Rep. Kinzinger slams Rep. Wilson, talks Niger ambush probe

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," October 20, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Breaking tonight, the escalating debate over four soldiers who lost their lives in Niger -- fighting to make the world a safer place. And as General Kelly pointed out yesterday, they do it out of duty and devotion to their country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Who are these young men and women? They are the best one percent this country produces. Most of you, as Americans, don't know them. Many of you don't know anyone who knows any one of them. But they are the very best that this country produces. And they volunteered to protect our country when there's nothing in our country anymore that seems to suggest selfless service to the nation is not only appropriate but required.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Sadly the recognition of their lives and the investigation into the circumstances of their death, which is heating up tonight, is being stepped on by an ugly war of words. Trace Gallagher joins us tonight with more, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL REPORTER: Martha, during this war of words, both White House Chief of Staff Kelly and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson had made incorrect stations. It appears Kelly was taken when he said that during a 2015 speech, Wilson took credit for getting funding approved for an FBI building. It turns out when the funding was approved, Wilson was not yet in Congress. But when General Kelly said that Wilson was "in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise," the congresswoman said this. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. FREDERICA WILSON, D-FLORIDA: That's a racist term, too. I'm thinking about that when we looked it up in the dictionary because I had never heard of an empty barrel. And I don't like, to be, dragged into something like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: The truth is, the "barrel" phrase is attributed to Plato, and over the centuries has been used by everyone from Shakespeare to Lincoln with zero racial connotation. And despite Wilson's claim that she's committed to honoring our service members with words and deeds, she apparently left out votes. When it comes to bills benefiting current military members, Wilson's nays heavily outweigh her yeas. The record shows that especially when it comes to military funding, the congresswoman is likely to vote no.

Her voting record on military vets is similar. In fact, in the wake of the V.A. scandal that found dozens of military vets had died waiting to be seen by a doctor, Congress pushed a bill that authorized the V.A. secretary to demote, suspend or fire any V.A. employee based on conduct. The bill passed 368 to 55. Congresswoman Wilson was among the 55 "nos," she also voted no on two other V.A. accountability acts and one funding resolution. Martha.

MACCALLUM: OK. Trace, thank you. So, today on Capitol Hill, the search for answers about what happened in the ambush in Niger. Here are Senator McCain and Defense Secretary Mattis after they met today on the Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZONA: I felt that we were not getting sufficient amount of information and we are clearing a lot of that up now.

GENERAL JAMES MATTIS, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We can do better at communication, we can always improve on communication, and that's exactly what we'll do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: My next guest, not only a member of Congress but also a major in the Air National Guard, Illinois Congressman, Adam Kinzinger, served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a pilot in the Air Force. Congressman, good to have you with us tonight.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER, R-ILLINOIS: Thank you. Good to be with you.

MACCALLUM: You know, first of all, before we get to the ongoing investigation, I just want to get your thoughts on the back and forth between General Kelly and Congresswoman Wilson.

KINZINGER: It's sickening to me. This all started with, obviously, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson saying that you know, the president said some terrible things. And I'll tell you, frankly, if I was unfortunately killed in combat and the president called my dad or my mom and said, hey, Adam knew the risk and still took the risk and still defended his country, that would actually be the highest compliment a president could pay -- which is this person heroically walked into a situation where he knew that his life could end. And I think that's it.

You know, we've gotten into this habit lately of basically speaking to our militaries if they're victims as if they're victims of, you know, decisions by the lawmakers. These are fierce warriors. They make tough decisions every day to defend the country. And when Congresswoman Wilson says things like, oh, I must be a rock star now because the president knows who I am or when General Kelly says an empty barrel and she says that sounds racist, this is the same person that in my class in 2010 came in and was told she couldn't wear hats on the floor of the House of Representatives, and she said that was sexist.

Everything is not an "ist." Everything is not -- not every decision or everything is a victimhood. The reality is this amazing Green Beret made a decision to put his life on the line to defend his country. And he did that. And the president called the family to express his condolences. And I think Congresswoman Wilson basically decided to make this political and it's unfortunate. There's got to be somethings that are sacred cows, and this is it. A sacred cow to say, if you defend and give your life for the country, it doesn't matter if you're left or right, there's no political gain either way in anything with this.

