany and France this morning." He said, "We'll be speaking with Italy this morning," in a separate tweet. He said, "Spoke yesterday with the King of Saudi Arabia." Interesting things are happening, but the media is not talking about those.

HOPKINS: And you know, I hope that the President will stay more on message. As someone who doesn't even agree with his message, I hope that he stays on that. But there's something to say when Ben Sasse, a Member of the Republican Party, comes out and says that he's weaponizing his Twitter and using it to not only go against the media but to sow distrust. That's against the kind of everything that we're about: America's freedom of the press, a freedom of speech

SMITH: Hard. So, Chris, let's take it to the important stuff: the G-20. The President's leaving on Friday. He's going to be having his first face- to-face with Vladimir Putin; his second foreign trip as Commander-in-Chief. This is another big moment for this President.

STIREWALT: Big time. I think the Putin meeting will probably -- they're managing expectation for it, it probably going to be brief. It sounds like an (INAUDIBLE), where the two leaders will probably have a photo op that they can stand and say with an interpreter and they're probably both given all of the frets that are going on. Because remember, it's not just about Russia's influence of the 2016 U.S. election here, right now there is almost shooting war taking place between -- we have almost a proxy war taking place in Syria between U.S.-backed forces and Russian-backed forces in a very bad neighborhood in the world, a powder keg. What happens between the United States and Russia is a big deal right now. This meeting could, even if brief, frame a relationship that could determine a lot of geopolitics for the next decade.

SMITH: Katrina, when you spoke with the President earlier today, did you have a chance to ask him about that upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin?

PIERSON: No, we did not talk about that specifically. He was just excited to be, to be out on the road representing the country. And you know, I would love to be in the room when President Trump looked at Vladimir Putin in the eye, because if you've ever met President Trump, you know he has a presence about him and so I'd like to see it. But I can tell you, we're not going to know anything about it until afterward because the President is definitely going to telegraph that strategy.

HOPKINS: I just --

SMITH: Go ahead, Micheal.

HOPKINS: I just love for Katrina the next time she talks to the President, to find out whether he's going to actually ask Putin or rather whether he's going to ask the President, whether he's going to address the hacking into our voter registration issue, whether our voter registration data is going to be secure in 2018 and 2020. Basic questions that our President refuses to answer publicly, but I don't know. Maybe Katrina has a better pipeline.

PIERSON: And we should also ask -- you know, we should ask the other countries as well, it's not just Russia that tried those tactics.

HOPKINS: That's OK. I'm not here for another country; I'm here for the United States.

SMITH: All right. Well, surely, this is going to be a big moment for the President. His first trip was widely seen as a success. So, the President will be embarking on that journey on this Friday. All right, thanks, all three of you for being here tonight, happy fourth to you.

STIREWALT: You bet.

HOPKINS: Thanks for us. Thank you for it.

PIERSON: Thanks.

SMITH: All right. Well, still to come is President Obama trying to undermine President Trump. New question since the former Commander-in- Chief, meets with the same world leader President Trump just entertained at the White House. Pete Hoekstra and Marie Harf debate that next. And two of these most powerful people on the planet want to come to the rescue of a British baby sentenced to death. Will Pope Francis and President Donald Trump be able to help before it's too late? Plus, it's being called beach gate. Governor, Chris Christie, getting slammed for sunbathing on a beach he closed to the public, so what is his explanation for that?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.U.: I didn't get any sun for that. No. There's no one in Island Beach State Park, there are no lifeguards, there's no one to pick up the garbage, there's no one providing any services at Island Beach State Park.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMITH: Developing tonight, it appears President Obama isn't going to go away quietly. Just days after President Trump met with the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, to talk North Korea strategy, Obama took a trip to South Korea to do the exact same thing. And this isn't the first time he's taken the international stage to undermine the current administration. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: I hope that current Members of Congress, recall that it actually doesn't take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential. Because of the current debates that are taking place in Washington, it may be that some of the steps we put in place move or more slowly than they otherwise would have. In this new world that we live in, we can't isolate ourselves, we can't hide behind the wall.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: Pete Hoekstra, former House Intelligence Committee Chairman; and Marie Harf, former State Department spokesperson and a Fox News contributor. Good to see you both, thanks for being here tonight.

PETE HOEKSTRA, FORMER CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Thank you.

SMITH: Marie, I'll go to your first on this. Is that appropriate for a former U.S. President to be talking to the world stage to criticize the sitting U.S. president?

MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, let's be very clear, those clips you just played, he did not mention President Trump by name.

SMITH: Marie, come on.

HARF: Wait. Let me get the rest of my answer out before you jump on me tonight. I know that President Obama is very focused in both the meetings he's having and the speeches he's giving and staying away as much as he can from the news of the day and keeping his focus on the big picture, on broader themes like American innovation, business ties overseas. And yes, he sometimes talks, as you just played, about some of the political debate happening in Washington, but I do know that he has very purposefully stayed away from directly going after President Trump particularly when he's --

SMITH: Marie, we can't hide behind a wall? That wasn't a direct reference to the sitting President, the Paris agreement, even with the temporary absence of U.S. leadership? To whom is he referencing then, Pete?

HOEKSTRA: The -- here's the way I see, and I get three reactions. The first is, he's a former President. Who cares? The second is, he's the former President of the United States. That matters. He shouldn't be doing this. The third reaction is, if he's going overseas and he's meeting with the President of South Korea, I hope what he's doing is he's coordinating and cooperating with the President of the United States and the administration to forward that agenda. But I don't think that's what he's doing.

There's a second method that he could be taking overseas, he could be going to South Korea and to Asia and saying, you know, I'm sorry, the strategy that my administration I put in place to contain North Korea didn't work. Work with the current administration to develop a new strategy. I hope he then goes to the Middle East and says, you know, my strategy for Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, it didn't work. Work with the Trump administration to develop a new strategy. And then he goes to Europe, does the same thing and says, I'm sorry my strategy to fight ISIS that contains Russia, it didn't work. Work with the Trump administration to develop a new strategy.

If he can't deliver those two messages, he should leave the presidency with grace. Just like every President since Gerald Ford has done. He should go home and do good but walk away from the presidency and international relations in undercutting the current administration. There's only one Commander-in-Chief at a time.

SMITH: And, go back to his promise. Go back to Obama's promise. In November, Marie, saying he won't pop off at every instance. You've got to listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: I want to be respectful of the office and give the President-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: Well, that was a nice moment, right, Marie? But here we are not even six months into the Trump Presidency and we've heard an awful lot from him.

HARF: We actually haven't heard that much from him. I would disagree with you. He has tried very hard to stay out of the limelight. It's a unique situation where he's a very young, former President. And let's not forget when the Congress asked who cares? Most of the world still hold President Obama in an incredibly high standard. The numbers of polling about him around the world is exceedingly positive and President Trump is exceedingly negative. So, I do think that there's a role for a former President who people around the world look up two to go around the world and talk about American values.

SMITH: So, you think it's a good idea that Democrats want to bring him back more into the picture? But Pete, you look at the track of his recent endorsement and it's surprising that they think that's a good strategy.

HARF: Well, Macron won in France after President Obama endorse him, so I would maybe rethink that last statement there, Sandra.

HOEKSTRA: I think if this President is going to travel the around the world, his objective really should be to reinforce the strategies that this administration is trying to put in place to handle all of the challenges that are out there. I think it's very interesting, he says, you know, he says in the clip you played as, I want to, I want to stay and give the new President a chance. He didn't say, I'm going to give the new President and the new administration chance. You know, move into the background. Let the Trump administration move forward and put their agenda in place.

SMITH: Got it. And Marie, to clarify, the President's endorsements of other politicians have track record and their achievements.

HARF: I thought you were talking about President Obama. So, I just wanted to make clear that he has, at some point, endorsed people recently who've won back. So, we should remember that too.

SMITH: All right. We'll leave it there. Thanks to you, both, for being here tonight. All right, well, as President Trump gets ready to meet with Vladimir Putin this week at the G-20 Summit, more top officials are being called to testify on Capitol Hill as new questions arise about President Obama's response to the allegations. Plus, the plight of an 11th-month-old British boy, grabbing the attention of the Pope and President Trump: the complicated fight to save Charlie Gard, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He will fight anything. He fights to the very end that he's still fine. We can't even take our own son home to die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMITH: Breaking tonight, President Trump weighing in on a controversial and heartbreaking case in the U.K., offering the help for family Charlie Gard. The 11-month-old baby who's captured the world's attention after essentially being sentenced to death. White House Correspondent, Kevin Corke, is live on the north lawn tonight with the story.

