This is a rush transcript from "The Story," February 18, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: So, breaking tonight, we have stunning brand new developments in the Jussie Smollett story. New reports that the actor received a threatening letter and was disappointed that there wasn't more outrage over it.
Then, may have concocted the attack story to gain attention. This is coming from a CBS reporter in Chicago where Smollett claims this attack happened. It is just one of many new twists unfolding tonight.
Good evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum, and this is "The Story" that has some drawing some comparisons to the Tawana Brawley case back in the 1980s. More on that as we look back in a moment with Geraldo Rivera. But first, let's go straight to Mike Tobin who is live in Chicago tonight with the very latest here. Hi, Mike.
MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. Most exciting nuggets, in this case, are all coming from the anonymous sources. But first, let's talk about what we know is on the record. Police no longer consider Jussie Smollett to be a victim of a hate crime or anything.
They're still not ready to call him a suspect of a hoax. What police now say with a bit of redundancy is that they have developed new information in the case and they want to get Smollett in for some follow-up questions.
And Kavanaugh, who's doing crisis P.R. for Smollett and his new legal team, says they won't submit to the follow-up today. While many of the legal experts say, Smollett should not submit to this follow-up ever because police just want to catch him in a lie.
A prominent Chicago attorney Steve Greenberg, says there are two ways to play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE GREENBERG, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, CHICAGO: If they've got him dead to rights, and he thinks he's really got a problem here, he may want to go in be extremely cooperative, repentant, fall on the sword, and hope he gets the best deal down the road.
If he stands by, I did absolutely nothing wrong, then no lawyer is ever going to let him talk to the police.
TOBIN: Now, Smollett story really started to come unraveled, and police track down the -- and then, interview the (INAUDIBLE) brothers. One of them worked on the show, "Empire". One of them was a personal trainer for Smollett.
Here is a part where we start going to unnamed sources. One source tells me, they were paid $3,500 to participate in the hoax attack with the promise for follow-up money. Many outlets have reported the follow-up payment was supposed to be $500.
Leaks say, they rehearsed the attack. An apartment where the brothers stay in Wrigleyville was raided. Leaks say police have recovered a receipt for a purchase of a rope. A magazine that was used to create this letter -- to said that life-threatening letter to the "EMPIRE" studio.
That WBBM is now reporting that it could have been the first step in this. But all you can get on the record right now through official police sources is that they develop new evidence and they want to get Smollett in for that follow-up interview. Martha?
MACCALLUM: Mike, thank you very much. A great report tonight for Chicago. So, many people this evening are backtracking their initial judgment of this story. Including 2020 presidential hopeful, Cory Booker, who initially called this a "modern-day lynching". He now says this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER, D-N.J., SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: And going to withhold until all the information actually comes out. We know in America that bigoted and biased attacks are on the rise in a serious way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: And then, just as another example, here's actress Ellen Page who expressed a sentiment that came from many writers and bloggers on social media, blaming Vice President Pence, in her instance here, for what happened to Smollett.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLEN PAGE, ACTRESS AND PRODUCER: Connect the dots. This is what happens if you are in a position of power and you hate people, and you spend your career trying to cause suffering. What do you think is going to happen?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, there's that. Here now, best New York Times bestselling author at Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald. She's also the author of the book, The Diversity Delusion. Had a great to have you back on "The Story" tonight.
HEATHER MAC DONALD, AUTHOR, "THE DIVERSITY DELUSION": Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: First of all, with regard to what Cory Booker, said. He said, look if this -- you know, we'll see what happens here. And we don't know the end of this story, obviously. We'll see how it turns out. But he said, hate crimes are on the rise and he didn't want it to detract from that. What do you think about those numbers?
MAC DONALD: I think the numbers are very weak. We know that there was a reported another thousand hate crimes in 2017. But there were also an additional thousand police agencies participating in the hate crime reporting. So, there's no actual benchmark that we have that solid from 2016 to 2017.
In any case, we're talking at most of 7,000 reported hate crimes that is a minuscule amount in a country of this size.
MACCALLUM: So, you don't think that we are seeing this increase. Because that, that's what you hear when you look at all of these -- the blogs and across Twitter and all of these folks who are -- you know some of them very prominent in Hollywood and in politics, saying this, "This is what you get." This is what you get when you have a hate message coming from the top of our government, is the suggestion across the board.
MAC DONALD: That's a preposterous narrative, Martha. What you have to understand is that the fight against alleged anti-white racism is anti-race white racism is now the national religion of our country's elites.
