This is a rush transcript from "The Story," January 8, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Good to see you tonight. So, tonight, only on "The Story," the president, about to arrive at a place that's a big deal tonight -- the NCAA football championship game. Alabama faces off against the Georgia Bulldogs, and we will take you there live as that gets going.
Good evening everybody, I'm Martha MacCallum and here's the big story tonight. It may be, folks, that we now live in a country where only the already famous can get elected president of the United States. What's known as name recognition and politics is one of the steepest and most expensive climbs for most candidates. But when you are Oprah Winfrey or Donald Trump, as the president has already proven, you are already there, folks. And last night, the idea of a matchup between these two became a very real possibility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, PHILANTHROPIST: We all know that the press is under sieged these days. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men, but their time is up.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, with those words, carefully calculated words, Oprah Winfrey reached out to women voters, very clearly, and she also put a media in a big warm Oprah embrace. In a moment, Ben Shapiro of The Daily Wire takes apart what he says was ineffective but nonetheless insulting in some area speech. He will lay that out for us. But first, Fox News Chief National Correspondent, Ed Henry, live at the White House tonight with more on how this now substantial buzz began. Hi, Ed.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Martha, great to see you. The unmistakable message from this White House tonight: bring it on. Hogan Gidley, a White House Spokesman, telling reporters first of all that this president is planning to run for re-election and will welcome any challenge in 2020 from Oprah Winfrey or anyone else.
All of this kicking off as you say, the mainstream media whipped into a frenzy over the possibility of Winfrey running after her speech and a joke from Golden Globe host Seth Meyers about the possibility. Today, sources close to her telling CNN she is actively considering it. Her longtime partner Stedman Graham telling the L.A. Times, "it's up to the people. She would absolutely do it."
And Hollywood already swooning. Actresses like Reese Witherspoon, taking to social media to cheer Winfrey on. Tweeting, "I will now officially divide time like this; everything that happened before Oprah's speech; everything that will happen after." And NBC, a thorn in the current president's side, appearing to jump on the bandwagon as well with this tweet, eventually deleted, a GIF of Winfrey with the text: "Nothing but respect for our future president."
NBC clarifying today: "yesterday, a tweet about the Golden Globes and Oprah Winfrey was sent by a third-party agency for NBC Entertainment in real-time during the broadcast. It is in reference to a joke made during the monologue and not meant to be a political statement. We have since removed the tweet."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WINFREY: What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. So, I want all the girls watching here now to know that a new day is on the horizon!
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I just don't think I really have the inclination to do it. I love what I'm doing, I really like it --
WINFREY: Most of them pay as well.
TRUMP: No. But, you know, I just probably wouldn't do it. I probably wouldn't, but I do get tired of seeing what's happening with this country, and if it got so bad, I would never want to rule it out totally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Now, Oprah has not ruled out it either, though her pristine image may take a hit if she gets into the ring. A conservative Ben Shapiro quickly dismantled her speech within minutes tweeting, "There's no such thing as your truth, there is the truth in your opinion." And he also noted that she said nothing about Harvey Weinstein, because as you look, there are these photos now in social media of Winfrey posing with the disgraced Hollywood Producer, Harvey Weinstein in recent years, raising new questions about why she and others in Hollywood did nothing for so long. By the way, 11 years after that 1988 interview that we showed between Winfrey and Mr. Trump, the president did a 1999 interview with Larry King in which he declared that if he ran for president, his number one choice for vice president would be Oprah Winfrey. He said she was a "terrific woman and very special." Martha.
MACCALLUM: Very special. We're going to show that just a second. Ed, thank you very much.
HENRY: Good to see you.
MACCALLUM: Here now, the aforementioned Ben Shapiro, editor in chief of The Daily Wire who wrote today's five reasons why Oprah would win and five reasons why she could lose.
Ben, good evening. Good to see you as always. You know, we thought that a matchup between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was going to be fascinating, and indeed it was. But this could be a whole new level.
BEN SHAPIRO, EDITOR IN CHIEF, THE DAILY WIRE: No question. I mean, Oprah Winfrey is the most well-known person probably on planet Earth outside of President Trump. So, you have two of the most high-profile people in American history battling it out. She obviously is another self-made billionaire, and she has cultivated, particularly female audiences, for the last 30 years. She's a television star. She has a really great personal story.
