Coast Guard commandant talks Florence rescue efforts

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," September 14, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, Bret. Good to see you. So, Florence, as we have been watching throughout the day, is still churning out there. Dumping tons of rain and turning deadly as some of the worst of this could realistically be yet to come.

The massive storm already to blame for at least five deaths, we're told there are at least 150 people right now who are trapped in their homes in New Bern, North Carolina. A small town in North Carolina, we're going to take you there live tonight.

More than half a million customers are said to be without power. The governor though said a little while ago, he thinks that number could go up to 2 to 3 million as they move through the night and into tomorrow.

And Florence is not in any hurry. She is hanging around, pouring rain into this area all the way through Monday. We have live team coverage for you tonight. Jonathan Hunt on the ground in South Carolina where they're starting to get some of this, the brunt of this as well. Plus the head of the Coast Guard is joining us this evening on the massive rescue operation that they have underway.

But we begin with chief meteorologist Rick Reichmuth who is here with the forecast and what to expect tonight and tomorrow. Hey, Rick.

RICK REICHMUTH, FOX NEWS CHIEF METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we still have a long ways to go with this storm.

MACCALLUM: Terrible.

REICHMUTH: Some of the impacts are lessening. The wind is coming down, the strongest winds which is good news, but they were really extreme. Take a look at these numbers, 106 miles an hour was recorded at Cape Lookout, 105 in Wilmington right close to where I came onshore.

By the way, those are the places where there's a station to read -- reading like that. So, who knows the other stronger winds that could be in those places in between that. And here's what the storm looks like right now, you get an idea. Still very organized, in fact, the latest stuff that's coming up from the National Hurricane Center saying how amazed they are with how organized it still is kind of holding together.

It's got plenty of moisture all the way around it. And you'll notice there, the wind is still going offshore in Myrtle Beach. So, you're not getting a storm surge. But where you got the storm surge to the right of where it came ashore which is just to the east of Wilmington there. That same direction is continuing.

It's only moved to since this morning. We're now at about 12 hours since landfall, it's moved 45 miles.

MACCALLUM: Wow!

REICHMUTH: So -- it's just creeping along. So, if you've had that wind for all this time, you still have that wind. If you have the rain, you still have that rain. If the storm surge came on, it's still there. And now we've seen some spots over 20 inches of rain. And a lot of that is right around New Bern. By the way where you're talking about with the people who are still trapped there.

This is the radar image from it. These very heavy bands have been falling over the same area, time and time again all day long. It looks like it's maybe just finally nudging a little bit off towards the west, which should be could some good news if we can dry out at least say in Morehead City and New Bern.

This is remaining rain that's coming, and Martha, quickly, I just want to take you with what's going to happen over the weekend. So, the rain is going to move in towards those mountains. And across parts of the Carolinas, that water runs down very quickly into that flat plane. But all of that has to go down into these rivers.

So, there's a little bit nerdy, follow if you don't mind for just a second. But this is a hydrograph it shows what the river projections are going to be. And you see that little line there, that's a record crest before was 29 feet. This is forecast to get to 35.2 feet on Monday.

So a long ways from now, and all of that water just keeps on going down those rivers. This one here northeast Cape Fear River is going to be at its record stage. That stays through Wednesday, same story here all of these rivers are going to be at their highest levels ever. And that flooding and might stay throughout much of this coming week.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: That's frightening. It's almost like a barrier wall that's going to pump bank the water back down into those rivers when you hit that mountain range.

REICHMUTH: That's exactly what it is. Yes, yes, exactly is.

MACCALLUM: Rick, thank you. We'll be watching with your help.

REICHMUTH: You bet.

MACCALLUM: So, South Carolina is now getting hit hard tonight by remnants of Florence. State officials fear severe flooding can wash out major roads and cut Myrtle Beach off from the mainland. Jonathan Hunt, live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where the conditions are worsening by the minute this evening. Jonathan, you're now feeling it there pretty good.

JONATHAN HUNT, FOX NEWS CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Yes, feeling it really good here, Martha. We are hoping that this might be the final whack we get here on the South Carolina coast from the winds of Florence at least. But the rains predicted as Rick was just saying to last at least another 24 hours right here on North Myrtle Beach.

Now, the good news for at least coastal South Carolina is that the storm surge that we were expecting does not appear to be coming that's largely because of what is Rick was talking about, the offshore winds blowing from the land onto the ocean, pushing the ocean back.