It is an ideology that is coming out of the universities that says that the fundamental characteristic of America, especially in the Trump-era, is racism, bigotry, lethal hatred. This is overdetermined.
We saw this a month ago with the -- an equal hoax about the Covington Catholic school boys that was also greeted as modern-day lynching. As anybody who wears a MAGA hat is by definition out to kill blacks.
This is now what America's elites are committed to believing regardless of the falsity of the evidence.
MACCALLUM: So, the number of politicians in a bit awkward positions, Nancy Pelosi spoke out on this. So did, Joe Biden. Cory Booker, we saw. Here is Kamala Harris asked about what she thinks now about all of this earlier today. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS: I think that the facts are still unfolding. And I'm very concerned about obviously, the initial allegation that he made about what might have happened and there should be an investigation. And I think that once the investigation is concluded, then we can all comment. But I'm not going to comment until another -- the outcome of the investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: All right. Thank you very much, Heather. Good to have you with us tonight.
MAC DONALD: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Here now, Geraldo Rivera, Fox News correspondent-at-large. And Kwame Jackson at Newsweek global contributor and leadership development strategist. Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.
GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT-AT-LARGE: Hi, Martha.
KWAME JACKSON, GLOBAL CONTRIBUTOR, NEWSWEEK: Thank you for having me, Martha.
MACCALLUM: You know, just a quick reaction to the politicians in how they are dealing with this. Kwame, your reaction.
JACKSON: My reaction is that everyone is waiting for the facts to come in. But you know, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, they may have gotten out over their skis. But everyone, they wanted to believe Jussie Smollett right away.
But I know that if these facts are not right, and Jussie Smollett has done the wrong thing, then he has to take his lumps. And this is not a Jussie Smollett apologize to it, this is about him being accountable if the facts come in that he orchestrated this particular incident.
But that's not really the point here. We're focusing on one particular incident with one particular actor. And we're saying, OK, if the boy cried wolf that means the wolf doesn't exist. But we all know the wolf does exist. Just as the boy cries wolf and there is -- you know, no particular incident in this case. It does mean that the wolf still exists.
So, what is the wolf? Orlando, and the shooting in the Pulse nightclubs, that's the wolf. Charlottesville and the incidents around Pittsburgh and the synagogues. Those things are the wolf.
So to say that those crimes don't exist or they're not on the rise or to refute the FBI data that through 2015 through 2017 that these incidents have been on the rise, that's not true.
MACCALLUM: But what about the danger of -- what about the danger of throwing gasoline on that fire? I mean, there's a -- there's a serious need for accountability.
If you fuel that fire because you know that it is a hot topic that is going to fire people up. And who knows, you know, we're still waiting to see -- you know, the endgame on all of this. But Geraldo, how dangerous is that kind of game in this environment?
RIVERA: Well, the danger is that because racism is ugly and real. That someone who is just lying for whatever personal reason, he denigrates and diminishes those with legitimate complaints.
I lived through Tawana Brawley, I was a good friend of Al Sharpton's at the time. I was slated to be his character witness if you believe it in the defamation lawsuit against him in the 1990s, 10 years after the fraud in which the teenager claimed to have been held for four days, kidnapped, repeatedly raped, found smeared with feces, with graffiti -- racist graffiti written all over and it turns out that she engineered the whole thing.
That really puts a cloud of suspicion overall of these -- a more legitimate charges. It is a tragedy. This fellow, if it appears the trajectory we're going on now, he's going to be charged with filing a false police report at the state level, if indeed he sent that letter or engineered the sending of that threat letter to his studio.
He also has a federal mail fraud charge. These things are taken very seriously, but what this person has apparently done. And again, I rush to judgment when I heard the charge, I was debating a buddy of mine who is saying MAGA hats are all inherently racist. I was saying, "No, it's not true. It's in the heart of the wearer.
And then, this happened a couple of days later. I demanded an investigation. The first thing I see they show the perpetrators, the alleged perpetrators, two black guys. So, I say, what the -- what the hell is going on here?
And you know, look at this with a much more discerning eye, when I did, what turns out is someone who for whatever sick reason has in a sloppy conspiracy apparently. You know, use this you know use this -- you know, the sacred memory of the victims that your other guests sites today for whatever personal aggrandizement or whatever it is, I think it's sickening.
JACKSON: But Geraldo, Martha, that's the smokescreen.
MACCALLUM: You know, put it -- put it -- hold -- I just want to put it. Let's put up a picture of Al Sharpton with Tawana Brawley. Because I remember this story as I was growing up. And I was so horrified about what had happened to this young girl. And you know, she said she was gone for four days, she had been raped by these young men. And the entire country became completely wrapped up in this story.