On the other hand, she is a conspiracy theorist, she is on the far left, and her image as sort of unite or not and divider would certainly take a hit were she to get political. It's one thing for President Trump, who basically has been hit with every piece of mud and emerged unscathed to run for reelection. Oprah Winfrey is basically seen as this almost angelic figure in American pop culture, and if she has hit at all with any sort of scandal, it may not affect her quite the same way. If you want to move from a place where 90 percent of people love you, to a place were 50 percent of people hate you, quickly move into politics.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, Donald Trump has certainly witnessed that himself during his transformation from being a private citizen to being president of the United States. Do you think, you know, when you look at America as a society, are we living in a world where you almost have to be a celebrity? You look at all the people who've thrown their names in the ring: Mark Cuban, Kanye West has talked about it, The Rock has talked about it. And you know, you start to wonder if you're living in the sort of freakish parallel universe lately.
SHAPIRO: I think there's some truth there. I think the idea that high- name recognition makes a difference, particularly in primaries, is absolutely true. Can you imagine Oprah Winfrey losing primaries to Joe Biden? I can't. I think that if Oprah Winfrey runs against a bunch of typical Democratic politician, they'll have a very hard time knocking her out of the race. Obviously, Republicans couldn't knock Donald Trump out of the race, and he was less than a celebrity than Oprah Winfrey is. I think it's because Americans have this sort of dual track mind when it comes to what they think the president does.
On the one hand, we think that the president is there to do policy and engage in policy we like. And then, there's really what we think the president does, which is stay stuff, right? When we think of people who say stuff, we tend to think of celebrities. We tend to think of the people who are on our T.V.s all the time. We think of these people as sort of the figureheads on the prowl of the ship of state. And in that sense, if there are people who are very famous, and we've already made our decisions about them, it's a lot easier for them to survive. The slings and arrows has been politicians we may not have ever heard of and can be taken down with a single scandal. Remember, in 2012, Rick Perry was basically knocked out of the primaries because he had mandated the Gardasil, a vaccine for particular type of cancer for young girls. That knocked him out of the primaries in 2012. Donald Trump got hit with everything, including the kitchen sink, and he won the election.
MACCALLUM: Unreal. You know, when you take a look at this potential matchup, you know, you've got Oprah Winfrey, who I think would be so embraced by Democrats that she probably wouldn't be standing up there with 17 other candidates. I mean, you know, when Donald Trump tried it, everyone just laughed at him. They thought he was not going to last; wouldn't make it through December, wouldn't make it through the fall. I mean, that's a very different dynamic here, Ben.
SHAPIRO: I think that's true. And I think Democrats also have a way of anointing candidates that Republicans simply have not had. In 2016, obviously, they anointed Hillary Clinton. 2012, they thought about -- in 2008, rather, they thought about anointing Hillary Clinton, and then Oprah Winfrey is the person who helped pushed Barack Obama over that finish line. So, I think the chances are actually pretty good that if Oprah decided to run, she'd win the nomination.
In the general election, I do have my doubts as to whether she would actually defeat the president. The last poll that I saw was from March and it showed Oprah defeating from Trump something like 47-40. But those aren't incredible numbers for Oprah. She has, I think, 49 percent approval versus 33 percent disapproval. Wait until she actually has to go through a political cycle or two and see how those numbers hold up.
MACCALLUM: I got to let you go but, one less thing, you sort of went out on a limb today. You said you don't think she was that brave. You know, everybody on that room was up on their feet. And you said she wasn't brave last night, what did you mean?
SHAPIRO: What the hell kind of risk was she taking? She was standing in front of an entire town filled with sexual abusers and harassers. She said nothing about it for 20 years. She's being cheered by people who said nothing about her for 20 years, and there she is pretending that she's leading the fight. In what way has she led the fight? I sort of missed it.
And just because she said some stuff last night, I haven't seen how things have materially changed. And as Reese Witherspoon has mentioned that she measures things before Oprah and after Oprah, what changed after Oprah? Oprah said a bunch of stuff. Well, I was under the impression that most of us agreed with that stuff when the stuff first broke. And she wowed at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association -- where were their reporting on the sexual harassment and abuse scandal for the last 20 years?
It is literally their job to cover Hollywood, and yet it took the New Yorker and Ronan Farrow to cover all this stuff. Where was the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that was receiving such applaud to the hands of Oprah Winfrey? Again, a woman who is good friends with Harvey Weinstein being cheered by Meryl Streep, a woman who's standing -- gave a standing ovation to Roman Polanski.
MACCALLUM: Yes. For there's circle of support that they've ignored everything that you just mentioned so potently. Ben, thank you very much. Great to see you tonight.
SHAPIRO: Thanks a lot.
