This is a rush transcript from "The Story," July 2, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SANDRA SMITH, GUEST HOST: Good evening, Jon. Thank you. Breaking tonight with a fierce battle brewing in the future of the Supreme Court hanging in the balance with the Senator who could make or break the confirmation process, making a stunning announcement.
I'm Sandra Smith, in for Martha MacCallum, and this is "The Story." Republican Susan Collins, said the White House has told her that it has expanded its shortlist of potential candidates beyond the 25 that have been publicly disclosed. It comes as Collins and others have expressed concerns about the names that are out there, particularly when it comes to the issue of abortion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-MAINE: A candidate for this important position who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me, because that would indicate an activist agenda that I don't want to see a judge have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: So far, the White House is staying tight-lipped on who these other judges might be. But the President did reveal he is already -- he's already met with a number of the candidates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I interviewed and met with four potential justices of our great Supreme Court. They are outstanding people, they are really incredible people in so many different ways, academically, and every other way. And I had a very, very interesting morning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Chief national correspondent Ed Henry is live at the White House with more on this, this evening. Good evening, Ed.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, good to see you. President Trump is moving rapidly to get those interviews done because he wants to get the clock started so he can get it, make it harder and harder for Democrats to try and justify any delay in terms of confirmation beyond the midterm election.
So, what we're seeing is the president likely to get his nominee through in the end, because the precedent has been set for just a simple majority. The moderate Republicans who you saw there, who support abortion rights could foil that plan. That's why in his exclusive interview with Fox's Maria Bartiromo, the president stressed he will not ask any candidate about Roe v. Wade at all.
He wants to try and secure yes votes from those two pro-choice Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins. We just heard from Murkowski, says she's keeping her cards close to the vest for now.
Collins indicated she'll oppose anyone who would vote to change existing law, and abortion administration officials revealed today that the White House Counsel Don McGahn, has been detailed to shepherd the eventual nominee through the Senate.
It's interesting because you mentioned, Collins is saying it's McGahn who told her that because of her concerns, the administration is expanding its list beyond the 25 names of potential court picks that the president unveiled in the campaign.
But the administration has to be careful not to stray too far from that list of more conservative names if they go to moderate they run the risk of upsetting evangelical conservatives who have stuck with the president and love that list.
Sarah Sanders would not answer whether the president wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned, and the president suggested the list is actually getting smaller, not bigger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: I think the president should not feel bound by that list. And instead, I should seek out recommendations to ensure that he gets the best possible person.
TRUMP: I'll be meeting with two or three more and we'll make a decision on the United States Supreme Court. The new justice that'll be made over the next few days and we'll be announcing it on Monday, and I look forward to that. I think the person that is chosen will be outstanding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Now, given the possibility of a no-vote from a Republican like Collins, on top of the fact that Republican John McCain has not been voting at all, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may need to reel in some Democrats. Particularly, the three moderates who supported Justice Neil Gorsuch, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, and Joe Manchin. As for the push by Liberal Democrats like Chuck Schumer, the Senate Leader, to try and delay this passed the midterms.
We should point out that factually, four of the last eight justices were confirmed in a midterm election. Sure it's going to be hard for Democrats to make the case to delay this beyond the midterms. Sandra?
SMITH: Ed, thanks for setting it up for us. Are we going to see the president back away from his campaign promise to appoint anti-abortion judges?
Judge Andrew Napolitano is our Fox News senior judicial analyst. We called on him to answer that question for us tonight. How important is this issue going to be, and how are we going to see it play out this week in the president's pick?
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: Well, if the president chooses somebody from the list of 25 which is he has repeatedly said he will do. Then, Senator Collins is going to be disappointed because everybody on that list is pro-life.
Now, the president is careful in his choice of words. He's not going to say to the five or six or seven that he finally interviews, "Hey, are you interested in overturning Roe v. Wade?" He wouldn't be that direct with them.
The choice of those names as a combination of outsourcing and the White House legal counsel office giving -- getting enough background about these 25 that the president and his supporters are satisfied that they are the Scalia like who might now say, Gorsuch like person that he promised throughout the campaign and throughout his first year and a half as president that he would nominate.
