This is a rush transcript from "The Story," July 18, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: All right, breaking this evening, Bill Browder, who was once the West's biggest investor in Russia, now, after fighting to escape the clutches of Vladimir Putin, fears that he may become part of some kind of exchange underway for 12 Russian Intel agents after he heard this.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We can actually permit official representatives of the United States, including the members of this very Commission headed by Mr. Mueller. We can let them into the country and they will be present to this questioning. And then, we would expect that the Americans would reciprocate and so, we can bring up the Mr. Browder in this particular case.


MACCALLUM: And then, today, this.


MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Russian authorities yesterday named several Americans who they want to question, who they claim were involved in Bill Browder's "crimes" in their terms. Does President Trump's support that idea, is he open to having U.S. officials questioned by Russia?

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There was some conversation about it, but there wasn't a commitment made on behalf of the United States and the president will work with his team and we'll let you know if there's an announcement on that front.


MACCALLUM: Good evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum and this is "The Story." Bill Browder was once a successful American businessman working in Russia until 2005 when he was suddenly expelled from the country. His company was seized by Russian authorities and used then in a massive tax fraud scheme.

He then hired Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, a name that you have heard a lot of lately to investigate what was going on. Magnitsky was then thrown into a Russian prison. He died there after being beaten and denied medical care.

Ever since then, Bill Browder has campaigned to punish Russia. And he says his efforts have made him Vladimir Putin's number-one foreign enemy.

Bill Browder joins us now from an undisclosed location this evening. Bill, good evening once again to you. What was your reaction when you heard Vladimir Putin mention your name? I know you spoke about that here the other night. But then, how about what you heard at the White House today?

BILL BROWDER, CO-FOUNDER, HERMITAGE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: I was absolutely appalled by what I heard at the White House today. You know, what Vladimir Putin wants, we know he's a bad guy. We know he's coming after me because -- yes, we're -- because of the Magnitsky Act.

But to have -- to have the White House press secretary saying that they haven't decisively ruled it out right off the bat and they're considering this unseemly trade of me and a bunch of good American people for these Russian spies is absolutely appalling and ridiculous.

MACCALLUM: The Magnitsky Act was passed by Congress and it put sanctions on Vladimir Putin, on many -- on many of his wealthiest friends, in terms of what travel they could have. This has irritated him to no end and he wants it lifted. And, in fact, that was part of the reason that Natalia Veselnitskaya was in New York to try to get the Magnitsky Act lifted. It also has to do with some adoption rules, that's part of the larger picture of it. But they very much want that overturned, and he's obviously very angry with you.

I wonder if you, you know took any comfort from what you heard later today from the State Department here's Heather Nauert.


HEATHER NAUERT, SPOKESPERSON, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE: I can't answer on behalf of the White House with regard to that, but what I can tell you is that the overall assertions that have come out of the Russian government are absolutely absurd.

The fact that they want to question 11 American citizens and the assertions that the Russian government is making about those American citizens, we do not stand by those assertions --


MACCALLUM: Does that make you feel any better?

BROWDER: Well, I feel better knowing -- I mean, that by itself doesn't make me feel better because the President of the United States is still "considering" it.

But at the end of the day, I'm highly confident that nothing will happen. I mean, and just to dig a little deeper into this whole thing, just so everyone understands what's going on. The people that Vladimir Putin, wants to have interviewed by his Russian secret police are Mike McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia. Kyle Parker, a senior congressional staff member who wrote the Magnitsky Act. Bob Otto, a senior official in the State Department.

And then, in addition to that, there are three special agents of the Department of Homeland Security who have had been conducting investigations into Russian money laundering in New York buying property. And so, the idea that the White House, the Donald Trump would be considering handing these people over, and me over to the Russians is just appalling, it's effectively treason to hand over patriotic people who've been trying to do the right thing.

And they better come out quickly and walk that one back. Otherwise, this is -- this is truly a litmus test for the Trump administration.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Ambassador McFaul has said that he -- you know, hopes that there is immediate pushback publicly to this idea. How -- do you think that -- you know, do you think the president is very familiar with your case and really understands the whole thing?

BROWDER: Well, apparently, he spent a quite a bit of time in his private meeting discussing me and my case. So, he shouldn't be unfamiliar with it at this point.

MACCALLUM: And the Russian officials, what do you -- what do you hearing about what their understanding is of what may or may not have been discussed in the closed-door meeting?