MACCALLUM: All right. You know, in terms of the discussion that's starting to percolate about what happened in this operation, there's a report tonight that the U.S. Military's Africa Command warned that the troops there were facing increased risks because the command did not have the resources that it needed to support the people on the ground there.
What do you think about that?

KINZINGER: Well, it's going to be interesting to find out. This is one of the things we learned in the Benghazi investigation. Africa's a huge continent. I mean, you could fit a number of Americas in Africa. And we've tried to locate resources whether they're fighter jets, whether they're embassy reaction folks. But the reality is: Africa's becoming a dangerous continent. It's either going to be the next front in the war on terror, which it kind of is now.

And it's also the next front in economic explosion and development and great stories. But there are really nasty terrorists that exist all over the continent, and we have really tough dudes -- men and women all over the continent, fighting Boko Haram, fighting al-Qaeda, everywhere that wear the uniform of the military. It's an inherently dangerous job. We need to make sure they have the resources they need backing them. But I think the thing that people need to keep in mind before we jump to conclusion on this and we do need answers, is Green Berets are specially trained for being able to go into tough rugged environments, to be able to develop an indigenous force and to do so in many cases unsupported. That's what they specialize, that's what they're really good in. This is a terrible situation --

MACCALLUM: In fact, we have pictures of some of the soldiers in that area training people on the ground. We can put some of those up. Go ahead, finish your thought, Adam.

KINZINGER: Well, it's just that. It's, you know, yes, we need answers to the bottom line of this. But I think every time we kind of question every decision made in this process, you know, we take away from the fact that these young men, in the Green Beret's case, knew they were stepping into a very dangerous situation, but they knew that America needed to be defended and they did it heroically.

MACCALLUM: Thank you for your service, Congressman Adam Kinzinger. Great to talk to you tonight, as always. Thank you, Sir.

KINZINGER: You bet. See you.

MACCALLUM: So, after General Kelly spoke yesterday, one might have thought that the larger message of his words, about remembering the sacrifice of those four soldiers and so many others, and their families might cause the deeply entrenched divisiveness in our culture to maybe hit the pause button for just a moment, and to think about it all. That was not to be. Here perhaps, is the most extreme response, and it came last night from Lawrence O'Donnell, who slammed the four-star general this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: He called her an empty barrel. He dehumanized her. In fact, from start to finish, John Kelly's comments in the briefing room today were essentially a lecture about his moral superiority over her, and Trump's moral superiority over her. When John Kelly was going to school in Oak Square, in Brighton, in the Boston Irish neighborhood that he grew up in, the schools were segregated by custom and practice. John Kelly never sat beside a student like Frederica Wilson in his elementary school.

The language about black people in John Kelly's white neighborhood was exactly the same language about black people that was used at that time in white communities in the segregated south. White elementary school students and high school students and their parents were screaming the worst possible racial epithets at those buses filled with black children -- and John Kelly knows that. When Frederica Wilson was a little girl there, there were no black women members of Congress for her to look up to and aspire to, to follow into that office. When John Kelly was a little boy, everywhere he looked in America, there was someone who looked like him at the top.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Unbelievable. Here now, Mollie Hemingway, Senior Editor at The Federalist and a Fox News Contributor, and Zac Petkanas a former DNC Adviser. So, you know, talk about sweeping judgment. Talk about 50 years ago when John Kelly was a boy. Apparently, the experiences that happened to some people hurling epithets at buses during desegregation is enough to mark this man's entire life and to negate all of the rest that came after that. His military history, no doubt he has fought side-by-side with people of all ethnic backgrounds over the course of his career. You know, the absurdity of the argument would be funny if it is -- if it's not so incredibly disrespectful. You know, Mollie, go ahead and give me your thoughts. And Zac, I want to hear what think about what I just said.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND SENIOR EDITOR AT THE FEDERALIST: Well, and it's not just Lawrence O'Donnell. There have actually been many people on the left, and their allies in the mainstream media treating who are treating this like it's a legitimate thing to go after retired General Kelly when he's asking the country to think about how we pay respects to those who pay the ultimate sacrifice, who give their lives in service to the country.

This is not an equivalent situation you have with Representative Frederica Wilson, you know, much as might admire her hats, she's not making a lot of sense when she's speaking publicly. She said that this fight with the Trump administration is phenomenal and has turned her into a rock star. She's exploiting one of her constituent family's time of greatest grief for political gain versus a man who served honorably in the military who is himself a Gold Star parent and who is speaking with the experience about the need to pay respects for war dead. It would be nice if everybody regardless of the political position would do that.