When I heard that it was fake, that it was made up, it sort of pulled the rug out from underneath. You know, the whole process of feeling -- you know, you felt like you had given your gut, your sympathy to this person who was faking it. There's something that is just inherently wrong, Kwame, with doing that to people. With ripping through their emotions.
JACKSON: That is correct, and I'm not -- I'm not apologizing for Jussie, I'm not apologizing for Tawana Brawley. What I'm saying is you cannot say that the data is not real that hate crimes have not been rising for the last three years according to the FBI. You cannot say -- you cannot --
MACCALLUM: Well, what do you make of the number that Heather Mac Donald just brought up which was -- which was that there was a thousand more logged in 2017, but that there's also a thousand more police precincts who are -- who are tallying these numbers.
I mean, we do -- we assume that numbers are real, but we do have to do the work, and we do have to look and find out if it's actually true.
JACKSON: The vast majority of hate crimes go unreported, Martha. So, let's be very honest about that. The fact that most of these things that happen are unreported are not even in those statistics.
RIVERA: But what do you think about this guy? What do you think about Jussie Smollett? I mean, isn't that -- isn't that the issue? I mean, how, horrifying is it they -- is it supporting real cases?
JACKSON: I just said that Jussie Smollett if -- no, is not issue. Jussie -- Geraldo, Jussie is the head fake, Jussie is the smokescreen. It's a smokescreen and the head fake to say, racism doesn't exist. Homophobia doesn't exist. Xenophobia doesn't exist because Jussie may be lying. And that's a head fake. That's not true.
MACCALLUM: But there also over time, have been -- just concerted effort --
RIVERA: You're giving up -- you're giving up --
MACCALLUM: Hold on, Geraldo. This effort to continue to stoke these fires. And I -- you know, I just --
JACKSON: But the president stokes fires.
MACCALLUM: I go back to Tawana Brawley again. I mean, look at this moment. Look -- let's play this from back then, this sound bite of Al Sharpton defending her. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL SHARPTON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISER FOR PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: But we are not going to give this girl to a grand jury that would give her mother 30 days in jail and not even try to call them though that are responsible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, then, here he is just the other day. Saying that the president of the United States better take this situation with Jussie Smollett very seriously. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Different fact they said that tend it ought to be denounced by even the president. He should tweet that this association that, that slogan should have with this. His silence would be very, very deathly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, he's warning the president, do not be silent on this and here he is on Sunday.
JACKSON: Martha, but at the same time --
MACCALLUM: And then, then I'll your thought. Well, let's watch him on Sunday. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: If it is found that Smollett and these gentlemen did in some way perpetrate something that is not true, they are to face accountability to the maximum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: All right, Kwame and then Geraldo on that.
JACKSON: But Martha, at the same time you are letting the president off the hook. The fact that he has been the arsonist in chief of racism, of xenophobia, of setting a tone from the largest platform in the world, versus Jussie Smollett's platform, whether it's true or false, the size of the platform is so minuscule compared to the president who sets a national tone for how we adjust as a nation, and how we react to these incidents.
Be it Charlottesville, be it Pittsburgh, be it Orlando Pulse nightclub, all those things are things that the president has to set the tone for in how we -- how we go through that.
MACCALLUM: I think you're putting an enormous amount of responsibility on one human being.
JACKSON: It's an enormous job, Martha. It's an enormous job. It's called the President of the United States for a reason.
MACCALLUM: No. The President of the United States cannot be the arbiter of every human emotion across the entire country.
JACKSON: That's not what I'm saying. I'm not saying he's the arbiter, I'm saying they set the tone.
MACCALLUM: It is not fair to place that responsibility.
JACKSON: The CEO of a company sets the tone for a company. The coach of a basketball team (INAUDIBLE).
RIVERA: You give -- you give --
MACCALLUM: I got to let Geraldo, response. Geraldo, I want to give you last chance to respond.
RIVERA: Thank you, Martha. You give Smollett a pass because you have a problem with the president.
JACKSON: I'm not giving Smollett a pass. (INAUDIBLE).
MACCALLUM: Let Geraldo finish. Let him finish.
RIVERA: Hold -- let me, please. I let you finish. Please, please, let me finish. The President of the United States beginning in the campaign with the whole David Duke nonsense, his reaction to Charlottesville or tepid reaction. I have my problems, I have spoken to the president how he can reach out. And he has reached out.