I'm just going to walk a little bit off the beach because I can tell you, this fine South Carolina sand when it's whipped by these 60 plus mile per hour winds hurts a good bit. So, I'm just going to come up off the beach here. And as I do that, we can look down the beach and show you a couple of the homes that have suffered some wind damage through today.

There's been nothing major that we've seen, there are certainly some trees down. We have seen some power lines down as well and much of North Myrtle Beach and the entire Myrtle Beach region is actually without power right now. And it's likely to stay that way for quite some time simply because it is not safe obviously for anybody to come out and start fixing the power lines in these conditions.

Most of the people who live here and vacation here did get out when they were told to by officials. Some have stayed, we spoke to one woman earlier today who just said she grew up in Miami, she's lived here 20 years -- she's not getting out. But most people have heeded the warnings to get out and that clearly is a very good thing as we face a long weekend here, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Well, those who stay are going to have to be hunkered down for the next 48 hours. It sounds like it's going to be just hovering over that area for some time. Jonathan, be safe. Thank you very much. Good to see you out there.

HUNT: Sure.

MACCALLUM: So, with more than 720,000 people without power in the Carolinas, and as I said, those numbers are expected to skyrocket over the next 48 hours. And almost 150 people desperately waiting for help to be evacuated off the rooftops of their houses in New Bern, North Carolina alone. Rescue efforts are well underway. Here now exclusively is the man tapped with laying out the strategy for the government's rescue effort and response. The head of the U.S. Coast Guard, Commandant Karl Schultz.

Thank you so much, sir, it's good to have you with us tonight. I know you and your folks are extremely busy, so we thank you for taking a few moments to explain to everybody at home how it is going. Tell us.

ADM. KARL SCHULTZ, COMMANDANT, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD: Well, Martha, good evening. This is a big storm and as your folks have been reporting all day, it's a -- it's a large storm, it spans about 350 miles across. Downgraded to a tropical storm, but still hundred miles an hour winds in some locations. Kind of -- you know, really catastrophic flooding is going to be prolonged flooding.

We're out there in towns like New Bern, we just rescued an individual from our way, a way a man who was a cancer patient, stranded in his home. We brought him to safety. We have what we call flood punt or shallow water rescue teams deployed with local and state partners. You've seen the rescues in New Bern today.

The Coast Guard activity is just starting to pick up his calls come in, we've had a Coast Guard C-130, overflying North Carolina to get a better assessment of the circumstances on the ground there. Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, explain to us -- you know, in terms of New Bern, are these rooftop rescues that you're doing or that how deep is the flooding in that area, and how do you, you know, people are signaling to the Coast Guard as we've seen in the past to let them know that there's, there is somebody down here, please help?

SCHULTZ: Well, Martha, to this point, the rescues in New Bern have been mostly by local response agencies, swift water experts in from other states. We're kind of the one level depth and -- you know, depth and strength, and depth there, we're ready to come in. No, there hasn't been roof rescues yet, but as we get into the space, we flew an aircraft, what we call a Jayhawk helicopter up out of Elizabeth City earlier today.

And they actually had to set down, they couldn't get to New Bern due to heavy thunderstorms and microburst. We just got over the air here recently in our accessing here, but we have not done any rooftop rescues to my knowledge in the last 15 or 20 minutes.

MACCALLUM: All right. So, in terms of -- I know General Mattis announced earlier today that they wanted to remove -- you know, any sort of red tape that might exist in terms of getting military help to people who need it. Can you explain what that procedure is like?

SCHULTZ: Well, I can tell you this, Martha. For the United States Coast Guard, our authorities allow us to come in immediately after storm. For General Mattis, there needs to be Sec. Def. approval to move military forces. Department of Defense Forces in to do defense support of civil authorities.

So, he's cutting any of that red tape. So, National Guard's been active duty, you know, Navy, Air Force folks can immediately respond. So, that's encouraging Secretary Mattis is fully involved with the Department of Defense team and all our agencies, all the federal agencies are supporting the states and locals here. I'm sorry, good.

MACCALLUM: No, you can finish your thought. I'm sorry, somebody must have cut in.

SCHULTZ: No, I just going to say that -- you know, I think that's a strong sign, you have the heft of the entire federal government here to support the states in the locals.

MACCALLUM: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: This is a -- this is a team sport here, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Thank you so much. You guys do an unbelievable job up and down the coast and all over the country. And we're grateful for your help for all these people out there tonight. Thank you so much, Commandant Schultz. Good to see you.

SCHULTZ: OK.

MACCALLUM: Thank you.

SCHULTZ: Thank you, Martha. Good night.