KEVIN CORKE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, good to be with you this evening. This is a very powerful story and amid all the consternation and controversy surrounding the President's use of social media, he actually took to Twitter today to express his support for little Charlie Gard over in the United Kingdom. He's the little boy that suffers from mitochondrial disease. And for the folks at home, this is a major story that reaches all the way to the Vatican.

Let me share just a bit of what the President said today by way of Twitter, he said, "If we can help little Charlie Gard, as per our friends in the U.K. and Pope, we would be delighted to do so." Now, his parents would like to bring him here to the U.S. to seek experimental medication or care. And failing that, they'd simply like to take the little kid home so they can spend his final hours with them altogether as one. But then hospital, where he is staying, won't let the little boy leave.

In fact, they've argued there is no prospect that he'll recover and the British Supreme Court has agreed: opening the door for doctors there to withdraw life support for the child. Now, White House officials tell us that the President has not spoken directly with the family and doesn't want to issue any pressure or apply any pressure in any way. He's simply trying to be helpful if at all possible.

And let me take this a step further, I think this is important, Sandra, White House' telling us tonight that citing legal issues, they cannot tell us if a U.S. hospital or a specific doctor has agreed to provide care or help the child. But obviously, this is a story we'll all be watching very carefully. And I think, it's fair to say, Sandra, we'll be praying for little Charlie Gard. Back to you.

SMITH: We certainly will. Kevin Corke, thank you. Joining me now with more on this is Charlie Hurt, a Political Columnist for Washington Times and a Fox News Contributor. A story that is moving many of us tonight as we learn more about this little baby, Charlie, and to hear this story, it is a powerful one.

CHARLIE HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Is sure is. And you know, Sandra, this is kind of vintage Trump. You know, when you take an issue like this and you run it through the mill in Washington. And it becomes completely politicized; it becomes completely distorted by the politics of abortion. But Donald Trump looks at it. You know, he's not used to, you know, he's a seasoned politician. He looks at this and he just sees a little baby and a family in a terrible, terrible situation and offers to help.

And you know, the idea of a politician sort of seeing it in those simple terms is kind of unheard of for us, I feel like. But - and I think it underscores why, you know, throughout the campaign, we heard Republicans and Democrats talk about how well, you know, Donald Trump he's not a real evangelical and all that comes up. And true, he's not, but this is how he earns the undying support of those people, is because when he looks at a situation like this, he doesn't see politics. He just sees, you know, a baby in need and a heartbroken family wanting to do whatever they can to help him.

SMITH: It's hard to believe in this story, as Kevin Corke gave us many of the details there that this family is saying, look, if we can't send this baby to the United States where the President is welcoming this child and his family with open arms and doctors willing to help him, then let us take him home. But they can't even get that, they've been turned down by the Supreme Court. The European Court of Human Rights is refusing to intervene. They're saying -- judges at the European Court of Human Rights concluded that further treatment would, "continue to cause Charlie a significant harm in line with advice from a specialist at Grand Ormond Street."

HURT: It's truly Orwellian. I mean, just the name of the European Human Rights -- whatever that is, I mean, it's just terrifying to think that an outfit like that would actually have control over a family in these decisions. And I hate to sort of bring politics into it because we're just talking about how nice it is to have somebody like Donald Trump who takes the politics out of it, but my goodness. I mean, if that's what state run government -- run health care is all about, no, thank you. I don't want to have anything to do with it. And to sort of further bring it into politics, which I apologize to everyone for doing, I think you can't avoid it. You know, when Obamacare was being passed and people -- you know, Republicans were talking about death panels and things like that, everybody freaked out and said those people were being reckless. Well, what is this, then?

At some point if the federal government is in charge of all of your health care and then they have to make a decision that, no, we're not going to care for this person anymore or, no, they can't die this way, or they can't die that way, or we're not going to try this treatment, what else do you want to call it? If it's not a death panel in name, it's a death panel in -- you know, it's basically a death panel. It's really frightening to think about that, given what we're debating in America today.

SMITH: It is amazing the timing of it as we are about to undergo major changes in our health care system in the United States. And many asking if the U.S. should even be getting -- I should say, some asking the question whether or not we should be getting involved, but you heard it from the president, he would welcome this child, welcome that family, we pray for that family tonight. Charlie, thanks for bringing us the bigger picture on that as well.

HURT: Thank you, Sandra. Happy 4th of July.

SMITH: To you, too.

