Ex-DOJ attorney: Rosenstein should have already been fired

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This is a rush transcript from "The Story," April 12, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Hello there, Chris, thank you very much. Breaking tonight. General Mattis has now canceled a trip to New York that was planned this evening as the president said the decision on Syria could come at any time, more on that ahead tonight on 'The Story.' That as calls for Rod Rosenstein are heating up for him to possibly be fired as Deputy Attorney General. He made his way today, nonetheless, to the White House and apparently had a meeting with the president. That as Steve Bannon, speaking from behind the scenes now after losing his job at the White House, say that the president, he believes, must go on offense and that Rosenstein must leave. Some prominent legal experts and supporters of President Trump actually agree.


JOSEPH DIGENOVA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Jeff Sessions, tomorrow morning, should fire Rod Rosenstein. It is not up to the president to fire Mr. Rosenstein, it is Mr. Sessions' job and he has a duty to fire Rod Rosenstein.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: I would be making a motion in front of the judge. First, I'd make it in the Justice Department to recuse Rosenstein, then I'd make it in front of the judge. You cannot be a prosecutor and you cannot be a witness in the same case.


MACCALLUM: That, as the president's legal team fighting off more incoming today. From a report that talks broke down about Mueller interview to Lawyer Ty Cobb said 'untrue.' And another that a doorman at Trump tower would say to keep quiet about a Trump love child. That one, also shot down this evening as 'completely fals' by the Trump organization. Chief Intelligence Correspondent, Catherine Herridge, in Washington tonight with the story. Hi, Catherine.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHANEL CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, thanks, Martha, and good evening. The president's personal attorney, Ty Cobb, telling Fox News a short time ago that it is untrue. Talks from interview had broken down with the special counsel. There were sources familiar with the legal strategy says, race this week on the president's longtime lawyer and ally, Michael Cohen, were like a bomb going off shattering trusts on all sides. Also, today, Justice Department officials confirming Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will oversee the Russia probe and has the power to fire the special counsel -- was at the White House -- for preplanned meetings that lasted an hour.

The subject of one meeting providing documents to Congress after repeated complaints from Republican lawmakers. Fox News also understands that Rosenstein met with White House Counsel, Don McGann, and he also met with the president on what was described as routine matters. Fox's contact emphasized that Rosenstein was not fired. The timing was so tight, the Justice Department had to make last-minute changes to an event for the Attorney General Jeff Sessions because they were not sure whether Rosenstein would be back in time. Senators are also introducing and supporting bipartisan legislation that would limit the president's ability to fire the special counsel that would include an expedited judicial review and re-instatement if termination wants for cause.


SEN. DICK DURBIN, D—ILLINOIS: I think leaders from both political parties on Capitol Hill made it clear that it would be a terrible mistake for the president to terminate Rod Rosenstein or Bob Mueller during this investigation.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R—SOUTH CAROLINA: I have no belief at all he's going to fire Mueller because, legally, I don't think he can, I don't think he understands what would happen. As far as Mr. Rosenstein goes, for him to be fired, that's within the purview of the president, he has to have a good reason.


HERRIDGE: The Senate Judiciary Committee now has a date on the calendar, April 26, for a vote on that legislation to protect the special counsel. Martha.

MACCALLUM: Catherine, thank you very much.

HERRIDGE: You're welcome.

MACCALLUM: Here now with more: Jay Christian Adams, a Former DOJ Attorney and Founder of the Election Law Center. Good to have you with us tonight, Jay Christian.


MACCALLUM: Hi there. So, you know, your thoughts first of all. Obviously, there are sort of two camps that are advising the president. One camp, we just showed pretty clearly, those that believe that Rosenstein, that there's reason to fire him and that they should be fired. The other side says that don't rock the boat, they may have nothing substantial to go on here and that would just make things worse. What do you think?

ADAMS: Well, the problem is that Rosenstein has allowed this investigation by Mueller to get completely out of control. It's gone way beyond the original purpose which is allegedly Russian collusion to this Paul Manafort laundered money through a rug store. Does Michael Flynn respond a certain way in an interview? What's next? Rosenstein has allowed the thing to get out of control. He's allowed the team to leak. He's allowed Mueller to hire a clearly partisan bunch of prosecutors and, frankly, he probably should've been fired months ago. So, he's been a real problem; he's allowed his lifelong desire that he has to appease Democrats to cloud his judgment.

MACCALLUM: So, assume for a moment that the president listens to what you're saying, and decides that that is the right course of action to take, what would happen next?

