Gidley: Several people in government leak information about our national security

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," October 15, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR: Yes, take that ahead. Kicking off in an hour. Bret, good to see you. We look forward to that coverage throughout the evening.

So, tonight, as Bret has just been talking about, dozen Democrats are going to take that big stage for the fourth debate in Ohio. Hunter Biden tried to ease concerns about his role in some of his father's campaign and the issues there, try to wash that whole story away from his father's campaign today. Here's a bit.


HUNTER BIDEN, SON OF JOE BIDEN: You know what, I'm a human. And you know what? Did I make a mistake? Well, maybe in the grand scheme of things, yes. But did I make a mistake based upon some on ethical lapse? Absolutely not.


MACCALLUM: But the reaction to the interview and the timing of it left a lot of people asking questions about all of that in the media and in politics. Some of them is scratching their heads today.


JAMIE GANGEL, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Why they chose it today? I can't imagine there is a political adviser who thought it was a good idea.

ROBBY MOOK, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: But I don't think this is going away. And there's no perfect solution. The campaign's just got to manage through it. Look, if I were sitting next to Hunter Biden right now, I say, buck up, my friend.

TERRY SULLIVAN, NEWS POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR, CBS: You know, at least he's taking responsibility for it, but it does look kind of awful like -- if I were sitting next to Hunter Biden, what I'd say is, don't ever go on T.V. again, ever. You look awful. Like -- you look -- you look guilty. You know?


MACCALLUM: Longtime friend of the Bidens, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, put it this way simply, "I wouldn't have put Hunter on the air," said the former governor.

Joining me now with reaction and a look at what the Biden campaign hopes to do tonight is Symone Sanders, Biden 2020 presidential campaign senior advisor. Symone, thank you very much. It's good to have you back on the program and I know you all have a big night ahead.

So, thank you for being here.

SYMONE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISOR, BIDEN 2020 CAMPAIGN: Thank you for having me, Martha.

MACCALLUM: You bet. With regard to this interview today, you know, we're hearing that this -- it was completely Hunter's decision to do the interview. Was there any discussion about it at the campaign?

SANDERS: No, this was absolutely Hunter's decision to do the interview. And, you know, frankly, Martha, for three weeks, Hunter Biden has been the focus of attacks. Lies and frankly smears -- unsubstantiated smears by the administration, Donald Trump himself and the Trump campaign.

And so, it's no surprise, frankly, that he wanted to come out today and speak for himself, and that's just what he did.

MACCALLUM: Yes. So, did -- but was it discussed at all? I mean, did anybody -- did you personally sign off on it, and say, yes, we're OK with this? And what's the campaign reaction to how it went?

SANDERS: Well, Martha, Hunter Biden isn't a part of the campaign. We don't book his press, we don't tell him who to interview with or how to interview. So, this was completely his decision. And what we'll say is Hunter spoke with conviction today. He was strong, he was forceful, and frankly, he answered every single question thrown at him. And that's more than what we can say for Donald Trump and also Rudy Giuliani.

And so, our posture is this, Martha. The only reason we're having this conversation is because Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani injected these lies and smears into the atmosphere. And you know why they did it? Because Donald Trump is terrified of facing Vice President Biden in the general election.


MACCALLUM: Let me ask -- we're going to talk about that as well. I want to ask you about this question which I thought was very interesting from Amy Robach, which is sort of a big picture, you know, this is what disturbs people about the way politics and big-money tend to work. Watch this.


AMY ROBACH, TELEVISION PRESENTER, ABC NEWS: What do you say to people who believe this is exactly why people hate Washington? A vice president's son can make money because this where your father is doing -- official government business.

BIDEN: No, but, by the way -- well, I don't know what to tell you. I made a mistake in retrospect as it related to creating any perception that, that was wrong.


MACCALLUM: He says, who says this? Is there an out-of-touchness in that answer that -- you know, people don't understand that when -- you know when there's that -- he said, you know, I probably there's a lot that never have -- would have happened in my life if my name hadn't been Biden. I probably wouldn't have gotten this job if I hadn't been a Biden.

What does he not understand about the questions and concerns about that?

SANDERS: Well, Martha, I do believe, actually, I saw some criticism online about this from Donald Trump Jr. of all people, who was obviously a bastion of ethics that we should, should all look to as an example.

