Austin police chief on city's homeless problem

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," July 9, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Bret, thank you. Great to see you. All right, everybody. Tonight, as team Obama and other candidates continued to kind of pile on Joe Biden all the time, there's a new analysis that looks beneath the numbers of the frontrunners current standing and asks the question, is Joe Biden really the front runner here?

First, in the most straightforward way, the answer is yes, according to the current polls. But how long will that last? Because look at the trend here. He's been on a steady decline, basically, since he stepped on the debate stage. He will, however, get another shot at that later this month.

And while he's garnered more endorsements, that's just one measure than anyone else, really most of the big endorsements have not backed to anybody yet including him. All of this and Obama team support confused to be lukewarm to downright cold.

Last night, former White House communications director Jen Psaki, chimed in about Biden's frequent mention of his friendship with a former president.


JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Barack said it best in other context. When Barack and I -- Barack did, I help. That's exactly what Barack and I talked about. The thing Barack and I would talk about -- It was a consequence of what Barack had done.

JEN PSAKI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: If it was possible to transfer support from an endorsement or a friendship, Hillary Clinton would be president.


MACCALLUM: Ouch. And Michelle Obama and David Axelrod have been negative to non-committal, respectively. And a former Obama staffer is less than impressed with the former vice president's fundraising.


RAVI GUPTA, FORMER STAFFER, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: I think we -- everybody was expecting bigger fundraising numbers from him, especially, since he was leading in the polls. But I think Biden's in trouble with these number.


MACCALLUM: So, take all that and then look at this. As Obamacare today faces a very big hurdle in the courts. Joe Biden is putting a lot of his chips on the healthcare program that his fellow candidates are basically saying is so yesterday.


BIDEN: The quickest fastest way to do it is build on Obamacare. To build on what we did. The idea you're going to come along and take the most significant thing that happened that any president is trying to do and that got done and dismantle, it makes no sense to me.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Four out of the top five people in your polls right now are on the complete opposite said from you.

BIDEN: Look, starting over, it would be, I think, a sin.


MACCALLUM: In moments, Charlie Hurt, Ari Fleischer, and Austan Goolsbee weigh in. But first, we begin with chief legal correspondent Shannon Bream, who joins me now. She is also the host, of course, of "Fox News @ Night" later this evening, we'll all be watching. Shannon, good to see you tonight. Tell us what happened in the courts today with Obamacare.

SHANNON BREAM, ANCHOR: Well, Martha, this could be the end of Obamacare depending on what these three judges decide to do. And, of course, there's always the next step where this could end up at the Supreme Court in the middle of a 2020 presidential campaign, in election.

So, I mean, the stakes are really high here.

Essentially, what the opponents are arguing is that, listen, when Congress a couple of years ago, zeroed out the penalty that tax you would pay if you didn't comply with the individual mandate, they say that was the whole linchpin holding this entire thing together.

You'll remember the Supreme Court said they hung it on that. It's a taxation power that means the House could start this thing, it could go through the process on the Hill. So, the opponents are now saying that that's gone, the whole thing has to go.

And two of these three judges today, one of them didn't say a word, we're told during the arguments today in New Orleans. Two of the three had serious concerns about how the law could survive.

So, it looks like, at least, from the arguments today, they were pretty open to what the plaintiffs had to say about getting rid of the Affordable Care Act altogether.

MACCALLUM: Yes, and who are these judges, Shannon, who are making this big decision?

BREAM: Well, it's interesting the president has made a lot of -- you know, noise about filling up the federal judiciary. Well, one of his appointees is actually on this Fifth Circuit Court today. Another is an appointee of President George W. Bush. And the other one, the third who didn't speak at all was an appointee of President Carter.

So, you do have a mix on the panel there, but it's almost certain that whomever wins or loses here, this thing is going to end up at the Supreme Court. And listen, it's going to be a political event as well because if the Democrats lose, they're going to say, OK, Republicans are stripping away health care from tens of millions of people but they have no backup plan. They've talked about it quite a bit, you know, the GOP has not been able to come up with enough of one to get everybody together to vote on it. It's going to be very political whatever this court does.

MACCALLUM: I mean it would be amazing to see the Supreme Court have to face this question again.

