Rep. Ron DeSantis on the FBI's Uranium One informant

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," October 26, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Brand new tonight in the Uranium One story, the FBI informant is now at liberty to speak. I'm Martha MacCallum, and here is "The Story."

The Clinton saga back in the news tonight with the discovery that the FBI actually had a spy that was working in the middle of all of it. But for five years, this individual has been under a gag order by the Department of Justice. But now he has the freedom to speak out potentially about the bribes, the kickbacks, the Russians' plans to get their hands on as much North American uranium as they possibly could, and any connection that may exist between all of that, and the OK-ing of this very unusual deal by the Clinton State Department. That came just weeks after the company had paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for a speech. Ed Henry in D.C. tonight.

So, how did that gag order gets lifted, Ed, and what do we know about this informant?

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Interesting. A lot of interesting details spilling out today. We've heard the president himself, directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his team to lift this gag order because he felt it was important to do. But a well-placed source is insisting to us: no, the decision was made by senior officials inside the Justice Department, not the White House.

And when it comes to the informant, we know so little about this informant that, in fact, some senators probing the matter say to us today they don't even know his name, but they're about to find out, not just his name, but a lot more information about the informant -- that could be bad news for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Because this informant told the FBI about alleged bribery in the uranium market, including charges that Russian nuclear officials bought influence with large speaking fees for the former president and millions of contributions to the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state.

Now, in order to help get the Obama administration approval of that Uranium One deal you mentioned, that enable the Russians to get a big stake in U.S. uranium production capacity. Though Hillary Clinton said during the last campaign, she was not directly involved in signing off on that. That sounds like Russian collusion to Republican Senator Charles Grassley -- he Chairs one of the committees that will hear the testimony of the informant. He is basically telling Fox today, Grassley, there should be a second special counsel beyond Robert Mueller to probe all of these allegations, because of this informant, in fact, is afraid of revealing his identity because some powerful Russians were put in jail over the bribery and racketeering charges. Grassley, today, telling Fox this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, R-IOWA: If it's good to investigate Russians' involvement in the election process in the United States and in regard to Trump, it's probably just as legitimate to investigate Russia versus the Clintons.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: Meanwhile, the FBI today agreed to give House Republicans of documents related to that Russian dossier to former British Intelligence Officer Christopher Steele. I should clarify that when I reported last night, Republicans and Democrats paid for the dossier, that was not precise. A Republican donor did, in fact, paid the firm, Fusion GPS, for dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump-related to his businesses. But then, in the spring of 2016, the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Paid that same firm, Fusion GPS, to get the more salacious, unverified information that was included in the dossier. Today, Speaker Paul Ryan, insisting he's going to keep the heat on the FBI to figure out exactly what they knew and when they knew it. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Fascinating stuff. Ed, thank you so much. So, what has this informant told congressional leaders or what do they expect to hear from him? Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis has been leading that charge on the House Oversight Committee's probe into this deal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. RON DESANTIS, R-FLA.: So, I've been in contact almost on a daily basis with his attorney, and he is very interested in telling his story. He was just somebody who was working in Washington as a lobbyist, was approached to be a part of some of these Russian lobbying campaigns, and he realized immediately this was not on the up and up. So, to his credit, he went immediately to the FBI and became a confidential informant for them in 2009 and did that for a number of years.

So, he wanted to tell his story, he feels the story needs to be told, but he was concerned about the gag order. Because last year, he wanted to litigate some claims against the FBI and the Justice Department told him, you're under this gag order, if you expose things that are covered by that, then there will be reprisals against you. And so, obviously, he didn't want to do that, and his attorney, being a good attorney, is going to tell them to make sure that that's taken care of.

Well, now that that's taken care of, he's going through what I understand to be a lot of documents that he accumulated over those many years. He's going to be willing to produce those documents to Congress, and then, obviously, he's going to talk to Congress. Most likely it will be, initially, behind the scenes in a closed-door setting just so we can go through all this, maybe do some other investigating. But I do anticipate at some point, you know if this information bears out that you could see him in front of the tac lights in a congressional hearing down the road.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Do believe that he has information on the Clinton Foundation and how those transactions were involved with the Clinton Foundation, the speeches that were given by Bill Clinton, which I just mentioned? Do you believe that he has information on that?