ADAMS: Well, remember, Rosenstein was hired by the president, he can be fired by the president. These are not life-tenured people; Rod Rosenstein is not the pope, he's not a federal judge, he's a government bureaucrat. And the president has the power, as does the attorney general to fire him and can cite a laundry list of reasons: the leaking, the out of control nature of the Mueller investigation to put somebody in there who will actually oversee it properly and fairly. Rosenstein has a bunch of deputies that I've written about that are ideologically leaning left, they probably should've never been hired in the first place. They are not the kind of people who should be involved in this and, frankly, they've been running interference for the Democrats internally inside the DOJ.

MACCALLUM: Here's the cover of Time Magazine this week, it says stormy, there are papers blowing all over the place -- we can put it up on the screen so everybody can see it. And you heard Catherine, the reporting moments ago, that the raid that took place on the president's personal attorney, Michael Cohen's offices, his hotel room, his temporary living area, and apartment as well, that that really broke the camel's back here. You know, do you believe that was an action that would merit his firing? Is that the icing on the cake?

ADAMS: Well, look, I think it certainly does because attorney-client privilege, Martha, as you know, is supposed to be treasured and special, and almost sacrosanct in this country. But what you have seen over the last couple of months is a chorus of fringe activist calling for campaign finance investigations against the president's attorney. Was there an in- kind contribution or an expenditure to help the president? So, all of these external forces, these people who hate President Trump were chiming in that this should have happened. And then, lo and behold, who does Mueller listen to? He listens to the enemies of the president to help drive his strategy, and that's the problem. Rosenstein should've controlled that.

MACCALLUM: Let's look at a tweet from the president, rather, that addresses his approach so far to all of this. He says, 'I have agreed with the historically cooperative and disciplined approach that we have engaged in with Robert Mueller, unlike the Clinton's! I have full confidence in Ty Cobb, my Special Counsel, and have been fully advised throughout each phase of this process.' And then, I want to show you one more thing. This is Joe diGenova last night, talking about what thinks has happened to this investigation -- then will get your thoughts on both.


DIGENOVA: What Rod Rosenstein and Bob Mueller have done is weaponize in an unconstitutional way the criminal investigation process, which should be sacrosanct. And what they have done is, they have conducted and or conducting now something that is called an in terrorem grand jury. They're using a grand jury to terrorize people. That is an abuse of power. Mr. Rosenstein is responsible for it.


MACCALLUM: So, the president in the tweet saying, you know, we've gone about this very systematically and I'm happy with both the process that we've engaged in, and you heard Joe diGenova.

ADAMS: Yes, Joe is right about this. This is part of a larger problem, Martha, where the legal process, whether it's a civil lawsuit against the president, against organizations meant to terrorize people over ideological differences. Now it's a criminal process -- a process, meant to terrorize political opponents. This is this world stuff. This is the kind of thing that isn't supposed to happen in America. But these people doing it, whether it's Rosenstein, Mueller, all of the people on the outside screaming for a perp walk. They're very comfortable of third world stuff. They're very comfortable with terrorism grand jury since Joe put it. This is who these people are. And the president needs to realize that and to fight back.

MACCALLUM: Jay Christian Adams, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight, sir.

ADAMS: Take care, Martha.

MACCALLUM: All right. So, still ahead this evening, it has been going on for seven years, President Obama had an opportunity to do something, he did not. So, why is it up to President Trump? It is what has landed on his desk essentially as president, to deal with the civil war in one way or another in Syria. Plus, Secretary of State Nominee, Mike Pompeo, on the hot seat on the Hill, but instead of asking tough questions about foreign policy -- well, there were some actually, but it was also an opportunity for some Democrats to take a chance at taking some shots at Mike Pompeo. We're going to show you what happened. Congressman Peter King and White House Veteran, Bill Bennett, with their take on what we saw today and what they think about it, next.


CORY BOOKER, D—NEW JERSEY: Sir, do you think that Muslims in America who are in positions of leadership have a different category of obligation because of their religion?




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: From the day I took the oath of office, I've been fighting to drain the swamp and sometimes, it may not look like it, but believe we are draining the swamp and there are a lot of unhappy people. You can see that every day, all you have to do is turn on the news. Every time you see me hit, you know that I'm dreading the swamp, and people don't like it.


MACCALLUM: That was earlier today, the president saying that swamp draining can sometimes make some of the alligators a little bit testy. So, could that toxic environment and resistance to the president lead to a tougher than expected process for his Secretary of State pick Mike Pompeo, who just last year was confirmed 66-32 as CIA chief. He was grilled on Syria and North Korea and other matters that are directly relevant to the job that he would be taking, but then there were also these.


SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN, D-NEW HAMPSHIRE: Do you think Special Counsel Mueller's investigation is a witch hunt?

SEN. CHRIS COONS, D—DELAWARE: Do you believe Special Counsel Mueller's investigation is an attack on our country and all we stand for?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY, D—CONNECTICUT: It will be really troubling if you couldn't say here today that you don't believe that the Mueller investigation is an attack on America.

SEN. CORY BOOKER, D-NEW JERSEY: Do you think that Muslim Americans in this country, who serve in our military, who serve in the State Department, their failure to speak up, is that they -- are they complicit in terrorist attacks? Do you think gay sex is perversion? Yes or no?


MACCALLUM: So, that gives you a little sample of what happened in there today. Now, back in January, New Hampshire's Jeanne Shaheen and 13 other Democrats voted in support of the Mike Pompeo as he was confirmed as CIA director, saying at the time 'his strong condemnation of Russian aggression gives me confidence that he can step into that role and effectively lead the CIA.' Yes, now, Shaheen is undecided tonight on Pompeo, and has even indicated that she may, indeed, vote no. Joining me now: Congressman Pete King, a New York Republican who serves on the House Intelligence Committee and is Chairman of the Counterterrorism an Intel Sub-Committee. Congressman, good to have you here tonight.

REP. PETER KING, R-NEW YORK: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: What did you think of what you saw in there tonight and do you think that Mike Pompeo will ultimately be approved?

KING: Yes, let tell you, what's most reassuring is I have tremendous faith to Mike Pompeo. He is smarter, he's tougher than all those guys. So, in the end, he's going to win. But it's really bad for the country, it's bad for our country's morale to see those types of tedious questions, really name questions, showboating questions being asked. We have a lot of serious issues in the world. We need to have an honest debate on both sides of them. There's no easy answer to Syria, there's no easy answer to terrorism. Now, I have strong views on them; Mike Pompeo does. And I'm the first to tell you, these are not easy decisions to come to. That's what he should be questioned about, not these other questions which are just cheap shots in the bushes.

MACCALLUM: You know, I mean there's -- I think there are some genuine concerns here about whether or not he could be approved. I mean, Democrats want to use this opportunity to protect the legacy of the Iran deal which they believe he would like to overturn. They've got until May 12th for the next certification by the president of that deal. Rand Paul is a no, John McCain is said to be no -- if he were to vote in this -- and you've got a lot of, obviously, a lot of Democrats who were saying that they may not. So, when you add up the numbers, what's your honest take?

KING: I think, again, Mike could have a problem getting out of the committee even though Bob -- caucus he's confident. But if he gets to the Senate floor, and it should go to the senate floor no matter what, then to me, Mike Pompeo will get enough Democrats, especially those in red states who are running this year. And I think they will vote and they should vote for Mike Pompeo, but he shouldn't have to go through this. And bot because I'm Republican and Mike is a Republican, or I share with him on the Intelligence Committee, because he's able, he's a smart, he's tough, and these are dangerous times. And we should be sending a signal to the world that whether or not Democrats agree with President Trump, they realize he has the right to put his own person then, as long as that person is qualified and strong and that's what Mike Pompeo is. So, this is really a wasted opportunity by the Democrats. If they're really serious, they ask him real tough questions, not this stuff.

MACCALLUM: I know. We'll see if he gets out of the committee, but it was 40 years ago, was the last time somebody passed a vote and got through that process when they weren't approved in the committee, and John Bolton managed to pull it off by a recess appointment under President Bush. So, we'll see what happens. Because you've also the Gina Haspel nomination to replace him at CIA, and also some pushback on John Bolton who, obviously, didn't need congressional approval for his position. But this feeling among Democrats and then, you know, Rand Paul for his own reasons that this represents a much more hawkish perspective for the president.

KING: Well, yes, he's the president, and he's the commander in chief, and he has the right to choose his foreign policy team. And quite frankly, I mean, I would be on the same side as Mike Pompeo on these issues. But even if I weren't, I would still hope I would vote for him because he's qualified, he's honest, he has an extensive career in the military and in the House of Representatives, on the Intelligence Committees. He's done an outstanding job, really, in rebuilding the morale of the CIA and also making it a much more effective intelligence gathering for us than it was on to John Brennan. So, no, I think that Mike Pompeo should be confirmed. If he is not, of course, he will be. I don't want to get into that. Mike Pompeo will, in the end, be confirmed because the American people will see the ability he has and they will see that they don't want Democrats blocking you for partisan purposes.

