This is a rush transcript from "The Story," August 7, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SANDRA SMITH, HOST: Breaking tonight, President Trump putting his primary hot streak to the test with key races in several states across the country. Including that crucial special election in Ohio where polls are closing moments from now.
Tonight's results could tell us a lot about what to expect in those November midterms when President Trump's report card comes in.
Good evening, everybody. I'm Sandra Smith, in for Martha MacCallum. We will bring you those results live as soon as we get them. But first, our top story tonight. New reports that a Chinese spy infiltrated the offices of one of our nation's top Democrats are being swept under the rug.
This says the left rails against President Trump trying to find some evidence of collusion with Russia. Yet, Senator Dianne Feinstein's former aide and driver allegedly committed espionage relaying political information to China's top intelligence agency while she was chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee here at home.
But no one in her party seems to have a problem with this. President Trump thinks the hypocrisy needs more attention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Dianne Feinstein had a Chinese spy as her driver for 20 years. And she's leading the Russian investigation of this which occurred. How about leading -- no, no, she's leading the Russian witch-hunt. And then, she says to me, "Well, what did you know about this and that?" I mean, give me a break up my folks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Feinstein responded with this tweet, Saturday, saying, "The FBI told me five years ago it had concerns that China was seeking to recruit an administrative member of my California staff. Despite no access to sensitive information, I took those concerns seriously, learn the facts, and made sure the employee left my office immediately."
Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry is live in Washington with the backstory on this. Ed, good evening.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, great to see you. It's the collusion story, the media does not want to cover obsessively. Perhaps, because it does not involve President Trump and Russia, instead, it's all about China infiltrating the office of a very powerful Democrat in Diane Feinstein.
It turns out her longtime staffer Russell Lowe who was a driver, as you said, and also liaison to the Asian-American community in California visited relatives overseas several years ago. And became acquainted on the trip with someone who was connected to the People's Republic of China's Ministry of State Security.
"He didn't even know what was happening that he was being recruited. The source told the San Francisco Chronicle. He just thought it was some friend." Well not exactly.
So, five years ago, FBI agents showed up at Feinstein's office in D.C. and revealed her staffer was under investigation for possibly spying for China. In fairness, it does not appear the driver actually revealed anything of major substance though, we still don't know all the details so the jury's out on that.
But the contact with China was certainly serious enough that Feinstein forced the aide into retirement and tried to keep all this hush, hush until the Chronicle blew the lid off of it. And the president has been trying to keep the heat on ever since. Charging first on Twitter Friday night, and then, at a campaign rally Saturday in Ohio that Feinstein is the former chair of the Senate Intel panel.
The president tweeted, "Dianne is the person leading our nation on collusion with Russia, only done by Democrats. Will she now investigate herself?" Well, then at the rally, he noted that despite all the focus on Russia, there are many countries spying on us.
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TRUMP: We got to stop meddling, we got to stop everybody from attacking us. But, there are a lot, Russia is there, China is there. Hey, we're doing well with North Korea but they're probably there. We got to stop everybody, we got to stop.
But think of that, and I like Dianne Feinstein, I have to tell you. But I don't like the fact that she had a Chinese spy driving her. And she didn't know it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: The Senator fired back with tweets of her own declaring that after being contacted by the FBI, she jumped on it, removed the staffer adding, "Compare that to your actions, attacking the FBI, refusing advice of your national security team, sad. I appreciated then and now the diligent work of our law enforcement, and Intel agencies, and acted in the best interests of the country. Give it a try." She said to the president.
Now, remember, that in comparison how the FBI handled Feinstein staffer, Carter Page, the low-level Trump advisor who's put under surveillance by the Obama administration for alleged ties to Russia has never been charged with anything despite two years of investigations that yes, are still ongoing. Sandra?
SMITH: Ed Henry, thank you.
HENRY: Thank you.
SMITH: Here now, Charlie Hurt, Washington Times opinion editor, and a Fox News contributor. And Austan Goolsbee, former chief economic adviser to President Obama and economics professor at the University of Chicago. A bit of a double standard here, Charlie?
CHARLES HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I can't wait to hear Austan weigh in on this, and with it -- with his and Democrats newfound shock and horror over foreign entities.
SMITH: All right, Austan, let's hear from you first, then.
HURT: I'm going to be really upset about this, right?
