Former Trump staffers speak out on WH agenda; Sen. Graham: You cannot allow intel to be politicized

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," May 8, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Good evening, everyone. I'm Martha MacCallum, and this is "The Story" from Monday, May the 8th. A lot of news to get to, with a very busy evening including a senate hearing today on Russia's intervention in last November's presidential election.

But, we begin tonight with new developments in a horrific murder case in Boston, where two well-respected doctors were found dead in their luxury apartment, one of the doctors reportedly frantically texted a friend that there was a "gunman" in the house. Fox's Molly Line sources it out for us tonight from Boston. Good evening, Molly.

MOLLY LINE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. The man police believe viciously murdered these two successful doctors in their penthouse apartment before a violent confrontation with police was arraigned from his hospital bed this afternoon. The suspect, 30-year-old Bampumim Teixeira did not even open his eyes during that arraignment at Tufts New England Medical Center just blocks from the horrific scene where his alleged victims were discovered.

Richard Field, 49, a doctor at North Shore Pain Management, and Lina Bolanos, 38, a pediatric anesthesiologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, had been bound and had suffered obvious trauma. They were dead at the scene. Field had texted a friend late Friday night seeking help. That friend called 911 alerting police to an armed intruder at the apartment. When the first officers arrived using a set of keys abandoned in the hallway, they gained entry, and they encountered Teixeira in a darkened interior hallway. Police believe that he'd either pointed or fired a weapon and hence discharged their own weapons, striking him in the hand, abdomen, and leg. He was rushed to the hospital.

A black backpack was also discovered filled with jewelry belonging to Bolanos, and a replica firearm, or BB gun was found inside, a knife also found at the scene. Despite a prior statement from police, District Attorney Daniel Conley said he does not believe the victims knew there attacker.


DANIEL CONLEY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We have no evidence to believe that they were in any sort of prior relationship, nor is there currently any evidence to explain why he would attack them so viciously in their own home.


LINE: Teixeira had recently gotten out of -- out of prison after being sentenced to about a year in prison for robbing the same thing twice. He is now being held on no bail. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Molly, thank you.

Let's bring in the former superintendent chief of the Boston Police Department, Daniel Linskey. Dan, good to see you again. This caught a lot of attention across the country today. What do you think happened here?

DANIEL LINSKEY, FORMER BOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT: Martha, we don't know exactly what happened. Was this an armed robbery, was it some type of personal vendetta, was there somebody in this person's family who had interacted with these doctors, we don't know. I can't tell you that there's been a lot of innuendo, and unfortunately, the victims and their families have been victimized again by people jumping to conclusions and not waiting for the evidence the prosecutors could find and put together. So, it's important that we do know the two people were talented people are dead today. We know we have a suspect in custody. We've got to let investors go through the evidence, phone records, computer records, forensic evidence, video surveillance and find out what happened. Let them figure out the who, what, where, when and why, instead of everyone jumping into conclusions on Twitter and Facebook about what they think happened.

MACCALLUM: You know, I mean, if he -- if he had made it out of the apartment with the jewelry in the bag, why do you think he, you know, killed these people so viciously or is that - or is to alleged to have done so?

LINSKEY: You know, that's going to - you know, that's going to have to be found out. Was it --- was it a concern for -- it looked like a suicide adulation from some text he sent to his girlfriend. But, you know, why would the doctor let himself get tied up if he had a personal feeling that this person was going to bring harm to him. Somebody might coalesced and let somebody rob them because we tell people let them take the cash and don't fight. That's one of the thoughts we try and figure out as to why he would let himself get tied up and put in a position where he could be vulnerable. Sometimes there are just evil people. And we try to understand them, and unfortunately, they just do evil things.

MACCALLUM: It's really striking to see him in that bed today just sort of nodding as they went through the charges. Dan, thank you very much. Keep us posted as this goes forward. Good to see you tonight, sir.

LINSKEY: We'll do. Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So also tonight, the question is this, is the Trump agenda stalled to some extent? The timeline for health care and tax reform may be getting pushed back a little bit now we're learning despite promises that change would come very quickly.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We are going to get our country back on the right track and very, very quickly. Real change begins with immediately repealing and replacing ObamaCare, and that is big news. That is big news.