JACKSON: To who? When? Where? Who is the president reach out to Geraldo?
RIVERA: You know, that's why I laugh when I heard the MAGA hats work. I work with the panel -- with Kanye West most famously -- most famously, you see young conservative African Americans are wearing MAGA hats in Washington, D.C. The president can do more.
JACKSON: That was a ploy for the cameras.
RIVERA: The president should do more. The president should do more.
MACCALLUM: All right. I got to go.
RIVERA: The president's language is sometimes incendiary or indifferent. I don't like that but the president is not to blame for Jussie Smollett's lies.
MACCALLUM: The bottom line is that everyone in this country has to take responsibilities for their own action.
JACKSON: But the president sets the tone. We didn't elect someone who can't set the tone for the nation.
RIVERA: Oh, don't -- that tone business, are you going to use that to justify crimes now?
JACKSON: No, that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying that if you work in a company whether it be Fox or any other company, the CEO sets the tone.
RIVERA: Stop putting it in the same sense. Stop -- this --
MACCALLUM: Gentleman, I've got to go. We will continue the conversation in another day. Kwame, thank you, Geraldo, thank you both.
JACKSON: Thank you for your time. Martha, my pleasure.
MACCALLUM: Coming up next, if you could ask fired FBI director -- deputy director Andrew McCabe a few questions after the interview, what would you ask? What was missing? That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you saying that the president is in league with the Russians?
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FBI: I'm saying that the FBI had reason to investigate that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCABE: The discussion of the 25th amendment was simply Rod raised the issue and discussed it with me in the context of thinking about how many other cabinet officials might support such an effort. So it was really something that he kind of threw out in a very frenzied chaotic conversation about where we were and what we needed to do next.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did he bring up the idea of the 25th Amendment to you?
MCCABE: Honestly I don't remember. He -- it was just another kind of topic that he jumped to in the midst of a wide-ranging conversation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seriously? You just another topic?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Yes. OK. So tonight more questions than answers from the former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe who reportedly held secret discussions with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about -- I guess, we should just oust the president. This was all -- the catalyst for this was the firing of James Comey. All of it going into what he calls an inappropriate relationship with Russia.
Here now Gregg Jarrett, Fox News Legal and Political Analyst and author of the Russia Hoax, Harry Houck is a retired NYPD first-grade detective, and Juan Williams co-host of "The Five," Fox News political analyst.
So when I was watching this whole thing last night, several questions came up in my mind that I wanted to hear him answer. What was the burning question on your mind that was not asked?
GREGG JARRETT, FOX NEWS LEGAL AND POLITICAL ANALYST: There were about two dozen, but if I had to pick one, in your introduction you said inappropriate relationship with Russia. Well, what evidence did you have that the President had fallen under the influence of the Kremlin? Because you know, other than the one statement which was, well, the President had it accepted what Putin had said about North Korean missiles, all right, well that's up to the president. He makes foreign policy not you at the FBI and the Department of Justice.
So what made you think that he deserved a counterintelligence investigation of the president in the United States?
MACCALLUM: Yes. And when you look back at James Comey during the testimony, he said this. He said, we opened investigations on four Americans to see if there was any connection between those four Americans and the Russia interference effort and those four Americans did not include the candidate. But boom, once Comey gets fired, they opened, Harry, a counterterrorism investigation into the President because they suspected him of obstruction of justice.
HARRY HOUCK, RETIRED DETECTIVE, NYPD: Well, regarding the question that I would ask, I was very interested in the 25th Amendment discussion between him and Rosenstein. When Rosenstein asked McCabe about the cabinet, I said to myself, did McCabe have a conversation with somebody in the cabinet? I mean, how would this conversation you know, or this question come to be at that time?
Now, why would Rosenstein asking about the cabinet and how many votes we would have? And it also tells me that Rosenstein also has that on his mind and that maybe they both have talked about that before or both have conferred with people that were part of the president's cabinet. And we would tend to think that the president's cabinet would be behind the president 100 percent. But that question alone was very disturbing.
MACCALLUM: Yes. He said that Rosenstein had connections with the cabinet and he's suggested and one that there were a couple of members who were a little squishy on this issue, who they felt might be willing to go along because the situation was so dire. What was the situation that was so dire?
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, clearly, what you have is the President asking Comey to go easy on Flynn who was then his national security guy and of course we knew that at that point the -- or at least the FBI knew at that point that Flynn had lied quite openly about contacts with the Russians. The second part of this is the rather dramatic --
MACCALLUM: Those are two separate things though. He had -- he had --
WILLIAMS: No, you ask --
MACCALLUM: He had been untruthful about his work.