MACCALLUM: You bet. So, while Florence is battering the East Coast, President Trump is tweeting again tonight. Standing by, his controversial comments earlier this week that the U.S. response to Hurricane Maria last year in Puerto Rico was quote "an unsung success".

That despite the findings of a new report that found that nearly 3,000 people died in that storm. So, we thought this topic was sort of taking a little bit of a backseat given everything. But just moments ago, the president tweeted this in response to something that Geraldo Rivera said apparently. He said, "They say all these people died in the storm in Puerto Rico, yet 70 percent of the power was out before the storm. So, when did people start dying?" He asks. "At what point do you recognize that what they are doing is a political agenda couched in a nice language of journalism?"

That from the president just a few moments ago as he continues to battle over the outcome of the services that were provided in Puerto Rico. So, still to come tonight. We are going to go live to New Bern which is really one of the hardest hit areas in North Carolina.

The Coast Guard as we have been telling you is helping them out as our folks on the ground as we just heard from the Commandant. A lot of very cooperative effort. We'll show you what's going on there. But first, former President Barack Obama is back very much and he wants to set the record straight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you hear these folks bragging about this economic miracle, just remember when it started. Just remember when the ball got rolling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: The President Trump says, wait a minute we will show you the numbers, you can decide who you think is telling the truth, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. If you got a business, that you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Remember that? Well, it didn't go over that well with about half the country at the time. And now, the former president is speaking out in a big way, he wants to make sure that America knows that the thriving economy really began -- he believes under President Obama. And he's telling President Trump that when it comes to that, he didn't build that either. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. If you got a business, that -- you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Remember that? Well, it didn't go over that well with about half the country at the time. And now the former president is speaking out in a big way. He wants to make sure that America knows that the thriving economy really began he believes under President Obama and he's telling President Trump that when it comes to that he didn't build that either. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: But we worked hard to turn this economy around when I was president. And the actions that we took during the economic crisis returned the economy to help it grow, initiated the longest streak of job creation on record which continues to today. So just remember that when you hear these folks bragging about this economic miracle, just remember what it started. Just remember when the ball got rolling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: He's back in a big way. So here are the numbers. The Dow Jones Industrials were near 18,000 when President Trump was elected. Now they are up over 26,000. Consumer confidence has surged to very high levels, the highest level since 2,000, small business optimism it is topping its highest level in 45 years and that's due in large part to the rollback of a lot of onerous regulations that have been lifted under this administration. That's what business people will tell you pretty much across the board. Here's a new Quinnipiac poll shows another record high of whopping 70 percent of voters currently say that this economy is either excellent or good.

Here in our Tammy Bruce, President of the Independent Women's Voice and a Fox News Contributor and Rochelle Ritchie is a Democratic strategist. You know, these two people have such different takes on how to improve the economy. You know President Trump is all about rolling back regulations, cutting taxes. President Obama was not about that. And that really was a dampening factor for businesses. They didn't want to hire any more people. They wanted to figure out ways to hire fewer people and they didn't necessarily want to build new businesses and expand their businesses, Rochelle, so it's just kind of a tough argument.

ROCHELLE RITCHIE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, you know, I really don't think that Obama is saying that he is responsible for our current economy. What I think he is saying is that he's responsible for the recovery of it and that's not fiction, that's fact. We have to keep in mind that when Obama took office, we had a ten percent unemployment rate, he took it down to 4.8 percent, home prices were declining by 20 percent, the stock market practically almost crashed when it was basically cut in half. So when I think that he's saying this, I don't -- I think that it's sort of the Republicans are trying to use it as a talking point to get Trump's base out there because we know that they have a serious disdain --

MACCALLUM: Understood but you know what, I mean, when -- the bottom line is what people -- what people think, you know, what they feel, and who they -- who they give credit to when they go out there in the midterms, Tammy.

TAMMY BRUCE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Right. And look, President Obama knows that. He knows it's also you can tell, he's worried about his own legacy, about how he's viewed. Because keep in mind, President Trump ran on doing the opposite of what Obama was doing. So in fact literally, it can't be the result of Barack Obama because President Trump has done the reverse of everything he's done proving that there's a different approach here, right? And it really highlights what Barack Obama did not do and the damage. It's the magic wand comment.

Barack Obama didn't understand when Trump was saying he was going to keep jobs in America and bring them back. Conceptually Barack Obama genuinely did not understand how that would work. It's been proven that it could be done. That was the weakness of Obama is his lack of experience with business. And frankly, to some degree his lack of confidence in the American worker and in the nature of how the American system can work. So we know that's the fact.

