This is a rush transcript from "The Story," July 18, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: White House tomorrow for a little bit of lunch with him. The Republican battle to end ObamaCare crushed under the weight of defections from their own team, but it may not be over quite yet. I'm Martha MacCallum live in Washington tonight. This is "The Story." The GOP forced to change course after their repeal and replace effort fell short after seven years of GOP promises. Congress still has not sent a health care bill to the oval office and the president is not happy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For seven years I've been hearing repeal and replace from Congress, and I've been hearing it loud and strong. And then, when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace, they don't take advantage of it, so that's disappointing. Let ObamaCare fail. It'll be a lot easier. And I think we're probably in that positions where we'll just let ObamaCare fail. We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you, the Republicans are not going to own it. We'll let ObamaCare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us, and they're going to say how do we fix it? How do we fix? I'm sitting in the oval office right next door, pen in hand, waiting to sign something, and I'll be waiting. And eventually, we're going to get something done and it's going to be very good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Oh, to be a fly on the wall at lunch tomorrow. That was frustration that you heard from the outsider president who came to this town to shake things up as Congress remained stuck in the mud of inaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congress needs to do their job, and Congress needs to do their job now.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-NEW YORK: There's no pride here. We want to do what's best for the American people. This is not a game.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Republicans by themselves are not prepared at this particular point to do a replacement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to repair, and like you said, fix it. Absolutely, I can get Democrats to sit down.
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY: But we should repeal what we can, and then the Democrats are welcome to join us.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: We just can't repeal it and not replace it because that just won't work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Well, what do you think? Mitch McConnell has one more trick, perhaps, up his sleeve. Announcing moments ago on the Senate floor that the Senate will move forward with a repeal vote, forcing everybody to put their money where their mouths are early next week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: At the request of the president and the vice-president, and after consulting with our members, we'll have the vote on the motion to proceed to the ObamaCare repeal bill early next week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Senator Rand Paul refused to vote for the latest overhaul and he is here to tell us why. And Karl Rove, just ahead, on why he thinks this was a major missed opportunity. But we begin tonight with chief national correspondent Ed Henry, live in the Washington D.C. The inside story, Ed, of how this thing fell apart.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martha, great to see you. And President Trump did not see it coming. At this hour last night, when I was reporting from you from the White House, the president was in the residence behind me having dinner with several Republican senators. His advisers told me today the whole reason, the president was stepping that czar offensive was because he believed they were close to a health care deal. And they're not denying that at that same dinner, the president quipped that Republicans would look like "dopes," if they did nothing after seven years of promises.
All of that means now a lot more pressure on Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, especially after the president made that comment that he doesn't own this. What a difference five years can make. As a private citizen, Donald Trump tweeted on September 26th, 2012: "Obama's complaints about Republicans stopping his agenda are B.S. since he had full control for two years. He can never take responsibility." Well, since Republicans now run both chambers, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, says the strategy is clear: get something small done on health care and quickly move to taxes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I personally believe they ought to do as much as they can on health care right now, but they shouldn't spend the whole rest of this year on one issue. They've also got to pass, I think, by Thanksgiving and get signed into law by Thanksgiving a very large tax cut retroactively designed back to January one. Because if we don't have economic growth next year, I think we're in real danger of having Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2019.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Well, the possibility of Speaker Nancy Pelosi certainly could scare Republicans. But given the struggles on health care, there's no evidence to suggest that tax reform is going to be easier. In fact, White House states -- previously said, they want a tax plan done by the end of the year. Pressed today on whether that will happen, Sarah Huckabee Sanders reiterated they want the biggest tax cut possible, but, Martha, she hedged on the timetable.
MACCALLUM: Timetables, right? I mean, they said we're going to have this done by the August recess when they talked about health care. Now, the new buzz word appears to be Thanksgiving for tax reform.
MACCALLUM: So, all of these things just pushing later and later. But the two new things on this -- the two new things on this, essentially, are this lunch that the president is going to have tomorrow. And Mitch McConnell now saying, you know, we're going to force a vote. So, what are you hearing about that?
HENRY: Well, what was interesting is I was picking up Intel before this health care defeat, about Chuck Schumer and how the Democrats want to play. Schumer, in private, I'm told, has been telling his friends that he will deal with the president but not in the short term on health care and taxes. He's waiting until October, November, why? He thinks, and it could be wrong, but he thinks Chuck Schumer, I'm told in private, that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would reach a point in the fall where they break away from the president, and say, he's not helping us getting anything done, the Russia investigation, all these problems, let's go our own way and cut a deal.