I'll say this. In a Biden White House, unlike in a Trump White House, Vice President Biden's children will not have offices in the West Wing. Vice President Biden's children will not sit in nor his family members will sit in -- well, they won't sit in on Cabinet meetings as though they are high- ranking government officials. And they will not have any foreign business dealings.

So, that is the commitment that Vice President Biden has made. That's frankly a commitment that was upheld in the Obama-Biden White House, and that's what we continue to do if elected president.

That's more than -- way more than we can say for Donald Trump and how he's running his administration. And if we really want to talk about corruption, Martha, if you really want to talk about the swamp, look no further than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to the Trump administration.

Right now, I think, Nancy Pelosi -- Speaker Pelosi is going to a podium somewhere to speak from the House about what the House Democrats and the House across the board is planning to do in terms of this impeachment inquiry.

And Donald Trump is engulfed in the scandal of his own making, Martha because he stood on the White House lawn and asked foreign governments to interfere in our election. That's what this has talked about.


MACCALLUM: We're going to try, and we're going to talk to the White House, say in the next (INAUDIBLE).

SANDERS: So, if you want to talk about corruption, this is what -- this is what the real story.

MACCALLUM: This is not -- this is the White House and the next block all about that. But as we get ready for the -- and you know, you obviously, I'm sure the White House would take -- would take exception to a lot of what you just said. But I'll let them take that on themselves, and we're going to talk about some of that in the next block as I said.

With regard to this coming from the Biden campaign, a story in Bloomberg, Biden camp warns rivals off attacks on his family in the Ohio debate. Saying that no one who calls themselves a Democrat should bring up these discredited lies about Biden and his son, they would be making a profound statement about themselves.

Have you guys passed that message along because, you know, three of the opponents who are going to be up there tonight, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Beto O'Rourke have all said that they would never allow a family member to have the kind of arrangement sitting on boards with -- in Ukraine and China, two countries that the vice president was in charge of overseeing relationships with.

They've all said that they don't like that. So, the chances that they're going to bring it up, I'm thinking, are pretty good.

SANDERS: Well, Martha what we have heard -- we -- we're grateful for great Democrats like Pete Buttigieg and Cory Booker who -- and, you know, Senator Harris for, for frankly -- for saying, Senator Harris who said, look, everybody needs to leave Joe Biden alone and don't use this as a distraction.

Cory Booker, who Senator Booker who noted, if you're going to -- if you want to get to Joe Biden on this, you're going to have to come through me. Mayor Buttigieg, who said just last week, last Sunday, that these were unfounded, unsubstantiated smears, and --


MACCALLUM: Yes, all three of them said -- the three that I mentioned all said they would never have allowed their son to have this kind of position. So --


SANDERS: That -- right, all three of them said that. So, Martha, what -- so, our point --

Martha, if people want to talk about corruption, again, you can look at the Trump administration. We've been clear about what our policy would be in a Biden White House. There's no question where Vice President Biden stands on this.


MACCALLUM: But it wasn't that policy in a Biden vice presidency is the question. So, I mean, what changed, like as why it would be different now?

SANDERS: Martha, there was a policy. Martha, I want to be really clear, the conversation you and I are having right now is the conversation Donald Trump wants us to have. And frankly, the conversation Donald Trump hopes Democrats have on that stage tonight.

So, to answer your original question, we hope that Democrats don't take the bait. This should be a sensitive conversation about the issues. What's going on in Syria right now, President Trump endangering our national security interest and abandoning our allies. That's what we plan to talk about tonight.

If now -- other campaigns are going to have to make calculations (INAUDIBLE).


MACCALLUM: Well, yes, I mean the time -- I understand that.


SANDERS: We don't think it's a great calculation to (INAUDIBLE) Biden (INAUDIBLE).

MACCALLUM: We're covering Syria tonight, we're covering impeachment tonight, we're covering all of those stories out there. But the fact is that Hunter Biden went out there and made a big splash this morning with an interview.

So, it's pretty tough to avoid the questions about it tonight in that debate. Do you wish that he didn't do it this morning and maybe did it tomorrow or the next day?

SANDERS: Martha, Hunter Biden said -- I'm sorry, it was a little hard to hear you. But I'll say, Hunter Biden said today and answered every single question. He's a private citizen. He didn't have to say anything. But you know, he did, he came out, he took -- he took it on forcefully.


