Gaetz: Americans want an asylum system that works

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," May 16, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Good evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum, and tonight, this is the story from New York City, folks, where the mayor is now number 23 on the list of Democrats running for the White House.

The president sounding off on Air Force One on his way here, in fact, just moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: I can't believe it. I just heard that the worst mayor in the history of New York City, and without question, the worst mayor in the United States is now running for president. It will never happen. I'm pretty good at predicting things like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Well, we will see and the United States, as you know, you have to be over 35, you have to be a natural born U.S. citizen. But American voters do tend to set the bar a bit higher when it comes to your qualifications and your experience in life beyond those very basic markers.

This was the cover of de Blasio's hometown newspaper here today. The New York Post with people howling laughing on the cover wrote a scathing editorial. Listing what they sees as de Blasio's myriad of failures from an increasingly bad homeless problem in New York, to hundreds of millions of dollars spent on mental health and education that they say had no results. He differs with that.

And then, there was a debacle at housing. The person he put in charge of housing people in New York City, which is very difficult. That person had to step down. The federal government had to come in because it was such a mess. And worse than all of that, child services also failed to protect New York's children despite his promise to make sure this program was overseen carefully with tragic consequences.

Now, the other big city newspaper here in New York City, which is usually more favorable to Mayor de Blasio, said, "Don't scoff at Bill's candidacy. Mayor de Blasio is a formidable 2020 candidate, but beware him taking his eye off the New York City ball."

Now, just think back a moment, because the last time a New York City mayor ran for president, it was the man that Time magazine and national publication called America's mayor after 9/11.

Some at the time were urging Rudy Giuliani to stay on longer despite term limits. He left the office with an 89 percent approval rating and then, of course, he ran for president of the United States.

So, here's what you've got now. 76 percent of New Yorkers say that de Blasio should not run for president. But de Blasio is unfazed by his unpopularity. This is a protest outside of Trump Tower the other day in his current job and seeks the highest office in the land. He says this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, D-NYC, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But don't let anyone tell you what you can't do. Don't let anyone talk you out of your own power.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Don't let anybody talk you out of your own power. So, all of this matters to the rest of the country because he has made many of the same promises that a lot of candidates are making across the country right now. That a bigger government can lift people up from poverty and can improve their lives. That's going to be the debate that is going to happen in the country over the coming months.

In moments, Andrew Yang, he is one of the 22 candidates who is going to run against Mayor de Blasio and all of the others. He has a controversial economic plan that turns a lot of heads, gotten a lot of attention. So, we can talk to him in just a moment.

But first, up tonight, Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York. And Juan Williams, Fox News political analyst, and co-host of "The Five". Welcome, great to have both of you here tonight.

JUAN WILLIAMS, POLITICAL ANALYST: It's good to be with you.

MACCALLUM: Betsy, let me start with you now. Now, the Daily News, which as I said is more favorable to Mayor de Blasio. Said that he made good on promises to fight economic inequality, he raised -- he had new benefits, back pay for 300,000 city workers, universal pre-k program, pushed for a rent freeze, and put $21 billion into the pockets of working-class New Yorkers.

BETSY MCCAUGHEY, FORMER LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, NEW YORK: The fact is working-class people have suffered the most under the de Blasio regime. I -- you won't see Whoopi Goldberg and Donald Trump agree about much. But they both agreed today that this mayor has been a disaster. And you cited some of the reasons. For example, people who live in public housing in New York are suffering without heat in the winter, without elevator service. So bad that the federal government had to step in.

He has doubled what the city has spent on homelessness. But the problem is bigger than ever. And most tragically, as you mentioned, toddlers and small children have died. Died of terrible abuse at the hands of foster parents and parents, while Child Protective Services was mismanaged.

In fact, in one instance, a child died of a brutal beating when Child Protective Services had visited that home 13 times. And even Juan will probably agree that the mayor's resistance to school choice has trapped so many children in failing public schools.

MACCALLUM: All right. Juan?

WILLIAMS: Well, I mean I think a lot of those problems existed under previous mayors. What strikes me as we've never had a New York City mayor who was elevated and runs successfully for president of the United States?

New York is the biggest city, people might think, oh, my gosh, if you're running in New York and he's been reelected, remember that I talking about unpopular. I think Donald Trump is more unpopular in New York than he is. But he's been elected and re-elected, and the question is, what does he bring to this race that would make him distinct, Martha, in such a large field?

