This is a rush transcript from "The Story with Martha MacCallum," January 17, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: "The Story" hosted by Martha MacCallum starts right now and next week you'll be down here for the start of that trial.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: We will for the marathon impeachment trial starting on Tuesday. Thanks Bret, good to see you.

BAIER: Bet you.

MACCALLUM: So good evening everybody, I'm Martha MacCallum in New York and this is THE STORY tonight. The White House reveals what they hopes is it's a dream defense team and it includes some controversial names as a showdown over who will testify, is teaming up in the Senate with new reports today that Democrats will attempt to force the G.O.P. into excepting witness testimony and documents. And that the Republicans are "Threatening to weaponize a fight over these witnesses". This is going to get interesting. Plus new evidence that has come to live this week from the papers and interviews of Lev Parnas also questioned tonight about whether Rudy Giuliani should testify on behalf of the President. Despite objections by Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who favors a swift process an acquittal for President Trump. Here is the President today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of Presidents, some good, some not so good. But you've got a good one now, even though they are trying to impeach the son of a (Bleep). Can you believe it?


MACCALLUM: Can you believe that, well in moments we will hear directly from the White House on his impeachment strategy. And Byron York is here tonight on how all of this is shaping up to look eerily similar to that Kavanaugh confirmation process with Lindsey Graham and perhaps Susan Collins in lead roles. Also joining me this evening Victor Davis Hanson after Iran says that it slapped the U.S. and called the President a clown. Plus, harrowing new details on the allegations against Harvey Weinstein from a Former NBC News Producer who resigned after he said the network buried his story. But we begin tonight with one of the jurors of the impeachment trial. A short time ago I spoke with Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Obviously, this big battle over witnesses. I want to play your colleague Rand Paul last night talking about what he thinks is going to happen. He said that if you play games with this witness issue all hell is going to break loose. Watch this.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Fair is fair and if they are going to put the President through this they're going to have to have witnesses on both sides. If it turns out, and the Republican base sees that this looks like only Democrat witnesses and no Presidential witnesses, I guarantee that the Republican base will punish those people who set up that scenario.


MACCALLUM: How is that going to work?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Well, look I think that is exactly right but the good news is, that's not going to happen. Unlike the House, you we've had months and months of this proceeding in the House and it's been a one-sided circus. It has been entirely partisan and the House Democrats put it on. They declined to follow the Presidents in the House of the Clinton impeachment and the Nixon impeachment so they didn't allow the minority to subpoena witnesses. They didn't allow the White House to cross-examine witnesses and it was entirely one-sided. The good news is the Senate I'm confident is going to do much better that we're going to have a fair process. We are going to give both sides a full and fair opportunity to present their case and we're going to decide the case according to law. We're going to follow due process. So now what does that mean for witnesses? Well we're going to proceed in two phases. Phase one is going to be the opening arguments from the House Managers, and from the White House. Each will have 24 hours spread out over two days to present the arguments they want. Their legal teams will stand up come present the case and make their arguments and put forward whatever evidence they want in those arguments and then we will move to questions from Senators that we write down in the Chief Justice asks for us. After all of that is completed, then we're going to vote on whether or not to consider additional witnesses and that will be a binary choice. If we don't consider additional witnesses we will move straight to verdict and I'm confident that President will be acquitted because the House articles don't need the constitutional standards of high crimes and misdemeanors. But if we do take witnesses, I think what you just heard is exactly right that is going to be fair we're going to follow the Principal of reciprocity which means that the prosecution gets a witness, the defense is going to get a witness, too.

MACCALLUM: Yes. And I just think you know based on what we know actually getting those witnesses that are being discussed on both sides would drag this out for a very long time and if both sides are fine with that then that's likely what's going to happen because it is not like you're going to say oh you know, Hunter Biden, Joe Biden and John Bolton can you all please show up tomorrow for questioning. I want to play this from Lev Parnas who is not a new name to those of us who follow this for a long time but are new to, I think, a lot of people in America. Here he is talking about why it is so important to have witnesses in this case. Watch this.


LEV PARNAS, INDICTED ASSOCIATE OF RUDY GIULIANI: I think Bolton is a very important witness because I think between me and Bolton we could fill in all the dots. I think because I was on the ground there and he was over here.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And you would be willing to testify?

