Beto O'Rourke plans solo road trip, sparking new 2020 speculation

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," January 8, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Big important evening, Brett. Thank you very much. So, the question folks at home, will President Trump bargain amnesty for his wall or will he lay down the gauntlet tonight on the national emergency as he sees it. Senator Marco Rubio answers questions about that in moments.

And as Brett just said, in under two hours, President Trump will do something that only a president of the United States can do. An address from The Oval Office to the American people. It is reserved for very important moments. An attempts at persuasion for the American people.

For years, Democrats have said, yes we want a secure border. The president, of course, agrees with that. Tonight, he's going to say that the situation is a crisis. He's going to try to convince doubters that it is a danger to the country. Much is at stake. This is his biggest campaign promise was to build a wall. Where now, as it's called perhaps a fence with steel slats.

The point is it's going to be one that you can't get over, you can't go under, and you can't ram through the soft spots. You would have to enter the United States through an actual port of entry. Which many believed would be safer for everyone concerned.

The president has asked for just $5.6 billion in this agreement right now. And, of course, sounds like a lot of money to you and me. But look at it compared to the money that is spent by the federal government. A tiny sliver of the pie that is so small, in fact, that you can barely see it.

$5.6 billion at a $4.4 trillion in American taxpayer dollars that run the government and everything having to do with it, less than one percent. Also worth mentioning, Democrats right now are proposing $12 billion -- about twice that amount in foreign aid.

In moments, Geraldo Rivera and Juan Williams on the stakes for the president tonight in his very first Oval Office address, and the most important bully puppet probably in the world. But first, here is Senator Marco Rubio.

Senator, good evening. Great to have you with us this evening.

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

MACCALLUM: You know, when you look at the question of amnesty, this is a very hot issue for your party. And at times, it can make it very difficult to run on. You've run into issues of your own with the question of amnesty and your own definition of what you'd like to see in immigration. I just want to play something for you back from 2015, and then, we'll jump in here.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: He was always in favor of amnesty, he was in favor of people pouring into the country. Then, what happened is when people found that out, he sank like a rock in the water.


MACCALLUM: It's always used as a political cudgel and that was back during the early stages of the campaign. But the President may be in a situation where he needs to negotiate on the DREAMers. What do you say now about all this?

RUBIO: Yes, but, well first, all of the presidents's already offered amnesty to DREAMers. He's actually offered to not just take in the people that applied for DACA but the people who were eligible and didn't. So, frankly, he's got above and beyond what others have offered in the past. And even that was not enough for the Democrats and that negotiation.

Here is the bottom line. We support legal immigration, you can have a debate and people can argue about what the right number should be. But right now, every year, 1 million people -- over a million people every year come to the United States legally, OK?

Number two, if you -- so you can support a system of legal immigration. But that means that you also have to have a system that identifies people before they come in, that allows you to vet who they are, that allows you to control the numbers, and allows people to enter in an orderly process. We do that with everything else in life.

You can't just show up at a concert without a ticket. You can't just get on an airplane without going through TSA, and you can't just go into any country in the world because you decide just to walk in. There has to be a process.

Now, when we talk about a wall, a wall isn't just about keeping people out. A wall is to funnel traffic so that someone who's crossing the border has to cross an appointed entry where they can be monitored, or you can check who they are, and you can check what they're bringing.

And I would have one more point in all this. This is not just about immigration. This is about the humanitarian crisis that a porous border presents for the country. When people believe that they're going to be able to get across that border, they go on that journey. It's a dangerous journey, they bring children with them. Young families, people are dying on the way here.

The only people winning here are the traffickers. It's bad for Mexico, it's bad for America, it's bad for these migrants, and it's -- a wall is part of the solution. It's not the only thing we have to do, but it's a part of it.

By the way, one last point, I apologize, the $5 billion isn't just for a wall. It is to fund the top 10 priorities in the border security plan that does include a wall. It includes other things, as well. And many of the people opposed to that. Voted for $20 million -- $20 billion of funding for border security in 2013.

MACCALLUM: That's right.

RUBIO: And that bill that was so controversial that was a part of.

MACCALLUM: Well, as you rightly point out, the President did offer 800,000 DACA recipients also known as DREAMers to be able to stay in the country. That deal appears to be off the table, at least, at the moment. And what we're hearing now from the White House is that he's more dug in on this than ever. Take a look at one of the quotes from a couple of his supporters who want nothing to do with any kind of DREAMer exchange.

This one from the ALIPAC president, "Any support of DACA amnesty, before, or after construction of the border wall is a betrayal to his campaign promises." This from Kris Kobach, "Any amnesty, whether it's DACA or some other amnesty, will have incredibly negative consequences for the country." Your thoughts, sir.