That's what Barack Obama is fighting against now once again and this is why the Democratic Party's in such trouble. It's all about him. All of these speeches aren't about what can the Democrats do and how are we going to make the difference, it's about what he did and how great he was etcetera. So for people watching and as Americans as you've noted have had an experience about what the future means now, it's because they've seen at work, they trust --

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: -- they will ultimately decide what they think on their own. Here's a quick headline. We only have a short time left. The New York Post op-ed column saying Democrats have hit a new low in their crusade against Kavanaugh this has to do with this anonymous letter that was thrown into the mix at the very last moment, Rochelle, accusing Kavanaugh of something in high school that he claims he did not do. He's got a letter from sixty-five women who speak out in support of him from high school and beyond they say that he wouldn't do that. This is a too low -- too low a blow?

RITCHIE: You know, I went back and forth on whether or not I would share this story with millions of people but I've been a victim of sexual assault. So when I see politicians using sexual assault or let alleged actions of sexual assault or sexual abuse, it's offensive to me to try to use something so tragic to gain political points. And I feel that if this happened to this woman, for anything at least for public safety, you should come forward immediately, not wait from July until you know now to say I have this letter and I'm handing it over. But I will say -- I will say this though, if Kavanaugh did do what this woman is alleging that he did, then he should be held responsible because we -- this is a Supreme Court justice and they are meant to uphold the law not break it.

MACCALLUM: Well, the FBI looked into it. They didn't -- they just passed it along and she is anonymous and doesn't want to move forward with anything so I got to leave it there as we're out of time but thank you very much. Good to have both of you with us tonight. So coming up, Bob Woodward says that he dug very hard to find some dirt tying the president to the Russia collusion but in his research, he says he ultimately came up empty. Byron York checks in next on "The Story." We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: There is a big new bombshell from Bob Woodward's controversial new book that is great news for the president. Despite all his interviews with Washington insiders, the veteran journalist could not find a shred of evidence he says connecting the president to any Russian collusion. Listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you Bob Woodward hear anything in your research in your interviews that sounded like espionage or collusion?

BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "FEAR": I did not. And of course, I looked for it, looked for it hard.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Here now, Byron York Chief Washington -- chief -- Washington Examiner chief political correspondent -- sorry about that, Byron -- and Fox News contributor. Good to see you tonight. So, Bob Woodward, you've written an article about his sources. In this one, he was asked point-blank, did you after all your research find any collusion and he said no, Byron.

BYRON YORK, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Woodward has looked into this just like a lot of other people have looked into this and not found or come to basically the same conclusion. The book is about the president's alleged impulsiveness or is an experience or is volatility and in this kind of refueled a lot of criticism that's already been existing along those lines but it's not about any sort of collusion between President Trump and Russia.

MACCALLUM: So in terms of -- in terms of what we learned today and about Paul Manafort flipping as has been much discussed today, lots of jubilation from some quarters about this. Let's put up some of what was you know online today. Kathy Griffin saying what a great Friday, more to come, I hope so. And Rob Reiner weighing in, checkmate, game set match. The fat lady is singing. The party is over. He is convinced that the flipping of Paul Manafort means that the president will be -- I don't know, impeached I guess. How would you characterize their jubilation? Is it -- is it accurately placed?

YORK: Well, I don't see it that way. I think -- I think all this kind of talk that Manafort is the big one, now you're going to see progress and Trump or other people will be charged with collusion with Russia. I think that all of that is based on an assumption, a belief that there is some big conspiracy between Trump and Russia that only Paul Manafort can reveal. But remember, Robert Mueller has had the cooperation of Paul Manafort's closest associate Rick Gates for months now. He said the cooperation of Michael Flynn who was president Trump's National Security Adviser during the campaign.

He's had the cooperation of lots of people who haven't been charged with anything who were participants and they've willingly interviewed and handed over documents to Mueller. So in all of this, Mueller has not alleged or charged anyone with having any role in a conspiracy to collude with Russia to fix the election. So it seems unlikely that Manafort alone holds this key.

MACCALLUM: Well, one of the you know, sort of counterpoints to that is that Paul Manafort was in that -- in the Trump Tower meeting, Rick Gates was not. This is something that was you know, hit on several times today in the discussion of this and that that is significant. Do you -- what do you think?

YORK: Well, the Trump Tower meeting is incidentally the one thing the public knows more about than almost any other aspect of this affair because the Senate Judiciary Committee interviewed I think five participants in that meeting and release those transcripts to the public so we have Donald Trump Jr.'s account of what within there, we have Rob Goldstone, the guy whose e-mail started at all, we've got some of the Russians, we have the translators account. We would have had Manafort's account but he got charged and couldn't interview with the Senate.