If he does nominate somebody that Senator Collins doesn't like as that Henry just explained, they're going to have to find a few Democrats who want to attach themselves to the president's coattails this November, to vote in favor of the nominee.
SMITH: The interview process, what was your reaction when you heard the president in that interview with Maria Bartiromo, say he won't be asking the candidates about Roe v. Wade?
NAPOLITANO: I think the president is concerned with how the person thinks and what their attitude is about the role of the judiciary in our lives. So, I have been suggesting to the president and others, he ought to be looking for something called judicial humility. This is not personal humility, but this is a recognition that when Madison wrote the Constitution, he intentionally put the judiciary after the president and the president after the Congress.
The Congress writes the laws. The Congress and the president set policy. The judiciary doesn't set policy, it refers to the policy choices of the other two branches of the government.
If he finds a nominee with that attitude, plus conservative instincts, well, that's a home run for him. Because then, he will have accomplished his goal of appointing someone who is like Scalia, which he said many, many times during the campaign.
SMITH: You know the White House --
NAPOLITANO: But the -- but the Democrats -- I got to finish this, will make abortion the issue. Because they are wedded to this issue, and because they know that about 67 percent of the public thinks that some form of abortion ought to be lawful.
SMITH: You know, Sarah Sanders at the White House briefing this afternoon was pressed by a reporter, why is the president rushing this? Why July 9th? That's Monday, that's a week from today. She said look, this list was come up with two years ago.
NAPOLITANO: She's right about that and the president has said --
SMITH: Do you think he knows who it is right now?
NAPOLITANO: No, I don't. But I think that Ed Henry was right that the president will have the advantage once that name is out there. If it looks like he can't decide and this goes on for another month or so. Then, it's going to look as though, there was some weakness behind the choice, that's the last thing the president wants to convey. He wants to convey strength and certainty behind this nominee, and that's what I think will come on Monday.
SMITH: What does this battle look like this week? Set it up for us, judge.
NAPOLITANO: It's going to be tough if the person is really seriously pro- life because you will -- you will lose Senators Murkowski. Murkowski and Collins.
NAPOLITANO: And then, you'll have to get one of those three Democrats. John McCain, regrettably won't be voting, so, it's going to be very, very tight.
I wish it weren't a gun pro-life, but I wish it weren't on just one issue. Abortion is a very small part of what the Supreme Court does. And if he appoints someone who's in their 40s or 50s, that person could serve for a long time. And we need to examine their thinking on a broad array of things.
The presumption is that the president gets his person. And that person doesn't have to prove themselves to the Senate. Rather, the Senators who don't want that person has to dislodge the candidate.
SMITH: Huge implications for this presidency. Huge implications for the country.
SMITH: Judge Napolitano, thank you.
NAPOLITANO: Always a pleasure.
SMITH: All right. Well, NBC's Chuck Todd, making this observation yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, NBC NEWS: The announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy this week, helped make one political reality clear. Despite his overall unpopularity, President Trump is winning and the Democrats right now are reeling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Joining us now, Ned Ryun a former White House staffer under President George W. Bush, and founder and CEO of American Majority. And Juan Williams, co-host of "The Five" and Fox News political analyst.
Juan, that was -- that was an interesting concession on his part if you -- if you can call it that.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that you mean that the president's winning, Sandra.
WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think it's any question. I think you have the left literally in a frantic state over the idea that the Supreme Court will have another conservative judge and that potentially, it would become a rubber stamp for a conservative agenda including doing away with abortion rights.
SMITH: Well, Ned, I'm sure you too, are going to give us a sampling of the battle that lies ahead in the upcoming days. What are your expectations from the president?
NED RYUN, FOUNDER, AMERICAN MAJORITY: Well, my expectation is Trump understands fully what's at stake. He knows that does evangelical and Catholic base broke late for him. And they broke late on one issue as the Supreme Court. And he rewarded them by giving them, Neil Gorsuch.
And I think Trump understands if he's going to turn the evangelical and Catholic voters into foot soldiers in 2020, he needs to give them another Neil Gorsuch. And I -- you know, the base really wants a 40 something federal Society judge.