WILLIAMS: Correct. He had lied about it. That's why Sally Yates had gone forward and said that going to the White House.
MACCALLUM: Right. But it didn't have the connection to the President having influence over Russia.
WILLIAMS: No, no, no. You --
MACCALLUM: What Flynn was -- what Flynn is going to jail for is not connected to the underlying issue that he says was prompted --
WILLIAMS: No. I think the question that you were asking was about Russia's connection to him as a candidate and why would you would think that he was under the influence of the Russians. And in addition to the idea that Flynn was doing such work and that we know that there was a problem in terms of Sessions having contact with the ambassador and the like, then you come to the idea that wait a second, this is dramatic to my mind.
In the 60 Minutes interview he says, when he's told about North Korea's ability to attack the United States on the basis of American intelligence agency says oh no, Vladimir Putin told me that's not a problem. Well, if you I were there, you'd say, oh my God.
MACCALLUM: Well, I will totally give you that that's a weird exchange.
WILLIAMS: That's very weird, Martha.
MACCALLUM: But to go from that, to go from you know, well I -- what I'm hearing is -- makes more sense to me you know, and it's -- to go from that to we have to remove the President and the only way you can remove the president is if he's medically or mentally completely -- has no capability to serve.
JARRETT: And by the way, Barack Obama ignored the intelligence information from U.S. intelligence agencies about Iran and striking a deal with Iran. So come on, let's be fair here. We give the President the authority to make those follow -- foreign policy decisions. It should be alarming and almost disgusting to Americans that the FBI and Department of Justice have now become political organs. And if they disagree with the President of the United States or they just don't like him, they will go after him with a vengeance abusing their own law enforcement.
WILLIAMS: I think -- I think it's important to note here, the Constitution, 25th Amendment is in the Constitution. There's no proof.
MACCALLUM: Of course it is.
WILLIAMS: This is -- in other words this is the steps, the mechanism put in by the Founding Fathers.
JARRETT: It has to make sure --
MACCALLUM: If you're mentally or physically unfit.
WILLIAMS: No. And part of that would be if we have come to substantially believe that the president is under the influence of our number-one enemy.
JARRETT: But what does Rosenstein have to do with that process? It's up to the cabinet and the vice president, not the FBI and the Department of Justice.
HOUCK: When you look at McCabe's -- when you look at McCabe's five reasons of why he opened an investigation on the case, it's complete lunacy. I just sat there and watched that last night and I said to myself, give me a reason, please. Just give me one reason to believe that this investigation is being conducted for a real reason and he didn't give it to me at all.
MACCALLUM: All right, to be continued. Thank you, gentlemen. Great to have all of you with us tonight. Coming up next, the illegal immigrants with ties to a Mexican cartel who were peddling drugs in North Carolina and just got busted, next.
MACCALLUM: Tonight, six men busted in North Carolina. They are accused of trafficking cocaine and meth from Texas to Georgia and North Carolina as part of a drug ring with ties to the Mexican cartel. All of them are in the country illegally.
Trace Gallagher has this new story tonight from our West Coast newsroom. Hi, Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi Martha. It is no coincidence that these six illegal immigrants just happen to be high-ranking members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. The Jalisco is run by El Mencho, that's El Chapo's main rival. And with El Chapo now headed to prison for life, the Sinaloa cartel is seen as vulnerable.
And experts say we can expect turf battles and a dramatic increase in violence in cities like Juarez and Tijuana that sit just across the border from the U.S.
For example, investigators say that surveillance and communication intercepts show that in just a few months the Jalisco Cartel and the six illegal immigrants trafficked in 30 kilos of cocaine and more than 2,000 grams of methamphetamine, first into Texas then to Georgia and finally across the border with North Carolina.
The street value of that hall alone is in the millions and there apparently is also evidence the drug money was smuggled to Florida. Now, of the six subjects, Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez appears to be the leader. He and his parents both have homes in North Carolina.
Regulo Rangel-Gutierrez, Rigoberto Rangel-Gutierrez, and Raul Rangel- Gutierrez were also arrested. It's unclear if those men are related. Rodolfo Martinez and Francisco Martinez were also taken into custody.
Federal authority says the big tip came from a confidential source who spent years working in the Jalisco New Generation Cartel transporting large amounts of money. And it is also very notable that in the just past four months there had been six or seven major drug bust in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, which have also led to the arrest of six members of the brutal and violent MS-13 gang. Martha?
