White House reacts to economy's hot start in 2018

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," January 4, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SANDRA SMITH, GUEST HOST: We pick up the story from here with the Fox News Alert. The so-called bomb cyclone crippling the East Coast, dumping heavy snow from the Carolinas to Maine. At least six people are dead, 100,000 without power, with 58 million people in the storm's path. And tomorrow, temperatures will struggle to stay above 0 degrees across the Midwest and Northeast. We've got our eye on that for you and so much more at this hour. Including an even bigger story on the U.S. economy.

Good evening, everyone, I'm Sandra Smith in for Martha MacCallum tonight. History made again; the New York Stock Exchange with no apparent end in sight. For the very first time, not only did the Dow hit 25,000 points, it stayed there. Closing above that extraordinary mark, the excitement palpable at the start of trading.


STUART VARNEY, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR: Standby for glory, ladies and gentlemen, we are a mere 30 seconds away from what we think could be the opening bell ringing on Wall Street could be 25,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There it is. Man, that graphic goes fast. Dow, 25,000, halfway between 20k and 30k. A little less than a year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dow just crossed 25,000 for the first time. Stocks are higher due to the relief of stronger than expected jobs data.


SMITH: And at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time today, it became official.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Dow making history once again, closing above 25,000 for the first time ever.


SMITH: One report noting the near-meteoric rise since President Trump took office, "consider it took the Dow 14 years to climb from 10,000 to 15,000, and three-and-half-years to reach 20,000. The rise from 20,000 to 25,000, not even 12 months. Don't blink or you'll miss another landmark." The news of the Dow surged lost on President Trump who has now set a brand-new goal.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We broke a very, very big barrier, 25,000. And there were those who'd say we wouldn't break 25,000 by the end of the eighth year, and we're in the 11th month. We did, in fact, break 25,000; very substantially break it, very easily. So, I guess our new number 30,000. And what it means is, every time you see that number goes up on Wall Street, it means jobs, it means success, means 401(k)s that are flourishing.


SMITH: Here now, Marc Short, White House Director of Legislative Affairs. So, Mark, next stop, 30,000?

MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Well, Sandra, we're obviously excited with the market. It shows, I think, enthusiasm and support for the president's agenda, particularly what we've been able to do on the regulatory fund. We're also excited to be delivering tax relief to middle-income families. We think they're going to begin to see a lot of that benefits as well. In addition to the stock number, as you mentioned, unemployment is at a 17-year low; unemployment for Hispanics is at an all- time low. And now, since the tax reform package was passed, 920,000 Americans -- 920,000 Americans have either received a bonus or increased wages from companies that have announced benefits to their employees.

SMITH: The president, Mark, takes a lot of credit for this. I mean, we see him tweeting about it a lot, and rightly so; it's exciting for the American people to see the stock market going up like that. But President Obama, remember back in December, he took credit for it. He said this is the result of his years of policies. You know, so what -- to what specifically has the president done in his first year of office that he can take credit for this enormous rise in the stock market?

SHORT: Well, Sandra, I think it is a couple of things. One, again, I think it's rolling back the regulatory burden that was here during the Obama years. I think that that's been significant as given investors a lot of encouragement. I do think that the tax plan has certainly provided relief, lowering the corporate rate, has helped to bring jobs back to America. And as I said, providing that, sort of, all of those bonuses to American workers, Nancy Pelosi said the tax plan would be economic Armageddon. Well, not one Democrat voted for it. I hope those 920,000 workers who received those benefits, remember that in November.

SMITH: Well, I want to throw the president's most recent tweet up on the screen, because it was about ten minutes ago that he tweeted this. "Thank you to the great Republican senators who showed up to our meeting on immigration reform. We must build the wall, stop illegal immigration, end chain migration, and cancel the visa lottery. The current system is unsafe and unfair to the great people of our country. Time for change!" So, now that tax reform is done, Mark, how do you prioritize the legislative goals of this White House? What is going to be the next big fight?

SHORT: Well, we've always wanted to solve the DACA problem. The president had put forward last fall -- proposal to Congress say, here's what we want in exchange for providing certainty for those that are deferred plans for those who arrived here as illegals. So, we're looking to solve that problem. But I think there's also budgets that need to be approved. You know, budget usually is approved by the end of September. The president puts forth his budget in February, and then the appropriations process happens. Here we are now in January without a deal. Our national security is in jeopardy with Congress not being able to pass funding to help to provide funds for our troops and help to provide (INAUDIBLE) for our country.