BREAM: Yet again.

MACCALLUM: Especially, if there's no tax. Because that's what Justice Roberts hung his decision on. He said, you know, Congress can tax, and therefore, this program is constitutional. And then, you've gotten Brett Kavanaugh in the mix now, right?

BREAM: Yes. And so, it's a very different court than heard this case and this is be the third bite essentially, really at the foundations of the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court.

It puts them in a terrible position because they don't want to be viewed as political, but they've ruled on this law before. It's very likely it could end up there again in the middle of the campaign.


BREAM: Both sides are going to campaign off of it. And those justices may have yet another very tough decision to make.

MACCALLUM: That is going to be very interesting. Shannon, thank you so much. Great to see you. We'll see you later tonight.

BREAM: See you.

MACCALLUM: So, coming up now, Charlie Hurt, here in studio with me. Washington Times opinion editor and author of the new book, Still Winning: Why America went All In on Donald Trump, And Why It Must Do It Again. That's Charlie's opinion and that is the title of that book.

Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary. Both are Fox News contributors. Austan Goolsbee, President Obama's former chief economist and professor at the University of Chicago. He's been reading Charlie's book back to front. Right? Right, Austan? And is --


MACCALLUM: And he's convinced. Great to see all of you tonight. You know -- you know, first of all, Austan, let me go to you with the sort of introduction that we put together tonight about these questions about the support for Joe Biden in the Democratic Party. And the fact that he seems to be putting so many of his eggs in the Obama care basket given what's going on in the courts.

GOOLSBEE: Yes. Look, I thought your opening was fair to the vice president and the fact is he didn't have a great first debate. The nomination and the White House are not jobs that are owed, anybody. You have to earn it for either party, either nomination.

If Joe Biden uses this challenge as an opportunity and goes out nerds the nomination in a way this would be the best thing that could happen to him. If he doesn't, if he continues to be undisciplined and stumbles, he's not going to be the nominee, and I think that's just a reality.

MACCALLUM: What does your gut tell you right now, Austan, about where this goes for him?

GOOLSBEE: You know, I worked closely with the vice president, and I'm a big admirer of his, and I think you would count him out a bit at your peril. I think he could turn it around and I have been a bit surprised that he wasn't more talking -- why was he talking about what he did in the Senate in the 1970s? He should be talking about I was friends with President Barack Obama who's very popular to the Democratic electorate.


GOOLSBEE: And if the court throws out Obamacare in a way, that's going to be the Trump campaigns biggest nightmare. Because they're going to get some people really agitated and that's an issue that's kind of played it to Biden's favor.

MACCALLUM: All right, Ari, I wanted you to take a look at some of these sort of underlying numbers which 538 did a very interesting job putting together some of this. Take a look at this, which deals with -- you know, recognition, candidate recognition, and how well are unknown they are, right. So, we know that Joe Biden got a very nice pop because he was probably the only name that people knew in the early going here. He -- he's at that 30 percent line in terms of recognition there.

Now, think about the fact that Hillary Clinton was at 60 percent. In the same measure according to 538. And Ari, she lost as we all well know.

ARI FLEISCHER, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that's the real question is Joe Biden-Hillary Clinton 2020. And I think all evidence going to point that's going to be the case for him. He just feels like yesterday's senator. And that's his problem.

This is what he talked about the segregationist that he knew in the 70s, because it was comfortable it was natural, it was Joe. And he's missing what 2020 feels like for especially for grassroots Democrats. Now, I do think there's another side of all of this. And that is there's a tremendous tension inside the Democrat Party to get as far left as they can, but still, defeat Donald Trump.

You've got the pragmatist who just want to defeat Trump. They really don't care who it is as long as it's not Trump. But you've got the people who are ideological, who really want to use this moment to get to the left. And we're going to see that tension play out.

MACCALLUM: Yes, you know, and we've seen Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris as we showed, in the beginning, are rising in terms of people's perspective on their electability. Charlie, you know, when you look at, at this, electability is a very tricky thing. So, Joe Biden might be more electable than any of those other folks, and President Trump has said, "You know, give me Elizabeth Warren, I'd love to run against to her. He's a little more complimentary about Kamala Harris."