MACCALLUM: Our guest tonight, two close associates of the Trump White House. They are now working outside the White House to provide cover for the sometimes vulnerable lawmakers out there that the President needs to advance to -- for his agenda items. Joining me now in an exclusive, her first interview since leaving her position as deputy chief of staff at the White House is Katie Walsh, who now serves as senior advisor at America First Policies; and Brad Parscale is the digital and media director for that same group who we've spoken to before about his work during the campaign and how all of that worked. Katie and Brad, good to see you both tonight.


MACCALLUM: You know, Katie, there's been a lot of interesting view in your story. These were the headlines that were in the papers when you left the White House. First major shakeup rocks the Trump White House, White House shuffles west-wing staff after health bill collapsed. Why did you leave?

WALSH: You know, I left because I felt like I could be more helpful on the outside. As you know, I've worked for Reince Priebus at the RNC for four years. That's my background in politics. And after going through the first round of trying to get repeal replace done and through the house, I decided I could help more out on the outside with Brad and others to help make sure we actually talk to the voters that elected President Trump and move that agenda forward the best we can from a non-profit issue advocacy organization called America First Policies. And so, we're excited to be doing that.

MACCALLUM: And I want to ask you about that, and how you guys are doing that from the outside, but one more sort of inside baseball question. There was a lot of discussion that if it didn't pass the house that Reince Priebus might be gone. That, you know, two strikes might mean he was out. Your thoughts?

WALSH: Oh, I mean, I can't imagine that situation. I talked to Reince on an almost daily basis. I was in a rock-solid relationship with the President. I know Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner are working really well, the three of them together to get this done.

MACCALLUM: So, despite the former stories about them, the friction between Bannon and Reince, you feel like that's over?

WALSH: Oh, absolutely.

MACCALLUM: All right. Let's talk a little bit about the agenda, Brad, because one of the things that you're both working on now is to sort of provide cover for these lawmakers and if tax reform and even health care start getting pushed into the 2018 window, you're going to have a lot of folks who are very worried about taking some controversial votes so close to the election.

BRAD PARSCALE, AMERICA FIRST POLICIES MEMBER AND TRUMP DIGITAL AND MEDIA DIRECTOR: Yes. I mean, so America First, one of things that are very important for us to continue this data and digital operations so we can provide cover as the '18 elections come.

MACCALLUM: How do you do that, though?

PARSCALE: Well, I mean, in working conjunction with the Data Trust, which I've just been named recently to the board is a (INAUDIBLE) data system that provides different kind of analytical data and modeling to likeminded organizations and candidates to help understand how to compete. We can understand what's happening on the ground, what's happening on the internet so that we can provide cover and provide an influence to help make those things better for them.

MACCALLUM: So, you're talking about messaging, I assume. You know, when you look at health care for example, a lot of people, I think, have just come to say, "Well, you know, it's OK. At least I'm still covered." You know, "my premiums are higher than they used to be but at least I'm still covered. I don't have the doctor that I have before but I've got a new doctor and it's OK. Don't take anything away." How do you articulate that message, Katie, to people if you want to convince them that there's a better way with the legislation that is now in place.

WALSH: I think you make a really good point, Martha, which is I think there's a lot of fake news out there about what's going on under Obamacare right now. A third of the counties in this country only have one insurance provider. That's not a reasonable situation for this health care system that we're in. And so, were going to spend some time educating Americans about the problem Obamacare has with it. Five states in this country have only one provider, premiums have gone up to 40 percent and 100 percent in a lot of states. And so, I mean, really, most republicans across the country in the last six years have spent their campaign telling the American public and the republicans across the country that voted for them that we would do this. And so, we're committed to making sure that we fix this health care system that we've got going because this is not a long-term solution for this country.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, it's going to be interesting how that message goes. We saw recent polling that said most people polled, wanted it to - want to keep it and fix it. They didn't want repeal and replace. So, now, they're hearing that repeal and replace has been passed. How do you fight that message, Brad, or how do you get your message out there?

PARSCALE: Well, I think that we have a lot of data about what people really are thinking about and I think what you see something in news --

MACCALLUM: What are they thinking about?

PARSCALE: Well, I mean, I think as we saw throughout the entire campaign, not everything you saw on the news was exactly accurate on how people felt. I think that the sampling has got much more difficult over time. We create messages and we show people and educate them from American First and what they want to hear, what they need to see to understand the truth and not always get this kind of convoluted and/or converted story between the media, and I think one of our goals and my goal has always been is to talk people directly and educate them exactly what the truth is and be able to produce that in ways that they can consume it.