PARNAS: I would be very willing to testify.


MACCALLUM: What do you say to that sir?

CRUZ: Listen, I think this is a game. It's been a partisan game from the Democrats from the beginning. They've had dozens and dozens of witnesses in the House one after the other after the other. And they wouldn't have any defense witnesses. They didn't want to call in Hunter Biden, they didn't want to hear the evidence of corruption on Joe Biden's part but they put on a kangaroo court for months. You know this latest fellow, this Lev Parnas guy, what we are seeing and I think what we're going to see over the next couple weeks is a replay of what happened with Brett Kavanaugh which is that Democrats are going to leak things one day after the other after the other. It's going to happen next week, every day or two it is going to be something new leaked and you're going to see whether it's this Lev fellow or someone else going on Rachel Maddow. And I promise whatever they leak, they're going to say, this is the smoking gun, this finally does it and this is all a game of Three Card Monte. They don't care about the facts and they don't care about the evidence. How do we know that because many of these House Democrats said they wanted to impeach Donald Trump on the day he was elected, November 2016 long before anything had happened, long before he had been sworn in, this is not driven by the facts? And if you look at articles of impeachment that they voted out this is the first time in history any President has ever been impeached without even an allegation in the articles of criminal conduct. They don't allege that they violated any criminal law they don't allege he violated any law that he has even had a speeding ticket. And what this is, Democrats unhappy with the election trying to use impeachment to remove the President to undo a Democratic election. It's an abuse of the constitution. The Senate thankfully is not going to let it itself become the kind of circus the House is. We're going to follow the law we're going to be fair, we're going to respect due process and following the law means the President is going to be acquitted.

MACCALLUM: Senator Cruz, thank you for bringing your prospective tonight. I'm sorry we had little audio delay there. But we're going to watching stem to stern as this gets kicked off next week and you're going to be a prominent player in all of it, so we will be watching. Thank you very much sir. Good to see you Senator.

CRUZ: Thanks you Martha.

MACCALLUM: Joining me now, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley. Hogan, good to see you thank you for being here tonight.


MACCALLUM: So let's talk about the team that was announced today? This legal team which has a lot of big names on it and it got a little bit of pushback from perhaps you might say some predictable corners in the press. So let's watch a little bit of that that.


CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: People inside the White House apparently pushed back on particularly Dershowitz, given the Jeffrey Epstein business. Like why would you want to bring even have that baggage even floating around?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this seems to me like another example of Trump just going with big names that he sees on TV without thinking through the implications of those choices.


MACCALLUM: And then you have this tweet from Monica Lewinsky today. This is definitely an "Are you - kidding me kind of day". So what was the reaction in the White House to the reaction to this team, Hogan?

GIDLEY: Right, well you used the word Martha, and I think that's apropos here, it's the word predictable. Everyone knows what the Democrats are going to say about this team. But it is so interesting, as soon as we announce what we were going to do and the people we are putting in place, all of whom have sterling records and our incredible legal minds, scholars and all of their fields. They come out and attack them, they come out and attack the team try and impugn their character as opposed to focusing on the issue at hand which is did the President do anything wrong. The answer is, no, and regardless of the team we put in place and this one is world-renowned don't get me wrong. The case is pretty cut and dry. The fact is we didn't do anything wrong.

MACCALLUM: That raises the question there were some reports that Pat Cipollone who, by the President's own account is the strong and silent type and has been a very strong leader for the President's team all along, and now it sounds like what's going to happen is that these people are going to do presentations of different kinds as they stand up there. You know, I guess it's a question of too many cooks in the kitchen, too many personalities is all this really necessary? Is Pat Cipollone okay with sort of sharing his work with all of these different individuals?

GIDLEY: Well, I'm in a lot of meetings with Pat Cipollone I can tell you he's strong but he's deftly not silent. He and Jay Sekulow are running this team, and they're going to do it flawlessly and to perfection and you better believe as we've been saying all along, we are prepared for whatever happens in the Senate. If this turns out to be a long drawn-out process, with witnesses we are ready. If it's in some version in between, where it is shorter and a couple of witnesses we are ready. If it's absolutely dismissed which it should be, we are ready for that as well.

