Mendoza: Politicians need to protect fellow Americans

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," January 12, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Thank you, Bret. Developing here in New York tonight. Donald Trump's rocky but successful road to the presidency began as you may remember with a comment that most pundits thought would end his candidacy before it began.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, there rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.


MACCALLUM: And now in its debate, new scathing comments are front and center, but during the campaign, he vowed to build the wall, to keep out killers like those who took the life of Katie Steinle or Sergeant Brandon Mendoza.

From the beginning, President Trump's opinion about the whole issue have been fueled by the stories of those angel families -- people who lost their loved ones to killers who had no legal right to be in the country at all. He stood with them on the campaign trail, and he stood with them in his address to Congress. So, now that DACA is in danger and they watch all of this, what do they think about all of this?

Tonight, one of those for whom it is very personal, Marianne Mendoza, joins me live. Mollie Hemingway and Richard Fowler are here to debate. But first, let's go to Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts with the latest. Hi, John.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Martha, good evening to you. Let's keep you up-to-date on what the president is up to. I'll put the pictures up on the screen for you, so you can follow along. The president touched down in West Palm Beach, Florida, just a short time ago. Air Force touching down after a blinding thunderstorm there in West Palm and here comes the president out now along with Melania, and he'll spend the weekend at Mar-a-Lago; Barron, there, with them as well. Before heading back to Washington D.C., for what he hopes will be a much quieter beginning to his week, than the end of this week.

We're also learning some preliminary details of the president's physical that was conducted this afternoon at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. According to Dr. Ronny Jackson, he was the White House physician who examined him: "The president's physical exam today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center went exceptionally well. The president is in excellent health. And I look forward to debriefing some of the details on Tuesday." We won't learn everything about itself, but we will get a good idea of how he's feeling.

Now to the other big story today, we can go back to those pictures in West Palm Beach, then I guess you can call it the "S" storm, over the president calling several countries around the world from which the United States, against its immigrants, "S" holes. It remains to be seen whether or not the president's comments on all of this are going to affect negotiations over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, which will begin in earnest next week.

Of course, the president had that big meeting here at the White House earlier this week; 22 members of Congress over where he appeared to earn an awful lot of political capital. One of the big questions now is: has he squandered all of that? Certainly, this has been a distraction today. Watch what happened when the president was on in the proclamation of -- for MLK Day on Monday and got up to leave the room. And they had a bunch of question shouted at him by the National Press Corps. Listen here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, will you give an apology for the (INAUDIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, did you ever ask your agents to (BLEEP)?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, would you respond to these theories (INAUDIBLE)?



ROBERTS: A lot of questions there as to whether the president is a racist. President Trump denies that he ever used the word "S-hole" to describe Haiti and other nations, though he did acknowledge in a tweet that he said Haiti was a poor and troubled country. And while Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois who was at the meeting, insisted President Trump used that word several times. Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, who were also there saying, they didn't hear it; released a joint statement to the contrary saying, "We do not recall the president saying these comments specifically, but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers and our national interest."

Now, the real danger for the president here is that he risks losing leverage in the days ahead in his efforts to get what he wants in the DACA deal. This morning, the president very loudly insisted on Twitter that the deal that was brought to him yesterday was no good, that it didn't adequately fund a wall, made chain migration and the lottery worse. Democrats, though, are going to try to drag this out as long as they can. There are already plans for a censure resolution that the president and Congress, and there were some talks as well that this could increase the chances of a government shutdown on January 19th, which the Democrats would then try to blame on the president and probably pointed to this as one of the reasons why.

Just when the president got up a huge head of steam of political goodwill, as I mentioned earlier, from that meeting earlier today, he may have just sort of given it all away in a singular moment. With an ill-timed comment, Martha, that he should have known given some of the company would never stay in the room. But of course, all of this is heading, not toward the DACA negotiations, not toward the budget negotiations, but toward next November when the Democrats are going to try to give the president some very big coattails and try to drag down Republican candidates across the country. Martha.

MACCALLUM: John Roberts, thank you very much, John, from the White House tonight. So, President Trump has stood up for my guest on the campaign trail, and during his presidency too, in an effort to increase border security and crackdown on illegal immigrants in this country. Here now, Mary Ann Mendoza, whose son was murdered by an illegal immigrant.
Marianne, thank you very much for being here tonight.