MACCALLUM: So, President Trump mused about the political power of Oprah with Larry King back in 1999. Ed just mentioned this a minute ago, but it's fascinating to look back at it. This is as he considered a run for the White House in '99. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, TELEVISION HOST: Do you have a vice president, a candidate, in mind?
TRUMP: Well, I really haven't gotten quite there yet.
KING: Just --
TRUMP: Oprah. I love Oprah. Oprah would always be my first choice.
KING: Kidding aside, that you might think about.
TRUMP: She'd do it. She's be fantastic. She's popular. She's brilliant. She's a wonderful woman. I mean, if she'd ever do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Well, Donald Trump way ahead of his time with that comment, perhaps. Let's bring in Karl Rove, Former Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush and a Fox News Contributor; Charles Hurt, Washington Times Columnist and Fox News Contributor; and Democratic Strategist Robert Zimmerman on the set here with me. You know, Karl, you look back to that moment and it sort of, you know, ha-ha, the funny idea of these celebrities running for political office. You know, I think it was quite forward-thinking actually looking back at Donald Trump to say, you know what, she'd be a heck of a candidate and so would I.
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, yes, exactly, but Donald Trump tapped into something and I'm not certain that Oprah Winfrey is in the same position. People were very concerned about the change, the rapid change in our country. They were concerned that the political elites were not listening to them and they rallied behind Donald Trump and gave him about 46, 47 percent of the vote in the Republican primaries.
I'm not certain that Oprah Winfrey can tap into that same kind of -- tap into a similar vein of enthusiasm other than anti-Trumpism. And frankly, look, if this is the best the Democrats can do, elections tend to be reactions to the last election. I think the next election, the best avenue for the Democrats is to say he wasn't up for the job, he has not demonstrated the ability to get things done. We've got somebody who's demonstrated the ability to get things done. Here, what they are saying is, if you like that kind of outsider, let us give you another outsider, neither of whom had any experience in that kind of field.
MACCALLUM: I hear what you're saying, but, Robert, you know, I have to wonder if what happened is Democrat look at Hillary Clinton and say, well, you know what, she was a terrible candidate, but wow, Oprah Winfrey! I mean, you know, all bets are off.
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, as a matter of fact, to Karl's point, and when you look at candidates who got things done, you can point to Oprah Winfrey as a woman who came from abject poverty and built an empire without a loan from her father like Donald Trump had $4 million. A woman who was the victim of sexual assault and sexual harassment, unlike Donald Trump who was accused of that. And she's spoken to it and get empowered women to stand up and fight back, and the woman who really spoke -- and this are the most important point -- a woman who spoke with a sense of inspiration and empowerment last night. It's a mistake to define what we're witnessing today in conventional political terms.
The reason she's an antidote to Donald Trump is because while you see Republicans and Democrats condemn the kind of vitriol and hate and divisiveness from the Trump White House, she spoke with a sense of inspiration, a sense of empowerment and was an uplifting moment, and that's what captured the nation's attention.
MACCALLUM: So, it sounds to me, Charlie, like Robert's saying, you know, Joe Biden who, Elizabeth Warren who, Kamala Harris who?
ZIMMERMAN: I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that they all have achievements their own way, but she spoke from a very unique platform and a very inspiring message.
CHARLES HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND COLUMNIST FOR THE WASHINGTON TIMES: But when you have love to have been in the room with Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, all those people when they watched this speech and then all the oxygen --
MACCALLUM: Sinking deeper into their chair.
HURT: Yes, exactly. Yes, you know, I mean, Oprah Winfrey -- there's probably nobody in America today who has a more sterling trademark brand and name than Oprah Winfrey, but I really do question about what happens when you put that brand through a modern political campaign. And when you listen to the comments she's made in the past -- and she's just flirting with this stuff last night; you have to be really committed to do this. You have to be a little crazy, first of all, to run for president. But moreover, you have to really, really wanted and believe in something. And if she doesn't have that, if she doesn't have that fire burning in her, I just don't know how she's --
MACCALLUM: You know what, here's what I'm hearing, and I want Karl to weigh in on this too. You know, this is the exactly the same things that were said about Donald Trump: oh, he will never win a campaign, he won't want to hang in there, he doesn't have the experience, he's not going to want to go through the process, he doesn't have what it takes to be a politician, Karl?
ROVE: Well, you're right. She could turn out to be that way, but I think she's more comfortable giving away cards to people sitting in her studio and running her media empire. We'll see. But again, my point is, if the Democrats are in a fit of enthusiasm. If Zimmerman is becoming the New York State Chairman of Oprah for president, this is a sign of how desperate the Democrats are, how thin their field is, how weak their bench is, and how eager they are to grab the first celebrity who comes along and stands up in front -- as Charlie said -- an audience that was totally on her side, totally with her on the issue of harassment.
