Transcript

MacCallum: Who is actually tougher on Russia?

Examination of the Democrats' newfound fear of Russia on 'The Story with Martha MacCallum'

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," July 14, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum. And this is "The Story." Break the gridlock on Capitol Hill. That is the message tonight from the president and from Wall Street. Both would like to see some action. President Trump working Twitter and the phones earlier from France.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We must get it done. We will get it done. I mean, the president was calling from Europe yesterday, talking to senators personally about this. So, he's personally engaged. And obviously the vice president was as well. And we're going to get it done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So President Trump tweeting this among others, after all these years of suffering through ObamaCare, he writes, republican senators must come through as they have promised. And how about this, J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon going off in frustration. Reeling against Washington. And it is picked up on a call to his team, saying that Americans essentially deserve better than what they're getting. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMIE DIMON, CEO, J.P. MORGAN: this administration can make breakthroughs in taxes and infrastructure, regulatory reform. No we have become the most-- one of the most bureaucratic, confusing, litigious societies on the planet. It's almost an embarrassment being an American citizen traveling around the world and listening to the stupid (BLEEP) we have to deal with in this country. And, you know, at one point we all have to get our act together or we won't do what we're supposed to do for the average Americans. It's not for corporations. Competitive taxes are important for business and business growth, which is important for jobs and wage growth. And, you know, honestly we should be ringing that alarm bell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So joining me now, Guy Benson, political editor at Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor. Alex Conant is a republican strategist and Austan Goolsbee served as chief economist to President Obama and he is now an economics professor at the Booth School of Business. Welcome to all of you.

AUSTIN GOLSBEE, PROFESSOR, BOOTH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Hey, Martha.

MACCALLUM: That is some serious frustration from Jamie Dimon. So, let's start there. He's obviously exasperated with the lack of progress when it comes to things like health care and tax reform that the market is awaiting four percent of time and he feels, he says that it's almost as he point out an embarrassment to be an American because he feels that the, you know, just based on the rest of what he said here, I'm gleaning that he believes that the principles that we stand for in this country, we're not honoring them in the marketplace. And that other countries seem to get it more than we do at this point. Austan, let me start with you.

GOLSBEE: Well, I do believe that there is a lot of embarrassment by Americans in particular, business leaders when they're going abroad. You saw every major economy and trading partner of the United States, the opinion of the United States and the level of respect has plunged since Donald Trump became the president. Except in Russia where it has soared. Now -- so, I fully understand why Jamie Dimon is frustrated but I don't that proposing bad bills --

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: That the way you just said does not reflect the reasoning that he talked about in his statement. I guess you didn't read the whole thing. But that does not reflect exactly what he was talking about, Austan. He was talking about market principles, capitalism, tax reform, lowering corporate taxes. That's what he was referring to.

GOLSBEE: OK.

MACCALLUM: Hearing the economics professor to address that.

GOLSBEE: Proposing bad bills that are going to take away tens and millions of people's health care and drive prices up is not an answer. Saying we need to match the corporate tax rates that they have in Europe without proposing what they do in Europe which is raising individual tax rates on high income people and adding national sales taxes, that's not going to be the answer, either. So, I see why he's frustrated but --

MACCALLUM: He clearly -- he clearly would like to see movement, Guy, on lowering corporate taxes. He says, it's not about corporations, it's about people, it's about getting more people jobs. And this is what was promised and this is what the administration promised and he would like to see some action on it. What do you think, Guy?

GUY BENSON, POLITICAL EDITOR, TOWNHALL.COM: You know, by the way, just to Austan's point, I think the Israelis and some of the Gulf states and some of our allies in Eastern Europe are also very happy to have his former boss.

MACCALLUM: Not to mention the polls.

BENSON: President Obama out of office and Donald Trump in office. But, look, Jamie Dimon's frustration is understandable. I think a lot of republicans in this country share it saying, all right, republicans asked for all this control, they ask for the house, senate, and the presidency and now they have it, so far, what do we have to show for it when it comes to legislation? The one note of caution, Martha, it is difficult to get things done in our country by design. Our founders designed the constitution and fashioned it this way on purpose. Other countries have a majority rule, parliamentary system and we don't in a constitution republic. And I think that usually that's a feature, not a bug of our system although it can be abused.