MACCALLUM: So, explain, Zac, why, you know, if you think that this is not identity politics at its absolute worst, why not?

ZAC PETKANAS, FORMER SENIOR DNC ADVISOR: Well, look, I mean, I can't speak to his motivation. What I can speak to is the fact that there is video evidence that he lied. He lied about her record. And then when faced with that lie, what he ended up doing --

MACCALLUM: I understand that. That's a separate issue, though, and I do understand that. And the White House spoke to that today. It was not an accurate depiction of the words that she used then. They're saying that he spoke -- that she spoke in those terms before or after the -- hold on. I want you to respond this. Why is it OK for Lawrence O'Donnell to say that he believes, that because he grew up nearby where John Kelly grew up, that this is some sort of racist argument against this woman based on desegregation epithets that were hurled at buses 50 years ago. I mean, how do you get away with that?

PETKANAS: I mean, I can't speak for Lawrence O'Donnell. What I can speak for is what is on the videotape that John Kelly referenced. And in fact, he was not telling the truth. And then when faced with that at the White House today, the press secretary didn't walk it back. She doubled down.
And said, there were some other -- that was a bit outside of that.

HEMINGWAY: That's for good reason, actually.

PETKANAS: Oh, yes?

HEMINGWAY: The reason why it's because, yes, John Kelly did say that at a commemoration event that she talked about pushing through funding for legislation -- and he thought that was inappropriate. She didn't -- in fact, what she did was brag about her role in the naming its legislation. Now, if you think the big important distinction is funding versus naming? Then yes, you've got a great point.

PETKANAS: She asked Republican members of Congress to stand up and be recognized.

HEMINGWAY: If you actually think the point is about having -- if you think the point is about having decorum at a speech and he did not feel that she had proper decorum, it is not a good point. Again, I don't think Gold Star families are beyond reproach or anything like that, but this is a man whose son died in Afghanistan, who are talking about how to commemorate the dead. I think he speaks with some wisdom here that everybody, again, Democrat, Republican, whatever, we should be thinking about that right now.

PETKANAS: Nobody has questioned the service.

MACCALLUM: No, but people are questioning -- and I want to get back to this point. And I do understand the discrepancy over the video, and it's valid, and we've discussed it. But I just --

PETKANAS: Just apologize and move on.

MACCALLUM: OK. Maybe that should come, and maybe that will come, OK? But in terms of the sort of minimizing this argument, suggesting that the reason that he was offended had something to do with the color of her skin is completely off-base -- and it's not fair, and it's not right. And we saw it from Chris Cillizza, we saw it in a number of places today. And I don't know how you can look at yourself in the mirror and do that.

PETKANAS: Again, I can't speak to his motivation.

MACCALLUM: Do you think race is involved in this in any way?

PETKANAS: I can't speak to his motivation. I don't -- I have no evidence to suggest that it is.

MACCALLUM: That's pathetic and embarrassing. You don't need to speak that way about him.

PETKANAS: What -- look, what I think is really concerning here is that we have not mentioned once the name of the widow of La David Johnson. We have not mentioned Mayesha Johnson once in this. And the only voice that actually matters in this whole controversy is hers. How she felt when the president --

MACCALLUM: In fact, I have a beautiful picture of her that I meant to pull up a moment ago. We got so caught up in our conversation, but let's put up a picture of Mayesha and La David Johnson, who have two little children and another one on the way. They are the center of this conversation. And I can only imagine what they and the other families that are involved this feel and think when they see the level of discussion that this has diminished too. And I think it's very, very sad.

PETKANAS: I agree. And I just think it's so important that even if the president doesn't believe that he was offensive to her, an adult said, hey, I'm sorry you took it that way, I didn't mean it that way. I'm really sorry. Obviously, I support you, I support your son. An adult says that. A toddler attacks, attacks, attacks -- and that's what we have going on right now.