MACCALLUM: So, Marianne, when you watch all of this, back and forth, and you here, you know, what the president allegedly said about these countries in terms of the people that are coming here from there, he says he didn't say it the way it was portrayed, and you heard the back and forth about that. And you are someone who has dealt with the ramifications on of this on such a -- the deepest personal, possible level. What do you make of it all?

MENDOZA: I'm, I'm really getting sick and tired of the politicians in Washington and how they handle themselves. And, you know, this whole -- I think they're trying to deflect away from the DACA issues to draw attention away from what's happening and what they aren't accomplishing in Washington. And this isn't just about Sergeant Brandon Mendoza, my precious son, or Katie Steinle, this is about tens of thousands of American citizens who have been killed by illegal repeat criminals who've been released back out onto our streets. It's about hundreds of thousands of victims of the illegal alien crime. And we are hearing more and more from these people who are coming out of the shadows.

This is a huge problem in our country. And my son is no less important than anybody sitting on the Capitol Hill, and this fight has to be what the American people want. This isn't about the politicians' wants and needs, and their special interests, and what they're going to get done, and what they're going to gain from how to posture themselves on these laws. This is a straight-forward issue that doesn't need anything else attached to it. Every one of you politicians in Washington need to be protecting your fellow Americans, that is at. That is the issue that needs to be handled.

MACCALLUM: What do you think about how the president handled it this week?

MENDOZA: You know, a lot of talks was about the bill of love, and that's really all a lot of people heard. But there were plenty of things that he brought forward in that meeting that he was expected to be on that -- you know, reform that they're bringing through. And he's going to stand firm on his promises from the campaign trail. I don't think he's going to turn his back on any of us, who stood up for him and backed him up and supported him through this. I believe in him. I see the changes he's made in our country so far, and I have nothing but hopes for what's going to come in the future from him.

MACCALLUM: So, obviously, so much focus on the comment that he made, this "S-hole" comment about these countries.

MENDOZA: The "S-hole" comment, if that's going to making everybody who says "S-hole" a racist, what is this country coming to? And why are they focusing so much on that? And why are they not focusing on the positive things that our president is doing? And why aren't these liberal T.V. media outlets focusing on the American victims of the illegal alien crime? They will not even talk to us. They want to act like we don't even exist. And guess what, our liberal media, just because you don't acknowledge us and you don't have us on your shows, does not mean that we don't exist. We're here. We're hurting. And it's happening more and more every day in America.

MACCALLUM: Marianne, you know, what may have prompted that -- the comment or the discussion or however it actually came out, was that Senator Dick Durbin was arguing that people who are here on temporary status because of, for example, the earthquake that happened in Haiti, in El Salvador as well, the earthquake and the hurricanes that brought those people here, they were granted temporary status in the country. And now, the president says it's time for them to go back. You know, the infrastructure has been repaired, and the things that were promised have happened. You know, Durbin is pushing for them to be able to stay here; what's your message on that?

MENDOZA: Durbin needs to start taking care of the homeless veterans we have, and the homeless Americans that we have, and the hungry American children that are out here on the daily basis. And I think our politicians in Washington have lost focus on they really are there for. The constitutional rights that every one of us as American citizens have that are being completely ignored, and they are giving more precedent to these illegal criminals.

And, you know, every one of them are criminals because they're here. This DACA program that the liberals claim have such, you know, they're contributing members of society. 24 percent of them are illiterate in English. Only 42 percent of them have basic English comprehension. And 49 percent of them have not graduated from high school. And there's a huge percentage of them that are on welfare programs.

What I think our politicians need to be doing, and Mitch McConnell needs to take this to the Senate floor; we need Kates Law passed, and we need No Sanctuary for Criminals Act passed because both of those things deal with over 900,000 convicted illegal felons who are roaming the streets of America. And our politicians don't care about our safety, and they want to make a big deal about protecting these DACA people. Do what you need to do first.

Mitch McConnell, quit throwing this back on angel mom and dad, so we to pressure Trump to give us more airtime in order to enable you to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote. And do what you were elected to.

MACCALLUM: Mary Ann Mendoza, thank you so much being with us tonight. We wish you well. And we're sorry for happened to your family. I know that's not enough, but we really appreciate your thoughts tonight. Thank you so much.

MENDOZA: Thank you very much.

