Charlottesville protester: Trump's words too little too late
This is a rush transcript from "The Story," August 14, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Breaking tonight on "The Story." Tensions rising now as White Supremacist and far-left Antifa groups vow that Charlottesville, they say, was "just the beginning."
Good evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum and at this hour the president is on route to his home here just a few blocks away in New York City. We will watch for that arrival that will happen moments from now. We do see, also, that protesters have been gathering over the past couple of hours there, we'll take you there live in a moment. In the meantime, though, the Chief of Police in Charlottesville today, says that he has deep regrets, of course, about what happened Saturday in the senseless loss of life. But he also said this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL THOMAS, CHIEF OF POLICE IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA: We did have mutually combative individuals in the crowd. We had a number of individuals who chose to remain and cause violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So that was a sentiment that the president was criticized for. Today though, he called for the nation to come together and in that statement, he named names.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend's racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered. Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo- Nazis, White Supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. As a candidate, I promised to restore law and order to our country. And our federal law enforcement agencies are following through on that pledge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, a lot of developments on all sides on this tonight. Now, the mother of the woman, Heather Heyer, who was killed by that White Supremacist, who ran into her with his car on Saturday, has thanked the president for these new condemnations saying this: "Thank you, President Trump for those words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred." All of that is ground zero for these confrontations at Confederate monuments looks like it is about to heat up as well. The mayor of Lexington Kentucky announcing late today that does plan to begin the removal of those statues.
So, we have a powerful lineup for you tonight here in New York. We are joined in a moment by Vincent Hill, a former Police Officer, and a Trump supporter; Jabari Brisport, is a fierce critic of the president and he was in the middle of the Charlottesville protests when it got ugly there; Charles Hurt has written about it today, joins us tonight with his analysis. But first, let's go to Rick Leventhal who is just a few blocks away as I said at Trump Tower, where the president is set to arrive very shortly and there are some protesters out there. How does it look out there tonight, Rick?
RICK LEVENTHAL, FOX NEWS CHANNEL SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: They're loud, but so far well-behaved, Martha. We want to set the scene for you. We're in a designated press pen behind barricades along the side walk on Fifth Avenue. You see some of the demonstrators on the other side of the press pen blocking the sidewalk. Pretty difficult for any pedestrians to make their way up and down Fifth Avenue, which is closed for several blocks here including the block in front of Trump Tower. I want to give you a look south, down Fifth Avenue, where you can see more demonstrators gathered on either side of the street behind those metal barricades. Many of them holding signs and they've all been chanting now for the past hour or two.
They are letting some traffic through from this point south. But then if you look north, towards Trump Tower, you see a lot of officers on the street there. Most of them are carrying zip ties. There are dozens of members of the NYPD strategic response group on the scene here. They are clearly trying to protect the front of the tower, where you can also see a row of sanitation trucks parked bumper to bumper, to block access to Trump Tower. And above, you could see members of the NYPD on a terrace there keeping an eye on the crowd. We've been hearing the NYPD warning some of the demonstrators on the street itself to keep moving because they don't want too large of a crowd gathered in front of Trump Tower.
Martha, the NYPD, a couple of months ago estimated it would cost more than $300,000 a day for the city to secure Trump Tower and the perimeter whenever the president is in town. That's similarly the same cost for the entire summer to secure the president in Bedminster, New Jersey. Again, the president is scheduled to arrive here not in a couple of hours from now, but certainly, hundreds if not more protesters have gathered here to wait for him, Martha?
MACCALLUM: That's something else. Rick, thank you very much. We'll be watching that throughout the evening. So, here now with more: Vincent Hill, former Police Officer and Host of "Beyond The Badge" podcast; Jabari Brisport, is a Green Party Candidate for the New York City Council, he was in Charlottesville on Saturday to protest against the hate groups; and Charles Hurt, Fox News Contributor and Columnist for the Washington Times. Gentlemen, thank you for being here. That is quite a scene gathered outside of Trump Tower this evening.
Vincent Hill, let me start with you. As the president arrives back home for the first time since the inauguration tonight, he will be greeted by this group on the streets and it has been a very volatile 48 hours. How do you think he's doing with this latest statement today?