And I think, Trump also understands a couple of more things, Sandra. He understands as a master brander, if he does this correctly, this will be the Trump court. He gets to rebrand this court for posterity for at least a generation.
And he also understands that if he does this correctly, he will put the Supreme Court out of the reach of the left for a generation or more. And at the end of the day, this could be his most singular accomplishment as president. So, he's fully aware of what's at stake and he understands what his base wants.
SMITH: And they'll be able to get him someone over the finish line, Juan?
WILLIAMS: At this point, you'd have to say the odds favor President Trump and the Republicans. They have the vote, Sandra. And I don't see that obviously, you don't have the filibuster McConnell, did away with the filibuster on this. And he blamed Chuck Schumer in the like but he was his action.
I think, the key here, though, Sandra, is politics. And I think that's why you see people talking about stare decisis, you know. The idea that you adhere to precedent.
Is President Trump going to put in somebody there off the Federalist Society list of potential nominees who was about undoing precedent as we know it specifically on Roe v. Wade? What we have seen from Neil Gorsuch is he was willing to go in, and I think it's two weeks ago, undo a decision with regard to agency fees or dues paid to union members.
Undo that, and the question then becomes so, are we -- if we create a Trump court? As Ned was saying, are we really just going to undo all the precedent, all the standards that we have adhered to as a country? Those - - that dues status stability?
RYUN: But --
SMITH: Ned, respond to that. Ned?
RYUN: But, but, but, but, Sandra, I think terrible decisions don't make for a good precedent. And there are many of us on this side that feel 45 years ago. It was a very activist -- judicial activist decision that path that did Roe v. Wade. And we think it should be overturned, pushed back to the states, and if people want abortion on demand, they can go through the constitutional amendment process.
But I will say this, Sandra. I think, the one thing that's going to come into play, those 10 red state Democrats that are up for re-election in 2018.
They have to fight or they're going to be in trouble with their left base. If they fight too hard, they're going to offend the blue-collar working class. And I think, they're going to find themselves in a very, very tough position.
So, I'm very curious to see what those 10 red state Democrats Senators do on this whole nomination fight.
WILLIAMS: You know, I think Ned should be honored for being honest that the agenda is to undo Roe v. Wade. I just got to say, Ned, two-thirds of the American people support Roe v. Wade.
SMITH: All right, so, Collins made her point very clear that she will not support a nominee that is going to do that. So, is it going to come down to those two Republican women, Ned?
RYUN: But I -- But I will point out this, Sandra. The thing that Collins' said that was interesting, she doesn't want to back an activist judge. And again, exhibit A for judicial activism in a lot of our minds is Roe v. Wade.
I do think that there will be some Democrats coming into play if Murkowski and Collins, say they're not going to vote for whatever Trump puts up. I do think that there might be some Democrats.
Obviously, we saw three Democrats vote for Gorsuch. I understand that the dynamics are a little different right now. But again, if these guys are interested in self-preservation and winning reelection, you actually might be able to get a couple votes to come -- to come Trump's way.
SMITH: All right. So, Juan, you said this is all about politics. Look forward, past next week, what are the implications of this decision on the 2018 midterm elections?
WILLIAMS: Well, it is all about a base. You know, can you energize one base or another?
RYUN: That's right.
WILLIAMS: And Ned said -- Ned said, the evangelicals turned late for Trump. I think they turned for Trump and they have never looked back despite Stormy Daniels and all the rest, Sandra.
And going towards the midterms, if it's done before November, the question is, does that SAP energy from the Trump base? Or if it's done after November, does it fire up the anti-Trump base? Because it's -- this election is a referendum this midterm, a referendum on Donald Trump.
SMITH: All right, final word to you Ned?
RYUN: No, I agree. I mean, I think this is a very interesting situation the Juan's laid out. Again, the timing of it all, I do think it'll be done before. October before the Supreme Court comes back into session.
I do think, you can fire up the base and I think it can give the vision for the future. If Republicans keep the Senate, I am convinced that Trump's going to get at least one if not two more nominations and you want to have a few more votes in the Senate. So, I think regardless the Republican base is going to get fired up for the midterms in November.