And then, Schumer will have the Republicans getting $0.50 on the dollar on taxes and health care. What's interesting with what Newt Gingrich's is saying is maybe it's flipping around, and maybe the president will break away from Ryan and McConnell and go to the people, and say, look, these guys promised it before I was in office. So, the point is, is there kind of a civil fight here brewing among Republicans about who's to blame?
MACCALLUM: Yes. It certainly appears to be --
HENRY: How do they pick up the pieces is the key.
MACCALLUM: Ed, thank you very much, Ed Henry. So, my next guest is under fire today from his own side of the aisle. He's one of just four Republicans who refused to vote for the Senate repeal and replace bill. Moments ago, I spoke with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
MACCALLUM: Senator, good to see you this evening.
PAUL: Thanks for having me.
MACCALLUM: Thanks for being here. So, you heard those words from Newt Gingrich who's basically saying, you know, if you can't get this through, move on, get tax reform done or else say welcome back to Nancy Pelosi in 2019.
PAUL: Well, who knew health care could be so complicated? Now, I think we all knew all along it was a complicated subject. But you know the one thing we promised and the one thing that unified us in four elections was really that we were for repealing ObamaCare. That really brought us together. We won elections because of that. So, it disappoints me that when we finally get to repealing ObamaCare, it turned into an insurance bail out super fund. I mean, $180 billion to it; insurance companies that make $15 billion a year in profit, that's not repeal. That's simply a big government --
MACCALLUM: But if you don't have enough people who will go along with repeal if they don't because they're now saying they can't even do the repeal vote.
PAUL: People ought to keep their promise. Today, you know, the Senate leadership announced that we are going to have a vote, and the vote would be on repealing it -- the 2015 bill. 51 out of 52 of us, Republican senators voted for repeal in 2015.
MACCALLUM: Hollen and Cruz both voted against, right?
PAUL: Well, there are at least two now senators saying they're against who actually were actually for. And so, the thing is, is that overwhelmingly Republicans voted for the 2015 bill. And really, if people are no longer for repeal, they're going to need to go home and explain to their voters why they said they were for repeal, and now they're no longer for repeal.
MACCALLUM: All right. But you know, they're also going to have to explain to the voters why they've got the House and Senate, and they couldn't come to some kind of agreement.
MACCALLUM: And I think a lot of people listen to the arguments that you make, especially when it comes to bailing out the insurance companies.
MACCALLUM: And they understand what you're saying about that, and many think it's a very good point. But now it looks like you're going to have to deal with Democrats on something that is going to probably leave you in the dust on this issue.
PAUL: ObamaCare is imploding. There is a death spiral, although insurance premiums are through the roof, there are monopolies, insurers are leaving the marketplace; it is a disaster as we speak. Do we want to the take it over and continue that disaster? The fundamental flaw of ObamaCare is, we added all these regulations that added cost to insurance, young healthy people said it costs too much; we're not buying it because we can buy it after we get sick. You know what, that all remains. All of those things; the fundamental flaw of ObamaCare remains. So, the whole death spiral continues.
MACCALLUM: But if you can't get that --
PAUL: I know but here's the problem --
MACCALLUM: Then you have ObamaCare, and Republicans own it because they had an opportunity to fix it and they didn't do it.
PAUL: If you vote for a Republican bill that keeps the death spiral, and you simply say, we're going to subsidize it with $180 billion from the taxpayer money. That's not conservative. That's not Republican. That's not the free market. That's not what we promised. I promised to vote for repeal, and I'm going to keep my promise. So, I've agreed to vote, to go to the bill. If they bring the bill up tomorrow or the next day, I will vote to go to the bill, if we're talking about a clean repeal. But I won't vote to go to a bill that's a bunch of pork and a bunch of big government entitlement programs.
MACCALLUM: I get where you're coming from. What do you to those who are now suggesting that maybe Senator McConnell is not the person to unite your party? Should it be someone else?
PAUL: I don't think the fault lies with leadership. I think the fault lies with those who promised to repeal and won't now vote to repeal. As far as I know, Senator McConnell promised to repeal, and he will vote to repeal if it's brought up. I think the question should be asked to the people who voted for repeal previously, an identical bill, and now say they're not going to vote for an identical bill? That's -- they have some serious explaining to do when they go home.
MACCALLUM: But are you going to have some serious explaining to do when you go home? When people say, look, yes, at least you would've started to trim the growth of Medicare, and that's as much as we're going to get in this round and then we go back from there?
