El Salvador president: We want migrants to know they can have their dreams come true at home

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," September 26, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. And welcome to “The Story.” Breaking tonight, brand new developments as America gets a look at exactly what was in that whistleblower complaint about the president and his interactions with the Ukrainian president.

Kellyanne Conway, senior counselor to the president will be joining us in just a moment. The whistleblower, says that President Trump abused his office for personal gain before, during, and after a phone call with the Ukrainian president.

And that after the call, White House officials intervened to lock down the details of the conversation by moving that transcript to a highly classified code-word level system, and alleging that this isn't the first time that they have moved documents into that highly secure area, to which Nancy Pelosi said this.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: The complaint reports a repeated abuse of an electronic record system designed to store a classified, sensitive national security information, which the White House used to hide information of a political nature. This is a cover-up.


MACCALLUM: The president believes that he has spy-like behavior from people in his White House. Divulging his private conversations that he's having with foreign leaders.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: Who's the person who gave the whistleblower the information? Because that's close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart, right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a differently than we do now.


MACCALLUM: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, joins me now. Kellyanne, good to see you tonight. Thank you for being with us.


MACCALLUM: Hi. So, we just played that piece of sound from the president, saying that it is -- it's like a spy within the White House. Do you believe that the whistleblower is a spy? Does the White House look at him or her that way?

CONWAY: Well, the whistleblower is someone who does not have first-hand knowledge of what happened, got that from a few other people, and then, filed their --


MACCALLUM: Right. What about those other people? Do you consider them to be spies in the White House?

CONWAY: I don't consider them to be spies. But anybody who leaks conversations that are classified or of national security sensitivity, ought not to be working in the government, whoever you are and I hope you're watching, whoever you are. Because you have the public's trust, and you are a public servant entrusted with top-secret and confidential information.

But this whistleblower complaint is really blowhard where the more than whistleblower in my view, Martha, because it was referred to the OLC which said, look, this is routine diplomatic phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian President. It was not a quote, intelligence activity.

Though criminal division said there was no campaign finance violation. And now the whole world can judge for themselves.


MACCALLUM: Well, let me ask you about that then.

CONWAY: Because the president went and released the whole thing.

MACCALLUM: Then, why would it be that this transcript -- if that's the case, if it -- if it was so innocuous, why would it be put into lockdown to this cold level security, rather than just putting it in the -- in the typical place in the White House to be kept as a transcript?

CONWAY: Well, I saw some people today from other administration say it's not -- it may be highly unusual, but it's not, not done to move a certain documents into another system.

But, I'm not part of what the NSC or the White House Situation Room does with that. I will tell you that I had read the transcript. And now, everybody has read the transcript. President Trump has continued his democratization of information, where he just -- whether it's through a social media platforms, through his press avails, and now through releasing the entire transcript of this phone call.

And let me tell all the viewers, what's not in that transcript. No mention the 2020 presidential race, no mention of aid to Ukraine, no mention of Joe Biden is some worthy political opponent. Give me a break. We don't need Ukraine's -- we don't need Ukraine to help beat Joe Biden or any of the rest of them, any more than we need a Russia to beat Hillary Clinton.

These candidates are a disaster all their own, they self-emulate. But I saw people lying today including Intel chairman Adam Schiff, began with this contrived fantasy conversation that he imagined between President Trump and the president of Ukraine. That is crazy. We can't have that.


MACCALLUM: Yes, we -- were actually going to -- we're going to show that in a little while. But -- can we just back up to what you said just a moment ago?


MACCALLUM: Because the president does talk about Joe Biden in the transcript. And he talks about his business dealings with his son. It's kind of impossible to separate that from the Joe Biden, who the president may well be running against in 2020, isn't it?

CONWAY: No, it's not and here's why. The president is talking about the 2016 elections earlier. He's talking about crowd strike. He's saying, this country, the United States, just went through this terrible thing. As you know, Robert Mueller testified yesterday.


CONWAY: Disaster -- Mueller report disaster. And we won in that. We know Ukraine has some of the information. He's talking about the 2016 election.


MACCALLUM: Yes, that's clear. But that's the separate area than what I'm asking you about. Just too be clear.

CONWAY: And then he says -- and then he says Biden -- but hold on. Then he says -- I got documents here.

MACCALLUM: That's a separate area.

CONWAY: Then he says --then, the president says Biden -- people are talking about Biden and his son.

Guess what? People were talking about Biden, his son. Here is CNN's John King on May 12th. Hunter Biden, worked for a gas company in Ukraine, which is totally a fair game. Here is ABC in -- on May -- in May. Biden side steps questions about his son's foreign business dealings, but promises ethics pledge.

MACCALLUM: OK, understood.

CONWAY: The New York Times wrote about it on May 1st. The Hilton (INAUDIBLE) on April 1st.