SMITH: All right, well, you guys are fired up. Thanks to both of you for joining us on this lovely hot and Monday evening in New York City, that's for sure. Thanks for sure.
WILLIAMS: Happy Fourth of July there.
SMITH: You too, to both of you. Well, still ahead, why the stunning victory of a Democratic socialist, tapped to run for Congress could be just the beginning of a socialist surge across America?
Plus, brand new court documents reveal, what some are calling a stunning lack of effort by the FBI to find any wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in that e-mail probe. Kristian Saucier, a former Navy sailor imprisoned for his handling of classified information. So, the double standard is ridiculous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTIAN SAUCIER, FORMER NAVY SAILOR: You know, these people aren't above the law. But apparently, they are. And I'm going to fight that until -- and you know, as long as there's a breath in me, I'm going to fight that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Breaking tonight, shocking new detail surfacing about the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe and just how little the FBI actually worked to dig up all the dirt it could on Hillary and her top aides. Trace Gallagher live in our West Coast newsroom with more on the newly unsealed documents. Trace?
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Hi Sandra, these federal court documents show that in 2015 FBI agents did, in fact, present a federal judge with an e-mail from July 2009 when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. The e- mail had been forwarded to the personal Gmail account of then Clinton advisor Jake Sullivan. And not only did it contain top-secret information, it reportedly involves sensitive satellite images pertaining to the launch of ballistic missiles by North Korea. Based on that, a judge gave the FBI broad authority to search every e-mail in Sullivan's account going back years.
The documents also show the FBI used broad subpoenas to investigate Hillary Clinton's personal assistant Huma Abedin, her lawyer and top advisor Cheryl Mills and to gain greater access to Clinton's personal e-mail server. But the documents also confirmed three things Republicans have been complaining about for years. First, the FBI did not use grand jury subpoenas to interview witnesses including State Department employees, those who set up Clinton's private e-mail server and those who had knowledge of the e-mails so in other words all of the 72 witnesses testified voluntarily and none of them was under oath or had their testimony recorded.
The FBI also did not obtain search warrants for the laptops used by Clinton's attorneys Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson. Instead, the e- mails on those laptops were secured through consent agreements. Even lead FBI agent Peter Strzok who the I.G. did conclude was biased was pushing to use more aggressive investigative measures against both Mills and Samuelson. And finally the court documents show the FBI did not try to obtain the personal phones and devices of Clinton's top aides who sometimes also use private e-mail for State Department work and use private devices to communicate with Clinton while she was the Secretary of State even though Republicans have serious issues with things the FBI did not do in regards to the Clinton e-mail investigation. The I.G. says those are judgment calls that are within the discretion of FBI agents to make. Sandra?
SMITH: Trace Gallagher, thank you. My next guest is a former Navy sailor who served a year in prison for taking classified photos of his ship. He says that while he was under investigation by the FBI agents raided his house at gunpoint, tailed him and interrogate his entire family including his grandmother. He says his treatment is a clear indication of the FBI's double standard when it comes to Hillary Clinton. Former Navy sailor Kristian Saucier who was pardoned by President Trump earlier this year joins us now. Kristian, thank you for coming on the program tonight.
SAUCIER: Thanks for having me on, Sandra.
SMITH: Well, our audience just heard that entire story and what we learned from those unsealed documents, what did you think when you first got a look at those?
SAUCIER: Well, I mean, I think it's you know, any of us that have been watching this case as its unfolding now we see that in fact, the fix was in. You know, they were making sure that no matter what happened Hillary Clinton wasn't going to get prosecuted and nobody around her was because they would have folded on her and it's shameful.
SMITH: We've been following your story for quite some time. I know I spoken multiple times to you on this program and I haven't talked to you since the release of that I.G. report which confirms as Trace just laid out for us the findings of these documents that they did not use grand jury subpoenas to demand testimony from top Hillary Clinton aides. They did not obtain search warrants to gain access to the laptops Clinton's lawyers used to review her e-mails. They did not seek personal phones and similar devices used by her top aides. Very stark contrast to the treatment that you and your family received.