MACCALLUM: So, talk to me, Katie, about how you get that across because you guys are not - you're not specifically backing certain candidates, right? You're only about the message, so with tax reform, for example, is it - I mean, obviously, it's through the internet, obviously. But, give me an example. How are you going get people this message that, you know, tells them that tax reform is something that they should vote for?

WALSH: Absolutely. Well, I think working with Brad is a really exciting thing to this organization because, I think, Brad has got some interesting statistics about how 70 percent of the American public this cycle really decided what they're going to do in the Presidential election based upon things they saw online. And so, not only it will be a conversation between us, from a digital perspective, but we'll do T.V. ads, we'll have mail, we'll have a phone effort. But we're going to make sure that folks understand the way they received their news. We're going to get them that message that way.

[19:10:06] And so, what one of the things Data Trust and Brad and the RNC and other data providers do really well is help us understand how voters like to receive their news these days, and we're going to capitalized on that knowledge and give them their news the way they want to hear it.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, you know, you're using terms like fake news. I mean, the president talks a lot about, you know, things he doesn't like in the media and the way it's portrayed. So, that's what you're doing, you're providing sort of an alternative media for people to listen to because the message - you know, the White House doesn't like the way the message is being presented.

PARSCALE: I don't know if it's always like "alternative media". We're not trying to be a news station but we're trying to give them exact information. A lot of press like to make their opinion around what they - what they think they consumed at a - at a briefing or a press release. And so, we want to be able - and with the power of the internet is, and what we saw in the change from '12 to '16, with you know, this 20 percent consumed on the internet to 70 percent is that people are now trying to find out information themselves. And so, what we want to do is get that information to them in the ways that they can consume it whether that's in animation, a video, a text, or whatever that is, and get - and cut out the middle opinion as much as possible.

MACCALLUM: I got to go but I just want to ask you quickly because we've talked about this a lot on the show, the approval numbers, mid-40s, is that a real number to you from what you're seeing in your data?

PARSCALE: I think from what I've seen online, it's a little bit lower than what I believe it is. I think we're much closer, like, 48 or 49 percent.

MACCALLUM: All right. Katie and Brad, thank you very much. Great to talk to you guys. I hope you come back. Good to see you, both.

So, coming up, former acting General Attorney Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, both on the hot seat today. Unmasking was one of the very hot topics in there. Watch.


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, R-IOWA: These review whoever request the unmasking of Mr. Trump, his associates, or any member of Congress.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Yes. In one case, I did. I can -- I can specifically recall but I can't discuss it any further than that.

GRASSLEY: You can't? So, if I ask you for details, you've said you can't discuss that, is that what you said?

CLAPPER: Not here.

GRASSLEY: OK. Ms. Yates, can you answer that question? Did you ever request the unmasking of Mr. Trump, his associates or any member of Congress?


MACCALLUM: So, how did she answer that? When we come back, we will show you. Lindsey Graham, the senator is with us. He was in charge of that hearing, of course. Plus also the story, members of a fraternity at Penn State University facing very serious criminal charges after the death of a fellow member. So, are those charges going too far or not far enough? When we come back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In honor of her son and are committed to doing everything that we can to ensure that no other parents will have to go through the pain and grief we are currently experiencing.


MACCALLUM: So, today on Capitol Hill, senators of the judiciary committee grilled former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates about Russian meddling in the election and the role of the former NSA Director, now resigned from the Trump White House, Michael Flynn. Susan Rice who was asked for about the unmasking has refused to testify in this particular hearing. So, in just a few moments, we will speak to the senator who led the hearing, Senator Lindsey Graham. But first, let's go to Fox News Chief Intelligence Correspondent, Catherine Herridge, who was inside for today's grilling.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPODENT: Thank you, Martha. The very intense hearing wrapped up just a short time ago with the former acting Attorney General testifying that she warned the White house Council multiple times about Flynn and the potential for blackmail because publicly, the White House said Mike Flynn had no discussion of sanctions with the Russian Ambassador but the intelligence reports showed otherwise.


SALLY YATES, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: Not only do we believe that the Russians knew this but that they likely had proof of this information. And that created a compromise situation, a situation where the National Security Advisor essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians.


HERRIDGE: And pressed on whether President Obama indicated to the incoming President-elect Donald Trump that Flynn may be a problem, the White House spokesman said...


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: President Obama made it known that he wasn't exactly a fan of General Flynn's, which is frankly shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that given that General Flynn had worked for President Obama, was an outspoken critic of President Obama's shortcomings.