SMITH: That's obviously an issue, Mark, and that deadline is quickly approaching, to fund the government, January 19th. And you just had Chuck Schumer leading Democrats say, we have leverage going into this. And as you know, he wants DACA tied into whatever happens there. So, what is the leverage the Democrats have going into this?

SHORT: Well, the reality is that we need 60 votes in the United States Senate. And so, we are going to need to get Democrat supporting and have us be bipartisan. What we find confounding is why Democrats don't want to make sure that our troops are funded, and to make sure our country is safe, and providing funding for the government. We also want a solution for DACA, but why they're getting married together, remains confusing to us. So, we think it's important that we go ahead and get a budget caps deal, and then we fund the government, take care of the people that we need to take care of, and make sure that our country is safe. We also want to solve DACA, but tying them together is just going to --

SMITH: So, you think they have no leverage with the DACA making it into the funding?

SHORT: No, I think there is leverage because reality, as I said, is we need 60 votes. What I think is frustrating and difficult to understand is to, why, if we are all in support of the need to get a budget cap deal in place, why can't gentle issues are thrown in, and our troops are held hostage over those issues. We think DACA should be solved. We want a solution. We've put forth our proposal to Congress. We're waiting for them to come back with legislation for us. But to tie the whole hands of the United States government and our troops, and hold it hostage to a solution on a problem for illegal immigrants is difficult for us to understand.

SMITH: Well, it's great to get you on tonight, specifically the talk about the economy and this soaring stock market, it seems to be getting lost. You know, you're not hearing a lot about that, and the president accurately notes that. But we're covering it here because it is something that affects the American people. Marc Short, thanks for coming on tonight.

SHORT: Thanks for having me on, Sandra. I appreciate it.

SMITH: Joining us now, Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Institute Scholar, and a Fox News Contributor; and Zac Petkanas, a Former Senior DNC Advisor and Hillary Campaign Aide. Marc, I'll start with you first. You know, why not celebrate that? Our retirement accounts are tied to the American stock market; this is the result of taxes going down, jobs growth. You just heard from Marc, there are a lot of good things happening in this economy.

MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE SCHOLAR: Absolutely. We should all be celebrating when the economy is booming, whether we're Republicans or Democrats. And look, it's not just the stock market. Unemployment, as you pointed out is down to a 17-year low; 1.7 million jobs created in this past year. We've had two quarters now of above three percent economic growth, and the New York Fed has projected that the last quarter of the last year is going to be a four percent growth, and we'll have the third quarter -- and the first quarter of this year will be above three as well. The last time we had four straight quarters of above three percent economic growth, was 13 years ago.

SMITH: It's been anemic, that's for sure.

THIESSEN: This economy is booming. It's booming, and we should all be celebrating.

SMITH: And there was that feeling that we didn't have a business-friendly environment, and that's why, you know, you saw Donald Trump step in, run for president, and there were so many people and businesses that just wanted a friendlier environment. Zac, I think you're probably going to pour cold water, somehow, on all of this.

ZAC PETKANAS, FORMER SENIOR DNC ADVISOR AND HILLARY CAMPAIGN AIDE: I am. I mean, look, it is objectively good that the stock market is doing well right now. But to suggest that this is some sort of spectacular growth from the last year is just not backed up by the facts.

SMITH: Where are not -- what are you not seeing?

PETKANAS: So, for example, I mean, there was 26 percent growth in the Dow when, since Obama -- since Donald Trump came into office. Since Obama came into office during his first year from inauguration day to this point in his presidency, it increased by 33 percent. The S&P 500 increased by 37 percent during the same time, versus Trump at 18 percent. And so, again, it is great that the stock market is doing well. It is not doing as well as it was in terms of growth under the first year of Obama.