Today has been no day at the beach for Mr. Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor taking tons of heat tonight over these images of him lounging at a beach, he shut down to the public. We have a full report of what's becoming some nasty fall out next. Plus, Robert Mueller beefing up his special counsel looking into Russia interfering in our election, as we learned, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will testify on Capitol Hill about what he knew. Congressman will heard, sits on the House intel committee. He joins us right here, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Do you think the Obama administration chokes and should have done more when it knew that the Russians were interfering?

SEN. MARK WARNER, D-VA.: With the value of hindsight? Yes. There were so many threads coming in from both signals -- intelligence, from human intelligence, from actions of the FBI, but no one really put the whole -- all the pieces together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: Well, that was Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner, admitting the Obama administration could have done more to investigate claims Russia was trying to interfere in the 2016 election. As we learned that special counsel Robert Mueller continues to beef up his team looking into alleged collusion. All this coming as President Trump is now just days away from meeting face-to-face with Vladimir Putin.

Chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge is live in Washington tonight with more. Hi, Catherine.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Sandra. Another member of the Trump campaign team confirmed he will testify before the house intelligence committee and it could happen before the congressional August recess. A spokesman for Paul Manafort who left the Trump campaign last year said he, quote, looks forward to meeting with those conducting serious investigators to discuss the actual fact. Separately, senior congressional sources tells Fox that the intelligence agencies are complying with subpoenas issued in May by the house panel's chairman, Devin Nunes. And the record provided by the CIA, FBI, and NSA, shows former national security advisor Susan Rice, former CIA director John Brennan, and former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power, asked for Americans to be identified and coded intelligence reports. Rice who's denied any wrongdoing is also expected to testify before the same house panel in coming weeks. Well, Democrats on the house panel say the unverified anti- Trump dossier during one of the few public hearings, they have so far pass on interviewing Carter Page, an informal Trump campaign foreign policy advisor. Page who has not been interviewed by the FBI, told Fox he has never met or worked with Manafort as widely alleged.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERRIDGE: According to the dossier, campaign chairman Paul Manafort chose you to be the point of contact with the Russians.

CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Again, I never had a conversation with Mr. Manafort. So, totally false.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HERRIDGE: The special counsel office is expanding, adding a New York special prosecutor and public corruption specialist, assistant U.S. attorney Andrew Goldstein. Now, the team includes more than a dozen lawyers, Sandra.

SMITH: All right. Catherine Herridge, thank you. Here with more, Texas Republican congressman, Will Hurd, who sits on the house intelligence committee. Surely, you'll be able to tell us more, why is special counselor Mueller beefing up his team as Catherine Herridge points out, more than a dozen on that team now. Is this unprecedented?

REP. WILL HURD, R-TEXAS: Well, I don't know if it's unprecedented or not, but I think you can tell by the kinds of talent he's bringing on, the areas of interest he's looking in, but that is a criminal investigation, that's independent from what we're doing on the house.

SMITH: But what should it tell us?

HURD: Well, it should tell you that based on who he's bringing on, they're looking at things -- I think this is going to be a little but broader than many people thought originally. One of the things that we're trying to do on the house committee is we're looking into what should the government have done and what should we possibly do in the future because this is something where -- even former FBI director Comey said that there should have been a different response. The Russians are not going to stop. They've been trying to influence -- use covert influence for the last two decades in Eastern Europe. We should be talking about what is our counter covert influence strategy and how do we make sure that the whole of government is working together as well with civil society to deal with this? I was in Ukraine recently, man, you know, the Russians are in Eastern Ukraine, but the past administration was calling this separatist. They're not separatists. It is Russian regular forces in another country. These are the kinds of things that we have to be able to combat.

SMITH: So it's one thing to look out into the future and what we can change, but to look back and what has taken place that has led to today. You just heard from Mark Warner saying the Obama administration choked when it came to handling this.

HURD: I agree with Senator Warner. Last summer, I was calling on the Obama administration, to a minimum, kick the Russian ambassador out of the country. I thought that with the least we should have been doing when it comes to dealing with this threat. If there's not a response to bad behavior, guess what? That bad behavior is going to continue. So we should have had a stronger response earlier, under the last administration. And where going to -- in a very thorough and bipartisan way, look at everything that happened over our last election, so that we can determine what should have been done and what we should be doing into the future.

SMITH: All right. So let's talk about Paul Manafort. He volunteered, we know, to be interviewed earlier this year. It's now confirmed that he agreed to be interviewed by the house intel committee. We're talking about this. What questions will be asked of him?

HURD: Well, since I am on the committee, I'm not going to.