MACCALLUM: But Karl, wait a minute, because the Republicans thought they had such a deep bench going into 2016. They had all of these -- and they did, but they couldn't cut it. And Donald Trump won.
ZIMMERMAN: Here's the real difference Karl, the Republican party --
ROVE: But you what, it's because Donald Trump -- it was because Donald Trump had political chops. And may be Oprah Winfrey will have, I just seriously doubt it. I think this is a parlor game moment where Democrats are so desperate, this is the best they can come up with, and they're going to hold onto it as long as they possibly can.
ZIMMERMAN: The Republican Party looks like a restricted country club that's catered by meals on wheels. You've got a Democratic Party that has diversity, that has talent. You have people -- it's not about celebrity, it's about accomplishments. It can be Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, who has a record achievement, or Joe Biden who can speak to that, or Oprah Winfrey. But it speaks to accomplishment, it doesn't speak about just celebrity.
HURT: Can I make this one really quick?
MACCALLUM: Very quick.
HURT: The reason Trump made this work is because he made his campaign about issues, and I just question whether that something that Oprah Winfrey would be able to pull off too.
ZIMMERMAN: Don't bet against Oprah, Charlie.
MACCALLUM: It's great to see you all. All right. So, coming up, Alan Dershowitz says the rampant armchair psychiatry of some in the media and even a Yale professor who's never met the president, is not only wrong, but he says it is dangerous in terms of its historical precedents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: The psychiatrization of political differences is much more dangerous. It's what they did in Russia, it's what they did in china, it's what they did in apartheid South Africa. If you don't like a candidate, first lock them up. If you can't lock them up, commit them to a mental hospital.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Talking about all the discussion about mental fitness, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise responds. He will also take us inside the weekend meeting at Camp David with the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels so disturbing to hear that they think that something has deteriorated with his mental fitness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does also raise these questions of the presidents' fitness -- it raises serious questions about his mental capacity, his ability to process information, his impulse control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm wondering if there are any patriots in the Republican Party willing to step forward, and at least forces president to get an exam, not just physical, but also --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Neuropsychic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: This weekend, the president turned out the critics, hunkered down with top brass of the GOP at Camp David to work on their agenda for the new year, while his critics bantered about West Wing drama and he Twitter sparred over the issue of mental acuity. Some who have thrown rocks within the GOP tent have not circled the wagon to shut down this noise coming from the Michael Wolff book.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: I don't think he's crazy. I think he's had a very successful 2017, and I want to help and where I can and we should all want him to be successful.
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: I can tell you he's got the wherewithal to do thing that no politician has been able to do and in a good way.
SEN. TOM COTTON, R-ARK.: I work with the president and the people around them and Republican Senators, he's been an active, engaged and effective leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Here's now, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise who was at Camp David with the president this weekend, was there any discussion, Congressman -- welcome first of all -- about this book or the president's reaction to it as we can?
REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA., HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP: No, not until the press conference that we had was wrapped everything up on Saturday. But, you know, a lot of those statements are really ignorant, some people that haven't worked with Donald Trump, and when you're sitting in meetings with him like I was. Look, Friday, when we started our set of meetings to talk about all the domestic policy agenda items we want to accomplish for the American people, were in a meeting for over three-and-a-half-hours straight, and the president was directly engaged in those conversations, had a lot of really good ideas. He wants to build on the success of what we're seeing from this tax cut bill where every day, just today, announcing more benefits to their employees.
Every day we see another company announcing how what we did, what we worked with President Trump to pass is actually helping families increase their ability to be a part of the American dream. We want to build on that and the president had a lot of really good ideas and things he wants to get done.
MACCALLUM: All right. Do you think it's a surprise -- Michael Wolff admitted today that he didn't reach out to any of the cabinet members, he didn't interview them, he didn't interview Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States. Nonetheless, he does quote members of the cabinet, so that must be coming, you know, through another party that he talked to who said that those people said that. Does it disturb you what you're seeing unfold here?
SCALISE: No. I mean, you've got a lot of third-party innuendo. But when you're in meetings with President Trump, it's all business, you got a man here who wants to get our economy moving again or wants to repair a lot of the damage that's been done internationally. Look, America had been allowing our enemies to run roughshod over us and our friends around the world. Look at Iran moving towards a nuclear weapon under the last eight years of President Obama. Look at Russia's aggression through Eastern Europe. Look at what North Korea has been doing, and you had administrations just looking the other way. President Trump's been directly engaged, working with Secretary of State Tillerson or working with CIA Director.