Now, he ran a video today talking about working people first. I think that Elizabeth Warren has that lane to herself. And she has real proposals, real solutions and she's already articulated.

And if you look at the Fox News poll that's out today, Elizabeth Warren's at nine percent. She's up in since March into April. She's up, and now we're into the position where if she has that territory, what is it that Bill de Blasio can bring to the table that would make him really other than his height stand up.

MACCALLUM: He is very tall. Charlie Gasparino said this on Twitter today that basically he -- his reporting tells him from people close to the mayor that he's sort of putting out a help wanted sign, he wants to -- you know sort of see what comes next.

He also reported that he hates being the New York City mayor according to Charlie's source. And his killing two birds with one stone, trying to like -- you know, be -- somebody who ran for president. Betsy.

MCCAUGHEY: Well, you're pointing out also that he's term-limited. He doesn't have an option of staying on as mayor of New York, even if voters chose to put him in that job again. And so, he's looking for some sort of prestige, as you pointed out, some sort of status lifter. But this is not going to do it.

If you could find a mayor that would turn around New York City's dismal record of never being able to launch a mayor International -- the national spotlight.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: You don't think this guy is the guy.

MCCAUGHEY: He's not going to -- he's not going to be able to do it.

MACCALLUM: I want to show this video of Beto O'Rourke who we watch get his teeth cleaned a few months ago. Today we watched him get a haircut that seems to be part of his -- part of his campaign strategy. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BETO O'ROURKE, D-TX, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're cutting out some of this ear hair that you get when you get older. It grows out of your ears, and if you don't -- you don't get it cut, it would be nasty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're the -- what is it, the guy on T.V. Is the government, government, mayor?

O'ROURKE: No, no. I have run for Senate you may have seen me last year, now I'm running for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: I mean -- you can't make this up, Juan.

WILLIAMS: Well, but you don't saw, but this is where we are in American politics. You've got to be on Instagram, and he has the biggest Instagram following of any candidate, but --

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Yes, but how is that serious? I mean, this is a serious --

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: Well, I -- well, remember, these are young people. But the young people do not represent the entirety of the Democratic Party and obviously, from -- again, today's Fox News poll, he's been dropping. He is not going up.

(CROSSTALK)

MCCAUGHEY: Oh that was right. That's right. He came out of the gate with a lot of momentum. Having raised $80 million against Ted Cruz.

MACCALLUM: Wow.

MCCAUGHEY: Gotten lots of Republican vote as well as independent. And now, no substance.

MACCALLUM: We'll see.

MCCAUGHEY: That's what's lacking.

MACCALLUM: A lot of folks to cover here. And one of them is coming up now. Betsy and Juan, thank you very much for being here tonight.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, as the 2020 Democratic field grows, candidates are out there running on platforms that they are trying to set themselves apart with. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, we will pass a Medicare for all single-payer program.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To make sure that we never get in this mess again on student loan debt, and that is to make college universally available with free tuition and fees.

ANDREW YANG, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In my flagship proposal which many of you probably heard of is a freedom dividend of $1,000 per month for every American adult starting at age, 18.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: You heard that last one right. 2020 hopeful, Andrew Yang says that if he's elected, all Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 will receive $12,000 a year. No exceptions and he joins me now. Andrew Yang, welcome. Thank you very much for coming to THE STORY tonight.

YANG: Thanks for having me. It's great to be here.

MACCALLUM: So, this universal basic income is based on the fact that you see our country going through a technological transformational change. And that we need -- everyone's going to need this money as a buffer to get through that, correct?

YANG: Yes, that's exactly right. If you look at the facts on the ground that we automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri and Iowa, and my friends in Silicon Valley know we're about to do the same thing to millions of retail jobs, call center jobs, fast food jobs, truck driving jobs, and on and on through the economy.

MACCALLUM: That's right.

YANG: So, we need to get our heads up. We need to help millions of Americans transition more successfully in this economy.

MACCALLUM: So, what makes you think that will work? Where has a system like that work?

YANG: Well, the great thing is you don't need to look very far. We've had a dividend in effect in Alaska for almost 40 years. It was passed by a Republican governor. Everyone in dividend -- in Alaska, gets between $1,000 and $2,000 a year. No questions asked from oil money.