MACCALLUM: All right. Zac and Mollie, thank you very much. Good to see you both tonight. So, two speeches by two former presidents, both seen as an attack on President Trump. And the Washington Press Corps ate it up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said at one point, bigotries seen emboldens our politics, seen more vulnerable to conspiracy theories than outright fabrication. Does President Trump agree with this assessment? And if so, what does he see as his role in addressing that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, the report summing it up this way with this combined picture: Bush-Obama, on the front page of their web site this morning. Former senior adviser to President Bush, Karl Rove is here to the odd state of the political alignment. Plus, Obama's attorney general, Loretta Lynch, facing new questions over her handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton. She was on the Hill today. So, did the former top cop put her thumb on the scales of justice? One of the nation's foremost legal scholars, Jonathan Turley, with some of the big, big questions that surround Loretta Lynch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Attorney General Lynch, did you seek permission from anyone within the White House before you took the meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Serious new questions swirling tonight after a former Obama administration Attorney General Loretta Lynch was on the Hill today. She met behind closed doors with some of the congressional investigators in this case. Lawmakers would like to know more about her involvement in the federal investigation of Hillary Clinton. Including the infamous tarmac meeting which shows Bill Clinton at the spotlight there at a distance, in the middle of a federal, in the middle of some bodyguards as they went over to the plane, and that the middle of the investigation to the e-mail situation. So, Fox's Catherine Herridge did her best today to try to get some answers as Ms. Lynch went in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERRIDGE: Attorney General Lynch, did you direct Director Comey to call the Clinton e-mail investigation a matter? Did you make a phone call before the meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac in Arizona? Attorney General Lynch, did you seek permission from anyone within the White House before you took the meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Jonathan Turley, Constitutional Scholar, and Professor at George Washington Law. Jonathan, good to see you tonight, welcome.

JONATHAN TURLEY, CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR AND PROFESSOR AT GEORGE WASHINGTON LAW: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, honestly, you know, just to refresh everyone's memory, which was just a few days after this meeting on the tarmac between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch who was in the middle of the investigation of his wife and this e-mail situation. Just a few days later that it was decided that there was going to be no prosecution. What would be -- are those questions that you would want to know? The ones that Catherine was shouting? And do you think we're going to get answers to those?

TURLEY: Well, Catherine did a very good job in trying to get answers to those questions. And yes, we should have those answers. You know, our officials are governed by consent. And the public has the right on both sides of these controversies, not just on the Russia investigation, but also on the e-mail investigation to feel like they've all the facts. And what James Comey said was that it was indeed Lynch's conduct that somehow influenced him to do this alone. And he felt uncomfortable by it. Well, that's significant to not only Comey's conduct but obviously also the potential conduct of Attorney General Lynch.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I want to go to a sound bite, the second one that in the-- it's Lindsey Graham asking if there was that phone call. Let's play the first Lindsey Graham sound bite.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: Do you know if there was a phone call between the former Attorney General Ms. Lynch and the White House regarding whether or not she should take a meeting with former President Clinton on the tarmac?

JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: No. The inquiries could be, probably, directed to the deputy attorney general.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, obviously, he's fishing there to see if the White House knew that she was going to talk with Bill Clinton.

TURLEY: Right. And Comey obviously thought that this was a great concern about that meeting. He was also -- he raised the issue that he was told Lynch to call this a matter. A term that has no meaning to him or anyone else. And that is a matter of concern that we should know why it is that she felt she had to try to essentially downgrade this issue. But also, why was it that whatever the communications were between Comey and Lynch, he felt that he had now to take these actions on his own. And the public has a right to know that. I mean, we are a divided country and we're not getting closer by the day. But the only way we're going to resolve our differences is if we can at least agree on a set of facts to get some type of determination. Congress can fill in those gaps for us.

MACCALLUM: Do you think there's any possibility that this investigation will ever be reopened?

TURLEY: Well, I think the most appropriate thing at this point would be for the congressional committees to seriously investigate this issue. They have a lot on their plate. But when you are in a situation like this with so many divisions, I think you should try to resolve questions on both sides.

MACCALLUM: Well, I think that's what they're trying to do this morning. Jonathan Turley, thank you very much. Always good to see you, sir.

TURLEY: Thanks.

MACCALLUM: So, still ahead tonight after breaking his silence just days ago, a new twist tonight surrounding the security guard who first encountered the Las Vegas gunman. There is a backstory to his only media appearance where they did not get a lot of answers, we're going to explain. Also, Republicans with some major momentum tonight in the efforts to enact major tax reform. But Chris Stirewalt says, now would be when the whole thing gets a little bit tricky, folks? And he's here to explain. And get this, in 2012, she said his election would be an assault on women's health, but now she thinks it would be better if he was president. Karl Rove tells us the real meaning behind Nancy Pelosi's dramatic 180 and other things tonight on THE STORY when we come right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALI., HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MINORITY LEADER: Wouldn't it be nice if he were president of the United States?