VINCENT HILL, PODCAST HOST AND FORMER POLICE OFFICER: Well, Martha, thanks for having me. And first, I want to send my prayers to the families of the victims in Charlottesville. Absolutely, of course, the police officers that lost their lives, trying to bring law and order there in Charlottesville. And unfortunately, the president who on Saturday condemned the actions of what was going on in Charlottesville is going to be met with exactly what everyone is in an uproar about. Hate, hate from the left. That's what the president is going to be met with when he returns home.
MACCALLUM: Jabari, you know, in discussing the hate from the left, I thought it was very interesting. The president was roundly criticized for saying that the tension and the escalation were coming from both sides when he made that initial statement on Saturday. You know, today he called out those hate groups by name, Jabari. But in terms of what we've seen, and the hatred that exists from both of these groups on the left and on the right, is that a fair statement and was the president wrong when he said that in the first place?
JABARI BRISPORT, GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE FOR THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: Yes. He was wrong. It is not fair to equate the two groups with equal amounts of hate. One group hates Muslims and Jews and immigrants and people because of who they are. The other group is looking to fight for the world in which all people are respected no matter what type of person they are. So, you can label it as hate, but they're not equal in any shape, form, or measure. And I watched the video of what he did today, it's too little, it's too late. He emboldened these groups of lots of his hate for rhetoric throughout his campaign. He took forever to come out against David Duke's endorsement. And he has yet to try to get the support of these people.
MACCALLUM: Jabari, one of the problems with -- you know, and obviously, there was a loss of life here in Charlottesville that, thankfully, we have not seen in these other incidents. But when you go back -- I mean, you know, look at things like the parade that was canceled because there was a threat by groups, the Antifa groups, that they were going to drag Republicans out of the parade. Congressman, whose wife has been threatened, and were told by these leftist groups that they were going to detail exactly how they were going to kill her. Look at Steve Scalise, and what happened to him. So, is it, you know, unfair -- I mean, I think these are such fringe groups on both sides of the political spectrum but, in order to get anywhere, don't we both need to recognize that both sides have gone in sane in these attacks.
BRISPORT: I think to get anywhere; you need to get to the root of the problem, which is this alt-right mentality. You don't see Antifa anywhere outside of this protest, but you do see alt-right people like (INAUDIBLE) shooting up churches without any provocations. So, in order to stop those groups, you need to start with the alt-right.
CHARLES HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND COLUMNIST FOR THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Well, I do agree with one thing and that is that we should deal with these people that perpetrate any kind of violence or whatsoever to the fullest extent of the law. And we should apply it fairly no matter what your skin color is, and quite frankly, no matter what your views are about anything. If you break the law, you're going to get punished, and you're going to get punished to the fullest extent of the law. What happened in Charlottesville is an unspeakable senseless, tragedy; it breaks my heart as a Virginian.
The people of Virginia are not like this. I don't think any of these people are really from Virginia. But the thing that bothers me the most is in the aftermath, we have the stupidest debate afterward about when did Donald Trump take to Twitter, and did he get to Twitter fast enough, and did he denounce every single group. It's just idiotic. We have, obviously, this video, this footage. We have real problems that we should be dealing with, and having stupid debates like this. I don't think it helps anything. If anything makes it worse.
MACCALLUM: Jabari, do you agree?
BRISPORT: I think it's important to know what the president does in response to these because he carries a lot of influence.
MACCALLUM: Vincent, what do you say to those who believe that the president didn't come out, sort of, in a very natural response and condemn these groups by name initially on Saturday?
HILL: Well, listen, I don't know what people wanted the president to do, right? I mean, it's no different from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton not coming out and saying, radical Islamic terror, when that's what it was. So, now all of a sudden, the left is in an uproar that the president didn't come out and name them by name -- White Supremacist by name.
MACCALLUM: But the president criticized them for doing that. And so, you know, that's part of the argument, Vincent.
HILL: Yes, absolutely. I mean --
HURT: And it's obvious that the president, the administration, they thought that he made a mistake. Because if you just listen to his statement today, he clearly wanted to step back out there and make it very clear to condemn all these people. But again, it's still just such -- it's such a meaningless conversation about nonsense. Does anybody really think the president is racist?
HILL: Very meaningless. What's meaningless is the president doesn't respond to these issues and responds to these events. He carries a lot of influence and the length of time it takes to actually name names, and refer to these hate groups really can embolden them.