CHARLES HURT, CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, and it kind of reminds me a little bit of 2004 when you had President Bush running for reelection and there was a lot of people on the Left who really didn't like him. And they would do anything to topple him. And, of course, they ran off with Howard Dean for a long time.

And then, at the last minute, they were reminded the electability was the only thing they cared about. And so, they jumped into the arms of John Kerry, which, of course, didn't work out very well for him. But, you know, people forget.

Joe Biden has been part of the problem in Washington for nearly 50 years and the entire time he's been in Washington, he's been trying to figure out how to become president. And he's run a couple of times and it's -- and it's been disastrous. And the only -- the closest he's ever gotten to the White House is when Barack Obama needed somebody that fitted his description. And so, you know, it's a good reminder that he really is kind of bad at this.

MACCALLUM: Yes, well, he's never made it past to Iowa. But he's also been vice president for eight years. But Austan, you know, it raises the question that we talked about an intro here. You know, why are so many of the close Obama associates so unwilling to be pro-Joe Biden.

GOOLSBEE: Well, I think you got a lot of things going on. There were a lot of people who worked in the Obama administration, many of those people have actively chosen a candidate now. They either from what who their home state was or people that they're working for so. That explains part of it. And I think this tension that's going to play out between different wings of the party and between the older wing and the younger wing, that's a natural process to happen in a primary.

This is the most on steroids mega version where we got 26 candidates now on the Democratic side. So, I don't think that just the fact that there are a bunch of Obama staffers who have chosen somebody else besides Joe Biden, necessarily means he's going to have trouble. But it doesn't mean he's home free by any means.


GOOLSBEE: I mean, like I say, he's got to go out and earn it and show that he's on his game.

MACCALLUM: Yes, so, Ari, you're shaking your head, why?

FLEISCHER: Because I think it is serious. I think these are people who know Joe Biden. They worked with him at the White House. They've seen him, I suspect, they had to carry a bucket and a pail and a broom. And clean up after him a few times. And so, they know the character of the man.

You know, I was just thinking in the Bush White House. If we were put in the same position, there was somebody we knew that a vice president who was running and we didn't support him that would be telling.

MACCALLUM: You guys wouldn't involve rallied around Dick Cheney for president.


GOOLSBEE: But there are many that do support him, in fairness.

FLEISCHER: Well, he never said he was going to run. But if there was any younger person who said he was going to run, the White House staff under Bush was throwing their support to a senator here or a congressman there, it wouldn't feel right.


FLEISCHER: That there's a sign of problem for the vice president.

MACCALLUM: So, Charlie, also today, you know, he calls himself middle- class Joe. He released his tax returns today. He's made $2.8 million in speaking fees and other engagements. You know, more power to him, he has every right to do that as a private citizen. But, you know, is that going to pose a problem for him in the next debate potentially.

HURT: Oh, I think absolutely. And I think that there's this huge disconnect between him and the rest of the candidates running. And in a lot of ways, it's a little bit alarming for America because you have a Democratic Party that has just sort of lurched so far to the left that -- it's not even recognizable by a thing.

I think a lot of regular Democratic voters who are their base outside of Washington. And that's bad for Democrats because I don't think they can win the White House that way -- that way.

But it's also bad for America because, you know, we do need a viable good smart opposition party to keep, you know, both parties honest.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, gentlemen. Great to see all of you tonight.

HURT: You bet.

MACCALLUM: Good to have you here. Coming up next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you aware that your great-great granddaughters were slave owners in Alabama before the civil war? And has that revelation caused you to change your position on reparations?


MACCALLUM: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attacked for not supporting reparations. But what about the timing of all of this? Is it a little bit curious? THE STORY investigates, next.



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY: I don't think reparations for something that happens 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea. We you know, tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We've elected an African-American president.


MACCALLUM: So that was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaking out against reparations about a month ago. But now the Senator become a central target in a lot of ways for Democrat presidential hopefuls.

This story then surfaced from NBC calling the reparations issue "close to home" for McConnell after they unearthed census records back from the 1800s that show his ancestors owned slaves in Alabama. Questioned whether this report changes things for him, here's what he said.


MCCONNELL: You know, I find myself once again in the same position as President Obama. We both oppose reparations and we both are the descendants of slaveholders.


