Former hostage: FBI sacrificed my safety to track terrorists

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," March 26, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Very reflective. Thank you, Bret. Good to see you tonight. So, this stunning story: breaking tonight, an American held captive by Islamist terrorists has a shocking tale of betrayal. He speaks out exclusively on 'The Story' tonight. American, Matthew Schrier, somehow, managed to escape from Al Qaeda connected terrorists in Syria. But what should've been the end of that nightmare, turned out to be just the beginning of what he views as a complete failure on his behalf by the United States government. It's a far cry from the promises then President Obama made to people like him in 2015.


BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These families have already suffered enough and they should never feel ignored or victimized by their own government. My message to every American being held unjustly around the world who is fighting from the inside to survive another day is that the United States of America will never stop working to reunite you with your family.


MACCALLUM: Remember those tough days. And Schrier blames his nightmare on the two men who once led the FBI, Robert Mueller and James Comey. Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge has been digging into this story and she joins us now. Good evening, Catherine.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, thank you, Martha. Our team has been investigating Matt Schrier's story for three weeks. And of the extraordinary is that he lived to tell it -- most Americans were savagely executed or they're still missing.


MATTHEW SCHRIER, FORMER HOSTAGE OF AL QAEDA: Not every FBI agent is bad, I realize that. But the ones that are bad, need to be weeded out. And the ones who let them be bad and who turn their head, need to be exposed.

HERRIDGE: New Yorker, Matt Schrier, the first western hostage to escape al-Qaeda in Syria in 2013, wants answers from FBI leadership and the agents who handled his case, including former director Robert Mueller who now leads the Russia special counsel investigation.

SCHRIER: I emailed them probably between my mother and father and me, between 50 to 100 complaints.

HERRIDGE: After James Comey took over from Mueller in 2013, the stonewalling continued.

SCHRIER: I was demanding answers from him, and I never got anything back.

HERRIDGE: As the freelance photographer, Schrier, traveled to Syria. In 2012, Syria is one of the most dangerous places on the planet.

SCHRIER: I thought it would be a great experience witnessing history, photographing history.

HERRIDGE: December 31st, 2012, that's the day you became a captive.

SCHRIER: New Year's Eve. A very special day.

HERRIDGE: Instead of crossing back into Turkey, Schrier was kidnapped by an al-Qaeda franchise. Is al-Nusra really the worst of the worst in Syria?

SCHRIER: ISIS pushed them out, but at that time, they were number one. They were the guys you did not want to be held by.

HERRIDGE: Schrier spent the next seven months held in six prisons. Were you tortured?

SCHRIER: Yes, they caught me trying to escape, then they flip you over, so your feet are in the air and you're handcuffed and they take a cable about this thick, as thick a night stick and they whack your feet.

HERRIDGE: Six weeks after his disappearance, Schrier's record indicate al- Qaeda began draining his bank accounts. How did Al Qaeda get your passwords?

SCHRIER: They put a piece of paper in front of me and said basically, write down all the passwords, we want your social security number, that was basically how the whole identity theft process started.

HERRIDGE: What did they buy?

SCHRIER: They bought laptops, they bought tablets, they bought boots.

HERRIDGE: Did they buy crazy stuff too?

SCHRIER: Yes, they bought a Kamasutra guide, they bought cologne.

HERRIDGE: At the same time, Schrier says, the FBI monitored the transactions and the Agent Perotti misled his mother, implying he had joined Al Qaeda and he was on a spending spree for the terrorists.

SCHRIER: Why are they letting them steal the money? What's the angle? What are they buying? They're laptops and tablets. If they intercept them, they do their little spy thing, and then they deliver them right into the hands of Al Qaeda and they create, basically, a dream come true for the intelligence community.

HERRIDGE: You're saying the FBI sacrificed your safety in order to track al-Qaeda?


HERRIDGE: Former intelligence officials told Fox, Schrier's theory is more than plausible. That's a big allegation to make.

SCHRIER: I can prove it.

HERRIDGE: By April 2013, Schrier said, Agent Perotti tipped her hand during a conversation with a government official.

SCHRIER: Do you think that he joined them, like, what's going on? She's like, no, no, we're pretty sure he didn't join them based on his financial records. Boom, she split, she admitted she was monitoring my financial records as of early April.

HERRIDGE: A government official confirmed the Schrier's account to Fox, nearly five years after a harrowing escape, he documented his story in a new book: 'The Dawn Prayer'. He remains angry at how the FBI handled his case.

