This is a rush transcript from "The Story," May 1, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR: Busy day, indeed. Thank you, Bret.
All right, everybody. Breaking tonight, chaos in Venezuela as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, says this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Military action is possible if that's what's required. That's what the United States will do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: We are live tonight with the reaction from Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, who says we should stay out of it. Plus, tonight, Congressman Matt Gaetz and Eric Swalwell on the breaking news that Attorney General William Barr will not appear before their committee tomorrow.
Congressman Swalwell, says that this move could lead to Barr's impeachment. But first, the chairman of the judiciary committee on the Senate side kicked off today's Barr hearing by saying he was pretty much over the whole thing.
You'll hear more about that. Attorney General Bill Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he has assembled a new team to dig into what happened at the FBI in the early days of the Trump-Russia investigation, and just how high up it went.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Do you share my concerns about the FISA warrant process?
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes.
GRAHAM: Do you share my concerns about the counterintelligence investigation, how it was opened and why it was open?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: And while there was a lot of high emotion in this hearing today about whether Bob Mueller and Bill Barr clashed over their take on the findings, there was this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the American public has seen quite well that you are biased in this situation and you've not been objective. And that would arguably be the conflict of interest.
BARR: Well, you know, I haven't been the only decision maker here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: But Senator Ted Cruz, summed it up in his opinion this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TX: Their entire argument is, General Barr, you suppressed the 19 pages that are entirely public, that we have, that we can read, that they know every word of it, and their complaint is it was delayed a few weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Chief national correspondent Ed Henry, joins me now with the rest of the big news from today's hearing. Hi, Ed.
ED HENRY, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Martha. Great to see you. And it still breaking tonight that the Attorney General Bill Barr just telling House Judiciary Democrats, a few moments ago, he will not come to testify tomorrow. That comes as the Senate judiciary chair Lindsey Graham, declared a short time ago, he is done with all of this. And will not let Democrats either retry the criminal case against President Trump or slander Bill Barr.
Graham using that word, slander, after Democrat Mazie Hirono, charge Barr had sacrificed his reputation by becoming a defense attorney for what she called a grifter and a liar in the Oval Office.
Graham declared she was out of line and added later that Robert Mueller's probe is now officially over and he is not going to call the special counsel as a witness. Democrats in the House though may pursue contempt of Congress charges against Barr for not coming before them to testify. And they're likely to call Mueller to testify, be a witness, and he could have a lot to say after we learned the special counsel sent Barr a letter in late March expressing concerns about the way he handled the initial release of the findings, and that it did not capture the full context of his probe and had created, "public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation.
Now, in his defense, Barr testified that after receiving Mueller's complaints, they spoke by phone and the special counsel was very clear that the bottom lines that Barr put out in his letter to Congress were, in fact, accurate. That there was no collusion or conspiracy between the Trump camp and Russia, and that Mueller had not come to a conclusion on obstruction.
With no less than three democratic presidential candidates serving on the Senate panel, no surprise the questioning grew heated and political. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker calling on Barr to resign. While Amy Klobuchar sighted the president's tweets about his former attorney Michael Cohen to try and make the case, obstruction of justice was committed. Watch.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, D-MINN.: If the president of the United States is implying, getting out there that your family members have committed a crime, so you don't consider that any attempt to change testimony?
HARRIS: I think you've made it clear that you've not looked at the evidence. We can move on. I think you've made it clear, sir, that you've not looked at the evidence.
BARR: I've seen -- I've seen a lot of -- I've seen a lot of prosecution -- I've seen a lot of prosecution and defamation.
SEN. CORY BOOKER, D-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You've not only put your own credibility into question but seem to be giving sanction to behavior.
HENRY: Barr is not stepping down. He testified, then in his call with Mueller, the special counsel told him three times, his decision to not reach a decision on obstruction was not based on that DOJ policy that a president cannot be indicted. That's one of many democratic talking points that was shot down by the attorney general, who gave as good as it got. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN.: May we have those notes?
BLUMENTHAL: Why not?
BARR: Why should you have them?
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-CALIF.: A president essentially tries to change the lawyer's account in order to prevent further criticism of himself.
BARR: Well, that's not a crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Barr, made clear he's now moving forward on investigating the Obama administration and how all this started. As for his own credibility, he tried to make the case that if Mueller was upset about a 19 page summary of his findings not being released in March, the Attorney General ended up releasing over 400 pages to the public. So, how could it be a cover-up?
The president, meanwhile, telling Trish Regan, a Fox Business, Barr did a fantastic job. Martha?