MACCALLUM: So tonight, there are questions about this and also about the timing of this report which comes just as a former fighter pilot Democrat Amy McGrath has launched a challenge to try to oust the long-time Kentucky Senator in 2020.


AMY MCGRATH, FORMER FIGHTER PILOT: One of the reasons why Kentucky voted for Donald Trump is to drain the swamp. And all along the way if you look at you know, why he hasn't been able to get those things done, you got a look at Senator McConnell.


MACCALLUM: That is veteran, former pilot Amy McGrath who was on Fox Business Network. James Robbins of USA Today, Contributor and Author of Erasing America: Losing Our Future By destroying Our Past joins me now. James, good to have you with us today.

You wrote about something that you know, perhaps Senator McConnell read your piece and talked about today and President Obama himself talked about the fact that in his ancestry there were potential links to slave owners. Tell me about that.

JAMES ROBBINS, CONTRIBUTOR, USA TODAY: Well, it's true Barack Obama in a way embodies some of the contradictions on looking at this reparations issue because he's African-American but his father came from Africa and his white mother is a descendent of slaveholders but also he has Union veterans on that side of his family too.

So if people are going to go back through genealogies and try to parse out who's responsible for things that happen over 150 years ago, it just shows how complicated that can be.

MACCALLUM: Yes, it certainly is. And it's interesting you know, given the polling on this which shows that most Americans do not support reparations, that some of the Democratic candidates have chosen to make this something that they do talk about a fair amount on the campaign trail.

Beto O'Rourke is one of those candidates who has spent a fair amount of time talking about this. Here he is on the topic just recently. Watch this.


BETO O'ROURKE, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This country was founded on white supremacy and every single institution and structure that we have in our country still reflects the legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow.


MACCALLUM: I just want to reiterate the language there because it's pretty -- it's very strong language. He says every single institution and structure that we have in this country still reflects the legacy of slavery, and segregation, and Jim Crow. What do you -- what do you think about that, sir?

ROBBINS: That's really sad. I don't know who taught him to hate America so much. I mean, to think that all Americans think that all institutions are like that, that's very sad. But look at it politically. The majority of Americans are opposed to this issue.

And try taking it to battleground states like Wisconsin, or Ohio, or Michigan, states that run the Union side in the Civil War and say well, thank you for winning the war and for abolishing slavery but now you're all guilty and you're all part of this institutional racism. I mean, that just isn't going to fly.

MACCALLUM: I'm sure he would disagree with you that he hates America but I understand your point in looking at the fact that he says that every single institution and structure still reflects the legacy of slavery, it's a very controversial point. You talk about collective victimhood and guilt. Talk about that.

ROBBINS: Well, the only way that this can really work and what the proponents of this are talking about is saying things like what Beto said that we're all guilty of it, that it's collective American guilt. And this is how they avoid the question of the you know, the genealogical question of who's responsible, and also the fact that the people who held slaves and the slaves themselves are all since passed away.

But that's not really an American concept, collective guilt. That's not in our law, it's not in our history, and it's not something that people like. I think that pursuing that really makes people more indignant because Americans don't feel that they had anything to do with this and not these days.

MACCALLUM: And that the children should be guilty for the sins of their fathers is not an idea that is you know baked into American jurisprudence. You know, what about the you know, the success? You heard Mitch McConnell talk about the fact that we've had an African-American president. You know that's something that people point to, all of the success of so many African-Americans in this country, but people who are in favor of reparations would say yes, we're so far from done. We're not all the way there yet.

ROBBINS: You know, one of the reasons why Barack Obama opposed the idea of reparations was because people would take it as a symbol of being done, that if it was passed and there was you know, what, you write a check or whatever it is, that then people would say OK, fine, that's it. Reparations and now it's done. We no longer have any more work to do towards racial harmony or anything else. You wanted the payout so there it is.

And so that's the reason -- one of the reasons why he opposed this and I think it was a pretty sensible approach.

MACCALLUM: James Robbins, thank you, sir. Good to have you. An interesting piece today, thanks for coming on tonight.

ROBBINS: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So another American city has opened its streets to the homeless saying that it will allow tense and panhandling but interestingly the city says they'll allow it everywhere except City Hall property. They're exempt. So why are more and more American cities looking like this and who is running them?