MACCALLUM: No, I'm not saying it's not a story, Kellyanne.

CONWAY: People weren't talking about Hunter Biden.

MACCALLUM: I'm absolutely -- I agree with you that, that is a story and that is something that we have dug into and that will continue to be dug into. My question is whether or not bringing it up? Because there's a section of the transcript that clearly deals with 2016. That's more backward-looking.

And you know, is an investigation. Him -- it appears that the president is asking -- you know, can you dig into this for us? We want to know what happened with regard to the origins of the Russia investigation.

But then, it turns in the other part of the discussion to the question of Joe Biden. And the president specifically states that he wants Rudy Giuliani to be one of the people -- he also mentions Bill Barr to talk to them about that.

Now, Rudy Giuliani is his personal attorney. So, that's not the person that you would designate. I would imagine if you were talking about sort of a country to country investigation into something. You know, I would imagine that would be Bill Barr. Why is Rudy Giuliani part of the equation? I guess is my question.

CONWAY: Well, a few things. I'll let Rudy answer questions about his involvement. But a few things here. The entire conversation was about two main things. Congratulations for winning the presidential election, the parliamentary election, and corruption.


CONWAY: If you go back and you read the entire transcript as I did previously, and as I did again this week when the whole world did, Martha. They're talking about draining the swamp.

President Trump doesn't say that. The Ukrainian president says, hey, we learned from you. And Iran successfully on draining the swamp and they're talking about corruption. And so, in that context, the president says, look at Biden -- people are quote, talking about Biden. They're talking about Biden, bragging in front of the council foreign relations on January 23rd, 2018.

Mr. Big shot, I told them I've only got six hours on the ground here. You better fire that prosecutor, we're -- or we're going to withhold $1 billion loan guarantees to Ukraine that lives in the shadow of Russia.

Earlier in the call, in fact, on-page, one of the call, they are talking about how the aid -- that the aid coming from France and Germany is not enough. The Ukrainian president is critical of Macron and Merkel for not (INAUDIBLE).


MACCALLUM: Yes, that's all understandable. I mean, I think, all of that is very --


CONWAY: Well, that what -- that was a discussion of aid. Now, withholding of aid, the Ukrainian president never said, oh, please give us aid. He says, I'm going to buy more javelins. And separately, he says, Merkel and Macron are not doing enough for me. And they're not called up on sanctions.


MACCALLUM: No, I think all of that is understandable. We pointed that out several times -- you know, in terms of the --


CONWAY: This president has done more Russian sanctions that they have -- he made that clear.

MACCALLUM: In terms of the reason here. I think that -- you know, I think it's difficult for a lot of people who read it, and you know, I think most of us have read it many times at this point.

To completely separate the fact that Joe Biden is running for president in the 2020 election. That the president's interest in that is completely separate from that. But if that's, that's your argument --


CONWAY: Well, I think you're -- I think that's totally unfair. And by the way, Joe Biden is ruining Joe Biden. He wants you to put on your record player, your legwarmers, take your pet rock around the corner for a walk, get your Sony Walkman on this guy is so out of touch.

And now, his policies are so out of the mainstream. And this president never once says, help me with Joe Biden because I'm worried about running against him for president.

MACCALLUM: No, he doesn't say that -- definite. But here is what he said back on June 13th, when he talked to George Stephanopoulos. Watch this.


TRUMP: If somebody called from a country, Norway we have information on your opponent. Oh, I think, I'd want to hear it.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: You want that kind of interference in our elections?

TRUMP: It's not an interference. They have information, I think I'd take it.


MACCALLUM: So, I mean, he said very clearly there that he doesn't have any problem with -- you know, discussing the election or issues related to the election with other countries.

So, I mean -- you know, he may just stand by that and still feel that way today. Is that the case?

CONWAY: But we don't know that the information on said person has anything to do with the elections. The information may have to do with corruption in that country. Nobody understands how Hunter Biden -- but for his father being the sitting vice president got these enormous contracts in the millions and millions of dollars.

Does he have a hidden skill set? None of us can see obviously. Because we know what he's been in the news for over the last five years, Martha, anybody can go look it up.

It certainly isn't for his savvy, in the energy company -- the state-run energy company in Ukraine on which he sat on the board.

And if people are criticizing me for raising this, ABC you raised it. The Hill, the New York Times, CNN. Those are just the four I was able to pull up. I'm sure Fox News covered it. Because it's relevant -- it's relevant.

When you've got a president who got here on draining the swamp on anti- corruption, it is relevant to say that in the last administration, the sitting vice president's son was taking money from a government-run energy company whose father as sitting vice president threatened to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantee in his official capacity. That's a disgrace. That is the swamp.