PAUL: I think it would've been worse than actually the existing ObamaCare. The Republican plan kept the death spiral, kept the fundamental premise of ObamaCare, and then added huge bail outs to insurance companies. I am fundamentally, absolutely opposed to giving insurance companies one penny of taxpayer dollars. They make $15 billion of profit. They don't deserve any of our tax money.
MACCALLUM: Senator Rand Paul, thank you very much.
PAUL: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you as always. Thanks for coming in.
MACCALLUM: So, as we mentioned at the top of the show, the White House announcing that the president will convene a launch -- a lunch, rather, tomorrow. All 52 GOP Senators to discuss health care at the White House. Joining me now: Karl Rove, Fox News contributor and served also as Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush. Karl, good to see you tonight.
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Great to see you.
MACCALLUM: You were listening to Senator Rand Paul, and you saw what happened on the Hill today. Lunch tomorrow, and a repeal vote coming up next week. What do you make of all of this?
ROVE: Well, this is one of either two things: this is either a car crash being played out in slow motion in front of us with a lot of victims, or this is one of those moments in a mini drama where, you know, you have the sort of cliff hanger and then in the next episode things turn around, and we don't know which. But I will say this, if the mindset of the group of people who opposed bringing up the repeal and replace legislation remains that of Senator Paul, then this is going to be the car crash.
Think about what he just said. He said I don't care whether this gets rid of the employer mandate and the individual mandate. I don't care if it kills all of the taxes under the Affordable Care Act. I don't care if it phases out the expansion of Medicaid and gives us the first significant entitlement reform in some 30 some odd years. I don't care. It has to either be perfect, or I'm not voting for it.
MACCALLUM: But he doesn't want to bail out the insurance companies. He's saying we're going from baling out the hospitals, now we're going to bail out the insurance company. And once you start doing that, you're never going to undo that. I understand what you're saying, and I'm just playing --
ROVE: Well, look, and he seized on a talking point that is not accurate. This thing does stabilize the premiums for the next couple of years. The only way you can do that is to pay the insurance companies to cover up for the deficiencies, the defects that are inherently built into the Affordable Care Act. So, your choice are either one or two things: either pay the insurance companies for the next couple years in order to cover up the problems in the Affordable Care Act or let those problems result in huge premiums for everybody who's in those exchanges. That's your choice.
And the Republicans said, rather than make the people on the exchanges pay for the mistakes of the people who passed the bill in the first place -- President Obama and the Democrats -- we will, in essence, pay the insurance companies for the faults that Dr. Paul, Senator Paul, identified in the legislation that it disincentivize these younger people to pay into the insurance pool because they have to subsidize older, wealthier beneficiaries.
MACCALLUM: All right. Here's a voice from the past. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOEHNER, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: In the 25 years that I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Sounds like he may be right.
ROVE: Well, they had broad outlines. And you know, look, health care is a big complex issue, and the question is: whether you're going to insist that it'd be 100 percent perfect, or whether you're going to insist upon incremental progress. And this bill had huge reforms on Medicaid; it had incremental progress in undoing ObamaCare, killing the taxes, killing the mandates, and it was forward progress. And the Republicans need forward progress.
MACCALLUM: Maybe over lunch at the White House there'll be the consensus. You never know, as you say, how the story turns out. Karl, thank you very much. Good to see you.
ROVE: You bet. Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, breaking tonight, the White House is nominating former Utah Governor, John Huntsman, as the next U.S. ambassador to Russia. Huntsman's nomination has been long rumored, and now the White House tonight, making it official. Huntsman previously served as U.S. ambassador to China from 2009 to 2011 under President Obama; more on that story as we get it.
Also just in moments ago, the White House confirming that President Trump had a second and previously undisclosed face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20. Another developing story and we will tell you what's there straight ahead.
Also, some new developments in the unmasking probe as we are now learning another Obama administration official has agreed to testify; more coming up on that. Plus, Jonathan Turley, here tonight to explain why he thinks some of the charges being lobbed at the Trump administration are "bizarre and dangerous," in his words; he's here to explain on a busy night when we come back from D.C.
MACCALLUM: Russia's stepping up its rhetoric against the U.S. election sanctions imposed by President Obama back in December, when two compounds were seized and dozens of diplomats were expelled. Now, Russia's deputy foreign minister telling a Russia new agency, "We have warned Americans that we need an unconditional return of the property, otherwise retaliation measures will follow," that coming from the Russians.
This, as we learned on this show last night that more Obama administration officials are expected to testify before Congress, about the allegations of unmasking by the Obama administration towards the Trump administration. So, Fox can confirm now that former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, is the latest to agree to testify before the House Intel Committee. Earlier, I spoke with Congressman Eric Swalwell a member of that very committee. Watch.