MACCALLUM: So, in this debate over the words that have been said, is it all distracting us? As Mary Ann Mendoza is urging everyone to consider from the real underlying issues the struggles that we face in this country. Here now: Mollie Hemingway, Senior editor at The Federalist; and Richard Fowler, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, both are Fox News contributors.

Mary Ann Mendoza was very moving. Obviously, this is very personal for her and she has experienced the worst of it firsthand, Richard. What do you say about what she had to say, and, you know, what's your response of, of the focus in Washington right now?

RICHARD FOWLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I mean, I'm really sorry for her loss. I mean, it's definitely sad to lose a child -- I don't have a child, so I can't imagine what it does to lose one, and so my heart goes out to her. But with that being said, I think we can do both of these things. It's not hard to do both, and I think that's what Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois was trying to do when he presented his deal to the president.

Democrats are willing to give on border security, willing to give more money to make sure that the border is secure. But at the same time, we want to make sure that we protect those individuals who came to this country of no fault of their own, who either in college, have a job, or are serving in our military. And on top of that, we want to make sure that we protect those who have temporary status in the country who are working and contributing to our society. And what the president --

MACCALLUM: It's temporary, though, that was a deal. It was temporary.

FOWLER: And what the president meant to that deal with was, with a comment that a lot of people have called racist, people have called it culturally insensitive at best, and criticizing these countries that have meant a lot to American history and a lot to global history. And I think that's sad, and I think the president lost a lot of momentum and a lot of ground that he picked up on Tuesday; he squandered it all today.


MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND SENIOR EDITOR AT THE FEDERALIST: Yes, I'm not sure if I share Richard's view that Senator Durbin is seeking a deal so much as sabotaging a deal. But I think there's a lot we don't understand about the comments that he leaked. You know, that he's claimed-- we're talking about, you know, whether to extend temporary status. The argument of people who want to extend temporary status is that we have to do it even if it's been 18 years because we can't send people back to these hellholes where they're from. And yet, the people who want to end the temporary status are supposedly referring to these countries at these places that are horrible.

It doesn't quite make sense. It also doesn't make sense because Donald Trump's big push from our current incoherent immigration policy is to merit-based immigration, where you judge people based on their skills, their education, their language abilities, their chance for success in this country. And of course, that doesn't matter where you come from if you're being judged on merit. So, I don't think we have a full understanding of what the president's comments ran its bad language, but it doesn't really match with what his overall policy is. But most importantly, like your first guest said, this is just ridiculous. I mean, people will do anything to keep from talking about our problems with our immigration policy and how to fix it, and it's really getting disgusting for a lot of people to watch.

MACCALLUM: All right. I got to leave it there.

FOWLER: Two things -- I'll be brief.

MACCALLUM: Go ahead.

FOWLER: Two things. One, one: I think the president's comments is part of the problem. Number two: the statue of liberty says bring us your poor, your tired, and your huddled masses, and the merit-based system takes away from what that statue says. So, when we go to a merit-based system, let's take that statue down.

MACCALLUM: Just to remember, there have been plenty of times over the course of history where we have changed immigration policy, where we have halted it for a period of time --

FOWLER: But to go to a strictly merit-based system is absolutely against the statue of liberty.

HEMINGWAY: The argument that Richard is making is that everybody in the world has -- the argument that Richard is making is that everybody in the world has equal right to be in America, along with Americans --

FOWLER: That's not what I'm saying.

HEMINGWAY: That is not true. And that is what -- and being a sovereign country means that's not possible.

FOWLER: I'm saying that we should allow the poor and the huddled masses in, so they can achieve the American dream just like my parents did, that what I'm saying.

MACCALLUM: Thanks, guys. I got to go. Thank you very much, Mollie and Richard, good to see you both. So, coming up next, with so many House Republicans retiring or seeking higher office, what does it mean for the GOP's chances of keeping their majority in the 2018 midterms. Our power panel on that, and why there are so much focus on a little race in Pennsylvania right now.

And Tonya Harding, back in the spotlight, folks, but things got ugly quickly when she was asked again about Nancy Kerrigan.




MACCALLUM: So, it has been quite a week, but there's, perhaps, no more really pressing issue for this White House in 2018 that keeping majorities in the House and Senate, when it comes down to it. These 30 Republicans have said, sayonara, at least, to their seat in the House. Democrats only need to take 24 seats to regain control of the House, which, of course, would dramatically change the entire rest of the Trump presidency. Thus, the intense interest at the White House in Pennsylvania's 18, district 18's upcoming special election. So, everyone's going to be there next week. The president's going, Mike Pence is going, and others.