ACOSTA: Alex, what do you think?

ALEX CONANT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think the -- what Jamie Dimon was talking about is exactly why Donald Trump won. For the last eight years, we've seen nothing but gridlock here in Washington, D.C. Now we have a president who is shaking things up and trying to get things done. He's going a lot to reduce regulations like Dimon was talking about which are -- going to make American companies more competitive. We have to do a corporate tax reform. We have to make our tax code more competitive internationally, so he's right to talk about those things. He's also right to put some pressure on president Trump to deliver. We made a lot of promises during the campaign and as Guy said, we haven't seen a lot of results yet at least on the legislative side.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, that is one of the things, you know, we're talking about the president making phone calls from Europe. Some people would have liked to have seen a more forceful involvement on his part in terms of the policy and in terms of communicating it to the American people. Austan, I know you don't agree with what's in this health care reform bill but just in terms of the way President Obama handled it, you know, he was very hands-on, did a lot of town halls, really got out there to sell his health care plan.

GOLSBEE: Yes. I agree with that. I think Guy's insight is correct. The U.S. system is designed to make major policy changes difficult and a lot of times it's good that we make it difficult.

MACCALLUM: But not impossible.

GOLSBEE: But if the president either has to choose to get in the weeds and the details and try and sell it or else he has to delegate that the congress and say I'll back you. What you can't do and what's been hard is the republicans in congress come up with plans. He gets them to pass it but then he tweets out, oh, well, the republican house was to mean. Then they're going to say, well, wait a minute, you do with yourself if you're not going to support us when we do it and I -- and I think he's now getting a rebound.

MACCALLUM: Apparently that comment is still stinging on the house side because they really felt the trade by the fact that he called their plan mean after he really encouraged them to push it and then had a big ceremony celebrating the fact that they were able to pass it. Guy, what to think the prospects are because it really is getting down to the wire here in the senate.

BENSON: Yes. I think that there's a message that needs to be sent to republican senators who were on the brink here. I understand that this bill is not perfect in a number of respects but for the party to campaign on basically one message for seven years, repeal and replace ObamaCare, to have control of Washington, D.C. right now and to not even allow a vote on a bill to me is completely unacceptable. Right now we have a handful of republican senators who are that they might vote no on a motion to proceed.

And that means there wouldn't be a debate, there wouldn't be amendments and there wouldn't be a final vote on the health care bill. That is political cowardice. The pretext for why they would vote no to proceed I think are unconvincing. And every single republican in the senate ought to be pressured to at least have this debate and offer your ideas. I know it's tough. Some of the votes are going to be painful but guess what? It's your job. Go do it.

CONANT: That pressure needs to be applied by President Trump. He -- the republicans love President Trump all over the country. And yet, only about 55 percent of republicans support this legislation. He needs to go out and sell it to his base and then ask his base to call republican members of the senate. Including Rand Paul, who Trump says he has a special relationship with and tell them, you need to support this legislation, it's what we campaigned on together. Without it, we have nothing to offer the voters and we will be hurt for it in the midterm elections.

MACCALLUM: All right. You guys, thank you very much. Great insight. Good to see you all.

BENSON: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So it's not just the fringe democrats who were suggesting impeachment over the Russia issue for the president. Now the leader of the party is open to it. Apparently. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To all these (INAUDIBLE) that you're talking about this morning, do they need to be answered and investigated before you're ready to support impeachment?

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALI, MINORITY LEADER: There is evidence, clear evidence that we need to know more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: More on that straight ahead. Also tonight, we are learning more about the Russians inside the meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. including reports that one of them may have possible ties to George Soros. We will explain. Plus, did President Bill Clinton take a bit of a shot at his wife, Hilary? We'll play it for you so you can decide what you think coming up. Also, ABC News finds itself in some hot water after being accused of smearing a religious freedom group. Those stories, straight ahead on The Story. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So do you remember this moment from 2011?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: This is to Russia that this is without question our number one geopolitical foe.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: But that was then and this is no as democrats do a 180 on Russia. Longtime Clinton ally Paul Begala.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL BEGALA, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: We should be debating how many sanctions we should place on Russia or whether we should blow up the KGB, or GSU, GRU, I mean, we should be retaliating massively:

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: And Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON FAVREAU, OBAMA SPEECHWRITER: Look, I'm willing to say that in 2012 when we all scoffed, admit for saying that Russia was our number one geopolitical foe. I think we're a little off there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: But it's a term that can't be taken lightly. Here is my story. During the Obama administration, Putin's expensive aggression was in full force. No doubt the people of Crimea would like to know where the current outrage was in 2014 when Putin's forces slept in and took their country. And what about when he moved into the Ukraine? Or the Russian's backing of Assad in air raids and Sarin and chlorine gas attacks against innocent children.