MACCALLUM: So, here now House Judiciary member and 2020 presidential candidate, Congressman Eric Swalwell. Good to have you with us this evening.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL, D-CALIF.: Good evening, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Thank you for being here. I guess, first, your reaction to the news this evening that you will not be hearing in your committee from William Barr tomorrow.
SWALWELL: If the Attorney General had nothing to hide, he would come testify to Congress tomorrow. He played a home game today, and his credibility was destroyed. Now, it's time to come to the other legislative branch over on the House side --
MACCALLUM: Why don't you questioning yourself, why would you want to put staffers in front of you? Why don't you just do it -- you know, do your own job?
SWALWELL: Oh, I will question him myself if he comes. And I will be allowed to question him myself. But, if you recall, during the Dr. Ford testimony for the Kavanaugh hearings, staffers were also used in addition to Senators to just supplement the questioning, so you could really get to the essence of things.
If Dr. Ford is able to do it, why is the Attorney General --
MACCALLUM: Where there was one woman, as I remember, a judge who had done a lot of sexual assault cases that was brought in.
SWALWELL: And was a prosecutor. She was a prosecutor.
MACCALLUM: A prosecutor, excuse me, yes.
MACCALLUM: One prosecutor, yes. Not a staffer.
SWALWELL: So, Dr. Ford who's not -- Dr. Ford who is not a lawyer subjected herself, and the Attorney General of the United States -- again, what does it say about our Attorney General if he can't take questions from another lawyer? That should bother you too.
MACCALLUM: All right. So, when you watched all of that play out today, and just with regard to what Ted Cruz had to say, he said, look, in the end, it seems like we're arguing over whether or not Mueller and Barr had the same takeaway from this report.
You know, why do you think it would be that Robert Mueller did not find for obstruction in the report? You know, given all of that and given the arguments that we heard today, why do you think that Robert Mueller did not find obstruction on the part -- on the part of the president?
SWALWELL: Well, I'll just go with what Robert Mueller, said which was and I've read the full report. He said, partially, because the Department of Justice does not allow him to indict a sitting president. And Barr has mischaracterized that, which is why Mueller did something that was very uncharacteristic for Mueller, he sent a letter to Barr, saying he believes that his opinion has been mischaracterized.
And that's what's so troubling here is Bob Mueller has the utmost respect and trust of the American people. He's the one that we should hear from, he is the one that should come next before anyone else.
MACCALLUM: But, in the end, you know, I think this is what you know -- everyone listens to all this back and forth. But in the end, Mueller and Barr agreed that they would not move forward on obstruction and that there had been no collusion.
I mean, on those two points, which are the whole basis of the special counsel, of that investigation, they agreed. And with regard to what you just said, I thought it was very interesting today. William Barr made it very clear that on several occasions, Robert Mueller had said that he had separated out the argument that you can't indict a president. And he had still not decided to move forward with obstruction. Let's play Bill Barr on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARR: Special counsel Mueller stated three times to us in that meeting in response to our questioning that he emphatically was not saying that, but for the OLC opinion, he would have found obstruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, what do you think about that?
SWALWELL: Well, that's not what Mueller said in his report. But also, what concerns me a lot Martha is that Barr testified today that he didn't even review the underlying evidence to make a decision.
So. I mean, as a former prosecutor that really bothers me because I would never make a charging decision without reading the entire evidence file. And for him to say he didn't review the evidence, shows me that he was more interested in protecting Donald Trump and being his lawyer, than upholding the rule of law and making sure that we're all protected.
MACCALLUM: Well, that -- you know, let's just assume for a moment that that's true. It does doesn't change --
SWALWELL: Well, he said it. So, I should assume it's true.
MACCALLUM: Listen to me.
MACCALLUM: It doesn't change the underlying finding. He wasn't the investigator. Robert Mueller had a huge team, 19 attorneys, who are -- you know some of the best people in the country at what they do. They were the people who looked at all the underlying evidence. The burden was on them to do that.
MACCALLUM: Then they present their findings. And Mueller -- and Bill Barr had a choice. He could either make those public, or he could just say, no prosecution. But that -- that's their -- that is their job.
SWALWELL: I hear you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Prosecute or not prosecute. That's all he had to say, but instead, they made every single thing public.
MACCALLUM: So, I guess this whole -- you know, sort of jump on Bill Barr thing is a little bit hard for I think some people in the country watching all of this to figure out.