MACCALLUM: Well, let me ask you about Rudy Giuliani. This is what the President said about him. He's been pressed on Rudy and his role in all of this m any times and here he is. I believe this was yesterday.


TRUMP: Rudy is somebody that, frankly having him on my side was a great honor for me and it has been a great honor for me. Rudy Giuliani did a phenomenal job over a long period of time in fighting crime and frankly he said he is a very legitimate guy and very straight shooter.


MACCALLUM: So obviously Rudy Giuliani knows the players, you know he knows Lev Parnas communicative with all of these people why not put him out there? He claims that he was there to uncover what he says it's the truth about 2016, and who was actually meddling in the election. He says it was the Ukraine and he can prove it. So wouldn't that be the strongest voice to put out there to explain where all of this generated from?

GIDLEY: And well the strongest voice to put out there is the President of the United States. He's out there although there is a time. He is most successful President in history but the President of the United States also makes these decisions and he has been friends with Rudy for a long time, decades in fact. You heard the clip right there, they are very close and he is the President's Attorney. However the President decided in this instance he wanted to go with this team. It's been announced, it is a great team.

MACCALLUM: Will he be a witness though? Will Rudy Giuliani be a witness in this case if there are witnesses called?

GIDLEY: Well again, that's all hypothetical I'm not going to get ahead of that. But the fact is if we are going to have a conversation about witnesses and fairness, let's be very clear. The Democrats called 17 witnesses in the House and we got zero.

MACCALLUM: No, I mean I think everybody is looking forward to hearing the White House's side of the equation. We just heard Senator Ted Cruz say, he thinks there is going to be a drip, drip, drip of evidence and Lev Parnas is a promising all these things. Is the White House 100 percent confident that there is absolutely no communication between any form between Lev Parnas about this and the President?

GIDLEY: We're confident the facts are on our side in this case and you see this person going out this individual Mr. Parnas you know out on bail for committing a lot of - allegedly committing federal crimes and all kinds of issues there. But look, when you go to MSNBC, CNN and "The New York Times," all of whom have had audio leak, letters leak showing their whole mantra is to take down this President, it's pretty clear what you're trying to do not to mention the fact he is looking for a reduced sentence it seems at this point.

MACCALLUM: It just seem that way. I will see if he gets it and where all of this goes? Hogan Gidley, thank you sir. Always good to see you, thanks for being here tonight.

GIDLEY: Thank you so much for the time Martha.

MACCALLUM: You bet. So days out from this impeachment trial and some say we could be headed for a Kavanaugh style circuit. Byron York is here on that next.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So you are saying there's never been a case where you drink so much that you didn't remember what happened the night before or part of what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are asking about black out. I don't know, have you?




SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): What you want to do is destroy this guy's life hold the seat open and hope you win in 2020 you said that, not me. This is the most unethical sham since I have been in politics. You are looking for a fair process you came to the wrong town at the wrong time my friend.


MACCALLUM: Well, powerful moments from the Kavanaugh nomination may give us a glimpse into what to expect from the Senate impeachment trial. The New York Post Editorial Board predicts that it could be even worse this time round, writing "This is starting to seem like a farcical replay of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings which had wrapped up until Democrats decided to play the Christine Blasey Ford card. That prompted a media furor that led to excruciating extra hearings, which changed no one's mind. Then they pushed for more hearings about other, even less substantial charges." Here now Byron York, Chief Political Correspondent for The Washington Examiner and a Fox News Contributor thanks for being here this evening. It does feel in many ways, even some of the players in this drama, potentially Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham at the Head of the Judiciary Committee, some similarities.

BYRON YORK, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Absolutely. I started writing this about a month ago when Senator Schumer first demanded for witnesses. At request for witnesses is not a request for closure in this case, it's a request to open new avenues of investigation. The House obviously really did not finish its investigation, which is one of the reasons why the Speaker withheld the article four months to allow a lot more information to come out that is one of the reasons Democrats are now pushing this whole Lev Parnas stuff. So what appears to be the cases is we are heading for an impeachment trial in which as Senator Cruz suggested earlier every day or so we'll have some new revelation that might well be called a bombshell or blockbuster and the trial will have to know more about that. They might need another witness they might need more information about that. So in that sense it could resemble what you just described taking place at the Kavanaugh confirmation, reasonable that more than an impeachment trial.