SMITH: Go ahead, Austan.
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER ECONOMIC ADVISER TO BARACK OBAMA: Look, I am upset if that is actually a spy that was a driver for whatever -- 20 years. That would be a serious thing and it should be investigated. Now, if you --
SMITH: So how about the FBI handling of that versus how they handled allegations of coordination with the Russians and the Trump campaign?
HURT: And that --
GOOLSBEE: Well, hold on. That's exactly what I'm about to say. This level of seriousness of what that is what determines how the FBI will handle it. And if you commit a crime, if you smash the window at the jewelry store and take the jewelry, and you're arrested for that, you don't get to say, "Oh, we'll pay no attention to what I did, because somebody else did something. If that's what the president is doing, that's not going to work.
SMITH: That doesn't take away from the seriousness, seriousness of this matter, Austan. All right, Charlie.
HURT: Austan, was it -- was the President Trump did break into the jewelry store?
GOOLSBEE: They should investigate that and they should investigate the campaign actions.
HURT: I'm on clear who does (INAUDIBLE) into the jewelry store. But, the important thing here is, Sandra, the difference between the way --
GOOLSBEE: Yes, (INAUDIBLE) the campaign -- if, if the campaigns accuse the collusion, they should investigate that too.
SMITH: Hold on, I can't hear both of you at once. Charlie, go.
HURT: I'm sorry, the important here is that difference between the way the FBI handled the situation with Feinstein and the way the FBI handled the situation with Trump. When the FBI learned that there was this spy working for Dianne Feinstein for 20 years, they went to her and showed her the evidence and worked with her to get rid of the spy.
SMITH: They briefed her.
HURT: When, when they -- when they suspected that something was amiss in the Donald Trump campaign, that -- what did they did? Do they go to Trump and tell him? Did they go to the campaign and tell? No, they didn't do anything like that.
They began spying on the Trump campaign, tapping Trump Tower, tapping people that work for Donald Trump, and launching this endless investigation for which there is not the slightest evidence of anything that Democrats have been accusing Trump (INAUDIBLE).
SMITH: Austan, Austan, does it strike you as odd based on what Charlie just said, and how he laid it out that nobody's talking about this?
GOOLSBEE: A -- people are talking about this. This is in major publications, I read about it in the newspaper, they are talking about it.
SMITH: OK, great point. Great point. Politico just put out a piece --
GOOLSBEE: It's not the President of the United States, so it is not getting as much attention as things that regard the president.
SMITH: I got to tell you, this is -- this is about a (INAUDIBLE) probably about a 10-page piece by POLITICO, how Silicon Valley became a den of spies. And in it, they make the point that "There is a full-on epidemic of espionage on the West Coast right now. And even more worrisome, many of its targets are unprepared to deal with the growing threat."
SMITH: So, if not poor attention on the instance of Dianne Feinstein and her driver, a spy for 20 years, why not poor attention on what appears to be a major problem on local spy?
GOOLSBEE: I don't understand you guys point. What -- let's put some attention on that. We should -- if that is a problem, if that is for real, we should put attention on that for sure. But how does that have any relevance to whether we should or should not investigate other potential crimes?
HURT: I don't think there's anything wrong with investigating all potential crimes. But it is amazing that there is no evidence that suggests that Donald Trump had anything to do with Russia or any of the bad behavior Russia did in trying to mess with our elections and -- you know, breaking into the DNC servers and all kind of stuff.
There's no evidence that Donald Trump had anything to do with any of it, yet, we've been hearing these calls for his impeachment now for two years and there's barely a peep about Dianne Feinstein. So, it's just sort of a quiet golf clap at the -- over the way she handled it.
SMITH: I have to tell you and Devin Nunez, his words who issued a statement to Fox News on this. The refusal to give the Trump campaign a defensive briefing and instead, opening a sprawling counterintelligence investigation of American citizens is one of many alarming ways intelligence leaders drastically diverged from normal procedures in their Trump campaign investigation.
Those normal procedures in the case of Dianne Feinstein, Austan, was to provide a defense -- a defensive briefing to her. And then, she was able to terminate the employee.
GOOLSBEE: That's highly misleading on both counts. You have no idea what the level of the accused offense is of this person with Dianne Feinstein. If we find out that this was a low-level minor offense that would explain why they treated it differently.