SWALWELL: Well, the reason that we're jumping on him is because the Mueller team identified 10 instances where the president obstructed justice. In part, they said they could not indict because he was a sitting president. And then, Barr testifies today. He didn't even review with the underlying evidence.
I mean that's maddening that the person making the final sign-off here makes a decision without reviewing the evidence.
I'll just say one other thing, what concerns me the most because I don't want to re-litigate the past. There were 200 pages of links between the Trump campaign and the Russians. And it was clear they never went into the financial records or the financial dealings between the Trump's and the Russians. That is something we're going to do on the Intelligence Committee, but that should also concern us as we go into 2020. Yes.
MACCALLUM: Well, that's fine. That's your prerogative. And you, you know, you have -- obviously, you guys can move forward with impeachment proceedings for the president. I mean, the ball is really in your court now. And you've said that you might -- you know, you want Barr to resign or he could be impeached. The president's impeachment is on the table.
SWALWELL: Who is not following the subpoenas, yes.
MACCALLUM: So, are you -- are you planning to move forward with the impeachment of the President or impeachment of Bill Barr?
SWALWELL: So, Barr was supposed to turn over to us the full Mueller report. Because we've only seen -- there's an eighth of it that's missing. He didn't turn over that --
MACCALLUM: Well, you can see that if you go into the -- into the SCIF. You can read the whole thing.
SWALWELL: No, no, no, so, Martha, that's not true. Only Mr. Nadler and Mr. Schiff have been invited. And to their point, how fair is it that they would go in and read the full report but we told, they can't take notes, can't tell the world anything.
So, if they see something concerning, and they say, "Hey we need to impeach the president because of what we saw, just trust me. Who would go along with that? I mean, I love the two of them, but I would still want to see the evidence myself, and that's their point.
MACCALLUM: My guess is that if you request to see it, you'll probably be granted that. It sounds like there's such a minimal amount of reduction.
SWALWELL: I'm asking them. I'm requesting the Attorney General.
MACCALLUM: Yes, go for it. I don't blame you. I don't blame you. Eric Swalwell, thank you very much, sir.
SWALWELL: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you tonight.
MACCALLUM: Also here tonight, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz. He sits on the House Judiciary Committee as well. So, Matt, good to see you tonight. Are you disappointed that you're not going to get to question William Barr tomorrow?
REP. MATT GAETZ, R-FLA.: I am. We do have a lot of game tape from William Barr from his many hours in the Senate today. And I find it a little comical that my Democratic colleagues would say that it's not enough that Bill Barr went before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has three presidential candidates from the Democratic side on the committee.
And it's not even enough that Bill Barr offered to come to the Congress and answer questions under the five-minute rule. And it's not even enough that after every member got to ask their five minutes of questions, Bill Barr was willing to submit to an additional hour of questions. So, long as those questions were asked by people who were elected and serving in the Congress not some hired gun brought in for that specific purpose?
Martha, the only other time I can see where the House Judiciary Committee has had staff asking questions in an open hearing is during an impeachment proceeding. And that's really the whole point here. The Democrats want to have impeachment in drag. They sort of want to dress up this deal as impeachment without having to invoke that term because they know that it will excite a lot of the body politic and certainly, rally people of the president's side.
MACCALLUM: Well, you know I do want to ask you about this is one area of questioning today where from the last testimony, here is what Bill Barr said about whether or not he -- whether or not he thought that Robert Mueller supported his conclusion -- his finding. And this is from the last round of questioning. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, D-MD: Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?
BARR: I don't know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, he said that, but as it turns out, he'd gotten the first round of pushback from Robert Mueller. There were two periods of pushback from Robert Mueller, two weeks before he said that. Does that seem odd to you?
GAETZ: Pushback is something very distinct from not supporting the conclusion. I've yet to see any evidence that Robert Mueller disagrees with the conclusory bottom line up front statements made by the attorney general.
What Robert Mueller seemed to be objecting to was the lack of context and additional detail. Martha, I know a lot of authors who've had their books made into movies, and I don't know one of them that likes the movie version of their book. And so, likewise, I would expect that there might be some pride of authorship with Robert Mueller where he didn't appreciate another person making those statements without the full body of their work.
But really, how is this not a moot point? All of America has all 400 some odd pages to see and go through. And so, why are we arguing over conclusions that no one disputes over a report that now everyone has read?
MACCALLUM: I think that's probably the way a lot of people look at it at this point. They -- the entire reporters out there except for some very light redactions, and everybody in America which I think is good, can read it.