SCHRIER: What I needed help with was re-establishing a life for myself, which means a new social security number and rebuilding my credit. I still can't get a credit card to this day. You have the witness protection program, you give new social security numbers to murders, and pimps, and drug dealers. I'm a witness and I didn't do any of that stiff. No, we can't help you.

HERRIDGE: Schrier said the CIA and FBI debriefed him. You gave the U.S. intelligence community a road map.

SCHRIER: I gave them more information than probably 50 informants could have given him.

HERRIDGE: Fox News reviewed two dozen emails including correspondents with the bureau, sending an ongoing investigation, the FBI declined to answer specific questions and did not make Ange Perotti available. To this day, Schrier continues to get the bureaucratic run around.

SCHRIER: And what I got in return was lies, betrayal, nothing.


MACCALLUM: Incredible story, Catherine. I mean, basically, they realized that he was an in for them. So, he gets captured, he's got his laptop and they're tapping into that connection because the laptop has been taken over by terrorists and being used. But what about him? What was done to get him out?

HERRIDGE: Well, he said in the interview, and we looked at this for several weeks that he can't really find a lot of evidence that the lifted a finger to try and secure his release. What the records do indicate is that the FBI had visibility into his financial records and they could see Al Qaeda was purchasing -- I mean, in one purchase, 10 laptop computers. That's not typical behavior of any consumer -- let alone someone who was inside of Syria, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, they're using that information to then follow that trail to find out where they're going, what they're using it for, where the boots are going?

HERRIDGE: Well, we asked Schrier for specific evidence it had been tracked. He said, if you connect the dots, you can see that this is the explanation that makes the most sense. But we know from talking to current and former intelligence officials, that if they have access to the financials, they can see what they're purchasing, this is just a tremendous opportunity to gather intelligence. And remember, in 2012 and 2013, we were almost blinded to what was happening in Syria. We didn't understand the growth, we didn't understand the connection between Al Qaeda and also with ISIS. I mean, his allegation is a very serious allegation. But the question --

MACCALLUM: That they sacrificed him?

HERRIDGE: They sacrificed him to gather intelligence. But what we don't know is whether this was a, you know, one off or whether this was a pattern that was followed with other hostage families.

MACCALLUM: And that agent made a very big assumption if that's true, that she said, well, we think he's turned. How would she know that?

HERRIDGE: Well, we don't know what her side of the story is. And unfortunately, the FBI would not make her available to us and would not answer specific questions because they're very serious allegations. But it's more than just allegations, the paper work is the paper work. You can see that when he is a hostage, there are all of these transactions, whoever has his password is draining the account and they're delivering computers, you know, to Turkey, to Canada. I mean, this is not the actions of someone who was operating as a journalist in Syria; something was very wrong at that point.

MACCALLUM: Incredible story. Great digging, great investigation. Thank you very much, Catherine. So, tomorrow night, Matt Schrier will join us here on 'The Story' exclusively, go into more detail in that part of the story about how did he escape, how did he get out from this brutal terrorists organization and why he can no longer stay silent now about what he calls his abandonment by the United States government. Here now, Fox News senior judicial analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano. Judge Napolitano, you've been listening to this story, watching Catherine's investigative piece here, what do you make of this?

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: It's clear that they abandoned him and or that they used him as a means to gather intelligence information with utter recklessness and carelessness about Schrier, the human being. Now, I'm sorry to say but for Catherine and me and perhaps for you, and for the law enforcement and legal communities, people who examine this stuff for a living, this is no surprise. But I'm glad you are bringing this story to light because it is a surprise to the American public that this is the way the government sometimes treats people, even people who are helpless, and even people who are an extremist, and even people whose help has been promised by the president himself. The promise was specious and the FBI, in this particular case, couldn't care less about Mr. Schrier as a human being.

MACCALLUM: Well, you say it really should've fallen on the State Department?

NAPOLITANO: I do. The FBI's job is not to protect people or who are kidnapped out of the country or even to negotiate with their kidnappers. And the FBI should not have given Mr. Schrier's family the false impression that this was their job. But it is the job of the State Department at times in conjunction with the Defense Department to follow up on where these people are and do their darnest by lawful or even unlawful means to bring about their safety and their safe return to the country.

MACCALLUM: Is there any obligation on the part of the government to tell his family the truth? I mean, as you point out and we've seen that sound bite, and you have to remember this period of time, we are watching people throats get slashed, we are watching people get assassinated.