DESANTIS: I think it's possible. I definitely believe that, from the very beginning of this, that he will say that the Russian sources that he was dealing with, they were very much interested in influencing the Clintons.

MACCALLUM: In what way? What did they want to do?

DESANTIS: Well, obviously, they were making a play and it was something that -- all the way up to Vladimir Putin, where they wanted this Russian- backed company to be able to get a stake in America's uranium reserves. I'm sure there are other issues that they were concerned with as well, but that was the main one. And how do you do that? You can't just go do it. There's a big process involved. It's got to get the approval of the administration in power. Not just the secretary of state, but some other key officials. And so, that was something that they were concerned about from the very beginning, and this is something that he's going to have information on.

MACCALLUM: So, you know, the pushback on this story is that it's not a big deal, that this has been litigated before, that there were bribery charges, and that those have also been litigated within these companies, that they were being bribed and getting kickbacks from the Russian companies as part of this transaction, and that the Clintons had nothing to do with it.

DESANTIS: Well, some of that is true in the sense that, yes, the main Russian protagonist, (INAUDIBLE), did plead guilty in 2014. There's going to be questions about that guilty plea though because it seems that he could've been charged with a more serious offense. But having said that, none of this information, to the best of our knowledge, was ever produced to Congress or, we don't think, to members of the CFIUS Board prior to the approval in 2010. They had the informant in 2009, and yet Congress, there was a lot of opposition to this deal in 2010 on policy grounds. Imagine if they would've known that under this was a racketeering and bribery scheme. That could have probably been enough, that information alone probably would've stopped the deal from going forward.

MACCALLUM: Yes. You would think that was the information they would've wanted to know. Before I let you go, do want a special counsel to look into this, and is there a proceeding moving toward that?

DESANTIS: I think we need one because the Deputy Attorney General now, Rod Rosenstein, was actually the U.S. Attorney who processed them a guilty plea, in Maryland at the time. Mueller, obviously, was the FBI Director. So, I just think you need a fresh set of eyes to look at this.

MACCALLUM: Congressman DeSantis, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.

DESANTIS: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MACCALLUM: So, also tonight, a watchdog group is accusing the Clinton Campaign and the DNC of breaking campaign finance law by paying for the opposition research that became the now infamous Trump dossier. Here now, Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law attorney and law professor at George Washington University. Jonathan, good evening, always good to see you.

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

MACCALLUM: Boy, there are a lot of tentacles to this story. And you know, it's like what's good for the goose is good for the ganders, so you've got an investigation into Russian involvement and campaigns, which has been largely focused on the Trump campaign. But there is a whole new ball of wax here, and it makes it very difficult to sort of ignore the things that are being revealed on the other side of the fence.

TURLEY: Well, quite frankly, it's good to have something that's more recognizable as a criminal allegation. You know, the -- as you know, I've been very skeptical about the past Russian collusion claims as being a criminal matter, even though I supported the appointment of the special counsel at the Comey was fired. I've been cautioning and many others have that there really isn't a crime to collude.

And in the same sense, it wouldn't be a crime to receive information on the Trump side from a foreign national. But the allegations against the Clintons could potentially be criminal; it doesn't mean that they are criminal. The $500,000 given to Bill Clinton might have been innocent. The timing might just have been horrible. But that would be a cognizable crime if a linkage was found.

In the same way, the allegation over the dossier does involve a potential violation of federal law. The Federal Election Commission now requires campaigns to state a purpose for any money spent over about $200 -- to sort of have an item description for each of those amounts. There isn't an item description for this law firm for the amount of money that is being alleged to be given to this research firm.

MACCALLUM: Well, maybe it wasn't paid for through direct campaign funds, maybe it came from an outside donor, that's possible, right?

TURLEY: Right. A lot of money went to this law firm and there is a $66,000 research item that was mentioned, but there is no other reference to it. So, one of these public interest groups has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, saying we think if these news reports are accurate that the Clinton Campaign violated federal law.