MACCALLUM: Well, that is quite a story. Trace, thank you. So, despite stories like the one you just heard, Beto O'Rourke says maybe we don't need the existing wall that is there along the border anymore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. REP. BETO O'ROURKE, D-TEXAS: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Knock it down. You'd knock it down.
O'ROURKE: I'd take the wall down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, he is not alone and that. See who else thinks it might not be a terrible idea in some places to take the wall down. That is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, would you if you could, would you take the wall down now here?
O'ROURKE: Yes. Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like you have wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'd knock it down.
O'ROURKE: I'd take the wall down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke is not in the 2020 race quite yet, but New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-N.Y.: I would have to ask folks in that part of the country to see whether the fencing that exists today is helpful or unhelpful. But, you know, Democrats are not afraid of national security or border security. I could look at it and see which part he means and why, and if it makes sense, I could support it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: There you go. Joining me now Charlie Hurt, Washington Times opinion editor and Fox News contributor, and Jon Summers, former communications director for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Good to have both of you with us, gentlemen. Jon, let's start with you. What you do think of her message there?
JON SUMMERS, SENATOR HARRY REID'S FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I mean, I think her message was actually fairly simple. I mean, she said that she would, you know, look at the situation on the ground and talk to the people who were there and make an informed decision from there.
I mean, what, imagine that. In this day and age that's not something we are used to at this point. But look, I can --
MACCALLUM: No. But I'm saying in terms of the idea of taking down existing fence, that's the 2006 border Safe Border Act which was backed by President Obama, by Senator Schumer and by Hillary Clinton.
I mean, you know, it was such a universal idea that we needed to obviously secure the border. So now the fence is coming apart in certain places. So, you think it's a good political idea to suggest that maybe you want to take it down?
SUMMERS: That's not what I said. I said it's a good idea to actually base decisions off of information as supposed to political ideology. And the reality is that in the last Fox poll, more than half of the people polled said they oppose President Trump's border security plan. And actually, 68 percent said that they would prefer other investments in border security.
So, do I think that taking down sections of the wall is the best idea? No, I don't. I don't think most people do and I don't think most Democrats do either. But she is one candidate. She is not even an official candidate. She's got an exploratory committee.
MACCALLUM: Well, just to be clear, in the poll, it showed most people wanted to have a secure border and that includes some of the ideas that you just mentioned.
MACCALLUM: You know, maybe technology and maybe some of those other ideas, absolutely.
SUMMERS: But more than half did not support the wall.
MACCALLUM: And the number of those who want a wall has gone from 36 to 46, I believe, over the past three polls. Charlie, your thoughts on this concept of perhaps taking it down in some places?
CHARLIE HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I'll never understand this whole argument that -- well, you know, if you think that the wall is not the most efficient way of doing this then we don't do anything at all.
Clearly, you have people like Beto O'Rourke and Kirsten Gillibrand who think that it's a good idea or maybe they're just pandering, I have no idea. But they think it's a good idea to take fencing down.
I've literally, I mean, we have debates about how effective a wall is, but I've never talk to a single American voter who is in favor of actually less wall or less fencing along the southern border. Most people do view this as a crisis of some sort, a humanitarian crisis for the people who are trying to cross the border, among other things. And they want to do something about it.
And who it is that they representing or trying to represent here, I can refer to them as the El Chapo caucus. Because they are the -- El Chapo is the only person I could imagine who would benefit from this sort of thing. But what I think is really interesting here, Martha --
SUMMERS: Well, there's plenty to talk about El Chapo because he was the king of tunnels.
HURT: -- they were absolutely dishonest. People like Beto O'Rourke and Kirsten Gillibrand are. When they talk about this kind of stuff because over the past two years both of them have supported in Congress spending 1.6 trillion, $1.6 billion on exactly this kind of border fencing as did Nancy Pelosi who calls this immoral and says that she wouldn't give a dollar to it and yet she has voted for and it's not a partisan issue in those omnibus votes.
MACCALLUM: Jon, what is the purpose of having a wall or a technology? What's the purpose of it?
SUMMERS: I think you need to have both, right, in places where it makes sense. So, you look at the Southern California border --
MACCALLUM: Right. But what's the design for? What is it supposed to do?
SUMMERS: It's supposed to helps slow people down.
MACCALLUM: Slow them down?
SUMMERS: But walls on their own -- walls on their own don't aren't effective. You need more than that. You actually, if I give you the choice between having a wall to protect yourself or police officers to protect your home, he would say well, actually, can I have both? And that's what we are talking about.