And the allegation about the FBI has been investigated on a bipartisan -- on a bipartisan basis. And that's simply not true what Congressman Nunez said is simply not true.
SMITH: By the way, let me get you both to respond to Jonathan Turley, writing about the hypocrisy of the left in a piece published in The Hill, today. He writes, "If Trump meeting is illegal, then Clinton dossier is criminal too bringing attention to the huge amounts of money spent by her campaign to gather dirt on Trump."
You notice the hypocrisy there too, as well, Charlie?
HURT: Yes, no, it's absolute -- he's absolutely right about that. There is endless in hypocrisy. And, of course, the read -- the difference between the efforts of the way the FBI handled Feinstein, and the way they handled Trump was all based on the fact.
And we know this from all the texts that we've seen that a lot of the people in the FBI that were -- that have been conducting this investigation were horrified at the prospect of a -- of a Trump presidency. And they were -- they were willing to do whatever they could to prevent it from coming back.
SMITH: All right, Austan, last word to you.
GOOLSBEE: Look, I hope that what happens is the investigations concluded, and Donald Trump had nothing to do with it. I think it would be a very traumatic thing for the country.
SMITH: That's not going to concluded.
HURT: We're on agreed with.
GOOLSBEE: Let's hope that it's -- that it's just low-level staffers, and that, that it will pass and we will not have to deal with the aftermath.
SMITH: It seems like it could go on for a while. Austan, Charlie, thank you.
HURT: Thanks, Sandra.
SMITH: Good Tuesday evening to you both. The Fox News Alert as we wait the polls to close in five states tonight. Including that high stakes special election in Ohio. We will bring you the results as soon as we get them tonight.
Plus, brand new numbers proving the president is keeping his promise to crack down on illegal immigration. Anthony Scaramucci is here. He joins us on that, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: A Trump administration will stop illegal immigration, deport all criminal aliens, and save American lives.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We will stop illegal immigration, deport all criminal aliens and dismantle every last criminal gang and cartel threatening our city threatening our cities. They're threatening our cities, they're threatening our citizens, they're not going to be here very long folks. They're going to be out of here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: New proof President Trump is making good on his campaign promise to get tough on illegal immigration. A new study finds a dramatic spike in federal immigration prosecutions along the southern border. The rise directly linked to the Trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy. Fox's William La Jeunesse has the story.
WILLIAM LA JEUNESSE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: In June of this year, 94 percent of all U.S. Attorney prosecutions in border states and areas were immigration related. That means in offices with 150 attorneys responsible for assault, gun-running, white-collar crime, cybercrime fraud, environmental crime, drug trafficking, 16 out of 17 cases dealt solely with immigration. And this graph will show you in March 86 percent of all cases handled by the U.S. Attorney for New Mexico and Arizona for South Texas and Southern California were immigration related. By June it was 12 out of 13,000 cases dealt with entering U.S. illegally, harboring illegal immigrants or visa fraud. So why so many?
Well according to the Syracuse University study, it's the administration's zero-tolerance policy. So what does it mean? Well, critics say this is a big deal because the President is so obsessed with immigration they claim more serious crimes go unpunished. But a former U.S. Attorney for California says that's not true. Just because you concentrate on one crime doesn't mean you ignore others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER NUNEZ, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: You can have a situation where one or two assistant U.S. attorneys are handling 10, 15, 20 cases at a time. All of which plead guilty within a day or so. So, this will in no way inundate the U.S. Attorney's offices and prevent them from doing other kinds of work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LA JEUNESSE: So, every president obviously has priorities but this study says and critics may ignore this, these numbers are "comparable to President Obama and are actually quote down 1.4 percent from levels in 2013.
NUNEZ: If people assume that that means it's consuming 94 percent of the resources of the office that's completely wrong.
LA JEUNESSE: President Clinton, Bush, Obama now Trump above all try using prosecutions to deter illegal immigration. While zero tolerance is discouraging some adult men, a new report suggests prosecution does not stop families from trying to enter the U.S. Sandra?
SMITH: William La Jeunesse, thank you. Joining me now Anthony Scaramucci, former White House Communications Director and Founder of SkyBridge Capital. Anthony, good evening to you.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Great to be here Sandra. Thanks for having me.