MACCALLUM: Well, I don't think that -- you know, I think there's a few people out there who don't think that's a relevant question. I think most people do think it's a relevant question. And that it will continue to be investigated. And probably, the Ukrainian government has investigated.


CONWAY: And none of this is impeachable, isn't though.

MACCALLUM: I think that there needs to be -- you know, a more thorough investigation into, into the origin.

CONWAY: And none of this is impeachable though, Martha. What were they doing today? Why can't Adam Schiff question the acting director of the DNI behind closed doors like the Senate did today? Why everything has to be preening and screaming in front of the cameras at all times? Really unfair.


MACCALLUM: Well, I think you know the answer to that.

CONWAY: Well, it's really unfair of the country. He lied to America today by saying the president was digging up dirt on a political opponent. He imagined the conversation. He was abusive.


MACCALLUM: Well, there is going to be -- no, we're going to play the imagine conversation in just -- in just a moment.

CONWAY: And there's no impeachment.

MACCALLUM: But, you know, I mean, it's clear that there are questions raised here and that they are going to continue to be investigated and dug into on all sides as we move forward in this, and all of this.

CONWAY: Well, it's just because you don't like the president, you didn't vote for me, and no idea how to be the next time. That's not high crimes and misdemeanor. That's just hate, and that's just a lack of political savvy.


CONWAY: And this country deserves a fully functioning democracy where they're voting on drug pricing, infrastructure, where they're keeping this economy humming along.

MACCALLUM: Kellyanne, thank you. Good to see you tonight.

CONWAY: Kellyanne Conway from the White House. Also here tonight, Republican House Minority Whip Steve Scalise who joins me now. Good to see you Congressman Scalise. Thank you very much for being here.

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

MACCALLUM: Did you see anything in the transcript? And then, anything in the whistleblower complaint today that troubled you?

SCALISE: Well, what troubles me most is that Nancy Pelosi, before the transcript was even released to the phone call, said that the president broke the law. They raised the specter, they said there would be quid pro quo, they had all of these allegations, and then, we see the conversation between President Trump and President Zelensky. And there was absolutely no quid pro quo, there was absolutely no high crimes and misdemeanors.

And so, what is Nancy Pelosi trying to impeach the president on, Martha? I've asked that question even to the Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and he can't even answer it.


MACCALLUM: I think it has to do with the Biden -- I think the Biden section of it, which I was just discussing with Kellyanne, where he brings up this issue of potential corruption, and says, you know, it looks horrible. You should -- you should really look into that, he says to the president of Ukraine from whom he is withholding military aid. And says, you really should look into that. Joe Biden situation.


SCALISE: Well, actually, there is no -- there is no money that's been withheld Joe Biden.

MACCALLUM: Who everybody know is the -- is the top candidate running against him right now.

SCALISE: Well, Joe Biden is the one who withheld the billion dollars. Let's be clear about that. Even the president of the Ukraine yesterday said that there was no coercion, there was no any kind of attempt to withhold money. He said they had a good conversation. It was as Kellyanne said, it was a conversation where President Trump was congratulating Zelensky on winning a kind of a longshot race.

I mean he wasn't supposed to win and he won on a platform of cleaning up corruption which there was blatant corruption in the Ukraine.

MACCALLUM: Let me ask you this.

SCALISE: And then, he ultimately won with over 70 percent of the vote. And he's carrying through on cleaning up the corruption, which we should all applaud.

MACCALLUM: So, Rudy Giuliani, says that he is a hero. That he's going to be the hero in this situation that he is committed to cleaning up corruption in other countries. That he's dedicated a large part of his post mayoral life to that cause. Is that what you read into this transcript and this complaint with the -- you know, the meetings that happen in the Ukraine and the discussions about changing around the ambassador -- getting rid of the U.S. ambassador.

And then, the discussions about, you know, you really still have some people surrounding you that aren't so great. Is that how you perceive his role in this?

SCALISE: Well, Rudy can explain what his role is. I know what Zelensky was talking about with the president in that conversation. They were talking about some of the things that are going to be involved in setting up a government to clean up corruption in Ukraine.

And, in fact, he talked about some of the people that he has in his own administration that he wants to get rid of because they're bad actors. And we all knew there were bad actors. And look, even the Joe Biden thing had been out there for years, Joe Biden himself bragged that he held the money back until they fired the prosecutor.

Why isn't somebody looking into that? I think we all ought to be alarmed. That is a sitting vice president. He claimed -- he went to the -- to Ukraine and said that he was going to hold back a billion dollars.

Ad one, by the way, was he acting on behalf of Barack Obama? Martha, I don't know if anyone has asked Barack Obama that question, but I think that's a very valid question. Did Obama give him the (INAUDIBLE) that time?


MACCALLUM: Well, apparently, they asked him that question in the moment, and said, you know, you don't have that power, that would be the president. And he said, oh, yes, I do.