MACCALLUM: Yes. And especially with sort of the team that has been assembled, you can see a lot of high drama, and I think it is going to keep everyone's attention. Do you think it is really going to go to 1:00 am every night? That sounds like the plan, from 1:00 in the afternoon until 1:00 am and what's behind that is not an effort to kind of churn this as hard as they can and get it over with?

YORK: Well, to get it over with first of all a good while ago Senator McConnell told the Senate said look; we are going on these six days a week. Sorry you may not like that, we are doing it six days a week. By the way if you do it all night as well as in the daytime you really take away the ability of those Democratic candidates for President to do much politicking via Skype or any other way.

MACCALLUM: That's for sure.

YORK: But, the biggest reason is to get it over with because the defense has - excuse me, the prosecutors have 24 hours on the floor. The defense will have that and if you take the super long days, you can get that done in a short period of time.

MACCALLUM: Yes. You know just very quickly, is Michael - does Lev Parnas equal Michael Cohen here? I mean, I can't help but think that this is another person who was selling, essentially, proximity in his case to Zelensky and then you have the other side sort of selling access to President Trump.

YORK: Right. And similar to Cohen, Lev Parnas is trying to get some sort of deal to get prosecutors to be lenient on him in the Southern District of New York. Cohen ask credibility problem as well. It is a matter of fact. He was floating a story if you remember that in December 2018, Devin Nunes was in Vienna meeting with Viktor Shokin who was that fired prosecutor from the Ukraine. And Nunes produced pictures of himself somewhere else and said look this is Michael Cohen in Prague kind of story and indeed it had no basis.

MACCALLUM: I mean, a lot of folks trying to make some money on some deals in this whole process. It appears to have blown up in their faces. Byron, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.

YORK: Thank you Martha.

MACCALLUM: Some shocking new comments this evening from the Iran Supreme Leader who says that God allowed his country to deliver a slap to the United States' status as a superpower. Victor Davis Hanson joins me next with a warning.



TRUMP: The American people should be extremely grateful and happy. No Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime. We suffered no casualties all of our soldiers are safe.


MACCALLUM: That was the understanding at that time, the Pentagon now confirms that 11 U.S. service members were injured in last week's Iranian missile strike. All 11 have experienced concussion-like symptoms and they were flown out of Iraq and are being screened for traumatic brain injuries. We certainly hope that they make out well with those exams, as Iran's Supreme Leader praises the attack against what he calls "An arrogant power."


AYATOLLAH KHAMENEI, IRAN SUPREME LEADER: These American clowns who with lies and utter evil say they stand by the Iranian people, they should see who the Iranian people are. A force, a nation has the power the spiritual power to give such a slap to a bullying world power.


MACCALLUM: Joining me now is Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Author of "The Case for Trump." President Trump tweet back about this just a short while ago. He said the so-called Supreme Leader of Iran who has not been so supreme lately has some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe. Their economy is crashing and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words. Victor, thank you for being here tonight. What do you think about the back and forth and the tenor of what's going on right now?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON, SENIOR FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTION: Well, I think everybody kind of has accepted the parameters of this tension, Martha that if Iran kills another American, I think Trump is going to respond and that response is going to be on the mainland of Iran, and it is not going to be with ground troop or probably manned aircraft. Probably going to be missiles and it is going to take out a billion or half a billion dollar asset whether it's a power plant or a nuclear facility or an airbase or something of that sort. It could be an oil refinery. And Iran knows that. We should also realize that that is not a static situation because in the last year and a half, the Iranian economy shrunk by 20 percent. It's nearing 40 percent unemployment, by the end of the year, it will probably be there excuse me 40 percent inflation and probably 20 percent unemployment. Every day they are losing and they only have a limited range of choices and it's their decision which one to make. So I think that we are watching this situation and they don't want to escalate because if they kill a lot of Americans they are going to lose a lot of assets and we are not going to lose any. And yet they don't want to go back to the Iran deal because they got such a windfall, it would be quite humiliating at this time around, they agreed to snap inspections or complete transparency or we included guided missiles on the deal. I don't think they'll do that. I don't think they can - as I said I don't think they can just do nothing. So what the fourth alternative is they're going to try to make things difficult to American interests or assets to third parties and then have a deniability of culpability. But why we heard the leader so angry was, he understands it's not static, he state that this continues his country is getting a little bit more unhappy with the regime and much poor. So we should - that's the same thing with China and the tariffs that everybody said were not affected by the North Koreans, didn't care about the sanctions. The United States has created a system or situation in which all three of these countries have to do something because it's not in their interest of the status quo. We should remember it's a dangerous situation.