But now, convinced that Russia released embarrassing emails from John Podesta ending their White House hopes, they now believe that Russia is a paramount threat. So, who is actually tougher on Russia? Let's look. This administration has made clear they want to work with Russia when possible. Can they achieve a safe zone in Syria? That remains to be seen. They've also pushed for some sanctions to be lifted which is controversial and may have roots that are not fully uncovered yet.

This investigation as well know is ongoing. But the president's words of solidarity in Poland which is engage in a military buildup against Russia on its border, speaks loud and clear. The sale of U.S. patriot missiles to Poland and soon to Romania as well is the opposite of what Putin wants. He got exactly what he wanted when President Obama dismantled that missile shield in Eastern Europe, put in place under President Bush, leaving those countries vulnerable to Russia. And remember this moment?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.

DMOTRY MEDMEDEV, PRIME MINISTER OF RUSSIA I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, also despite early criticism of NATO, Trump has worked to bolster the alliance that was founded to protect Europe against Crimea-like encroachment from Russia. And the president's U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has spoken forcefully against Russia at the U.N. So here now with more, Bryan Lanza, former communications director for the Trump transition team and managing director at Mercury LLC and Adrienne Elrod is the former strategic communications director the Clinton 2016 president campaign and president of Elrod Strategies. Good to have both of you here today.

ADRIENNE ELROD, PRESIDENT, ELROD STRATEGIES: Thank you.

BRYAN LANZA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, MERCURY LLC: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So Adrienne, relay that out. What do you think?

ELROD: Well, look, I think number one. There's a huge difference between trying to have diplomatic relations with Russia and also working with -- potentially working a country like Russia which we've had a longtime adversary and relationship with to meddle in our election. So, I think -- well, I do give President Trump some credit for trying to work with Russia on some of the major foreign policy crisis that we're facing in this country. At the same time, there's a huge difference between that and some of the questions that still surround what Russia's influence was in our election process and the potential collusion that the Trump campaign and Donald Trump possibly had himself with Russia.

MACCALLUM: Bryan, what do you think?

LANZA: Listen, I think it's all linked. I think when you look at the eight years of President Obama, dealing with Russia, I think the fair conclusion is that is viewed as a weakness from the Russia standpoint. You know, we passed sanctions and yet Russia still engaged us, you know, still try to engage us in an aggressive, you know, tone. You know, it's -- every example you have over the last eight years of the Obama foreign policy in addressing Russia has led to where we are today with dealing with Russia.

And now what you have is a president who's not going to take a week posture, who's not going to lead from behind and he's going to -- he's going to address all these issues heads on. Let's talk about Poland. You know, we passed weapons agreement, you know, arms sale with Poland is something that they wanted, that's something Obama said no, he didn't want to do that lash, he didn't want to do that during his time. And why didn't he want to do that? Because he wanted to curry favor with Russia.

I think people are forgetting the facts about Russia. The reason it is a threat today is because the Russia -- or the Obama administration dropped the ball during the last eight years. And what you have with President Trump is he's going to be very aggressive. You know, Russia is a strategic, you know, it's a strategic partner in Syria. We have to be partners with them to resolve some of the solutions in the Middle East, some of the solutions in Syria. But it doesn't mean we have to have a watchful eye and we have to be cautious because we know what they're goals are, they're very adversarial to us but we still need to work together.

MACCALLUM: So the question is, you know, was it disingenuous during last summer when the DNC became aware that somebody was trying to hack into their systems? But the president -- President Obama at the time said, you know, nobody can influence this electoral system. This is a sound, safe electoral system. There's nothing to worry about. Then, fast forward, Hillary Clinton loses and suddenly as just heard pointed out by Paul Begala and others, Jon Favreau, they completely changed their tune. Now they think Russia is this vast enemy although they try to work with them over the course of eight years and even some would say a pavement at time.