MACCALLUM: Yes. But when you look at the rhetoric of both these groups, they're saying that this is just the beginning on the Antifa side, and also on the hate -- the White Supremacist side. They are escalating this. So, you know, Vincent, does the president need to do more in terms of the kind of meeting the moment with the rhetoric and speaking to these groups on both sides which he pointed out, and got criticized for on Saturday. But it appears more and more that he's absolutely right that the escalation is desired to some extent on both sides here.
HILL: Yes. I think the president said that on Saturday. He said it was on many sides. And the chief echoed those sentiments.
MACCALLUM: Yes, he did.
HILL: On many sides. I mean, what we have right now is a lot of finger pointing but no one doing this. At this point, in this country, we need to hold hands. We need to have these conversations. It's easy for the media, the mainstream media to say that President Trump is a racist. But, yet, 20, 25 years ago when he was supporting Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and lacing their pockets with hundreds of thousands of dollars, no one was calling him a racist then. And now, Al Sharpton is one of his biggest opponents, right? So, I mean, if we're going to have these conversations, let's have an open dialogue. Let's call it realistic, and let's get to the root of the problem.
MACCALLUM: All right. We're going to leave it there. Gentlemen, thank you very much. Good to have all of you with us tonight.
HILL: Thank you.
HURT: You bet, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, a new word into us tonight from The Associated Press. They are reporting that North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has been briefed on plans to attack the U.S. territory of Guam. Remember, this island is home to some 6,000 U.S. troops. We will have more on the breaking details on this tonight. Also ahead, the president condemning White Supremacists as we said in brand new comments. But some critics may never be satisfied with what he says on this. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, can you explain why you did not condemn the statements by over the weekend?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: His response to that? Newt Gingrich joins us with his reaction tonight. And the president already tackling 2020: brand new Trump campaign ad that has everybody talking. And the one word that Karl Rove, says the ad should have avoided. He's up straight ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats obstructing. The media attacking our president. Career politicians standing in the way of success.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: There it is. The president just, as we speak, boarding Air Force One. He is ready to head home. He's not been to New York City to stay at his home at Trump Tower since the inauguration. And a lot of people thought that he would come back pretty much every weekend. That he would spend a lot of time there, but as it turned out, he spent a lot of time at Bedminster, New Jersey over the summer but hasn't been home since inauguration. So, a big moment. And as you saw, there is quite the crowd outside of Trump Tower this evening and an enormous security presence that is wrapping around the building.
Sanitation trucks that are loaded down with sand, literally, forming a barricade all around all of Trump Tower. That is the corner across from Trump Tower where there are hundreds, I would say at least, of people outside ready to greet him as he comes back. So, a little while before he boarded Air Force One, the president did respond via Twitter just a little while ago, he made additional -- this is what he said, "I made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realized once again that the #fake news media will never be fully satisfied. Truly bad people!" Joining me now to respond to all of this tonight: Fox News Contributor and former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. He is also the author of "Understanding Trump." Newt, good to see you tonight.
NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Good to see you.
MACCALLUM: You know, just watching outside of Trump Tower, and thinking about all that has transpired in the recent days and this being the first time; he's barely even back home since then. What's your reflection on where we are with all this tonight?
GINGRICH: Well, let me say in all honesty. I heard his comments on Saturday, Calista and I happened to be watching T.V. when he spoke, neither of us thought they were particularly inappropriate or particularly weak. He came out against bigotry, against racism, against hatred, against violence. He indicated it was un-American. But clearly, there was a hunger for him to use the specific phrases about White Supremacists, and about the KKK, and about Nazis. He came back today. He said every single thing that his critics on the left want. So, now, you have crowds saying, well, he didn't say it soon enough.
I just want to suggest to you, there is an anti-Trump movement in this country that will never ever be satisfied as long as he's president. And at some point, we have to understand his concern about violence on the left is real. Look at Middlebury College. Look at the Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, who's putting in a $9,000 door to escape if the students occupy the office. Look at the people who called for shooting policemen. I mean, there are a lot of reasons to believe that we have a two sided violence problem, not just a one sided violence problem.
MACCALLUM: Why do we?
GINGRICH: I think the gap in the country now is that deep and that real. I think that the people on the left have a radically different vision of America's future than traditional Americans. And I think there's a small element on the right, which has been there for a long time which is genuinely crazy. And then, let me say as a historian, Nazism was anti- Christian, totalitarian, anti-Semitic evil. Any person that tells you they are neo-Nazi, they're telling you they are signing up for evil.