And what I'm saying to the American people is that technology is the oil of the 21st century. And what they're doing for people in Alaska with oil, we can do for everyone around the country with technology.

MACCALLUM: So, you know, I mean, the typical thing is would be that when the economy is changing dramatically, which I think a lot of people agree with that part of what you're saying that you need to do a transition.

Now, I mean, I'm wondering, is this to prevent -- you know unrest in the country? Because, at some point, if these jobs are taken away, and robots, and --

(CROSSTALK)

YANG: Yes.

MACCALLUM: You know, A.I. and all of this takes over, are you trying to sort of appease the country with money?

YANG: Well, if you look at our life expectancy, it's declined for the last three years because of surges and suicides and drug overdoses. And a lot of that is happening in communities that have lost manufacturing jobs.

So, if you project that happening to truckers in the next 10 years, there are 3-1/2 million Americans who drive a truck for a living right now. And if you think that they would take losing their livelihood very easily or gently, than you probably live in a different country than I do.

MACCALLUM: You know, it's a $2.4 trillion annually. And I know you've been asked before, you know, how you going to pay for it. You believe that giving everybody $12,000 is going to juice the economy. How?

YANG: Well, if you imagine, everyone getting $1,000 a month, where is that money go? It goes into car repairs, in tutoring, and food for their kids, trips to the hardware store. The money circulates over and over again through the economy. It's called the trickle up economy.

And it would -- it would create over 2 million new jobs, it would grow the consumer economy by 10 to 12 percent. Because the money doesn't disappear, it doesn't go anywhere. We have it, we spend it, it makes our families stronger and healthier.

MACCALLUM: So, when you -- when you get up on that debate stage, and right now, it looks like you will qualify.

YANG: Yes.

MACCALLUM: Right? OK, what are you going to say up there besides this? Because this is sort of your thing to stand out. You know, how are you going to stand out in this pack?

YANG: Well, I'm lesser focused on solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected in 2016. And most Americans are very smart, I've been around the country. They know that 30 percent of malls and stores are closing because Amazon's soaking up $20 billion in business.

Then, they know that Amazon's paying zero in taxes. And that they're not getting anything in return. So, I'm just going to make the case the American people that we're going through the greatest economic transformation --

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: So, like, it's all going to stink, you're going to lose your job, you're not going to have anything. So, we're going to give you a big hand out. I mean, I don't know that that's going to be inspiring to a lot of Americans as a way to deal with this change.

YANG: Well, if you look at Alaska, the oil check is one of their favorite things that government does. This is the freedom dividend that we can completely afford it. It would again, create millions of jobs, and give millions of Americans a better chance to pursue the work that they want to do.

It would also recognize the sort of work that my wife does. She's at home with our two boys, one of whom has autism. And there are millions of women around the country that are doing work that right now our market does not recognize.

MACCALLUM: So, why should rich people get $12,000?

YANG: Well, using Alaska, again, as an example. And then, it's a right that's not -- there's no stigma attached to it, it's not, oh, you're getting it, you're not getting it. You know, and then, everyone can breathe easy, saying, look, everyone deserves a dividend.

MACCALLUM: All right, I want to ask you one unrelated question that's likely to come up at the debates. There's a huge abortion debate going on in this country right now with the new Alabama law.

Where do you stand on that? Are you in favor of -- you know, what are you in favor of? Where do you stand on that?

YANG: Well, I think it's a deeply personal decision that each woman has to undertake. And to me, the government should not have a heavy hand saying, what that choice should or should not be.

I think that male legislators, in particular, should step back, let women decide what they want to do with their own reproductive rights and freedoms. I have a feeling I know how women would come out. But you can tell from what I'm saying right now that I do not think that the laws that are being passed in Alabama and other states are the right direction at all.

MACCALLUM: You're a very mild-mannered and calm. Do you think -- how are you going to -- you know, if you were to go up against President Trump, are you too nice?

YANG: Well, you know they say, the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math. And that the goal is to try and get the American people excited about how we can -- all it can get a piece of all the innovations and progress that some Americans are enjoying, but some Americans are rightfully feeling left out of.

MACCALLUM: Interesting. Andrew Yang, thank you very much for coming in tonight. Good to meet you.