BROWDER: Well, the Russian government has made a very clear announcement, saying here is a list of people that they want to interrogate in the United States and it consists of me, and it consists of a bunch of these people I just mentioned.


BROWDER: And they are very clear about it. And the one thing I should point out to you that these -- the story that Vladimir Putin told at the Helsinki summit press conference is the same story that Natalia Veselnitskaya told in the Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016.

And so, this has been something that Putin has been sort of peddling through different -- through different mediums for a long time, and now just reached his own mouth to the mouth of -- to the years of the most powerful man in the free world, Donald Trump.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Well, as of right now, the White House says that they thought it was a -- you know, an interesting idea. And that was as far as they went with it, they made no commitment to anything. So, it is a quite extraordinary story, and we'll follow it very closely. Bill, thanks again for being here tonight. Good to see you.

BROWDER: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Take care in your undisclosed location. All right. So, President Trump, hitting back at critics today saying that no one has been tougher on Russia than his administration.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And we're doing very well. Probably, as well as anybody has ever done with the Russia, and there's been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia.


MACCALLUM: Here now, David Bossie, Trump 2016 campaign, deputy campaign manager, and president of citizens united and a Fox News contributor. And Austan Goolsbee, a former chief economic adviser to President Obama, an economics professor at the University of Chicago. Gentlemen, welcome to both of you. Good to have you both here.


MACCALLUM: David, let me start with you. I just want to get your reaction to my discussion with Bill Browder. Doesn't it seem odd to you that the White House hasn't unequivocally come out and said, "That's never going to happen, we're not sending anyone to you and your investigators are not going to speak to these people."

BOSSIE: Well, that's exactly what it sounded like Heather Nauert just said, and she speaks for the State Department. So, I don't -- I didn't see much daylight in there.

MACCALLUM: Well, she said she couldn't speak for the White House. I'm just -- you know, curious why if -- you know, has been not so clear from the president or from the White House? Why would there be any hesitation in that?

BOSSIE: You know, the Brower case is new for me. And I could just tell you that the President Trump would never agree to allow Americans to be questioned.


BOSSIE: Or you God forbid sent over to Russia. I think that's not even on the table, I would expect that it's not.

MACCALLUM: And Browder's actually a British citizen, he was an American businessman at the time. But I mean, based on everything we've seen from this president who has brought hostages back from other countries, he's made that a priority. It doesn't seem to line up with the way that we've seen him working on these sorts of things and that's why I guess it's raising a number of questions tonight.

With regard to the president's statement that he has been tougher than former presidents on the Soviet Union when it comes to the actions, Austan, what do you think about that?

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER ECONOMIC ADVISER TO BARACK OBAMA: I mean, I assume he was kidding or he didn't know what he was talking about, because that's obviously frame of face should not true at all.

MACCALLUM: How so? How so?

GOOLSBEE: Well, let's walk through the Christmas list of what Vladimir Putin has wanted for the last 10 years in the West, Donald Trump, has actively done the bidding that Vladimir Putin has wanted. He's undermined NATO in a very significant way. You just saw it today --


MACCALLUM: How has he done that he added 30 -- he push them to add $35 to $40 billion dollars in defense spending at NATO?

BOSSIE: No, no, come on, Austan. The opposite.

GOOLSBEE: OK, let's talk about number one.


GOOLSBEE: Today, the president's saying that maybe we wouldn't have to come to the defense of a country in NATO like Montenegro if it was too small and we didn't want to do so. That's the very core agreement of NATO. It completely undermines NATO.


MACCALLUM: David, you're shaking your head. I'm going to go one by one here. Because that --

GOOLSBEE: It's not me saying it, the leaders of the NATO country said that he undermined it.


MACCALLUM: David, you want to weigh in on that?

BOSSIE: Barack Obama allowed the Russians to meddle. Barack Obama allowed them to invade Crimea. Barack Obama -- you can laugh.

GOOLSBEE: Oh, boy.

BOSSIE: Barack Obama allowed the Syrians to gasp children. The red line that Barack Obama talked about was not accurate. He's -- he lied to the American people and he'd let Putin do whatever he wanted. That's the -- those are the facts.

MACCALLUM: You know, when you look, you know --


GOOLSBEE: Let me -- David, do you think this was a successful summit?

MACCALLUM: Hold on Austan.

GOOLSBEE: He went to a summit in which he is talking about potentially extraditing the U.S. -- the former U.S. ambassador to Russia.