MACCALLUM: Reporters, you know, and others who -- it was a terrifying moment in time. So, this poor family is being told, you know, we think he's turned, we think he gave his laptop over and he's helping them.

NAPOLITANO: This is horrifying for the family to hear from an FBI agent. But this is the modern FBI which relies on at least four or five Supreme Court opinions. Which say, clearly, it can lie. It can lie. It can lie in court.

MACCALLUM: In an interest of national security?

NAPOLITANO: Correct, in the interest of national security or in the interest of a criminal prosecution. It can lie to defendants, to witnesses, to subjects, to victims, and to their families. I suggest to you that these lies were done to sort of keep the family at bay. I also suggest to you it's most unlikely that Bob Mueller or Jim Comey had personal knowledge of his horrible plight.

MACCALLUM: Despite the fact that he talks about e-mails from him, from his parents, all directly to them.

NAPOLITANO: I doubt the e-mails ever got through to them in their time as director. Look, I could be wrong -- if I am wrong, then there is personal culpability --

MACCALLUM: An American citizen who's disappeared in Syria doesn't rise to that level?

NAPOLITANO: Correct, because there are so many of them. If I am wrong and I hope I am, then there's person culpability, personal culpability, on the part of Bob Mueller and Jim Comey.

MACCALLUM: We'll see. Thank you so much, judge, always good to see you.

NAPOLITANO: You're welcome.

MACCALLUM: So, coming up next tonight, congratulations one week ago, and now this: President Trump, this morning, making this announcement that the country is kicking out an unprecedented number of Russian diplomats -- some problem spies. Russia says, retaliation is on the way. Former Bush Advisor, Karl Rove; and Former State Department Spokesperson for the Obama administration, Maria Harf on that. And later, protesters march against gun violence, making Republican Senator, Marco Rubio, their top target once again; this time labelling him a 'kid killer' for his views.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to look at you and not look down the barrel of an AR-15 and not look at Nikolas Cruz.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this the crisis in the relations with the U.S.?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been sometime already, didn't you notice?


MACCALLUM: So, that was the Russian Ambassador to the U.N. today, reacting to President Trump and the leaders of at least 21 other countries. Their decision this morning to oust more than 135 Russian diplomats from embassies all around the world and send them home, including 60 from the United States, I think about a dozen of them were here in New York at the United Nations, and well, got seven day to head home in the wake of Moscow's allege poising of a former Russian Spy and his daughter in London. Trace Gallagher joins us with the backstory tonight. Hi, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Hi, Martha! Whether it's Russian troops in Crimea, the downing of Malaysia Air flight 17 over the Ukraine that killed 298 people, or the use of chemicals weapons in Syria, Russian denials have become very common. Now in the case of the nerve agent attack in the U.K. that left former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter in critical condition. Russia has altered its denial pattern with Vladimir Putin calling the accusations nonsense saying Russia destroyed all of its chemical weapons including nerve agents. That statement is curious considering prime minister, Theresa May, has now shared very compelling evidence and intelligence what other world leaders that appear to show Russian has produced a nerve agent called, Novichok, the same typed used against Sergei Skripal with in the past decade. And on that mon note, the White House says President the decision to expel the Russian intel officers after several intelligence meetings last week. The deputy press secretary was asked today if Russia's attack in the U.S., is an act of war.


RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: We've joined at the hip with U.K. on this matter, with the U.K. on this matter. We stand firmly with our ally. Again, I'll classify this action as 'brazen and reckless'. I don't want to get ahead of anything the president may or may not announce or declare later on.


GALLAGHER: U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley made similar comments today about standing by the U.K. But we should note, France and Germany have also been highly critical of Russian behavior. And so far, 22 countries have expelled Russian officials -- a list that will almost certainly grown. Yet the Russian ambassador to the U.S. seems to keep reiterating that U.S.-Russian relations are hanging by a thread, saying, 'They are destroying what little remained of U.S.-Russian ties. I would add that all the responsibility for ruining Russian American relations is on the United States of America.' And the Kremlin said today, that President Putin will make the final decision of exactly what retaliatory steps to take against the U.S., Martha.