And I think we have every right as a country to decide, to do everything we can to make it impossible to have an effective Nazi movement in this country just as we have an effect of anti-Ku Klux Klan movement which is focused in the way against Americans. By the way, remember, it's Donald Trump, who last year, in the campaign, repudiated David Duke. He repudiated the KKK. And in his inaugural, he said all of us bleed the same color and to be racist is to be un-American.
MACCALLUM: But let me ask you about these Confederate statues because as we just reported the mayor in Lexington is about to take one down of a Confederate general. And where does that stop? You know, at what point do you -- are you erasing history and not sort of understanding the role that these people played at the times that they lived in?
GINGRICH: Condoleezza Rice, who'd been Secretary of State, National Security Advisor appears to be a brilliant woman. An African- American who knew that she with the young girls, who were killed in Birmingham during the civil rights movement. So, she has some real credibility. She made the point yesterday trying to erase parts of our memory is dangerous. Where does it stop? And I think that this whole effort on the left -- they're going to have a run right now that is emotional, destructive and wrong. It is anti-American. It is anti- American history.
And I can appreciate the anger that somebody who's African-American might feel about somebody who's a Confederate. But let me suggest to you, there were 4,000 people shot in Chicago last year. Not a single one of them is helped by focusing on symbolic issues that are total bologna. And where are you going to stop it? You want to say, what if you weren't sensitive enough to the Holocaust? We should take down all the statues of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. You could make an argument for that.
MACCALLUM: You could make an argument for Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. You know, are you going to change the name of the Washington Monument? Are you going to --
GINGRICH: Well, if you want to, they're slave owners.
MACCALLUM: Absolutely. That's my point.
GINGRICH: And I think the point is: we ought to be a country focusing on the future, not a country frothing at the mouth about the past. And it tells you something about the intellectual collapse of the left that all they have is this kind of rabid behavior. And of course, mayors in towns that are largely black are going to pander to their audience. They're going to go out and prove they're popular by doing something that meets the current demagogic needs. But that's everything that founding fathers worried about. Having demagoguery define your country is truly dangerous. Listen to the mob you've got on the scene back there. That's not a democracy. That's not a free society. That's a group of people behaving like a mob.
MACCALLUM: Well, we'll see. We're watching it tonight. Newt Gingrich as always. Good to talk to you. Thank you very much.
GINGRICH: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, still ahead tonight. So, when exactly did the Obama administration first find out about the Russian's plan to meddle in our elections? And why didn't they do more about it when they were given all that information at the time? So, they're certainly fired up about it now. Plus, this is just into us tonight from A.P.: reports out of North Korea that Kim Jong-un has been briefed on military plans that his country could use to strike the nearby islands of Guam, which is, of course, home to American air and naval bases and as of great concern to all of us. Those breaking details up next on the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When the Chinese come in, and they want to make great trade deals, and they make the best trade deals and not anymore. When I'm there, we turn it around, folks, because we can't continue to allow China to rape our country. And that's what they are doing. It's the greatest theft in the history of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Back in Fort Wayne, Indiana in May of 2016. That's candidate Trump promising to crack down on Chinese trade practices. He's talked about it for decades, really. So, today, President Trump took a step toward that goal; signing a memo that could lead to the trade investigation of Chinese practices. Some believe that the timing of this announcement was actually meant to put pressure on Beijing to do more when it comes to North Korea. Chief National Correspondent, Ed Henry, joins us live from Washington from the White House. Good evening, Ed.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Martha, good to see you. President Trump actually tweeted out that this was a major reason why he interrupted his vacation, came back here to Washington. Remember, his vow during the campaign to stand up for American workers; this was a promise made, that is a promise kept tonight. As you say, the president's signing a memorandum, ordering his U.S. trade rep to look into whether there needs to now be a full-blown investigation into China's theft of American intellectual property, which the administration says is going on and is costing U.S. jobs.