SAUCIER: Oh it's apples and oranges, you know. You know, the treatment that I received, it was obviously. They were going after me and you know never once have I said what I did what I did wasn't wrong. I've accepted responsibility and I think it's shameful that Hillary Clinton and her aides just won't accept responsibility. I pled guilty. I didn't go to trial. You look at even reality winner. You know, she made a mistake, pled guilty. Why are you know, her and I being held to this different standard than James Comey who leaked information to the press to benefit himself you know, and Hillary Clinton who mishandled classified information at the highest level.
Where I mishandled low-level classified information and they threatened me and intimidated me for four years and harassed my family and finally put me away in prison for a year. You know, I just want the rest of them to be held to the same standard. Nowhere in that justice code have I found you know, addendum that says well if your name is Hillary Clinton or James Comey this law doesn't apply to you, so why isn't it? I think all American people should be asking that question.
SMITH: The word intent comes up on multiple occasions both with your situation and the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe. How is that word treated and used differently in both cases do you see?
SAUCIER: Well, there is no requirement for intent under that statute. You know, simply mishandling classified information even if it's a mistake, if you knew better you are violating that law. And Hillary Clinton knew better. All of her aides knew better. All these people that they gave immunity to knew better. So I guess the question stands why did nobody get prosecuted? You know, why are they tossing out immunity deals like it's Christmas and nobody's being held to account? How can we expect, the average American citizen to follow the law if the people that are supposed to be upholding the law aren't following it themselves? You know, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, all these people are violating our trust and government institutions and you know, nothing is being done to them. Nobody's holding them to account. They're not holding themselves responsible. It's shameful.
SMITH: Lastly, how was your lawsuit, Kristian. How are things going with that?
SAUCIER: Well, it's been a difficult uphill battle. You know, my lawyer, they came after him and they took his license to practice law so now I'm going to have to represent myself in court so I've had to redo the paperwork but I will be submitting it very soon and you're going to see plenty of defendants on there that are well-known names because all these people need to be held accountable. This lawsuit is not about anything other than pointing out the double standard of justice and the fact that these people apparently are above the law but they shouldn't be. And you know, if I have to fight it in court, that's what I'm going to do. Kristian Saucier, thank you for coming on and telling your story.
SAUCIER: Thank you, Sandra. Thank you for having me on.
SMITH: All right. Well, still to come, police arrest a man who threatened to chop up Senator Rand Paul and his family with an ax. And still, Maxine Waters calling for attacks on Trump supporters plus this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, D-CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, NEW YORK: Democratic socialism is about -- really the value for me is that I believe that in a modern moral and wealthy society no person in America should be too poor to live.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Next, Jonah Goldberg is here to explain why a policy once considered outrageous might actually be a reality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OCASIO-CORTEZ: The definition of Democratic socialism to me, again, is the fact that in a modern moral and wealthy society, no American should be too poor to live and to me that means every working-class American in this country should have access to dignified health care. It means you should be able to send your kids to college and trade school if they so choose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: That vision of Democratic socialism heralded by Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez, who stunned the political world last week and put a giant spotlight on socialism with her defeat of the number four Democrat in the house during her primary in New York's 14th district.
And she is not alone in her ideas as young progressives are increasingly seen embracing the platform.
The New York Times hailing in a new op-ed, quote, "The millennial socialists are coming."
Jonah Goldberg is senior editor for National Review and a Fox News contributor and author of "Suicide of the West, How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism Nationalism and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy." Jonah, good evening to you.
JONAH GOLDBERG, SENIOR EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: Hey, it's great to be here.
GOLDBERG: I guess for the paperback I can add socialism to the subtitle.
SMITH: There you go. So why is it that the millennial generation is embracing socialism?
GOLDBERG: Well, I mean, this has been a trend in the polls for a while now and some of it has to do with the sort of -- the Cold War is so far behind us in the rearview mirror that socialism has lost its connotation or association with the rivers of blood that were spilled in its name for most of the 20th century. That's part of it.
Part of it as Bernie Sanders had a really successful run sort of browsing the base of the Democratic Party talking about socialism. The problem is, is the way Bernie Sanders defined socialism and the way, you know, Ocasio- Cortez defined socialism is it's basically I'm in favor of all nice things and I don't think that we should -- economic shouldn't be about trade-offs.