YANG: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, are Democrats working behind the scenes to make sure that President Trump does not get the money that he wants to build a wall. One of those who is working on it is Congressman John Garamendi. He will be here in a moment, and then, Matt Gaetz, also a congressman as well from Florida when we come back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: One way of the other, we're going to get a wall, we're going to get a barrier, we're going to get anything you want to name it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TRUMP: If you want to become an American citizen, it will be clear exactly what standard we ask you to achieve. It will be made crystal clear. Americans can have complete and total confidence that under this plan, the borders will finally be fully and totally secured.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: That was President Trump earlier today rolling out his new plan to fix the crisis at the border. He wants more skilled workers, a higher percentage of highly skilled workers coming in compared to what we have now. Everybody has got to learn English he says. Everyone has to pass a civics test. He says that will make the country as a whole stronger.

But as the President attempts to deliver on a key promise to secure the border, some House Democrats are working to keep the money away from border wall construction along the border that is coming from the Department of Defense, introducing a bill that would limit that Department's authority to redirect funds for its construction. The president recently sounding undeterred.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You see the hell we are going through trying to get the wall. Without the wall, nothing works, folks. You know that. So we're going to have over 400 miles of wall built. It's already -- much of it has already started -- by the end of next year and we'll conclude it pretty shortly thereafter. We'll have the whole thing sealed up and it'll be a lot easier.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Here now one of the Democratic lawmakers who put forth that new bill Congressman John Garamendi, Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee. Congressman, thank you for being here tonight. Good to have you.

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI, D-CALIF.: Good to be with you.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I want to start with you by playing this from Jeh Johnson who was the Department of Homeland Security chief under President Obama watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEH JOHNSON, FORMER SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We had 100,000 apprehensions or encounters in the month of March and another 100,000 in the month of April. It's the highest it's been in 12 years. And to think of it this way, that is the equivalent the population of the city of Orlando, Florida showing up on our southern border in the course of two months. That creates a crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: What do you -- what do you say to that and you know, why is it a good idea to prevent the money that is going to help to secure the wall and to fix the areas that are broken where people get through.

GARAMENDI: That's a matter of choices. It's a matter of priorities. The United States military has come to us, to Matt, myself, and others on the Armed Services Committee and laid out the money that they need to protect this nation, to provide our nation's security.

That money is in everything from readiness, the ability of the military to operate, to have fuel, to have the other armaments including the munitions that they need as well as military construction programs that have all been vetted and found to be of absolutely essential to do.

What's happening here and reason that we're putting in this legislation is that the President without Congressional authority, without the appropriation process, is reaching into the Pentagon's programs and taking money without authorization from the Congress that has the appropriation power to transfer that money onto what he believes to be a higher priority.

MACCALLUM: Well, let me ask you this. Do you agree with Jeh Johnson that there -- that there's a crisis when you've got 100,000 people coming across the border. Wouldn't you agree that that is -- that's a pretty big problem and that not dealing with it is derelict of Congress?

GARAMENDI: Well, the Congress did deal with it. We passed legislation that was $1.2 billion for border security, all different pieces of that, and the president sign that. And then he went ahead and issued his emergency. But at the very same -- at this moment, the President -- the Department of Defense tells us that we have to put into the Persian Gulf an aircraft carrier, a contingent of marines, and B-52 bombers because there is a crisis in the Persian Gulf. That's what the military is for.

The military money was appropriated for the purpose of protecting this nation from all kinds of threats. And here the President has decided that his border wall is more important than all of these other activities that the military is engaged in today.

MACCALLUM: But do you think it's unimportant? Here's what I don't get. What's going on is not working right. So you know, if you try to drain the reallocation that is to fix it, I just want to know what your substitute is because the money that has been allocated is not enough to secure the border.

GARAMENDI: Well there is a process called the normal budgeting and appropriations process that the president in his budget that he proposed to Congress does call for more money for the budget of wall. Right now the appropriation committees in the House and Senate are going through that determining how much money could and should be spent on those border walls and on the various crossings and other issues including taking care of the people that are here.

MACCALLUM: I mean, I don't know how you feel about the fact that the border agents are being diverted to help take care of little kids and put up tents. Now you've got TSA agents who are supposed to be the airports being diverted there to help them. That's a problem.

GARAMENDI: Well, it is a problem.

MACCALLUM: And I think people will get to Congress and say, you better fix this. You know, you really better fix these folks.