So is there some story that differs absolutely completely with the accounts that we have already been given by participants in the meeting? Maybe, but it seems unlikely.

MACCALLUM: So what -- you know, what's your -- when you take a step back and you look at it and you know, so now Paul Manafort is cooperating, it got him a much better deal than he would have gotten otherwise because now he doesn't have to go through another big public trial. It's also not bad news for President Trump because he doesn't have to have that trial very much in the news as we head into the midterms. So you know, in terms of time frame, do you think that Mueller is getting any closer now that he has Manafort flipped so to speak?

YORK: Well, I would -- I would think so. And you should mention I think that this has benefits for Robert Mueller because he doesn't have to go to trial and present Rick Gates as a witness again. He was disastrously bad witness in in Virginia. So this obviously gets Mueller closer to where he wants to be having talked to all the participants in this.

MACCALLUM: We will see. The drama goes on. Byron, thank you very much. Good to see you as always.

YORK: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: You bet. So back now to our Fox News Alert. Now tropical storm Florence is still a big concern tonight along the East Coast. You've got very strong winds, very heavy rains, and it is moving very slowly and dumping water all along the way. We're going to check in next with my friend Bill Hemmer who has been on the frontlines of Florence for 48 hours. Stick around to see Bill when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: All right. So this Florence is moving down to South Carolina now. This is a live look along point about Mount Pleasant near Charleston, where the weather is continuing. It's still very much alive tonight, the storm. Tropical storm expected to bring fierce winds, heavy rains, flooding through that area, all the way through Monday is what they are saying.

Let's go now to my friend Bill Hemmer who has been out there reporting on the ground throughout the course of this in Wilmington, North Carolina, where Florence made landfall around seven this evening. Bill, good evening to you. How is it looking out there?

BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Yes, hey, Martha. Great to be back with you tonight on a Friday evening. This is a storm that just does not want to quick. We talked about her being big and being slow. Indeed, Florence is that.

The worst part of the reporting throughout the day has to be the information from the mayor here in Wilmington. He tells us at least four fatalities throughout the state of North Carolina. Perhaps the numbers change throughout the night.

But right now we can say four at the moment, including a mother and an eight-month infant who was killed when a tree came in their home a mile east of here in historic downtown Wilmington. The father of that household is in the hospital, Martha. The condition, the injuries for him not known at the moment but four fatalities confirmed.

The mayor tells us they are receiving hundreds and hundreds of 911 calls throughout the city, throughout the Hanover County here and they can't get to all of them. They will in time he says. But not right now. People are trapped in their homes. People with the power lines down, trees coming into their homes as well. Medical emergencies.

They are doing their best to stay on top of this but it's been a stubborn storm, Martha. You know, and Florence is still kicking tonight. We expect the rain and these wind bands to continue several hours if not to the early morning hours tomorrow here in Wilmington.

MACCALLUM: Yes. And apparently, according to Rick Reichmuth who was here a little while ago he talked about the rain as it goes over the mountains backing up to the rivers in North Carolina. And they are looking at very high cresting rivers.

HEMMER: The Cape Fear River which you can't see now because it's dark. There is no electricity. We are just using generator power here in Wilmington now. It reached an all-time record high today, Martha. Higher from Matthew from two years ago in 2016. Higher than hurricane Hazel in 1954. Think about that, 64 years ago.

MACALLUM: Wow.

HEMMER: A historic storm such as Hazel has been topped now by the Cape Fear River and the rain that continues to be pushed up these rivers here in North Carolina as a result of Florence.

You go up and down the coast where there is the Neuse River, the Pamlico River, the Pamlico Sound, that's the big concern. My sense is, Martha, around midday tomorrow, you know, so many reporters have descended here throughout the state of North Carolina. But they can only get to so many places.

With so many roads blocked and so many impediments on the way, I think it will be mid-day tomorrow when we start to get a better picture right now about some of these rivers and the flooding. It could -- it could get much worse than we have seen so far once we get access to it, Martha.

MACCALLUM: I think you're right, Bill. And we are going to see rising waters as all of this moves through and we see that rescues that still need to be done. It's a very tough situation. You know people watch it go down to a category one but then when you listen to what you are reporting and to what we are seeing out there, this is going to be a story all the way through the weekend. I know you will be there tomorrow morning, Bill. So, thank you. Great job from there, as always. Good to see you my friend.