It should be about cost. It should be about what Margaret Thatcher said when she said, you know, the problem with socialism is eventually run out of other people's money and the particular problem with her socialism here is that she is also basically an open borders socialist.
And he problem is you can't have, when you welcome socialism or just a really aggressive welfare state, you can't have a view that everybody is welcome here no matter what. Anybody who gets here has the rights and privileges to get all of this money and all these goodies and still have any chance of giving out anything like these goodies. (Inaudible) have pointed out a long time ago that you need to have some borders even if you're going to -- if you wanted to make socialism work.
SMITH: And Michelle Goldberg's piece from the New York Times, the millennial socialists are coming, she writes one recent survey shows that 61 percent of Democrats between 18 and 34 view socialism positively. "They have no memory of the widespread failure of communism, but the failures of capitalism are all around them." Jonah?
GOLDBERG: You know, it looks about that maybe it's because I just wrote a book about this, but the failures of capitalism are not all around them. Maybe the failures of local machine politicians are all around them. Maybe the failures of sort of an atrophied political system are all around them, but the simple fact is that almost most Americans -- certainly huge chunks of most Americans are in the global 1 percent.
We live right now in the greatest period of poverty alleviation in all of human history all around the world and it's not because of socialism and is not because of the U.N. It's because of these ideas about liberal Democratic capital.
And part of the problem is that we live in this culture where we don't teach people to be grateful for the incredible bounty that capitalism provides. Instead, we teach people to be resentful and entitled, which is the opposite of gratitude.
We tell them that the system owes them things, that they have positive liberties and the government has to give them all sorts of things simply because we are entitled to them. We are not entitled to these things.
SMITH: Jonah, so based on the outcome of that race in which a 28-year-old Democrat socialist won, what role do you think socialism is going to play in the 2018 midterm elections?
GOLDBERG: Well, you could argue that this is a great gift to the Republicans and to Donald Trump because the way the Republican Party works right now, and Donald Trump is very good about this, is he points out to the most extreme, the most ridiculous, Maxine Waters comes to mind examples and says that the entire party, that's the Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi and a lot of the Democratic leadership don't seem well-equipped to author a robust argument against socialism because they don't want to alienate millennials. They are sort of caught in this bind.
I don't think that this one district in New York is scalable in terms of running on Democratic socialism or socialism in most of these other districts around the country. The problem is you can say she wants to get rid of ICE, she's for socialism, this is what the Democrats want.
The senior leadership of the Democratic Party isn't explaining very well that they are really opposed to this, so do you really want to vote for these people? It's probably a pretty compelling political message.
SMITH: We will look for the edit to the paperback edition of the book, Jonah Goldberg.
SMITH: Good to have you on the program tonight. Thank you.
Well, coming up, Maxine Waters not backing down on her calls to harass Trump administration officials despite backlash of those within her own party. Wait until you hear what she is saying now.
Plus, a bombshell new allegation about what the Obama administration gave to Iran in addition to the $400 million in cash to make that nuclear deal in 2015. Y.J. Fischer personally helped implement the Iran deal. She is here with her reaction next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We've just learned about $400 million ransom paid. Now Obama said it has nothing to do with it, it's another lie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: The settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran. So there was no benefit to the United States in dragging this out. With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Well, that was President Obama back in 2016 admitting his administration secretly paid Iran $400 million in cash. That coincidentally occurred on the same day Iran released for American hostages.
Now the chairman of Iran's parliament claims the Obama administration also granted 2500 U.S. citizenships to families and friends of the Iranian government.
Joining me now is Y.J. Fischer, former assistant coordinator for Iran nuclear implementation, who personally negotiated the Iran deal. She joins us now. Y.J. you helped with this deal in place. What can you tell us about this claim being made?
Y.J. FISCHER, FORMER U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT DIPLOMAT: Well, it's good to be here. So the first thing to say is it's false. The claim is totally false. And if you are wondering why we are seeing a story like this come out of Iran, it's because it's a sign that the daggers are out for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
When President Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal he really weakened Rouhani and he ensure that Rouhani would never be able to deliver economically for the people of Iran.