MACCALLUM: I want to ask you a little about what happened this weekend in terms of what's coming up. Funding the government, it runs out on January 19th. Do you think that the house will pass a clean bill or are we going to see a debate over DACA and border wall funding? Which way is this going to go?
SCALISE: Well, there are a lot of negotiation still going on, and I think you've seen the speaker talking about the negotiations he's having to make sure we can have a properly funded Department of Defense. Look, our men and women in uniform all around the world that are confronting a lot of these major threats to our nation, they don't have all the tools that they need to get the job done and we need to do more to make sure that they've got those tools, and a lot of negotiations are going on about that right now and hopefully they get resolved in the next few days so that we can have that certainty.
MACCALLUM: I'd love to talk about that. I hope you'll come back and talk more about that. But quickly, before I let you go, Ed Royce has announced his retirement, that makes 29 members of the GOP who are stepping down. Are you starting to get concerned about the numbers in Congress as you head towards the midterms?
SCALISE: Well, look, we know that we're going to have a tough election cycle later this year. We're preparing for it. We've got a lot of incumbent members that are doing great work. You know, and some of these retirements you're seeing -- you've seen are in very safe Republican districts. But look, every time you see somebody good like Ed Royce leave, it's a loss to the institution, but we're going to work hard to make sure we keep this majority. I think there are a lot of people out there that understand just how devastating it would be to our country to have Nancy Pelosi as speaker, and they don't want that to happen. They saw how bad it was when she was speaker for four years, and what it did to our country. We're getting our country back on track to get the economy moving again. We want to keep that positive influence going forward.
MACCALLUM: All right. Good to speak with you, Congressman Steve Scalise as always.
SCALISE: Martha, always good to be with you.
MACCALLUM: And we hope you'll come back next week because we have a lot to talk about as you had towards the deadlines. Thank you, sir. It's good to see you.
SCALISE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, should the president sit down for an interview with the Special Counsel Robert Mueller? House Oversight Committee Chairman, Trey Gowdy, is up next with his new insight on the investigation tonight and Democrats attempt to keep this investigation alive for a long time, when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C., HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I do have confidence about Mueller to reach the right decision and interview the right people, but you can have confidence in an investigation where the ranking Democrat prejudges it before you've interviewed your very first witness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: New reports tonight that President Trump's legal team is weighing options for a possible interview between the president and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And Bruce Ohr, the man removed from the investigation, has now been let go from his final last remaining post at the DOJ. There is so much to cover in this story tonight. Here now, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy who also sits on the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, great to see you as always. Thank you for being here tonight.
GOWDY: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, I wanted to get through a few of these. And I know this one has just come to our attention, this has just been reported by the hill, and it has to do with two people -- I know you're very interested in in terms of learning more about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok who were involved in the investigation and were removed from it. This article in The Hill suggests that their text messages that had just been released suggest that they may have been leaking stories to different newspapers. That sort of what we see here. She says the article is out, but hidden behind pay walls, so can't read it. He responds, WSJ? Boy, that was fast. Should I find it, in quote, and tell the team. Just going through this initially, but your thoughts as you hear that?
GOWDY, R-S.C.: Well, one of the lines of questioning that we have for the FBI agents we felt who so for is who within the bureau was authorized to talk to the media because I can't speak for the Clinton investigation, but I can tell you in respect to the investigation within the Trump campaign, we have serious concerns about people with the bureau talking to various media outlets that weren't authorized to speak on behalf of the bureau. So, I'd love to tell you I'm surprised that someone at the FBI may have been leaking but I'm not.
MACCALLUM: I mean, James Comey, admitted under oath and testimony that he did the exact same thing.
GOWDY: He did when he wanted the first special counsel for Trump when Loretta Lynch told him to call it a matter, not an investigation, we didn't hear a peep out of him.
MACCALLUM: Yeah, very true. Your committee now has the Fusion GPS financial documents that you've been wanting for some time. Have you had a chance to go through them?
GOWDY: I have not, but one of the investigators has. You know, Martha, I think it is so bitterly ironic to me that Fusion GPS wanted us to rely on quintuple hearsay from Russian sources that nobody knows. They wanted us to base a presidential vote on that, but they went to court to keep us from finding out who paid them and who they were paying. So, thankfully the court ruled the right way, it wasn't even a close question. We got the documents and we're going to know who they paid and who paid them.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. As you say, they very much did not want you to have that information.