MACCALLUM: Congressman, welcome, good to have you here tonight.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL, D-CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Martha, for having me back.
MACCALLUM: So, what is your reaction to the news that we got first here last night and some more detail on it today that, in fact, there's an expansion of those that the committee wants to speak to who may have been involved in the unmasking of Trump officials from the Obama administration side? We know of Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and John Brennan; CIA, NSA and at the U.N., but now we're learning that there are at least six more people on that are on that list.
SWALWELL: I think it's a false alarm. From where I came from, we send the fire department where the fires are. Russia attacked us, and we should be focused on making sure that never happens again, and understanding who worked with Russia during that last attack. There's been no evidence put forward that any wrongdoing was done by any Obama administration official. And until that is shown, which the White House actually, they hold all the evidence, they could show the world if there was wrongdoing. They haven't done that. I think it's just a distraction.
MACCALLUM: OK. You know, as far as we know going through this whole process, and as you very well know, there are a number of investigations on the Hill into the Russia meddling suspicions and that is very thorough and goes on. We also know that General Flynn, Michael Flynn, was unmasked, his name was unmasked and it was revealed to the newspapers. Now, if that was done for political reasons, or if it was leaked to the media, all of that falls into the illegality venue including a possibility of a felony if it was done for political reasons. So, obviously, on your committee, you would want to know the answer to that question, right?
SWALWELL: But Martha, what's interesting is our committee doesn't have access to those materials, they're actually held by the White House. So, why doesn't the White House show any evidence it has of wrongdoing?
MACCALLUM: Hold on now though, we were told -- Catherine Herridge reported last night that all of the materials that were requested from Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and John Brennan, and their agencies -- their respective agencies, that they've been fully complied with. That they've all been turned over to the committees, and that you do the information that you need to dig into the question of unmasking.
SWALWELL: Yes, and what I'm saying, Martha, just to be clear, the White House has the power of declassification. If there's a piece of evidence that they have, that somebody did something wrong, they don't need Congress to tell the world that happened. They actually can tell the world that that happened. And they haven't done that, I think we can conclude there is no wrongdoing, this is just an effort distract from --
MACCALLUM: I see. We had this conversation before, Congressman. I don't understand your lack of curiosity on this, and I completely understand your interest in all of the other parts of this investigation, which we cover here on a nightly basis in terms of whether or not the Russians meddled on the investigation, or whether or not there was any collusion. That is a, you know, a story that is well trodden, and we continue to do that every night. But in terms of the other side of this that the Obama administration wanted to unmask the names of Trump administration officials, I don't understand -- what questions do you have for these people when they get before your committee? Because we now know they're going to appear before you; what questions will you have for them?
SWALWELL: And Martha my question is: what has changed since you and I last talked about this? There's been no evidence of wrongdoing. You know, intelligence officials in their job, if it's relevant to understanding a risk to the National Security of our country will have to look at who a U.S. person is, but there's no evidence that anyone did anything wrong. So, I think the best thing we can do is tell the American people as Republicans and Democrats, how we're going to secure the ballot box the next election. That would be a better use of our time.
MACCALLUM: All right. So, you're not going to ask them any questions when they sit before you in your committee?
SWALWELL: Well, of course, I want to understand what the administration's response was as Russia was attacking us, what we can learn from that so that it doesn't happen again. But until I see evidence that somebody did something wrong, I'm not --
MACCALLUM: But you're a (INAUDIBLE), that's what you're supposed to be doing. You're supposed to be asking questions to find out if there's any evidence, to find out what you've got in those documents, and to be probing and ask the questions that need to be asked on all sides of this question.
SWALWELL: Yes. And again, Martha, investigations are launched when there is some degree of evidence of wrongdoing. Otherwise, that is literally just going on a wild goose chase and that's what they're trying to do because the evidence about U.S. persons working with Russia has become so overwhelming. I think it's unfortunate --
MACCALLUM: So far the only potential felony that anyone is aware of is if it were done for political reasons -- the unmasking of individuals. So far, that is the only felony that anyone has, discussing in this entire case on either side at this point.
SWALWELL: Well, Martha, actually, it's a felony to either hack data of U.S. persons, to work with people who hacked data of U.S. persons, to conspire to hack data of U.S. persons, or to not comply with the federal election laws. I mean, there are a number of crimes that have to be looked at. That's the job of Bob Mueller; our job is to tell him --
MACCALLUM: And that's what's going on. Yes, and that's what's under way.