MACCALLUM: There is new speculations tonight about Robert Mueller's testimony on the Hill which is highly anticipated next week. Now, Attorney General William Barr submits a comment yesterday which got a lot of attention. He said well, if you know, Robert Mueller decides that he doesn't want to testify, he would have the backing of the DOJ in that decision.

Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge live from Washington tonight. Catherine, good evening to you. That was very interesting. Do you think there's any chance that this changes the game for next week?

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martha, let me tell you what we've got through our own reporting. What we know from sources telling Fox News is that the former Special Counsel Robert Mueller remains a reluctant witness and a number of options are under consideration.

Traveling in South Carolina late yesterday, Attorney General William Barr as you mentioned appear to offer Mueller an exit ramp.


WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: And if Bob decides that he doesn't want to be subject to that, then the Department of Justice would certainly back him.


HERRIDGE: Mueller is scheduled to publicly testify next Wednesday before the Democrat-led House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. His nearly 500-page report found no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia but it did not "exonerate the President on obstruction of justice allegations."

At that same news conference, Barr seemed to throw shade on House Democrats for compelling Mueller's testimony.


BARR: I was disappointed to see him subpoenaed because I don't think that serves an important purpose dragging Bob Mueller up if he, in fact, is going to stick to the report. It seems to me the only reason for doing that is to create some kind of public spectacle.


HERRIDGE: Remember in May, Mueller gave his only public statement on the Russia report findings and at that news conference he did not take reporter questions.


ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL: And the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that, which is already public in any appearance before Congress.


HERRIDGE: With the White House ordering current and former officials to limit or not testify to the House committees, the Mueller hearing gives Democrats a high-profile witness and if it goes ahead, a very precarious format with more than five dozen lawmakers between the two committees asking the questions, Martha.

MACCALLUM: We will have live coverage from Washington, D.C., next week as that unfolds. Catherine, thank you very much.

HERRIDGE: See you later.

MACCALLUM: Thanks for being here tonight.

Coming up next, Iran makes another move towards nukes and has a new warning for the United Kingdom. Senator Marco Rubio on how the world should respond next.


JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR OF THE UNITED STATES: I am here to tell you today, President Trump's maximum pressure campaign against Iran is working.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long are you going to wait before you see the Iranians enrich --

TRUMP: Well, we're going to see what happens with Iran. Iran is doing a lot of bad things right now and they better be very careful.


MACCALLUM: President Trump with a warning for Iran today from the Oval Office as their country moves one step closer to developing a nuclear weapon in terms of the new enrichment program that they are putting in place.

The rogue regime enriching uranium beyond the limit that was set in the nuclear deal and the United States says that it will not back down on this issue. But privately, it could be a slightly different story.

Tonight, there are reports that U.S. officials met secretly with Iranian representatives at a hotel in Erbil, Iraq and that is according to an Israeli tv station. What the developers are, if there are any out of that meeting.

At this point we can't say but tensions are also ramping up between Iran and European allies who are at an increasingly difficult position in this whole thing because they are still part of the Iranian deal after British forces seized an Iranian tanker that was headed to Syria.

One of Iran's top generals responded saying the move will not go, quote, "unanswered." That was today. Israel also in the mix of course. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making his ability to respond to any provocation quite clear.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Recently, Iran has been threatening to distract Israel. They would do well to remember that these planes can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran and certainly Syria.


MACCALLUM: Joining me now, Senator Marco Rubio, former -- a member of the foreign relations committee. Senator, good evening. Good to have you with us. Thanks for being here tonight.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Let's kind of go through that backwards. When you look at what Benjamin Netanyahu was saying, the prime minister there, he is responding to a lawmaker in Israel who said that any attack on us, Israel's remaining life span would not reach even a half an hour. Your thoughts on that tonight?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, these threats from Iran have been pretty consistent and I think they mean it. Look, this is a country whose leader leads chants every Friday, death to America, death to Israel.

MACCALLUM: That's right.

RUBIO: And when you think about the fact that they are trying to acquire nuclear weapons, which is long term goal of theirs but they've already developed long range missiles, they continue to build these missiles. I think you'll see them to continue to test these missiles of longer and longer range and accuracy.