A wall on its own doesn't do it, border security, border personnel on their own don't do it. You need that combination and that's what the majority of people are actually looking for. So, again --
MACCALLUM: I think you're right about that. That's a very different message than we just heard from those two candidates.
MACCALLUM: But I think most people, you know, would probably not be in favor of taking away the protection that they have.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, guys. Good to see you both.
HRT: You bet.
MACCALLUM: So, coming up, President Trump tells Venezuelan-Americans this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: America will never be a socialist country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: A young man who is speaking about his life, the life that he knows and why he is so happy to be in Indiana.
TRUMP: I ask every member of the Maduro regime, in this nightmare of poverty, hunger, and death for your people. Let your people go. Set your country free. Now is the time for all Venezuelan patriots to act together as one united people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Well, that worked. President Trump appealing to Venezuelans today calling for officials to seize power from disputed President Nicolas Maduro.
My next guest knows what it's like to live under Venezuela's socialist regime where food was rationed, water was scarce, electrical blackouts were everyday occurrences. Eventually leaving the country -- leaving the country at 16 for a better life in America, he is now warning people, quote, in a new op-ed. "Venezuela was my home and socialism destroyed it. Slowly it will destroy America too."
Good to see you today, welcome very much. Thanks, Daniel Di Martino, who is studying economics at Purdue University in Indiana now. So, tell me what it was like when socialism took over your electricity, your water, it changed everyone's lives dramatically, right?
DANIEL DI MARTINO, BORN IN VENEZUELA: Yes. So, Martha, I, the year I was born in 1999, Chavez took power. I've never lived under any other government. So, when I was a child progressively in fact, the government started taking away our property.
In the year 2002, 2003, they started controlling foreign currency. In 2007, they nationalized electricity, water, telecommunications. And since that happened, we started having blackouts at home.
By the time that I left Venezuela in 2016, we would have a blackout every week. And I was privileged, Martha, because people in rural areas of Venezuela had sometimes blackouts for weeks. People couldn't find food. I was lucky to even have food at my place. But we just couldn't even handle it.
MACCALLUM: So, when you hear candidates talking about the green new deal and talking about health care for everyone, what's the message that you hear?
DI MARTINO: Well, I hear exactly what I heard back in Venezuela from the same socialist regime that told us that everything was all right, health care was all right. Housing was all right, jobs were all right, but in reality, when everything is all right according to the government, nothing really is.
Now everyone is either unemployed or hyperinflation has consumed our wages. My family, Martha, we were middle, upper-middle-class in 1999, and we ended up earning just $2 a day by the time we left.
People are starving in Venezuela because policies such as the one that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her green new deal, which in reality is just the right new deal, which is just how socialist wish list, would destroy the U.S. economy and lead us into the path of Venezuela.
MACCALLUM: What you think is going to happen? Because you heard the president, you know, asking Nicolas Maduro, set your people free. You know, let them move on with this new president. But what do you know at your country what is going to happen there?
DI MARTINO: Look, I agree with most Venezuelans according to the latest polls. And that we don't think the Maduro regime will leave power voluntarily. We think this is a murderous regime who was too much to lose by leaving, and too much to win by staying.
They have stolen by some accounts from $300 billion over the last 20 years to $1 trillion. That is a 20th of the U.S. economy, and this is a country that is not even a tenth of the U.S. population.
MACCALLUM: It's an incredible situation to watch and we will see what happens with Mr. Guaido. Daniel, thank you very much for being here. I hope you'll come back. Good to have you on the program. Thank you.
DI MARTINO: Thank you very much, Martha.
MACCALLUM: What a story, right? All right, coming up next, a story exclusive with the first Democrat to declare that he is running for president and why he is campaigning against the ideas that are very popular in his party right now, like Medicare for all and the green new deal that we were just talking about. Twenty-twenty presidential candidate from Maryland, John Delaney, up next.
MACCALLUM: He was the very first Democrat to announce that he was a candidate for 2020. Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney says no to Medicare for all, no to the green new deal and no to those who pushed Amazon out of New York City. So, he is bucking his own party, potentially the way to win the nomination?
Here now exclusively, John Delaney, former congressman and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Sir, good to have you with us today. Thank you very much for being here.
FMR. REP. JOHN DELANEY, D-MD.: Thanks for having me.
MACCALLUM: So, when you look at this field, you have a lot of people who have some pretty decent name recognition, they spent time in the Senate, ran for Senate. In Beto O'Rourke's case if he gets in, but a lot of people don't know who you are and in most of the polls that we've seen you barely register. So how do you plan to turn that around?