ELROD: Well, look, you know, I worked on Hillary Clinton's campaign and I remember very specifically when we tried to make reporters into people understand that we did feel that Russia was meddling in the election. It was right around the time frankly that Donald Trump, Jr. had the meeting that we've been talking about a lot the last few days. You know, but look again, there is a huge difference working -- potentially working with a country like Russia to meddle in our electoral process and adversarial country that we've had, our ups and downs with over the years and at the same time trying to maintain diplomatic relations with that country. And what Donald Trump is doing every time that something new comes out, new information comes out, about another meeting, that was not disclosed and somebody's security clearance form, so many questions that continued to be raised about Russia. That only takes away from his ability, from the president's ability to have a credible relationship with a country like Russia.

MACCALLUM: No, I mean, there's no doubt about that. Bryan, you probably agree with that, right? I mean, all of these stories undermine the ability to deal with Russia in the forceful way that he claims he wants to.

LANZA: You know, listen, the president is dealing with Russia forcefully. I think if you look at the actions he's taking place since he's been on office, you can't -- you can't dispute the fact that this has been an aggressive posture towards Russia. We've showed them that the last eight years are going to be different. You've been dealing with the president that's not afraid, that's not going to lead from behind, that's going to lead from the front of American leadership is used to leading from the front. And that's just the reality of thing. You know, Putin is emboldened because he had eight years of weakness. He's not dealing with Trump and it's going to be -- it's going to be a tough relationship.

MACCALLUM: Bryan, let me jump in because I'm almost out of time. You know, in terms of this information about the fifth person in the room, Rinat Akhmetshin, did you ever come across him, what is your take on this? Do you think he is connected or that Donald, Jr. was setup in any way by democratic forces that were created -- connected to Soros or potentially to Loretta Lynch, allowing this woman to stay in the country? What do you make of all these big theories that are out there?

LANZA: You know, first of all, let me say this. You know, that meeting took place before I was on board of the campaign. So, I never had any interaction with the -- with the gentleman you pronounced. Do I think that, you know, there's a little bit of conspiracy going on there? Do I think that some of these other factors are taking in place? I said, the only reason we're dealing with Russia today is because the Democratic Party wants to gin it up and create a lot of attention to avoid from the, you know, from the agenda that American people voted for. You were a year into this stuff, there's very little bit -- very little (INAUDIBLE) for the amount of money that's been spent and the amount of eyeballs and attention that's been given.

MACCALLUM: Right.

LANZA: I think we need to pay more attention to other things.

MACCALLUM: Adrienne, I will give you a chance to respond.

ELROD: Look -- and the next thing I think we're going to find out is that Vladimir Putin himself was in this meeting. No, I'm kidding. But really, I mean, there are so many questions (INAUDIBLE) why didn't Donald Trump, Jr. disclosed this several days ago? It only raises more questions and that's exactly why Bob Mueller has got a lot of work in front of him to get to the bottom of this.

MACCALLUM: Indeed, he does. Thank you both. Good to have you both.

LANZA: Thank you.

ELROD: Thank yuou.

MACCALLUM: Thanks, guys. So also tonight, remember this moment from President Trump on the campaign trail?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK? It's like incredible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Quite a moment. Remember that one? Well, it turns out that it might not be true. In response to the Russia investigation, USA Today went to Tennessee and ask the Wayne County, Tennessee Republican Party Chairwoman Stephanie Pearson for thoughts asking what would it take for her to change her mind about this president? Her response? I don't -- I don't know what we have to do. I guess maybe kill someone just in cold blood. My goodness. Here comes political editor Chris Stirewalt. This is really out there, Chris. But the underlying question is, how solid is Donald Trump space? That's what that's all about.

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I like that she has boundaries, right? Not if it was in cold blood. Now, if (INAUDIBLE)

MACCALLUM: In cold blood. Oh my god.