RUBIO: Well, I don't -- I don't believe that, that should be negotiated as part of this. This is -- look, no matter what someone believes about whether we should give amnesty to people that have been here a long time or not, whether you should deport everybody. The one thing we should all agree on is that every country in the world has a system by which they monitor, control, who comes in, when they come in, and how they come in, and the United States should be no different.

Every other nation on earth does that. Mexico does it, Guatemala does it, Canada does it, and America should do it. And we have a problem on the southern border of not just people being trafficked but drugs, almost all this heroin that's finding itself in the street, the fentanyl that's being shipped in from China. A lot of that it's coming across that border. So, even if we didn't have an immigration problem, you have a rationale for limiting how people could come in, and what can come into our borders.


MACCALLUM: But, you know, understood. But, you know, the argument has become by some on the other side of the aisle from you. That any form of wall, any barrier that it has a racist connotation that we're being immoral if you want to protect the country.

Alexandria Ocacio-Cortez getting a lot of attention since she started her new job. Today, she said this, "The president defended neo-Nazis who murdered a woman in Charlottesville. The Department of Justice sued him for not renting to black tenants. He launched his campaign by calling Mexicans "rapists." He banned Muslims. The president is racist and that should make you uncomfortable." Your thoughts.

RUBIO: Yes, look, at all that kind of outrageous talk has become part for the course in today's politics. That makes you famous and it gets you noticed. I'm here to make a difference into past laws and to do serious stuff. And the bottom line is that no matter who the president of the United States is, whether you like them or not, one of the fundamental obligations of the federal government is to enforce our immigration laws.

In essence, what they are -- so people that opposes are basically saying, "Yes, we want to have immigration laws. But we don't want you to enforce them." And I think that's the question is what are you in favor of? What enforcement measures are you in favor of? Because the biggest threat to legal immigration is illegal immigration. It has turned immigration, which is something that we are a nation of immigrants into a controversial topic because we still welcome 1-1/2 -- 1.2 million people every single year into this country legally.

But they're saying, anyone, who comes you should be able to stay here or we should just look the other way. I know they give lip service to border security and enforce the law. But they know in practical terms, what they are advocating is that anyone who comes here gets to stay here.

How is that good for anyone? It certainly not good for us, and it's -- and it's blending itself to this trafficking network that's trafficking in human beings. But again, beyond immigration, drugs are crossing that border. Every day. And guns are going back the other way into Mexico. That's why there's got to be more control there.

MACCALLUM: We're going to get into more of this with Geraldo and Juan Williams in just a second. Before I let you go, very quickly, you had a bill that did not pass today. I know you feel very strongly about it.

Senate Bill Number One which had to do with Middle East security. And it also had to do with something that you see as an anti-Israeli sentiment on the Democrat side in the Senate.

RUBIO: Yes, well, look, there's a movement that they're called BDS, Boycott Divestment Sanctions. And it pressures companies to do no business in Israel, boycott Israel, divest of any investments in Israel.

We have a law -- bipartisan law, by the way, that says that a city or a state has the right to not have any contracts or do any business or contract for services or goods with companies that are boycotting Israel. That's what the bill does. Doesn't force them to do it, it just gives them the right to do it.

And all of a sudden, we have people out there on the Democratic side, they don't want to vote for it. They all claim to be against BDS. But if you are shielding companies that participate in BDS from any sort of counter Boycott against them for doing that.

MACCALLUM: Understood.

RUBIO: They have a right to do it. People have a right to not do business with them. If you're shielding them, you're supporting BDS.

MACCALLUM: There and take it up again. Senator Rubio, thank you very much. Great to have you with us tonight.

RUBIO: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: And here now, Geraldo Rivera, Fox News Correspondent-at-Large. And Juan Williams, Fox News political analyst and co-host of "THE FIVE". Gentlemen, thanks for being here tonight.

I mean, Juan, let me start with you. You know what, I was just speaking about with Senator Rubio a moment ago. This idea that anybody who supports a wall at the southern border is somehow racist, somehow against a certain kind of people that they don't want in this country.

JUAN WILLIAMS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the president has a lot of troubles with race. I've written a book about it. But I think, in this case, that's like a phony. I mean, that's not what we're here to discuss. I mean, to me what we're here to discuss is the president saying, oh, Mexico was going to pay for this wall during the campaign. Obviously, that's not even what we're discussing tonight.

And then the question about whether or not it's a national emergency. Is it Pearl Harbor? You know, is this 9/11? I don't think so. I mean, was it we've had today. I think back in 2000, five times more illegal crossings than we have today or tonight.