SMITH: So what do you think about these numbers? Is it evidence the President is keeping his promise to crack down on illegal immigration? Is he winning on this issue?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, listen there's no question about that and this is what the President is very good at. He set a plan, he's executing the plan, we talked about this Friday on your show about it's cutting the slack in the labor markets which is very, very good for the African-American and Hispanic American unemployment numbers. There is a reason why those numbers tighten the way they did and wages have started to go up. One thing that we should share with people is that wages in the United States over the last 35 years have actually flatlined but during this administration, they're up about 2.5 -three percent. That's another sign that the President's program is working. And so, I'm very happy to get rid of the child separation policy, abolished that, but the Zero Tolerance Policy is something that is actually helping working-class families and middle-class Americans and so this is super important that he stays on track with this.
SMITH: It's really fascinating to hear you tie those two together because we have been seeing the President tout those economic numbers. We've seen growth. Wages have been slow to come up but those unemployment numbers have certainly come down and you're referencing specific demographics that are benefiting from this crackdown on illegal immigration at the border.
SCARAMUCCI: There's no question. You have to also remember the legendary economist Milton Friedman once said that if you're going to have a welfare state, you have to have a very tight and secure border. The United States has a welfare state which obviously we're all fine with. We need to protect the people that are poor in our country but if you have an open border and a welfare state, free market forces dictate that people are going to run across the border or to use the President's lines they're going to pour across the border. And so, this policy is actually working and let me tell you something. It's going to mean more economic progress for these families going into November, going into 2020. And so, the President's instincts are correct on this and as long as it's under the humane and fair and judicious way I don't think the American people have a problem with it. If anything, I think the President's instincts are right here that this will be something he'll be able to campaign on in 2020.
SMITH: I was going to say as far as political implications, we're expecting polls to close in several states tonight, that special election in Ohio we continue to watch but we are less than a hundred days out to midterm elections. Do you expect to see the GOP embraced this issue and embrace the President's policy on immigration?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, it's a good question. I don't know about the GOP but I can speak about the President. I mean, he gave a masterful performance on Saturday night. He's anchor to this position and he'll be speaking about the position. I think the people that have tied themselves to the President, those seem to be winning these elections. And so, I'm here in Cleveland tonight. I know the race is close but it looks like (INAUDIBLE) will probably get out. People have asked me here does that mean a good news or bad news for the midterms and I would say it doesn't mean either because we're 90 days out, Sandra, and a lot -- 90 days out is like three lifetimes or let's face it, it could be 33-34 mooches if you're measuring the 11-day units. So, you know, for me it's too long to really make the prediction but I do think that the President has got the mojo in his favor. If we can get the content right and the style, the campaign strategy right he should do very well in the midterm elections.
SMITH: The poll is closing a few minutes from now. We'll be covering all of that. Meanwhile, I got to ask you about the Paul Manafort trial week two, day two of this week. Rick Gates, his former business partner flipping on his former boss. They committed bank and tax fraud together. He has laid this out before the judge. He's now talking about this secret life he's been forced into this situation before the judge an affair of flat in London. It got pretty personal in that courtroom today.
SCARAMUCCI: Hey, listen, it's a rough case. It's very hard to see. I had the opportunity to work with both of those people during the campaign. I got along with both of those people. You know, I do believe that Paul Manafort will now have his day in court and give his side but boy it looks very, very ugly. And listen, people are innocent until they're proven guilty, Sandra, but this is not a great case. It's not a tidy case but I don't think either of these men did anything that could implicate the President. It seems like these activities were happening well before they joined the Trump campaign. And so hopefully this will get resolved shortly. It's a nasty thing to see and since they're both friends of mine or at least good acquaintances I felt bad about the situation.
SMITH: Rick Gates, the key witness there is expected to hear another hour from them tomorrow. Finally, Wall Street Journal is reporting former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is under investigation for tax fraud. Bank loans are under scrutiny. He's got mounting legal pressures here and I wanted to get your thoughts there on Michael Cohen.
SCARAMUCCI: Well, listen, you know, again another person I work closely with. I've known Michael for at least a decade. It's very hard to understand that case the Manafort-Gates case, the indictments have already been out. And so, once the indictments are out on Michael Cohen it'll be much easier to offer strategy, much easier to see where the case could unfold. But let me tell you something. When the Feds -- the feds want you, they go with a mail fraud direction and they go in a tax fraud direction. That's how they obviously got Al Capone so it's a tough thing to see. I'm sure he'll either have a defense or he'll plea it out but again is the President of target or is the President somehow implicated in these things, it doesn't seem like he is.