BOSSIE: That's not true. It's not true.

GOOLSBEE: To Russia.

BOSSIE: It's not true.

MACCALLUM: All right. Well, hold on guys.


GOOLSBEE: You just -- look, I don't know what to tell you other than what he himself said.

MACCALLUM: Yes, and hold on. Austan, no, but, Austan, Austan -- you know, just take a breath for one second.


MACCALLUM: You know, in terms of actual facts on the ground, and what -- and what we have seen happen, this president gave lethal aid to the Ukraine. President Obama symptom MREs. You know, so you can talk in broad terms about being dissatisfied with the -- with the attitude that you saw in Helsinki, and I think, you would find a lot of people that would agree with that. But we have to -- you know, deal in the actual facts on the ground.


GOOLSBEE: OK, what's (INAUDIBLE) couple of specifics.

MACCALLUM: President Obama said that he would -- he would consider easing up on the missile shield. Can you imagine how that felt to the Eastern European countries when they heard that? And in fact, the missile shield is still in the works and planned to be done by 2020 under this president?

GOOLSBEE: Let's walk through specific if you'd like to.

MACCALLUM: OK. The U.S. Congress passed a sanctions on Russia to punish them for their behavior. The Trump administration has actively not enforced the sanctions.

BOSSIE: The sanctions are still all on.

GOOLSBEE: And they -- when first said they were going to evict the Russian diplomats, and then turned around and said that they would allow the Russians to replace those diplomats with other diplomats.

So, when you're saying that the president is being the toughest president on Russia, it's obviously not true, you don't have to make claims that are completely over the top falls in order to say that he's doing a --


MACCALLUM: I'm just literally going by the facts. The money spent, the strengthening of NATO, the increase in aid to Ukraine, you know, if you're -- if you're one of those people --


GOOLSBEE: When you say he strengthen NATO with the leaders of our NATO allies universally agree that he undermined NATO and they been extremely disturb.

BOSSIE: Theresa May.

GOOLSBEE: So, why is it that you say that strengthening NATO?

MACCALLUM: All right. I been hear a lot. So, David, I want to give you the final thought here. David, go ahead.

BOSSIE: Look, Trump derangement syndrome is a real thing. We see this now. We see that Brennan, the Obama CIA director who is responsible for allowing the meddling in the Syrian gassing of children. This guy voted for a communist, now we find out.

We have problems that President Trump inherited that he is trying to fix. The Obama administration and their ilk are doing everything they can to undermine him. They lie, they will cheat, they will steal, they want to basically, eliminate the election of November of 2016. That's all they think about, that's all they can do.

MACCALLUM: Alright, guys. Thanks, good debate. Good to have you both here tonight. So, still, to come, Mandalay Bay has been criticized for allowing Stephen Paddock to load an enormous amount of firepower into his room there before unleashing it on hundreds of innocent people below. But now, Mandalay Bay is suing the victims. A heated debate coming up tonight.

Plus, prosecutors say that she offered sex in return for a job here in the United States and then, proceeded to infiltrate GOP circles. What we are now learning tonight about the woman known as Maria Butina. Do you think that's her real name?

Michael Isikoff is joining me with some of what he's done. He is been writing about her actually for a long time, he's up next.


MACCALLUM: She once appeared in GQ Russia back in 2014. Where's -- let's take a look at that picture. There she is in GQ Russia with a couple of guns and a fancy leather jacket. But today she was wearing an orange jumpsuit and she pled not guilty to charges of acting as an agent of a foreign government. She's going to be held in jail. The judge says that she has no ties to America and therefore she is a serious flight risk saying that she could hop into any Russian diplomatic vehicle and she would be out of their hands.

So the prosecutors say that this 29-year-old allegedly offered to have sex with an unnamed individual in return for a job in the United States and that she gained access to an extensive network of U.S. persons to influence political activities in the United States by living with and at one point and none of the people in this picture are implicated in this so let's take them off the camera. But there is a suggestion that she had a relationship with an individual and may have moved in with someone in order to gain access as well. So here is Jack Barsky former KGB Agent on the story last night when he asked -- when I asked him if he believed that she is indeed a Russian spy.


MACCALLUM: Is she is a spy, what we would call a spy?

JACK BARSKY, FORMER KGB AGENT: I would think so, albeit most likely in an amateur. I'm calling her an amateur, I also have to compliment her because he got a lot further than I as a trained professional got. I mean, she made contact with a lot of people that are and would be of interest to Russia.