MACCALLUM: We'll see. Trace, thank you very much. So, America and our allies finally taking on Putin. Joining me with more: Karl Rove, Former Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush and a Fox News contributor; and Marie Harf, a Former State Department and CIA Spokesperson. Welcome to both of you. You know, this is pretty big news this morning, Karl, what did you make of it?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I thought it was a very good sign. And it's not the first time the administration has taken a tough line on the Russians supplying defensive weapons to Ukraine, for example, continuing, building on President Obama's policy of more forward rotations and deployments of American troops in regions threatened by the Russians like the Baltics, this is an important step. I thought it was a very tough measure. I wish the president had not preceded by calling Putin and congratulating him on a sham election. It's one thing to attempt to have a cordial relationship with Putin, it's another thing to participate in his sham by calling him and congratulating him on getting the votes after Russians after he kicked the only guy who could really run against him and beat him out of the contest.

MACCALLUM: So, we talked to Ambassador Bolton the other night, Marie, when he was named the NSA director for the White House. And you know, he said, look, congratulations, you congratulate lots of people, it's meaningless. What really matters is the actions, and I couldn't help but wonder when I heard this this morning, whether or not, you know, John Bolton, may have been one of the people who weighed in on this decision because it is clearly a situation where we see the president acting decisively in a way that it may have looked like he wasn't going to act.

MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANALYTST AND FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT AND CIA SPOKESPERSON: Well, words and actions both matter. And the fact that President Trump made the call to Putin, not only congratulated him, but apparently did not raise this poisoning of this spy in the U.K. That wasn't a good signal to send to our allies. So, I agree, today's decision was a good one. I'm glad it was taken in concert with our allies. Russia will probably retaliate. And we will be prepared for that, but we have to keep up in the pressure and I actually do want to hear directly from Donald Trump himself about this. We've heard a lot from his press secretary, we've heard a lot from the State Department. For better or for worse, there is a narrative that Donald Trump doesn't like being tough on the Russians. He personally needs to come out and explain why they did this and what other steps might happen in the future.

MACCALLUM: Do you think he will, Karl?

ROVE: You know, I'm not so concerned about it. I want the actions -- President Obama, for example, his tough action on election interference last year was to say harsh things in private to Putin at an international meeting. I'm sure that really hurt Vladimir Putin's feelings badly. So, I'd rather have tough actions. Take for example what was done in Syria, President Obama said that if the Syrians used gas, obviously, we have to do so with the Russian contrive. That would cross a red line with them. They used gas, and he took no action. President Trump comes into office, says the same thing, and the when the Syrians used sarin gas on their own people, and instead of no action, sends a bunch of cruise missiles and then destroys one quarter of the Syria Air Force in a Matter of moments. So, I'm not really concerned about hearing from the president on this. I'd rather have tough actions.

MACCALLUM: I mean, you can kind of take a trip around the world --you can look at Iran and the possibility that that deal may be backed out of in the very near future. You can look at North Korea being, perhaps, forced to the table to discuss things based on a very hard line stance by this administration. So, now you've got this -- and look at China and the trade deal, right? So, now, you've got the markets skyrocketing today because indication is that perhaps the tough talk will bring China to a place that they haven't been in decades in terms of trade discussions with the United States. So, you know, you can look at this, Marie, and ask yourself whether or not -- you know, what is Russia going to do? What are they -- how are they going to respond? Perhaps, it might be surprising.

HARF: Well, we'll see, but look, Barack Obama also expelled diplomats from the United States in reaction to Russians meddling in our election. So, we've taken similar steps. But look, I think Russia will respond in kind. They, at times, care about international pressure but most of the time don't actually particularly care when the world condemns them. And I think they're looking -- you know, Karl, brought up Syria, the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons against their people multiple times since Donald Trump ordered those first air strike, why nothing happened now? So, I think what Russia is looking for is American that will stay consistent, not just makes headlines but follow-through on actions in leading the world. And so far, Donald Trump hasn't done that.

MACCALLUM: Thank you guys.

ROVE: Let's be -- one really quick. Let's fair. The Syrians routinely used gas on their people, all during the Obama administration. In fact, in 2018 -- 2017, before Trump acted on the red line, they used it 10 times. Some of them during the days when Obama was in office and some of the days that when President Trump was in office, they used chlorine gas, but it was sarin gas that caused President Trump to take hard action and God bless him for doing so.

HARF: And they've used it since and he's refused to act again. It's not in the headlines.

MACCALLUM: Thanks, you guys, good to see you both.