HERRIDGE: And Spicer emphasized this tweet from the President today that it was the Obama administration that renewed Flynn's security clearance.


SPICER: So if President Obama or anyone else, frankly, in the government was concerned, the question should be asked, what did they do, and if nothing, then why not if they really truly were concerned?


HERRIDGE: The former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who oversaw the 17 intelligence agencies testified that nothing had really changed since their January report that the Russian President Vladimir Putin had directed the campaign to interfere in the U.S. election and it was designed to demean then-candidate Hillary Clinton and to give the advantage to then-candidate Donald Trump. Clapper was also pressed today on a statement he made in March that there was no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump team and Russia, but today, he seemed to caveat that statement by saying it's not the final word.


CLAPPER: So, I was not aware of the counterintelligence investigation. Director Comey first referred to during his testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee for Intelligence on the 20th of March.


HERRIDGE: The witnesses today were pressed consistently by the committee chairman over who unmasked General Mike Flynn and whether they knew who had leaked that information to The Washington Post and in each circumstance, they had no good answer for the senator, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Catherine, thank you very much. So the senator in charge of today's hearing, Lindsey Graham, I'm getting answers to some of those questions which Catherine just mentioned, a bit challenging. Watch.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C., SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME AND TERRORISM CHAIRMAN: Are you aware of any evidence that would suggest that in 2016 campaign, anybody in the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government or intelligence services in an improper fashion?

YATES: My answer to that question would require me to reveal classified information, so I can't answer that.

GRAHAM: Did anybody ever make a request to unmask a conversation between the Russian Ambassador and Mr. Flynn?

YATES: And again, Senator, I can't answer a question like that. It's call for classified information.

GRAHAM: Mr. Clapper, do you know if that was the case?

CLAPPER: I don't.

GRAHAM: Was there any incidental collection where our Intelligence Community collects information involving a Presidential candidate on either side of the aisle during 2015 or 2016?

CLAPPER: No, not to my knowledge.

YATES: I believe Director Comey was also asked this question and declined to answer it, so I need to follow the same lines the DOJ has drawn.


MACCALLUM: All right. Senator Graham joins us now. Senator, welcome. Good to have you with us.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Were you frustrated by their answers today?

GRAHAM: A little bit but I appreciate them coming forward. I thought Ms. Yates was very incredible. I like General Clapper, he's been a patriot for a long time. The Russians did it. It was the Russians who tried to interfere in our election. Every member of the committee agrees it was the Russians but here's why it's important to know about the unmasking of the conversation between the Ambassador and General Flynn. Somebody took that information and leaked it to The Washington Post, and you cannot allow intelligence to be politicized. So I wanted to get to the bottom line of who did that?

And there's a small universe of people can ask the intelligence community to give them conversations between a foreign agent and an American citizen, and General Clapper contradicted himself. I asked him point-blank, "Was there any incidental collection of presidential campaign candidates or their campaign team?" He later said, "Yes, there was with Trump. There was an unmasking request I made involving a member of Congress and Trump." Now, were there more, I don't know.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Senator Grassley also tried to get a couple of the issues that you're talking about right now and he asked, "Did you ever request the unmasking of Mr. Trump or his associates or any member of Congress?" Let's play the answer to that.


GRASSLEY: Did either of you ever review classified documents in which Mr. Trump, his associates, or members of Congress had been unmasked?

CLAPPER: Oh, yes.

GRASSLEY: You have. Can you give us details here in this -

CLAPPER: No, I can't.

GRASSLEY: Ms. Yates, have you?

YATES: Yes, I have, and no, I can't give you details.


MACCALLUM: What do you make of that?

GRAHAM: That's complete contrary to what they told me earlier. I asked point-blank, "Was there any incidental collection of campaign operatives or candidates?" Now, we know at least there was one case. Why does this matter? I want to know what kind of system we have in America. I talk to foreign leaders all the time as a United States senator. If the intelligence community is capturing my conversation, because they're focused on the guy I'm talking to or the gal I'm talking to you, I want to know what they can do with my part of the conversation because I may be talking about things that's no business for the executive branch to know.

So, I'm really very much concerned that we've got a system in place where you can capture conversations between American citizens, political leaders, and somebody with a political bent can take that information and use it in a political fashion like leaking it to The Washington Post. I'm very worried about what Russia did in our election and what they could do in the future but there's two now battlefields here. What the Russians did and what the Trump people may have done with the Russians, and what did the Obama administration or others do when it comes to unmasking for intelligence gathering purposes?