SWALWELL: Yes, and our committee -- I really believe, Martha, like the September 11th Commission, they saw that there was a vulnerability that was exposed being attacked from the sky. Republicans and Democrats came together; we're the safer today because they did that. And I think if we want to go into the next election and not have these vulnerabilities exposed, we should come together around securing the ballot box.
MACCALLUM: I completely agree with you. I think most Americans too, but the 9/11 Commission did not negate one area of the investigation in order to do that work. And I think most people expect that you, guys, will do the same on both sides of the aisle.
SWALWELL: Yes, we must. And if there's evidence of wrongdoing, Martha, I'm not so closed minded that I wouldn't look at it.
MACCALLUM: All right. Congressman, thank you very much. Eric Swalwell, good to see you tonight.
MACCALLUM: All right. So, out next guest believes with respect to the Russia probe, there have been some issues with the interpretation of the criminal code referring to treason arguments, for example, which he has called "bizarre and dangerous," given what we know. Here now, constitutional law attorney and George Washington law professor, Jonathan Turley.
JONATHAN TURLEY, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ATTORNEY AND LAW PROFESSOR AT GEORGE WASHINGTON: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: I want to start with this developing story that we are following that has changed even in the last five minutes. Because a few moments ago, a story was crossing that said that there was a second undisclosed meeting that President Trump had during the G20 summit in Germany with Vladimir Putin. The original story that it was behind closed doors and only had one translator, the Russian translator.
Now, the White House, just moments ago, is saying that is incorrect, and that the second previously undisclosed meeting was at the dinner where Melania was seated next to President Putin and President Trump got up from his chair and his translator, went over to where they were standing and spoke with them for some period of time. I don't know the length of that time as of yet. Is there any issue with that legally? Politically, it's another story.
TURLEY: No. I think does reflect the level of hyper the ventilation we have in Washington now. This story broke, and all of the sudden there's questions of well, there are more undisclosed meetings. These are two world leaders at the G20 meeting. It was meeting of world leaders. The fact that they had these types of meetings, whether they were public or not, is not surprising, it certainly not evidence of any crime. I think the problem is that people are now looking through this glass darkly.
Whenever they see any type of new meeting, they see evidence of collusion or they see what they want to see. Prosecutions require something more. I mean, you need to, first of all, define a crime --collusion not a crime under the code. When you talk about things like Donald Trump Jr., people are so eager to say, well, now we have a crime here, that they fail to actually define it. And people, I don't think, want to be in a world where a meeting like that could be treason. People have said this is prima facie evidence of treason.
Would you want to be in a country where treason was broadly defined in that way? The framers defined treason very narrowly because they lived in a country where people were accused of being traitors, because they were unpopular, they were political opponents. There are serious things to investigate here. But you don't help that by concluding that there's a strong evidence of a crime without a defined crime.
MACCALLUM: So, in terms of the investigation, we know that Robert Mueller now wants to speak to all the people that were in the room with Donald Trump Jr. His investigation is proceeding and when you boil it down to the three potential crimes: you've got obstruction of justice in the Comey meeting; you've got collusion, potentially, in this Donald Trump Jr. meeting. They've been looking for it in a number of places, but this is where they think that they may have found it. And you have treason, which you just mentioned, which has also been brought up by even Tim Caine, Senator from Virginia. Can this process proceed in a legal way and find a true answer that you think will be satisfying in this environment?
TURLEY: I think it can, but people need to be a little more responsible. First of all, they can look for collusion and they'll probably find it. But by saying "I love it," when people say, a bunch of Russian government lawyers want to give you information, that sounds like a willingness to collude. But that doesn't happen to be a crime under the criminal code. Now, if people refer to collusion as conspiracy, that's a crime. But it's conspiracy to do what?
And people are saying, well, they were trying to conspire to defraud the government? We've never seen cases where it was extended that broadly. I have an article out in the Hill today where I say, look, each of these claims that the people are making on the evidence as it exists now would grotesquely extend the criminal code, and that's a dangerous thing. You know, people are so eager to bag a Trump that they're willing to take these crimes and take them well beyond their illegal moorings.
MACCALLUM: Fascinating, Jonathan Turley, always good to have your sobering and realistic view as we prod through this story. Thank you, sir.
TURLEY: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: A pleasure. So, still, ahead tonight tensions between the U.S. and Iran heating up after President Trump slaps the regime with some new sanctions. So, why did his administration also recertify the nuclear deal at the same time with the same regime? Congressman Pete King joins me on that.
Plus, the NRA going to battle with the Washington Post and it is getting ugly. Who said what that was misleading? That debate, right after this.