And the President and the Republicans had the majority in both the House and the Senate, and they did nothing for the last two years.


MACCALLUM: Hold on. Here is what I'm getting of that -- here is what I'm getting about that argument. So, what are you saying you're OK with? You're OK with the wall that sort of dilapidated and falling down in places. You're OK with people climbing over the wall, so they get hurt, you OK of people -- you know, what do you want? What do you think is the solution?

WILLIAMS: No. What I -- well, I think that we have the opportunity to have comprehensive immigration reform. You just had Senator Rubio on, he was part of a gang and included Republicans and Democrats who wanted to get comprehensive immigration reform done part of that deal. Was increased security, increased numbers of border agents, drones electronics, all the rest, and that we could all agree that.

MACCALLUM: All of that is to build a secure border.

WILLIAMS: Correct and Democrats want it.

MACCALLUM: So, why don't they sit down together and say, our (INAUDIBLE) we want the same thing, let get it done.

WILLIAMS: Oh, because he is -- he is using -- his concern is that he's cornered at this moment, Martha. He is the one that says there's some crisis because he has put himself in a political box. We're not really having a serious discussion about immigration, this is politics.

MACCALLUM: Of course, there's a crisis. I mean, you know, you can -- you can put on the Pearl Harbor 9/11 spectrum, which I don't think is appropriate.

However, Geraldo, you know, how would you -- what would you call it when you've got, you know, people crossing the border who don't belong here, you've got fentanyl and heroin coming across. You've got MS-13 coming across. It's not, not a problem.

GERALDO RIVERA, CORRESPONDENT: You know, first of all, Martha, let me say that I was delighted that it was Juan that got your wrath at the top of the show rather than me.

MACCALLUM: Not Wrath. Just questions. Go ahead.

RIVERA: I -- if the president wants to declare a national emergency, I disagree with Judge Napolitano. I believe that the courts will give great deference to the president. I'm not saying it's a good idea, but I believe that if the president tonight announces a national emergency and allocates money that is not specifically allocated by Congress to this effort. I think the court --


MACCALLUM: He's not going to do that. It doesn't look like that I think he's going to do tonight.

RIVERA: I think the -- I think the courts will sustain him in that. They give great deference. I may be wrong, but I think that, that is what happens. But I see this a little bit differently. I think this is the president's opportunity to come from a place not of necessarily -- of kind of reckless strength, but rather of compassion, and understanding, and saying that we're not here to demonize this population.

We know that these are 98 -- 99 percent hardworking people only coming to help their families from very poor nearby countries into this.


MACCALLUM: But don't you agree that they should be coming through a port of entry? They should be coming to a point of entry.

RIVERA: I believe that the Democrat's opposition to the wall is strictly political. They believe that they've got President Trump by the short hairs now. The surveys, the polls that I've seen, all blame the president for the shutdown. They also believe that the wall is not necessary for border security. But the president has won the election.

I believe elections have consequences. I want this to be the incentive. And Juan alluded to this for a grand compromise. Why not have the compromise now?


MACCALLUM: No, I hear you. But what -- what's clear is that what we have doesn't work, right? And I think that both sides really love to use this as a political weapon against it. But you talk about compassion, right? And I know that you are not going to probably not going to like this. But I'm going to play a sound bite from a family who lost their 22-year-old son because it doesn't matter whether it's one person, or three people, or 10 people as we have seen killed by people who have no right to be here. Listen to these parents, Geraldo.


WENDY CORCORAN, HAS SON KILLED BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: Our son's life mean something. And in our government makes us feel as if it didn't.

D.J. CORCORAN, HAS SON KILLED BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: He is been here for 14 years and he made no attempt at all to become a legal law abiding citizen. We love and we rally behind people the underdogs that come here to America and succeed legally.


MACCALLUM: What do you say to those parents?

RIVERA: Well, you know, it's so unfair. And I get put in their role the kind of the designated pinata role where I have to say that I believe in a policy following grieving parents. I ache for them. This is awful what happened to them. It would be awful if they were killed by an Irishman, by a -- by an African-American, by a Jew, by a Puerto Rican. I hate when innocent people are victimized.

But they are victimized by you know, 50,000 murders a year or something out there with their 13 in Chicago last weekend. I'm sorry. I hate -- I hate that they have been victims of violence.

MACCALLUM: And that -- that's a crime, as well. Obviously, those are -- those crimes. This is also a crime and one of the first crimes is entering the country illegally.

RIVERA: I want to regulate the border. I think, that a good fences make good neighbors. I have no objection to it. I just urge the president now to compromise. To say to the Democrats, listen, I will give these DREAMers, Kris Kobach, the failed Secretary of State who was rejected by the -- by the voters in Kansas recently, he is a hard liner. I want a balance. I want a compromise. I want the DREAMers to get their path to citizenship after they're checked out and fingerprinted and all the rest of it.