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: With the Senate's approval of a budget late last night, the Republican Party took a big step toward tax reform. Razor thin, 51-49 vote went right along party lines, and with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul being the only GOP Senator to vote "no" on that. But the Senator who played a little golf over the weekend with the president signaled some surprising support today. Tweeting, "I'm all in for tax cuts @realDonaldTrump. The biggest, boldest cuts possible -- and soon." He's even picking up the Twitter style of President Trump as he's here on where the Republicans go from here. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News politics editor. Chris, good to see you.

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR: Howdy, ma'am.

MACCALLUM: So, sometimes business does to get done over golf, apparently.

STIREWALT: Heck, yes.

MACCALLUM: Heck, yes.

STIREWALT: We should always want the president to be playing golf, to be relaxed and have his head on straight. And as Donald Trump has demonstrated like his predecessors, a lot of business can get done out there. And Rand Paul -- Donald Trump who had a huge thorn in his side from Rand Paul on health insurance loss and those issues, now finds themselves with an ally all of a sudden. A guy who has actually run the blueprint on ObamaCare repeal and replacement. And also, backing him up now on tax cuts.

MACCALLUM: It's fascinating because Rand Paul can vote "no" on this thing, and yet he and the president, by all reports, talk frequently, have a good relationship. I mean, it really, you know, appears to be the kind of politics that in some way they haven't seen in a really long time. But you're skeptical that this can move all the way through the actual bill writing for tax reform.

STIREWALT: Well, weird thing happens when you use procedural tricks to move legislation which is that in the end, the procedure that the cart is permanently in front of the horse. And that procedure dictates policies rather than policy dictating procedures.

The Democrats found that when they did ObamaCare using reconciliation end- around. So they're worried about -- they've got to hit all these trip wires on the budget and get that out of the way, so then they can use the budget as a vehicle to append tax cut to those.

So they are all excited about the procedural votes, which is great and cool for them. However, now they've got to decide what actually goes into tax legislation that nobody has really seen yet. And there is wide disagreement on this sector.

And there -- the Wall Street Journal had a story that cause a lot of heartburn on the Hill today, talking about capping your contributions of the 401(k) at $2,400 a year and a low howl came up from the Republican Party saying, you can't do that. So that stuff has to get sorted out still.

MACCALLUM: They have deduction, loopholes, all of those are very big issues and the lobbyists do not want to see those loopholes go away. So there's going to be a major fight over this to be sure. How about the timeline, Chris?

STIREWALT: I think the goal for Paul Ryan right now and Mitch McConnell to a lesser degree is to create the sensation of movement no matter what. Ryan says thanksgiving, the reason he says thanksgiving is because he knows what's going to happen in December.

What's going to happen in December is, they're going to get eaten alive by legislation on the dreamers, legislation to prevent partial government shutdown, legislation to raise the debt ceiling, legislation on ObamaCare, all of which has to be passed by the end of the year. So they want to eat their dessert first.

They want a pass a tax cut first to try to have some good feelings about this. He also wants people not to forget -- he wants people to not remember that once they pass this budget, they have until the end of the next fiscal year to enact these tax cut. The window stays open until the end of September. And he wants to keep urgency around this.

He doesn't want it to get stale and people get bickering. He wants this arbitrary timeline to try to jam it through. Whether that works or whether it devolves in the squabbling over these details like it did on the ObamaCare replacement, we will see.

MACCALLUM: Well, let's hope, they can -- you know, I mean, I know you said the deadlines don't matter but I like deadlines. I think people function better under deadlines. I think when you tell people they can't go home for Christmas unless something gets done, sometimes it gets done. And you know, Congress just puts everything off over and over, and over again. I think people are so sick of it.

STIREWALT: Believe me, if you like deadlines, December is going to be great. You're just...

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: I'm also in...

STIREWALT: you like to go to a deadline, it's going to be full. I promise.

MACCALLUM: Chris, thank you. Good to see you as always. So over the last couple of days, really months, we have seen a strange sort of warping in the center of politics as Democrats and the media cozy kind of up to their old Republican foes starting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PELOSI: It's interesting because now the current speaker who was a candidate for vice president for whom hundreds of millions of dollars was spent to promote him and Mitt Romney.