MACCALLUM: All right. Congressman Peter King, always good to see you. Thank you, sir. Good to have you here tonight.

KING: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, joining me now, Bill Bennett who went through the process back in 2000 to become Secretary of Education for President George W. Bush and is a Fox News Contributor. Bill, good to see you tonight. What did you think of when we showed a little bit of Cory Booker who definitely used his opportunity and who is expected to run for president himself in 2020, what did you make of that?

BILL BENNETT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER SECRETARY OF EDUCATION FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes, I've met Cory Booker many years ago, I was very impressed. His tight-end for stand for that might have been would impress me, but I'm not impressed anymore. I mean, I think this was ridiculous. Do you approve of gay sex, he asks? And LGBTQ, et cetera? And you know, these other irrelevant questions. But you know, this was political correctness. And as Pete King just said, these are dangerous times; they're also very poisonous times. There's a lot of poison in the air. And the closer you get, Martha -- these hearings get to those November elections, the more poison there's going to be. A lot of this was directed at Mike Pompeo; he was sitting there, but these were corner shots aimed to get after Donald J. Trump.

You heard how often the name Trump came up -- do you agree with the president on this? Do you agree with the president on that? You know, Pompeo is a more nuanced guy, more subtle guy than Donald Trump. And so, they give these flat-out statements declarations that Trump makes or Trump -- or the president tweets, and then asks this guy to comment. They were trying to make him as uncomfortable as possible. But as Pete said, he is damn smart. A tough week for the Senate, by the way, two really smart guys: Zuckerberg and Pompeo, you know, about 80 I.Q. points on the average senator. So, it's a tough week for them by comparison. But I didn't like the way they behaved it all. It was really bad. It tells you where things are in Washington right now.

MACCALLUM: You know, and it really does tell you where things are. You know, I thought about that when I was watching and I agree that, you know, Cory Booker when he came on the scene, he was so impressive in so many ways, but it appears to be so transparent what he was trying to do in there today. And you also have to wonder why it's not all right for a secretary of state or any member of the president's cabinet to share views that may not lineup or religious views that might not line up with other people in the government. You know, just as the respect for understanding that we don't agree with all on all these issues appeared to be missing. It was like, if he didn't have the right answer, he was going to be condemned.

BENNETT: Yes, however, they didn't give him credit, did they, Martha? You were listening as I was when he pointed out how strong he was on Russia and how clear he was about condemning Russia -- an ambiguous, perhaps, a difference with the president. That this is a guy who is tough and tough- minded. So, they were not giving him any credit at all. I'm worried about the vote, frankly. You know, if smarts will get him through, and decency will get him through.

MACCALLUM: I would say there's reason for Mike Pompeo to be concerned about the vote. But you, what do you think is going to happen, ultimately?

BENNETT: I'm worried about how the committee comes out. I think, ultimately, he'll be confirmed. But you know what else I was thinking about today watching him? Gina Haspel. You mentioned earlier, up for the CIA job. She's going to be later. That's going to be closer to the November elections. I think that's going to be more of the same and may be worse. Get ready, buckle up.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, there's no doubt that as we get closer to these elections as you point out, Bill, these are used as opportunities, and there's always a lot of grandstanding in these moments. But it's uniquely on display today, and I think you're absolutely right. I think when Gina Haspel comes who did have associations with some of the programs that went on after 9/11 when she was at the CIA in terms of these facilities, where enhanced interrogations were used. There's no doubt that she is also going to face a lot of scrutiny, perhaps even more. Bill, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.

BENNETT: Thank you very much, Martha, always a pleasure.

MACCALLUM: You bet. We'll see you soon. So, still ahead tonight, Paul Ryan pushes back on hints that may be somebody else should step in. And a tightening in the midterm outlook. We're going to show you where the movement is on the map. Karl Rove joins us on that. Plus, the president must decide what he will take in terms of his action in Syria. He said it is unfortunate that others have let it go this far. Marc Thiessen and former Special Forces Officer Ben Collins join me with their story, next.


JOY BEHAR, ABC: I see that the two of them are backing on for war, and I see Trump provoking war. That's I think.




TRUMP: We are having a number of meetings today, we'll see what happens. We're obviously looking at that very closely. It's too bad that the world puts us in a position like that, but as I said this morning, we've done a great job with ISIS. We have absolutely decimated ISIS, but now we have to make some further decisions. So, they'll be made fairly soon.