SMITH: All right. So, you're seeing and record stock market though. You're seeing a surge in this market that we've never seen before. And you've got a president that is talking about it going up another 5,000 from here. And Marc, I'll tell you what, I look at a lot of these Wall Street notes, and there are profits at major corporations, American companies, to back up the gains we're seeing in the stock market. But, I will ask you this -- I probably should've asked Marc Short this as well -- is there a danger with the president tying his policy wins so closely to the stock market when it's only one gauge of the economy? I mean, surely, there could be a correction, there could be a 10, 15 percent off. And obviously, that would still be healthy to see for the stock market. It would actually indicate a healthier rally. But, if he's so closely aligning himself with the stock market, is that a problem?

THIESSEN: Well, if that was the only indicator that was going, then that would be a problem. But as I pointed out, all the indicators are that we're going full speed. Again, two-quarters of three percent economic growth, we're going to have -- the fourth quarter of next year is going to be expected to be four percent, another quarter at three percent. The Obama average was less than two percent economic growth. So, nobody is pining for the days of the Obama economy. In fact, what you're hearing if you read the Financial Press today -- if you read the Financial Press today, what we're hearing are concerns that the economy may actually be overheating, that it may be growing too fast. We never heard anybody worrying about overheating under the Obama --

SMITH: That's a reasonable concern, yes.

THIESSEN: So, I think it's a little bit --

PETKANAS: We also have to close jobs in 2011, so --

SMITH: All right. Zac, get back in here.

PETKANAS: No. I mean, look, again, these things -- the indicators are good, but it's not -- it's certainly not spectacular. Again, we've had the slowest job growth that we had in 2017 since 2011. Things are good, but they're not --

SMITH: I'll tell you what is good, Zac. In the days following that tax reform getting done, AT&T handing out thousand-dollar bonuses to 200,000 of its employees.

PETKANAS: And laying up a thousand people.

SMITH: Boeing, $300 million investment, increasing corporate giving, it's, in fact, a charitable giving. Comcast, $1,000 bonuses to its employees. Fifth-Third Bank, raising their minimum wage on their own. The government not telling them to do it. Raising their minimum waged employees to $15 an hour. Among other things, and directly attributing this. So, these are things you have to point out. But obviously, there is always a concern that anything could throw a wrench in the system. Thanks to both of you for being here.

All right, Steve Bannon agreed to keep quiet when he left the Trump campaign, but what if he broke the deal? Can the president sue to block this story from getting out or is this a clear-cut case of exercising free speech? Constitutional Law Professor, Jonathan Turley, is here to explain the legal options on both sides -- and they may surprise you. And nobody saw this coming -- is the Department of Justice finally ready to lock her up? Jason Chaffetz and Marie Harf are here to respond to some explosive new rumors that could prove President Trump was right.


TRUMP: Hillary is likely to be under investigation for many years, probably concluding in a criminal trial.



SMITH: Breaking tonight, tomorrow, House Intel Committee members will finally be able to seize those last documents they've been requesting from the DOJ for months regarding records and testimony from witnesses in the Russian investigation. This says, more e-mails released to judicial watch straight from Anthony Weiner's personal laptop sent by his wife, Huma Abedin, at the time. We'd love to show you what they said, but most are completely unreadable thanks to heavy redactions by the feds. Can you blame them? The information is classified. But apparently, not classified enough to charge Huma Abedin with a crime. And also, today, there are new reports that the Trump Justice Department may reopen the Clinton e-mail investigation. Trace Gallagher is live at our West Coast Newsroom with the story. Hey, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Sandra, the Daily Beast is reporting that an ally of Attorney General Jeff Sessions tells them the A.G. is very interested in finding out exactly how Hillary Clinton and her aide handled classified material, including how much classified information was sent over Clinton's private e-mail server, and who put the information into an unclassified environment. In the meantime, Clinton supporters are already out and for saying, here we go again. With her Communications Director Nick Merrill saying that in the wake of Steve Bannon's explosive comments about the president and his family, that Mr. Trump is now resorting to diversion and distraction with the help of his attorney general. Though the president has clearly been sounding this e-mail horn for quite some time, it was even a major narrative of his campaign. Remember this back-and-forth? Watch.


TRUMP: If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.

TRUMP: Because you'd be in jail.


GALLAGHER: There is also evidence the Department of Justice under President Trump began asking Congress two months ago for information concerning Hillary Clinton's e-mail scandal. Brian Fallon, who's the Former Spokesman for the DOJ and for the Clinton Campaign, says this sets a dangerous precedent, saying, "The Justice Department should not be opening itself up to the perception that it is bending to political pressures from the White House." In other words, that Trump is bullying the DOJ.