MACCALLUM: What, nobody -- most people don't have a problem with that. we looked at Chris Kobach's comment earlier. Juan, I'm going to give you the last word.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think in fact, as you showed, Martha, there are lots of people, hard right people, and a lot of the talk show hosts who are pushing the President to take this hard stand and to say things that have just been proven wrong which is why their questions about whether or not he will tell lies tonight, this thing about terrorists coming over the border. Obviously most do not come over the Southern border.

MACCALLUM: Let me -- Juan -- but I'm not --

WILLIAMS: Wait a second. Wait -- hold on, Martha. You said something about drugs. Most drugs don't come over the southern border, they come through legal ports of entry in this country.

MACCALLUM: I understand.

WILLIAMS: And just like Geraldo said, it's horrible when anybody kills anybody.


WILLIAMS: But why are we demonizing then the immigrant population in this country? It's for political purposes by this president and it's outrageous.

MACCALLUM: Any drugs that come across the border are a problem. Any members of MS-13 are terrorists. Do you agree with that?

WILLIAMS: Yes. I don't -- what do you -- who would like it? Who likes gangsters? But I'm saying there are gangsters who were American-born. Let's talk about these things in a rational sense rather than just beating up people because they're immigrants.

RIVERA: It's time for a compromise. It is time for a compromise. This is the opportunity. Compromises dissatisfied both sides. But we have to move forward.

MACCALLUM: Americans agree to 100 percent --

RIVERA: Give the President his barrier, give us the DREAMers.

MACCALLUM: The poll says the people want them to come together and reach an agreement and I think that DACA and a wall are probably part of that equation. Whether or not both sides will give in we don't know. Thank you, Geraldo. Always good to see you. Thank you very much, Juan. Great we'll see you both tonight.

So while the President tries to scale back illegal immigration, New York and California are proudly promising that they will give illegals full health care coverage. So what do you think about that? They say that it will be paid for but by whom?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll hear the critics saying why am i paying for these young invincibles who don't want to buy insurance? Why am I paying for undocumented immigrants at the tab of $100 million.

BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Well, I'd say the famous phrase, you can pay me now or you can pay me later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have to raise taxes to get this up?




MACCALLUM: So the President is about to speak from The Oval Office. There was some reluctance that has been overcome by the networks as to whether or not they would carry it but all will carry it tonight. His argument is likely to be about the threat that he believes is posed by illegal immigration, a very different message tonight that is coming from the coasts in New York and California. Proud proclamations that all residents including hundreds of thousands of people who are here illegally will get health care coverage from the government, also known as the taxpayer.


DE BLASIO: Health care is a human right. In this city, we're going to make that a reality. In this city we're taking that ideal and putting it into practice. From this moment on in New York City, everyone is guaranteed the right to health care. Everyone.


MACCALLUM: Joining me now Marc Thiessen American Enterprise Institute Scholar and Fox News Contributor and Wendy Osefo Political Commentator and Education Professor at Johns Hopkins University. Welcome to both of you. Good to have both of you tonight.

MARC THIESSEN, CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be with you, Martha.


MACCALLUM: I want to take a look at this from Gavin Newsom as well because there's a similar sentiment here. Let's watch that.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM, D-CALIF.: Judges and politicians may turn back our progress but we will never waver in our pursuit of guaranteed health care for all Californians.


MACCALLUM: The big question here, Wendy, and you know, Bill De Blasio the Mayor of New York sort of dodged it a bit and said that it would be paid for I guess under existing programs but who pays for all of -- who pays for all this coverage, hundreds of thousands of people who are here illegally?

OSEFO: Yes. And I think what he's trying to do here, he's trying to put a bandaid on the leaking faucet. Because the truth of the matter is in New York City Health System has been in a deficit for years because they've been paying for E.R. visits for the uninsured. Now, what's happening here with this new initiative is they're trying to say we want to give people access to primary care providers as well as specialty providers. Instead of saying that the emergency rule will be your first entry way.

So you know, my sister she's a surgeon, she agrees with this as well. And I think that what they are trying to do is they're saying, we're going to spend these millions of dollars but we spend them anyway when people go to the hospital and they don't have insurance. And quite frankly, as an American, as a taxpayer, I rather our government spend millions of dollars for health care for individuals than them spending on something frivolous like let's say a wall. But that's my opinion.

MACCALLUM: That was the last thing. But anyway, you know it's an interesting point and it's also going to include mental health care but his argument is that preventive care essentially. You know, allowing people to go to doctors will save taxpayers money down the road when they have a big medical problem and they show up at the emergency room, Marc.