MACCALLUM: Then, candidate Trump, made a habit of slamming Hillary Clinton for her lack of transparency, but a new piece just released by the Wall Street Journal says President Trump is in danger of following in her footsteps. The editorial board writing this today, on the story of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, Mr. Trump and his family are repeating the mistakes that doomed Mrs. Clinton. But despite the firestorm, brand new poll shows that Hillary Clinton is still more unpopular than President Trump. Those are the numbers, neither looks so hot. Joining me now, Bryan Lanza, is a former Trump transition team communications director, and Adrienne Elrod, former communication director for the Hillary Clinton campaign. So Adrian, let me start with you, apt comparison?
ADRIENNE ELROD, FORMER COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR HILLAR CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Look, first of all, I disagree with what the Wall Street Journal and the premise of the editorial. But, look, I do agree with the fact that Donald Trump in the -- need to be more transparent about what happened. We just learned today that there was an 8th person in this meeting that Don Trump Jr. had last year with the Russian. Why not just come forward and make all of this clear on the front end because what you're seeing now is a drip, drip, drip. You know, we're constantly learning now information. It only adds to the narrative that there was potential collusion or even collusions with the Russians.
MACCALLUM: I mean, there is a lesson in this when you look back at some of what Hillary Clinton went through and, you know, withholding the emails, making it difficult to sort of come forward with what was going on, and some of those mistakes do appear to be surfacing in all of this, Bryan.
BRYAN LANZA, FORMER TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: Yeah. I'm going to disagree a little bit. The only reason we know about this latest email is because they did disclose it. They went through their database and emails, they found something there, and they're disclosing it. It's not a lack of discloses that's going on here.
MACCALLUM: Well, it's about to be filled by several newspapers, that.
LANZA: Because Jared had updated his form -- no, because they actually went through and read all the emails. They saw they missed a couple things, and they updated the forms, and that's how this process came about. So it's not a lack of transparency. There's an issue of, you know, are we releasing all the information publicly? I think we're certainly cooperating with the investigators. And I think that's criteria we're looking at. The investigators asking for information, we're sharing that. We're going through all of our old emails and sharing it with the committee and sharing it with the investigators. So it's not a lack of transparency. It's a little different than what the Clintons did where they just shut down and did nothing, and filed lawsuits, and they ignored foyers. We're actually sharing the information. It's just being leaked in a very damaging way that makes it looks like.
MACCALLUM: This all could've come out a long time ago. I mean, think about how different this whole story would be if you had heard about these months ago and say, you know what? Just so you know, I want to the put this out there, I forgot to mention it. And not -- there were two people in the room, there were eight people in the room. These are the eight people in the room. I mean, you know, as a communications director.
LANZA: There's only disclosure -- for me. It just adds more oxygen to this.
MACCALLUM: But why did that happen?
LANZA: You would have to ask the administration why that happened. I think if you asked Don Jr. today, he said he'll certainly do it differently that what he would have done back then. But the revolving disclosure it's hurting the administration. They're seeing that now, they're trying to be as transparent. They released the emails. The only reason these emails are forwards is because we went back through our databases and shared them with investigate. And Jared updated his forms. It's not like we've kept it secret and them somebody find it and released it to the press. This is our process and we're going to be.
MACCALLUM: On the Democrat side, Adrienne, Jonathan Turley was just here. And he said, you know, they're looking to bag a Trump, that was the way he put it, no matter what. And they will keep hammering this story even if there appears to be no obstruction, no treason which some people talked about. If they can't find evidence of collusion, you know, is it for the good of the country, for the American people to have that kind of approach to this whole thing?
ELROD: Well, look, it's not just Democrats, it's the fact that we've got a special counsel who's looking to this. We've got congressional investigative committees that are working in a bipartisan way because this is not just a Democratic issue. This is something that.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. But Democrats make a choice on whether or not to continue to hammer it or to say there's a special counsel on it, let's see.
ELROD: Well, I think we want to get to the bottom of the facts here. I mean, as a concerned American, take away being a Democrat or Republican, as concern American I want to know if Donald Trump, if his campaign colluded with the Russians. I would want to know the same thing if a Democrat was president if there was any sort of questions surrounding.
MACCALLUM: So you're hammering Hillary Clinton to release his emails then?
ELROD: No, I'm simply saying that regardless of party affiliation every single American should be concerned.