SCALISE: Right. They suggest that he didn't.

MACCALLUM: So, he suggests that anyway -- yes.


SCALISE: And whether or not Biden was bluffing, he did suggest it. And I think Obama is the one that should be asked that question because it's a serious question.

Did President Obama send Joe Biden as vice president to Ukraine to hold back a billion dollars of funding unless they fire the prosecutor? That's alarming.


MACCALLUM: Well, it seems -- it seems like everybody wants the prosecutor who is -- you know, pursuing the things that they want their side to pursue.

SCALISE: Yes. But ultimately, where are the high crimes and misdemeanors that Nancy Pelosi herself promised. This is irresponsible of the Speaker of the House to make that kind of radical claim.

MACCALLUM: Well, that's what they're going to -- that's -- I mean, it looks like that's what they're on the road to try to figure out. And whether or not they're there remains to be seen of course so we will see as we follow all this along. Steve Scalise, thank you very much. Congressman, great to see you tonight.

SCALISE: Martha, great to be with you.

MACCALLUM: Always a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you. Coming up next, Trey Gowdy says that there is nothing wrong with asking other countries if they are investigating conduct that we are concerned with. That and his other very interesting thoughts on where this whole thing is heading, coming up next.


MACCALLUM: Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff taking some creative liberty at today's hearing with direct -- with Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. Rather than reading from the transcript as it exists and we all now have in the open of the president's phone call with the Ukrainian President Zalensky, he parried it in a sort of free verse improv. Watch this.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.: I have a favor I want from you though, and I'm going to say this only seven times so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand lots of it, on this and on that, I'm going to put you in touch with people, and not just any people, I'm going to put you in touch with Attorney General the United States, my Attorney General Bill Barr and I'm going to put you in touch with Rudy. You're going to love him, trust me.


MACCALLUM: Joining me now is Trey Gowdy former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee and a Fox News Contributor. That was almost like doctor (INAUDIBLE) in his delivery. I can't understand why he didn't use the actual words that exist since they're very much out in the open.

TREY GOWDY, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, if you don't have good facts, you got to make them up. Adam Schiff has one of the worst senses of humor of anyone I've ever met so he doesn't need to try parody. But you got to keep in mind, Martha, this is the same Schiff that said he had evidence of collusion.

He's not making that mistake this time. He's not claiming he's got something he doesn't have, he's just going to make it up. And he made it up on national television and I applaud any Democrats to criticize. I would criticize a Republican for making stuff up. In something as serious as this hearing, he should be criticized also.

MACCALLUM: It's not necessary and there's no reason -- those are not the President's words, those are his words. And it's so important in this midst of this investigation that we actually deal in the facts. There's an assessment in the New York Post today by Fred Fleitz who was in the CIA and who's now you know, speaks here and elsewhere about intelligence issues.

He says that the language of this complaint to him seemed very sort of calculated, very legal that maybe he had outside help, that the language and it was very legal. What did you think when you read it? Did that occur to you or no?

GOWDY: It was well-written. You don't have to be a lawyer to write something well and it certainly tracked the appropriate statutes, and it -- but it also wasn't leaked so I give the whistleblower credit for not leaking it.

I mean, there are three allegations. The President misused his office, number two that they mishandled a phone call in the aftermath, and then this kind of unusual or their perception that it's unusual that a president would ask the Attorney General and Mayor Giuliani to investigate potential corruption. So those are the three allegations but the transcript actually addresses two of those three pretty well.

MACCALLUM: So what do you think about the suggestion at the end of the phone transcript with regard to Joe Biden and looking into him. Do you see that it's -- is it separable from the election given the circumstances of where we are right now with four months to Iowa and Joe Biden out on the campaign trail or not?

GOWDY: Well, I mean, keep in mind, who brought up Rudy Giuliani? It wasn't Donald Trump, it was the President of Ukraine. That's the first reference to really Giuliani. Who brought up defense today, that was the President Ukraine, that that wasn't President Trump.

So I think he can be separated in this way. I want us asking countries particularly ones that we give money to whether or not you have a problem with corruption. And we think back to 2016, our country not only took but we solicited help from other countries in trying to figure out whether or not the Russians were interfering with our election.

To be sure, President Obama was not on the ballot, but he was criticized for not asking for more help from foreign countries to stop it. So whatever it was good for President Obama at least supply the same standard President Trump to be fair about.

MACCALLUM: All right. So you made some interesting comments on that in the notes that you sent earlier. You say you know, have others asked foreign governments to assist like this and investigations, have others employed private citizens with reference to Rudy Giuliani.

You know, I guess that I have two questions about that. Have they? I think you can probably point to examples where they have. And is it necessarily relevant if they have?