President Trump won that district by 20 points in the election; it should be a very safe area. But after the Alabama experience, there is no desire to repeat that, and the president will head there to support the Republican candidate, Rick Saccone, over his Democratic opponent, Conor Lamb. So, here now: Ned Ryan, is the Former White House Staffer under President George W. Bush, one of them, and a CEO -- not the only staffer, there were others -- CEO of American Majority; and Chris Stirewalt, Fox News politics editor, of course; Jessica Tarlov is Author of "America in the Age of Trump" and a Fox News contributor. So, Mr. Stirewalt, we'll begin with you, because you know every one of these districts, and why they are or are not important. So, this ought to be a very safe area, but why are they going to be spending so much time there next week?

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR: Well, because they want to break the notion. Those retirements you mentioned, are factors, yes, of the fact that the climate looks bad for Republicans. It's going to be a tough year. Probably, if the election were held today, they'd lose more than 40 seats, I imagine. But they want to change that narrative. And the way you change that narrative is say, look, we can win, we can defend these seats, this is not going to be the route, we're going to fight for you. And the message in Western Pennsylvania is we're going to hold the seats, we're going to hold the line, and it's supposed to telegraph across the country to other Republicans.

MACCALLUM: Do you think they'll be successful?

STIREWALT: They better be. I think its -- if they can't hold that dead gum seat, they can't hold any.

MACCALLUM: Well, you could've said the same thing about a Senate seat -- a certain Senate seat in Alabama, than nobody --

JESSICA TARLOV, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND AUTHOR: There are no child molesters on the ballot this time, which I think is a key difference.

STIREWALT: Right. Yes, right. There's so many difference.

MACCALLUM: So, between the child molesters and the "S-hole" environment that we're living in, it's pretty ugly out there. But you know what, Ned, when you sort of peel back the onion and you take a look at what's going on in the country underneath it all, I do wonder whether or not these seats across the country are as vulnerable as people seem to think they are?

NED RYAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE STAFFER UNDER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I tend to think again wherein January -- November is a lifetime away. You look at the economy, the economy is picking up. I think we could maybe have, potentially, multiple four percent growth quarters. We could see a market that has 27,000. We just saw 150 companies give bonuses, I think, in the neighborhood of $3 billion. People vote with their pocketbooks. And I know that there's this theme that people are saying this could be a Democrat wave in 2018.

Typically, the party in the White House loses seats. Well, with all of these things going well in the economy, I'm still confused as to what the Democrats are actually running on in 2018. I mean, if the economy is going great, the market is going great, what are they going run on? Resistance? Impeachment? Hey, put us back in power so we can raise your taxes? So, I'm still confused as to what the actual message of Democrats is going to be in 2018. And let's not forget, in the Senate, the Senate map heavily favors Republicans. I actually think Republicans are going to pick up seats in the Senate regardless, and I still think they're going to keep the House in November of 2018.

MACCALLUM: If they lose the house, there will -- they will, you know, they're going to push impeachment proceedings almost immediately, right? I mean, (INAUDIBLE) but that's probably what's going to happen.

TARLOV: No. I'm not a fan of that approach. I don't think it's smart. I don't think it's good messaging also going into an election year. I agree with Ned in so far as that we need messaging based on policy, and I think Democrats need to get that under control. I completely disagree about taking the House back. As you said, we need 24 seats; you already have 30 retirements. I think 18 are actually the Hillary Clinton held. And that's why a lot of people like (INAUDIBLE) are actually backing away from this, coupled with Republican popularity and the president's own popularity there.

But returning to Pennsylvania's 18th, I don't actually see Conor Lamb winning there. I think it's a 12-point lead for Saccone. But what I do think is really interesting is that Conor Lamb came outside days ago and said that he wouldn't support Nancy Pelosi for a leadership position anymore. And I believe that that's going to be a trend, especially for younger Democrats coming up. We've heard a lot about how it's time for a change, and that we need younger, new more progressive leadership. So, I think he might be leading the way there ala-Tim Ryan from the leadership challenge last year. So, that's what I think is important there.

MACCALLUM: We're short on time, unfortunately. We got to leave it there. Thank you very much, you guys.

TARLOV: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Good to see you all of you tonight.

STIREWALT: Happy Friday.