MACCALLUM: I thought it was very interesting that Ayatollah Khamenei spoke about the protesters. The President has spoken directly to these people in the street and has said we support you. And he is saying, Khamenei is saying, you know, he doesn't understand the Iranian people. But there is, this regime has its back against the wall. And there are people who want regime change. If we had support in nudging that from our allies, you know, if we had an agreement, you heard Boris Johnson talking about a Trump deal. You know, is this the moment that you think could produce actual change in the regime?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON, SENIOR FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTE: Yes, I think it is. And I think go back to 2009 during the so-called Green --


HANSON: -- protest in the streets, and Barack Obama was very careful not to come out and support them because he wanted an Iran deal and he understood that in the mind of that theocratic government, it was a taboo for a foreign power especially the United States to show solidarity with these protesters because it's very unstable regime. And Trump has done just the opposite and that's why they're terrified --


HANSON: -- and paranoid about it because they understand that that's a real weakness.

MACCALLUM: We are watching it very closely, it's fascinating situation. Victor Davis Hanson, always good to see you, sir. Thank you very much.

HANSON: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

MACCALLUM: So, for the first time in a decade, women have overtaken men as the majority of the United States workforce. So how will women vote in 2020?



TRUMP: As we begin the new year, our economy is booming, wages are soaring, workers are thriving and America's future has never ever looked brighter.


TRUMP: Never.


MACCALLUM: That was back in January 9th in Ohio, President Trump heading into the election year, very strong economy on his side. U.S. stocks day ended the week at record levels bumping up against 30,000 here which is just unbelievable for the Dow Jones Industrials. Unemployment is at a 50-year low or near a 50-year low. For the first time in nearly a decade, women have overtaken men as the majority of the United States workforce. Leading some to suggest that they're winning big under President Trump. A columnist writing for Real Clear Politics wrote this. "Millions of women across America have now been lifted out of poverty and are no longer reliant on government assistance. Democrats continue to pay lip service saying that they are the party for equal pay, child care, and female empowerment while the Trump administration is actually moving the needle on all these things." That's a Real Clear Politics editorial. So here now, Lisa Boothe, Fox News contributor; and Rochelle Ritchie, former press secretary for the House Democrats. Great to have both of you with us.


MACCALLUM: You know, I mean, the numbers we show I would say, you know, no matter what you think about President Trump, this economy is in fantastic shape.

ROCHELLE RITCHIE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes. I mean, you have to give him credit that he does have a strong economy and obviously going into the election this is going to bode well for him. But I think that, you know, a lot of times we hear about the African- American unemployment he talks about that a lot. But I think that when you look at individual cities, for instance, Atlanta, 11.5 percent, Cleveland 17 percent, black unemployment. I think there's a different feeling from those numbers to when you go into these actual cities that are predominantly black and the way black Americans feel there. So, it is very different. And when it comes to women there still a huge wage gap when it comes to women. Like you mentioned the 50-year unemployment low is absolutely wonderful but wages have only gone up 2.9 percent in that period of time. So, I think that if he is going to make that argument towards women and especially towards black Americans, then he's got to find a way to really put forth policies that are directly impacting them.

MACCALLUM: Lisa, what do you say?

BOTHE: Well, I think the challenge for Democrats right now is they are running out of room to run against the president. And when you run against an incumbent president you have to convince Americans that they need change7. You have to convince them that there needs to be a change in trajectory. And when look at the economy, even for women, you look at the fact that, as you mention more women in the workforce than men for the second time in history. You look at the fact of record unemployment levels for women cross-country. Women are winning underneath Trump so there is less and less room for Democrats to run against the president. So that's going to be a challenge for them. And his policies have benefited women. You look at the tax reform laws doubling the child tax credit, that helps women. You look at hundreds of millions of dollars and investment for young women trying to encourage them to go into STEM, in the STEM field. So, he has invested in women as policies have benefited them, and another benefit he has, is he's sitting on over $100 million of a war chest for 2020 that he can go out there under his own terms through paid media messaging and letting them know.