SMITH: And that is the big question. And of course, we love to have you in the program. Thank you very much, Anthony Scaramucci. Good to see you. 90 days until midterms, that's an attorney in politics, right?
SCARAMUCCI: I think so.
SMITH: Anthony, thank you. Fox News Alert, in any moment we will start to get those first votes in from Ohio in that special election that will test the power of the President's primary power. We have full coverage for you coming up. But first, a chilling new confession from the Parkland High School shooter and the reason why he says he opened fire killing those 17 students and staff on Valentine's Day. Andrew Pollack's daughter Meadow was one of the victims. His response to the new defense next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW POLLACK, DAUGHTER KILLED IN SCHOOL SHOOTING: How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and me. I'm not going to -- I'm not going to sleep until it's fixed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: A chilly new confession from Parkland school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz. The 19-year-old telling police during 11 hours of questioning that he is haunted by a demon who made him open fire killing 17 classmates and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day. Trace Gallagher is live in our West Coast Newsroom with this story. Trace?
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Sandra, during the integration, Nikolas Cruz spoke so softly that a homicide detective could barely hear him. He repeatedly called himself stupid and lonely and when the detective left the room Cruz said, "kill me. Just effing kill me, I want to die." When detectives later asked about the voices inside his head, Cruz claimed it was his evil side and blamed the voices for making him listen to evil music ordering him to kill animals and making him buy guns though he did admit that he bought the ar-15 assault rifle because it "looked cool." When he was asked what the voices would tell him to do, he responded burn, kill, destroy.
Police then tried to turn the tables telling Cruz that he was using the demon in his head as an excuse. Cruz responded quoting "I'm not. I promise I don't like the demon. I don't like the demon." The 260-page transcript was released one week after a judge ruled that a redacted version could be made public. The redacted parts include Cruz's detailed confession and his plan to commit the worst school shooting in Florida history. In the unredacted part of the transcript, Cruz talks about occasionally doing drugs like marijuana and Xanax. he describes his failure with girls, the constant cutting of his own skin and how before the shooting he tried to kill himself with Advil but it only made him sick. The defense calls Cruz a damaged and broken human being and argued that releasing the transcript would unfairly sway at potential jurors.
Defense attorneys could also use Cruz's claim of hearing voices to argue that he's not guilty by reason of insanity. But that would also mean proving he did not know right from wrong and legal experts say that's a reach.
The Broward County schools also released what was supposed to be a redacted report on Cruz's troubled school years. But because of the mistake, the report was not blacked out and detailed his numerous run-ins with teachers and school administrators, including at least two failed efforts to get him help. Sandra?
SMITH: Trace Gallagher, thank you. Here now Andrew Pollack, father of Meadow Pollack, one of the students killed in the Parkland shooting. Thank you for joining us tonight. Your thoughts as you listened on to the killer's confession?
ANDREW POLLACK, MEADOW POLLACK'S FATHER: I'm not buying it. You know, it was premeditated. There is plenty of videos of what he posted before that he was going to plan it. Everyone was going to know his name. And he was going to be famous.
And authorities knew about it for months and they didn't follow up on it. So it was premeditated. I think he's just trying to get the needle. To me, he's just a sick, sociopathic criminal. I don't buy in it that he's schizophrenic. I think it's just a play.
SMITH: It was hard to read through for any of us let alone you and your family. You lost your daughter. To read through the transcript of what he said in those hours following the shooting. What was that like for you?
POLLACK: To tell you, he flip-flopped a lot, if you read through the confession. Some of the confession, he said he didn't remember anything and then he comes back and he said he heard voices. So I just think he's trying to play the game of not getting the death penalty. But more concerning--
SMITH: Did this change anything?
POLLACK: No, it doesn't change anything. The videos that came up before was, he just wanted to plan it, that he wanted to commit the worst school shooting in American history. And he is just a sociopath.
SMITH: It's been a while now. You've had so much time to mourn the loss of your daughter and to look back at what happened that day. And I know that you say that--
SMITH: -- the system obviously not only failed you and your family and your daughter, but the system -- the system failed him, that there were red flags and this could have been thought.