MACCALLUM: You too. So, still ahead, an explosive report says the Obama administration saved the life of a top Iranian terrorist responsible for the death of hundreds of our troops. Did they protect him to help secure the Iran deal? The Obama administration is pushing back hard on this idea; they're saying it's not true. Former Navy SEAL Rob O'Neill and Marie Harf who worked to negotiate that deal hash it out on THE STORY, coming up next.


BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yesterday marked a milestone in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran has now fulfilled key commitments under the nuclear deal.



MACCALLUM: So, it's a disturbing question that has a lot of people, including former Obama administration officials talking tonight -- did the previous administration saved the life of a top Iranian terrorist in order to secure the Iran deal? This is reporting that comes from a Kuwaiti newspaper that suggests that the Obama White House thwarted an attempt by the Israelis to assassinate Qasem Soleimani, a notorious warlord, responsible for the death of hundreds of our troops in Iraq, possibly to curry favor to smooth the path for the deal with Iran.

A former Obama spokesperson pushed back hard on this on Twitter yesterday, so what really happened here? Joining me now, Rob O'Neill, the Former Navy SEAL, who killed Usama bin Laden, he's the Author of "The Operator"; and Former State Department Spokesperson, Marie Harf, who was part of the negotiating team that got the Iran deal done, both are Fox News Contributors. Welcome to both you. Good to have you here tonight. Is this an issue Rob that you ever heard about, thought about, heard people talk about it that time?

ROB O'NEILL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER NAVY SEAL: Yes. This is an issue because, for some reason, a lot of it has to do with politics. The former administration really wanted to get a deal with Iran done. They would stop at nothing, doing anything they could, stopping the certain investigation, certain indictments. This thing with Qasem Soleimani specifically is disturbing because the Israelis had a plan to take him out, I think, somewhere near Damascus, and apparently, they were tipped off, as being reported by this Iranian newspaper. I talked to some of my friends in Washington and in Virginia today and they said that's exactly happened. And if they're willing to protect the guy that's been referred to as the Iranian Usama bin Laden simply to get a really bad nuclear deal done -- just for the sake of getting the deal done, if it's true which it will come up that is, yes, I'm disturbed by it.

MACCALLUM: All right. Rob and others say that they have heard that this was the case, Marie.

MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: It's just total fiction, Martha, and there's no evidence that anyone has put forward that shows that this actually happened. A Kuwaiti newspaper, an Iranian newspaper, these are not sources that we would trust to actually have information about what happens to the United States government. Look, I was part of the administration, yes, we wanted to get in Iran deal done that prevented them from getting a nuclear weapon. But certainly not at any cost and that never prevented us from going after terrorists from being very tough on Iran's other behavior. I think there are times when people don't like the Iran deal, and because of that, they level all of these accusations, but none of them, and this one included, are backed up by actual evidence. There are no facts here.

MACCALLUM: Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this. Obviously, there was an active plan to get Osama bin Laden and Rob O'Neill, the Navy Seal that he was with, carried that mission out.

Was there a plan of that sort to get Qasem Soleimani during the Obama administration? Because he has been stated as, you know, basically having the same equal power in Iran that Osama bin Laden had.

HARF: Well, those are two -- I would say those are two very different situations. Qasem Soleimani occupies a different space in Iran. We sanctioned him in the United States using unilateral sanctions.

We put a lot of pressure on him in the organization that he leads through a number of different actions, cutting them off from their funding, cutting them off from support, cutting them off from --

MACCALLUM: But he is responsible for the death of hundreds of American --


HARF: And we took action against him because of that, but to equate him to Osama bin Laden just isn't a factual --


ROB O'NEILL, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL, AUTHOR: The way that they're saying about Soleimani is he's got more American blood on his hands than anyone alive, other than Ayman al-Zawahiri who now leads al Qaeda.

And President Obama -- I was part of a couple different missions that President Obama did authorize. Obviously, the raid for Osama bin Laden, the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, but for something, anything involving Iran, he was against.

I mean, they went as far as calling Hezbollah. They went from terror organization to sort of a militia to now like a political party and we need to get the more moderate Hezbollah operatives involved with the negotiation.

Bring the moderate Hezbollah to the table. There is something there with the Iran thing, literally flying in $1.7 billion in cash overnight, cold hard cash to release hostages. It's shady stuff with Iran. We are going to find out. Congress is going to find this out.