THIESSEN: Yes, well, that's also what they said before they passed ObamaCare and guess what happened. The year after they passed ObamaCare, emergency room visits skyrocketed to record numbers because people felt now that they could show up and they didn't be have to be embarrassed because they had an insurance card so they could show up at the E.R. So actually, the record is the opposite of what Wendy said. They are -- the ER visits increase in the cost skyrocket.

But here's the thing. The problem with this -- Mayor de Blasio says that this is going to cost $100 million. If he believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. It's not going to cost a $100 million because what's going to happen is this. People from all over the country are going to flood into New York to get their free health care, and here's why, because they're offering it to illegal immigrants or as they like to call them undocumented immigrants.

Undocumented immigrants are by definition undocumented, so therefore you cannot ask them for proof of residency. You can't ask them for proof of income. You -- they're undocumented immigrants. So if you offer free health care pay direct single-payer health care to undocumented immigrants by definition, you're offering it to everybody.

So my -- and this is -- that's going to blow the costs through the roof way over $100 million. So my advice to New Yorkers is move over to Hoboken so you don't have to get -- so you don't have to pay the taxes that he's going to impose on you and then come across the river on the path train to get your free health care.

MACCALLUM: I got to leave it there. Thank you both. Great to have you with us tonight. All right, I live in Hoboken and New Jersey so anyway. Coming up next, what we might learn about the Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's position on Roe v. Wade that is coming later this week. Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley here to explain.


MACCALLUM: Newly minted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh issuing his firs opinion in an obscure arbitration case today. And unlike his contentious nomination, his decision was seen as very straightforward and it was also unanimous. But it comes just days before the court is expected to weigh a much more divisive topic, abortion rights. Perhaps signaling where Kavanaugh stands on this issue that got so much attention during his contentious hearing. Jonathan Turley George Washington University Law Professor joins me tonight. Jonathan, good to see you as always.


MACCALLUM: So typically when there's a new justice on the court, they are assigned to write the opinion for one of the early decisions that is I guess somewhat innocuous for lack of a better word. It's sort of like a you know, here you go. Write your opinion to kind of get your feet wet in this arena and then they're going to move on to something much more significant, right?

TURLEY: You don't find arbitration clauses to be remarkably exciting?

MACCALLUM: How do -- a dental tech, dental -- it was a debate over dental equipment.

TURLEY: Yes. And the thing is --

MACCALLUM: Very sexy. Sexy argument.

TURLEY: There is this tradition that when a new justice walks up to the plate, they throw them a beach ball rather than a baseball, and he hit it. That's good for him.

But now, conservatives are waiting for, frankly, what they've been waiting for, for decades. They now have a line-up of five righty hitters. And all of them are believed to be either skeptical of Roe v. Wade or downright opposed to the basis of Roe v. Wade.

So, we have these cases going to the court on a writ of certiorari. Now, these petitions for writ of certiorari are basically asking the court, will you hear this case? It only takes four justices. So, with a five right side line-up, a lot of pro-life advocates are hoping this is the moment they have been waiting for.

MACCALLUM: So, explain to us, these are two Indiana cases. And what do they have to do it and if the courts decide to take them what's, you know, how significant is it going to be in this battle of abortion?

TURLEY: Well, you know, the person that signed the anti-discrimination law was in fact former Governor Pence and now Vice President Pence. And that law basically says that you cannot get an abortion if you are trying to abort a child because of its race or its religion or its national origin. The other one --

MACCALLUM: Or Down syndrome or other known diseases.

TURLEY: Or illnesses. That's right. And the other one says that unless the remains of an abortion are taken home by the parents, they need to be buried as human remains within the conditions of state law.

Now, all of these laws are basically an effort to break through the firewall of Roe to get -- all of these states have been trying different combinations to see if they could get federal courts to acknowledge that states have a voice into the conditions surrounding abortion.

Because the belief is that the Supreme Court will remain an incrementalist (ph) court. The people like Roberts are not going to want to just simply overturn Roe v. Wade or he says the assumption. The expectation is that with this five-justice majority, they'll chip on the edges and that's why these cases are important.

MACCALLUM: Yes, we'll be watching. Jonathan Turley, very interesting, thank you very much, sir.

TURLEY: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Good to see you as always. So, coming up next tonight on the Story, a Beto-mania hits the road on his horn, the Democratic presidential hopeful ditching his staff to become one of the people. He's leaving Texas to see how it goes in other states.

Karl Rove knows Texas very well. He's here to tell us how all this might play out for Beto O'Rourke.