GOWDY: Well, I mean, I think it's relevant that we treat people the same. I think it's relevant if our -- if our government asked for foreign assistance in the 2016 election and President Trump is asking for foreign assistance to keep corruption or -- there's no statute of limitations on corruption.

I mean, Joe Biden, whether he's the nominee or not, he was the vice president. I'm not prejudging anything. But if any vice president tries to assert influence to stop an investigation, I mean, I think your viewers ought to know about it. In terms of hiring private citizens, Daniel Richmond leaps to mind, Comey's friend.

MACCALLUM: Understood. This is John Brennan today on Twitter -- and I've got two things I want to show you here. This is the first one. The whistleblower deserves our praise and gratitude. Donald Trump getting very sloppy and careless in corrupt practices and cover-up attempts. Democrats and Republicans, those who have a conscience need to work together to prevent desperate moves by Trump that could wreak further havoc. John Brennan surfacing on this again.

GOWDY: No one I know gives a damn of what John Brennan thinks. He's got the president in the dustbin of history. He hates the president. He didn't want him to get elected. He did everything he could to keep him from getting elected. So I'm a lot older than you, Martha, but I'm to the point I'm just not going to worry about what people that I don't respect think, and John Brennan falls in that category.

MACCALLUM: All right, Kamala Harris says that -- she says I'll say it again. Barr, meaning Bill Barr, must come before Congress and testify over -- under oath about whether or not he was asked to be involved in any of this corruption investigation. What do you think about that before I let you go?

GOWDY: I'm very disappointed that a prosecutor does not understand. Jim Comey also wanted that server, the FBI wanted the server. So why is it OK for Jim Comey to want the server but the Attorney General -- look, I know she doesn't want him to be the A.G., I know she didn't vote for him, but he is the A.G. And the President has the right to ask the Attorney General to go get evidence of a potential crime. Comey did it. The DNC just didn't give it to him.

MACCALLUM: I mean, that seems like exactly the place he would go.

GOWDY: So if they (INAUDIBLE) was good enough for Comey.

MACCALLUM: Yes. If you want to do an investigation, you want to coordinate with another country, you would want to involve your Department of Justice, clearly, correct?

GOWDY: I would want my A.G. leading that one. Yes, ma'am.

MACCALLUM: Trey Gowdy, thank you, sir. Always good to see you. Thanks for being here tonight.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am. You too. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Thank you. So remember this?


REP. RASHIDA TLAIB, D-MICH.: When your son was teaching you and says mama, look, you won. Bullies don't win. And I said, baby, they don't because we're going to go in there and we're going to impeach the (BLEEP).


MACCALLUM: That lovely moment. So today, the members of the so-called Squad came out swinging. Katie Pavlich is here with her thoughts on that.


MACCALLUM: So, they've been in office for less nine months. The progressive freshman known as the 'squad' have been beating the impeachment drum and putting pressure on House Speaker Pelosi ever since they arrive in Washington. So, have they finally gotten what they want?


REP. ILHAN OMAR, D-MINN.: Corrupt president who violate his oath in office must and will be impeached.

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY, D-MASS.: Mr. Trump, I took an oath of office just like you did. I swore to uphold and protect the Constitution and the American people. Sir, you dishonor that oath. This is the reckoning.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB, D-MICH.: You are elected, you are a public servant, you took an oath, and you are supposed to be taking the oath. That's why people don't say he's the president, they say he's an occupant of the White House.


MACCALLUM: Here now Katie Pavlich, Townhall.com news editor and Fox News contributor. She says it's the reckoning, Katie. Is it?

KATIE PAVLICH, CONTRIBUTOR: I'm not sure. I mean, Nancy Pelosi has clearly upped the ante this week by making this big announcement with the official flags laid out and everything that she said, and so she's saying is an inquiry, right?

Now, these women, the squad, got elected on the idea that they would impeach the president, but they don't just want impeachment, they want removal from office, and I think what's been lost here is that the inquiry that has been opened is not full impeachment. They don't have articles of impeachment on the floor, which means they don't have the full power of impeachment at hand yet. Even if the House were to vote for official articles of impeachment, it would then have to go to the Senate and get two-thirds gratification --


MACCALLUM: And it's not (Inaudible) that the votes would be there.

PAVLICH: The president will still be sitting in the White House even if the House decides to impeach the president. So yes, this is something they've been wanting, they've used a number of topics to get there, Russia.

MACCALLUM: But now her name is on it, like their name is on it, they are all in the boat together now.

PAVLICH: Correct. Yes.

MACCALLUM: I mean, they are definitely in the impeachment boat together. The president has wanted this.

PAVLICH: Yes, exactly.

MACCALLUM: He's wanted to sort of label the squad as the party, and now I think it's pretty tough not to, because they definitely pulled them over to where they want to be.