HEMMER: You bet. You bet, Martha. And I will just tell you the mayor is telling everybody if you've left, don't come back for at least a day or two. You know it's hard. You get anxiety and you want to come back but he says--

MACCALLUM: Of course.

HEMMER: -- with everything on the road, it will gum up the works, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Bill, thank you so much. Bill Hemmer tonight reporting from Wilmington, North Carolina. Still ahead this evening, the incredible final chapter for an Olympic runner and World War II hero who found salvation with the help of Reverend Billy Graham. His story now a major motion picture. And I will speak exclusively with the cast coming up next here on "The Story." That's Billy Graham's grandson. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: In 2010, the remarkable life of Olympic runner and World War II hero, Louis Zamperini was captured in a best-selling memoir "Unbroken." The book was turned into a major motion picture that skipped the whole back half of the book. But that is about to change.

I sat down with the cast members of the new film "Unbroken: Path to Redemption" which picks up where they originally left off when Zamperini's faith is put to the test when he comes home from the war. And he reluctantly turns to Evangelical powerhouse Billy Graham to overcome. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight there is a drowning man. Just looking for some type of hope for the future. But there is a lifeline. Let's reach out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These men did terrible things to you. What are you going to say to them?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: I'm joined by Will Graham who plays his grandfather, the Reverend Billy Graham in this film. Samuel Hunt who plays Louis Zamperini. And Luke Zamperini, the son of Louis Zamperini. Welcome. So, Will, what did you learn about your grandfather? You never dreamed of acting I don't think.

WILL GRAHAM, BILLY GRAHAM'S GRANDSON: No.

MACCALLUM: What did you learn of your grandfather when you played him at that point in his life when he was doing this huge tent revivals across the country?

GRAHAM: Well, in 1949, he was pretty much unknown person. No one knew about him. But when I did his, when I was doing this part, you know, there were some things I learned from my granddaddy was the sense of urgency he preached with. You know, he believed that he only had a maybe a few years in his life to preach like this.

And remember, he was a nobody. I mean, in 1949, no one knew who Billy Graham was. Watershed moment for not only my granddad but also Louis. But my granddaddy always said, "the bible says, the bible says, the bible says" and he was committed to teach in the word of God, preach the word of God. And these are the some of the take-away and especially the sense of urgency. I mean, and he would commend people to come forward. He didn't ask hey, this is a good idea, why don't you try this out.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

GRAHAM: No. Come forward.

MACCALLUM: Come forward. It's very powerful. And you know, Sam, obviously, at this point in the story he is at such a low point. He's been alcoholic, he's having a hard time with his marriage and everything.

SAMUEL HUNT, ACTOR: Yes.

MACCALLUM: And his wife, your mom, says come with me.

HUNT: Yes.

MACCALLUM: I have been listening to Billy Graham and I want you to come with me but he is very resistant.

HUNT: Yes. So one of the amazing things about Louis and what kept him alive quite honestly, in my opinion, a very humble opinion was his stubbornness. I mean, he was -- he would fight with anybody and everybody about anything. You know, whether it was go to school. No, I'm not going to go to school. Like follow the law. No, I'm not going to do that.

And so finally when his brother convinced him to start running races then it was about well, you're not going to win this race. Yes, I am.

So when it came to going to an event and going anywhere that he didn't want to go, he meant he was particular about not showing up. But she actually, one of my favorite things about the story is that she tricked him the first time. Because he had a fascination with science. And so she told him that it was a science fair as oppose to (Inaudible) gathering because I'm sure that went over well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: It's such a powerful moment. The story brought me to tears when I read it the first time because he walks out but he walks back in. Why?

HUNT: Well, he, you know, he was spoken to, you know. The words that were being given to him. And that he finally was able to listen. And it was the right combination of the situation and the words and he finally was able to open up his mind and just clicked instantaneously.

I mean, from that moment forward, I thought he never had another nightmare, right, from that moment basically.

GRAHAM: Yes, correctly.

HUNT: He never drank again. He totally turned around his life. And so it's just instantaneous.

MACCALLUM: You know, there is a big message about PTSD which of course people didn't call it that when your dad was struggling with it. But to see this part of the story, because he was so strong and so stubborn and she says, Sam, in the whole beginning of the book, he falls apart.

And I think it's so inspirational to see because everybody falls apart at some point, right? I mean, maybe not having been through what he went through. But you know, talk about that part of it.

LUKE ZAMPERINI, LOUIS ZAMPERINI'S SON: He was a naturally defiant person. And his defiance got him through his entire life. You know, he channeled that defiance into sports and the defiance got him to the survival at sea. The endurance in the Japanese prison camps but when he got home he couldn't fix himself.