MACCALLUM: All right. I want to get your thoughts on one other element of this. This is Sean Spicer talking about this today at the news conference. Watch.


SPICER: If President Obama was truly concerned about General Flynn, why didn't he suspend General Flynn's security clearance which they had just reapproved a month earlier? Additionally, why did the Obama administration let Flynn go to Russia for a paid speaking engagement and received a fee?


MACCALLUM: I mean, does that add up to you because, you know, it says, why didn't he suspend General Flynn's clearance which they had just reapproved a month earlier? Should they have done that, do you believe, the Obama administration?

GRAHAM: You know, I think that's a fair question and you can ask why did it take 18 days for Flynn to be fired? What I thought, I thought General Callister -- McCann took Yates' information very seriously. As a matter of fact, I was pretty impressed with what he did. He met with her twice or met with her once and people under her control the second time to find out what Flynn actually said with the Russian Ambassador, then 18 days later, Flynn is fired. Here's the question, how did they know what Flynn told the Russian Ambassador? Somebody had to be surveilling the Russian Ambassador or a warrant was issued against Flynn. I don't believe a warrant was ever issued against General Flynn but I do believe then-Russian Ambassador was under surveillance by our Intelligence Community. They captured that conversation with a transition team member, and that conversation winds up in The Washington Post for political purposes. That to me, is just as bad as what the Russians did.

MACCALLUM: All right. One last question. The President has stuck up for Mike Flynn on several occasions. Do you agree with him on that or do you think he should move out of that?

GRAHAM: I think General Flynn was a patriot during the Iraq- Afghan War. I think what he did with the Russians was out-of-bounds. I think his ties to Turkey should have been disclosed. I think what he was talking about with the Russians really unnerved me. I think the President was right to let him go. General Flynn is a patriot but what he was doing with the Russians bothered me. And at the end of the day, I want to know what happened here. I want to know what the Russians did in our election, how to prevent it in the future, and I want to know can you politicize intelligence? What did the Obama administration do when it came to intelligence gathering in the political process?

MACCALLUM: Yes. A lot of new questions and the results perhaps (INAUDIBLE) today. Senator Graham, thank you very much. Great to see you tonight.

GRAHAM: Thank you. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Speaking of former President Obama, he is back from vacation and fighting to save his health care legacy with a dig at the courage of President Trump and the GOP in the process. Governor Mike Huckabee joins us with his reaction.

Plus, a new sanctuary city crackdown at the local level as Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs a very controversial law that could spread to other states across the country. He's here next.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT, R-TEXAS: Texas has now banned sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State.




ABBOTT: Citizens expect law enforcement officers to enforce the law and citizens deserve lawbreakers to face legal consequences. Texans expect us to keep them safe and that is exactly what we are going to do by me signing this law.


MACCALLUM: That was Texas Governor Greg Abbott, signing a bill last night that effectively banned sanctuary cities in the lone star state. The legislation gives law enforcement officers the right to ask the immigration status of anyone that they pull over for a traffic stop. The controversial move sparks protest against Texas, new reports tonight that this crackdown could spread. Other states like Florida and Louisiana watching this whole thing very closely considering similar measures. Here now to discuss, the men that sign that legislation, Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Governor, good to have you here tonight. Welcome.

GOV. GREGG ABBOTT, R-TEXAS: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: First of all, there are no official sanctuary cities in Texas, so why do this?

ABBOTT: Well, I'll disagree with that assessment because as we speak, Travis County which is where I'm looking at right now, which is where the city of Austin is located and is in violation of this law. If they don't change their ordinance in the city of Austin, or Travis County by September 1, which is when this law goes into effect, Travis County will be in violation of that. On top of that, we have places like Harris County, state of Houston, as well as other cities and counties across the state of Texas that are adopting policies and practices that seem to be in violation of this law. So it is necessary for Texas to have this. Let me give you one example.


ABBOTT: Under the policy of Travis County, people who would be guilty of rape, sexual assault of a minor, even armed robbery, or even MS-13 gang cartel members could be let out by the Travis County sheriff under the current policy.

MACCALLUM: So you consider them sanctuary cities obviously based on what you just said even though they may not consider themselves formerly sanctuary cities. So, let me just put up a quote from the police chief in Texas, they wrote an editorial against your policy, said it will foster the belief that people cannot seek assistance from police for fear of being subjected to an immigration status investigation, such a viable result in increased crime against immigrants, create a class of silent victims, and eliminate the potential for assistance from immigrants in solving crimes. Those are the arguments that we hear often, your reaction to that editorial?