GARAMENDI: It's in -- it's in the process of being fixed. Money is being appropriated in the process now exactly for all of those things including additional border fences. It's a matter of choices here. do we -- do we take money out of critical programs in the Department of Defense or do we go through the normal process here of appropriating money as the Constitution requires?

MACCALLUM: You know, we've seen this. We've been down this road before. It's pretty clear Congress doesn't want to pay for the wall and they say it all the time.

GARAMENDI: No, Congress actually -- we proposed three years ago $25 billion for this purposes. That --

MACCALLUM: Then how come you didn't reauthorize that same amount later? What changed?

GARAMENDI: Well, it was -- the discussions later called for additional money that Congress together with Democrats and Republicans voted less than four months ago to provide $1.2 billion and --

MACCALLUM: That's a big difference.

GARAMENDI: Well, yes it is. I agree, there is a problem on the border. No doubt about it. What I'm saying is don't take the money out of the military to solve that problem and create a problem for the military.

MACCALLUM: All right, well, we got to come to it somewhere. All right, thank you very much. I'm going to get to Congressman Gaetz now. Thank you very much, John Garamendi.

GARAMENDI: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Good to see you, Congressman. So here now with more, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida. What do you say to that, Congressman?

REP. MATT GAETZ, R-FLA.: Well, the reason we know Democrats are disingenuous when they say to just use the normal processes to secure the border is that they've been in charge of the Congress for more than four months and Nancy Pelosi has not put a single border security bill on the floor for us to vote for or against.

What you have now is a 58-year winning streak for the National Defense Authorization Act. In partisan times and divided government, it has always been effective to do right by our troops in the absence of poison pills. Now, we see the circumstance where there could be a poison pill and Democrats could put our troops in danger by creating a partisan environment around what we all should agree on, and that's authorized the activities of our military.

MACCALLUM: All right. So a very big change was proposed today by the President in terms of how we decide, who gets to come into the country, and who doesn't. And here is what Senator Richard Blumenthal said about that. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN.: It is despicable demagoguery designed simply to appeal to Donald Trump's base and prepare for the 2020 election. It is a political document, not a realistic reform proposal. It's designed for the Donald Trump base not for the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: What do you say that?

GAETZ: I don't know what's political demagoguery about saying, do you want people here on merit or not. Do you want people that come here to speak English or not? Do you want frivolous asylum claims sent immediately back to their home country or not? These aren't views that are -- that are outside the norm. I think most American people would want an asylum system that works.

But what we have right now, Martha, is catch-and-release. The Democrats are against the catch, we're against the release. And I think that with the president's new plan, we have a framework that really shows the contrasts between the parties heading into the next election.

MACCALLUM: All right, let's put up this from Ann Coulter who tweeted today blasting the President's new plan. She says no wall keeps same massive levels of legal immigration and this is the rebate campaign document, not even a serious bill, she says.

GAETZ: Well, look, we agree that the legislation doesn't reduce legal immigration. It is not the intent of the President to reduce legal immigration when it can help the American people, when it can be an updraft for the American economy. The question is whether or not we have an immigration policy that is America first or one that is Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador first and putting the interests of the cartels in place.

So I think Ann Coulter's criticism on the substance is accurate as it relates to the wall, but the President's budget lays out billions of dollars more for the wall. He seized what funds he can and applied them to the wall. And frankly, we need the Congress to be more engaged to prioritize that element of border security.

As your segment pointed out, 100,000 people last month, and in just the last six months, one percent of Guatemala has moved into the United States. That's really bad for us, but it's really bad for them too.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much, Congressman Gaetz. Good to see you tonight.

GAETZ: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So Bill Hemmer coming up hot off of his exclusive new interview. The first interview that Attorney General William Barr has done, plus, the changes to the SATs that could affect your child's chances of getting into college next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So last year more than two million students spent their Saturday morning taking SATs verbal math skills all of that, but soon, they will get another score for how much adversity they face in life.

Now, that score will be shared with the colleges, but it will be hidden from the students. It's going to rate their socioeconomic background using 15 factors in three categories. Neighborhood environment, where you grew up, what kind of neighborhood you live in, your family environment, how many parents do you have? All of that kind of thing. High school environment, where you go, how challenging it is.

So, this new score is sparking a very big debate over whether or not this is truly fair to all students.

Joining me now, Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Institute Scholar and Fox News contributor, and Jason Nichols, American Studies professor at the University of Maryland. Both scored very high on their SATs, I'm confident.