MACCALLUM: What about the other side, and another piece of information that came out today, about the Trump data team and Cambridge analytics. Alexanders Nix of that firm, said that he reached out to Julian Assange, and, you know, asked about the 33,000 missing Hillary Clinton e-mails and whether or not Julian Assange had access to them, and whether or not they might be, you know, something that the campaign would be interested in or would help push out something along those lines. What does that say to you?

TURLEY: Well, I feel the same way about that allegation as I did about the allegation with the Russian collusion. I don't see the crime there. There is no question that the WikiLeaks controversy did involve a crime and the hacking of systems. Also, some of that information in the Clinton e-mail system was found to be classified. But it is not necessarily a crime to reach out to see if that type of information is going to be publicly available or available otherwise. But there are still these allegations that have to be addressed whether this was an appropriate action to take. Given the fact that many people view WikiLeaks as endangering national security.

MACCALLUM: Jonathan Turley, always good to get your thoughts on all of this, and I have a feeling we're going to have to keep revisiting as we keep going through the Russia, Russia, Russia situation. Thanks a lot, Jonathan. Good to see you tonight.

TURLEY: Thanks.

MACCALLUM: So, coming up next here, we spent a lot of time covering this story, and tonight, it's finally getting somewhere.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BECKY GERRITSON, LEADER, TEA PARTY ALABAMA: I'm a born-free American woman, wife, mother, and citizen, and I am telling my government that you've forgotten your place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: One of many members of the Tea Party targeted by the IRS during the Obama administration. But tonight, some justice from the DOJ, and our power panel: Marc Thiessen, Charlie Hurt, and Marie Harf, all here to weigh in on what happens with the IRS story. News on that, right now. And President Trump gets personal as he moves to stop the enormous climb and deaths due to addiction in our country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I had a brother Fred, a great guy, best-looking guy, best personality, much better than mine. But he had a problem; he had a problem with alcohol.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: We'll have that in a moment. Plus, breaking news in North Korea: the U.S. issues new sanctions against the rogue regime as General Mattis and General Dunford arrives in the region. General Jack Keane joins me with his expert insight coming up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We are out of a peaceful resolution. Do we have military options and defense? Our allies, (INAUDIBLE), of course, we do.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM JORDAN, R-OHIO: Why did it take us this long to get these emails? We've been after these for six months, and you dumped it on us in July 3rd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI has not talked to you about the lost e-mails of Lois Lerner?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has anyone in the Justice Department talked with you or anyone at the Internal Revenue Service about Lois Lerner's lost e-mails?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Remember all those disappearing hard drives, and all those computers that just got (INAUDIBLE)? I don't know what happened to them. That was controversial IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, who is about to be replaced with Assistant Secretary David Kautter, will take over on November the 13th. That news comes as Attorney General Jeff Sessions settles several lawsuits with the Tea Party and other conservative groups targeted by the IRS back in 2010 under then-Leader Lois Lerner -- remember her? She was ousted over this scandal, but really quiet. I mean, she basically retired and is continuing to get a pension. Some of the victims giving emotional testimony on Capitol Hill back on 2013. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERRITSON: I want to protect and preserve the America that I grew up in, the America that people cross oceans and risk their lives to become a part of, and I am terrified it is slipping away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My experience at the hands of this government in the last five years have made me more determined ever than before to stand before you and all of Americans and say that I will not retreat, I will not surrender, I will not be intimidated, and I will not ask for permission to exercise my constitutional rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: She was harassed and intimidated for the offense of wanting to get tax-exempt status for her political -- for her Tea Party Organization. So, that was Catherine Engelbrecht of True the Vote, and that group was not part of today's settlement. They're still fighting for justice. And she sent out this statement saying in quote part, "Hollow apologies from the IRS won't prevent future discrimination and abuse. True the Vote welcomes the Department of Justice's to enter into settlement negotiation in our case provided that the outcome produces meaningful protection for all organizations. Regardless of your political viewpoint, no one should ever be subjected to what we were put through."