In terms of where this thing goes next. I know that there were some questions about doing a leak investigation because there were a lot of things that ended up in the press that -- you know, should not have ended up in the press. And they're going to investigate that. But I also thought this was interesting in terms of what Bill Barr said about why he decided that he had to put out the principal conclusions? Sort of that -- the headline of the report fairly quickly. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARR: I made the determination that we had to put out some information about the bottom line. The body politic was in a high state of agitation. Former government officials were confident, confidently predicting that the president and members of his family were going to be indicted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Who and what do you think he was talking about there, matt?
GAETZ: I don't know. I do recall that during that time there was a great deal of pressure on the Attorney General to tell the American people what had happened because we all knew that Robert Mueller had submitted his report and everyone was waiting with bated breath to determine what the result would be.
And so, as the attorney general was going through the redactions, we even heard people on the left wrongly predicting is that Barr would redact a huge amount of the report, that we wouldn't see anything. Well, he released 92 percent of the report. And so I think that those sort of, you know, crying wolf saying that the sky is falling, these outlandish claims by Democrats were proven false and the Attorney General did just what he should have done.
Say, look, bottom line up front, here's the verdict. No one is going to get prosecuted over this investigation. Now, let me get to the business not of releasing this in dribs and drabs but get as much of it before the American people as soon as possible. What more could we have asked for?
MACCALLUM: Well, John Brennan said indictments would be coming down in days. I wonder if he may be one of the former government officials that William Barr felt needed to set straight on what the actual finding of the report.
GAETZ: Well, there will be an I.G. report -- there'll be an I.G. report coming in June that will illuminate on that. There will be one before that that will illuminate the illicit ties between the FBI and the media with leaks and illicit gifts.
MACCALLUM: We'll be watching. Matt Gaetz, thank you very much, Representative. Good to see you tonight.
GAETZ: Good to see you.
MACCALLUM: So coming up next, “The Story” exclusive with 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: But I've been watching them on the streets and right of the streets where people are being killed and he's out there doing rallies. He's actually very brave in a true sense. But I've been watching him and watching the moves and you know, I've -- there's a lot of spirit for him. And it is from a constitutional standpoint. It's the way it's supposed to be. He was elected. They should be running it. Now at least we could go in and help him a little bit with -- and maybe a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: The President talking about the opposition leader, the elected leader Juan Guaido joining the protesters in Venezuela today. He wants demonstrators to take to the streets on a consistent basis until the disputed president Nicolas Maduro is ousted.
The clashes have reportedly resulted in at least one death, dozens of injuries from rubber bullets, and tear gas, and live ammunition. The United States maintains that all options are on the table including military action if needed.
Here now exclusively Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a combat veteran and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Representative Gabbard, great to have you with us tonight. Thank you very much for being here.
REP. TULSI GABBARD, D-HI: Aloha, Martha. It's great to talk to you.
MACCALLUM: What's your reaction to that? You heard Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the President there and John Bolton have also said that you know, this is not a coup, this is the will of the Venezuelan people that Guardo be in charge.
GABBARD: I think what was mentioned there in that clip -- and I think you highlighted that the United States is putting all options on the table including U.S. military options. That points to a much bigger risk and a much bigger danger. That poses the American people in our own national security.
Any time we're in this situation where you have tensions being ratcheted up in this conflict being pushed closer and closer between nuclear-armed countries like the United States and countries like Russia and China, this is something that poses an existential threat to the American people.
And when you hear this kind of saber rattling coming from the Trump administration, from people like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo pushing this - - the civil war and for the United States to get involved, we're dealing with dangerous consequences. We know this all too well in Hawaii just over a year ago when we got this nuclear missile alert that went across over a million people's phones in our state's saying missile incoming, seek shelter immediately, this is not a drill.
What we found in that terrifying incident even though it was a false alarm, the threat was real, and there was nowhere to go. There was no shelter to be found.
MACCALLUM: But you do have -- you know, obviously you have a desperate situation that's playing out in Venezuela. People have lost an average of 24 pounds, you know, hunger. There is electricity issues to be clear and you know millions of people have fled. And we have tried sanctions against the oil business, against Cuba which has a huge influence there and none of that seems to be working to give the people of Venezuela what they democratically voted for.
And the concern is that having this in our backyard where you could have a foreign adversary have so much control as we see from Russia in that country now, that that's a threat to our security as well.
GABBARD: You brought up a few points there. First of all, Russia and China have had long-standing relationships with Venezuela where they've had you know, the sale of the S-300 missiles happened over a decade ago between Russia and Venezuela. That relationship with China has been long-standing.