ABBOTT: It's very factually flawed because what the Texas law specific does is to exclude the victims of crime, witnesses to crime from any type of identification about their immigration status, point one. Second point, Martha, there's a reason why these police officers are against this. One, they are working for Democrat mayors who are trying to play to their constituency, but also they're dealing with budgets. This actually is going to cost them some more money to hold people for a little while, but the reality is we want to make sure these law enforcement officers are not allowing back onto the street, someone who can cause harm like the killer of Kate Stanley.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. I mean, that is the argument that you hear a lot, that it cost them too much money. They just don't feel as if that it's their job. They say we're doing our job, but our job is not to hold them. We are not ICE.

ABBOTT: Their job is to keep the streets safe. And by releasing people like the killer of Kate Stanley, they are endangering our streets, by releasing -- people, the category of people that the Travis County sheriff was going to be releasing, that is making our streets more dangerous. And so what this law does is it enforces the law in the state of Texas to make sure that our law enforcement officers will be cooperating with ICE to turn over those who are most wanted.

MACCALLUM: Let me ask you this because we've spoken to Secretary Kelly at homeland security, and they are sort of expanding the definition of what is an illegal criminal is. Obviously, anyone who is here illegally has broken the law to begin with, but the next level because they say here illegally plus. What is your definition of what people should be pulled over for, what they should be kept out of the state of Texas and out of the country for in terms of the crime level?

ABBOTT: Martha, we don't have our own identification of that. It is based upon the ICE identification. What our officers are required to do in in the state of Texas now is to work with ICE anytime anybody is arrested, there will be computer runs to determine whether or not there is a ICE detainer request, and if there is, we need to hold that person for ICE to respond to us. So we're not creating any new categorization, we're using ICE's categorization about who is to be held.

MACCALLUM: Governor Abbott, thank you very much. Always good to see you, sir. Thank you for coming on tonight.

ABBOTT: Thank you, Martha

MACCALLUM: So just ahead, this is a story that all parents need to see. A Penn State student found dead following a night of fraternity hazing, 18 of his fellow students are now facing charges, some for involuntary manslaughter. Are those charges justified? Our legal panel weighs in. Plus first, President Obama back in the spotlight tonight weighing in on the battle over his namesake health care law telling congress it's time to summon their courage. Governor Mike Huckabee is here with his reaction. He's right there with his reaction after the break.


FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I hope they understand that courage means not simply doing what is politically expedient but doing what they believe deep in their hearts is right.



MACCALLUM: We are back, and President Trump and house Republicans celebrate, taking the first step towards repealing and replacing Obamacare. But former President Obama used an award ceremony over the weekend to make a public plea of his own. Watch.


OBAMA: It is my fervent hope, in the hope of millions, that regardless of party, such courage is still possible. That today's members of congress regardless of party are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth.


MACCALLUM: So the former president has his own history, of course, when it comes to promoting health care legislation and the truth. You may remember his promise if you like your health care, you can keep it -- given a distinct honor of being named PolitiFact lie of the year in 2013. Here now with his reaction, Governor Mike Huckabee, former Republican presidential candidate and Fox News contributor. Yeah, that was a lie of the year in 2013. I mean, you know, we all know lots of people for which that was not true at all, didn't keep their health care, didn't keep their doctor.

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: Didn't keep their healthcare, didn't keep their doctor. The competition disappeared in many states. The remarkable thing about Obama speech was that it's not like he's saying the boat is sinking, people are going to drown, but hang there are stay with that boat until it goes all the way down to the deep six. I mean, he is still delusional about the fact that this entire health care plan of his has been a failure. You've got states where there are no insurance companies writing policies now. You have people who've lost insurance. Some people see their premiums go up 400 percent. So the colossal failure, he's out there saying show some courage, stick with it. But why would you stick with something that is a dismal failure? I don't get it.

MACCALLUM: What do you think is going to happen because if they do that, if they succeed in pushing office effort to fix what's wrong with it because a lot of people think it is still Obamacare essentially.


MACCALLUM: . and that it has different measures that are hopefully going to make the bottom line better and maybe make premiums go down over time. So what do you think is actually going to happen?