Conservatives have a much different take, saying that despite former FBI Director James Comey repeatedly opening and closing the e-mail probe, it was never adequately investigated. Tom Fitton, who heads up the conservative judicial watch, which also sued the State Department to gain access to e-mails, says he believes there is enough evidence to reinitiate the investigation. We called the DOJ for a comment, they have not yet gotten back to us. Sandra.

SMITH: All right. Trace Gallagher, thank you. Here with more: Jason Chaffetz, Former House Oversight Committee Chairman and led the charge in the Clinton e-mail investigation; and Marie Harf, Former Obama State Department Spokesperson, both are Fox News Contributors. And you know, I saw you guys in the green room on the way up here, and you're fired up. So, bring it, what do you think?

JASON CHAFFETZ, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Look, there's a new fact pattern in place. The attorney general should be looking at this. I think Jeff Sessions is actually about ten months late to looking at this. But they've uncovered a number of things with the Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, and the 450 people he has at the DOJ. I think the Department of State is worried about what the inspector general is looking at. And then, you have Congress, both the House and the Senate, also unveiling and uncovering more documents and more information. Devin Nunes, and Trey Gowdy, and Tom Rooney, and the people on the intel community, they shouldn't have to negotiate a duly issued subpoena. This was supposedly a closed case. They should've provided all the documents back when the original subpoena was issued in August.

SMITH: It's unbelievable. And you look at those e-mails and the fact that we can't even read them, Marie. Huma Abedin -- they had to redact so much because they're classified e-mails, how is she not charged for the crime?

MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER SPOKESPERSON FOR THE OBAMA STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, the Department of Justice and career prosecutors, career investigators have been working on this for months now. And, yes, there are some high-profile cases of people that we've talked about that had conflicts, and that isn't part of the investigation because of that. But I don't think that we should, you know, tarnish the entire investigation because some people don't like the outcome. And I think that Hillary Clinton's spokesperson was actually right when he said the Department of Justice cannot look like it is bending to political pressure from the White House. And every time Donald Trump says, look into this, you know, Jeff Sessions should look into this, the DOJ should look into this, it gives the appearance that there are politics in play.

SMITH: Is that fair? Is that fair?

HARF: Well, but it gives that appearance --

SMITH: No, but that's the response from the Hillary Clinton Camp. Brian Fallon, Former Spokesperson responded, and he said this is extremely dangerous. It leads to the perception that they are bending the political pressures from the White House.

HARF: I think it does. I think it does.

CHAFFETZ: The imperative should be to get to the truth. And when it was uncovered that the FBI Director and the host of people around him were making the decisions and writing drafts exonerating Hillary Clinton before they had interviewed some 16 witnesses, that's absolutely wrong. And when you look at Trey Gowdy and John Ratcliffe, career prosecutors, and they look at this case and say, the FBI did this case absolutely differently, and out of style, and out of protocol than any other case they've ever seen. That's why Congress does oversight.

HARF: So, Jeff Sessions -- I'm happy, I'm happy for him to look at the files and the investigation, to have career folks to work under Democrats and Republicans walking through the investigation, and how they got the answer they did. What I don't like is, if you don't like the answer politically, then somehow, when a new party is in power, you reopen the investigation. That is what I don't like.

SMITH: Time is going so fast. So much so we have not --

HARF: We can talk about this all day.

SMITH: So, the Nunes deal on the dossier reached an agreement with the DOJ, turning over these outstanding document, a witness request related to the Russia investigation. I wanted to ask about that, but I also want to show you this tweet -- sorry, this polling that Maxine Waters, Democrat from California. Tweeted about the Special Counsel Robert Mueller jailing members of the Trump camp, "A message to Mueller: stays strong and stand tall. Continue to investigate them all. You are indeed answering the people's call. The Kremlin clan is going to fall. Around you, they are building a wall. We look forward to the day to prison they will all be hauled."