SMITH: What do you want to know?

HURD: I want to know what his exact role was in the organization. What are his contacts with other governments? And we also got to cut -- get through some of fact versus fiction. There's been a lot of information out in the press, some of it likely incorrect. We want to make sure we know exactly -- that he knew and what he did, so we can move on to some of the other folks that we want to interview.

SMITH: Could you be a little bit more specific with that? What's out in the press that has not been factual?

HURD: Well, I think you can look at former FBI director Comey's response in the open hearing, when he was shocked, when he was still the FBI director, about some of the things that were being said in the news, which was absolutely false. It's hard for -- I spent 9.5 years as an undercover officer in the CIA. And one of the things that the intelligence community and law enforcement never does is they never refute anything out in the public. That's just not what we do. And so, for us on the house permanent select committee on intelligence, we have to separate fact from fiction. And we're going to ultimately have a report, there's going to be a classified version, but there's also be a version that we want to get out into the public.

SMITH: All right,

HURD: We're going to be thorough. We're going to be bipartisan.

SMITH: I only have a few seconds left, if I can just ask you, the face-to- face meeting that is about to happen with the president and Vladimir Putin, any expectations there?

HURD: Well, I hope President Trump is tough. I learned while I was in the CIA, be nice with nice guys and tough with tough guys, and President Trump definitely knows how to be tough. And this is an opportunity to do that.

SMITH: All right, very good. Thanks for being here tonight. Good to see you. Sun, surf, and scandal, the media and public losing it after a local newspaper catches the New Jersey governor and his family at a closed beach. Has the collective outrage gone too far?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: I'm sure they're going to get a Pulitzer for this one because they actually proved -- they caught me, doing what I said I was going to do with the people I said I was going to be with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: Developing tonight. First, there was bridge gate. Now, beach gate? Critics kicking up sands after New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, was caught relaxing with his family on a beach that had been shut down to the general public. David Lee Miller reports from our New York newsroom.

DAVID LEE MILLER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, life's a beach. At least it is for New Jersey governor Chris Christie. The Republican governor and his family were photographed over the weekend at an otherwise deserted island beach state park. The state park, like nearly all other nonessential state facilities, was shut down by Christie because of an in- pass approving a new state budget by Christie. The Garden State's first family was allowed to use the beach because they're staying at the governors nearby seaside summerhouse. Well, the photos have enraged many New Jersey residents deprived to have a place to celebrate the 4th of July. There was even more criticism following his remarks to reporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: I didn't get any sun today.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: My question is this, are there lifeguards at the beach?

CHRISTIE : No, no. There's no one on the beach state park. There are no lifeguards. There's no one to pick up the garbage. There's no one providing any services out of the state beach park.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MILLER: Christie's lieutenant governor, who wants to see him in office, called Christie's beach outing, quote, beyond words. Adding, she wouldn't be on the beach as long us taxpayers were deprived of its use. Sandra.

SMITH: All right. David Miller, thank you. Joining us now, Chris Stirewalt, Fox News politics editor, is back with us. Also with us, Jessica Tarlov and Doug Schoen, both are Fox News contributors. And they have a new book out tomorrow, America in the age of Trump. We'll get to that in just a second. But first, Doug, we haven't heard from you tonight. David Lee Miller just teed it up. The governor on the beach, the residence of his state couldn't use that beach, but he was enjoying it with his family. What?

DOUG SCHOEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I mean, yeah. I mean, how can the governor, any governor, and this one happens to be the least popular governor in the United States, and we now have some sense why, be so ethically obtuse and just insensitive to public opinion. And based on his comments, Sandra, you get a sense that he really doesn't care what people think. I mean, this is just really, really bad.

SMITH: Well, how do you want him to respond? I mean, he said he didn't get any sun, Jessica, after all.

JESSICA TARLOV, FOX NEWS CONTRUBUTOR: Well, he had the baseball cap on, right. So he was totally insulated. I agree completely with what everyone has been saying about this. It's quite clear that Governor Christie has tapped out. He has the lowest polling average I think in the history of polling now for any governor. He knows what his fate is to be. He thought he was going to Trump administration and it turns out that he's only on that beach for 45 minutes. And then he's in a press conference getting grilled, as he should be. So I think he's just kind of saying I'm going to ride this thing out, and maybe I can get a sport talk show afterwards. I'm not sure.

SMITH: All right, Chris, have some fun with this. Come on.