MACCALLUM: So that, of course, is what spies tried to do. Remember Anna Chapman who even kind of looks a little bit like Maria Butina and the ring of Russian spies who were caught back in 2010. Their story was the basis for the series The Americans. Michael Isikoff is the Chief Investigative Correspondent at Yahoo! News, and Co-Author of Russian Roulette. Michael, welcome back to the program. You wrote about Maria Butina in your book. Were you surprised to hear that she had been arrested?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: Not really. I mean, Maria Butina, by the way, is how it's pronounced --

MACCALLUM: Butina. Thank you.

ISIKOFF: -- has been on my radar screen and a number of others for quite some time you know, during the 2016 campaign. She kept showing up at various events. She was photographed with Scott Walker at an NRA event shortly after he announced. And also -- and I we do write about this in Russian Roulette, just a few weeks after Donald Trump declared his candidacy for president she showed up at an event. He was speaking out in Las Vegas Trump called on her during a Q&A session and she asked about --

MACCALLUM: We have that, Michael. Let me just jump in for one second because we can show that.


MACCALLUM: Let's play that.



MARIA BUTINA, RUSSIAN SPY: Do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that are damaging of both economy?

TRUMP: I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin, OK? And I mean, where we have the strength. I don't think you'd need the sanctions. I think that we would get along very, very well.


MACCALLUM: I mean, she was clearly doing her job. She was getting --

ISIKOFF: She was doing her job -- right. And look, Russia sanctions was hardly at the forefront of the American political dialogue at that moment. That's not what Republican candidates were talking much about but she got Trump on the record saying he'd do away with sanctions. That was some --

MACCALLUM: But President Obama was pressing sanctions at that point, right?

ISIKOFF: Oh, well, he had already imposed sanctions, yes. And there's -- Trump is saying if you elect me you wouldn't need the sanctions.

MACCALLUM: All right, let's talk a little bit about the back channels that she was trying to establish and whether or not your -- from your reporting she was able to really get anywhere with that. And part of the investigation is whether or not there was funneling of money. I mean, in my mind she's sort of like the human expression of you know of a bot or a tweet or all of the other efforts that they made. She's a much more traditional expression of that. In fact, over the last, you know decade they've arrested 20 spies who have been doing exactly what she was trying to do.

ISIKOFF: Right, right. Look, she was there as we write in the book, I mean, she surprised a lot of people because she kept showing up at NRA conventions, at CPAC conferences, at national prayer breakfasts, and you know there are a number of people who kept wondering why is this woman always here? What is she after? We --- there's a Republican lobbyist who she was sort of coming on to and this lobbyist was wondering what's going on here? Why is this Russian woman you know, trying to befriend me and being so (INAUDIBLE) of what I have to say?

MACCALLUM: Yes, I wonder why. I wonder what she might possibly want. Oh my god. Yes.

ISIKOFF: But look, there's a serious part to this story and that is her handler, her boss, and that's that guy Alexander Torshin. He is a Russian central banker, deputy governor was a high-level official in the in the Duma, in Putin's party, and an accused money launderer. The Spanish national police had wiretap on him talking to the head of an organ -- Russian organized crime gang leader in Spain in which their leader is talking about him as El Padrino. Torshin is the real target here. He's the guy you got a look for.

MACCALLUM: He's the guy in the picture that we're showing right now next to her. Michael, thank you. Good to see you tonight.

ISIKOFF: Sure enough. Any time.

MACCALLUM: So New Jersey, Senator Bob Menendez has been plagued by scandal and now his New Jersey Senate race is looking like it could actually become a toss-up. And 58 concert goers massacred, hundreds of people injured, and now Mandalay Bay is turning the tables on the Las Vegas victims. One of the survivors is up next.


ROBERT EGLET, ATTORNEY FOR LAS VEGAS VICTIMS: They have no interest whatsoever in the victims. They haven't -- what their number one and only priority is their money.



MACCALLUM: Fifty-eight people were murdered and more than 500 were injured in the Las Vegas massacre last October. And now more than 1,000 survivors of the deadliest shooting in American history are being sued by MGM Resorts. The strange twist is sparking in major backlash. Is this heartless or practical or maybe both? Jonathan Hunt is live in our West Coast Newsroom with the story. Hi, Jonathan!