Marc Thiessen is an American Enterprise Institute Scholar; Charlie Hurt, Political Columnist for the Washington Times; and Marie Harf, former State Department Person, all are Fox News Contributors. Great to have you with us tonight. Charlie, take the first go at this, the latest in this IRS scandal going on forever.

CHARLIE HURT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR AND POLITICAL COLUMNIST FOR THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Yes, I really think that today's development --it's kind of like election day 2016 all over again. It's a complete rejection of Barack Obama's eight years in Congress. It's the Trump administration sort of apologizing for the mistakes that Barack Obama made. And the worst of it is the politicization of absolutely every aspect of our government, including the IRS. But it also puts the notion that Lois Lerner -- this was just mismanagement, and that Lois Lerner didn't really do anything wrong, and it raises a real question about whether or not the Justice Department will re-evaluate its decision not to prosecute her.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

HURT: Because they have evidence now that puts -- that raises a real question as to why they wouldn't prosecute her.

MACCALLUM: I mean, these people were raked over the calls by a government agency. It was really quite something, Marc.

MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND SCHOLAR FOR THE AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Absolutely. I mean, look, Barack Obama came into office, and you know he famously said we're going to help our friends, we're going to punish our enemies, and that is what the Obama IRS did to these groups. And it wasn't just one or two or three or four groups, there are -- I think there are 469 plaintiffs in these cases. So, these are hundreds -- these are ordinary Americans who simply wanted to go out and petition their government and exercise their first amendment rights, and they were stopped by the government. So, there was that, there was the repression of these groups to stop them from getting tax-exempt status, and then there was the cover-up as you alluded with the epidemic of exploding -- or missing hard drives. So, we really -- what shocks me the most about today's news, I didn't even know Koskinen was still in charge.

MACCALLUM: That's what I'm going to say.

THIESSEN: Martha, why on Earth is he still in charge over the IRS.

MACCALLUM: And you know what, I meant to interject that, I was going to say I bet you didn't even know he was running -- and he was an acting director of the IRS. Not a strong speaker, we did learn that about him over the course of that. Marie, what do you think.

MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER SPOKESPERSON FOR THE OBAMA STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, I think what's interesting is the quote you read that talked about, "no one should have to go through this regardless of political affiliation." Because their own inspector general found, that it wasn't just conservative groups that were also progressive groups that were inappropriately targeted by the IRS. So, I agree with that quote. No one should be inappropriately targeted because of their political affiliation.

MACCALLUM: There were a couple, the numbers are quite out of whack. There were a couple, that's true.

HARF: But there's -- none of them were OK, right?

MACCALLUM: No, absolutely not.

HARF: So, we can't just say it was only one side of this. Clearly, there was mismanagement. We need better management in there, and we need to make sure people are playing by the rules but not take a win --

MACCALLUM: You must've had the word tea or party or patriot maybe caught up in their somewhere and they got -- they got caught up in the computer searches that were done to find those groups. OK. Switching gears for a moment, I want to read something to you with regard to the sort of Bannon- McConnell battle that's going on, and the Jeff Flake retirement and all of that.

This was written by Ben Shapiro on The Daily Wire today, and here's what he had to say: "Anti-establishment anger has been on full display since 2009 when conservatives frustrated at the impotence of their leadership begins showing up at Tea Party rallies and protesting against stimulus packages and Obamacare. Bannon didn't build that movement. He's getting high off its fumes. Trump didn't build that movement; he ably channeled the movement's anger without actually agreeing with his policies." So, he's saying, you know, the idea that Steve Bannon is going to change the face of the Republican Party across the country, that he is getting high off the fumes. Charlie, you want to take that?

HURT: But I don't really -- you know, it seems to be a state difference without a distinction. There's a -- he makes a valid point there. But the fact remains, Donald Trump was the first person to actually challenge that anger, that rage into something that is actually making a difference -- and whether it's what we're dealing with today with the IRS or all of the other things, tax reform, all the things that Donald Trump is either quietly or not so quietly accomplishing right now that is making people very, very happy. And they don't care that he's not a true conservative or libertarian or whatever the heck they wanted him to be. They like that he's getting the things done that he promised he would get done.