So, all his natural ability to overcome stuff had failed at this point. So the Japanese couldn't break him. Hence the story is called "Unbroken." But in 1949, when he walked into that Billy Graham tent meeting in Los Angeles he was a broken man.

He went in there and he was defiant. The first one he went, he stormed out. My mom talked him in to going again. So he did. He didn't like it, the second idea so he storming out again and then suddenly he heard that something to the effect that Billy Graham was saying that when you come to the end of your rope and you have no place else to turn, that's when people turn to God to save them from whatever situation they were in.

And it suddenly reminded him of a prayer that he had on the life wrap. He'd been seven days without water. I mean, after five days you are dying. Seven days no water and that's when he prayed this prayer, he said, "Lord, if you get me home alive from this, I will seek you and serve you my entire life."

Now he had forgotten about that prayer after he came home from the war. Even though he repeated that prayer many times on the raft and in prison camp. And he just said, he just felt terrible, he said, obviously God had taken care of his part of the bargain but Loius Zamperini he had not.

And that turned him and he just found himself going down coming forward to the stage. And he told me that after he got up off his knees, and having this the centers prayer. He realized he was done getting drunk. He was done fighting. He had forgiven his former captors including the bird (Ph).

Up to this point his PTSD had been manifesting itself in these horrendous dreams where the bird would come to him and beat him with a candor stick or beating him with belt or with just bare hands and it ended up trying to choke the life out of him in the dreams and he would wake up in a cold sweat.

He went home that night and it was the first night in years that he didn't have that dream. And never had it again for the rest of his life. He lived to be 97 and a half.

MACCALLUM: Grandpa was a powerful person. He really reached him and it's an extraordinary story. So thank you so much, all of you. Best of luck with the movie.

GRAHAM: Well, thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Good to have you here. Thanks a lot.

HUNT: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: And it opens tonight. Can't wait to see it. So coming up next, does Corey Booker regret this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CORY BOOKER, D-NEW JERSEY: This is about the closest I'll probably have in my life to the `I am Spartacus moment.'

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Our ladies night panel is here to weigh in. Plus, the new fallout tonight from the Serena Williams U.S. Open outburst, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Ronald Reagan did it and so did Arnold Schwarzenegger but last night, "Sex in the City" actress Cynthia Nixon was unable this time around to make the leap from Hollywood to the governor's mansion. She lost pretty badly in her Democratic primary to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, but the actress is not going away quietly issuing this warning after her loss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CYNTHIA NIXON, D-GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, NEW YORK: This race for the Democratic nomination may be over but the fight for the souls of the Democratic Party is just beginning. If Democrats are going to win in November, we have to stand for something tangible. It is not just enough to be better than Donald Trump. We have to give people something to show up and vote for.

(CROWD CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: She might be out to something there. Here now my ladies night panel, Lisa Boothe, Shelby Holliday and Danielle McLaughlin. Welcome to all of you. Great to have you here. Danielle, is she making a good point?

DANIELLE MCLAUGHLIN, DEMOCRAT STRATEGIST: Well, I think yes. I do have to stand for something but I'm not sure that abolishing ICE is actually standing for something. So what we saw with Sanders, for example, in 2016, we saw split in split in the Democratic Party and they couldn't get together to beat a Republican.

No one wants to see that happen again. So I think that Nixon needs to say what she needs to say but the Democrats need to come together if they are going to -- basically against a common cause.

MACCALLUM: I mean, she definitely represents the far left to the party. She talked last night about legalizing marijuana, banning plastic bags, restoring voting rights to felons on parole, abolishing ICE, and single payer healthcare, Shelby. So where -- what does that signify about where this party is and isn't going do you think?

SHELBY HOLLIDAY, REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, I think what's important is that she views this as a victory because she pulled Andrew Cuomo to the left.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

HOLLIDAY: And he even embraced some of those policies. So liberals like Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders will say even though she lost this is a victory for their movement because it's one more baby step, one more sort of thing to be proud of for these liberals.

And I do think that that tells you a lot about the voters. The very far left aspect of the Democratic base. But also remember we are in New York. It's a very liberal state. I'm not sure that represents the left wing of the Democratic Party across the country.

MACCALLUM: Yes. And they move in the head-to-head contest that conversation is going to definitely be pulled even more center, I would imagine, Lisa.

LISA BOOTHE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, absolutely. First of all, I would like to say that I feel a little left out. I didn't get the memo to wear black. So I'm standing a little bit alone side or feeling alone.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: You stand out with that.