JONATHAN HUNT, FOX NEWS CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Martha! It certainly seems odd on the face of it that the company would sue victims but it's all about MGM protecting itself from what could potentially be a series of devastating financial claims. The company says it has "no liability of any kind to defendants." Those defendants being some of the hundreds of people who were shocked, wounded, and traumatized that terrible night when a gunman open fire from Mandalay Bay. MGM sight say 2002 federal act that gives liability protection to any company that uses "anti-terrorism technology" or services that can "help prevent and respond to mass violence."

MGM says it's protected from liability because it used a security company certified by the Department of Homeland Security. And in a statement, MGM added "years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing." Now, the act MGM is relying on here cost in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. The FBI has not called the Vegas shootings as an act of terrorism and in fact still hasn't found a motive behind the massacre. Victims and their lawyers are outraged.


EGLET: This is the most reprehensible conduct by a defendant under circumstances like this I've ever witnessed in more than 30 years.


HUNT: And they argue that as Stephen Paddock brought his huge arsenal of weapons into the Mandalay Bay, MGM should have seen the warning signs and should not be protected legally by that 2002 federal safety act.

EGLET: It wasn't meant to provide immunity for a hotel-casino who had woefully inefficient security process that didn't you know, all the bells and whistles that were going off that they didn't catch.

HUNT: Now, the courts will decide the legal issues. The court of public opinion, Martha, seems to have rolled already against MGM. Martha?

MACCALLUM: It would be damaging as well. Thank you very much, Jonathan. Brian Claypool, an attorney who was there the night of the massacre, he represents more than 75 of the survivors and Mark Eiglarsh a Criminal Defense Attorney and former Prosecutor.

Gentlemen, welcome, both of you.

Mark, you were there. We talked shortly after that night about how horrific it was for you. You know, how does MGM turn lawsuits against these victims and get away with it?

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hi, Martha. Thanks for having me back. Yes, we talked right after the shooting and I will tell you that the announcement of these lawsuits against the victims of the Vegas shooting has re-victimized and re-traumatized everybody that was part of that shooting, including myself.

My question to MGM is how deep into the swamp do they want to go by suing victims? Now how low do they want to kick the victims? In my opinion, both as a victim of the shooting and a lawyer. And actually I'm co-counseling with Robert Eglet on these cases.

I mean, this is a bullying tactic and an intimidation tactic, Martha, to dissuade or discourage these victims from filing this lawsuit.


CLAYPOOL: Plain and simple. They didn't have to do this.

MACCALLUM: Mark, I can understand if MGM thinks that, you know, they can win this suit, but suing the victims? What are they suing them for?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: A P.R. nightmare. I will not defend them on P.R. grounds at all. My heart goes out to the victims and I can understand why Brian and the others are feeling angry.

However, Brian is a tremendous trial lawyer, he knows that your job when you're defending someone is to do everything you possibly can to win. And in this particular case they cite a statute that seems to be created for this very scenario.

They didn't hire Justin Bieber's bodyguards or a couple of hells angels. They hired a company that was certified by the Department of Homeland Security in the exact acts that are protected underneath the statute. I'm not sure how a judge doesn't grant this.


MACCALLUM: All right. But let me ask you this. Because after this horrific night we talked about the security that other casinos have in place in Las Vegas and the Wynn Casino as I remember had much tougher security in terms of what you can bring into those rooms and how long you can let them -- you know, no one enter your room for days and days.

So if you can prove -- can you prove, Brian, that they were negligent because other resorts have handled it much better?

CLAYPOOL: You can do that and you can also the way we are going to do it also is, for example, a couple weeks ago, there was evidence of three years ago, convicted felon is in a hotel room at the Mandalay Bay with mass weapons.

So we can use -- we can use prior reports of crime at all the MGM casinos and try to get an evidence of other crime occurring on the property from other casinos to prove negligence. But one thing I want to respond to Mark with--



CLAYPOOL: -- is I don't think this is -- this is not a slam dunk. Because the spirit of this 2002 law, Martha, was to prevent terrorism. The definition of terrorism is violence for a political gain. This had nothing to do with terrorism and the last one I want to make is--


EIGLARSH: But that's not accurate.

CLAYPOOL: Even is a judge -- but even if -- but listen, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Mark, last point. Go ahead.

CLAYPOOL: Even if a judge does say this is terrorism--

EIGLARSH: The definition of terrorism, Brian--

MACCALLUM: Go ahead, Mark. Go ahead.


CLAYPOOL: Even if -- let me finish.