They sponsor terrorism all over the region, primarily as proxy forces that by the way killed and maimed hundreds of Americans in Iraq. They were the authors and the builders of those IEDs that hurt our troops there in the past and you've seen the recent attacks as well and things they've done in the region.

This is par for the course with a terroristic regime that needs to be reined in. And the problem with the Iran deal was it allowed them to do all of that. The only thing it said is you couldn't enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium but you could continue to do the missiles, you could continue to do the cyber-attacks, you could continue to sponsor the terrorism. That's ridiculous.

MACCALLUM: But what do you say to those who say, look, under the deal, if you believe Iran, and I guess that's a big if in this situation, they were not enriching to the levels that they are now enriching to and that under the deal it would have taken a year for them to acquire a nuclear weapon and that is also now off the table. What do we do to stop them? We say they can't have a nuclear weapon, but what are we going to do?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, let's start with the deal didn't cover. The deal allowed them to continue -- they could continue to build these missiles and they didn't violate the deal. They could continue to pour millions of dollars into Hezbollah and other proxy terrorist organizations, and that wasn't a violation of the deal.

They could carry out sanctions' evasions on behalf of Syria, which is the reason why that ship was seized by the British marines off Gibraltar, because it was taking oil to a prohibited entity and it didn't violate the deal.

And ultimately, at some point down the road, once they have their missiles, once they poured billions of dollars from sanctions relief into building their capabilities to do all of these things, then Iran would announce, you know, we are going to be nuclear-capable and we're going to enrich, at that point they will have achieved a lot at this and they will be hoping that at that point in time the world will be less willing to reimpose sanctions.

That was their plan all along and the president was right to get us out of the deal, and by the way, this was an issue in the 2016 presidential campaign. The president said he would pull us out of the deal, Hillary Clinton said she would keep it.


RUBIO: He won and he's doing what he said he would do and he's doing the right thing in my view.

MACCALLUM: Yes. But what happens when push comes to shove? I mean, they are being very provocative going after tankers. There's, you know, the Saudi -- the airport bombing as well. So, what happens when push comes to shove? How do we back up and say that we mean it? What are we going to do?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, Americans, the United States is always going to defend itself against any attacks against us, our interest, or are personnel. That was true during the deal, before the deal and after the deal. That will always be true.

If Iran attacked the United States, they are going to get a response that will be strong and definitive.

That said, the sanctions continue in place. We are not going to -- we are not going to put back this relief so that they can have millions and millions of more dollars every month that they can use to build the rockets to sponsor the terrorism.

My goodness, you've already seen that Hezbollah has announced openly that they are having budget problems and funding problems. That is related to the sanctions being put back in.

MACCALLUM: All right. We are going to watch, as I know you do every single day in the Senate. Before I let you go, though, I want to ask you a Florida question with relation to this Epstein case.

And the Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, who was involved, he's one of the prosecutors who was part of what was seen as just a very sweet deal, given what was at stake here. What you think should happen? Should he remain as labor secretary?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I think we need to know exactly why the deal was made. There's only two -- there's only two ways this happen. The first is it was a very difficult prosecutorial decision, which as Secretary Acosta has said that at the time, they didn't have enough witnesses, they didn't have enough evidence, the state grand jury couldn't even indict him and there was a real fear he could walk.

It was either that, that in hindsight looks terrible, or it was political influence and people protecting him. And that's why the Department of Justice is undertaking a probe right now if there was prosecutorial misconduct, there should be accountability for that and that's what we are hoping to find out from this probe, and we should wait before it comes back before we make any further pronouncements about that.

MACCALLUM: OK, Senator Rubio, always good to have you on THE STORY. Thank you very much tonight, sir.

RUBIO: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, Austin, Texas, is becoming the latest to open its streets to legal tent cities and panhandling. So how is that going? The inside story from Austin's police chief Brian Manley. He's up next.


MACCALLUM: So, despite the strong economy, many cities, including New York, L.A., Seattle, San Francisco, are drawing more and more homeless citizens to their towns and cities. Now Austin can be added to that list.

The city council there has decriminalized public camping and sleeping and panhandling on their public sidewalks. In moments we are going to talk to Austin police chief Brian Manley about that, but first, the back story from chief correspondent Jonathan Hunt. Good evening, Jonathan, thank you.