STIREWALT: Right. The Truman capote.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

STIREWALT: Look, the reality is the president doesn't have to worry about his base at this moment but we have to rightly understand what his base is. And his base, the voters who are with him and here we're talking about 80 -- 75, 80 percent of republicans. These are people in places like Tennessee and Alabama and North Georgia and West Virginia and across the Southern Apalachee and throughout the south. They're with him and they're not going anywhere, they don't particularly care. The problem that he has is with swing voters, from the rustbelt. Swing voters from rural deindustrialized economically struggling counties. Places like Luzerne County in Pennsylvania, 24-point swing, places like Saginaw County, Michigan, a 29- point swing from 2012 to 2016. These are Trump-based voters, these are former democrats who went with a republican and took a gamble. And now what they are seeing is -- they may be not care about Russia particularly but what they are seeing is an administration that is the combed and troubled and cannot advance on key agenda points.

MACCALLUM: Yes. And that's problem. I mean, people want to see big things done. That's what they were promised. They were promised that the swamp would be trained and that they would get tax reform. And we just heard Jamie Dimon yelling about that. He feels like that's a promise that absolutely needs to be followed up on. So, with regard to this Russia story that we, you know, just continues to -- it continues to have legs, there's, you know, no doubt about it. It's obvious. So, how much does that hurt him and, you know, where do you see this whole thing in six months from now, Chris?

STIREWALT: Look, at a certain point, America's politicians have defeated the optimism and spirit of the American people. To a certain extent, we've gotten more where people expects so -- politicians that even if it were to come out that Donald Trump had himself colluded with the kremlin and hidden himself provided information to help them target their attacks. If all of that came true, there would be a lot of Americans. If we think back to Bill Clinton impeachment, there would be a lot of Americans who would say, hey look, as long as the economy is getting better, as long as the country is basically safe and things are OK for me, I don't care what that is. We have defined (INAUDIBLE) down to such a point that Trump can probably can get away with it but he won't get away with it. He wouldn't get away with it. If it were so, if things aren't running well with the country. And that's the point, his administration is a mess and republicans can't advance legislation in congress. This Russia business and their inability to handle it in a forthright, efficient manner, is destroying their hopes of other larger progress.

MACCALLUM: And, you know, 20 seconds, Krystal Ball, which way to you see thing going?

STIREWALT: I see -- I see it going in the direction -- I believe it was Clobber Lang, the great philosopher, Clobber Lang who said that my prediction, pain.

MACCALLUM: And I was afraid it might a loss for words on that. Chris, thank you so much. Good to see you.

STIREWALT: You bet.

MACCALLUM: So coming up next. Did Bill Clinton just take a bit of a jab at his wife's presidential campaign?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you want to be president, realize it's about the people, not about you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Ouch. Howie Kurtz says the dig was intentional? And he joins us with some marital counseling coming up next. Plus, earlier this week, the little media coverage, U.S. and Iraqi forces drove ISIS out of Mosul. Does this represent a civilizational victory like President Trump was pushing for in the Poland speech? General Jack Keane on this important story with his analysis ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK KEANE, FORMER VICE CHIEF OF STAFF, UNITED STATES ARMY: This is a historic victory against a brutal and evil enemy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Live from America's news headquarters, I'm Trace Gallagher. Two Pennsylvania men are being held without bail tonight. Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz face multiple counts of murder and other crimes in the disappearances of four men in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. DiNardo is cooperating with prosecutors in exchange for the death penalty being taken off the table. Still no decision if the death penalty is being sought against Kratz. DiNardo is charged with all four murders. Investigators say all of the men were shot. Three of them were burned and buried on the farm his parents own. A giant sinkhole north of Tampa, Florida, continues to grow tonight. It started out the size of a small swimming pool and has now swallowed a boat and two houses, and is threatening a third. Power has been turned off to about 100 homes in the area, so far, no injury. I'm Trace Gallagher at the breaking news desk. Now back to The Story with Martha MacCallum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Hillary is uniquely qualified to see the opportunity and reduce the risk we face. And she is still the best darn change maker I have ever known.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Memories of last summer, right? Former President Bill Clinton campaigned hard for his wife in 2016, but what a difference a year makes. At an event at the George W. Bush Library in Texas, last night, the 42nd president seems to take a bit of a shot at why campaigns like hers failed. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Yeah, you got to win the election. But why in the heck are you running? That's one thing I noticed about him. When he ran for governor against Ann Richards, he didn't say Ann Richards is a klutz. He said I'd want to be governor because I want to do one, two, three things. Couple of them I didn't agree with. But he had an agenda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So joining me now, Howard Kurtz, Fox News media analyst and host of Media Buzz. So I'm just going to go over at home for Bill Clinton, Howie.