EIGLARSH: The definition of terrorism in this scenario is any unlawful act, and that's what this was, inside the United States, which it was, that causes mass destruction, injury or other loss. It seems to fit exactly the definition, Brian, as much as I feel for you and your client legally the judge will not consider the motion sympathy.


MACCALLUM: All right. We got to leave it there, guys.

CLAYPOOL: Mark -- Mark?

MACCALLUM: Gentlemen, thank you.

CLAYPOOL: You can't--

MACCALLUM: We got to leave it there. We'll pick it up. We'll stay on it. Good to see you both tonight. Thank you very much.

So coming up, more Democrats run cities like Chicago pushing some usual liberal policies for quite a long time bordering on socialism in some cases like guaranteed income for all.

So where are they headed? Jonah Goldberg on that. And President Obama's return to the spotlight ahead.

Plus, cleared of corruption and back on the campaign trail, but this time New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez may have some competition on his hands. His challenger is Republican Bob Hugin and he joins me next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bob Menendez chose a life in politics serving his donors, getting indicted. Bob Hugin chose a life of service. He's the better Bob for Senate.




SEN. BOB MENENDEZ, D-N.J.: To those who were digging my political grave so that they could jump into my seat, I know who you are and I won't forget you.


MACCALLUM: Remember that? So less than four months until the 2018 midterms, I think it's about 100 days and the New Jersey Senate race is in a statistical dead heat according to a local poll and it's starting to get some attention because there's a real chance that the traditionally safe Democratic seat could possibly for the first time since 1972 possibly go red.

So you've got two-term Senator Bob Menendez who was cleared this year of corruption charges. It was basically the jury in both cases, both trials did not reach a decision, they deadlocked. It's a tight race with Bob Hugin, a former drug company executive and CEO of Celgene. So Bob is here live in just a moment.

But first, Chris Stirewalt, Fox News politics editor for more on this race. So this could potentially get interesting, Chris, which, you know, it doesn't usually happen in New Jersey.

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR: Well, New Jersey politics are interesting.

MACCALLUM: That's for sure.

STIREWALT: Yes. But usually not in good ways. Look, here's the thing, it's a tough year for Republicans in New Jersey and in a lot of places and a lot of blue states and let's be honest from the start, this is a long shot. This is a hard one.


STIREWALT: But you have in Mr. Hugin what Republicans love to see. They have this year a lot of places where they are spending money to try to gain seats in the Senate. This is one where you have a person who has money of his own and has a donor base that he can call on to help them out and he can become instantly viable essentially in this race.

Menendez is badly damaged. He was not really cleared-cleared in the sense that prosecutors eventually said look, we are dropping what we're doing. They didn't say we think he's just peachy keen. What they said was we can't get there from here and we give up. And that's going to hang over him.

And also resentment inside his party toward him for the way he did this. It would have been much better for him for Democrats to have stepped aside and let somebody without the baggage run. He's forcing it and now there is some division there.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Indeed, there is. So what's the vulnerability for Bob Hugin?

STIREWALT: He is a Republican, it is New Jersey. The brand in New Jersey right now for Republican is bad so he has to be a different kind of Republican to fit in, in New Jersey, but it has worked in the past. Chris Christie, et cetera. So things are possible and we are definitely watching this race in a way that we normally wouldn't.


MACCALLUM: We are watching this race. Thank you, my friend. Good to see you tonight.


MACCALLUM: Thanks for being here, Chris. So we invited incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Menendez to join us tonight. He had a prior engagement and that invitation is open.

Joining me now is Bob Hugin, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in New Jersey and former CEO of Celgene Pharmaceuticals. Good to see you, Bob. Good to have you here tonight. Let's take a look at -- we looked in the tease at your ad against Bob Menendez. But let's look at what he is running against you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the cause is just, we don't give in. When the odds are long, we don't give up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob has always made us proud. Always.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We cannot let the dark cloud cast by the president define us as a country.


MACCALLUM: It doesn't mention you a whole lot in there. But what do you make of the race you are up against?

BOB HUGIN, R-SENATE CANDIDATE, NEW JERSEY: Well, first of all, I think long shot is the wrong characterization. The two most recent polls are within the margin of error. It's a dead heat right now. The people of New Jersey are realizing they have a real choice this year.