MACCALLUM: We will continue --

HARF: Hezbollah continued to be designated. Hezbollah was designated the entire time. It remains that way. We never took them off of that list. It's just not true.

MACCALLUM: Marie, thank you very much. Rob, thank you as well.

HARF: Thank you.

O'NEILL: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Joining me now, Fred Fleitz, former CIA analyst who worked on the Iran nuclear program for 20 years. He is now senior vice president of the Center for Policy Security. Fred, you were listening to the conversation here, what's your take?

FRED FLEITZ, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: Martha, look, I think the president made the wrong decision, but maybe this decision wasn't as bad as people think. The nuclear deal is very weak. Iran's behavior got worse. It squandered sanctions relief on terrorism and military spending.

The fixes proposed that Congress is putting forward, I think are very weak and will not fix the deal. And I don't think they're going to be approved by Congress or Europe. But, here's something -- I'm going to break some news here. This is based on a friend of mine who met with the president in December.

The president told my friend, when he decertify the deal in October, he never thought Congress would fix it. And I don't think he thinks Congress will ever fix it. So you might ask why did the president do what he did today?

Here is the second thing my friend was told. North Korea is the president's priority. He does not want both situations to blow up simultaneously. I think that that makes a lot of sense and it makes me feel better about a decision that on the face of it looks very bad.

Let me make one final point. I think there are senior officials who are leaving this government over the next 120 days. I think one will be Rex Tillerson, one may be H.R. McMaster.

And the president is going to need people who support his Iran policy, hopefully Ambassador John Bolton as national security advisor, to get us out of the deal.

So I think that may help us explain what seems to be an inexplicable decision why the president would extend this terrible Iran deal again.

MACCALLUM: That's a fascinating development if that is the reasoning. He did make it clear that he didn't think he would do it again unless things change. But it doesn't, as you say, indicate that the Europeans have made any change. The Europeans haven't taken the protests in the streets seriously in Iran at all.

FLEITZ: That's right.

MACCALLUM: So what's going to change in the next 120 days? The president really has laid down a marker that he's going to have to stick to if nothing else changes on the ground.

FLEITZ: I think he's going to get out. Europe is not going to change its view. Iran is not going to change its view. Look, in Congress, there are people who want to protect the Iran deal and there are Republicans who want to kill it. There is no way Congress is going to pass anything. I think the president intends to get out, just not right now.

MACCALLUM: And you think McMaster and Tillerson are gone in what time frame?

FLEITZ: Well, I think Tillerson is leaving. There were reports this month that McMaster may be leaving. My understanding is that the president wants to give everybody a full year in the office before their let go. McMaster is supposed to get the president's decision by the end of January whether he is going to remain.

But, you know, if the president decides to get out of the deal, he needs senior officials to implement that decision, and that's why he may want to wait.

MACCALLUM: Fred Fleitz, thank you very much. Great to have you here tonight, sir.

FLEITZ: Thanks. Good to be here.

MACCALLUM: So, coming up next, four fraternity members heading behind bars for beating a 19-year-old pledge to death in a horrific hazing ritual. But the fraternity itself is getting hit hard as well. Will this finally stop this senseless death on our college campuses?

And Tonya Harding back in the news trying to cash in on her infamy, but with dollar signs in her eyes, she has no apologies in her heart for Nancy Kerrigan.


MACCALLUM: As many as six college students lost their lives in the last year in alcohol-fueled hazing rituals. We've covered Tim Piazza's case closely here on "The Story" and his fraternity brothers' fate is still undecided.

But now in another similar case, four fraternity members will go to jail in the death of Baruch College freshman Michael Deng. In what could be a pivotal judgement, his now former frat brothers will spend as much as two years behind bars for what they did to him.

Trace Gallagher is live in our west coast news room with the back story tonight. Trace?

TRACE GALLAGHER, JOURNALIST AND ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: Martha, this case is being noted as an example of prosecutors now being much more aggressive in pursuing criminal charges in deaths related to hazing.

This case is also unique because legally it went after both fraternity members and the fraternity itself. In December of 2013, Baruch college freshman Chun Deng, who goes by Michael, collapsed after taking part in a ritual called the glass ceiling.

It is a gauntlet meant to represent the plight of Asian-Americans where pledges are blindfolded and wear a backpack filled with sand while being confronted by fraternity brothers.

The grand juror reports that Michael Deng was being defiant and resistant and so fraternity members forcefully and repeatedly hit him and knocked him to the ground. In some cases running directly at him with their heads down from 15 feet away. Michael Deng fell unconscious.