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS MEDIA ANALYST: Well, what Bill Clinton said was probably vague enough that he doesn't have to sleep on the couch tonight, or he's going to do one of the, I didn't mean you, sweetheart.

MACCALLUM: We'll see how it goes.

KURTZ: But it's obvious to the rest of us what he's talking about. And look, I mean, Hillary Clinton had a campaign when she had a whole laundry list of liberal positions, but no theme, no emotional connection to voters, and not much more beyond Donald Trump is awful, and that's what the former president was artfully saying.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. He makes a parallel taking about the Ann Richards campaign that George W. Bush conducted and saying, you did a good job because you didn't just pick on her. You actually had an agenda. But, you know, you have to wonder for Bill Clinton if he's still stinging a little bit from people not listening to him because, apparently, he really wanted her to campaign in places that she didn't go.

KURTZ: Yeah. And to campaign with certain kinds of voters where she didn't go as well, Martha. So, Clinton, the former president, that is, you know, argued internally during the 2016 campaign. He's wife needed to do more of that. He did some of it himself. He went to places like Lansing, Michigan, the final week of the campaign, talked about road rage among struggling families. But the reason this matters is the reason we're talking about it is that Hillary Clinton blamed her loss on just about everybody else. It was Jim Comey, it was the Russians, it was the media, and Democrats are still today trying to form some kind of message beyond, Trump is a train wreck, after losing all four of those special elections

MACCALLUM: Yeah. And it's a great point because Bill Clinton is an excellent politician as everyone knows, and he's sending a bit of a warning signal out to his own party, which is very much sort of myopically focused on these one or two issues that you mention. And really -- maybe need to focus on the things he's talking about it if they want to turn things around. So I want to show you something else, something completely different. This is from Donald Trump's visit to France. And here's the moment when he met with the French first lady, it's getting quite a bit of attention on the internet and elsewhere. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You're in such good shape. Beautiful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: That was a little bit awkward. So Vogue put out this story about it says, greeting Brigitte Macron, Trump's shows once again that he doesn't know how to behave around women, they say. But on the same page, when you pulled this up, you get this from Vogue, Brigitte Macron jaw dropping legs proves that in France, age is just a number. So they go on to sort of objectify her, some would say, Vogue Magazine does by saying things like, oh, she wore this Louis Vuitton skirt that's inch up to reveal her head turning limbs that's soon become her signature. So, apparently, they can say these things about her, but President Trump can't. What you think, Howie?

KURTZ: Some would say, I would say. I mean, look, as soon as I saw that moment, I knew this story would have legs.

MACCALLUM: Oh.

(LAUGHTER)

KURTZ: Sorry. I haven't seen that Vogue piece. But, you know, what an egregious double standard. So Vogue can just rule over the legs of the first lady of France, I think oh-la-la would be the French term. And then, turn around and say, oh, Donald Trump by telling her she's in good shape? What an awful bit of behavior. And, of course, this fuels the media narrative based on Donald Trump's history that he's inappropriate around women. So every time he says something or has a long handshake, they can jump on it and say, look, he's not behaving well, but for the media to talk about women's looks -- well, apparently that's OK because it sells magazines.

MACCALLUM: Yeah, indeed. Interesting. Howard, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight. So still ahead, if you believe some of the headlines, attorney general Jeff Sessions gave a speech to a hate group this week. We're going to tell you who's behind that smear and what this so-called hate group actually does. Also the women's march is back. Today, they marched against the NRA in the nation's capital. And a wild scene in Brooklyn, at the preview of the Mayweather-McGregor fight, which is scheduled for next month. And this story for you as well, tonight, a judge allowing a British baby, Charlie Gard, to get an emergency visit from an American doctor. All those stories, just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So here are some of the important side stories for you tonight, some hopeful news for baby Charlie Gard and his mom and dad tonight. A U.S. doctor who specializes in genetic diseases will be allowed to travel to the United Kingdom next week to access the infant's condition. Ultimately, determine whether the 11-month-old may benefit from experimental treatment, we'll keep you posted on that. And here at home, money throwing and tattoo flexing in Brooklyn, the latest sight to promote the highly anticipated August fight between boxer Floyd Mayweather, and mixed martial arts fighter, Conor McGregor. So here are some of what went down in Brooklyn. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLOYD MAYWEATHER, BOXER: I don't just smell victory. Do you know what I smell? I smell a (BLEEP)

CONOR MCGREGOR, MMA FIGHTER: Take them high heels off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: And finally, the women's march is back, but without their pick hats from January, because it's summer, you know. Protesters from the group gathered at the National Rifle Association Virginia headquarters. They're going to do a 17-mile march against the gun rights group, quote, incendiary and racist actions, in their opinion.