MACCALLUM: Good to see you guys tonight.

MARC THIESSEN, CONTRIBUTOR: Good to see you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much for being here. You know, I guess, Marc, let me start with you.

THIESSEN: Sure.

MACCALLUM: What do you make of this and what -- how is it going to impact who gets in and who doesn't?

THIESSEN: Well, it's obviously well-meaning because they are trying to help people who are disadvantaged get a chance at the American dream but it's really, really misguided. And the reason for it is simple.

The SAT is supposed to be an objective measure of your achievement, your competence in certain subjects and it predicts your ability to succeed in college.

And so, watering it down or contextualizing it with an adversity score is not helpful to the student, quite frankly.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

THIESSEN: Because when you go to -- let's say you get into the college. When you turn in your homework, you don't get to turn in an adversity score with it. You're going to either pass or fail the class based on the merit of your work.

And when you get out of college, if you graduate, which you might not if you are getting in with an adversity score, then when you go to your job, you don't get to turn in like when I turn my talking points into Fox I don't give them adversity score. Right? I've got to perform. I've got to make a good point on the air here. I don't get to say an adversity score. I don't get to -- I don't get to say an adversity score.

So, life is meritocracy. And you know, having a -- what we should be doing is helping the students by having school choice and other opportunities so they can --

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Yes. And having better scores so they get prepared.

THIESSEN: -- so they can get better scores.

MACCALLUM: Absolutely.

THIESSEN: You know, that's what we should be doing.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Jason, what do you think?

JASON NICHOLS, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Well, I would agree and I think his talking points are great. And I think he doesn't need an adversity score there.

(CROSSTALK)

THIESSEN: He is a professor. Do I get an a?

NICHOLS: Absolutely.

THIESSEN: Thank you.

NICHOLS: However, and I would agree with him that I love the sentiment behind it. I love the idea of trying to give people a leg up. I don't know that I agree with the method and the reason is a little bit different than Marc's. And that is that the SATs are not objective. The SATs actually aren't a good measure of anything particularly the verbal section.

MACCALLUM: Amen to that.

NICHOLS: The verbal section is really just the amount of words you've been exposed to and one of the things that we as talking heads know is that, you know, the words that you say or the vocabulary is not a measure of intelligence or anything else.

So, I think that it's probably not the most appropriate way. I think, you know, if you want to gauge students and gauge their abilities, let's look at their essays. Let's look at --

THIESSEN: Yes, I agree.

NICHOLS: -- their performance and their grades.

MACCALLUM: I couldn't agree more.

NICHOLS: Let's look at their recommendations. Those are the things that will really give us good students.

MACCALLUM: Yes. And we all know, right, the SATs is a huge business. Right? Testing in this country is an enormous business.

THIESSEN: Yes.

MACCALLUM: I think they are doing this to some extent to stay relevant.

THIESSEN: Yes.

MACCALLUM: And so that the colleges don't back away from these tests. Because many colleges are now test optional when you apply --

THIESSEN: yes. Right.

MACCALLUM: -- and many good schools, very good schools are test-optional. Because they recognize that this is a racket that kids who have enough money can be tutored for a year in advance --

NICHOLS: Absolutely, yes.

MACCALLUM: -- and they can do better than kids who don't have that advantage. So, the Standardized Achievement Test is anything but standardized, Marc. Do you agree?

THIESSEN: That's absolutely true. And a lot of colleges are dropping it. I think there are 1,000 accredited colleges now who have said that they are - -

MACCALLUM: Yes.

THIESSEN: -- that they are test optional including some very prestigious schools who are making it test optional and they also have competition from the ACT and from other options as well.

But the other thing that what bothers me also about this, Martha, is that the whole thing is kind of secretive and shady. Because they're not -- one, the student doesn't get to see their --

MACCALLUM: Yes.

THIESSEN: -- adversity level --

MACCALLUM: Right.

THIESSEN: -- and so they can't challenge it. And, two, they haven't laid out what the standards are. So, you know, you laid out a list of things there what if I live in a really nice neighborhood and go to a really good school but my father is an alcoholic and beats me every day. I've got a pretty --

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Yes, it's a good point.

THIESSEN: -- a lot of adversity is not getting captured.

MACCALLUM: There's a lot of things that would not be picked. Yes, it's an excellent point. Jason, thank you very much. We got cut short tonight. Marc, thank you very much.