BETO O'ROURKE, FORMER SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, D-TX: So, the (bleep) proud of you, guys.

Hey, what about my mom's cookies? These are my mom's famous seven-layer cookies. If anyone knows the owners of these dogs let us know on the live stream.

And I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up or take a knee for your rights anytime, anywhere, at any place.



MACCALLUM: Some of the highlights from Beto O'Rourke's campaign. He lost to Texas Senator Ted Cruz, but he got a lot of positive attention. And now, he is taking it on the road to some other states to see if it's real. The news is igniting speculation of a potential 2020 run for him already fueled by efforts from political activists to draft him into a presidential run.

And here now exclusively are two of those draft Beto operatives, former South Carolina Democratic state rep, Boyd Brown, and Democratic strategist, Tyler Jones.

Boyd, let me start with you. Does he want to be drafted?

BOYD BROWN, CAMPAIGN ADVISER, DRAFT BETO: Let's hope so, Martha. You know, this is certainly a shot in the dark on our behalf coming out of South Carolina. But you know, we're doing this in hopes that he gets his mind to that point that he decides to run and when he decides to do that that we'll have the apparatus in place for him to do it.

You know, he can take his time with his family. He's got young children. Take his time making this big decision. And once he comes to it, if he decides that he's going to do it, we will be ready for him to do it here in South Carolina.

MACCALLUM: We're going to put up pictures in a moment. But I think there are about 31 potential candidates, Tyler. So, why are you putting -- this early in the game, why are you putting your name and your background behind Beto O'Rourke? Why do you think he's the guy?



JONES: The idealist in me says he is really exciting. He's inspiring. He is a good messenger for Democratic principles and he's a lot of fun to watch. But the pragmatist in me says this is a Democrat who almost won the state of Texas. He raised $80 million. He started grassroots movement from scratch. And now, he's not a creature in Washington.

And so, I mean, any way you slice it, Beto O'Rourke for president makes a lot of sense and I think he's well-positioned to be the best candidate we have to take on --


MACCALLUM: Except maybe to Beto O'Rourke. Here he is on November 5th. Watch this.


O'ROURKE: I will not be a candidate for president in 2020.


O'ROURKE: That's it. I think it's definitive as those sentences get.


MACCALLUM: So, Boyd, how do you get around that?

BROWN: You look at the guys that are going to be running against. I mean, how do you not? I mean, you know, politicians change their minds. We all change our minds when different situations crop up, you know. I can tell --

MACCALLUM: We've certainly seen that before.

BROWN: -- you what we're having for lunch tomorrow, Martha. But, you know, things change. And opportunities present themselves. I would say this is an opportunity that presented itself, you know. And when an opportunity like this comes along you got to seize it.

Again, I don't think you can sit here and say Beto O'Rourke went back on something when he is running against a guy who changes his mind from one minute to the next. I mean, just look at the speech the president is going to give tonight. Let me tell you, he changes his mind on the border wall debate.


MACCALLUM: Now let me ask -- we'll see. Let me ask. Politicians they all seem to change their minds.

BROWN: Yes, right.

MACCALLUM: Tyler, last question for you, if President Trump, you know, ran on make America great again, what would be the theme of Beto O'Rourke? What does he stand for?

JONES: Inspire America.

MACCALLUM: To do what?

JONES: When they go low -- well, I mean, you know, we are pretty low right now. We are pretty divided. And I think we need somebody who can bring us together. President Obama did that in the last administration, brought us together when we were deeply divided, and I think we've never been more divided than we are right now.

So, we need somebody who can bring us above our partisanship and divisiveness and bring Americans together for something greater than ourselves. And that's what he did in the Senate race. He got really, really close. I think he can do it as president.

MACCALLUM: Well, they say campaigns are about contrasts, and there certainly are a lot of contrasts between Beto O'Rourke and Donald Trump. It would be interesting to watch. So, thanks you guys.

JONES: That's right.

MACCALLUM: Good to have you both here tonight. Thank you very much.

BROWN: Thank you for having us.

JONES: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So here with more on Beto-mania. He probably does not participate in that phrase. Karl Rove joins me now. Former deputy chief of staff under President George W. Bush, Fox News contributor and a Texas resident who was not so taken with this candidate in the Texas race and told us here on the Story many times that he could not win Texas. Listening to all of that what do you make of where he is so far as a potential candidate, Karl?

KARL ROVE, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he is going to be a contender. The question is, are the weaknesses that he displayed in running against Ted Cruz going to hurt his campaign if he enters the race for the presidency? He was a loner. He thinks he is the smartest guy in the room and as a result he's very reckless.