MACCALLUM: No, but I was just asking you, I'm sorry if you couldn't hear it from me. I'm asking you about the timing. Do you wish that that interview had not aired this morning? Is it inconvenient with the debate tonight making it top of mind for so many people?

SANDERS: Martha, Martha, fair question. For three weeks though -- for three weeks, Hunter Biden has been the subject of attacks from Donald Trump, his campaign and his henchmen, and his cronies. And so, it's no surprise, frankly, that Hunter Biden wanted to come out and defend himself. His statement stands for himself and frankly, we're proud that he spoke with conviction, conviction this morning.

MACCALLUM: No, so you -- so you stand by that decision to do it today.

SANDERS: Tonight, tonight on the debate -- Martha, we don't book his press. I think you're looking for me to say something that I don't have anything for you.

MACCALLUM: That's fine, you may not.

SANDERS: We don't book Hunter Biden's press. He is -- he has his right to come out and defend himself, Martha because Donald Trump is scared. He is scared of facing Vice President Biden in a general election.

And so, we're not going to play Donald Trump's game.


SANDERS: We are not going to again, allow these unsubstantiated lies and these smears to go unchecked. But we're also not going to allow this to consume our campaign.

MACCALLUM: All right.

SANDERS: And so, tonight on the debate stage, you can expect Vice President Biden to talk about all the issues. He's going to take all the questions on exactly he's done in previous debate, and that's what he (INAUDIBLE) to be tonight.


MACCALLUM: Well, we'll be watching. And he said he felt that he's got to be more aggressive tonight. So, we'll be watching all of it with great interest and all the candidates up there. Symone, thank you again for coming in tonight answering the questions. We really appreciate you doing that. Good to see you tonight.

SANDERS: Thank you so much.

MACCALLUM: Joining me now, Marc Thiessen, co-host of the American Enterprise Institute podcast. What the hell is going on? And Fox News contributor, always good to have you here, and we always love to.

MARC THIESSEN, CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be with you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: See the title of this podcast, because that's a question that we have pretty much every day around here.

THIESSEN: What the hell's going on?

MACCALLUM: You answer that question, Marc. I mean, what do you want to hear tonight? Do you think it's unusual that this interview aired today?


MACCALLUM: Is that timing good or bad? I mean, obviously, you know, I -- Symone Sanders doesn't want to take credit for that interview, and she also doesn't want to -- you know, she doesn't to own it, but she doesn't she give respects his right to do what he wants to do. He's a grown man. So, that's that.

THIESSEN: Yes. Yes, yes, no, I'll answer the question she didn't. They're very unhappy that Hunter Biden did this interview today because it makes it much more likely that see it now CNN can't and the New York Times can't avoid addressing the question in the debate tonight. So, it's going to come up. At least, I think better.

MACCALLUM: But maybe the thinking is, it's going to come up -- you know, we got to get this, we got to get past this, we have to get it out there, we might as well take the questions on it and deal with it.

THIESSEN: Yes, well, they will probably. They could have done that a few days ago, they could have done it tomorrow, doing in the morning of the debate is bad timing. But I mean, if you listen to her interview, every question you asked her, the answer was, look at Donald Trump, look at Donald Trump, focus on Donald Trump.

Joe Biden the other day was asked, what did you have a conflict of interest? And he said I'm not going to answer that. Let's talk about Donald Trump. That's what they're trying to do and what the problem of that is, it's possible that Donald Trump did something wrong in that phone call with Ukraine, and Joe Biden did something wrong in how he dealt with these -- with these issues with Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings.

The two things are not -- you know, incompatible. And so, they can't just push this off and say, look at Donald Trump and what he's doing and not address the fact that they had -- that Joe Biden had a major conflict of interest created by his son's business dealings in Ukraine and China when he was leading U.S. policy in both country.

MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, it's also -- it's not you know, it's also a fact that the prosecutor -- the new prosecutor -- everybody seemed to have their favorite prosecutor that they wanted for whatever reason in place.


THIESSEN: As we all know, you bringing prosecutor really well.

MACCALLUM: As you pointing out, there's a question -- that questions to go around on all sides, but now there is a new prosecutor in place and he's reopened this case.