HUCKABEE: I think the Republicans need to step back and take a different approach, and I'm kind of the contrarian because I don't think Republicans have it right yet and here's why. Health care is not going to get less expensive. We've got to just suck it up and accept the fact that because technology is so dramatically different, 50 years ago medicine was house calls, you've got penicillin and aspirin. They're still using ether in the operating rooms and that was about the extent of anesthesia. Today, we have tomography, we have MRI, we have CAT scan. We have extraordinary nuclear medicine.

We have procedures that were unthinkable 50 years ago, but they're very expensive. Everybody wants them. Everybody will feel like that I need to be able to access those. Let's quit telling people health care is going to get less expensive. The big picture is this. We do not have a health care crisis in America, Martha. We have a health crisis because 80 percent of all the dollars we've spent on medicine are for chronic disease. We have people who are unhealthy and that's where the cost is. You don't address that, I don't care what you do, there is no magic wand, no abracadabra, this system still gets more and more expensive.

MACCALLUM: So preventative care and.

HUCKABEE: Preventative care, focus on cures.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. Spend money on those areas.

HUCKABEE: That's right. Put a big focus on moon shot type approach to the big four things that cost the most, diabetes, heart, Alzheimer's, and cancer, those of the four things that cost the money.

MACCALLUM: So as we're sitting here, some of these judicial nominees are coming out. We know the president is unveiling his whole next layer of hundreds of judges, eventually, that he has the openings to fill. How do you think he's doing so far, and what do you think of some of these potential names?

HUCKABEE: I think it's one of the most important successes he's had because here's what he said, I'm going to appoint people who are constitutionalists that have been thoroughly embedded by a trust into these heritage and federalist societies. Based on whether or not they're going to appear to a constitutional approach to the judiciary. He has done exactly that. Neil Gorsuch, home run. And the fact that the people on that list are the kind of folk that may be politically controversial, but they're not controversial from a judicial standpoint because they're pretty stellar in their background.

MACCALLUM: And he can get approved because Harry Reid put in the nuclear option for this level of judges a long time ago. I mean, he could have an enormous impact, not to mention the Supreme Court openings that he may get that are still to come, enormous impact with these appointments.

HUCKABEE: Bigger impact by the federal judges and even by Supreme Court. Supreme Court is huge because those are landmark cases it could last 30 or 40 years. But somewhere between 90 and 100 percent of the cases get decided long before the Supreme Court, either at the district court level, or at best the appellate court level. They never get to the Supreme Court. So that's where the power is and he puts good judges and those slots. And by good I don't mean political, I don't even mean conservative. I don't care if the person is conservative. I want him to be constitutionalist. I want him to go into it blindly saying if the constitution says something, we take it at face value and we apply it.

MACCALLUM: Very interesting because of Harry Reid. They're going to be able to get it through on 51.


MACCALLUM: So it's going to be a major, major change of.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Harry.

Matha: . the judicial branch of the country. Thank you, governor, by the way.

HUCKABEE: Good to see you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Good to see you as always. Thanks for coming by. So just ahead this morning -- I mean, this afternoon or evening, this is a terrible story that we have been watching throughout the weekend. It is a promising young man who died. Eight of his so-called fraternity brothers may have their lives changed forever now due to charges fit the crime, very controversial story. Lawyers, David Wohl and Eric Guster take it on next.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just -- it's heartbreaking all around. There's no winners. You don't win by even charging these young men because the only win for him to be alive.



MACCALLUM: Very disturbing story this evening, culminating in more than half a dozen fraternity members facing prison sentences after they were charged in the tragic death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza. The 19- year-old died after a night of heavy drinking, and prosecutors say that his so-called fraternity brothers may have been able to save him. Trace Gallagher with the background on this story. Trace?

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Martha, the grand jury investigation in to the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza centers on a 12 hour span that's been called devastating and damning. On the night of February 2nd, Tim Piazza was engaged in a hazing ritual known as the gauntlet where pledges run from station to station drinking large amounts of beer. Piazza's blood alcohol was between .25 and .36, nearly five times the legal limit to drive. At some point, Tim Piazza fell down a 15-foot flight of stairs and lay face down at the bottom. Surveillance video shows him being carried back upstairs and onto a couch by four fraternity brothers. His body appeared to limp, his eyes closed. Minutes later, Cordell Davis, a newly initiated fraternity member said Piazza started thrashing. He said he screamed that his friend needed to go to the hospital, but instead Davis told Good Morning America he was confronted. Listen.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: If was kind of like shut up. I've got thrown against the wall. I didn't know what to do after that. I felt kind of useless. And I felt like I had no say in the situation.