SMITH: Where were you now with your thinking on that?
POLLACK: That's where I am at the time they put them off, really, in my investigation. And like, you mentioned before, that report that came out, it just shows how incompetent the superintendent is in Broward. He couldn't even put a blacked out report out to the media, so we were able to read everything, and he actually said that the school board, and the school district, actually did the right thing for this 18, 19, 58, which is a disgrace.
They let him down at every possible angle. They let him down. They had him sign, if you read that report, they had him sign the document that gave up his right of more mental health and allowed him to come back to the school. They actually wrote it for him and had him sign it.
The kid has a, you know, he has the attention span of a poodle or an I.Q. and they are letting him sign a document that allowed him to come back to the school, which was disturbing. And that gave away his rights for any mental health going forward.
And then they kick him out of the school with no mental health care.
POLLACK: So to me, they dropped the ball on not taking care of this kid. The Henderson mental health they dropped the ball. They sheriff, they're all, you know, if they all did their job, this massacre doesn't happen.
SMITH: We all hope as parents as Americans, we all hope that lessons were learned from that day. How are you and your family doing?
POLLACK: We are working really hard. And really in Broward, lessons aren't learned yet because the same people that are controlling our school board and the superintendent don't see a problem of what happened and led up to that day.
So they are not looking to reevaluate anything with the way that Cruz was treated, how they just let him come back to the school.
So we are actually running a campaign, a school board campaign in Florida, which I'm working on very hard in school districts six for Richard Mendelson to get elected. I just came from knocking doors, Sandra. We are outgoing to another meeting. My son is out. And we have an army of volunteers that want to make a change in Broward.
SMITH: Andrew, it's great to catch up with you. We don't forget Meadow. We don't forget the 17 people that were killed that day.
POLLACK: Thank you.
SMITH: Thank you for coming on the program tonight.
POLLACK: We can't. Thank you, Sandra.
SMITH: good to see you. Moments ago, polls close in the buckeye state and now we await the results from that special election, that highly anticipated election in Ohio's 12th district. The outcome could have big implications come November. Karl rove is here to break it down for us next.
And legendary college football coach Bobby Bowden throwing his support behind another coach fired for his faith. Coming up, coach Bowden and Coach Kennedy join us exclusively for their first interview together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBY BOWDEN, RETIRED FOOTBALL COACH: We need something stronger than us to seize this. I think we need to go to the man upstairs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Moments ago, the polls closing in Ohio for that high stake special election that many are calling a bellwether for November. Republican Troy Balderson battling Democrat Danny O'Connor for a congressional seat in the 12th district.
President Trump hoping a last-minute endorsement and rally for Balderson will equal a win that was not supposed to be this close to call.
We are also watching primaries in four other states. Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Washington as the Trump effect is put to the test once again.
Here now, Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush and a Fox News contributor. Karl, good evening to you.
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening.
SMITH: A lot at stakes tonight. I want to give an update on the states of the Michigan polls once this closes here. Polls closing at 8 p.m., all voters in line by 8 p.m. will be able to vote and should not leave the polling place.
Some precincts they are reporting have reported running low on ballots. Important to get this out there, voters can't be turned away due to lack of ballots. Clerks will provide more ballots to precincts as needed. And that was an update just a few moments ago. I wanted to get that out there.
Meantime, your expectations for the evening, sir.
ROVE: Well, Ohio is going to be an important contest. A special election, the only race on the ballot in Ohio. It's Republicans, this is a district that Republicans have held for 30 plus years, it is a district that Donald Trump carried by 11.
It's an open seat, the incumbent if he'd ran for re-election, Pat Tiberi would be comfortably head this November. But it is a horse race, and the question is going to be who wins, Democrat or Republican, and then if the Republicans win, how close is the election.
Because so far in all the special congressional primaries and competitive races the Democrats have done basically about five points better or nearly six points better than they have historically been expected to do in those districts. That could point towards a general rule for the fall, how close are they running on these races?
SMITH: Well, in a traditionally red district, why is this so close?
ROVE: Well, because it's an open seat, because Republicans had a big primary, the Democrats had basically one candidate, the elected official in Franklin County, Columbus, Danny O'Connor. And then they all -- the Democrats got all behind him.