THIESSEN: No worries. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Good to see both of you this evening.

NICHOLS: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Hope you come back soon.

NICHOLS: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Thanks, guys. So, Attorney General Bill Barr has just done his very first interview since joining the Trump administration. He has been under a lot of fire in recent weeks.

So, what about the blame game that has erupted between Obama-era intel chiefs, about who pushed the so-called dirty dossier and what does Bill Barr think about how he is being received and talked about? Bill Hemmer just did that interview. He is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: A short time ago, Attorney General Bill Barr sat down exclusively with our very own Bill Hemmer for first interview since joining the Trump administration. He has been under fire, of course, and the two addressed the summary of the Mueller report, his vow to investigate the origins of that Russia probe now.

Bill Hemmer joins me from El Salvador with the preview of the interview airing tomorrow morning on America's Newsroom. Great to have you here, Bill, tonight. Tell me what Mr. Barr had to say.

BILL HEMMER, ANCHOR: Good evening, Martha.

That is very interesting. He came here to talk about immigration and crackdown on MS-13 and fight criminal gangs. That was the purpose for this trip. And he was blocked throughout the entire day, Martha, with a schedule that went from law enforcement agency all the way up to the attorney general's office here in the country of El Salvador.

About an hour ago, we sat down for about 20 minutes at a prison 30 miles west of the capital city of San Salvador. It is hot, it is steamy down here this time of year, Martha.

And I do believe the overall impression he was trying to relay to us is that when he took the job a few months ago he asked a lot of questions. And kept asking questions and did not get answers that essentially added up. Here is how he phrased it just about an hour ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I've been trying to get answers to questions. And I found that a lot of the answers have been inadequate. And I've also found that some of the explanations I've gotten don't hang together. So, so in a sense I have more questions today than I did when I first started.

HEMMER: Some of what things don't hang together?

BARR: Some of the explanations of what occurred.

HEMMER: Why does that matter?

BARR: Because I think people have to find out what the government was doing during that period. If we're worried about foreign influence for the very same reason, we should be worried about whether government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale. And so, I'm not saying that happened, but I'm saying that we have to look at that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HEMMER: That phrase 'don't hang together' is something I really want to impress upon you, Martha and our viewers. He has used it several times in this trip already. So, what does that mean?

A very specific question. You will hear the rest of that context tomorrow when we air the entire interview is the following. Between election day of November 2016 and the inauguration, what decisions were made within the Obama administration and the intel community that perhaps may have justified the actions they took.

And the one example he would say, Martha, was the Trump tower meeting in January 6. He clearly has a lot of questions about that. Beyond that, not a lot of specifics.

However, he responds to the accusation of lying before Congress. The contempt before Congress. The obstruction allegation that he did not go forward with, the question about witness tampering. So, we get into all of this and he talks about James Comey as well.

I think there is a lot of new material in this interview that he has not given just yet until the first, as you mentioned, television interview he has given as A.G.

MACCALLUM: Well, we look forward to that. Because James Comey said about Attorney General Barr, I think he has lost most of his reputation. It's very clear that James Comey does not like where this attorney general is poking around.

HEMMER: I will tell you the interview ended on that very question. And his answer was interesting. He pretty much suggested that not a lot of people are going to care about him in the end.

He clearly believes he is now the target of a Democratic-led House, and, Martha, he expected that when he took the job. Very interesting stuff and a lot more throughout this interview coming up.

MACCALLUM: Fascinating, Bill. We all are looking forward to seeing it. Great job. And thanks for sharing that little sneak peek with us this evening.

HEMMER: Sure. You bet.

MACCALLUM: And we'll be watching tomorrow. Safe home. Thank you very much.

Coming up next tonight. You don't want to miss this gentleman and his incredible story as a World War II paratrooper into Normandy and why he now goes back every year. He is 97. He is about to jump out of the plane again.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So, tonight, THE STORY continues to honor the greatest generation as the 75th anniversary of D-Day approaches.

Army paratrooper Tom Rice was just 22, he is a handsome young man when he jumped into Normandy on June 6th, 1944. Member of the 101st Airborne Division known as the Screaming Eagles. He would go down to earn a Purple Heart and bronze star for his service.