GALLAGHER: Video then shows Piazza being slapped in the face and having liquid thrown in his face. He failed to respond. An hour later, Piazza vomited and three separate times, he tried to get up but each time fell back onto his head. Video also shows a number of his fellow brothers stepping over him. It wasn't until 10:48 the next morning that police were called, and the fraternity brothers did not tell police that Piazza had fallen down the stairs. In fact, the grand jury says the fraternity actively tried to conceal evidence and delete text messages. Here's the Penn State president.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: If people are willing to hide that type of behavior and protect that level of secrecy, I do not see how it is the university will ever know that it's happening.


GALLAGHER: Eighteen fraternity members are facing charges, eight of them for involuntary manslaughter. Beta Theta Pi is banned from Penn State for life, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Trace, thank you. Here with more tonight, David Wohl is criminal defense attorney, and Eric Guster is an attorney in admissible court judge in Birmingham, Alabama. Gentlemen, welcome, thank you. I mean, this is just tragic on so many levels, gentlemen. I mean, you look across the board, the fact that this is even able to happen at a university, and I think it happens at many universities across this country, except in this situation, this young man is dead and will never spend any time with the parents that you saw in that wonderful picture or the rest of his family again. Eric, talk to me about the charges, who is responsible, who is likely to take responsibility for this legally?

ERIC GUSTER, ATTORNEY: All those fraternity brothers, they are liable in this case. You have all of them in the house who knew that he injured himself and did nothing, and doing nothing is the problem in this case. Number one, you have them serving them alcohol which is underage. That's one crime. And often times you hear about the cover-up is worse than the crime. This is it. This was part of their cover-up. They didn't want to call the police. They didn't want to call an ambulance because they knew they'd be in trouble. So they're trying to save themselves which end up with this young man being dead. Because what the law is going to look at is whether or not if they did something differently, could have prevented his death? And 911 call, 12 hours before he was actually found, that could have saved his life.

MACCALLUM: I mean, you heard what Trace reported there. The story, he fell down several times, fell down a flight of stairs. Hit his head on an iron railing, all this while fraternity brothers are stepping over him according to these findings. He's there all night long. At one point, they put a backpack on him so he can't roll over because they're afraid is going to throw up and choke on his own vomit. David, you know, I mean, let's address the legal side of this. There's obviously an entire ethical question here for this university beyond the legal side.

DAVID WOHL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yeah. I mean, after the Jerry Sandusky debacle, I hope they renewed their liability insurance that's for sure. As far as, Martha, the most serious charge, the manslaughter charge, the defense is going to have some issues to take to court, that's for sure. This young man was 19. There's no indication that anyone forced him or coheres him into drinking. One source indicated his blood alcohol was .40. Martha, in nearly 30 years of practice, I have seen a blood alcohol level of .40 or greater, may be two or three times. It's exceptionally rare.

MACCALLUM: So that's what happens, David, when someone gives you a gallon bottle of vodka and you in five or six people have to finish it. I mean, that's what's happening here. This isn't a kid who is walking to a bar. This is being forced on them. Literally, sometimes they open their mouths and pour the bottles down their throat.

(CROSSTALK) GUSTER: As far as I understand it, it's hazing which means, come on, guys, you've got to do it or you're going to be out of the fraternity. That's different than actual coercion. And also it will bring on the issue of causation, did the head trauma cause it or did being .40.


GUSTER: The head trauma caused his death as well as the poisoning. And David, you know just as well as everyone else does when you are forced to do something, the person who is forcing, or the group who is forcing you, they're liable. And that's what happened in this case. You better drink this alcohol or you can leave and that's what happened.


MACCALLUM: But I've got to leave it right here, more to come on this story. Thank you very much, gentlemen. Quick break, we'll be right back with more.


MACCALLUM: We'll leave you tonight with his tribute to Kyle Milliken, the Navy SEAL who was killed in action last Thursday while on a mission to help free Somalia from the grip of al-Shabab. He was 38 years old, a former track star at the University of Connecticut, and as he's local paper said a consummate professional and an incredible warrior. As Sergeant Frank Tools said of him and his valor and commitment and success as a seal in our quote of the night, this doesn't happen by accident. This happens because a young man who is driven to make this world a better place was willing to do so at all costs. The streets of his hometown in Falmouth, Maine, are lined with flags in his honor. And we salute him and his family.

Goodnight, everybody. We'll see you back here tomorrow night at seven. Tucker is up next.

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