MACCALLUM: Bryan, thank you very much. Good to see you both. So the NRA is setting its sights on the Washington Post, slamming the paper in a new video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: You people do more to damage our country with a keyboard than every NRA member combine has ever done with a firearm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Dana Loesch and Matt Bennett debate that next. Plus, the White House now says Iran may have broken the Iran nuclear deal, this coming as Iran threatens U.S. forces. Congressman Peter King joins me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran. I know deal making. And let me tell you, this deal is catastrophic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That was then candidate Trump vowing to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. But yesterday, President Trump begrudgingly agreed to recertify the deal complying with the one that was brokered under President Obama, Bloomberg reporting earlier that the president almost ripped up the deal at the last second. And today, the White House confirmed that they believe Iran has already broken the agreement. Here now Congressman Peter King, who's member of both the house intel committee and the homeland security committee. Congressman, always good to see you.
REP. PETER KING, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Pleasure, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Welcome tonight. So the president appears to be very torn on this issue of whether or not to continue to recertify this Iran deal.
KING: Yeah. I mean, there's enough grounds there if he wanted to break it right now, I think that's where his heart is. I think his advisors are telling him, at least at this stage, without laying more groundwork. It may antagonize allies that we need in other operations that may -- what we're trying to do in Syria. But the fact is, Iran is getting away with murder, and it was a terrible deal to begin with. And it is tough to get out of it because Iran has gotten -- we've given them all the money. They've gotten the money upfront. But they are, I mean, violating U.N. resolutions on the ICBM's, it appears that they're going over the limit on uranium. They're trying to get technical operations to get more plutonium. So this is a -- but again, I understand the predicament that the president is in. But I think sooner or later you may end up seeing him, actually, taking us out of this.
MACCALLUM: It's always a problem when we talk about this deal in the beginning, that the money was upfront and that there was no demand for behavior change before the money was delivered. So it's pretty tough to imagine why Iran would think they need to change really any of their behavior at all. But these sanctions are going to go against 18 entities and restrict them in what way?
KING: Basically these are entities, some are Chinese, others are companies that's doing business for instance with different entities in Iran, those who are really engaged in terrorist activities. I mean, right now there's thousands of missiles Hezbollah has that has gotten from Iran. There's again dealings with Iran, it's having with Chinese entities for instance. So we're going after them. I think there're 16 of them that we're going after. But, again, it's a signal. We can increase this, especially countries like China who are doing business. I think we should also -- American companies like Boeing that are doing business with Iran.
MACCALLUM: Rex Tillerson is basically arguing that they need to recertify this deal. But it's a very interesting story that was by Eli Lake in Bloomberg today, saying, you know, the president really wants to make good on this promise. Is there any way that you think he can do that?
KING: I think he can. But, I mean, it's going to be -- he's going to really lay the groundwork because, again, it's complicated. We're dealing with other countries, with allies.
MACCALLUM: You have to make the case to them.
KING: You make the case, at least give them enough time so it's not done like the Paris Accord. I agreed with him pulling out of the Paris Accord, but to do that also with Iran would be like a double shot. And right now the immediate benefit would not be that great, the damage could be there. But again, I think it's something we're going to have to do ultimately. I don't know for certain, but I believe that's what the president wants to do, he has to find a way to get it done.
MACCALLUM: Peter King, thank you.
KING: Martha, thank you.
MACCALLUM: Always good to speak with you. Nice to see you here in Washington. So the NRA takes on one of the most powerful newspaper in an epic new video. We'll tell you what the gun rights group is charging against the Washington Post tonight, when NRA spokesperson, Dana Loesch and Matt Bennett, slug it out, coming up right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Your paper new slogan may read democracy dies in darkness. It should say journalism dies at the Washington Post.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: The National Rifle Association lashing out at the Washington Post over what it views as unfair coverage. The controversy stems in part from an article that came out earlier this month that questioned why the NRA is talking politics instead of sticking to the second amendment. To that, the NRA said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: For years, the Washington Post has tarnished gun owners in an effort to take away our second amendment freedoms. You people do more to damage our country with a keyboard than every NRA member combine has ever done with a firearm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Dana Loesch is NRA spokesperson, Matt Bennett spokesperson for Third Way, an Americans for gun safety. Welcome to both of you. So Dana, let me start with you. What bothered the NRA about this article that was written in the Washington Post?
DANA LOESCH, NRA SPOKESPERSON: Well, Martha, thank you for having me. It seems as though the Washington Post is upset when the NRA talks about guns, and then the Washington Post gets upset when the NRA doesn't talk about guns. So it looks like the Washington Post just gets mad anytime the NRA talks about anything because the NRA and its millions of members carry a lot of influence, and that makes the Washington Post mad. They tried to malign this organization, this member driven organization, 16 ways to Sunday, they have unreliable sources, unbalanced reporting, the lists goes on. So I've always been highly critical of entities like the Washington Post, with the exception of a couple of very good people there. And I do appreciate that on occasion they reach out, they try to get some of the other sides on board. But for the most part, I can't say that about the majority of their content. And so, when the NRA calls that out the Washington Post decides to get mad about any member or the NRA itself. I guess, just getting off of what its assignment is supposed to be. The Second Amendment protects all the other rights.