I mean, he had, O'Connor has outspent the Republican Balderson by a pretty significant margin because Democrats across the country understand they win here and it's a big psychological blow to the Republicans and a big boost in momentum for them. We've seen this before. It happened in Georgia.
Remember the Democrat there raised a jaw-dropping $33 million for a congressional seat. We've seen it elsewhere in these special elections. But this is the last special election before the November midterm. And so the Democrats are hoping for them to be the headline tomorrow morning.
SMITH: Based on what we've seen so far, how important for the GOP is the president's endorsement?
ROVE: Well, if Balderson wins, he probably is going to have to give a great deal of credit for the president coming in. They smartly brought the president not into Columbus where it would stir up sort of the Democratic vote, but they took him to a more rural part of the district.
Balderson won the primary by winning the rural part of the district that he represented by a huge margin. And the hope I think by the White House and its political operation was to drive up the turnout in the rural part of the district. We'll see if that works out.
Watch tonight the returns in Delaware Country. This is where if the Democrats are going to win, they are probably going to carry Franklin. They will carry Franklin. They've got to make inroads into Delaware Country in order to win this. This is a big suburban Republican county directly north of Columbus.
SMITH: All right. So it could tell us a lot about what is coming up. Meanwhile, Kansas and Michigan, Missouri, Washington, all voting primaries tonight. What are your expectations? What do you view looking for, Karl?
ROVE: Well, first of all, in Missouri, we know who is going to win in the Democratic and Republican senatorial primaries. Claire McCaskill, the incumbent Democrat is going to be opposed by Josh Hawley, the attorney general, the Republican attorney general.
I would be interested tonight to see what are the comparative numbers in the Republican and Democratic primary and then what's the outcome of the referendum on the right to work.
Washington State, there's only one contest that everybody is paying attention to and that is who is the Democrat. They have a jungle primary. The top two vote getters going to the general election and the question is, in the Washington district given up by a Republican Dave Reichert, who is the Democrat who will get to face Dino Rossi?
A very popular Republican former state senator, raised a lot of money, looking good. But who's the Democratic gets into to run off with him. So those two states, not much going on.
Michigan, a Senate primary on the Republican side and Republican and Democratic gubernatorial primaries, going to be a lot going on there. One test is going to be the Donald Trump endorsement.
He endorsed Attorney General Schuette for governor and he endorsed a candidate name John James for the Senate. We'll see if the president's endorsement carries there like it has on the fourth primary season.
SMITH: Very interesting. And to watch where the president has focused on the economy, we know tonight at his golf club in Bedminster, he's holding this dinner for business leaders, FedEx, Honeywell, Fiat Chrysler, Boeing are all there.
A big focus on the economy heading into all of this. Karl Rove, thank you for setting all of that up. We are waiting for a lot of those results to come in tonight. Thank you.
ROVE: So am I. I'm watching the computer screen.
SMITH: Great. Thanks, Karl.
ROVE: You bet.
SMITH: Up next, remember the high school football coach fired for his faith on the field?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE KENNEDY, FORMER FOOTBALL COACH: I'm a marine. I served for 20 years. And I just want to seem right as everybody else and you know, what applies for one should apply to every American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Yes, we all remember him. Now coach Joe Kennedy hoping to take his fight all the way to the Supreme Court. And he just got a powerful ally in his corner.
Next, in a Story exclusive, legendary former Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden and Coach Kennedy together for the first time on their fight for faith.
SMITH: All right. Early look at some of the results coming in from that Ohio special election, the 12h district. Franklin County is in Troy Balderson yielding just under 30 percent of the vote there. Danny O'Connor pulling in 69.4 percent.
We are watching these numbers for you coming in tonight and this is the first of them we can report at this moment. We will continue to bring those numbers as we get them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNEDY: They didn't want me to pray with the kids and I said, you know, that's fine. Your rules but I'm not going to give up my beliefs just because it made somebody feel uncomfortable. So I agreed that I would just do it by myself on the 50 alone, the way it first started out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Former high school football coach Joe Kennedy said he was compelled by faith to kneel in prayer at the end of his games, but the move cost him his job.
If you remember back in 2015, now three years later, his legal battle continues. But with a fresh show of support from one of the most legendary names in football, former FSU coach Bobby Bowden, he's supporting Kennedy's petitioning to get his case to the Supreme Court.