These are not things that are new. What we are hearing is an increased saber-rattling and tension saying the United States needs to send in the U.S. military now to wage yet another wasteful counterproductive regime change war, and once again it's being done under the guise of humanitarianism.
If this administration is so concerned about the well-being of the Venezuelan people as we all are, then they should be using their influence and power to try to bring the different sides together towards some reconciliation to bring some negotiation --
MACCALLUM: Wouldn't they say that that's exactly what they've been trying to do? We heard from Secretary Pompeo and from the President that they are hoping for a peaceful -- for a peaceful resolution here. But you have Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister saying that our interference is a grave violation of international law. So do you agree with him?
GABBARD: Well, the problem is that you hear people like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo saying that they're hoping for a diplomatic solution while at the same time basically using the threat of U.S. military force. That does not set the stage for diplomacy, that simply ratchets up the tensions.
The United States should set the example and lead the way --
MACCALLUM: Well, let me -- I understand what you are saying --
GABBARD: -- bring other parties to the table to try to say hey, let's have internationally brokered and overseen elections so that the Venezuelan people can truly have their voice heard.
MACCALLUM: But do you believe that Maduro should go? Do you believe that Nicolas Maduro has been a horrific leader for his -- for his people and that he should go.
GABBARD: I think that the Venezuelan people ultimately need to be the ones to make that decision.
MACCALLUM: But they have made that decision.
GABBARD: And the United States -- the United States is not helping the situation by interfering and basically pushing for externally yet another regime change war that history shows us has not turned out to have a positive impact so you people in the countries where we wage these wars. That's why I'm pushing for diplomacy.
MACCALLUM: So you would just -- you know, there's 50 countries that have backed Guaido and say that he's the rightful democratic leader of that country. I mean, if you're a person who loves Venezuela and lives there and is looking to the United States saying please help us, are you saying that you would turn your back on them if they need -- even if they do need some military support, you would say sorry we're not doing it?
GABBARD: I'm saying that when we look throughout history, every time the United States goes into another country and topples a dictator or topples a government, the outcome has been disastrous for the people in these countries. That's why we should use our leadership in the -- in the world to try to broker a diplomatic solution, working with countries like Russia that have great influence over Venezuela, so that there is a peaceful outcome.
Because I can tell you as a soldier, Martha, I've seen firsthand the high cost of war. And pushing for this civil war, pushing for the use of military force will only end up with more suffering and death and disaster for the Venezuelan people what -- to speak of increasing the nuclear threat, increasing these tensions that that risk and threaten our own national security.
MACCALLUM: All right, Congresswoman Gabbard, I hope you'll come back. Good to have you with us tonight. Thank you very much.
GABBARD: Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: You bet. Coming up, Geraldo Rivera's latest in-depth investigation. Don't miss it, next.
MACCALLUM: Tonight, the fight to stop the massive tragedy of opioid deaths in America has Geraldo Rivera on the front lines once again.
Two dozen hospitals in hard-hit places like West Virginia and Kentucky are now going directly after the opioid manufacturers and the distributers. They want them to pay for the damages that they say they set in motion.
Correspondent at large Geraldo Rivera tracking this nationwide and joins me now live tonight. Geraldo, good to see you.
GERALDO RIVERA, CORRESPONDENT-AT-LARGE: Thank you, Martha. This is a national catastrophe and it's fueled by corporate greed. You have the opioid manufacturer; you have the distributers. You have the doctors and pharmacists who played along pretending that these drugs weren't as addictive as they are.
You mentioned West Virginia and Kentucky. Two states devastated by the opioid O.D. epidemic. Overdose epidemic. I have just come back from Sarasota, Florida, one of the 2,000 plaintiffs in the many lawsuits against big pharma. William Robertson is the lead attorney in Sarasota. Watch.
WILLIAM ROBERTSON, JR., ATTORNEY: They started a marketing campaign to change the narrative. And what they wanted and if you look at the statistics was to convince the mainstream physicians and medical professionals that opioids would be appropriate for chronic pain, and they're not because the body gets used to it.
RIVERA: You think that this was a deliberate manipulation of information designed to get people hooked on drugs?
ROBERTSON: That's absolutely true.
RIVERA: Aside from the lawsuits, Martha, Sarasota also has an innovative program in the jail where they are trying to get these addicts a way to clean up, stay clean and go home.