(LAUGHTER)

PELOSI: Wouldn't it be nice if he were president of the United States?
George Bush.

(LAUGHTER)

PELOSI: Anyway...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Wow. Former President Bush also finding some support from the previously very critical media against him, following his speech on divisions in this country which some have compared to a campaign speech from President Obama. Drudge Report going so far to put this rendition of an Obama-Bush combo on their website this morning. Here now on this weird state of politics, Karl Rove, served as deputy chief of staff under President George W. Bush and as a Fox News Contributor. So, Karl, good evening to you.

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening.

MACCALLUM: What do you make of this?

ROVE: Well, first of all, Nancy Pelosi didn't really mean it when she said she wanted Mitt Romney or George Bush to be president. She really didn't mean it.

MACCALLUM: She didn't?

ROVE: So I think all of your viewers going to take comfort in that. I'm sure of it. Look, I thought this is interesting how President Bush spoke in New York at a conference and his speech and concerns were the concerns at the last nine months. They were longer term. He is worried about the challenges to western style democracy. And he talked to us very specifically about four threats.

He was worried about external attacks on democracy, both here and abroad. He talked about the support in America that has been diminished over the decades for America's role in world on behalf of freedom in free markets. He talked about a concern about how well we are doing in passing the ideals of Americanism from generation to generation.

He's worried about how well we are doing that with young people. And finally, he talked about the decline trust in institutions, not only here but abroad. He's talking about threats to western style democracy. And yet, the press immediately jumped up and turned it into an attack on Donald Trump.

MACCALLUM: Where he talked about cruelty and bigotry, and you know, some of these flash words that sometimes have been suggested into questions and criticisms of President Trump.

ROVE: Sure. The way he talks about for example the trust in our institutions, you talked about -- we have an urgent -- we need to urgently attend the problems of declining trust. Our democracy needs a media that is transparent, accurate and fair. Our democracy needs religious institution to demonstrate integrity in champions, civil discourse. We need institutions that are higher education that are examples of the truth and free expressions.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

ROVE: So you know, I would encourage people to read the speech. I think it's a terrific...

MACCALLUM: Well, you know the man. And you have spent a lot of time with him and you listen to his words and your take-away is credible and important. You know, in terms of the sort of rosier reaction to President George W. Bush by some of the media who really denigrated him so deeply. What do you make of that transition?

ROVE: Well, look, I think, I think -- I think that is partially reaction to the fact that they just hate Trump and they have to find a way to hate Trump even more by saying I like Bush. That makes them feel better. But look, I think there is also something.

During the course of the previous administration, I had a number of people say to me, even people who serve in the Obama administration just say, you know what? I have gained a greater respect for the guy you work for because they realize how difficult these challenges are that the world faces. And his record is looking better and better as people have a chance to examine it. Not up close in the moment but through the -- through the lens of history.

MACCALLUM: President Bush always said that he just wanted to be able to feel good and comfortable when he looked in the mirror. And he said he could do that. And he said that history would be the ultimate judge of his presidency. And it turned out to be the case.

ROVE: He also said history -- he also said history will get it right and we'll both be dead whenever he gets upset about a New York Time editorial...

MACCALLUM: It's true. We'll get it right. All right, Karl, great to see you. Thank you very much.

ROVE: Nice to see you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: You, too. Still ahead tonight, the company behind the Trump dossier goes to court to block a Congressional subpoena for its records. So what does Fusion GPS not want to discuss with Congress? We're going to dig into that. And a new twist surrounding Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos, just days after his select and only media appearance, the question tonight, why might his employer prefer that he go on Ellen over anywhere else? Strange truth ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, "THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW": So you are talking about it now and then you are not going to talk about it again. And I don't blame you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So a new report suggests Las Vegas security guard Jesus Campos' employer insisted that he only do one interview. Remember he disappeared the night he was supposed to do about five of them. And they wanted him to do it on the show, Ellen. So it's critical of course to the ever evolving timeline and when police were first called to the scene after Campos was shot by Stephen Paddock.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Fox News correspondent Trace Gallagher joins us now with an interesting look at the story behind all of this. Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Martha, on the day Jesus Campos gave that interview to Ellen, we pointed out what appears to be very cozy circumstances. The fact that MGM which owns Mandalay Bay where Campos works is a big sponsor of Ellen's Show and how MGM had Ellen slot machines in all of its casinos.