He goes out and says things that don't advance his cause. In Texas, a red state, he came out for impeachment of Donald Trump in June. He came out for free college, a guaranteed federal job, a guaranteed wage, Medicare for all. And as you just saw on that footage, he came out in September and said he couldn't think of anything more American than deciding to take a knee when the flag pass by.

MACCALLUM: But Karl, you know, to push back a little bit, you know, that message could resonate in a national way. And maybe he made his name in Texas on that. He certainly would remind I think a lot of people of, you know, a young Bill Clinton or a young Barack Obama --

ROVE: Yes.

MACCALLUM: -- and Democrats tend to look for somebody who is charismatic and kind of like this young man --

ROVE: Right. Oh, absolutely.

MACCALLUM: -- to lead their party.

ROVE: Oh, absolutely. You're right. The message could help him in the Democratic primary. But the weakness is, is he going to be -- is he going to be thoughtful, is he going to be -- is he going to have a plan because - - look, he was basically running by himself.

In 2017 up till by the Labor Day to 2018, he was just out there himself. Ted Cruz was not engaged with him. There was really no serious campaign. The people didn't pay attention to what he said or criticize what he said.

But you run for president, particularly with 20 other people in the Democratic primary and everything you say and everything you do is going to be subjected to far more scrutiny than he had in Texas.

So, yes -- no, he is charismatic. He knows social media. He is personable. But I think that sort of recklessness of I'm the smartest guy in the room and I don't need to listen to advice and I can just sort of wing it. Those may have worked in Texas under the circumstances that he had. I'm not certain they would work in the national race where you are going to be looked at each and every day not only by the press corps but by a lot of people who don't want you to advance your cause against theirs.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Somebody is going to fight their way through maybe potentially as many as 31 people.

ROVE: Right.

MACCALLUM: So, it's going to be quite interesting, going to keep you and me quite busy.

ROVE: Exactly.

MACCALLUM: Karl, thank you. Great to see you tonight.

ROVE: Happy New Year.

MACCALLUM: You, too. So, for the second time in less than two years, a man is found dead in the same apartment, and it's the apartment of a prominent Democratic donor, prompting calls for prosecution. This bizarre story, up next.


JASMYNE CANNICK, RALLY ORGANIZER: I've gotten reports today that the person who died today was in his 50s. I don't care if he was in his 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or older. He was a black man and he died of an overdose in Ed Buck's house.



MACCALLUM: Protestors outside the home of a prominent Democratic mega donor Ed Buck after a man was found dead in his apartment in Hollywood for the second time. And now, the public is demanding that prosecutors take a look into this case.

Trace Gallagher has the story for us tonight in our west coast newsroom. Good evening, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. The 911 call regarding a person not breathing came just after one o'clock Monday morning. Minutes after deputies arrived at the West Hollywood home of a 64- year-old Edward Buck, an unidentified black adult male was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of death is now under investigation, but drug use appears to be a strong possibility. And Edward Buck's attorney was quick to point out that his client was sober and did not give the victim drugs. Watch.


SEYMOUR AMSTER, ED BUCK'S ATTORNEY: This is not a situation where Mr. Buck has caused the death. This is a situation where Mr. Buck has had long-time friends who unfortunately do not handle their life well.


GALLAGHER: In fact, just 18 months ago, another long-time friend was found dead inside Buck's home. Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old black male escort, died of a methamphetamine over dose. His death was ruled accidental because there wasn't concrete evidence proving Edward Buck either possessed or provided drugs to Gemmel Moore.

Though the case was briefly reopened after investigators found one of Gemmel Moore's journal entries that read, quoting here, "I've become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that. Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth. It was very painful, but after all the troubles I became addicted."

And in Moore's final entry he wrote, quote, "If it didn't hurt so bad, I'd kill myself, but I'll let Ed Buck do it for now."

In recent years, Ed Buck has donated hundreds of thousands to Democratic causes and candidates including the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He is also well known in LGBTQ political circles. But now protestors have been gathering in front of his home, calling Buck a danger to the community and calling for justice. Watch.



TYSON LORD GRAY, PROTESTER: This was a black man and there were two white bodies found in his apartment there is no way that he would not be in the jail right now lawyering up.


GALLAGHER: And some of that Buck's neighbors also told our Fox News affiliate in Los Angeles that they too have called 911 because of Buck's unusual behavior. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Trace, thank you. So, coming up, a short time ago, Vice President Mike Pence meeting with Republican lawmakers ahead of tonight's Oval Office address from President Trump. House minority whip Steve Scalise was in the meeting and he's going to give us an update on where it all stands right now.



MICHAEL PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT: The passion you hear from President Trump, his determination to take this case to the American people as he will tonight in his national broadcast from the Oval Office comes from this president's deep desire to do his job to protect the American people.