RIVERA: I have been in the business a long time, 49 years. And they say once a junky, always a junky. Do you fear that as clean as they seem now that when they get back out there, they will do it again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. We got success stories here to prove it.
RIVERA: David here is one of the success stories in county jail. How often have you been arrested?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would be lying to you if I had an exact number. It's a lot.
RIVERA: How long have you been clean and sober?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going on six years.
RIVERA: How did you turn it around?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, in these pods.
RIVERA: So, what are you doing in life now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a great career, a family that loves me, just trying to put one foot in front of the other and progress every day.
RIVERA: How does it feel having David around you guys here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do all want to do better. We all have great intentions. We want that old life back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This program right here is making me not just be a better human being, but a better father, a better, you know, son, a better, just everything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being in the recovery pod has taught me that there is a solution and there are people out there willing to help you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was the first place that I really believed that it was possible, that it was worth it, and that it was attainable. I didn't think that before.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm in recovery. And I'm hoping that everything works out and that I get my children back. I want my life back. And it breaks my heart every day that I don't get to see them and don't get to hug them because of the choices that I made.
RIVERA: Breaking that addiction is very difficult, Martha. But they do have a success rate that exceeds the national rate. They say that about 44 percent of all addicts who get cleaned get, you know, they go back. They are recidivists.
In this program in Sarasota it's 34 percent. So, there is a meaningful improvement. If you give them compassion, you give them a direction, you give them a life lesson it really seems to work.
MACCALLUM: I mean, it's an incredible piece of reporting that you put together there, Geraldo. And I just think that, you know, you can't -- you can't be a human being and listen to these people's stories and not pull for them and not want to create programs like this that can help them.
But as you say, there is -- there is a corporate greed element to this and you think it's analogous in some ways to the tobacco companies who knew what they were doing but were OK making money off of it for all those years.
RIVERA: And I swore an oath that tobacco was good for people or not addictive. It is time to pay the piper. These drug manufacturers now, they are the drug cartel. They are the corner pusher and we have to think of them in that light. These are the people responsible. They made the billions. They donated to everybody, became social big shots.
MACCALLUM: It's true.
RIVERA: And now they are going to be in orange jump suits or they are going to be paying lots of billions.
MACCALLUM: Well, the president has said that he's not going to take except anybody from pharmaceutical companies for that purpose which I think is interesting. I wonder if other candidates will also commit to that. Geraldo, thank you very much.
RIVERA: It's a great pleasure.
MACCALLUM: Great to see you tonight.
RIVERA: Thank you, mattha.
MACCALLUM: Coming up, a look at former Vice President Joe Biden who has gotten a lot of attention this week. He's in Des Moines, Iowa tonight gaining. We'll dip in for a second.
Breaking moments ago, another media company faces a massive lawsuit from Covington High School student Nicholas Sandmann, $270 million suit against NBC. Jesse Watters is next.
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MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, FACEBOOK: We are very focused on safety here. We are very focused on making sure that our recommendations and discovery surfaces aren't highlighting groups where people are repeatedly sharing misinformation or harmful content. And we are working hard to completely remove groups if they exist primarily to violate our policies or do things that are dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That was the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg this week defending his company's commitment to security as social media platforms come under a lot of scrutiny for their role as enablers of extremism and hate.
This week, as a gunman carried out the deadliest synagogue attack in California, white supremacists gathered on a Facebook page linked to the suspect to express support for him.
Last month when a gunman killed 50 people at two mosques in New Zealand Facebook admitted that it failed to flag a live stream of the attack which ran for 17 minutes on its site.
And the Wall Street Journal reports that extremists who killed 253 people who were -- who were at Easter Sunday masses in Sri Lanka openly called for violence through social media and online videos, leading to a temporary ban of sites like Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube.
Here now is Congressman Max Rose of New York who chairs the House intelligence and counterterrorism subcommittee. Mr. Rose, Congressman, thank you very much. Good to have you here tonight.
REP. MAX ROSE, D-N.Y.: Thank you so much for having me.
MACCALLUM: It's great to have you here. I want to play this. This is one other moment from Mark Zuckerberg that maybe didn't go the way he hoped. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZUCKERBERG: The future is private. This is the next chapter for our services. And look, I get that a lot of people aren't sure that we're serious about this. I know that we don't exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now to put it lightly. But I'm committed to doing this well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: I guess he was hoping for a little bit of laugh, some feedback there. What did you think about that sir?
ROSE: Look, I'm disturbed that Mark Zuckerberg thinks this is funny in the immediate aftermath of this shooting in the New Zealand the Homeland Security committee called YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to come before the committee just for a meeting.