MACCALLUM: Front page story in the Washington Post today talking about the organization that Mitch McConnell's folks are putting together and that they're going to go after, essentially, the character of Steve Bannon. This is a fight, according to that, Marc.

THIESSEN: It is absolute. And I mean, basically, Ben was channeling his inner Obama and saying to Bannon and Trump, you didn't build that.

(LAUGHTER)

THIESSEN: But, you know -- I mean, look, the fact is, you know what I mean, that it's true that Donald Trump was the first person to successfully channel that anger into a victory, because if you look at the 2010 elections and the other midterm elections, we lost a lot of Senate seats and a lot of opportunities because that anger was misdirected. And the fear right now is that we're going to have to put a lot of --Bannon is going to put a lot of people on the belt like it did in 2010 that is going to lose and give the Senate to Democrats. You know, there goes Donald Trump; you know, they 're OK, now we're all talking about Russia probes, impeachment, all sorts of things. So, you know, they've got to be careful on what they ask for.

MACCALLUM: All right. Joe Biden, really quick, just put this quote up from Joe Biden. He said, "I haven't decided to run, but I've decided I'm not going to decide not to run, and we will see what happens." Marie?

HARF: You know, God bless Joe Biden. Look, he's the kind of Democrat that could compete with someone like Donald Trump. He has a lot of support still in the White working class and states that Hillary Clinton got trounced in. I'm not sure he's going to run, but if he does he would give Trump a run for his money, and I think he needs to be the kind of leader that, even if he doesn't end up being the candidate, is showing future Democrats how we can win some of these rust belt Midwest states places, like where I'm from. It's a good model.

MACCALLUM: Charlie, quick crack at that and then I've got to go.

HURT: You know, Joe Biden, has a lot to like about the guy, but he is a swamp creature who's been around this place forever, and I don't think he's getting elected to anything. And he's never gotten elected to national office on his own anyway. So, I don't think it's much of a surprise.

HARF: We can put a friendly bet on it, Charlie.

MACCALLUM: Good to see all of you. Thanks, you guys. So, still ahead tonight, House Republicans narrowly passing a budget today, paving the way for the biggest tax overhaul in decades. But as the battle for this tax reform just getting started.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER KING, R-N.Y.: I know there are enough people out there who oppose to the provision -- the state and local property taxes reduction away -- whether or not they vote no on the budget, I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: This is a big deal; could that provision be what stands between the Trump administration and a big victory in the tax fight? Plus, the president today making a deeply personal address on the opioid epidemic raging across this country. So, is the action that they are taking enough? We'll talk about it. In moments, we're going to be joined by a couple that was singled out in front of the entire country today with the president for their unbelievable story. Next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, the Trump administration is now one step closer to pushing through one of the most sweeping tax overhauls that this country has seen in decades. Today, the House, approving a budget by just four votes. This is supposed to be a lot wider than that, but they got it through, and that basically allows them to fast-track tax reform legislation. But there could be the goody sticky issues, there's no doubt. The battle within the party's growing over the elimination of the controversial state and local tax deductions, which lowers the taxes of a lot of people in this country. And if it's taken away, it won't do that. Ways and Means Committee Chair, Kevin Brady telling Fox, Republicans, quote, made it clear that they need this problem solved before they vote on tax reform. He made that clear to people like Peter King and others out there who are not too happy about it. Here's Peter King.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I know there are enough people out there who are opposed to the soft provision, taking that (INAUDIBLE) option away, but whether or not they will vote no on the budget, I'm don't know. I'm urging a no vote on the budget, that's the only way to stop the fast tracking of this sin tax code.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: That's how the sausage gets made, folks, it's not pretty. The tax bill is expected to go up for a vote on November the first. Also today, new fall out in the wake of a powerful personal address from President Trump today who promised on the campaign trail to turn around the grim numbers of death by addiction in America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This epidemic is a national health emergency. It's time to liberate our communities from the scorch of drug addiction. That is why, effective today, my administration is officially declaring the opioid crisis a national public health emergency under federal law, and why I am directing all executive agencies to use every appropriate emergency authority to fight the opioid crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: That challenge we face includes what the president called opioid orphans, newborns, young children, often born in physical agony because they're addicted, by virtue of their parents' addiction when they're born. But in an uplifting moment, the president singled out an Ohio couple who really devoted their life to changing that by fostering over a dozen children, and most of them come from parents who struggled with addiction. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Jesse and Cyndi Swafford of Dayton, Ohio, have provided a loving, stable home to children affected by the opioid crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Cyndi and Jesse Swafford join me now. You guys are incredible. You've taken so many of these children into your home. What was it like to be recognized today at the White House?