MACCALLUM: So, we are now one hour from President Trump's Oval Office address, one that could prove to be consequential in this dug in debate on both sides.

My next guest met with the vice president a short time ago. Here now exclusively House minority whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana who has been very involved in the bipartisan meetings that have happened so far and another one that is going to happen tomorrow. Congressman Scalise, good to have you with us tonight.

REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA.: Martha, good to be with you.

MACCALLUM: You know, any indication that Democrats are ready to negotiate in any way, shape or form at this moment?

SCALISE: Well, Martha, they haven't shown a willingness right now to negotiate in good faith. President Trump has been very clear in what he is trying to accomplish in keeping this country safe. And the vice president came tonight meet with our whole conference along with the secretary of homeland security Nielsen, to lay out just how bad the crisis is at the border and why the president is so committed to solve it.

Now the president has laid out a number of 5.6 billion. And that's a number that came from our security experts, the people who put their lives on the line every day to keep our country safe said that's how much it's going to take to secure the border.

Nancy Pelosi just last week kind of jokingly said her counter offer is a dollar.

MACCALLUM: So, we'll give you a dollar.

SCALISE: Laughing about this. Martha, this is a serious issue. They shouldn't be joking about it. If they believe in border security and they claim to then they ought to lay out exactly how much they think it should cost --


MACCALLUM: All right.

SCALISE: -- to keep the country safe.

MACCALLUM: So, you know, I had John Roberts on earlier tonight reporting from the White House saying that he -- that the word is that the president is very dug in on this. He has laid out the fact that he is willing to declare a national emergency if he can find a way within his power to do that and to move money around to do that. If there is no indication that Democrats are coming to the table, do you believe that tonight he will say if you don't, I am willing to do this?

SCALISE: I'm not sure just how much of that the president is going to get into. But I spoke to the president earlier today. And he is very passionate about this. This is something he campaigned and was elected president on, and that's a commitment to secure our border.

It involves building a wall, it involves other technology. Our border patrol agents who are under attack by a lot of these people that are criminals in the caravan. They need the protection and the proper backing too. So, the president is committed to securing the border.

If the other side is just committed to playing politics, I don't think the American people are going to stand for that much longer. So, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have to get serious about a counter offer on the table. They've yet to do that, they've yet to try to negotiate in good faith.

The president I think has been very clear on what he is trying to do. And he said he is willing to work on an agreement that brings the two sides together but that means the other side, Pelosi and Schumer, have to be willing to solve this too.

MACCALLUM: I mean, they have to think that it's politically advantageous for them to negotiate at all. Here's Steny Hoyer talking about the shutdown a little while ago. Watch this. It's a quote. "This is the third shutdown implemented to take hostage of the people's government and people who work for the government. In another context we would be calling that an act of kidnapping or terrorism," he says. What do you think about that?

SCALISE: Well, what he ought to pay attention to is the kidnapping, the sexual assault and the human trafficking that's actually going on, on the border today. We've got some alarming numbers and I'm sure the president will share of them, Martha.

But last year alone more than 17,000 people were stopped coming into our country from the southern border who had past criminal convictions. Those are just the ones we caught, Martha.

So, if you look at caravan, if you look at some of the women that are coming over. Doctors Without Borders estimates over 30 percent of the women that are coming over through the southern border are sexually assaulted. Is he concerned about those sexual assaults? What about the over 900 children that our ICE agents saved last year alone from human trafficking and sexual assault?

It's really going on. When over 90 percent of the heroin in America comes from across the southern border illegally, there is a crisis. They've got to get serious about solving this crisis. And if they think joking about it are just trying to divert attention is going to solve it, they are not serious.

MACCALLUM: The president has his work cut out for him tonight. Because all the polls that we see say that most people do not believe that we need to build a wall. And so, he is going to have to use this address the first one of its kind for him to look into that camera. There's not going to be a rally going on. It's just going to be him and the camera in the Oval Office to really lay out and articulate his argument in a way that's persuasive for people who don't agree with him right now.

SCALISE: Well, you know, it says a lot about how serious President Trump is to securing the border that he chose this issue for his first national address to the country.

And I think a lot of people will be watching who are undecided who just really don't know. You know, they are coming off the holidays, they've heard there is a government shutdown and they want to know what's happening. Here is the opportunity for the president to layout his case. Hopefully it spurs the other side to finally get serious.

MACCALLUM: Congressman Steve Scalise, House Majority Whip, good to see you, sir. Thank you very much for being here. That is THE STORY on this Tuesday night. We'll see you back here tomorrow night. Tucker Carlson is up next.

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