STIREWALT: Well, look, this is perhaps a less savage of dignity than when he poured the M&M's, the one container of M&M's into the other -- Chris Christie just have a gift of being bad at this because he has a -- ear, and he is insensitive, I guess, is the only word you can use, to the wishes and feelings of other people. And I would just caution all politicians. What started out as very popular for Chris Christie, remember at the beginning, his bravado, his bully play, his stuff was very popular. He's one of the most popular governors in the country. And Republicans even thought this guy could be a real contender. Not just in 2016 but 2012, they were people that were encouraging him to step in the race in 2012. This guy and his new loudmouth, brash ways of doing things is going to be great. Well, guess what? It gets old. Results never get old. But what gets old is when people play these bits, play these parts to the end, and Chris Christie, for the people of New Jersey, they are stuck with this lemon after all these years.

SMITH: Look at the sign, Doug, closed until further notice. And there's the governor with his lovely wife, Mary Pat, enjoying that beach. You know, of course, they have the special access, right, because of the governor's mansion has access to the beach. But here we are on July 3rd, and I know we're having fun with this, but many families would have really appreciated enjoying that beach over this holiday weekend.

SCHOEN: Well, that's it. I mean, this was a case where the beach was closed because we don't have a budget in the state. As he suggested, we don't have lifeguards, we don't have people picking up, basically the part- time workers that we have every summer that are usually New Jersey kids trying to make a go of it. It's really bad. I'm offended for the people of New Jersey.

SMITH: Taxpaying citizens, Jessica, were banned from walking on that beach.

TARLOV: Very high tax paying citizen. I mean, New Jersey has incredibly high taxes. Two things to say about this, one, you know why American voters don't trust politicians, and they don't feel like they're looking after their best interest. This is the theme that's on our book. And it's something we talk about all the time when you see the approval rating for representatives down in the low teens and sometimes below that, and you then see things like this and you understand it. And I've got a question for Chris. So, if being brash and tough talking can actually sour, do you think that's what's going to happen to President Trump?

STIREWALT: If you don't cover it with results, absolutely. It doesn't matter how attractive.

(CROSSTALK)

STIREWALT: . you've got to deliver.

SCHOEN: Politics in the age of Trump, we need bipartisan solutions on health care, on taxes. It's the only way to succeed. This politics of polarization, fighting and division, doesn't work whether it's WWF or Democrats against Republicans.

(LAUGHTER)

SMITH: All right. You had to get that tweet back in there, didn't you, Doug? All right. So, Chris, if you let these two tell us about this new book that they've got coming out tomorrow, July 4th, America in the age of Trump, Doug Schoen, tell us about it.

SCHOEN: What Jesse and I have done is to try to fashion solutions on taxes, on health care, on ethics reform, so that what Chris Christie did doesn't happen again on foreign policy and on job creation. So we come up with the kind of solutions that the vast middle in America, 60-70 percent can buy back into. Our plea in the age of Trump is to say that politics have to bring people together.

SMITH: I think that Chris Stirewalt may have been saying bye there. Thank you for joining us, Chris. It's always good to see you.

STIREWALT: Thank you.

SMITH: Jessica Tarlov, tell us about this -- I mean, but specifically, America in the age of Trump, what are you telling us here?

TARLOV: Well, we're telling you that you have a president here who doesn't really belong.

(CROSSTALK)

TARLOV: He's my president as well. That we have a president here who doesn't belong to a party in the way that presidents historically do. He is someone who is willing to cut deals with either side. And we really highlight the fact that there are centered solutions on both the left and the right that either side should be considering. Specifically, health care is a hot topic here. And areas like criminal justice reform, which doesn't get nearly enough attention for how much bipartisan compromise there are. And as we began talking about kind of ethics and trust, we talk a lot about that, and how that can be restored, Faith and institution, as well as the American dream, which is really dwindling.

SMITH: Well, you know, a lot of people talking about what our founding fathers be proud of the country today? This was a recent poll that was taken, saying, yes, 16 percent would say that now, 79 percent would say no. How do you get that in there because that's something that a lot of people are talking about? But, thank you for bringing the book and we look forward for that launch tomorrow. Good to see both of you. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMITH: Thanks for being a part of The Story tonight. Tweet me your thoughts on the show @SandraSmithFox. I am Sandra Smith. Have a wonderful, safe, 4th of July, everyone. Enjoy the fireworks. Here's Tucker Carlson. Good night.

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