The president's critics have been warning he cannot afford to challenge Chinese President Xi right now, because it could spark a messy trade war when we need the Chinese, as you noted, to put pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program. But the president insisted today, he's pushing forward to safe guard U.S. copy rights, patents and trademarks to counter the fact that China forces U.S. companies to give up technology and trade secrets to Chinese joint ventures that then profit from American hard work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We will enforce the rules of fair and reciprocal trade that formed the foundation of responsible commerce. And we will protect forgotten Americans who have been left behind by a global trade system that has failed to look, and I mean look out for their interests. They have not been looking out at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Now, the Democrat, Senate Democratic Leader, Chuck Schumer, was quick to dismiss this move charging: it fits a pattern with the president of, "tough talk on China but weaker action than anyone could ever imagine. To make an announcement that they are going to decide whether to have an investigation on China's well-documented theft of our intellectual property is another signal to China that it is OK to keep stealing."
That from the Democrats, except the president, seemed to at least get the attention of the Chinese. They announced today they will stop importing coal, iron ore and seafood, maybe other products as well from North Korea. Now, this is in line with those sanctions that passed before the United Nations a couple weeks back. But the fact that the Chinese announced it today, the same time the president was moving forward is an interesting bit of timing, Martha.
MACCALLUM: It sure is, Ed, thank you. So, we are also receiving reports tonight that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been briefed, as I said, on military plans to potentially strike the U.S. territory of Guam. Defense Secretary, James Mattis, warned earlier today what will happen if they dare to do that. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MATTIS, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: If they fire at the United States, it could escalate into a war very quickly. Yes, that's called war -- if they shoot at us. If they do that, then, it's game on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Here now: retired Brigadier General, Anthony Tata, Author of "Besieged"; and Lt. Col. Brad Taylor, author of the "Pike Logan" series; and Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, he's also previously served as the CIA's Deputy Division Chief for Korea. So, all very well qualified with a lot of deep history in this area. And General, let me start with you because I'd like to get your reaction to what General Mattis said there. What did you think?
GEN. ANTHONY TATA, RETIRED BRIGADIER GENERAL: Martha, General Mattis -- Secretary Mattis is saying in a very direct way if you shoot at us, expect consequences to come back at you in a Nano second and we are prepared to do that. And what you're seeing the Trump administration do is leverage all the elements of national power. So, Secretary Mattis in charge of the department of defense is talking about the types of things that we can do. We've flown flexible deter option such as B-1 bombers and all of that. You've got today all the talk is about the trade deal and the economic back and forth between us and China. That's leveraging our economic power.
TATA: And then, over the weekend we've been leveraging information power with all of our key leaders saying essentially the same thing that this is a red line that we should not cross.
MACCALLUM: So, you know, when you add all that up, Bruce, let me ask you this. You know, it appears that there's sort of incremental progress that China is acting in a way that it hasn't before. That they are going forward with these bans against North Korea. They also suggested that if North Korea strikes first, and we retaliate that they might not move to block that, and they initially said they would. So it looks like some of this very bellicose strong language on the military front, and then the carrot and stick approach with the diplomacy seems to be nudging this process in the direction that the president has said he wanted to go. Yes or no?
BRUCE KLINGER, FORMER CIA DEPUTY DIVISION CHIEF FOR KOREA: Well, each of the U.N. Security Council resolutions is incrementally better than the previous one. And, therefore, each one is the best in history until the next one. So China's announcement today is basically saying we will do what we're required to do under the U.N. Security Council resolutions. And historically, what China has done is, you know, they usually implemented the resolution sanctions for about 1 to 4 months and then they tend to back away. Now on the trade thing, whether that's related to North Korea or not, if it's intended to pressure China, North Korea, it's very indirect very slow method. There is something that the U.S. continues to pull its punches on, which is enforcing U.S. law against Chinese violators that are misusing the U.S. financial system. So, if we were to do secondary sanctions that's much quicker, much more direct, and it can wean away the Chinese banks and businesses from engaging with North Korea.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. It's a great point. I mean, you feel that there are financial sanctions that could be much more powerful, and that is sort of a string that could yet be pulled by the Trump administration if they decide they want to take that next step. Lieutenant Colonel Brad Taylor, your thoughts on the trade war here, and whether or not North Korea is starting to, you know, feel some heat from this, and the language from General Mattis, how do they respond to that, do you think?
BRAD TAYLOR, U.S. SPECIAL FORCES: Honestly, I think that General Mattis' comments are getting a little bit overblown. If you fire a missile at a U.S. territory by definition you're going to war.
MACCALLUM: Right. That's essentially what he was saying.