MACCALLUM: You are a former marine. You were the first to go to college in your family. And you know, I think a lot of people look at you and say, you know, he's a wealthy man, very successful. You put $15 million of your own money--


MACDONALD: -- into this race. And so I can imagine in a debate environment, because I moderate a lot of debates, that that's how he's going to go at you that you are the rich guy and you are funding your own campaign, kind of like Donald Trump.

HUGIN: Yes. Listen, as you said, I lived the American dream. I was born in Jersey City, raised in Union City. First of my family to go to college. Serve the Marine Corps, served my country. I went to a struggling company, six weeks of cash left and now one of the leading companies in the world fighting cancer.

So we're going to make a difference here. And the other thing is, let's be clear. In Washington you never see bipartisanship. Senate ethics committee, Democrats and Republicans, Senator Menendez violated the law, abused the power of his office, disgraced the Senate, it's time for change. It fails.

MACCALLUM: All right. So how do you convince Democratic voters in New Jersey, because there are more of them than there are Republicans, that they should take a chance on you, and will you ask President Trump to campaign with you?

HUGIN: Well, first of all, the people of New Jersey are speaking. I go to all over. They realize that not only has he morally offended them and embarrass them, he's been in Washington for 25 years, 16 years with a Democratic president in New Jersey is dead last.

We get the least back from any state in the country of the percentage of what we send and it's headed in the wrong direction. Its failed leadership. We are going to put New Jersey first.

MACCALLUM: So you didn't answer my question. Do you want Trump to campaign with you?

HUGIN: Listen, this race is Bob Menendez against Bob Hugin. I want everybody to come and support me as long as it's about New Jersey issues and the issues that we are fighting for, for all the people of New Jersey.

MACCALLUM: And what about Chris Christie, would you like him to campaign with you?

HUGIN: Again, I want anybody who believes in the values that I have from New Jersey. I'm listening to New Jerseyans. It's clear what they want. They want a more affordable state. We need to be supported better in Trenton and in Washington. And it's about Menendez versus Hugin.

MACCALLUM: I live in New Jersey, which, you know, I think maybe our viewers are aware of. You've got a lot of people who want to leave the state. They are getting taxed out of the state. A lot of businesses. So I would imagine that that's one of the areas that you are going to want to drive home.

HUGIN: Yes. Listen, it's a shame. You want to be able to have your children -- I'm lucky, I have three kids. We raised our kids in New Jersey. My daughter works at Giovanni Yogurt here in New York. Both my sons are officers in the Marine Corps.

I want them to be able to come back to New Jersey but it's so unaffordable now people are planning their exit. We got to change. We've got to see the light at the end of the tunnel and say we are going to have Trenton and Washington focus on making New Jersey affordable again.

MACCALLUM: Bob, thank you very much. We'll be watching. Interesting to meet you. Thanks for being here tonight.


HUGIN: Great to be with you. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: You bet. So coming up next.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: I'm not being alarmist, I am simply stating the facts. Look around.


OBAMA: Strongman politics are assented.


MACCALLUM: So is that true? Are those the facts? Jonah Goldberg is up next and says the rebirth of populism and nationalism is destroying American democracy. He's always so cheery and he joins me next.



OBAMA: Look around.


OBAMA: Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly. Whereby elections in some pretense of democracy are maintained, the form of it, but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.


MACCALLUM: That was President Obama stepping back into the spotlight this week and taking some shots, without saying his name, at President Trump, suggesting that strongman politics, as you heard him say they are, are on the rise and perhaps some of our Democratic freedoms are at stake.

Joining me now, Jonah Goldberg, Fox News contributor and author of the new book "Suicide of the West." Who better to talk to about democracy and the future of America? Hi, Jonah. Good to see you tonight.


MACCALLUM: So what about this argument that strongman are ascendant?

GOLDBERG: Well, look, I think you're probably right that Barack Obama was, as the kids say, sub tweeting Donald Trump a little bit. You know, he didn't use his name but that people were supposed to take away that association.

But it is worth pointing out that strongman politics is ascendant in large parts of the globe. There are lots of countries that are looking at the Putin Model, the Chinese model. Viktor Orban in Hungary has talked about how liberal Democratic capitalism may be has run its course.

In Mexico they just elected a big populist demagogue guy. We look at what happened in Venezuela, which should be a cautionary tale.

The rhetoric about how democracy and liberal democratic capitalism is fading in a lot, in many parts of the world these days and I do think that you can make the argument that some of that is happening in the United States too.

I don't think that Donald Trump is a strongman. I do think he likes a lot of strong men, or says nice things about them, but that's a little different thing than saying that Donald Trump is a strongman.