The fraternity members considered getting an ambulance but thought it would be too expensive. So instead they changed his clothing and tried to revive him. Googling phrases like concussion, can't wake up. The 19-year-old died the next day.

In all, 37 people face charges. The four fraternity members facing the most serious charges were all sentenced between one and two years in prison. And the fraternity itself was banned in Pennsylvania for 10 years.

In her ruling, Judge Margherita Patti-Worthington called this the most troubling case in her 19 years on the bench. She also noted the dangers of hazing by pointing to a case this program has covered extensively, the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza, who after a pledge night of drunken partying, fell numerous times including down a flight of stairs and never regained consciousness.

In the death of Michael Deng, Pi Delta Psi released a statement saying its members feel shame and dishonor that fraternity brothers could be so callous and inhumane. The fraternity is also appealing the judge's decision saying the national chapter should not be conflated with the actions of individuals. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Trace, thank you very much. There is also new information tonight on the case that Trace just mentioned, the Tim Piazza case.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office is now taking over the manslaughter case against 12 former members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity after the former prosecuting attorney claimed that he had a conflict of interest and couldn't go forward with the case.

They did not specify what that conflict might be. The state attorney general has promised to conduct an independent review now. That review could lead to charges being dropped or increased or changed against all of those individuals, so stay tuned as we follow that. Piazza, as you remember, died February of 2017.

Seventeen of his so-called brothers have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence originally. Police recovered deleted surveillance video showing Piazza given 18 drinks in under 90 minutes. Later that night, he tumbled down an entire flight of stairs, hitting his head. No one called an ambulance for 11 hours.

And hours after her prime time special aired, Hollywood's new darling, Tonya Harding, is experiencing yet another fall from grace. She is firing back at reporters, TV anchors, and now her own publicist for daring to bring up Nancy Kerrigan. A person who knows the whole 1994 saga all too well is here, next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The press threw me to the walls. Pretty much everybody treated me like I was nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have something to say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm afraid she doesn't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't touch my truck.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no comment.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You never said to Jeff, let's do this?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. He never asked for your permission?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you were never part of the planning?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I did, however, overhear them talking about stuff where maybe we should take somebody else so we can make sure she gets on the team. And I remember telling them, I go, what the hell are you talking about? I can skate.


MACCALLUM: Infamous skater Tonya Harding back in the limelight in all her glory in a prime time TV special last night, bringing us all back to 1994 and the attack on Nancy Kerrigan.




MACCALLUM: Who can forget that, right? But now she is reportedly demanding money if journalists want to ask her a question about the attack.

In fact, Harding's publicist has just quit, claiming, her adamant and final position is that reporters must sign an affidavit stating that they won't ask her anything about the past or they will be fined $25,000. Obviously, it doesn't work that way, and therefore I have chosen to terminate our business relationship, he said.

Joining us now, journalist Julie Vader, who has covered Harding for years in Oregon. She was there when all of this happened. She coauthored the book "Fire on Ice." Good to see you, Julie. Thanks so much for being with us tonight.

I saw the movie "I, Tonya" and watched the special last night. You saw the new movie as well which stars Margot Robbie s Tonya Harding. You say you didn't like it, why?

JULIE VADER, JOURNALIST, CO AUTHOR OF "FIRE ON ICE": If all I knew about Tonya Harding is what I saw in that movie, I would have total sympathy for her. But, unfortunately, I know her and her story all too well. And the movie badly distorts what actually happened. It's a fictional.

MACCALLUM: What do they get wrong?

VADER: Well, so many things, a lot of little movie things. But, basically, the attack, they veered from what Jeff Gillooly and others told the FBI about her involvement. They made it look like she didn't know anything, something to do with some letters.

That's quite different from what he told the FBI 24 years ago, that they had discussed killing Nancy Kerrigan or cutting her Achilles tendon or breaking her leg and leaving her duct taped gagged in a hotel room.

I mean, really horrific stuff. Of course if you bring that up in a movie, it doesn't make Tonya look sympathetic at all. So, they just --

MACCALLUM: Here's a little run in she had with Piers Morgan. Watch this.


PIERS MORGAN, JOURNALIST: Maybe it suits you to play the victim, but I think the victim in all this wasn't you, it was Nancy Kerrigan, who had her Olympic dream shattered in her legs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that we all -- thank you so much, I appreciate being on your show, but I think I'm going to have to say have a good night.