TAYLOR: Right. The truth of the matter is North Korea would be absolutely insane to attack Guam. It would be like getting in a shouting match with a belligerent drunk and punching his girlfriend instead of him. We have enormous combat power, a lot of it on Okinawa, Japan. We've got 353 special operations, there's Special Forces battalion, the strike eagles there. If you really wanted to do a first strike, you would take out Okinawa not Guam. By the time the missiles reach Guam we could have the birds in the air. So what he's really trying to do is turn this into a U.S. vs. North Korea. If he says he's against Okinawa, he's brought in Japan. So really, what I see it's just a word of words. And I think our response should be just what Mattis said, you heard what I said, you launch anything at us its game on. He didn't say anything else.
MACCALLUM: General, what do you think the next move from North Korea is?
TATA: Well, you know, Martha, I think this new administration philosophy doctrine of strategic accountability is going to hold North Korea accountable. Strategic patience under the Obama administration was really a do nothing reactive policy. And so, the next move for North Korea is to try to do something within the box that we have now painted them in. And if they get outside that box, they can expect immediate ramifications as Brad just said. So North Korea has been painted into a corner here. And a lot of people were concerned that the president was painting himself into a corner where -- very deliberately, this administration has leveraged the elements of national power to get both bilaterally with Russia, China and other nations, Japan, South Korea, and with collective security arrangements such as the U.N. to put pressure on North Korea. Now, you know, the ball really is in North Korea's court. They can back down and take the golden bridge out that we have offered them. And that's what I think all of us hope will happen.
MACCALLUM: Wow. We're going to be watching. Thank you very much, gentlemen. Great to see all of you tonight. Thanks for being on The Story. So coming up next, a new threat from al-Qaeda as their propaganda zeros in on our nation's transport system in chilling detail, that story coming up. Plus, the investigation into Russia's election interference is intensifying as you well know. And we're learning that some pretty significant details have arisen of exactly when the Obama administration had a pretty good sense of what the Russians were up to here. And last week it was Chicago, now San Francisco, and the state of California, lashing out at the feds over their crackdown on sanctuary cities. Judge Andrew Napolitano joins me in a moment to weigh in on those big stories tonight, right after this on The Story.
MACCALLUM: So the investigation into Russia's meddling in the U.S. election heating up on two fronts tonight. First, special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly seeking to interview White House officials in the probe including former chief of staff Reince Priebus, is the word out there right now in hopes of flipping some of them to get them to turn whatever information they might have against others who may have been involved. So all of this comes as another report comes out, one that could easily fall through the cracks on a day like this, and that is that the Obama administration has some pretty specific warnings about Russia's actions, even earlier than previously known. Politico finding this, quote, Obama team was warned in 2014 about Russian interference. Here now Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior analyst on all of this. So I want to get to both topics with you. What do you make of this news about the Obama awareness that the Russians were trying to meddle?
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR ANALYST: I think that that's on Bob Mueller's plate. I think he needs to know when the Russian stuff started, and that may very well mean that not only is he going to interview current members of the west wing about what Trump said and did with James Comey, but former members of the west wing. He might even go up to the former occupant of the oval office. Because we now have reason to believe that Barack Obama himself was told about this in 2014 and couldn't decide what to do.
NAPOLITANO: He wanted Hillary Clinton to get the nomination. He wanted her to be elected president, but didn't want it to look like he was helping her, so he sort of sat on this.
MACCALLUM: And in fact, right before the election he said anyone who questions the integrity of the U.S. election system is nuts. It's fool proof. There's no way that anybody is interfering with this. Then she loses and suddenly it's something, you know, kicks to high heaven.
NAPOLITANO: Correct. We're kicking 450 Russian diplomats, so-called Russian diplomats, out of the United States because of what they did. That president Obama and his team knew about for two years before the election. Bob Mueller has a duty to examine that, and the best way to examine it is the people who had that information and the people to whom the information was given who did nothing.
MACCALLUM: Do we know that he's questioning any of them yet?
NAPOLITANO: We don't know that.
MACCALLUM: All right. In terms of who he is questioning.
MACCALLUM: . we know that there are subpoenas to speak to individuals in the west wing now.
MACCALLUM: What's he going after and how it's going?