PAVLICH: This I think politically is advantageous for the president because the majority of the country doesn't want impeachment, first of all, and second of all, Nancy Pelosi has really tried to distance herself as the moderate of the party, keeping the House together, counting the votes of saying we have to govern, we can just be activists in the resist movement.

But AOC tweeted just this week, look, the bigger scandal here is not that the president has done x, y, and z that she is accusing him of, but that the Democratic Party has not impeach him for doing so.

And then 24 hours later you have the speaker of the House finally caving in on this momentum that is coming from the left and it's something that you will see Democrats running on again in 2020, it will be something that the House Democrats are going to use as an argument to keep the House so they can then impeach the president. If it doesn't happen this time around, they need more power to do it.

MACCALLUM: And this is the -- this is the grand finale, you know. I mean, this is the craziest politics I've ever seen in my life.


MACCALLUM: I mean, it is so -- it is so intense and so -- you know, just, you know, the Mueller investigation is over and then you've got this chapter of this whole thing opened up.

And I just want to say the president is saying that he is going to make a statement tonight from Air Force One and that it will be played on Sean Hannity's show during the 9 o'clock hour, that's the tweet that he just put out there. So, he is no doubt going to continue to come out fighting on this and I don't think he has any choice.

PAVLICH: Yes. Just one final point on that, you know, because the Russia narrative fell apart, including with Robert Mueller's testimony, I think that the credibility here is on the side of the president when it comes to the narrative with the American people.

They offered impeachment on the Russia collusion narrative, which offered no evidence whatsoever. They try to get him on the obstruction charge that is now not being talked about.

You now have this new accusation with the Ukraine whistleblower situation and because all of -- the beginning fell apart, I think they are bit in a cry wolf situation where, you know, people aren't necessarily going to believe it when Adam Schiff says he has the evidence, so-called evidence hiding in plain sight, especially when he's making up statements about what the president has done.


MACCALLUM: Well, maybe this case everybody can sort of looks at himself, you know.


MACCALLUM: And decide who they believe in this because it's all out there and that has been the White House's decision to put it all out there.


MACCALLUM: Katie, thank you. Great to see yo tonight.

PAVLICH: Good to see you too.

MACCALLUM: Katie Pavlich. Coming up next, a story exclusive with the president of El Salvador, just off of his meeting with President Trump at the U.N. He is shaking things up at the U.N. and says that he needs to give his people a reason to want to stay in El Salvador. And some say he's got a few things in common with President Trump.


NAYIB BUKELE, PRESIDENT OF EL SALVADOR: President Trump is very nice and cool and I am cool too. We all -- we both use Twitter a lot, so we'll get along.




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: To anyone conducting crossings of our border illegally, please hear these words. Do not pay the smugglers, do not pay the coyotes. Do not put yourself in danger. Do not put your children in danger. Because if you make it here, you will not be allowed in. You will be promptly returned home. You will not be released into our country.


MACCALLUM: Strong words from the president at the U.N. earlier this week in his push to keep migrants from making their trek to the southern U.S. border, the president is now working on Central American countries, signing new agreements with Honduras, Guatemala, as well as with my next guest, the president of El Salvador.

The aim to help these nations taken more asylum-seekers before they head north. Joining me now exquisitely, President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador. President, good to have you with us.

BUKELE: Thank you. Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much for being here.

What goes through your mind when you hear the president say those very strong words about anybody who wants to come here?

BUKELE: Well, I think, like I said before, I mean, we have a problem that we have to fix. In El Salvador we have been sending migrants to the United States and elsewhere from since the 80s, and now we have almost more than a quarter of the population living abroad.

So when you have your people, your own people fleeing their homes, and it's not because they found a job better somewhere else because they were going to go study somewhere else, because they wanted to flee because they didn't have economic opportunities or violence or crime, then you have something to fix in your country, right?

So, I mean, all of these previous governments that we have, they were -- they never took the blame. I mean, whose job is it to fix El Salvador? It's our job, right? So, we have took a problem as our own and then we want to change -- the fact that the country doesn't send migrants forcefully away, but rather people know that they can -- they can sure -- they can have their dreams come true at home.

I mean, look at Costa Rica, for example. Costa Rica is a Central American country, it's a poor country but Costa Rica doesn't send migrants away, actually they have taken more than a million immigrants from Nicaragua and other places.


BUKELE: So, I mean, why would El Salvador send its people away? I mean, we should keep our people --


MACCALLUM: I mean, I think it's very interesting. I read the New York Times piece a while back in July and it really caught my attention because you said we're not going to blame President Trump. We are going to ask who is to blame?


MACCALLUM: You know, we need to look at ourselves, we need to look at our country, but one of the things that has happened is that the murder rate, which is very high in El Salvador, obviously there's a lot of gang violence that I know you're trying to clean up, it's dropped by 50 percent I think. How is that happened?