MACCALLUM: And with that, she was pretty much gone, Julie. You know, I think one of the interesting things to me when I watched the movie is the appreciation for her athleticism. We all remember those days.

And we all kind of had the same take away when you watch Tonya Harding, except maybe the people who were cheering her on from her own community for very understandable reasons.

The rest of America, you know, saw her as the way she was portrayed, you know, white trash, very tough, very unlikable in many ways character. But here is her talking about landing the triple axle which was the really high point of her life.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whatever made you think that you can do that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What makes people think I can't?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At three and a half revolutions in the air.

I was like, yes!


MACCALLUM: And here is one more thing I want to play, Julie. This is her talking about being abused by her mother. We will get your thoughts on all that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remember she drugged me into the bathroom and beat me with a hairbrush.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you remember the first time she hit you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The one that sticks out in my head, we were at 7- Eleven, I got nachos. She said that they would make me fat. She get them out of my hand, grabbed me and said let's go.


MACCALLUM: You know, when you see her mother portrayed in this movie, I went back and watched the video of her mother, I did feel some sympathy for her. Why do you think that there is no -- is there no place for that in this story?

VADER: There is plenty of place. I wrote extensively about Tonya Harding. (INAUDIBLE) in 1992 wrote a very sympathetic long article about the abuse she suffered and her terrible childhood. She was a great story. But that's an explanation, not an excuse.

If I can talk about the triple axel, I was there in 1991. I was a sportswriter for 15 years and got to see amazing things. I got to see Joe Montana and Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky and (INAUDIBLE).

I got to see a lot of great athletes. But seeing her 1991 triple axel was one of the highlights. It really was genuinely exciting and exhilarating. And it was the highlight of her life.

MACCALLUM: But after that, I mean, you know, it's almost like she had, you know, a wish to kind of blow it all up. She stopped rehearsing. She stopped practicing with the same kind of intensity, right?

VADER: Yes. She had a chance at two Olympics which is rare for any athlete and she blew it both times.

MACCALLUM: So, what's your take away? You know, you look at this movie and the see her back on screen. She was at the Golden Globes the other night. You know, everybody is feeling sorry for her and thanking her for her involvement in this and you think about what happened to Nancy Kerrigan.

One of the biggest lines in the movie to me was when Tonya Harding says, I got hit my whole life, she got hit once.

VADER: Yes. That was horrific. The film I saw, the audience burst out laughing. And there were two other times, Kerrigan was on the screen in this movie, she was laughed at, which is appalling.

I mean, Tonya Harding gets the award for the worst display of sportsmanship ever in sports. That's what she will be remembered for as well as just squandered talent. It's a shame because I like Today. I rooted for her.

She was a hometown girl. It's awfully hard to have any sympathy for her or-- my main reaction to the movie and seeing her at the Golden Globes was kind of a nauseous feeling.

MACCALLUM: I get it.


MACCALLUM: She is back in the limelight. We will see what she does with it. We will see where she ends up. If she gets a gig out of it or not. She spent some time in the boxing ring after her skating career was over.


MACCALLUM: Julie, thank you very much. Good to talk to you tonight.

VADER: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Quick break and we will be right back.


MACCALLUM: Finally tonight, this has been a tragic week for the close knit residents of Montecito, California, after the devastating fire scorched the hills, this week the mud came sliding down in a nightmare that came through the doors and the windows and took the lives of 17 people.

Five are still missing tonight. The oldest victim was 89 years old. The youngest was just three. In tribute, here are some of their stories.

After raising their two children in Orange County, Jim and Alice Mitchell realized their dream of coming home to Montecito. Their home was filled with Alice's artwork. Their daughter called them an adorable couple and said they were in love with their home.

As a young woman, Rebecca Riskin landed a role dancing with the American Ballet Theater. She later became a successful realtor. Her company says it intends to carry out her life's work with the same strength and grace and elegance that wholly defined Rebecca (ph). She is survived by her husband, children, and a grandson.

Roy Rohter was in the real estate business and founded a Catholic school in Ventura. The school's headmaster says he will miss Roy's infectious love of the faith and of life and for all things true, good and beautiful. He lived in Montecito with his wife.

Our prayers are with their families and those who are still being searched for tonight. That is "The Story" for this week. Tucker Carlson is up next.


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