MACCALLUM: So, the president essentially saying that he didn't choose this fight with Syria. All presidents, of course, have to deal with the choices that history lays on their table when they're in office. The Obama administration underestimated Assad's staying power. Watch this.


BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only way to bring stability and peace to Syria is going to be for Assad to step down.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The world will not waiver. Assad must go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is just further evidence that Assad has to go.

OBAMA: Realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad into a new leader.


MACCALLUM: you know, at that point, everybody thought that it was moments, days, months away from his regime being toppled. Now, back when the president launched missiles into Syria last April, it was generally met with broad support.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Donald Trump became president of the United States. I think this was actually big moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean, I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen, 'I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.'

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is a decisive use of American power.


MACCALLUM: Polls at the time showed strong support from the American people as well -- 67 percent approved. So, now, after saying that missiles are coming, today the White House says there is no timetable at this point. Joining me now: Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Institute Scholar and Former Chief Speechwriter for President George W. Bush, he's also a Fox News Contributor; and Benjamin Collins, Former Special Forces Officer. Gentlemen, welcome. Good to have both of you with us tonight.


MACCALLUM: You know, looking back, obviously, this is a problem that has been around for a long time. A lot of the leaders have tried to deal with Assad and his dictatorship and his brutality. But now this is on President Trump's desk and he does have to make a decision as he mentioned there, Marc, what decision do you think that should be?

THIESSEN: Well, he did. He's right that he did inherit this problem, because what happened was, Barack Obama drew a red line in the sand and said we will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons and didn't enforce it. So, when Donald Trump came into office and Assad crossed that redline again, he didn't ring hands, he acted decisively and he struck the Syrian regime and punished them. And it was important not just from a humanitarian standpoint but we should not tolerate the use of chemical weapons, but because it restored American credibility on the world stage that Barack Obama had squandered. It sent a message to the world that the era of Obama -- Obama era of weakness is over and America is willing to act again. So, that worked for a little while. It was a measured proportionate responds and it worked for a little while. But now, Assad has defied us again. So, American credibility is on the world stage right -- it's on the line right now, and it's not just Syria, its North Korea. North Korea is watching what Donald Trump does here in response to this crisis, because he's going to a big summit with Kim Jong Un soon. And the only way that summit works is -- if Kim Jong Un believes that he's willing to take military action to take out his ballistic missiles and nuclear program if he doesn't do it voluntarily. And if he's not willing to do that in Syria, then Kim Jong-un is not going to believe that the American threat of force is credible.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, THE STORY HOST: Yeah. You know, one of the thing that I think is so important in this moment is whether or not the president can rally allies and to support this decision. And, Ben, we all remember that was one of the things that President Obama leaned back on. He said I can't get the support from France right now. We're not getting the support that we need from our allies, so that's why we can't act. Theresa May putting out a statement just a short time ago saying that she and President Trump have spoken about it, and that they see clearly that there's a pattern of behavior here from Syria that includes chemical weapons and that is a great concern. Do you think the president can get support from our allies on this?

BEN COLLINS, FORMER GREEN BERET: I certainly do, Martha. And I think he should be able to get support because it speaks just more to -- not just our credibility, but I would say the international community's credibility overall. I mean, in 1997, you know, they created the organization for the protection -- or the prevention of chemical weapon use, 192 countries signed that. You know, the strike that occurred last year is very different than the one that we're contemplating right now. The fact is that that strike was meant as a deterrent. It was a very pinpointed strike, it hit the airbase, the air platform has taken off. But, in a year's time, that deterrent did not work. So, from there to now, you know, my question is where are the other 191 countries? Number one. Number two, this strike can't just be seen as a deterrent. We gave Assad the choice to make a decision whether or not use chemical weapons again. We can't allow that anymore. We have to go in and destroy his ability to utilize chemical weapons. How to deliver them, how to create them, where to store them, et cetera. So, this has to be a decisive point right now.

MACCALLUM: Lindsey Graham, Marc, is saying yes to take out Assad and the circle around him, that he should be considered a war criminal and, essentially, fair game in any sort of strike attack. That is a strong statement, what do you think?

THIESSEN: I agree with Lindsay that Assad is a legitimate war target. But, I think what we really need to do is we need to do this through the prism of looking at North Korea. So, what the president wants to do is to do a demonstration effect for the North Korean regime of what will happen to them if they don't stop their nuclear and ballistic missile program.