GOWDY: Very much.
MACCALLUM: I know you can't divulge anything from all that, it's still under your investigation. So, we'll keep on top of that as we go forward. In terms of Steve Bannon, you know, all that has come out in this Michael Wolff book and his suggestions about potentially treasonous behavior as part of the meeting that happened in June of 2016 at Trump Tower, are you going to want to speak with him as part of this?
GOWDY: Yes, ma'am. Treason is a really big word, in fact it's the only crime I'm aware of for which you can be put to death without actually taking a life during the commission of the crime. So I really can't think of a more serious word than treason. And if you're going to allege that somebody committed a treasonous act and you weren't even on the campaign at the time that meeting took place, then, yeah, I'm going to want to ask you some questions about it.
MACCALLUM: In terms of the president potential sit down with Robert Mueller, is that an interview that you expect will happen in real time, they'll sit face-to-face? Do you think it's going to be on video or in submitted questions, what's your estimation?
GOWDY: Submitted questions is not a great way to exchange information. There is no substitute, Martha, for what you and I are doing right now. Examination, cross examination, testing, probing. That's what happens in courtrooms all across America. It's good enough for all the rest of us. If President Trump is going to be interviewed by Bob Mueller or by an FBI agent there is no substitute for a sit-down, eyeball to eyeball, where you can judge demeanor and voice inflection. There's no question about what the question was or what the answer was. That's the single best way to exchange information.
MACCALLUM: Before I let you go, you make some pretty strong statements about Adam Schiff, your counterpart on the intel committee, saying that he had jumped to conclusions on Trump collusion with Russia when he hadn't even looked at any of the evidence yet, and that you think he's using that position for political purposes to leverage a senate run in California. Do you stand by that statement?
GOWDY: I only wish I had said more. Yes, all of that is true. Adam prejudged this investigation before we interview the first witness, and he's been on television more than you have this year, Martha. So, yeah, everything I said was true and I probably could have added something to it.
MACCALLUM: Congressman Trey Gowdy, our thanks to you for being here tonight, always good to see you.
GOWDY: You too, thank you.
MACCALLUM: So here now with his thoughts on all of that, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst. Congressman Gowdy and I covered a lot of territory there. What you want to jump in on first?
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: I would jump in on what you were discussing second to last, which is whether or not the president ought to submit to an interview to Bob Mueller and FBI agents, and my argument is never, never, never in caps should he do that.
NAPOLITANO: Because he cannot know what Mueller and his team know about the case. He cannot know what evidence they have. And one lie or one close to a lie about a material matter and he's facing a potential indictment. I don't know what would happen with the indictment because he is a sitting president. No sitting president has ever been indicted for a crime. But if the feds want to trap you, they are very, very good at doing it. Donald Trump is a very headstrong person who probably believes he's smarter than his interrogators and he may be, but he doesn't know more about the case than they do. It's a trap and he ought to stay away from it.
MACCALLUM: If you're the White House attorneys, you are trying to push at this point for submitted questions and answers on paper -- will they get that?
NAPOLITANO: If I'm the White House attorney I don't want my client to communicate with Bob Mueller at all. Bob Mueller and his team.
MACCALLUM: Do they have to?
NAPOLITANO: No, they absolutely don't. He doesn't have to speak to them. They can ask for it and he can say thank you, no, I'm the president and I have more important things to do. That's the advice that I would give to him. That is pretty much standard advice. Now, I've never represented the president. An extremely strong willed person who may very well say I'm going to talk to them no matter what you want and I'm going to go do it even if you don't come with me. Then you've got a problem when your client rejects your advice.
MACCALLUM: What about the Steve Bannon discussion about treasonous behavior? What do you think about that?
NAPOLITANO: I agree with Congressman Gowdy. It's the only crime defined in the constitution, but this is not treason. Treason is defined as providing aid and comfort to the enemy or waging war against the United States. I assumed this was hyperbole on Steve Bannon's part. Now, whether he has to justify that hyperbole under oath to a congressional committee I'm not so sure that he has to. Or they've probably had better things to do than ask him about that. This wasn't treason, it wasn't even close to treason.
MACCALLUM: Thank you very much, Judge Andrew Napolitano.
MACCALLUM: Always good to see you, sir, thanks for coming in. You too, good to have you back. All right. So, while most people in Washington are arguing about a book, there is something very big and very real happening that could reshape the dynamic across the Middle East. So how should President Trump respond to what could become, if this moves forward, a very significant Arab spring-like movement?