CHAFFETZ: That's the political grandstanding that the left is using to raise money. And that's what's wrong. It's not based on facts. It's based on a poem. And she's put herself out there on this witch hunt that is just --

HARF: I don't think we should let this one congresswoman's rhetoric distract from the fact that the Russian investigation is serious; it's looking at serious allegations, and nothing may come from it in terms of collusion. But we have an obligation to run -- let the investigation run its course. So, we can't let this crazy rhetoric stand in the way.

SMITH: All right. I've got to get this in. Marc Meadows and Jim Jordan both calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying it is time for him to step down, citing recent leaks in the Justice Department and the FBI, saying "Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian investigation, but it would appear he has no control at all of the premier law enforcement agency in the world," congressman?

CHAFFETZ: Yes. Attorney General Sessions, his time has come, he's got to go. I agree with Meadows and Jordan on this. He's nonexistent in this investigation. He's irrelevant. And I think it was a bad pick. And it is time for him to go.

SMITH: I know you've felt like that for a while. Marie, last words.

HARF: What's so crazy is Jeff Sessions is incredibly conservative. He has supported the president on a number of his policies when it comes to the Department of Justice. It's so fascinating to me that conservative members of Congress want to throw him under the bus because he recused himself, and because of leaks that are happening in the government. He's on their side on policy. It's this fascinating place where --

CHAFFETZ: But he's nonexistent. He's nonexistent. It was their major systemic problems of the Department of Justice, and they're not fixing them, that's why he's got to go.

HARF: He's pursuing policies they support.

CHAFFETZ: Got to get the right person.

SMITH: See, I told you guys. They're all --

CHAFFETZ: We like each other. We get along. We get along. We just disagree on everything, but we get along.

HARF: Right, but we like each other.


SMITH: All right. Good to see you both. I know you had a long day. So, thanks for being here.

All right. Coming up, she was criticized for being one of the last women in Hollywood to call out Harvey Weinstein. But now, Meryl Streep coming forward to call out the women in Trump's family because they haven't done enough? And the band and bombshell, book bombshell, fallout moving at lightning speed tonight. Trump now threatening to sue to silence his former advisor. Does he have a case? Constitutional Law Professor, Jonathan Turley, has the answer. Then, Governor Huckabee with insider scoop on the real story behind the betrayal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think Steve Bannon has a defamation case against President Trump?

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: I will tell you this, I've it on pretty good authority that he is considering that.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you see Bannon betray you, Mr. President? Any words about Steve Bannon?

TRUMP: I don't know. He called me a great man last night. So, you know, he obviously changed his tune pretty quick. Thank you, all, very much. Thank you. I don't talk to him. I don't talk to him. I don't to him. That's just a --


SMITH: That was President Trump earlier, distancing himself tonight from his former chief strategist in the wake of that bombshell new book coming to Trump White House. This comes as the president is now demanding the author and publisher of "Fire and Fury", stop production and apologize. Trump lawyers sending a letter saying, "Mr. Trump hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from any further publication."

And late this afternoon, we learned Steve Bannon is now reportedly considering a defamation suit against the president. Do either have a case? Here now, Jonathan Turley is a constitutional law attorney and George Washington law professor. Good to see you, professor, this evening.


SMITH: So first off, does the president have a case?

TURLEY: Not really. I mean, this is a very unlikely type of challenge if it was ever actually brought into court. He's asking for a prior restraint in the strongest case has a low likelihood of success. This is not a particularly strong case. Much of what has been attributed to Mr. Bannon is opinion. But more importantly, this is the scourge of Washington. Tell-all books have been around since the early republic. I don't blame presidents for being upset with people like Bannon who leave service and immediately dump on the administration. But he does have first amendment rights, and I think this is going to create rather bad optics with little chance of success.

SMITH: But one really important distinction that you make in your column is regardless of whether or not the president has a case, when you read through that lengthy letter by Trump's personal lawyers, it certainly putting Steve Bannon on notice.

TURLEY: It is. And in some ways, the attorney, and sending this letter, is also looking down the road. He is not, presumably, seen the book. He doesn't know what Bannon is going to be saying. And so, this is a shot across the bow and saying, we believe you've already cross that line, and we're prepared to sue you if you continue to make defamatory statements. It's just that it's not a very compelling threat with a public official. The Supreme Court has established a very high standard for defamation called the New York Times versus Sullivan standard. And that requires knowing a falsehood or knowing disregard or reckless disregard of the truth. It is a standard that is very hard to make, and it is designed so that people can say bad things about public officials.