MACCALLUM: But, Marc, if I may, I mean, I understand what you're saying, and it will certainly reflect on that decision, but it is a decision in of itself that brings us into something that we can't simply walk away from after.

THIESSEN: I understand that. But what I'm saying is I agree -- I agree with Ben, and I agree with General Jack Keane who is on your show the other night. What we need to do is we need to do a -- not a limited pin for strike, not a bloody nose strike, but something of substance that takes away his chemical weapons capability. We have to take out the airfields. We have to take out ammunitions. We have to take out the artillery that he uses to deliver those weapons. But I would not take out the regime, because what the message you want to send to North Korea is we are willing to take limited strike that's not going to lead to a global -- to a massive war between our countries. We should hold it in pact and say, Assad, if you do retaliate against us if we take this action we're coming after you. And that's the same message we want to send to Kim Jong Un.

MACCALLUM: Quick thought, Ben?

COLLINS: Yeah, I agree. I mean, the fact is, we always have to contemplate, especially in this environment, is you've got two nation- states, Russia and Iran that had propped up Assad. And those two are going to be making their own determination in the next couple of days as to how they're going to respond. They're probably getting their own people ready, but I think that they've got a lot more to lose than we do.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much, gentlemen. Great to see both of you tonight.

THIESSEN: Thanks, Martha.

COLLINS: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, coming up next.


REP. PAUL RYAN(R), WISCONSIN: The funny thing is this, when I came here into this job, I came into a vacuum and killed the vacuum. I don't think we have that kind of a vacuum now.


MACCALLUM: So, Paul Ryan has been saying in so many words now, it really want this job in the first place, but I was really good at it, so don't think about pushing me out early. So, as the man who was, potentially, going to be able to pull off a GOP miracle in the midterms, going to stay or going to go earlier than expected? Karl Rove joins me to break all that down. And this former cheerleader tells us her story of discrimination by the NFL over an Instagram post.


KRISTAN ANN WARE, FORMER CHEERLEADER: Well, I, first, asked for a meeting. They ask me to resign and I've said no. So, I requested a meeting with human resources, and when I got in there, I didn't even have a chance to defend myself.


MACCALLUM: So, now, there's a new lawsuit as the NFL cheerleader says that they didn't want her to be public about the fact that she wanted to remain a virgin. Yep. We'll be right back.


MACCALLUM: Speaker Paul Ryan pushing back on reports that house Republicans want him to step down maybe a little bit sooner rather than later. He's citing his major fundraising hauls on how well he has done, and he stood firm on that today.


REP. PAUL RYAN, R—WISCONSIN: I've said all along, my plan is to stay here and run through the tape. You said a small group, I've talked to a lot of members, a lot of members who think it's in all of our best interest for this leadership team to stay in place and it runs to the table. There is nobody who's come close to being able to raise the kind of funds I have and still can raise for this majority. So, it's obviously in our interest to keeping our majority that every player is on the field fighting for this majority, raising for this majority, and it makes no sense to take the biggest fund-raiser off the field.


MACCALLUM: He makes it sound pretty clear there. Political report that he had a private call today with more than 100 donors urging them to stay engaged as the focus could turn to saving the senate. Where does this lead the Republican Party as the majority clearly hangs in the balance? Here now, Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff under President George W. Bush, and a Fox News contributor. Karl, good to see you tonight. Thanks for being here.


MACCALLUM: First of all, your thoughts. What's better for your Republican Party if Paul Ryan stays or if he goes a little bit earlier?

ROVE: Well, there are two options. Are you a Shakespeare fan?


ROVE: Macbeth. Macbeth, act one, scene seven. If it were done.

MACCALLUM: If it were done quickly.

ROVE: Well, it would be done quickly. So, out now. There're two advantages to that. You have clarity and you get it quicker and faster. And there's less funny stuff. The longer this goes on, the more this group will pop up and say if we're going to support you, we need to have this. And another group will say, well, if you're going to give them that, we get this. So, there's less funny stuff if you do it quicker.

On the other hand, if you wait, you're going to do it in the regular order. You're not going to look like in the middle of the campaign. You're having to have this big leadership fight that distracts attention from issues. And more importantly, it's a chance to show us what you've got. You've got the speaker, you've got the two people who think they want to be the speaker, the majority leader and the majority whip, and they can go out and show their colleagues what they're doing. So, in the first one, you've got one guy taken the lead, here you've got three people, or four, or five, who are out there trying to demonstrate whether or not they've got the chops to lead the Republican caucus.