BUKELE: Sixty percent.

MACCALLUM: Sixty percent. How have you accomplished that?

BUKELE: Well, we have fought the guys, the gangs straight on and we have communication from jails. Before they have routers, Wi-Fi, computers, cell phone, everything in the jails, 70 percent of the orders to kill people outside the jails came from inside the jails, so there were some kind of cell things that were happening.

MACCALLUM: So, you cleared all of that out of the prisons?

BUKELE: Of course.

MACCALLUM: Did you get pushback from the gangs and from cartels and from - -


BUKELE: No, no, no. No. Actually, we got a lot of pushback from organizations that are not -- they don't want the people to be safe. They just, you know, they have other agendas and not people being safe. So, we send the army to the streets and now the crime rate is down 60 percent actually.

MACCALLUM: It's very interesting. Now, the president made a deal with your country --


MACCALLUM: -- also Honduras and Guatemala as well. What did you get in return for the deal? Because he wants you to prevent -- you know, you put 800 policemen at your southern border, I believe.


MACCALLUM: And he wants you to, you know, file people for asylum in your country and not let them go north, what did you get?

BUKELE: I mean, we are not asking for anything. It's our job to enforce our laws. I mean, we have to enforce our laws and people -- we are getting better by the day. I mean, making business with the United States is better than getting aid.

I just said the last time Secretary Pompeo was in the country.


BUKELE: And then some news outlet asked well, why don't you ask more aid from the United States? And I said why would we ask for their money and send their taxpayers money to us, why don't we make business with them? I mean, if they buy from us let's say 1 percent of their pineapples --


BUKELE: -- we won't have enough land to grow all those pineapples.

MACCALLUM: Very interesting perspective. What about the TPS, what about the temporary protected status, which is going to expire in 2020 and it would change the rules for 200,000 El Salvadorans who are in this country?

BUKELE: Not only 200,000 Salvadorans, but also 200,000 U.S. citizens that were born in the United States that are from TPS parents and they are under age. So, I think we have to work something for them together.

MACCALLUM: Did the president give you the assurance that they'll be able to stay?

BUKELE: No. No. No. But he ordered meetings to be taking place next week with our minister of foreign affairs and acting secretary McAleenan, which I met four times already.


BUKELE: And I just think that we have to find a solution for all the people that it's -- I mean, you're talking about 200,000 U.S. citizens.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, it's an understandable request on your part --


MACCALLUM: -- but you haven't had any assurance --

BUKELE: No, of course not. Of course not.

MACCALLUM: -- from the administration that you're going to get that. Just last question for you, what do you think about this whole thing about the phone call with the Ukrainian president, does it make you any --


BUKELE: I think it's silly. I mean, come on. You know what, I'm not going to get into U.S. politics because I can't. But actually, I think most people outside they don't even care about that. So, I think you're just -- I mean, you're wasting our time talking about something that nobody cares about. I mean, President Trump called somebody --


MACCALLUM: So that kind of discussion, you think is just totally normal?

BUKELE: I mean, if you go outside and you ask normal people outside if they care about that, they don't. I mean.

MACCALLUM: Does it make you reluctant in anyway when you have conversations on the phone with our president, that that might be released to the public?

BUKELE: Well, now I do because before I thought, you know, private conversations are private conversations. But now I'll be more careful if I say something.

MACCALLUM: Very interesting.

BUKELE: Sure, and be that way, I think.

MACCALLUM: President Bukele.


MACCALLUM: Thank you very much. Very good to talk to you, sir.

BUKELE: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Thank you for being here tonight.

BUKELE: Thank you. Thank you very much.

MACCALLUM: All the best to you.

So, with Democrats claiming 2020 interference today, is it possible that President Trump's reelection is already being discredited by them as it will be legitimate if it happens? Sean Spicer and Donna Brazile weigh-in, next.


MACCALLUM: The public release of the whistleblower complaint earlier today reigniting claims of election interference, only this time it's the 2020 election that Democrats are now casting doubt on.


REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY, D-N.Y.: The president of the United States pressured a foreign leader to help him investigate a political opponent.

REP. DENNY HECK, D-WASH.: It was a shakedown for help to win a presidential election.

REP. VAL DEMINGS, D-VA: To coerce Ukraine into assisting the president's reelection efforts in 2020.


MACCALLUM: Here now, Sean Spicer, former White House press secretary under President Trump, and Donna Brazile, former interim DNC chair and now a Fox News contributor.

Donna, let me start with you. It feels like Democrats feel like they've got their man here, that they've got what they need and they are moving forward full throttle.