MACCALLUM: All right. Let's just put up, as I ask Matt Bennett this question, the original video that the article was written about. And the article was critical of the fact that this NRA video doesn't show a gun until the very end. That it talks about public safety and American values. So what's wrong with that, Matt?
MATT BENNETT, AMERICANS FOR GUN SAFETY: Well, it didn't just talk about public safety and American values. It says the clenched fist of freedom will be the response to what they're claiming to be anarchy in the streets that the left is bringing about. This really isn't about the Washington Post. The post can say or write really whatever it wants. The article that Dana is talking about was totally balanced. It says at the very end that they tried to reach the NRA for a comment and the NRA declined.
BENNETT: But what this really is about is these two videos, the first one and the follow-up, both of them really calling for violence against the left, and that is.
LOESCH: Oh, that is absolutely ridiculous.
MACCALLUM: In what way were they calling for violence at this clip?
LOESCH: And it was a clenched fist of truth, Matt. If you're going to quote me, quote me accurately.
BENNETT: No, I said that, the clenched fist of truth.
LOESCH: You said freedom.
BENNETT: Point taken.
MACCALLUM: Go ahead. How were they inciting violence?
BENNETT: If you watched the videos fairly, what they're doing is arguing that everyone on the left is an anarchist who's throwing trash cans through windows.
BENNETT: Conflating the left with those anarchists, who should be in jail. Those people are terrible.
LOESCH: I'm glad you said that.
BENNETT: It's exactly the same as calling the people on the right.
MACCALLUM: I have to jump in here.
BENNETT: Could you just hold for just a second.
MACCALLUM: I've got to jump in, Matt.
LOESCH: Matt, you're conflating peaceful protest and violent riots. I think you and I.
LOESCH: I actually show video, Matt, of violent riots on the screen behind me. Two different things.
BENNETT: Your video does precisely what you just accused me of doing.
LOESCH: I showed violence on camera, do you dispute that, yes or no?
BENNETT: Do I dispute.
LOESCH: Do you dispute the fact that I showed actual violent riots, yes or no?
BENNETT: Of course you did.
LOESCH: Yes, I did. And that's all I showed. So how are you suggesting that in some way I was condemning peaceful protests. That's your projection, correct.
BENNETT: If you watch the entirety of the two minutes.
LOESCH: I know. I created and wrote the ad.
BENNETT: Good for you.
LOESCH: So I know exactly what it is.
MACCALLUM: Matt, go ahead.
BENNETT: If you watch the full two minutes of your video and the subsequent video there is no escaping the conclusion that everyone on the left is a violent anarchist.
LOESCH: No, only the people burning buildings are.
BENNETT: The people of the resistance. The people of the resistance and the people who are protesting peacefully.
LOESCH: Only the people burning buildings.
BENNETT: Against TrumpCare and a bunch of other things they don't like are violent. That is.
MACCALLUM: I've got to leave it there. Thank you very much, Matt Bennett and Dana Loesch. Good to see you both tonight.
LOESCH: Thank you, Martha.
BENNETT: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So coming up next, details of a big exclusive that we will have right here tomorrow night when we come back.
MACCALLUM: So tomorrow night we have an exclusive on "The Story", Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, sat down to talk about, among other things, the newly announced department of justice policy on civil asset forfeiture, the firing of U.S. attorneys, and his confidence in the Mueller investigation. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: The Mueller special counsel investigation which you are overseeing, does his relationship with James Comey give you any pause in terms of the appointment -- that decision to appoint him for that post?
ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: I've explained that I made the decision to appoint Director Mueller based upon his reputation. He had an excellent reputation, really bipartisan support for his integrity.
MACCALLUM: So it has come out and some of the attorneys that he has hired that several of them have made donations to Hillary Clinton, to the Clinton campaign. Does that bother you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: We leave you hanging, his answers exclusively tomorrow night on "The Story," Rod Rosenstein's first national TV interview since being confirmed with us tomorrow evening, right here. So today, I went to the American history museum here in D.C., such a great place to visit when you're here. We saw Thomas Jefferson's writing desk where he penned the declaration of independence, Abraham Lincoln's top hat from the fatal night at Ford's Theater, and this sweet image of Jacqueline Kennedy with her new born son, John Jr., taken in 1960. Good night from Washington, D.C. Tucker is up next.
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