NAPOLITANO: I believe that he is concentrating on the Jim Comey version of his own firing, and whether the president's behavior was appropriate in that, or whether he interfered with the -- or attempted to interfere with the investigation of former Lieutenant General Mike Flynn for a corrupt purpose, which would be to protect himself.
MACCALLUM: Even in Jim Comey's telling of it, did the president ask for loyalty pledge and all of that, that you said that there was no evidence of corrupt intent in Jim Comey's description of it.
NAPOLITANO: There does not appear to be. But of course, Jim Comey has been debriefed by the former people who used to work for him. FBI agents that now work for Bob Mueller. FBI agents have been speaking to people in the west wing. Now, when the FBI knocks on your door, if they don't have a warrant, you don't have to talk to them, so not everybody in the west wing is speaking to them. So some who have not spoken are being dragged before a grand jury because there you have no choice but to speak, and some who have spoken are being dragged before a grand jury. It seems as though he's trying to place a circle around the president of the United States which will reinforce the Jim Comey version of the how and when and why he was fired.
MACCALLUM: So the obstruction of justice is what you see in that current circle of interviews. There's also the other issue which has to do with business dealings, Paul Manafort, all of that.
MACCALLUM: Who do you think is most likely to flip, you know, as we say in terms of turning evidence against anybody else.
NAPOLITANO: Whoever they can indict first, even on something that has nothing to do with the president. So if they indict Paul Manafort on some financial impropriety that happened long before he even met Donald Trump, and dangle that indictment over his head like a sort of -- saying talk to us about the president and we'll make this indictment shrink, that's the way the feds prosecute.
MACCALLUM: I promised something on sanctuary cities, which we did talk about. And Sarah, the A.G. in California, is now basically saying come and get us. You know, we're going to keep the doors open and you cannot deny us federal funds. Can they, the U.S. government?
NAPOLITANO: He has a good case because the funds that they are receiving were budgeted in the Obama years under the Obama budget, and it did not have the strings attached that you want the money you'll cooperate with immigration enforcement. But in the Trump budget, once they past one, those strings will be undone, there will be no case. You accept the money, you accept the strings.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, judge.
NAPOLITANO: You're welcome.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you.
NAPOLITANO: Good to be back with you.
MACCALLUM: Good to be back with you too on this Monday night.
NAPOLITANO: Where nothing is happening.
MACCALLUM: Exactly, just another Monday.
NAPOLITANO: I'm looking out at the street and I can see the demonstrators.
MACCALLUM: They're waiting for President Trump to come around the corner here outside the window. Thanks, judge.
MACCALLUM: So -- Magazine is now calling for a tax on a key piece of U.S. transportation. The details for this summer that you need to know. Also, Omarosa Manigault supposed to be a guest at the national association of black journalists, but instead was publicly grilled when she was there. We're going to show you that video, something else coming up next. Plus, the Trump campaign swinging into full gear for, yes, 2020 already, a new ad garnering quite a bit of attention tonight. We're going to show you the ad. You could see what you think at home, and Mr. Karl Rove will weigh in on that, also referred to as the architect behind President George W. Bush's two presidential victories here with his take when we come back.
MACCALLUM: Back with short stories that are making headlines tonight. There is a new threat from al-Qaeda against the United States in their latest issue of inspire magazine. A chief bomb maker detail copious plans for attacking our trains, saying that they are, as a system, under protected. Also tonight, new fallout from Omarosa Manigault chilly reception she got at the national association of black journalist annual convention. We now have video of her sparring with the moderator as she discussed President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every single word or opinion -- I will tell my story. Ask your question about what my brother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Wow, very interesting. So that organization has since sent a story on the statement on her appearance saying in part an NBJ seeks candid and frank conversation with newsmakers. Going to say they appreciate her coming to participate this year. So tonight, reaction to a new campaign ad from President Donald Trump, after just about seven months in office the campaign is already out with a message for their 2020 campaign. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats obstructing, the media attacking our president, career politicians standing in the way of success. But President Trump's plan is working, 1 million jobs created, more Americans working than ever before. Unemployment lowest since 2001. The stock market all-time record highs. The strongest military in decades. The president's enemies don't want him to succeed, but Americans are saying let President Trump do his job.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MACCALLUM: Joining me now a man who knows a thing or two about campaigns, Karl Rove is a Fox News contributor, and serves as President George W. Bush's deputy chief of staff. Karl, good evening to you. Good to see you.