There's a battle brewing between the media and a religious freedom group. Earlier, this week, attorney general Jeff Sessions spoke at a closed-door event before the group known as the Alliance Defending Freedom. They are known for fighting for religious liberties and they hold an accomplished track record of fighting cases before the Supreme Court of the land. But ABC News used this headline to describe the event, Jeff Sessions addresses anti-LGBT hate group. But DOJ won't release his remarks. The Alliance Defending Freedom is now demanding a retraction and an apology from ABC News over that label, which originated from the SPLC, a group well known for their partisan designation of so-called hate group.

So here now with exclusive reaction, Kerri Kupec is legal counsel and communications director for Alliance Defending Freedom. Kerri, good to have you here tonight. For those that don't know, give everybody a feel for the kind of work and the kind of cases that your group has taken before the Supreme Court.

KERRI KUPEC, ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM: Alliance Defending Freedom is the world's largest religious freedom legal advocacy organization, and we advocate for the rights of all people. So freely, and peacefully, lives, speaks, and operates according to their faith without threat of government punishment. We've been at the Supreme Court many times and we have won seven cases in seven years. We are a respected Supreme Court practices and we represent people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

MACCALLUM: Do you hate people who are LGBT?

KUPEC: No, not at all. And it's insulting to even hear something like that, which was in that headline, which is why we're so upset. In fact, the people that we represent, especially with respect to the wedding industry, which is where this issue typically comes up, these clients all have a common denominator, and that that they serve and love everyone who walks through their doors. They can't participate in all religious events that violate their faith, but I would hope that we would want that same freedom for everyone.

MACCALLUM: All right. So in terms of ABC and their response, where does that stand right now? You certainly let them know that you'd like a retraction. Is that going to be forthcoming?

KUPEC: I haven't heard anything. What really bothers me so much about the headline and the story is that it's unethical. This is not ethical reporting. This kind of reporting does not allow for the civil discourse the American people want to engage in on these issues. It doesn't allow for a fair conversation because if -- ABC is going to team up with a well- known left-wing propaganda machine like Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization known to incite violence, who lost their way a very long time ago, I would really appreciate the opportunity to tell them a little bit more about our organization and all the kinds of work that we do, including campus free speech, academic freedom, and so much more like what we've just discussed.

MACCALLUM: I mean, it's worth pointing out that the Southern Poverty Law Center has --you know, sort of had a credible background from which they have swayed and have gotten a lot of negative attention in recent years. But they condemned the KKK and the Westborough Baptist Church, which I think there would be a pretty broad understanding of. But then, they put in that same category, Charles Murray, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and now, by extension of this article, your group as well.

KUPEC: Yeah. Unfortunately, like you said, they used to do good work and now their, quote, hate level has become a joke. They attack veterans, they attack nuns, they attack Catholics, they attack evangelicals. They attack Muslims who are fighting Muslim extremism. They just typically hate everyone who disagrees with their particular left-wing ideology, and it's got to stop. And it's disappointing that ABC would undermine their credibility and professionalism by cutting and pasting from SPLC's web site and press releases and dropping that into a headline about us, especially without giving all of the facts about Alliance Defending Freedom that I've just laid out.

MACCALLUM: All right. Well, we will see. Obviously, you want a response and you want a retraction and we'll see if you get it from ABC. Kerri Kupec, thank you very much for being here.

KUPEC: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So still ahead tonight, after years of destruction at the hands of ISIS, the city of Mosul is once again under Iraqi control. Some, tonight, suggesting that this isn't just a battle won, but a victory, ultimately, for western civilization. General Jack Keane standing by with more.

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TRUMP: Now we must work with the government of Iraq and our partners and allies in the region to consolidate the gains and ensure that the victory stays a victory, unlike the last time.