CYNDI SWAFFORD, FOSTER CHILDREN OF DRUG ADDICTS: Very surreal. We still haven't put it all into words yet, still feeling very overwhelmed.

MACCALLUM: Jesse, talk to me about how you and Cyndi decided that you're going to start doing this. And you have twin boys who you got when they were just babies, and tell us about your family.

JESSE SWAFFORD, FOSTERS CHILDREN OF DRUCG ADDICTS: We currently have five boys at our home. We started for selfish reasons. We had trouble with infertility, and then we looked into foster care, and we haven't stopped.

MACCALLUM: You know, I want to show you something, just a little clip of something that is a terrible situation, but it is, in many ways, how children like yours, who you take care of, get to your house. Let's watch a little bit of this. It's a bust of a couple that fell asleep in the front seat of their car at a convenience store, and the police come over to them. They were passed out, and there was a baby in the backseat. I mean, these are the kind of heart-wrenching situations, Cyndi, that you know too much about, right?

CYNDI SWAFFORD: Yes. We've not had that particular situation, but there are many, many situations similar to it or, you know, very difficult situations. Sometimes even long-lasting situations where there is just neglect that goes on over a period of time, as a result of the drug addiction in the home.

MACCALLUM: Cyndi, when you look at this problem from the big picture, you know, you're doing the little things in your home every single day, and I know it must be very hard work what you're doing. But you probably have a better idea than most people what needs to be done to try to stop this problem. What would you do?

CYNDI SWAFFORD: Oh, gosh. I mean, I have a few ideas, but my picture is very, very small. I see things from a different lens, and I don't have enough background from the full scope of things to really give an educated opinion on what I think needs to be done. I feel like it would be kind of foolish for me to try and talk about that.

MACCALLUM: I don't know. I think you probably know more about it that a lot of these folks. But Jesse, when you deal with the parents and, you know, a lot of times they want their children back. You're keeping these children to keep them safe. What goes through your mind when you have to give them back and you wonder, I'm sure in some cases, whether or not it's OK for them to go back?

JESSE SWAFFORD: We've maintained contact with most of the families. It's difficult because you get attached, and they tell you not to get attached, but you do. But it's part of the process, and we know that, so we love on these families, not just the kids, but the entire family.

MACCALLUM: Amazing. Well, in the case of two of your boys, Brandon and Caleb, you decided to adopt them, right, Cyndi?

CYNDI SWAFFORD: Yeah. We have -- kind of a general standing agreement in our home that if a child is in our home, you know, the foster care system, we aren't baby snatchers. We don't want to fight to adopt these children from the beginning. We really want to get in and work alongside the families. We want to see reunification happen. We want to see health and healing for the parents, and we want the children to get back with their family and have a healthy and happy life. So that is always our primary goal.

But when that doesn't happen, we have made the commitment that if a child is in our home long-term and unable to reunite with their family that they're home. We can't be a part of this problem and then contribute to the problem by sending a child who is stable and secure and attached in our home for a period of time back into the system to another family, so we just kind of have a general rule that if we aren't willing to take a child long-term, long-term meaning permanently, then we don't say yes from the beginning.

MACCALLUM: Well, you guys have said yes in a huge way that most people don't have the capacity to do, and you're angels, really, for these children. And I so admire what you both have done, and we wish you all the best in the future. Cyndi and Jesse, thank you very much for talking with us tonight.

JESSE SWAFFORD: Thank you.