HARF: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, still ahead tonight, some of the reviews of the Stormy Daniels interview asking: so, where is the smoking gun that a lot of people were expecting? And a telling comparison of media coverage then and now. Two veteran journalists who covered them both, join me next. But first, GOP Senator Marco Rubio, the subject of vitriol at the 'March for Our Lives.' Parkland massacre and second amendment advocate Kyle Kashuv, said it's obvious who deserves the scrutiny in this case and he said they're not getting it.


KYLE KASHUV, PARKLAND MASSACRE SURVIVOR: I spoke with Senator Rubio, he cares so much about this. And it pains me to see how he's being represented in the media.




DAVID HOGG, PARKLAND SHOOTING SURVIVOR AND GUN CONTROL ADVOCATE: I'm going to start of by putting this price tag right here as a reminder for you guys to know how much Marco Rubio took for every students' life in Florida.

To those politicians supported by the NRA that allow the continued slaughter of our children and our future, I say get your resumes ready.


MACCALLUM: March for Our Lives protester, David Hogg, taking on Senator Marco Rubio and then there was this poster labelling Rubio a 'kid killer' with the blood cross on his forehead. The Florida senator released this, I would say fairly controlled statement in response. He said, 'While protests are a legitimate way making a point, making a change requires finding common ground with those who hold opposing views.' Dan Bongino is Former Secret Service Agent and Former NYPD Officer. Good to see you tonight, Dan. I mean, you know, it's hard to understand the rage when you look at all of the actors in this awful scenario that we saw play out in Florida. Why Marco Rubio is the person that they have aimed all their vitriol at?

DAN BONGINO, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT AND FORMER NYPD OFFICER: Yes, I'm not really sure about that, Martha. I mean, he's been pretty open and bipartisan in this, and not all of his solutions, Senator Rubio that is or mine. I disagree with him but I certainly wouldn't impugn his intentions. And, Martha, you know, one of the best pieces I ever read on this dynamic between gun owners and people advocating for more gun control is a piece by Jonah Goldberg and his premise was genius. When you look back at big public health issues like the war on smoking, right? Why did that work? Why did people smoke less in America, Martha? Because everybody knew how to talk to a smoker. A lot of us had them in our families. We knew what would work and what wouldn't. If the problem with this debate is you have people who live in these cultural bubbles who talk about gun owners as if we're a bunch of Neanderthal cave men acting out John J. Rambo movie. That's not gun owners. You don't know us. You know nothing about us and talking about us like you do is not advancing the ball one bit.

MACCALUM: You know I think you are right in terms of people just sort of talking at each other in a way that is not productive at all. There was a piece this morning in the National Review that claims that as gun restrictions have been lowered in many ways in recent years in the United States, the incidents of gun violence has actually decreased in this country.

Now they took a different tact in Australia. They put in a lot more restrictions on weapons, and they also saw their numbers fall. You know so you have completely different ways of going about it and you get the same result. And yet, there is this idea that you know gun violence is rampantly on the rise, which actually when you look at the numbers, that's just not true.

BONGINO: Martha, I said it often. You know a lot of liberals in this debate seem immunized to facts. There are things you tell them they just don't want to hear. This is a fact. Anyone is free to look it up. Gun ownership in the United States has gone up dramatically. Gun violence and violent crime rates have gone down. That's just a statistical fact. You know there is another one for you.

People die in homicides from edged weapons and blunt instruments more than they do from rifles. But when you say things like that, you automatically get shunned. And you get things like you have blood on your hands. I just don't understand how that is in any way productive to coming to a real common sense solution on how to reduce crime in the country using firearms.

MACCALUM: You know I talked about this Maryland story over the weekend, where the school resource officer, former SWAT Team member, Blaine Gaskill confronted the shooter with his gun and stopped him in the hallway after he had shot a young woman who has now lost her life. It got almost no coverage whatsoever. And I should point out that we did learn tonight that the shooter killed himself, but he did it, Dan, when he was faced with this guy staring at him with a gun.

BONGINO: Martha, we have seen this over and over again. When we do a post incident analysis of these schools shooting incidents, when confronted by a good guy with a gun, they either turn their gun on themselves, the shooters, or the attack is stopped at that moment and they try to get away. This is a fact. We've seen it over and over. Martha, bad guys don't care about gun free zone signs.

They do care about facing down a trained, willing, and knowing opponent on the other side, a good guy with a gun who is going to engage with them and stop the attack. They want to avoid pain. The obviously want to avoid being shot themselves. And I want to be clear on this. They want to avoid losing control of the situation, which is what they feel they have when they are the only person on that site in possession of a firearm.