This story that we are seeing today is designed to drive home with the disgruntled population in Iran just how elitist and out of touch Rouhani is. And I would just say that when President Trump pulled out of the deal and he weakened Rouhani, I think for some in the Trump administration, that was the goal. They actually thought that this would be good and help to bring about the kind of regime change that they want to see in Iran. And I really--
SMITH: What concessions did President Obama make?
FISCHER: Very few. I mean, one of the things that's not appreciated is just how hard a bargain the Obama administration drove and they got a great deal. And we see that -- I know that might sound hollow to -- I know that might sound strange to a lot of your viewers, but we are seeing that as President Trump moves forward with North Korea, we are seeing just how hard these kinds of deals are. I mean, you see the swamp--
SMITH: And I know. I know in your piece you feel that eventually the Trump administration based on their experience with North Korea will come around to what the Obama administration did with Iran.
You know, the days leading up to Trump's withdraw this Iran deal, You wrote about this in the Los Angeles Times. Trump is going easy on Iran. You said he's actually going easy on Iran by focusing so intently on the nuclear deal that he has lost sight of a larger strategy that would effectively contain Iran in the region. What was your point? What are you trying to say there?
FISCHER: Actually President Trump just drove this home the other month when he said now we look at Iran and they're not a treat anymore. Look at Syria, look at Yemen, we don't have to worry about Iran. I'm still worried about Iran in the region and I l'd imagine most of your viewers are as well.
We need a strong effort to push back on Iran's activities across the Middle East and we don't see Trump doing that. He's been single-mindedly focused on tearing up the Iran nuclear deal than he--
SMITH: So I know you are saying this claim is false. I want to be clear about where this claim is coming from. The chairman of Iran's parliamentary nuclear committee and he is also a member of its national security and foreign affairs committee. And I know you tried to answer this question before about why these reports are out there, but why would he make this claim?
FISCHER: Well, he's a hard-liner and the hardliners really see this as this moment -- this is their moment to take over the presidency. Rouhani is weaker than he's ever been before. There are protests in the streets and they want regime change in Iran as well and they want to replace Rouhani with someone even more hard-line.
SMITH: As far as a response to this, one State Department spokesperson who I know you know who was also involved in this deal, Marie Harf, she said this sounds like totally made up B.S. But asked about the claim the State Department says we are not going to comment on every statement by Iranian officials.
The Department of Homeland Security declining to comment, a representative from Obama homeland security, Jeh Johnson, could not be reached for comment. So we are getting your reaction because you were intimately involved in that deal and good to have you on the program tonight.
FISCHER: Well, thank you very much.
SMITH: Thank you. Next, Maxine Waters not backing down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MAXINE WATERS, D-CALIF.: I know that there are those who are talking about censuring me, talk about kicking me out of Congress, talking about shooting me. All I have to say is this. If you shoot me, you better shoot straight. There's nothing like a wounded animal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Bill Bennett is here next on the impact of this lack of civility on our society as a whole.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you surprised to have the leadership of your own party come out of this and essentially called you un-American?
WATERS: Well, you know, I was surprised that Chuck Schumer, you know, reached into the House to do that. I've not quite seen that done before, but, you know, one of the things I recognized being an elected official is in the final analysis, you know, leadership like Chuck Schumer's will do anything that they think is necessary to protect their leadership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: California Democrat Maxine Waters now taking aim at some within her own party who say she has gone too far with her fiery rhetoric calling for the harassment of Trump administration officials and their supporters.
Now Washington Post blogger and MSNBC contributor Jennifer Rubin is one of many echoing her sentiment there to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER RUBIN, CONTRIBUTOR, MSNBC: We are not going to let these people go through life unscathed. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has no right to live a life of no fuss, no muss after lying to the press and for inciting against the press. These people should be made uncomfortable and I think that's a life sentence frankly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Bill Bennett is host of the Bill Bennett podcast and a Fox News contributor. And Bill, you and I and the audience just listen to that together and we know that there have been a feud over civility in politics, but has it come to this?
BILL BENNETT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it's pretty bad. A little unhinged. I wrote some years ago in the Wall Street Journal that we are in danger of losing our guardrails and I think the guardrails are very close to coming off.