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MACCALLUM: Developing tonight, the west is making a notable milestone in the global fight against ISIS after Iraqi forces recaptured the city of Mosul from Islamic state control. The feat now being described as more than just a battle won. Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan writing this, we should pause to recognize what just occurred and say good, bravo, this is a victory. For what? Civilization. The triumph in Mosul comes just days after a vow from President Trump to defend western civilization from the threat of radical Islam.

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TRUMP: We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail. The west will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive. And our civilization will triumph.

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MACCALLUM: Joining me now, General Jack Keane, he's chairman of the institute for the study of war, and a Fox News military analyst. Good to see you tonight, general.

JACK KEANE, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: Good to see you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: I guess I'd like to first get your thoughts on those two things, when Peggy Noonan's discussion of the importance about what happened in Mosul this week, and also President Trump's proclamation of the importance of western civilization and defending it.

KEANE: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's good for our viewers to understand that radical Islam and the terror that they're creating in the world, they are indeed at war with civilization as we know it. They clearly want to change the international order that has stood the test of time for seven decades from post-World War II to the present. And what they're doing is they attack non-Muslims, hoping that that will promote provoke a war against Muslims and it creates an apocalyptic event that will create historic turmoil in the world, where the radicals at the end of the day will prevail. That is their thought process.

And the statement that the president made, and the one that Peggy Noonan made is absolutely right on the mark because we have to prevail against this ideology, which is fermenting this, and you have to have perseverance. And I'm delighted to see the president stand there in Europe, where they have these feckless leaders who don't have the moral courage and the political will to do what President Trump is doing today. That's the reality of it.

MACCALLUM: Well, obviously, when you look at the battle for Mosul, you look at the larger picture and Raqqa being next is really amazing when you think about the fighting that's being done, and the effort being put into these very difficult fights, which I know you say, you know, one of the most difficult street-to-street battles that we've seen since World War II. And there's so much focus on this Russia issue that's sort of drowns it out. It not to say that that's not important, but these are very important to the future of the world, are they not?

KEANE: oh, yeah, absolutely. Three years ago, ISIS came on the world stage, 30,000 strong, largest terror organization ever created, raced across the border into Iraq, and caused the Iraqi army to flee on television, as we saw. They took control of that major city in Iraq, three years ago to a month. Nine months ago, a siege began to take it back, and it produced the toughest infantry fighting we have seen since World War II. Block by block, building by building, in some cases, room by room, thousands of civilians killed by ISIS if they resisted at all to do what they wanted them to do. They made them human shields, and that caused them to get killed again. It was absolutely horrific what was taking part there, in terms of the human dimension of this. And credit the Iraqi soldiers, credit the American-led coalition for perseverance, for physical and moral courage for winning this fight. This is not over by a long shot. This is a battle in an overall campaign to defeat ISIS. But it is an important one and they earned this very hard victory.

MACCALLUM: All right. So what has to happen militarily next, in your opinion?

KEANE: You've got to take Raqqa, which is in Syria, their capital. We have a problem here because the elite leaders have left Raqqa weeks ago, and they're down along the Euphrates River Valley, as it moves out of Raqqa heading towards Iraq. That's where they are. We have no plans after we take Raqqa to clean out all of those ISIS leaders and their followers that are sitting along that Euphrates River Valley. That is a mistake. And I'm hopeful that the Pentagon will correct that mistake and get after these folks because we have got to defeat all of the ISIS folks that are in Syria.

MACCALLUM: General Jack Keane, always great to see you. Thank you, sir.

KEANE: Good talking to you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: You, too. So coming up next, a moving moment at France's annual Bastille Day parade, and our quote of the night, when we come back.

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MACCALLUM: So President Trump wrapping up his Paris trip today by attending the annual Bastille Day parade. The celebration took a more somber turn this year as it marks one year since a terrorist drove a truck through a crowd killing 86 people. There was this moving moment when the military marching band formed the name of the town, Nice, to remember those victims. President Trump releasing a statement after the event, it is our quote of the night. Today, our two countries stand taller and more united than ever. America and France will never be defeated or divided. It was my high honor to commemorate on French soil France's most historic day, and the 100th anniversary of the entry of the United States into World War I. We'll leave you with that. Have a great weekend, everybody. Great to see you. Tucker Carlson is up next.

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