JONATHAN HUNT, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. Under the new law, the Austin Police Department cannot arrest anyone who is camping, laying, or sitting in a public area unless they present a public health or safety hazard or are blocking a walkway. Supporters of the move say it will help break the cycle of homelessness because if someone is arrested for sleeping in public spaces it can give that person a criminal record, which can make it harder to get work or find a real place to live.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott opposes the idea tweeting last month before it became a reality, quote, "If Austin or any other Texas City permits camping on city streets, it will be yet another ordinance the State of Texas will override. At some point cities must start putting public safety and common sense first."

Austin Mayor Steve Adler called on the governor to do more to help solve the homeless crisis as Austin commits to an 18-month study of the problem.


MAYOR STEVE ADLER, D-AUSTIN, TEXAS: I hope in that year and a half we are able to establish these programs and these policies in a way that works. That makes the state proud, and at the next legislative session, they are actually scaling up those solutions and doing it in other cities around Texas.


HUNT: The ordinance does not allow people to camp in city parks, but it does give them to go ahead to sleep and placed tents on sidewalks, outside private homes or businesses, for instance, if they are not unreasonably blocking anyone.

Mayor Adler, by the way, is this week visiting Seattle and Los Angeles to learn how those cities deal with the problem of homelessness. Austin has around 2500 homeless people by a recent count. Seattle around six times that number, and here in L.A., Martha, the homeless population is estimated at around 55,000. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much, Jonathan. Jonathan Hunt out of Los Angeles. Joining me now, as promised, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley. Chief Manley, good to have you with us tonight, thank you very much for being here.


MACCALLUM: How would you describe how this is going so far? And how are your officers managing with this?

MANLEY: So, we are only a week into the change in the ordinances and as with any change we get, whether it be from our local governing body or the state legislature, the officers are complying with the new regulations. We put out training bulletins and again emphasized to the officers what the new requirements of the new ordinances are that we are focused on the behavior that is either dangerous or hazardous, or that is blocking the passageways.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Obviously, you know, as you point out, your force and you are newly in charge. You did an excellent job handling the bombing situation in Boston and were promoted to chief there, but whatever is put in front of your officers is what they will carry out and what they will handle and manage as best they can.

But on the Austin Police Association Facebook page, people are starting to weigh on it and I'd like to get your reaction to some of this. It says, "Officers and citizens are reporting camps sprouting up all over town. Officers are confused on how to enforce the changes. Department direction is vague at best according to this one individual. Hashtag bad, bad decision." Obviously, he's not happy. What do you say to him?

MANLEY: Well, again, social media was an avenue where people can post whatever they like. We've put out clear directions to the officers as far as what the new ordinances require.

I think the big change for us as a community and as a department is areas where officers used to have the ability to impact complaints that we would receive being individuals that felt like their safety was in jeopardy or didn't feel comfortable in a situation.

If that doesn't rise to the level where an officer believes it would meet the threshold of being hazardous or dangerous, we won't have the opportunity to try and gain voluntary compliance to get that person to either change their behavior or move to another location.

And we had a pretty good success with that in dealing with homeless populations, especially in our downtown area. We were seeing compliance rates somewhere in the neighborhood of 98 percent when we would ask an individual to either change the behavior or move, that they would comply.


MANLEY: So, with the new regulations we now have to wait for that behavior to reach the level of where it's hazardous or dangerous or if there are blocking that --


MACCALLUM: Well, let me ask you, because here is an example from another person who put a question to the police online. "People are sleeping on the sidewalk in front of my residence. This is concerning for my family. Can't you all do anything about that?" And the answer was "No, the new obstruction camping ordinances allow camping on the sidewalks, alleyways, and other public places except parks in city hall, which includes in front of your house." Your reaction?

MANLEY: So depending upon that location, if it was on public property, people's private property is still protected and their private property rights are not impacted by this, but if it is on that portion of public property between the street and the private property, if it is not unreasonably blocking someone from utilizing sidewalk or that passageway, and we cannot establish that it's hazardous or dangerous --


MACCALLUM: Then you have to --

MANLEY: -- then yes, under the new requirements we are limited.