DELANEY: Well, I just opened my sixth office here in Iowa, I'm sitting here in Waterloo, Iowa. We've got more people on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire that the other campaigns. We've got a big campaign here.
So, Martha, I'm pursuing that kind of old-fashioned early state strategy where you are in coffee shops and people's living rooms and you're telling them what your plans are and I'm introducing myself to them. And we are getting a lot of enthusiasm on the ground here in Iowa and New Hampshire.
So, to some extent I'm playing a bit of a different game. Right? I'm not necessarily playing the national media game right now, I am playing the Iowa, New Hampshire early state strategy. I've done over 300 events in these early states, we have a lot of supporters on the ground here. And we've got a good size team. I just, like I said, I just opened my office here in Waterloo.
DELANEY: It's a snowy day here. We had 70 people. We stayed for a couple hours. It was a great event.
MACCALLUM: So how do you keep that, you know, the long-term picture as these other people get in and they are going flood Iowa as well. And I understand what you're saying about your strategy, that you realize --
MACCALLUM: -- I would imagine that you are kind of an underdog in this thing and you don't have a lot of name recognition. The other thing is though, that, you know, we're hearing a lot about how diverse the candidate needs to be for the Democratic side. That that's a major.
We heard Cory Booker say the other say, you know, I will definitely pick a woman if I am the nominee because that will give the balance that might take it needs. You are, you know, a middle-aged white male, what kind of -- how -- what do you have to offer to that equation?
DELANEY: So, listen, I think the diversity in our party is terrific. I think our party right now at this moment in time really represents the American people. You know, I'm not a person of color and I'm not a woman as you correctly recognized there. And so, I can never fully appreciate all of the issues people of color and women have had to deal with in this country.
But I do believe at the end of the day what the Democratic Party is going to look for is the person who they think is the best leader, who has the best vision for the country. I'm running as a pragmatic idealist. There's big things I want to do to make this world better, but I actually want to get them done. I want to find common ground. I want to bring people together.
MACCALLUM: What is number one on your list? We know you don't like the green new deal, you don't like Medicare for all. What's the number one thing that you -- what's your mission?
DELANEY: Well, so, it's not that I don't like those things, right. I like the fact that people are trying to create universal health care, I like the fact that we're dealing with climate change. I just have better ways of doing them. Right.
I think the issue with climate change, for example, -- as I introduced the only bipartisan carbon tax bill in the Congress. That's right. Democrats and Republicans coming together on a carbon tax and we take all the money and we give it right back to the American people in a dividend. That's the kind of solution that I can get done.
I think we should have universal health care in this country, but I don't think we should get there by making private insurance illegal. That's a crazy approach, right? So, I want to do things that matters to everyday Americans with their education, with their health care, create jobs and communities that have been left behind.
We've seen a tremendous hollowing out economically of jobs in this country. You know, last year, Martha, in our country, 80 percent of the money for startup companies went to 50 counties out of over 3,000 in this country.
And I'm a former entrepreneur. I started two companies and took on public on the New York Stock Exchange. So, I know how to create jobs. So, I'm focused on jobs, I'm focused on health care, I'm focused on education, opportunities for people's kids. These are issues that matter to the American people.
MACCALLUM: What about the idea that you might be running as a potential vice-presidential candidate? What do you say to that? There's a lot of women who are in the field. Is that something that you would consider?
DELANEY: I'm running for president. So that's my goal. I am the right person for the job. I believe I have the right vision for the country. And importantly, I'm very focused on bringing this country together.
I think one of the central issues we face as a country is how terribly divided we are. how Americans has been increasingly pitted against Americans. So, I think we have to get back to this notion of common purpose that we're all in it together. There are some big things we need to do but we have to do them together.
And there's obvious solutions for all the issues we face as a country right now, whether it's health care, climate change, jobs, pharmaceutical prices, but we got to solve them together.
MACCALLUM: Al right. John Delaney, we thank you for coming on. We hope to talk to all the Democratic candidates. And we thank you for your time tonight. Thank you, sir.
DELANEY: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, a final farewell tonight, to the navy sailor in this iconic photo. He was 21 at the time when he got the word that victory was declared over Japan ending World War II. George Mendonsa planted that famous kiss on a pretty stranger to celebrate. He later became a fisherman in Rhode Island that's where he died at the age of 95. We thank him for his service and his exuberance on that day. That is "The Story" for Monday, the 18th. We'll see you tomorrow night.
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