SMITH: In the case of the nondisclosure agreement with Bannon, you also make the case it's very different when it comes to say when Trump was having someone -- when they work for his company sign them versus, then, somebody who works inside the White House for the government sign those. Now, in the case of Steve Bannon, reportedly bringing a suit against the president, would he have a case?

TURLEY: Nope. He doesn't have a case either. So this is something of two guys making threats and neither is very compelling. I think Bannon is even less compelling. With the president has said about Steve Bannon is opinion, and Steve Bannon may no longer be a public official. He's a public figure and he falls under the very same standard in terms of the constitutional standard for defamation. The likelihood of his succeeding against the president is infinitesimally small.

SMITH: Professor Turley, it's great to get your insight on that. Thanks for being here.

TURLEY: Thank you.

SMITH: This Trump-Bannon battle can best be summed up in a Politico piece titled, Bannon was shot on the South Lawn and run over by a tank. Which said in part, quote, a dramatic collapse on Wednesday of the shaky alliance between President Donald Trump and his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, marked perhaps the most vicious falling out between a president and former aide in modern history. Here now, Governor Mike Huckabee, he's also a Fox News contributor. He's also a study of history, a good one at that. Would you agree with that statement?

MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah. I think it was probably Steve Bannon's worst moment. I don't know what he was thinking. I don't know why on earth he thought that this was a good strategy. This really comes down to something bigger than a legal issue. I think the professor was spot on, almost impossible ever to win a lawsuit if you're a public figure. You just about can't do it. But here's something that ought to govern these things. Honor. Honor and decency. Which, when you go out after having been put in a position of trust, I'll call it the Robert De Niro circle of trust if you remember the movie Meet the Parents, and once you get out of that circle of trust, you never get back in it. But if you're put in it, then you have, I believe, a moral obligation to honor the trust of the person who put you in that position.

And Sandra, it's very disturbing to me that people get in a political job and then they want to make money off of it by going and telling a bunch of stuff. And frankly, whether it's true or not is immaterial. Two things you give to someone if you take a job like this. One is your loyalty, and two is your confidentiality. And if you can't take those two virtues to the job, you should never do it. And if you violate them, then you have no honor and you should never have been in those positions to begin with.

SMITH: Well, it's remarkable then to just see him out there, you know, and one of the only responses that we've seen from Bannon since all of this came out that he's a good man, he said of the president.

HUCKABEE: Well, I think that's probably, I'd like to believe is what he thinks. But it's interesting to me to watch the media on the left. I mean, just a few days ago, Steve Bannon was a Nazi, he was a goose-stepping goon. And suddenly, he's now the source for these negative things about the president, and he's a hero to the very people who were calling him everything but a decent human being. I mean, that, to me, is the great irony in all of this. It's not so much this trashy book that's been put out, most of which, I think will be discredited, and people who have been quoted have said, I didn't say those things. But the bigger issue is, why does the left pretend that they suddenly like Steve Bannon when, in fact, they have called him everything but a decent human being up until they think he's responsible for trashing Donald Trump?

SMITH: It is amazing to see how it their tune has changed, isn't it? One other quick thing, a veteran Republican strategist, Ed Rollins, who said Bannon was shot on the South Lawn, run over by a tank, the president shifted in gear and ran him over again. He said Bannon saw his role as a lot bigger than it ever was and that it ever would be. He said, that was really the problem that broke these two apart. They could never decide really who had more power.

HUCKABEE: Well, candidates win elections, candidates lose elections. When political consultants and operatives think it's all about them, they really have disqualified themselves from being into position. They're the ones whether the candidate wins or loses, they take their vacation on the Riviera because they still get paid. The candidate is figuring out how to pay his mortgage if he loses, and there's nobody returning his calls. So, you know, I get really put out with political operatives and people who are consultants who think it's all about them and that they're the ones who win the campaigns. Well, let them get their own names on the ballot and let's see how big they are. That's my message to them. If you're that good then get your name on the ballot, you run, you win, you serve and get evaluated for how well you do it.

SMITH: That's really be something to watch. Governor Huckabee, thank you for being here tonight.