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Welcome back.
MACCALLUM: Thank you very much.
ROVE: Welcome back.
MACCALLUM: Good to be back. Good to be back, Karl. So there you have a look at the first campaign ad of the 2020 campaign cycle from the president. How do you like it and is it too early?
ROVE: Well, it's way early. If the purpose of the ad was to sort of reset the conversation a little bit, then it might be effective.
ROVE: If they're spending sort of like several tens of thousands of dollars rather than millions of dollars. It was oddly timed. If I were the person in charge of that ad I would have said let's not release that Sunday. Let Charlottesville get behind it, give it a few days, but -- and I would -- the word the enemies is not good. I mean, you have adversaries, you have opponents, but to use the word enemies is a little bit over the top.
MACCALLUM: They like that word. The president likes to go after people as you've seen. And he feels like, you know, the way he has done it works. And I think you hit the nail on the head when you said this is sort of their way of speaking their own story. And he feels quite clearly that his story doesn't get out there in a fair way. So, maybe they're going to run campaign ads over the next several years.
ROVE: Yeah. The interesting thing though is this. Ads are 30 seconds. And they go -- they come and they go. If the president has the biggest bully pulpit in the country, and these things that he's trying to do, whether it's tax cuts, or repeal and replace Obamacare, or infrastructure, cannot be explained effectively in 140 characters or even 140 words. This is where we should -- we're seeing the difficulty of not having a communications director who has a comprehensive plan to help the White House advance its agenda publicly by giving the president's gigantic megaphone a constant workout. And so, television ads will never substitute for effectively putting the president out. Think about it, how many speeches has he delivered where he laid out the case for tax reform? Zero. How many speeches has he given in which he laid out his plan for repeal and replace? As opposed to just simply saying we need to get it done? Zero.
MACCALLUM: That's a valid point.
ROVE: Go to the White House website today and there is no infrastructure plan there.
MACCALLUM: And we know.
ROVE: So the president's megaphone needs to be better used, and that can substitute for television.
MACCALLUM: And it's interesting because exactly what you described is what he did on the campaign trail. When the numbers.
ROVE: Exactly right.
MACCALLUM: . started to get soft, he got out there and he did policy speech after policy speech after policy speech. And perhaps -- maybe they have a plan to kick that in September. This wouldn't, you know, necessarily be the moment when everybody is paying attention in that kind of way, but we may see that come September. I want to ask you about what you thought about today and the comments that he made that were more specific with regard to these white supremacists groups which are clearly vial and wreak havoc in Charlottesville, what did you think?
ROVE: Well, first of all, I could have done without the talk about the economy and self-congratulations at the beginning. Set that aside. The statement was, I thought, very good. You know, love each other, show affection for each other. Unite in the condemnation of violence. I mean, he said rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that we as Americans have. Racism is evil. I thought that was powerful. Those that cause it and he named them. It was the KKK and neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Those are thugs and criminals he said. And I thought it was powerful. Nation is founded on a truth that we're all created equal. We're equal before the law. We're equal in front of the constitution. I wish this is the president that we had heard these words from the president on Saturday not on Monday. Monday was OK. Saturday would have been a great moment for our country that would have brought us together when we needed to be brought together.
MACCALLUM: Karl Rove, thanks as always. Good to see you, Karl.
ROVE: Thank you, Martha. Thanks for having me back.
MACCALLUM: You bet. Our pleasure. So coming up next tonight, how a picture from the past can be a lesson for all of us. It's your story when we come back.
MACCALLUM: So it's August 14th, and V.J. day was 72 years ago today marking the end of World War II. I've been asking you to share your stories with me. And tonight one of our viewers, John, did just that, he found this photo in his basement from a relative taken near Okinawa, the days after the surrender. John writes that it reminds him of the bravery and the character of the veterans who were his neighbors, his coaches, his teachers. He said while I did not fully appreciate them while we had them. I've come to recognize how lucky we were to have grown up with them. We agree.
We want to hear your story, our favorite quote of the night. If it's funny, historic or just something that you think is worth thinking about like John's send it to me. Tweet me at Martha MacCallum using the #thestory. Good to be back with you tonight. I'll see you right back here tomorrow at 7:00. My friend Tucker Carlson is up next.
Content and Programming Copyright 2017 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.