It's overheated, it's mostly overheated on the left and I think -- I'm afraid to say this, but I have to say it, it's going to get hotter before it gets cooler with the Supreme Court nomination coming up. The left believes in some way that it owns the court and this is somehow an act of theft for conservatives to think they can get a majority for what looks like a 30-year majority.
SMITH: I heard Brit Hume in the last hour describing it as a bloodbath that we will see as we approach the named person by the president, the nominee. But as far as civility coming back to politics, are you optimistic that we can come back to that, or are we witnessing a new normal in politics?
BENNETT: I don't think it's a new normal. We've had this before. Think back exactly 50 years ago, 1968. I called it in my book and it's horrible. It's the horrible year, the year of the horribles. Martin Luther King was assassinated, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. Lyndon Johnson decided not to run. There were riots in the streets. Hundreds of people were killed in those rights.
The campuses were blowing up and we survived it and overcome it -- overcame it. Things settled in. But I think this will be an intense period. The good news is that the American people don't like this and they would prefer things to settle down. They are turned off by it, they are bothered by it.
I would make a suggestion. And I think I don't think I'm the only one. The president can take the lead here. Now Donald Trump is going to be Donald Trump. He's a tough guy, he's a direct guy, he's a straightforward guy, but I have detected in his tweets and his interviews, you know, somewhat less hot tempered and incendiary.
He can, I think, get great political advantage by being the guy who is in business as opposed to the monkey business or the funny business that's going on with all these political extremists.
SMITH: You also have--
BENNETT: Or political extremism.
SMITH: You also have, as we talk about the Supreme Court and filling that vacancy, you have a message to the president about his pick. You say pick a woman. Why are you pushing for this?
BENNETT: Yes. No, look, I'm not in favor of, you know, selection by gender, but all things considered, he should pick the most qualified person, but I review this list and I know this list and I know some of these people. They are extremely well-qualified and if it comes down to it, and Amy Barrett or Allison Eid in one or two of the guys, Kavanaugh or one of the others, I would go with a woman. For a couple of reasons.
I think it would be good to have a female conservative on the court. If you've got female liberals, three of them, on the court and it's easy to parody, isn't it, if you have another white male conservative and you say well, they are the white males and we are the liberal females. Put a conservative female on there. I think that mixes it up and I think it's a good idea.
And by the way, the qualification for some of these women are extraordinary and every bit as good as the male.
SMITH: Interesting stuff. And lastly, I've got to ask you about this in the context of the civility feud in politics at the moment. Senator Rand Paul, sitting U.S. senator says his family was threatened in and he has issued a statement saying that capitol police have issued an arrest warrant. This man have threatened to kill me and chop up my family with an ax.
He said it's just horrendous that we have to deal with things like this. It is horrible for all of us to look at that as being the current state of U.S. policies.
BENNETT: Yes. I know it's particularly bad in his case. Remember he was tackled by his next-door neighbor, one rib shattered. They shot at him in that baseball game and now he gets this threat.
Look, you've got to have unanimously on one thing, leadership in the party has to say there's no more of this, we cannot have this, we cannot stand for this. We will break this and that has to stop. And again, I think it's a great opportunity for the president, let Trump be Trump, but let Trump bring the degrees, bring it down by a couple of degrees.
I think -- I think he is doing this because I think the office is in some way tempering him, not changing him, not changing the core convictions, but I think the burdens of the job are making him a more serious person and I think that's to his advantage.
Let these people scream, he go about the business of improving the economy, altering foreign relations and the like. There's opportunity here in this crisis as the Greeks would say.
SMITH: It's an interesting message, and especially just now, a few days out, one week from when the president says he will be announcing his Supreme Court pick. It will be quite a week. Bill Bennett, thank you. Good to see you.
BENNETT: You bet. Thank you.
SMITH: More of the story next.
SMITH: That's our story. Thank you so much for joining us. What did you think of the show tonight? Send me your thoughts, @SandraSmithFox. And I will see you tomorrow morning live in America's newsroom from 9 a.m. to noon. Hope you are having a wonderful start to your holiday week. Tucker Carlson is up next.
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