MACCALLUM: One of the things that I find really interesting here is that he hasn't sort of specifically targeted, you know, I'm going to try to help women get more jobs. Right? That hasn't been the way he's gone about it. But you've got 272,000 jobs added for women and manufacturing, 127,000 in construction. So, what he has done is lowered regulations, cut corporate taxes in the tax reform plan then you've got a China trade deal and you've got a USMCA trade deal. And what's happening is that all the boats are being lifted. Companies are investing, companies are hiring people, companies can't even find enough people to hire. So, I just think it's an interesting and totally different approach than what you usually see from Democrats who says we're going to empower women, we're going to have, you know, programs to help women, lift everybody.

RITCHIE: I think the challenges of the Democrats are going to have to meet when it comes to President Trump is really getting to the specifics. I mean, I think they really have to dig deep into some of the things that he's done that were not to the benefit of women. For instance, with the -- was the EEOC where he overturned the Obama rule where they had to go in and they had to get paid data for gender and race. And that was supposed to address pay discrimination. Of course, the judges ruled that that was, you know, pretty much unethical and they reinstated it. But I think they have to look more --


MACCALLUM: Those women were making more money anyway.

RITCHIE: Well, certain women are.


MACCALLUM: I mean, people --

RITCHIE: Certain women are. Because this is a very important way.

MACCALLUM: No, it's never going to be everybody. But there are fewer people out of work than we've had in decades and decades.


RITCHIE: That's true but. But when it comes --


BOOTHE: But it seems like you're grasping at straws.


BOOTHE: And I think that's when Democrats --

RITCHIE: I would that that's what the Democrats have to do. They have to get this --


BOOTHE: But you're grasping at straws. I mean, you look at --

RITCHIE: But the thing like we have black women make 23 percent less than white men and 4 percent less than white women, so we're still not benefiting from whatever --


BOOTHE: Women as a whole are benefitting.

RITCHIE: -- the economy is.

BOOTHE: You look at -- you're looking at near record lows for African- Americans, for Hispanics.

RITCHIE: Why don't you go down --

BOOTHE: And I think one issue that President Trump -- yes, it is.

RITCHIE: Nationally.

BOOTHE: I think one issue that President Trump can also run on is you look at school choice. And that's something that Democrats cannot run on as well --

MACCALLUM: Absolutely, yes.

BOOTHE: -- because they have to appease the teacher's union.

RITCHIE: Well Cory Booker was --

BOOTHE: No. But the school choice was a difference maker. If you look at the Florida gubernatorial race in 2018 for Ron DeSantis, he got 18 percent --

MACCALLUM: Absolutely.

BOOTHE: -- of African-American women.

MACCALLUM: Andy Gillum was against it.

BOOTHE: Exactly.

MACCALLUM: And they said he ended up hurting him with a lot of African- American moms, you know, who have children, who wanted to have that option. So very interesting. Good to see you both.

RITCHIE: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Thanks a lot, Rochelle. Lisa. Always good to have both of you here. Coming up next, the man who helped crack the case on Harvey Weinstein only to have his story quashed by NBC News is here tonight with a whole new story. Journalist Rich McHugh joins me exclusively next.


MACCALLUM: So, the stage is set for the Harvey Weinstein sex crimes trial in New York. Twelve jurors, seven men and five women in panel today in New York could hear testimony as soon as next week. The judge also shut down a defense appeal to move the trial to a different county arguing media coverage has tainted the jury pool. This on the same day that a wide-ranging story is dropped by a former NBC News producer Rich McHugh who worked with Ronan Farrow featuring highly detailed accounts from 30 Weinstein accusers. Here are just a few. "Harvey Weinstein pushed me against my coat rack and raped me, and then walked out." That is from Lysette Anthony. This one is from Rowena Chiu. "I never had a Chinese girl," Harvey Weinstein said to her, she reports, "so you are going to be my first." Then this one, "he assaulted me in his hotel room that night without my consent," that from Caitlin Delany. Joining me now the author of this piece, Rich McHugh. Rich, you know, just reading through these accounts today. I mean, they're chilling and as you point out, they are all so eerily similar.