But again, it gets lost in the heated back and forth. And to be fair, I go after people on Twitter, too. I am not immune to this myself. But you know facts and data and reason should matter here.

MACCALUM: Dan, thank you, good to see you tonight.

BONGINO: Yes, ma'am.

MACCALUM: So my next guest that he was not invited to speak at this weekend's rally because he has a different viewpoint than the organizers. Kyle Kashuv is also a survivor of the Parkland Massacre. He does not believe that more gun control is the answer here. He wants his opinion to be heard, Kyle, good to see you tonight.


MACCALUM: You know it's -- when you think about all of the different places that failed, starting with the Sheriff Scott Israel, with the FBI, with the local police who had been to his house 29 times. I didn't hear any of that this weekend during these very forceful demonstrations.

KASHUV: Well, look, I mean the issue is it is not gun control won't solve this issue. We've seen that. We have to hold our government accountable. We have to. The main reason why school shootings continuously happen is that our government is not doing its job. And it's clear. It's that when the government does do its job these shootings don't occur.

MACCALUM: What about Marco Rubio? I know that you've spoken to him about this. Your thoughts on why he has become the singular punching bag in many ways for these protestors?

KASHUV: Honestly, I could not tell you. I think it mainly stems from ignorance of the situation and ignorance of who Marco Rubio is. I mean we have seen from the marches and we've seen that none of these protestors, all they are doing is they're giving soft ball interviews. No one is truly challenging them on their viewpoints and what they're saying.

I mean we have seen that throughout the marches and we've seen throughout the interviews that they are in their own eco-system of the same viewpoint. The only reason we can truly gain a consensus is through disagreement. And I don't know why Marco Rubio is getting -- is the point of hatred here. He's been providing bipartisan solutions to this, even before the shooting occurred he had proposed legislation.

MACCALUM: Do you think that Sheriff Israel and Scott Peterson who stood down outside the building, you know does any of that register on the part of the protestors who are the most vocal in this?

KASHUV: You know I didn't see a single sign that said screw the sheriff's Office. I did not see a single sign. We need to represent and we need to make sure that the government is held accountable. When they fail, we have to make sure that they are held accountable. We cannot allow the government to continuously fail and not enforce what it is supposed to do.

We have to hold our government accountable. And it pains me to see that all of the hatred is deflected to Marco Rubio and not the true figures, such as the FBI and Sheriff Scott Israel, and the Sheriff's Office, and the cowards of Broward who did not do their job. They have to be the ones getting the blame. And they need to be the ones blasted across every single media outlet as those who need to be getting all of the blame for this.

MACCALUM: Well said. Kyle, thank you, thanks again for coming back on the show. Good to see you tonight.

KASHUV: Thank you.

MACCALUM: So 60 minutes promised that they were going to bombshells. There were pictures of DVD's and things along those lines. So did the interview ultimately deliver?


WHOOPI GOLDBERG, THE VIEW, HOST: I think people thought there was going to be like a smoking gun here. Did we miss something?


MACCALUM: So during the Lewinsky-Clinton scandal, Hillary called it a right-wing conspiracy. And the media asked if the whole thing if it was just about sex. Two reporters who covered them both give us their take on Stormy and Monica coming up next.


MONICA LEWINSKY: I don't remember the exact wording of the questions. But there were two questions and they think they were something like did you have sex with the President?




STORMY DANIELS, FORMER PORN STAR: I am not OK with being made out to be a liar or people thinking that I did this for money. And people are like, oh, you're an opportunist. You're taking advantage of this. Yes, I am getting more job offers now, but tell me one person who would turn down a job offer making more than they've been making, doing the same thing that they have always done.


MACCALUM: Adult film star known as Stormy Daniels speaking out last night on 60 Minutes, claiming that she had an affair with then real estate mogul Donald Trump. More than 22 million people tuned in to watch, but the reaction today was very interesting. Watch this.


SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC: She had stated this affair did not happen. Isn't this the very moment she should come forward and as you might say, put up or shut up if she has this evidence.

MEGHAN MCCAIN, ABC: Do you have evidence that shows either he sent someone or he himself threatened her client?

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, ABC: Are there phone records or cameras or anything like that that would help you?

GOLDBERG: I think people thought this would be like a smoking gun here. Did we miss something?