CYNDI SWAFFORD: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So this moment, back in history, was one that really changed America, and it left open so many unanswered questions. Tonight, America finally gets a look at some of the secret files connected to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Also this evening, general's Mattis and Dunford have arrived in South Korea, dealing with a world very much on edge and the looming threat of nuclear war from North Korea. General Jack Keane joins us with his thoughts on what will happen there after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is out for a peaceful resolution.

(INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Just a short while ago, defense secretary James Mattis arrived in South Korea. Within the next hour -- well, actually, within the last hour they arrived and he's scheduled to meet with his South Korean counterparts on how to deal with the growing North Korean threat. And Secretary Mattis is expected to visit the demilitarized zone tonight, bringing him within steps of the rogue regime. Earlier today, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Dunford, also arrived in South Korea. And tonight, the U.S. just slapped new sanctions on North Korea as they continue to put the squeeze on the rogue nation in an effort to get somewhere short of nuclear war here. General Jack Keane, chairman of the institute for the study of the war and a Fox News military analyst. General, good evening. Good to see you tonight.

JACK KEANE, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: Good evening, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Your thoughts on this visit?

KEANE: Well, first of all, I mean, the United States is clearly all in here. We got the chairman there. We've got the secretary of defense. The president is heading to the region in November. We've got three aircraft carriers, absolutely unprecedented, sitting off the coast there, in the area. We are clearly demonstrating that the United States is very serious about stopping North Korea from pursuing nuclearize ICBM's. And the other thing, you mentioned President Xi has just finished up the 19th congress, party congress, where he sort of went through a coronation. And he's given up more power than any leader with the exception of Mao Tse-Tung. And his ambitions are strategically critical.

He believes, and this is stated, that eventually China will replace the United States as global power. Energy infrastructure spread out throughout Asia. Connecting the Middle East and Eastern Europe, they're willing to spend between $4 and $30 trillion to do it. North Korea, Martha, interferes with all of that. You've got to believe that he's going to put an end to this thing once and for all, because he cannot accomplish his strategic objectives, his regional goals, his economic objectives with this looming menace and the disaster of war on the peninsula. He can't do it.

MACCALLUM: So you don't think that he -- you know, some part of his thinking doesn't mind that they present a menace and a threat to the United States, and that sort of keeps, you know, the other, the clearly dominant power in the world currently, that they want to depose, on our heels sometimes?

KEANE: What I'm saying is that North Korea denies him from achieving his regional and international objectives in the event we go to war, and he knows were heading towards that. If he believes that President Trump is serious, and I think he does believe it, because I know he's serious, then he will likely de-nuclearize North Korea, either with or without Kim Jong- un. And he's got to move in that direction. I think this is all about leading to that end. And I think now that congress is over, the 19th communist party congress is over, and he's been anointed with these extraordinary powers, let's see if he carries through on this.

MACCALLUM: Just a quick thought of Niger, and the news that we've got that that it was likely the villagers that may have set our soldiers up?

KEANE: Yeah. That's really disappointing if that's the case. I mean, the reason why we're there is to take the radical Islamists off the backs of these people, so they can live decent lives. And if that's the case, that is really very, very frustrating. It will not stop us from doing our mission, trying to assist and trying to clamp down on radical Islam. I do think this is a catalyst to conduct an overall review of whatever we're doing in Africa. Do we have the right strategy, we have the right resources?

MACCALLUM: Great point.

KEANE: I suspect we will do that, and then report out to the congress about, you know, what we're doing there, and maybe make some changes to what we're doing as well if we don't have enough resources.

MACCALLUM: General Jack Keane, thank you so much, sir. Good to see you as always.