But now, at the age of 97. Tom Rice will jump again next month to honor the sacrifice of those who never came home. I recently spoke to the "Trial by Combat" author about that, a tradition he has bravely carried on in their memory for the past six D-Day anniversaries.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MACCALLUM: Let's go back to D-Day 1944 if we could for a moment. What do you remember about the first time you jumped out of the plane?

THOMAS RICE, WORLD WAR II VETERAN: The first time I jumped out was in Fort Benning, Georgia. I had seen airplanes, had never touched one. But this was the opportunity to do it. So, we did our -- we did our practice jumps in several places. And we jumped once a month for about 48 months.

MACCALLUM: So, when you went to D-Day and you got a chance to do the real thing and, you know, people were shooting at you, what was that like? What was going through your mind when the door opened of the plane and it was time to go? You were the first one out, right?

RICE: Yes. Well, we have no door on the aircraft. It was wide open.

MACCALLUM: I stand corrected.

RICE: What I was thinking was my mind was going microseconds. Dealing with detail, detail, detail. And make sure everything is working right and it's going to be proper and we were going to take off at the appropriate time.

So, we took off at 10.41 English double summertime. Assembled at 55,000 feet. Moved south and east toward Portsmouth. The code name was Portsmouth Bill. We dropped down to 1,500 feet to get under the German radar as we crossed the English Channel. About the middle of the channel was the American submarine we flashed our lights that we were on time and flew in the right direction.

Then between Cotentin Peninsula and the Britney Peninsula another submarine flashed us signals and at that point we turned left and we entered the Cotentin Peninsula at jump altitude which was 750 feet.

MACCALLUM: I read that your arm got caught when you jumped out of the plane. Can you tell me about that?

RICE: I always jumped number one. I weighed 268 pounds when I left that aircraft. Loaded with all kinds of death dealing bric-a-brac that for the most part I threw away when I got on the ground. We were traveling 176 miles an hour which was too fast. We were below jump altitude.

So, as I stepped out of the door and the green light went on, I got -- and the paraPAC were released at the same time by number two and three men. The plane went up about 50 feet.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

RICE: And I was -- as I went out, I was hit by that prop blast and my arm got caught in the lower left-hand corner of the door at the armpit. So, I swung out at arm's length and back again. Hit the side of the aircraft. Swung out. Came back again and I straightened my arm just enough to get loose.

And so, in a matter of a second or so, the parachute opened and I think I was far too low, maybe about two or three oscillations and I was on the ground.

MACCALLUM: Incredible. It's an incredible story. I want to just fast forward for a moment. And talk about what has motivated you over the past six years to go back and to jump every year on D-Day as part of this ceremony?

RICE: Well, I'm a risk taker.

MACCALLUM: No kidding.

RICE: My father -- my father was killed in a naval aircraft in Panama in 1932. And so, for the most part I was on my own. So, I was out in the jungle doing a lot of crazy things, camping, et cetera. I was a runner. I run the marathons and my 10k is my favorite race.

I was a soldier and a teacher for 44 years. Taught government and U.S. history. So, all of this began to impact me and I came from a city where you contribute, you don't consume. You contribute. Coronado, California. Just overloaded with just great people.

So, all of this impacted me and I was going to do something.

MACCALLUM: Sergeant --

RICE: I did it as best I could. And the best way would be to show the individuals in the 501-parachute infantry that they will never be forgotten because we had 38 percent casualty in Normandy.

So, I remember all of those. And I know every guy that was in my aircraft when we jumped into Normandy. Every guy in my aircraft when we jumped into Holland.

MACCALLUM: Sergeant, thank you. You are an incredible story and you are a great tribute to all of those that you served with and all of those individuals that you say you will never forget and whose honor you will jump -- and whose honor you'll jump on June the 5th this year and we'll be there to watch.

And we'd love to hear more of your story when we are in France. So, thank you very much for joining us this evening. Sergeant Tom Rice. Thank you for your service, sir.

RICE: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be with you.

MACCALLUM: It's a pleasure to speak with you, too.

RICE: OK, bye.

MACCALLUM: OK, bye. He is great. Right? I mean, it's just unbelievable these stories. And we hope that we're going to reconnect with Tom when we are in France. We're going to watch him jump again.

More of THE STORY coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So that is “The Story” on this Thursday night, but you know “The Story” goes on tomorrow. And we're all going to watch the Bill Barr interview that Bill Hemmer did, tomorrow morning on America's Newsroom.

Have a great night everybody. We'll see you tomorrow

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