MACCALLUM: So while D.C. is all knotted up in the book buzz issue, there is something really big and very real that is happening that could trigger the end, potentially, of the regime in Iran. How should the White House respond, what should they be doing behind the scenes with all of this? This was the suggestion, if you remember, from Susan Rice. How can Trump help Iran's protesters? Be quiet, she wrote. And that is exactly what did not work last time in 2009. Even as this 26-year-old woman's death became a powerful symbol that ordinary Iranians wanted desperately to overthrow their government's tight religious reigns. The Obama administration back then remained quiet, but the president now has spoken out very forcefully. And a new report in Politico Magazine says that this time it could be very well different. This is a quote from that piece. We are witnessing the death throes of the Islamic republic. Even if the uprising ends today it is but one step in a long struggle to achieve a more representative democratic and popular government. Here now, Michael Waltz, former Green Beret commander and Fox News contributor, and David Tapuri, a former state department official and Obama campaign foreign policy advisor. Gentlemen, welcome, good to have both of you with us tonight. So David, you heard those criticisms of the administration that you worked in that at the moment that it could have been very instrumental to have American help there was none.
DAVID TAPURI, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: First of all, I didn't work in the administration, I worked in the campaign, and I previously worked at the State Department. But I agree with you that the Obama administration did not do enough in 2009. So it's a mistake for us to follow the same game plan. And President Trump has been wise to stay very clearly upfront that he supports regime change. That is the U.S. policy and we need to state that and we need to state our support for the protesters. But we need to do more than just tweet. We have to support the protesters by putting more sanctions in place on the revolutionary guard in Iran and pushing the U.N. to do more against Iran. We have to actively support these protesters, but at the same time we can't let the Iranian regime use it as a talking point that this is a U.S.-led effort. It has to be an Iranian led effort with the U.S. doing everything it can behind the scenes to support the protesters.
MACCALLUM: It's a great point, David. And that's where it becomes tricky. They tried to cut down internet access to people. They've been trying to basically put a stranglehold on these protests, as you know, Colonel. And what the regime does, and they do it all the time, is say, oh, these are just propped up by outside entities like the United States and Israel.
MICHAEL WALTZ, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, Martha, the regime is going to say that and do that anyway, regardless, and they have for years now. But I'm in violent agreement with David on this. But I'll take it a step further. This Obama-era argument that we should stand by while people are arrested, tortured, even killed for standing up against a theocratic dictatorship that has killed Americans since the 1980's and continued to hold Americans hostage today is a red herring and it was an excuse from the Obama administration because at the beginning, from the outset, they wanted an Iran deal and they wanted to do nothing to stir the waters from Tehran to Damascus to Lebanon to get that deal through. And now these people have seen hundreds of billions of dollars flow back into their countries, sanctions be lifted, particularly by the Europeans, and nothing in their lives have changed except that the regime has gotten richer and they're paying for foreign wars. These people are protesting because they're hungry, not for political reasons. And what I hope the president will do next is to begin, as David suggested, supporting them with material aid, with communications equipment and with other covert means to go for the throat of the regime, because that's the only way they're going to stop.
MACCALLUM: I mean, there has been a restive population in Iran that has so much infrastructures, so much history, so much education. I mean, if there's a place where there is a potential for this to be really dramatic and very constructive, it's Iran, right David?
TAPURI: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is a moment in Iran, and it would be in a mistake for us to miss this moment. And as a political article that you cited suggests, it may not happen right away. This may be the beginning of the end. These protests may be put down, but there is a movement in Iran that one day, hopefully soon, is going to ultimately overturn the police state that is the Iranian regime right now. And we need to be behind that. That's the future of Iran. That's future of the Middle East.
MACCALLUM: You look at the time and the breath that is spent, you know, talking about this book and you see what's happening here, this is history, potentially, unfolding before our eyes and it's really important for everybody to keep a close watch on. David and Lieutenant Michael Waltz, thank you very much, great to see you both tonight. So, the Trump administration taking a dramatic step today, and had immigration activists furious, do the administration go too far or is this exactly what the people who voted for President Trump want him to do? And being that was strong pushback from some circles, where do we draw the line. Should immigrants be allowed to stay forever, even if they were only given a temporary right to come to this country? Big issue, we will debate it right after this on The Story.
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UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Time to give (INAUDIBLE) holders citizenship.