MACCALLUM: We had (Inaudible) Steven Pinker a while ago. I mean, he talked about the rise of democracy, actually, and how the situation for most people has become better in the world in recent decades. He said now you've got -- he said, you know, when he was a kid you had about 60 democracies in the world. Now you have 100 and that this notion that the world is becoming a less great place to live is just simply not true when you look at the economies around the globe.

Democracy is going around the globe. The decline in disease around the globe. That it actually is a much more optimistic picture than President Obama wants to paint.

GOLDBERG: No. Look, I agree with that and you know, Steven Pinker makes a very similar argument to one of the ones that I make in my book. That, you know, in terms of human prosperity, this is the greatest moment to be alive in all of human history.

We actually, right now in this moment are living in the greatest moment of poverty alleviation in the history of humanity. But at the same time, we don't teach people to be grateful for this. We don't teach people to be thankful for this.

Instead, we get on the left and on certain parts of the right, the opposite of gratitude, which is resentment and entitlement.


GOLDBERG: And as Ronald Reagan -- as Ronald Reagan said, you know, tyranny is never more than one generation away because we don't inherit it in our blood, it's got to be fought for and taught in every generation and we're not doing a great job of that.

MACCALLUM: Well, you know, I thought it was interesting when the president -- when President Obama was talking about strongman, you know, and I think about another way of looking at that is that a strongman, you know, some might make the argument, conservatives might make the argument, that the strongman is the government and that the government has grown and grown and grown and encroached on people's freedoms.

We have encouraged more people to go into food stamps. We've expanded -- you know, now we are talking about guaranteed income in Chicago so that -- maybe it's not embodied in one human being, but that the government is a fearful strongman for many people.

GOLDBERG: I agree with that entirely. And I think that this is one of the ironies is when you hear from so many people on the sort of the Democratic left in America, they are constantly saying Donald Trump is a strongman, we don't need strongman.

What we need is socialism, which is basically giving millions of bureaucrat's strongman powers over their lives. And I do think that one of the best arguments for Donald Trump's election was this idea that the government establishment, the globalist, whatever you want to call it, were having too much power over our lives and we needed someone to come in and smash all of that up. And to the extent the things that Donald Trump is doing to smash a lot of that stuff up I support a great deal.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, also when you look at the rise of Kim Jong-un, when you look at what happened with China over the course of the Obama years, the expansion into the South China Seas, the huge expansion of -- their, you know, trade -- their robbing of our intellectual property all of that.

You look at Putin moving into Crimea, into Ukraine. All of that happened on President Obama's watch. So it's difficult to argue that the strongman has become more active since he left.

GOLDBERG: No. I think -- I think one of the reasons why though, that a lot of those things happen was in part because Barack Obama had a theory about how the world works that was in direct defiance of how the world actually works, and so he showed weakness to strongman around the world and strongman did what strongman do.

MACCALLUM: You are a strongman, but in a different way. Jonah, good to see you tonight. Thank you very much.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Thanks for being here.

GOLDBERG: Good to be here.

MACCALLUM: So still ahead tonight, a sneak peek about what the new Air Force One could look like, and we have a huge debate over whether or not it should be changed. Stick around, we'll be right back.


MACCALLUM: So President Trump says that Air Force One needs a makeover, the iconic baby blue to be ramped up with a more patriotic red, white, and blue which the president says would be more American. The changes are scheduled to take effect in 2024.

Here is one person's interpretation of what it could potentially look like. According to Axios, "I don't like this particular version it looks like a hockey helmet to me. You know how goalies paint their helmets. That's what it looks like."

So here's what they said on Twitter. Russ Bourne says this. "I think it should have been red, white, and blue to begin with."

Eric Snyder disagrees. He says it must be left as it is. The original iconic colors the plane stands for freedom and that symbol is highly recognizable around the world.

So here's tonight's quote from President George W. Bush on the last flight for Air Force One tail number 27,000 question.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: This plane tail number 27,000 bore the name of Air Force One for 444 missions and more than one million miles. Today it carried a president for the last time. And soon it will be taking its last flight. It will carry no more presidents but it will carry forever the spirit of American democracy.


MACCALLUM: I think they should leave it the way it is but I don't think the president will listen to me or probably any of the Twitter folks.

That is our story for tonight. Thanks for being with us, everybody. Tucker Carlson is coming up next live from Washington, D.C. Have a good night, everybody.

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