Now, the Daily Mail is reporting that MGM wanted Ellen because they feared that Campos might not keep his story straight under a series of hard news questions. Certainly nobody is indicating that Campos wasn't truthful. But it's fair to point out that Ellen never asked him a single question about the most controversial issue, the timeline which changed three times.

Police first said Campos diverted the gunman's attention causing him to stop firing on the crows then said Campos were show six minutes before the shooting on the crowd. Finally saying Campos was shot within 40 seconds of the mass attack. Even the president of Campos' Labor Union is now acknowledging that MGM certainly had influence over Campos saying, quoting here, it certainly wasn't my choice that he should appear on that circus. The Union president added that all sides had agreed to parameter for the interview, something news organizations should not agree to. The MGM has not commented. Martha.

MACCALLUM: Yes, well, they're going to have to answer to a lot of this before this is over. Trace, thank you very much. So here with more, attorney and conservative commentator David Wohl. David, good to see you tonight.

DAVID WOHL, FOX NEWS CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Hi, Martha.

MACCALLUM: What do you make of the Ellen interview?

WOHL: Well, I mean in general, she is someone who tends to toss cream puffs and softballs to begin with. MGM allowed him to go on her show, I'm sure laying down strict parameters on the interview. So they allowed it because they wanted the general public to see that they are not hiding or concealing evidence in this case.

MACCALLUM: Right.

WOHL: But at the same time you can't ask him tough questions like you would have, like Tucker would have, like Sean Hannity, I mean they -- you would have deposition with you guys, you're brilliant interviewers. They can't have that at this time because this could well end up being the largest, most costly civil lawsuit in American history.

MACCALLUM: That's true. I want to play one sound bite from this interview. Let's play it.

WOHL: Sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESUS CAMPOS, SECURITY GUARD, MANDALAY BAY: As I was walking down, I heard rapid fire and at first I took cover. I felt a burning sensation. I went to go lift my pant leg up and I saw the blood. That is when I called it in on my radio that shots have been fired. And I was going to say that I was hit but I got off my cell phone just to clear the radio traffic, so they can coordinate the rest of the call.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Yes, after that, the question should be -- David, thank you for your compliment. But this is what I would want to know, who did you call on your radio? Did you speak to somebody on MGM, the head of security? What time did that call was placed. Then he said that he didn't want to -- that he got on his cell phone to tell someone he had been hit to clear the radio traffic so that can coordinate the rest of the call, which is understandable.

But who did that -- who did he call then? Did he call 911 then or did he call MGM? And in my mind the question isn't what time did Campos make the call to the police but what time did MGM make the call to let -- to make sure that the police were on their way? Because everyone wants to know what time he called. But I want to know who he let someone know that something was going on, on the 32nd floor. So when did -- what did that person do is one of the big questions here.

WOHL: Absolutely. And it's critically important. And given the fact that there were 58 people killed and nearly 500 injured. I mean the reality is, if it turns out that MGM or whoever was in charge of contacting the authorities, contacting 911 waited five or six minutes, that takes the case from negligence to gross negligence to possibly recklessness which could mean punitive damages in the case in the billions.

MACCALLUM: I know, I mean this is such a tragedy.

WOHL: That's why they were concerned about it.

MACCALLUM: And that is the most important thing about all of this. But you do want to make sure that lessons are learned from it, so that anything that could possibly be fixed gets fixed. You know, I mean where is the 911 call -- is my other question. I mean have you ever seen a crime where there's been a 911 call made and you don't hear? We haven't -- we haven't seen it or heard it. Where is the video?

WOHL: Yes, it ought to be released. This is a very common procedure. They release the 911 call. I don't know...

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: The Pulse nightclub we heard them.

WOHL: But here's the reality, Martha. The security needs casinos because-- we all know, it's focus on stopping gambling cheaters, well guess what, that's all going to change now. Will there be magnetometers at the entrances of casinos, metal detectors? It's all going to change because if this ever happens again and it doesn't change in a casino, I mean we all know what's going to happen with the lawsuits. It's a huge tragedy on multiple levels.

MACCALLUM: It sure is. David, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight. Take care.

WOHL: Thank you, Martha. Great weekend.