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MACCALLUM: Big reaction in protests today as the Trump administration says that it will end special protection for Salvadoran immigrants. Some 200,000 Salvadorans have enjoyed, quote, temporary protected status in this country, since earthquakes hit their Central America country back in 2001, and there were provisions made for them to move here during the repair process. But they could now be forced to leave the United States by September of 2019 or -- so they have 18 months essentially to leave the country or to make other arrangements or potentially face deportation. So here now, Tammy Bruce, columnist for the Washington Times, and Richard Fowler, national syndicated radio talk show host, both are Fox News contributors. You know, this was always intended to be a temporary situation. It also exists with Honduras, with Haiti. President Trump is standing by his promise and assurances during the election, Tammy, that he would change and stick to the rules of our immigration policies.
TAMMY BRUCE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. And keep in mind, President Trump isn't the one who started this. Actually, President Obama also began -- I don't want to call it reporting, but removing many of the Salvadorans in particular, thousands per year for the last several years. So this is not a new activity. The difference is that President Trump announced it. He said, you know, we recognize how many there are here and that there was a deliberate announcement to the American people that this is policy. That there's a reason why there were temporary is in the name of the protection and that this is important to do. At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security has noted that many people may have an issue with, that the administration may be open to amnesty for these individuals. So you got a year and a half year for us to figure this out. But if the amnesties for the dreamers is an example as the CBO's has noted, will cost us 26 billion over nine years, I'm wondering how the deficit hawks in congress would look at that in the financial impact of amnesty.
MACCALLUM: They were brought here on temporary arrangement, Richard. Now the schools have been repaired, the roads have been repaired, and they look at all the parameters of that agreement and say, you know, it's time to go back.
RICHARD FOWLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, this is an interesting topic and an interesting subject in particular. And I think, maybe, I'm a little reminiscent of my mom retired on Friday -- she's an immigrant to this country from the nation of Jamaica, and she immigrated here legally. But after 40 years of service as a registered nurse in a public hospital she retired. And I think for me she always said growing up you can't know where you're going but you remember where you came from. And so for me, immigrant blood runs through my veins and it runs through many -- all three of our veins, at one point.
MACCALLUM: Of course, it does. Absolutely.
FOWLER: . in time we were immigrants to this country.
FOWLER: And so for these individuals, while, yes, their status is temporary, we are a nation of immigrants and we're such a blessed country, and because of that we've opened up our hands and open up our hearts to these individuals.
MACCALLUM: So there's no limits, there's no parameters? Borders open, everybody should come in.
FOWLER: Wait, I think opening up the borders is different. These individuals came here for humanitarians reasons. The Hattians are very similar. The Nepalese are very similar. Yemen, there some folks here from Yemen who are CPS status. They've come here, they contributed to our economy. A good majority of them work, a lot of them buy mortgages. They got married, they have children. And so, now for us to rip their culture away from them, that's not who we are as Americans. That's not who we are as Christians.
BRUCE: If I could add to Richard's premise, the issue is that there's also when you have a certain number of people here who are immigrants, even if they're considered refugees, that means that the numbers of other individuals who want to come here are capped. So you have as an example Filipinos, people from the Philippines, who can't get here because there's a zero dynamic -- same with actually Mexicans who want to immigrate legally. They can't immigrate legally because there's a cap. So what we want to be able to embrace everyone but within the framework of following the rules. And I'll remind you, some of this began after -- in the '80s after the civil war in El Salvador, a refugees stream into California where as in MS-13 then moved into the United States, now a transnational terrorist group essentially. So when we have emergencies, the vetting process changes, things are done quickly, and we've got to stick with the rule of law, which is what the president promised. And yet, obviously, having a year and a half to figure out exactly how to approach this, but we got to be conscious about it.
MACCALLUM: I'm sorry, guys. I've got to jump in, sorry. We will continue this conversation, I promise. We'll start with you, Richard. Thank you very much. Quick break. President Trump makes a pit stop to deliver a message to the forgotten men and women of the country in Nashville today. We'll be right back.
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TRUMP: Farm country is God's country, so true.
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MACCALLUM: We'll leave you with this tonight. Live look at Atlanta where the president is about to be there for the kickoff of the national college championship for football, Crimson Tide versus the Georgia Bulldogs, on his way there tonight. The president stopped in Nashville and he spoke to the farmer's bureau there and this is the sound bite of the night, listen.
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TRUMP: Our task is to uphold the values and principles that define who we are as a nation and as a people. The character that stormed the beaches of Normandy, and the courage that sent pilgrims across the ocean, and astronauts to the moon, then there is nothing we can't do.
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MACCALLUM: No doubt. The president is happy to be out in Washington for a few hours today, and taking that game tonight. That's our story tonight. We'll see you here tomorrow night. Tucker Carlson is up next.
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