MACCALUM: My next guest is a veteran journalist who has covered many of these sorts of Presidential scandal. So how does this measure up, for example, against the Clinton-Lewinsky episode? Howard Kurtz, Author of Media Madness: Donald Trump, the Press and the World with the Truth, and Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent for Yahoo News and Co- Author of Russian Roulette. Gentlemen, great desk, both of you, to be here, Michael you broke the Lewinsky story. How do you think these measures up in terms of the legs of this story?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, RUSSIAN ROULETTE, CO-AUTHOR: Well, there are certainly similarities, at this point, both about efforts or alleged efforts to cover-up sexual relationships. Now remember, the Lewinsky story emerged in the context of an on-going civil lawsuit filed by Paula Jones for sexual harassment. A federal judge had authorized the President to be questioned about his relations with other women who were state and federal employees.

That's how Lewinsky came up. In the case of Stormy Daniels, there was no on-going legal proceeding. But certainly the payment, the acknowledgement by Michael Cohen that $130,000 changed hands in the closing days of the 2016 election raises potential legal issues about whether there was a violation of campaign finance laws. And that is what is ominous for the president here.

MACCALUM: All right. I want to pull up some of these headlines. This is the New York Times in August 1998 in the middle of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. 'Is it only about sex?' Here is another one. Time Magazine, 'High crimes or just a sex cover-up?' And these bullets that sort of characterize the scandal, Hillary Clinton called the whole thing a right wing conspiracy and Democrats labeled it the politics of personal destruction.

Howard, I think that you know some people would say the same things about this case.

HOWARD KURTZ, MEDIA BUZZ, HOST: Yeah. That was a liberal argument made at the time back in 1998. But the whole focus with the special prosecutor's investigation was Bill Clinton lying, and later was he lying under oath. But you know watching the interview, the much-hyped interview last night, other than Stormy Daniels saying she had a onetime sexual encounter with Donald Trump a dozen years ago, which I think a majority of Americans probably happened.

The interview fell short. We're seeing the media backlash in the clips you played in almost every respect. She said they pressured her into denying it. She couldn't say who they were. She said a man had threatened in a parking lot. She could not identify him. She didn't show the photos or texts that her lawyer hinted she had had. So in that sense, Stormy Daniels is riding this. She wanted to come forward and get the spotlight. Monica Lewinsky was dragged into this against her will.

MACCALUM: Michael, you know in terms of whether or not it matters. You know look back over the course of the infamous -- we all remember you know all of the Clinton stories which you covered so well. We remember you know the Kennedy stories, much of which was unearthed later. So you know it just raises the question about a consensual adult relationship, which may be unethical, maybe extramarital.

You know Bill Clinton in the heat of all of this, you know what, presidents have private lives too. This is a family matter and it should be left alone. Does that apply at all in this world anymore?

ISIKOFF: You know I don't think it does because in this context, I don't think people are judging Donald Trump on whether or not he had this fling with Stormy Daniels as Stormy Daniels has alleged. The reason the story has legs is because of the money that changed hands in the closing days of the election. And you know that is valid ground for the FEC, if the FEC is up to it, to look into the circumstances.

Was the money paid in the context of keeping her silent during the campaign? We want you to be silent now. And I thought her lawyer made a valid point. If it was simply to keep her quiet, period, the money could have changed hands two years before, three years before. But the fact it happened in October of 2016, that's what makes this problematic for the president.

MACCALUM: I got you. Final thought, Howard?

KURTZ: You know when you look at what happened here, I mean the hush money is the key. But at the same time, you know I think people don't particularly care that much what Donald Trump, who is a celebrity businessman with a womanizing reputation did years ago. But Bill Clinton, let's be clear, what he did was far worse. He was president at the time, dealing with a predatory relationship with a young White House intern. There is really no comparison. Although, if Trump somehow gets drawn into a legal proceeding, that might change the situation.

MACCALUM: Thanks guys, great to see you both.

KURTZ: Same here.

MACCALUM: So remember this?


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: And it's not surprising then that they get bitter and they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them.


MACCALUM: Interesting moment for that President. And a new op-ed in the Wall Street Journal says Democrats have abandon Catholics long before President Obama ever stepped foot in the White House, Bill McGurn and Chris Stirewalt joining me next on that.


MACCALUM: So Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York with a no holds barred column in the Wall Street Journal, titled the Democrats Abandoned Catholics. The Cardinal writes about two important people in church history, Archbishop John Hughes who created Catholic schools for shunned Irish immigrant children who had no place else to go. Those schools still welcome immigrant children and help them succeed.