DONNA BRAZILE, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, let me just congratulate Sean. I saw sweet and spicy well, Sean, as you know, I'm the original spice girl. So, get ready when I -- you know, Martha, I try to teach Sean's moves a couple of weeks ago, but we still have some work to do, Sean.


MACCALLUM: I bet that out.

BRAZILE: So look, Martha, this is -- this is a concern for all Americans and I think the reason why is that we should not allow anyone outside the United States to meddle in, you know, participate in, or even try to demonstrate any quote, unquote, "interest in helping one side or the another."

So, the issue here is, you know, should we allow anyone to put their personal political interests above the national interest of the country? That is what is at the heart of what I do believe the Democrats are trying to find with the impeachment inquiry.

MACCALLUM: All right. Let's talk about Hillary Clinton, she did an interview that's going to be on Sunday morning with Jane Pauley and she says this. "Trump knows he's an illegitimate president. he believes -- I believe he understands that the many varying tactics he used from voter suppression and voter purging to hacking to false stories, he knows that they were just a bunch of different reasons why the election turned out like it did."


SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: My gosh. I don't know where to begin. I remember back during the 2016 election, leading up to it when Democrats said that if Trump doesn't accept the outcome of the election, he's undermining the legitimacy of our process and undermining democracy.

And now you have Hillary Clinton running around talking for the 18 million excuse about an illegitimate election. These are the same Democrats that said that Trump needed to affirm his belief in the Democratic system and now they are talking about an illegitimate election. Where is the media on this story?

The reality is if you want to talk about undermining elections, what's the first thing that President Trump brought up in our call with the president of Ukraine? He brought up CrowdStrikes' role in the 2016 election and said Zelensky, you ran on the platform of getting rid of corruption, are you looking into what happened with CrowdStrike vis-a-vis the 2016 election?

He actually led the call with us. Then what did he do? He went further and actually said hey, by the way, there is these allegations of things that went on under the administration that you succeeded in Ukraine, you're rooting out corruption, you might want to look into some of these allegations that came up because Biden had been vice president, there's allegations that his son Hunter, who was receiving $50,000 a month to be on the board of a natural gas company, who had no experience in this, and then as a bunch of contact there.

If we want to talk about interference, then let's talk about what happened with Biden and his son Hunter and why he's getting paid $50,000 a month and what, if anything, Joe Biden had to do.

MACCALLUM: All right.

SPICER: But Democrats better be very, very careful what they wish for here --


SPICER: -- because the president released the transcript of this call and now the Democrats need to own it. They claim there was a quid pro quo --

MACCALLUM: I hear you.

SPICER: -- they jumped the shark. What you see now is a president whose actually trying to get to the bottom of these allegations.

MACCALLUM: Well, and you know what the American people --


BRAZILE: Martha, can I respond?

MACCALLUM: -- can now reside too in the court of public opinion, it's going to be very powerful on this, whether or not people want this and whether or not they believe that it rises to the level that Democrats -- some Democrats appear to think it does.

Karl Rove said, "House Democrats are on a high today, congratulating themselves on their new crusade. They'll soon realize the grim truth, that impeachment is a loser of an issue and that they will suffer political casualties for going down this road."

Donna, you've been down this road before.


BRAZILE: First of all, let me just tell Karl Rove, we did not want this issue, nobody wants this issue. The president created this mess, we didn't create this mess. And let me say something to my friend Sean Spicer.

If the president wants to know about the Democratic Party server, he can call me, he doesn't have to make a long-distance call. I was chair of the party. Sean, I was reaching out to you, I was reaching out to my Republican friends and others because we were under attack by hostile foreign country.

And so CrowdStrike, a firm that we hired to help us, help us and the type of manipulation and the type of daily harassment we face, we tried to get as much help as possible, clearly from the Obama administration.

But when it comes to the politics of this, since we want to talk about the politics, the framers of the Constitution gave the power of this conversation on impeachment -- it's a solemn responsibility to the House of Representatives. They are going to take their responsibility very seriously. This should not be about political horse race. This should be about the future of our democracy.

MACCALLUM: All right --

SPICER: With all due respect due respect --


MACCALLUM: I got five seconds, Sean. Go ahead.

SPICER: With all due respect, though. The Democrats announced that they were doing an impeachment hearing before the whistleblower and before the transcript became public.


SPICER: They decided to go down the path of impeachment --


MACCALLUM: All right, guys.

SPICER: -- prior to ever having any evidence.

MACCALLUM: We'll continue this later. Thank you very much.


BRAZILE: We'll continue this later.

MACCALLUM: My thanks to both of you.

BRAZILE: Because the stonewalling --


MACCALLUM: More of “The Story” coming up next.


MACCALLUM: That was a busy story, right? That is “The Story” for Thursday, September 26, 2019. But “The Story” goes on. So, we will see you back here tomorrow night. Have a great night, everybody, thanks for being here.

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