HUCKABEE: Thanks, Sandra. Good to talk to you.

SMITH: All right. Well, still to come, President Trump sends a powerful new message to those who still think kneeling during the national anthem protest is a good idea. But first, more proof of the dirty tactics of the firm behind that anti-Trump dossier as the company claims they are the real victims in all of this, this man says Fusion GPS tried to ruin his life, planting fake stories, calling him everything from a pedophile to a drug trafficker. Alek Boyd tells his story, next.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: They produced huge amounts of information -- fake information about me, accusing me from being a pedophile to being an extortionist.



SMITH: Breaking tonight, we could soon know who paid the firm behind that infamous anti-Trump dossier. Within the last hour, a federal judge denying the company's request to squash a congressional subpoena from the house intelligence committee to provide bank records as part of its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It comes the day after the founders of Fusion GPS wrote an op-ed claiming they were the real victims in the Russian collusion case. But tonight, another one of their alleged victims is speaking out about the firm smear and intimidation tactics. Venezuelan journalist, Alek Boyd says that after he criticized one of Fusion's clients, he was labeled a pedophile, drug trafficker, extortionist, and even a homosexual spreading aids. Here now to tell his story, Alek Boyd. Alek, thank you for coming on tonight. So what was your experience with this firm?

ALEK BOYD, VENEZUELAN JOURNALIST: Well, Fusion was basically hired to work for a group of Venezuelan white-collar criminals called -- associates. In the course of my work as investigative journalist, I exposed rampant corruption related to this Venezuelan group of people, and Fusion GPS was retained to basically block and obstruct any further criticism on the media, whether from independent bloggers or from large media organizations such as the Wall Street Journal. So, upon their visit to Caracas to try and convince the Wall Street Journal that they're clients were outstanding captains of industry. My flat in London was broken into, the laptops that I had were stolen, pictures of my children were left along with threatening messages of sexual abuse, and I believe that Fusion GPS had a hand in doing all of that.

SMITH: So, what do you make now -- I'm sure you've seen this recent op-ed that the two cofounders both wrote. They went on the attack. Devin Nunes, the house intel chair, specifically naming him, accusing him of trying to tarnish our firm, to punish us for highlighting Donald Trump links to Russia. What do you make of them saying we're the victims in all of this?

BOYD: I don't think anyone can tarnish them or their firm. They have tarnished themselves by associating themselves with the like of Venezuelan white criminal crooks, with the likes of putting agents with murderous, effectively from Russia. If we recall their work on behalf of some Russian parties to have -- to quash the Magnitsky Act in the United States. Their work speaks for themselves. So, it's not a matter of whether Devin Nunes or the media is trying to put them out of business. It's themselves and their association and their illegality what is putting them -- and will eventually and hopefully put them out of business.

SMITH: So, they put themselves out there, Fusion GPS is a Washington based research firm run by a former journalist, which many of them are. This is who they say they are. Who do you say is the real Fusion GPS?

BOYD: They're con artist, basically. They're aiding and abetting criminals and, you know, as they all say, tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are. As far as the Venezuelan paymasters, these are a group of people that are on the run. Some of them, their offices have been raided recently in Venezuela. The people that facilitated the contracts to the company that contracted Fusion GPS are in jail, others are on the run. So, these are the kinds of clients that Fusion GPS has sought to cultivate over the years. So, I don't believe for a second that they're victims of anything. I am a victim. My family has been a victim. Bill Browder is a victim. I don't think they can say they are a victim. That is just so preposterous.

In that op-ed that they published in the New York Times requesting the testimony to be published, I should say that the whole world will certainly benefit from knowing exactly what they say during closed doors while they're testifying behind closed doors, but who will also benefit from knowing exactly what they've done for clients such as the Venezuelan group that I just mentioned, and from Russian clients that they've had. And also from, you know, if they could divulge, how come they were working for the Clinton campaign and Russian interests at the same time?

SMITH: They conveniently left that out of the op-ed, didn't they?

BOYD: Well, of course, of course. They never mention that, neither them nor their apologists in the Washington Post or in some other media. So none of these things are ventilated, you know, by these so-called die-hard bleeding liberals. But, at the end of the day, they have done those things, and there's a record of them doing these things and being involved in these things. So, you know, denying or skirting around the issue is not going to change the story.