MACCALLUM: Interesting. You know, we're watching Cook and all of these folks moving their numbers around. As you look at this map, let's put it up, there's 30 toss ups on this map that we're going to show everybody at home right now. Democrat, Republicans -- Democrats will have to pick up 25 seats in order to flip the house in their direction. How's it looking?

ROVE: Well, look, we've got a long way to go, but everybody is going to be looking at this race, sort of, along the following lines. I took these numbers out of the New York Times which is trying to sort of aggregate everybody's picks as to what is up. What are solid Democrat seats, or likely Democrats, or lean Democrats. And, similarly, what are the solid Republicans and likely and lean. And these change every week, in fact. Since this chart was put out, they've moved two seats out of the solid column into likely and toss-up for the Republicans.

But, as of this chart, 189 Democrats likely to return, solid Democrats are likely, and for the Republicans, 198. That means the Democrats needs to pick up of these 48 seats here in the middle that are leans and toss-ups. The Democrats need to win 29 of them to take the majority, and the Republicans need to take 20 of them in order to keep the majority. So, I think this is a toss-up. It depends upon is this a year in which there's a Democrat wave? If there's a Democrat wave, then 29 seats is going to be -- you know, they're going to be more than 29. But, I'm not certain this is going to be a wave like we had at '94, or 2006, or 2010. I think this is going to be -- depends more on the quality of the candidate and the quality of their campaign, which means.


MACCALLUM: Yeah. But, what's your feeling about how organized Republicans are? I mean, they have this, you know, lifetime opportunity that Paul Ryan talked about so much. You've got the house, the senate and the White House. And now, it appears that the language that you hear a lot is that they're done legislating until after the election. Today, they shot down a balanced-budget amendment. And they, more often than not, will say, oh, you know, this is historically the way that it goes. If they lose the house, there's going to be an onslaught against this president the likes of which you haven't seen.

ROVE: Well, look, I'm not one of these people who think the house has done legislating. I think the house, because there's a Republican majority -- look, they've passed dozens upon dozens of bills that are going nowhere in the senate, because the senate has different rules, and a lot of the senate time is being chewed up with confirmation hearings and judges.


MACCALLUM: Like a balanced budget amendment.


ROVE: Who thought that we're going to get two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives for an amendment to the constitution as required? This is putting people on record saying are you for this or against this? So, people have something to go home and campaign on. But they've been doing a lot of substantive legislation. You saw this, for example, on the reform of Dodd-Frank. The senate passed one bill, the house passed a major bill, but it also passed a whole bunch of bills by big bipartisan majorities dealing with individual elements of Dodd-Frank, and now they're trying to get that in and worked into a bill approved by the senate. But, the house has got a lot of work that they've done. They're going to keep doing more.

MACCALLUM: Karl, good to see you as always, thank you very much.

ROVE: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: We will see you. We'll be watching. Things are heating up. All right, coming up next here tonight on The Story, discrimination and double standard complaints piling up against the NFL.


BAILEY DAVIS, FORMER NFL CHEERLEADER: They've said it was distasteful. It violated our code of conduct. And I had a dirty face which made it seductive, and I was inviting players to contact me.


MACCALLUM: So, now, another NFL cheerleader has very different story, but she said that she was harassed and forced to quit because of her faith. Kristan Ann Ware, joins me with her story, next.



BAILEY DAVIS, FORMER NFL CHEERLEADER: I want to see equal rules for both of us. We're both professional athletes, we worked hard to be professional dancers just like they have to be professional athletes. And, especially, that there's a double standard.


MACCALLUM: Ex-Saints cheerleader, Bailey Davis, sharing her story with us, claiming that she was fired from her team over a racy social media post, but that may have been just the beginning of all of this. Former Miami Dolphin cheerleader, Kristan Ann Ware, says she was discriminated against by the NFL because they didn't like what she said about her religious beliefs. We'll be joined by Kristan Ann and het attorney in just a moment. But we start with Trace Gallagher in our west coast newsroom. He's got the backstory for us tonight. Hi, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. Former Dolphin cheerleader, Kristan Ann Ware, says during a trip to an overseas game in London, she and the other cheerleaders were involved in girl talk when someone brought up favorite songs during sex. Ware said she didn't have one because she was waiting until she got married. The next year when she walked in to reapply to be a cheerleader she says the coaches told her, quote, let's talk about your virginity. She was then told she could only talk about her vow to wait until marriage in private and never in front of the cheer team. Ware says she was then asked to change into a bikini to see if she was calendar ready. She agreed, but did so with tears in her eyes. Ware says she notified the Dolphins human resources department, but the abuse continued and said even her blog post for the Dolphins website had all mentions of her faith removed.