Saying, quote, "No coach in this country should have to set down their faith when they pick up their whistle."
Joining me now exclusively in their first interview together, former head coach of Flodira State University Bobby Bowden and Joe Kennedy along with his lawyer Jeremy Dys who is deputy general counsel at First Liberty.
All right. So first of all, coaches, this is the first time you guys have gotten together. It's a special moment, I'm sure for both of you. Coach Bowden, to you first. Why did you get involved?
BOWDEN: I'm proud of him. I'm proud of him for standing up in what he believes and I'm proud of him for putting God first. You know, hey, I don't know how I didn't get fired because I prayed all the time when I was at Florida State. And I can imagine if he had 30 boys there, 40 boys, 50, I bet everyone of them were proud of what he was doing.
SMITH: Coach Kennedy, how is your fight going? I mean, three years out now from when you lost your job, where do you want - where do you wish to see this go?
KENNEDY: Well, eventually, you know, I'd love to be able to, you know, strap on a whistle and be back out there with my football players. But just to get in front of the Supreme Court and have them hear my case, that that would be -- that would be a blessing there.
SMITH: What did you think when Coach Bowden called up and said, I want to be in your corner.
KENNEDY: Real shocking. I -- I'm just a high school football coach, you know, a little two way school. Here is this, you know, idol of the football coming to my side. It's totally unbelievable and a blessing.
SMITH: Coach Bowden, what does this say to you about -- and go ahead, I just want you to jump in here. Because it's need to have the both of you together here for the first time. Coach Bowden, just your thoughts as you see the state of athletics, the state of football today and the fact that Coach Kennedy lost his job?
BOWDEN: Well, it reminds me when I started coaching. But you know, I had - - I felt like when I started coaching that God had given me an opportunity to witness to these young man I'm approaching. You know, the last 10 or 11 years of that coach, there would be 60 percent or more of my players who came from a broken home and no father. No daddy is around!
Now who is going -- who is going to teach these kids if teachers and coaches and even politicians don't use their, you know, the opportunities that they have to help get these people, to pray for these people and help these people?
You know what? I agree 100 percent with what he was doing. I did the same thing. My goodness. I'm glad that -- I thank Florida State and I thank West Virginia University and Stanford University and South Georgia College for not firing me because I did what you did all the time.
SMITH: you know, there is a lot of bad influences out there when you are raising kids and you see it a coach like coach Kennedy who was praying on the field and got fired for it. You know, Coach Kennedy, have you got response from other coaches around the country taking your back?
KENNEDY: Yes, not as publicly because I think they want to hold onto their jobs and they're waiting to see what's going to happen, but a lot of them have reached out and, you know, called me up on Facebook or whatnot and say, you know, hey, we've got your back, coach. We do it every time at our games, so they're all waiting to see what's going to be the end result for this. So, yes, I've had great support.
SMITH: Coach Bowden, why was it so important for you to have God and prayer part of your football games in part of your athletes' everyday life when they showed up for practice or showed up for a game?
BOWDEN: You know, it was the way I was raised. The environment in which I was raised. You know, I coached 57 years. So I have boys that I coached 50 years ago, 40 years ago, 30 years ago. And every now and then, I will get a letter from one of them. None of them mention football.
They mention, "coach, thank you for what you taught us. I'm married now, my children are going to college."
BOWDEN: They are good children and I've been very lucky" -- you know, that's what's important in life. You know, and I hate to see Washington take that away.
SMITH: Coach Kennedy--
BOWDEN: Hey. I'm going to get him down there in Florida.
SMITH: I've only got a few seconds left and it's great to talk to both of you. And I know you've got your lawyer there, Coach Kennedy. But your final word to Coach Bowden, as he is now -- he is now in your corner and he's taking on this fight with you. A few seconds left.
KENNEDY: Hey, it's an honor and I'd like to take me with you on any field, sir. Thank you.
SMITH: An honor to have you both on tonight. Thank you very much.
All right. We've got more results coming in from that special election in Ohio. The 12th district. We will have those numbers for you when we return.
SMITH: Early vote totals starting to trickle in from Ohio special election. Danny O'Connor, the Democrat is showing an early lead right now, 62.9 percent. The Republican Troy Balderson, the president campaigned for him, 36.4 percent.
That's it for us. I'm Sandra Smith. And now here's Tucker.
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