SMITH: Alek Boyd, thank you for coming on and telling your story tonight.

BOYD: Thank you so much, Sandra.

SMITH: Still to come, it's no secret academy award-winning actress, Meryl Streep, isn't a fan of the president, but now she's going after the first lady and his daughter Ivanka. Is that fair? Dana Loesch takes that one on next.


SMITH: Well, it's no secret that Meryl Streep is no fan of President Trump. But now, the Hollywood icon is going after the women of the Trump family, criticizing them for not speaking out as sexual harassment scandals and the Me Too movement sweeps across the nation. Streep saying in a new interview, quote, I don't want to hear about the silence of me, I want to hear about the silence of Melania Trump, I want to hear from her. She has so much that's valuable to say, and so does Ivanka. I want her to speak now. That didn't go over well with the Trump family. Don Jr., firing back on tweeter saying, quote, amazing that the only person in all of Hollywood who didn't know Weinstein was a serial assaulter, of course, she did, has an opinion on this. Here now, Dana Loesch, a radio talk show host and a conservative commentator. Does she have a leg to stand on, Dana?

DANA LOESCH, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Sandra, it's good to be with you. No, I don't think that she does. And I want to remind all of your viewers as well that Ivanka Trump, when she was talking about those who prey on women and girls, she had harsher words to say about Roy Moore than Meryl Streep has ever had to say about Harvey Weinstein or Roman Polanski or Woody Allen. Meryl Streep is at the apex of Hollywood, and it is ludicrous for anyone to think or for her to expect anyone to think that she was completely ignorant of Harvey Weinstein's serial predation of women. In fact, I dare say that Meryl Streep, through her silence, and, of course, she's won many awards for many Weinstein movies in which she start, including the Iron Lady, which I believe was the most recent, but Streep's silence on all of this, Sandra, has actually helped to marginalize in mine and, probably, reality's opinion, all of the victims of Harvey Weinstein. She, through her silence, has marginalized women. She has enabled predators like Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood, because to Meryl Streep, her career was more important than the dignity of so many women in Hollywood.

SMITH: How would you describe the status of that #metoo movement at this point? I mean, the other night we were talking about -- it's been diluted in some ways by politics -- politicians throwing money at chasing down victims to bring them up against their opponent, I mean, what's happening with the movement today?

LOESCH: I think you're exactly right on that. And I also think it's used as a deflection by people like Streep who just want to make these political jabs. And I've also seen certain feminists using it as a way to say, well, I was cat called one day, which is exactly like being brutally raped or something else that's unbelievably horrific. The fear, I think, with the #metoo movement is that it is diluted, and that every day occurrences are being made to look as though everything is sexual assault, everything is sexual harassment, and it's an attack on men. And then, what ultimately happens is it diminishes the real struggle and the real tragedy that actual victims of sexual violence have had to endure, which is unfortunate. And maybe, perhaps, that wasn't the original goal or the original intent, but if not careful, that could be the ultimate result.

SMITH: And Dana, I want -- and by sharing this powerful message that the president shared on twitter early this morning, he tweeted out this picture and said, so beautiful, show this picture to the NFL players who still kneel. Clearly showing a grieving military family laying at their family member's gravesite. Last words.

LOESCH: That's what it's all about, and that's exactly right. That photo right there is why people honor and show honor when the anthem is played at these games. This is the only time really that America can all come together and forget about political differences. And the only differences are the color of your jersey or the team that you're rooting for and that's it. And I think there are plenty of time to show disagreement, but this isn't about -- when you do this when the anthem is playing.


LOESCH: . you're taking a jab at the people who fought for it.

SMITH: Thank you for coming on tonight. Two very powerful messages that we wanted to share. Thanks, Dana. We'll be right back.

LOESCH: Thank you.


SMITH: Tomorrow, Martha is back, and she's speaking exclusively to the defense attorney for the illegal Mexican immigrant acquitted in the murder of Kate Steinle. He'll be in court for sentencing on the gun conviction. Will he spend time in prison? Email us at TheStory@foxnews.com. And I will see you first thing tomorrow morning on "America's Newsroom" with Bill Hemmer at 9 AM, and at "Outnumbered" at noon. Thanks for joining us. Tucker is up next.

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