RICH MCHUGH, FORMER PRODUCER, NBC NEWS: It's shocking. I mean, that was one thing after having these conversations with all of these women, it's, first of all, how strong they are, but the repetition.  MACCALLUM: Yes.

MCHUGH: It's like two are. Every story are -- was the same at a certain point in THE STORY and then they were diverged. But they all went through just horrific things.

MACCALLUM: He had a formula for sure.

MCHUGH: yes.

MACCALLUM: You know, I want to play for you, this is a sound bite, I interviewed Donna Rotunno who is the lead defense attorney for Harvey Weinstein. You can see him hobbling up the stairs there in that image. She said it's easy to look back and say, you know, maybe I didn't love that experience. Well, OK, regret sex, she says, is not rate. And then she went on to say this in my interview with her. Watch this.


DONNA ROTUNNO, HARVEY WEINSTEIN'S ATTORNEY: These are women who had a relationship with Mr. Weinstein and --


MACCALLUM: So, you are saying it's transactional on their part?

ROTUNNO: Correct.


MACCALLUM: What do you say when you hear from his defense attorney, Rich?

MCHUGH: Well, I know that women themselves would say that's quintessential Weinstein, blaming the victim. And, you know, after speaking with all these women and hearing from them firsthand, none of them, none of them to a t wanted to be in the situation. And you know, hearing the trauma that they've -- that many of them have gone through and now pulled through. I think it's, first of all, I think it's remarkable for them. But I think that kind of comment is insulting to them.

MACCALLUM: You know, it's so difficult. You know, everyone deserves due process and Donna Rotunno says that's why I'm representing him. And I said, do you think he is innocent. She said, yes, I do. I said would you represent him if you thought he was guilty, and she said, yes, I would people deserve to have a defense. So, this defense comes down to two specific cases. One is a sexual assault case and one is a rape case. You know, as all of these women that you have gotten to know and you've heard their stories as they watched this play out, are they worried that he is going to get off the hook?

MCHUGH: I think there is a level of anxiety about that for sure.


MCHUGH: You know, but they will all say -- most of them say, that, you know, this is -- this is bigger than Harvey Weinstein. This is, this is one man, and sure he should go to jail for the rest of his life. That's their words, not mine. But they say, you know, this is just the beginning. And it represents a lot if he does get convicted, but they also realize these are hard crimes to prosecute. But they do say we're not going to stop.

MACCALLUM: So, the defense say and I'm very wary about using a broad brush with these because I feel like every case is an individual case. Some cases are strong, some cases are weak, some people may be telling the truth and some people may not be telling the truth. And you have to deal with sort of every one of them individually. And you know, that there's this sort of from what she is saying is, wait until you see these e-mails, wait until you see the text messages that some of these women sent after the fact, you know, after these horrific things that they described. And then they are saying, you know, love -- lots of love, you know, Susie, that's a made-up name. What do you say to that that some of them carried on text message relationships with him and e-mail relationships with him?

MCHUGH: I think it's murky, every situation is different. It should be said that there can be sexual assault in marriage, and in many cases, these women were either working for him, or you know, trying to work with him. And it's confusing having spoken to them, that's what I take away from them. It's that, you know, they are -- in some part of your brain you are trying to rationalize what happened, the trauma. And there's like this part that sometimes you go to your captor, like Stockholm syndrome or something. So, I think there's tremendous shame for them and they are trying to process it, but it's not cut and dried by any means.

MACCALLUM: You know, I mean, you tried to get THE STORY out as a producer at NBC working with Ronan Farrow who then on to write "catch and kill" based on a lot of the work that you guys did together. How do you -- while they watch all this play out, and they see these new pieces that you write, you know, what do you think goes through their mind knowing that they could have been on THE STORY and they could have led this charge a long time ago, if they had done your story?