MACCALLUM: You, too. So a big development tonight in the case of the firm behind the controversial Trump dossier -- how Fusion GPS is trying to prevent Congress from getting their hands on the research or the documents that they handled, one writer says the Republicans should not stop their effort to try to get these answers.

She thinks this is the most important question out there right now and she joins me in a moment from the Wall Street Journal, Kim Strassel. Plus an update on Harvey Weinstein's rehab, could he be failing at sex addiction treatment? When we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: New reports suggest that Harvey Weinstein is not exactly warming up to life in rehab.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Page Six reports the disgraced movie mogul isn't denial about needing treatment, instead showing up late to the meetings. Talking on his cell phone which you are not even supposed to have in there and insisting that all of his alleged rendezvoused were consensual. So he doesn't know what is going on and why he is there in the first place. Remember it was just last week that we him enjoying casual night out with friends at an Arizona restaurant. More on his saga unfortunately as it continues.

So new developments in the case of Fusion GPS, this is the firm that was behind the now infamous Trump dossier. A source tells Fox News that the company is now fighting to block the release of their bank records. Amid questions of who may have paid for dirt on President Trump. Earlier in week the firm's partners plead The Fifth. My next guest is urging Republicans to keep digging on this one saying this could unravel quite a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Kim Strassel is Wall Street Journal columnist. She wrote a great piece on this today and she's member of the paper's editorial board. Kim, good evening. Good to see you tonight.

KIM STRASSEL, COLUMNIST, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Hi, Martha. How are you?

MACCALLUM: I'm doing well, thanks. So you know, this is one that, you know, you sort of keep pulling on a string. And as we always say, you know, you want to follow the money. So why do you think Fusion GPS doesn't want to know who paid them for the Trump dossier?

STRASSEL: Well -- by the way, if I were a house investigator I'd feel pretty good that I am circling right target here given the ferocity of which Fusion is fighting this. And I think that ferocity suggests that this is a bombshell who did pay it. Perhaps it was a democratic organization in which case you have Democrats helping to gen up a phony dossier that has landed the president in a so-called scandal all year.

Perhaps it was a foreign entity, maybe the Russians themselves that were giving money. We might find out whether or not the FBI was involved in paying for instance this British -- former British spy who was involved in creating the dossier. Whatever is in there, it is something that they clearly do not want people to see.

MACCALLUM: Well, there was reporting that the FBI was considered paying Fusion GPS for some research but ultimately did not. And earlier this week, the president tweeted that he wanted to know who was behind this dossier and who said you know, see if you can dig up some dirt on candidate then Donald Trump. And the president suggested in a tweet that it could have been Democratic operatives, it could have been the FBI and he got excoriated for it, Kim.

STRASSEL: Well, that's -- that's crazy. Look, because the reason he got excoriated is because it doesn't fit with the mean that's been going on for the past year. The entire media and everyone has been convinced that if there is a scandal here, it's that there was some sort of collusion between the Trump White House and the Russians. We still have no evidence of that whatsoever.

But what if the actually scandal is again, that a left leaning opposition research firm was working with the Democrats, working with a foreign government perhaps to create a scandal around Donald Trump and even bigger and more worrisome. What if our law enforcement agencies ultimately depend on that dossier or used it as a justification for instance to get a warrant to go and look into the Trump campaign? That really would be Russian meddling in our democracy and something concerning.

MACCALLUM: Yes. And with that, you just touched on something that is obviously very central to this and one of the biggest questions in terms of whether or not the DOJ or the beginning of this investigation used this dossier as the basis for, you know, any sort of investigative things that they did to do that, you know, investigations, potential wiretap, any of that, right?

STRASSEL: Right. And by the way, I think we are going to get more to the bottom of this. What this firm is doing is, they have taken the House basically to Federal Court and said, you can't have this but it's not much of a legal leg to stand on.

MACCALLUM: Kim, thank you. Out of time on the clock. Thank you very much. Quote of the night, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So after General Kelly's comments in the briefing room this week about sacrifice and the values that bind us as a nation, tonight's quote comes from President Lincoln first inaugural address shortly before the Civil War. He said we are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.

Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic cords of memory stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart, and hearthstone, all across this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the union when again touched as surely they will be by the better angels of our nature. Here is to unity and our better angels. That is our story for tonight. I'll see you back here on Monday. Tucker is up next.

END

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