And we ask them a very simple question. And that is, how much money do you spend and how many people have you allocated to focus on counterterrorist screening? They said at the time well we don't know.
So, we asked them, gave them a deadline, please give us the answer to this very simple question. And YouTube got back to us. Twitter got back to us with nondescript answers that were basically evasive. Facebook completely ignored our requests.
It's disturbing that they did so because this is a matter of public safety for all of us. And at this point I have little reason to believe that any of these companies are spending more on counterterrorist screening than they do on lobbying, entertainment, and food. So I asked them tonight, prove me wrong.
ROSE: Prove me wrong that you care more about public safety than do you about the entertainment and you know, culinary wishes of your own staff. This is absurd. We are all in this together and they have a responsibility to fix this.
MACCALLUM: I mean, it is almost like you've got these chat rooms. You've got this circle of people who are all existing, you know, not in a physical way but all over the internet, all around the world, cheering on craziness.
MACCALLUM: Cheering on sick people and giving them in these cases the strength that they need to go in and carry out these horrific attacks. So, I mean, --
ROSE: Absolutely. Absolutely.
MACCALLUM: How are you going to hold -- how are you going to push for this? I mean, if they are not responding to you or if Facebook isn't responding to you --
MACCALLUM: -- what kind of pressure can you put on them to get somewhere with this?
ROSE: No. We are going to get our answers to this because we have got to understand what exactly they are doing and then we have to figure out how to not only demand that they do enough in a similar manner to how we demand that auto companies put airbags in their vehicles.
ROSE: But then what we also have to figure out how law enforcement at the local and federal level can work with social media.
MACCALLUM: Yes, that's a great point.
ROSE: Because what we're hearing right now is that this is not a two-way street that law enforcement is going to social media companies but they are not coming to them.
MACCALLUM: Yes, that's a great point because we have watched that in other counterterrorism investigations where you want the local guys to also be in touch.
MACCALLUM: I'm out of time but you know, just like when you look at this super quickly, 8chan is where I guess where the white supremacist crazies hang out, you know. What happens is they get pushed off one platform they just find another. Real quick.
ROSE: Well, look, they are getting pushed to that platform. But they are still also operating on Facebook. Let's not forget that this massacre in New Zealand, which was live streamed, was on Facebook for 30 minutes and uploaded over a million times before they took it down.
This shooter at the synagogue recently he had a Facebook link and thought about livestreaming it, and lastly this massacre in Sri Lanka --
MACCALLUM: I hear you.
ROSE: -- one of the people participating in it, he actually incited violence on Facebook and the comments weren't taken down until yesterday.
MACCALLUM: It's horrible.
ROSE: They have got to do more.
MACCALLUM: And there's no doubt that they need to robbed these people of their cheering section in social media.
Max Rose, Congressman, thank you very much. Come back. We would like to talk to you some more about that. Good to see you tonight.
ROSE: Thank you so much for having me.
MACCALLUM: You bet. Good to have you.
So, remember this moment, the Covington Catholic High School student in that video Nicholas Sandmann has just brought a massive 270-million-dollar lawsuit against NBC. Wednesdays with Watters starts there next.
MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, Nicholas Sandmann the student that you remember from this famous moment now of Covington Catholic High School viral moment at the march for life back in January. He was accused of mocking Native American Nathan Phillips.
The story turned out to be not at all what it appeared to be in the beginning. And he has now filed a 275-million-dollar lawsuit, I stand corrected, against NBC Universal saying that they, quote, "created a false narrative by portraying the confrontation as a hate crime committed by Nicholas." His legal team has also sued the Washington Post and CNN for huge amounts of money.
Joining me now for Wednesdays with Watters is the aforementioned, Jesse Watters, co-host of The Five and Watters World. Hi, Jesse.
JESSE WATTERS, HOST: Hi, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, I mean, this kid is serious.
MACCALLUM: And he's got a very strong team and he got trampled on by these huge organizations in a big way.
WATTERS: He sure did. And I think the only way you are going to be able to get them to change their behavior is hit them in the pocketbook because they don't have any integrity. They don't have any shame. And they are not going to self-police or self-correct.
So, you have to send a financial chill down their corporate spine. They are already reeling from the Avenatti and the Smollett and the Russia hoax. So, this is where you get them. Because tight now the risk of losing even one of these lawsuits, I mean that will send the stock price way down --
WATTERS: -- and they are just burning up litigation fees with all their outside counsels. So, at this point they need to apologize. I don't think they are going to win but the fact that he is fighting back I think every news director is going to get a call from the CEO parent company hey, guys, be careful we can't afford another more Covington.