MCHUGH: I don't know. I'd love to know, frankly. If anybody there -- I know a lot of the journalists are exceptional there. The management, I don't know what they believe. Whether they actually believe that they were in the wrong that they should have come out in front of us and said, we screwed up or we should have aired this support. I've heard privately that there is some of that sentiment but I've never heard it publicly. You know, I think everybody knows around the country, really, who has been paying attention to this, what happened.

MACCALLUM: Rich McHugh, thank you very much, Rich.

MCHUGH: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Great reporting. Great story. We hope you'll stay in touch as this whole thing starts to unfold.

MCHUGH: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Good to see you tonight. More of THE STORY coming up next.


MACCALLUM: So, this February 19th marks 75 years since the beginning of the assault on Iwo Jima. A grueling 36-day World War II fight involving 70,000 U.S. marines taking on 21,000 Japanese forces battling for control of the tiny island 750 miles south of mainland, Japan. The island of Iwo Jima had two crucial airfields that would have been needed for any U.S. invasion of Japan as well as damaged B-29 bombers making those early bombing runs as a place to stop to get repaired. Now, in all, more than 20,000 Japanese forces were killed along with nearly 7,000 U.S. marines. And tonight, organizers of next month's ceremony honoring them in Washington are asking for your help to track down living veterans of the Iwo Jima battle. Joining me now is Shayne Jarosz, director of special events at the Iwo Jima Association of America. Shayne, great to see you.


MACCALLUM: I should just mention we met on Iwo Jima last year. I was there doing research and learning all about it and you were such an enormous help. So, I thank you so much for all that you've done in helping me with the unknown valor journey and, you know, getting all of that down on the record. So, tell me why -- you are a marine, former marine and also a history teacher. Why do you dedicate your whole life to the Iwo Jima association?

JAROSZ: You look at today's generation, and it was just -- these men are amazing. Even today, 75 years later, there's no thumping of the chest. There is no bravado. There's just quiet calm. They did the job that they had to do. They looked for no accolades and they got home and they decided it was time to go off and live a good life. And they did such a shining example for us. What they sacrificed is what the Marine Corps and what we're -- we should all be standing on their shoulders and trying to do better than they did. And I fear we are falling short.

MACCALLUM: I think you are very right. Every time I meet one of these men, it's just so humbling. They are so humbled and so -- and the first thing that they will usually mention and I think you would agree are the other buddies that they left on the island and how lucky they feel that they got to live their lives. So, tell everyone at home who you are trying to reach and what you want them to do during February in Washington, D.C. and Arlington.

JAROSZ: So, February 26th to 29th we are going to have a commemoration in honor of these gentlemen. And we want to remember those who lost their lives on Iwo but we want to celebrate those gentlemen that are still with us today. So, we want to have a huge party for them. We've got so many partners that are helping us out with this event from February 26 through 29. And all the information is on our web site And it starts on Wednesday, February 26th. We've got people like the 29 Diner who is going to feed all of our Iwo vets every single night. We've got the Radio King Orchestra who for the last 10 years has performed for free. We've got American Airlines flying who is flying out all of our Iwo Jima veterans.

MACCALLUM: Yes. This is something that I just want to mention. We got to wrap it up. But if you have a friend, a family member --


MACCALLUM: -- a neighbor, anyone that you know who is a surviving veteran from Iwo Jima, please let them know about this event and reach out to the Iwo Jima Association of America.

JAROSZ: Please.

MACCALLUM: I've put it on Facebook and all of that as well. And you can find information there as well. And reach out. And it will be made so easy for them to attend this event with a family member, with an escort, with somebody who can travel with them. And it is going to be such an amazing way to honor these men, most of whom who are in their 90's.


MACCALLUM: So, Shayne, I thank you for all you do --


JAROSZ: Thank you so much.

MACCALLUM: -- for the Iwo Jima Association of America and 75th anniversary. This is the challenge coined from that event and all of these amazing things that we are going to do to remember these men. So, let's get them together and get them there.

JAROSZ: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Thank you for coming to New York.

JAROSZ: Thank you so much.

MACCALLUM: Good so see you, Shayne.  So that is THE STORY of Friday, January 17th, 2020. But as always, THE STORY continues, so we will see you back here Monday night at seven. And then we start the impeachment week, folks. So, hang in there with us. Have a good weekend. We'll see you then.

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