Although, the religious views of Dolphins players were never censored. Kristan Ann Ware has now filed a complaint with the Florida labor board against the Dolphins and the NFL alleging gender and religious discrimination. The Dolphins have not commented. And even though the NFL doesn't employ cheerleaders, a spokesman said, quote, everyone who works in the NFL, including cheerleaders, has the right to work in a positive and respectful environment that is free from any and all form of harassment and discrimination. But there have been a rash of recent complaints concerning both harassment and discrimination, including a New York Times report this week quoting several former cheerleaders who say they were repeatedly told to intermingle with fans who'd been drinking, and that being groped and harassed by fans was common. Some former Redskins cheerleaders say they were once sent to a private home to watch the game with a bunch of men drinking beer and if they refused, they were dismissed from the team. Six NFL teams no longer have cheerleaders. Martha.

MACCALLUM: Wow. Trace, thank you very much. Joining me now, Kristan Ann Ware, the former Miami Dolphins cheerleader at the center of all this, and her attorney Sara Blackwell. Kristan Ann, thank you for being here. You know, it's so -- if you look at the two stories that we've told here recently, one, is, you know, that she was too racy to do her job. And, you, apparently, are two chaste to do yours. Explain that to me.

KRISTAN ANN WARE, FORMER MIAMI DOLPHINS CHEERLEADER: My goodness. I mean, I guess it is, absolutely. I guess it is kind of a double standard. You know, where the football players are held to and what women are held to in the NFL.

SARA BLACKWELL, ATTORNEY FOR FORMER CHEERLEADER: It spans from chastity to sexuality, the control that they have over the cheerleaders, but that they don't have over the NFL players. And I think that's what this shows between Bailey and Kristan Ann.

MACCALLUM: It's so interesting, you know. It's like -- you know, I remember when cheerleaders used to wear, like, sweaters and pulp skirts, you know. And now you wear a bikini, basically, when you're out there. And yet, they don't like it if you say, well, I'm going to save myself for marriage. And as you point out, which I think is really the heart of this, Sara, and you tell me, you know, whoever wants to chime in here as a legal matter is that we hear all the time, the Christian view or the religious views of players and nobody reprimands them for it.

BLACKWELL: Exactly. Well, it's gender discrimination for sure. I mean, they have players kneeling on the field, they have preachers that come before the games to talk and pray with them. They are public about their faith on social media and they are praised for it. Whereas, the cheerleaders, such as Kristan Ann, she's being told don't talk about God, conversations about God are removed from the blog, and she's literally treated with harassment, and abuse, and mocking her because of her religion, her religious faith, and her vow to wait for her marriage.

MACCALLUM: Kristan Ann, who told you that this wasn't OK? The team, you know -- where did this message come from?

WARE: Right. So, I sat down on an interview with the director and all of my coaches. And, you know, they've said let's talk about your virginity, and I was automatically kind of shocked because it's linked to, you know, my vow to God, and the ring that I wear that symbolizes true love waits. And, you know, she then said, well, as far as we're concerned, you've taken something that was once upon a time pure and beautiful and you've made it dirty.

MACCALLUM: But why they did not like -- you were talking about it, you know, among teammates, right? I mean, why -- I don't understand why they felt like this was a negative for you.

WARE: Right. I really don't either. I want clarity -- go ahead.

MACCALLUM: No, you go ahead, I'm sorry.

WARE: I really -- I don't know, but I knew that it hurt me and I started tearing up. And then, to which I was told that, you know, I was too emotional, too sensitive and I needed to develop into a woman. And that I also needed to find a switch, you know. I can be who I was, I guess somewhere else, but within these walls, I have to turn it off. I have to be someone different.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. You know, Sara, the other woman that we've spoke with said they're not allowed to go to parties with the players, they're not allowed to socialize. It's like -- they've got to figure out what they want, you know, whether they want these girls to come across as available, or whether they want them to come across as something else. But, we've got to go. We're going to follow your lawsuit. Thank you very much, ladies. Good luck to you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you for having us.

WARE: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: You, too. Quick break, we'll be right back with more.


MACCALLUM: In 1945, President Franklin Roosevelt died toward the end of World War II. During his first inaugural address, he memorably told the nation the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, remember that. We'll see you tomorrow night. Tucker is up next.

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