And Dolores Greer, who was the first female and African-American Vice- Chancellor of the church, fought for civil rights, including the rights of unborn babies. She said she was inspired to be pro-life by Reverend Jesse Jackson, who believed that abortion was an act of genocide against minorities. Here now is Bill McGurn, Wall Street Journal Editorial Board member and a former speechwriter to President George W. Bush, and Chris Stirewalt, Fox News Politics Editor.

Bill, to you first, you know it's stunning the numbers that are in here in about African-American abortions in New York outnumbering the number of births in the city.

BILL MCGURN, GEORGE W. BUSH, SPEECHWRITER: Right. As the Cardinal said, abortion is really at the center of a lot of the Catholic flight from the Democratic Party. The party today has moved even from the party of Bill Clinton. Today its absolutely unlimited abortion paid for by taxpayer dollars if necessary. And this pushes out a lot of Catholics. And African-Americans are disproportionately hit by abortions. It's really a terrible thing.

MACCALUM: So Chris, you have got 25 percent of the country is Catholic. So obviously this is a large voting bloc in the country. Is this a wise move on the part of Democrats to have such a narrow tent as Cardinal Dolan writes?

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS, POLITICS EDITOR: Well, it has obviously hurt them. And it doesn't matter that there are 25 percent in the country. But, in fact it's where the highest concentrations of those voters are. Guess what one of the most Catholic states in America is? How about Wisconsin? How about Pennsylvania? How about Michigan? Those are all above the national average in terms of the percentage of constituents who are Roman Catholics, and those happen to be the states that delivered the presidency for Donald Trump.

And if you look at Conor Lamb in the special election in Pennsylvania, if you look at Bob Casey Jr., in states like that, with voters like that, Democrats have a problem. Because will they allow those kind of candidates to edge away from the party on issues of life, or, are they going to be dragged back with a litmus test to say no, absolute prochoice or nothing?

MACCALUM: Well, if you ask Tom Perez, the DNC Chair, there is a litmus test. He said every Democrat, like every American should support a woman's right to make her own choice about her body and health. That is not negotiable and should not change by city or state by state, though.

MCGURN: Yeah, I think Chris is right. Look, there is a -- on abortion it's an absolutist party. There is no room for descent. Even Conor Lamb was falsely portrayed as a moderate. He rejected the label pro-life. And he pointed out he would not vote for any restriction. If you look at the restrictions, the 20-week proposal ban abortions after 20 weeks, only 3 house Democrats voted for that. Those are the three.

MACCALUM: And Americans are -- overwhelmingly in favor of that.

MCGURN: They're not for totally restricting it but they're somewhere in the middle. But this is the modern Democratic Party. The Hillary faction won. Even Nancy Pelosi, who is pro-choice herself, has said we need to tolerate some pro-lifers. That is certainly not the mood of the party today.

MACCALUM: Chris, there was a very interesting piece this morning, talking about the progressive movement of the Democratic Party and why it opens the door for (Inaudible) Harris, especially when you look at sort of the breakdown of how the country will -- super delegate issue that might end up benefiting her. Do you think that progressive move, when they look at the Presidential ticket, will serve them well or should they reconsider?

STIREWALT: A lot of it is how you talk to people. Americans will vote for very liberal people. They'll vote for very conservative people. But they always vote for a person. And one of the reasons that Barack Obama won with Catholics, the reason he did well in these counties that we just talked about in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, was that the voters there seemed to believe that he was on their side or was at least looking out for them. And he did not sound like he was scolding them.

MACCALUM: But despite the guns and religion comment, though.

MCGURN: Yeah, I mean his administration presided over the effort to force nuns to provide you know contraception. So look, you can't disguise this anymore. What they have occasionally every four years, they want to say we'll pretend to be moderate. So I'll have Tim Kane say he's firstly pro-life, but he won't vote that way.


MACCALUM: That's interesting. It's going to be very interesting to watch.

MCGURN: People kind of figured it out.

MACCALUM: Good. Experts, thank you both, good to see you both tonight.


MACCALUM: So how about this? Did you watch the Final Four? My pick for the NCAA tournament coming up next, stick around.


MACCALUM: So the Final Four is set. Jesse Watters' Michigan takes on Cinderella story Loyola of Chicago with a 98-year-old nun, Sister Jean has been their good luck charm. And my Wildcats will take on Kansas. So who is your team? And do you think I should I bet Jesse Waters again? That's the big question. Let us know. We will see you back here tomorrow night. Virginia's out so Tucker doesn't care. We'll see you later.

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