KEANE: Good talking to you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So tonight, more than 50 years in the making this moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: From Dallas, Texas, the flash apparently official, President Kennedy died at 1:00 PM, central standard time, 2:00 eastern standard time. Some 38 minutes ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Who can forget that moment? The White House just releasing thousands of new documents in the assassination of President Kennedy, but they also withheld some of those documents, and that's making news tonight as well. Trace breaks it down for us. Then a man who literally wrote the book on this, Larry Sabato, gives us his take in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT: And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So tonight, the White House has released thousands of new documents, they're being poured through as we speak, that have been under lock and key all these many years with regards to President Kennedy's assassination. Trace Gallagher is live on our west coast newsroom, and he has the very late breaking details on this tonight. Hi, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS: Hi, Martha. But the big headline is and what was released but what wasn't. And you've talked about giving conspiracy theorists grist for the mill. The president decision to withhold some JFK documents has the on-line world buzzing. Remember, the reason congress passed the law back in 1992, putting a 25 year deadline on releasing all of the assassination records, was to tamp down conspiracy theories propagated by Oliver Stone's 1991 film JFK. But 90 minutes ago, during a three way conference call, the FBI and CIA were able to convince the president to not release some of the secret documents with a statement reading, quote, executive department and agencies have proposed to me that certain information should continue to be redacted because of national security law enforcement and foreign affairs concerns. No words exactly what those concerns entailed. But experts say the redactions are likely names of foreigners who worked for or acted as informants for the CIA and FBI.

The fear is that releasing names could either be embarrassing or harmful. Most experts agree the redactions likely have nothing to do with theories about a second possible shooter on the grassy knoll or involvement in the assassination by Russia and Cuba, but the documents could give some clarity on Lee Harvey Oswald's trip to Mexico two months before the assassination. During that 6-day visit, Oswald went to the Cuban and Soviet embassies and met with a soviet agent in the KGB's department of sabotage and assassination. Now, we should note that 8 minutes ago, 2,891 JFK documents posted online. We are now scouring those. The CIA says it will eventually release all of its records, and the president says that he will consider releasing more in 180 days, though it is very unclear what the CIA and FBI will accomplish in six months that they did not accomplish over the past 25 years. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Great point. Trace, thank you very much. So here now with more, Larry Sabato, director for the center of politics at the University of Virginia, and the author of The Kennedy Half-Century. Larry, good to see you tonight. A lot of excitement among those who have wanted to see these documents and, obviously, some consternation over what's been withheld.

LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER OF POLITICS DIRECTOR: Yes. It's been a long day. We've had our team of UVA students here at 7:00 AM. We were ready to tackle this. And, of course, as Trace noted, just 8 minutes ago we got some of the documents and, frankly, a lot of the good stuff, maybe all of it, has been held back. It's been 54 years since the assassination. It's been 25 years to the date since President George H.W. Bush signed the law which said you have 25 years to work this out. You'd better release it on October 26, 2017, and now it's another six months and there is no guarantee that we will see most of this then. At least the parts we want to say.

MACCALLUM: So what do you think, Larry? I mean, you know, you look at Oswald's life and the time he spent in Russia, and the Mexico city trip shortly before the assassination, and all of the conspiracy theories, and some of which, you know, you can certainly understand what would lead people down that path. So what do you think they would be withholding at this point?

SABATO: Well, I wish I knew. We all have guesses. And I'm sure that Trace reported it correctly when he said, in some cases, it's the names of informants, most of whom, I'd bet, are long dead. Maybe some of their family members are still living. But it's a stretch to say there would be implications. You know, I just don't know. I tend to believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only shooter. That doesn't mean he didn't tell other people, as he might have done in Mexico City. We have some evidence of that. There are other possibilities. But, you know, if we don't get this information before those of us who lived through it die, it's going to feed the conspiracy theories forever. Not that they'll ever go away, but you at least can use truth to counteract them.

MACCALLUM: Do you think that Castro was involved?

SABATO: I don't think Castro was involved. I think he might have known what Lee Harvey Oswald may well have said in the Cuban embassy where reports suggest, including one that J. Edgar Hoover passed along back in the 1960s, that Lee Harvey Oswald said he was planning on killing President Kennedy.

MACCALLUM: Fascinating. Larry, thank you very much. And now the wait for the.

SABATO: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: . other 2,000 plus documents which they're withholding for some reason after all these years. Good to see Larry Sabato tonight. We'll take a quick break and we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNEDY: Why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: And tonight's quote of the night, a favorite of President John F. Kennedy and it's adapted from Dante's, the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a time of moral crisis, preserve their neutrality. That is our story for this Thursday, October 26. We'll see you back here tomorrow night at 7. Tucker Carlson is coming up next.



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