BOOTHE: Feeling a little excluded. But look, I think Cynthia Nixon is right. I think Democrats are kind of going through what the Republicans went through with the tea party in 2010. And just like the tea party was the response to the Republican establishment, this move toward progressivism and progressivism -- am I using -- I'm not messing that, right.

And the socialism is the last response to the Democratic establishment. And we've seen this with Stacy Abrams in Georgia, we've seen this with Andrew Gillum in Florida--

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Yes, people--

BOOTHE: -- and also Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. So I think, yes, right now the Democratic Party is sort of having this fight over who are they, what do they believe, what is -- what is the heart and the soul of the Democratic Party is.

MACCALLUM: Yes. The tea party now is a good one and it's so interesting to see what that ends up doing to the party ultimately.

OK. Here is Cory Booker and the favorite famous "I am Spartacus" moment because there is news on that. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOOKER: I openly invite and accept the consequences of my team releasing that email right now. This is about the closest I'll probably ever have in my life to an I am Spartacus moment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: You know, I'm sure he gave thought to saying that. Should I say that? Will that work well out there? This is what Clarence Thomas said. He doesn't talk a lot but this is what he had to say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLARENCE THOMAS, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT: Honorable. If we could use that word about more people who are in public life, people who actually ask the questions at confirmations hearings instead of Spartacus. We use--

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: He was watching. And here is what Cory Booker said when asked whether he intended to compare himself to Spartacus. He said pointedly, no. He did not. How about that moment? Who wants to dive in?

BOOTHE: I find this hilarious and I appreciate the comedy and the levity that Cory Booker added the other week because the chaos of the comment I hear in was way too much so he added some humor by embarrassing himself. So thank you very, Cory Garner (Ph)

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Cory Booker.

BOOTHE: But you have to imagine he is sitting there -- yes, Cory Booker. If you imagine he is sitting there the night before this is what I'll say. I am Spartacus. Pounding his chest. And it turns out he is more sparky than Spartacus. Because those documents were cleared for release that morning yet he still tried to grandstand and be this big and try to do this tough boy -- tough guy act. When ultimately the documents were already cleared.

So now he's got egg on his face and it's very embarrassing. And we've seen this grandstanding moments from him before. So I think it's very comical--

MACCALLUM: All right.

BOOTHE: -- he ended up embarrassing himself and added humor for everyone else.

MACCALLUM: And did Serena Williams embarrass herself or not? This question is still going on a week later. Here is a quote from Barbora Strycova, a top ranked player as well. She says about what happened with Serena Williams at the U.S. Open "This is bull - blank - for the umpires being women or -- for umpires being women or men it doesn't matter. I never saw Nadal shouting like that with an umpire. Ramos is tough, one of the best umpires in the world. He did what he did to do in that mess, because she overstepped the limit. I find it interesting that she did it only when she was losing."

Danielle?

MCLAUGHLIN: Look, I think that her behavior was not acceptable and I think she would probably look back to that and say I shouldn't have thrown a wobbly, as we say, on the court. He has umpired at the matches where there has been both behavior and he hasn't taken a game away. The big issue I think now that the rules has changed after this. The WTA (ph) said OK, you can coach from the sidelines. It has been true for men for a long time, it hasn't been true for women that's--

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: There have been plenty of players who yelled at umpires and throws their racket too who were benched a game and sometimes even a full match in John McEnroe's case. Shelby?

HOLLIDAY: I don't think she embarrassed herself. I mean, we're not seeing the reaction, for example--

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Do you think that was good behavior, you thought that was acceptable?

HOLLIDAY: Well, she paid a price for what she did. She paid a huge price in losing that game. She knows it. But I also think she is being praised by a lot of people for speaking up and being emotional and being a woman. Saying her piece on the court.

I don't agree with throwing a racket, for example. That's something you are thought very young that that's terrible sportsmanship. However, I do think that she is being praised for, you know, being a strong powerful female.

BOOTHE: The umpire penalized men in the past, Nadal included. And the fact is, I think it's really sad as a society that we're supporting her and trying to act like a victim when she--

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: I agree. I think sportsmanlike behavior is very important. And it's a sport that where decorum is very important. And I think that she crossed the line. She had two warnings before that happened. And I think, you know, that she paid the consequences justly.

All right. Thanks, ladies. Good to see you tonight.

BOOTHE: Good to see you.

MACCALLUM: So that is our "Story." Have a great weekend everybody. Be safe out there in the Carolinas. We will see you back here on Monday night at seven o'clock. Tucker is tracking Florence, coming up, next.

END

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