MACCALLUM: I think they are going to get -- I think he is going to get some money out of some of these. I think there are going to be some settlements in these cases, because you know, they went after this kid because he's white Catholic. He was wearing a MAGA hat.
WATTERS: And he smirks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: And he smirks.
WATTERS: Don't forget you can't smirk.
MACCALLUM: And he said pro-life rally. I mean, those things add up to an instant decision-making process for some of these organizations they just dove right in, a 100 percent sure that they are going the right way and they went the wrong way. So, we'll see. I hope he gets some of that money.
This issue comes from do you remember when Sheryl Sandberg talked about how we have to lean. Women have to lean in.
WATTERS: What does that mean, Martha?
MACCALLUM: Lean in. I'm going to lean in. So now Washington Post writer says this. She thinks that men need to lean out. OK. Put it up on the screen.
"More women are seeking the party's presidential nomination than ever before. And yet, a few white men sit at the top of the polls and rake in the big fundraising hauls. As candidates such as, Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Amy Klobuchar lean in. Maybe it's time for some of their male competitors to find ways to lean out."
MACCALLUM: She's saying, you know what guys, you need to back out of the - - back out of the equation.
WATTERS: So, they want chivalry back. I guess, they want all the men to hold the door for women and ladies. You go first. Because that's what Obama did in 2016. He told Joe Biden hey Joe, step aside, Hillary is going to run this thing. And guess what? She got crushed.
So now they have Biden whose probably they say has the biggest shot of defeating Trump and they want the frontrunner to bow out so Pocahontas can go down in flames? It doesn't make much sense to me.
MACCALLUM: Yes. She doesn't like to be called that.
WATTERS: Excuse me, Elizabeth Warren.
MACCALLUM: She doesn't like to be called that.
You know, I find it very interesting because I think that, I'm always asking myself. I do think that women have a tougher time in some of these situations. I had Carly Fiorina here last night. I remember what she kind of went through when she was up there with 16 guys. It was rough.
On the other hand, I think about President Trump who says, you know, you either have it or you don't.
MACCALLUM: And I'm not sure that it's gender-based. And he talks about how AOC has it.
WATTERS: She does.
MACCALLUM: She's like, she's got it. I think everybody understands that he said Kamala Harris has it. He's like she's got a nasty weight --
WATTERS: That's a great point because --
MACCALLUM: He had something that he like and he gave her money when she ran for A.G. in California.
WATTERS: Well, Kamala Harris actually was the only one to get under William Barr's skin today.
MACCALLUM: Yes. She did well.
WATTERS: So, she is definitely tenacious. And it so early. Wait until you get Biden and Kamala and Elizabeth Warren on the debate stage together. They could knock Biden's teeth out. And it could change the race and they could spring board up.
WATTERS: So, it's a little early to tell everybody to take turns.
MACCALLUM: Yes. And speaking of Elizabeth Warren, she has had a pretty good week because the Quinnipiac poll showed Biden at 38 percent. He had a great week as he entered the race. And look who's moved into second place Elizabeth Warren?
WATTERS: I think the president is very happy about this.
MACCALLUM: He would love to run against Warren.
WATTERS: Yes. He would like -- and he actually regrets going after her so hard so early. He thinks he killed her too early with the Pocahontas name.
WATTERS: And he wants her to come back. So, I think he's very glad she is rising in the polls.
MACCALLUM: Here is Joe Biden moments ago, here's what he had to say at the live rally in Iowa. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Trump tweeted about me 50 times.
BIDEN: I wonder why he is doing that? I wonder why he is doing that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: He is probably right about that.
WATTERS: Huge crowd, Joe. When you turn them out, he had 600 at the most in Pittsburgh. I didn't see many people there.
MACCALLUM: Yes. But I think he's right he is getting under the president's skin.
WATTERS: I don't think so.
MACCALLUM: He's tweeted about him a lot.
WATTERS: I think the media wants everybody to think --
MACCALLUM: I got to go.
WATTERS: -- he is getting under the president's skin.
MACCALLUM: Bye, Jesse.
MACCALLUM: We'll be right back.
WATTERS: I'm going to lean out.
MACCALLUM: And that is “The Story” of this Wednesday night. Good to have you with us here in New York City tonight. Stay tuned. Tucker Carlson is coming up next from DC. Have a good night, everybody.
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