MACCALLUM: Understood. Chief Manley, thank you very much. Good to have you here. We'll be watching on how it unfolds in the city of Austin, Texas. Thank you, chief.

MANLEY: Great. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: You bet. Coming up next, one charter school's incredible story of success.



FMR. REP. BETO O'ROURKE, D-TX, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because there is a place for public, nonprofit charter schools. But private charter schools, and voucher programs, not a single dime in my administration will go to them.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And federal funding completely before profits chartered schools. Moratorium on all new charter schools.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get away from charter schools. No federal funding for charter schools.


MACCALLUM: All right. So, there are some of the candidates who have campaigned against federal funding for charter schools, but one charter school here in New York could be proved that it is working in some places.

At Success Academy, Bronx two, despite being in the nation's poorest district, all 53 eighth-graders, aced the statewide math exam. Aced it. News they found out about at graduation. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is better every single one of them turned the highest score of a five --



MACCALLUM: Every single one of them earned the highest score on the algebra region's exam. Thanks in no small part to this woman, their math teacher at Success Academy, Karina Matteo.

Karina, I saw THE STORY weeks ago in the New York Post. And I just thought the pictures were so beautiful and we have some of those pictures I think of you celebrating with all of your students there. You are right in the middle of that group.

How did you get all of these kids to do so well on this test and has this ever happened before at your charter school?

KARINA MATTEO, MATH TEACHER, SUCCESS ACADEMY: So, to answer your first question, it's really just believing in them and letting them know that the bar is high because they can do it. I mean, that's how we really did it.

And in terms of we've ever done it before, last year it was the first year that we did algebra one in the eighth grade because it's a ninth grade test, last year, we had a 100 percent passed, and about 85 percent get aced, but this is the first year that we had 100 percent of them passed and a 100 percent of them get an A.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, it really is a great feat and when you look at the numbers in district nine in the Bronx, only 2 percent scored an 85 percent or higher. So, what is your, what is your trick and what do you say to those who say, well, you know, you've got the cream of the crop?

MATTEO: So, I wouldn't say that it's a trick. It's more so, these scholars have been in an amazing educational program since kindergarten. They've been prepped with progressive teachings since, again kindergarten.

So, by the time they got to me, there were no gaps that I have to close as much. I mean, there are always some, but they weren't drastic. So, again, a large part of it is Success Academy and that foundation. But also, it's always having a high bar.

So, it's from day one letting them know like every mini quiz, every homework, every little do now, you need to do your absolute best. And when you do your absolute best, you will see the results.

MACCALLUM: And you went to Vassar. And obviously, you work hard and got good grades. You know, but when you listen to some of these folks who are against these schools and who say that it drains the public school system, we just heard from some people in the intro who were saying that, what do you say about that?

MATTEO: All I know is that in a community where there are such low expectations, there is a bright spot. These kids are benefiting from this opportunity and because of our school, I know that they are going to go on to have as many doors open for them as possible.

So, I just don't know how you can be against our kids, our families when it's so positive. These kids believe in themselves. They can go out into the world and say that they are great at math. How many kids can say that?

MACCALLUM: I know I can't but I'm glad they can. Just, you know, one last question for you with regard to the rest of the city. There are caps on how many charter schools can be in New York City. Do you think that's a good thing or would you like to see more of these schools open?

MATTEO: I know that there are families that want more schools. So, if there are families that want this, then I think that we should respect their wishes and we should increase the cap. If people didn't want this, then it would be a different story but the families that need it most are the ones that are advocating for it.

MACCALLUM: Yes. And how did they get into your school?

MATTEO: So, it's a lottery system, and the kindergarten --


MACCALLUM: So, anyone can apply?

MATTEO: Anyone can apply even if they have an IEP or -- it doesn't matter what background they have they can apply. We make it work for them.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Well, good for you. Congratulations to your students.

MATTEO: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: And we thank you very much for coming in. So, letting me know for everybody kind of think about in the mix so they are hearing a lot about it.

Karina, congratulations. Thank you.

MATTEO: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: That is “The Story” on this Tuesday night. We'll see you back here tomorrow night at 7. We go to D.C. next. Tucker Carlson is waiting and standing by.

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