MACCALLUM: So, the unfortunate thing for the Biden campaign is that in pushing this impeachment narrative, they've also, you know, it also dredges up something that makes them have to answer questions too.

What's the -- what's the number-one question that you'd like to see after tonight? I know you came up with eight? But give me -- give me your favorite.

THIESSEN: But I was supposed don't have eight. The number one question is -- I -- there's so many, I can -- it's hard to say one. But, you know, Hunter Biden just said that if he -- if he is the president -- if Joe Biden is elected president, he won't have any foreign business dealings and will comply with all regulations on ethics, on conflicts of interest and even appearance of a conflict of interests.

If those -- if that would be a problem for him if you're president, why wasn't a problem when you were vice president? I mean, the reality is, is that Joe Biden -- that what Hunter Biden's business dealings, Joe Biden should not have been running Ukraine policy if his son was working for Ukrainian and oligarch.


THIESSEN: There is clear federal regulations that he violated. And so, why did you violate those regulations or why did you not hand this off to somebody else?

MACCALLUM: Well, I mean it seems like you don't want to say no to his son when he wanted to hop on the plane. And you know, with they had sort of a Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, at least, according to them about what his business dealings were.

So, we'll see we're closed tonight what they -- what they do end up asking, it can be very interesting. Marc, thank you. Always good to see you.

THIESSEN: Thanks, Martha. It's good to see you.

MACCALLUM: Always comes here to tell us what the hell is going on, so, we got that going for us. Thank you, Marc.

So, moments ago, Speaker Pelosi addressing the impeachment inquiry against President Trump. Here's what she said.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: So, the fact that we would be here in an inquiry that relates to the president asking a foreign government to help the president in his re-election by withhold -- granting or withholding the timing of military assistance that had been voted on by the Congress is just has so many violations in it.


MACCALLUM: So, that sets up some good questions for Hogan Gidley. He's going to join us in just a moment, White House deputy press secretary. Including reports today that John Bolton said that Rudy Giuliani was a hand grenade that was going to blow them all up. So, that and much more, coming up, when we speak with at the White House.

And also, Corey Lewandowski and Donna Brazile on deck to respond to the veteran news anchor who just called some Trump voters ignorant. We'll talk about that and much more with them too, right after this.


SAM DONALDSON, FORMER CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: Don't follow him to hell or wherever he's going, they don't care about the facts, they don't know about the facts.



MACCALLUM: Bombshells from ex-White House Russia advisor thrusting new figures center stage of the impeachment inquiry, former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Now According to The New York Times, Bolton told the advisor Fiona Hill to contact NSC lawyers after he got into the heated exchange with the E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland over how the Ukraine situation was unfolding.

Bolton said to Hill, according to her testimony, "I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up." He also reportedly described Rudy Giuliani as a "hand grenade who's going to blow everybody up." Giuliani is saying today that he is disappointed in John Bolton as tensions between those and current past ties to the president appear to boil over.

Here now exclusively White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley. Hogan, good to have you here this evening. Thank you for being here.


MACCALLUM: So with regard to John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani, I heard that Mayor Giuliani say, you know, that John Bolton just doesn't have a good understanding of the work that he was doing in the Ukraine, and that he doesn't understand the connection of the Ukraine to the origins of the collusion in 2016. Is that the White House's take to that John Bolton just doesn't understand the investigation here?

GIDLEY: Look, I haven't had a direct conversation with President Trump about John Bolton or any of the conversations that Fiona Hill talked with Democrats and all the secret hearings, backdoor meetings that she had on the Hill the last couple of days.

What I can tell you is the conversations the President and I have about this center around a much broader problem and that is the fact that there are several people in the federal government who consistently and dangerously leaked information about our national security to the press. It puts -- it puts people's lives at risk. It's got to stop. And it happens all too often.

We've seen so many of the President's calls leak, whether it was with Mexico, or with Australia, obviously, Ukraine was an issue. But it isn't just these shadowy people in the federal government, it's also members of Congress. Adam Schiff lied to the American people and he lied directly to members of Congress when he tried to pass off his own deranged demented words as that of the President.

In fact, if the call between President Zelensky and President Trump was so damning and damaging, why didn't he just read the text of the call? It wasn't, so he didn't.

MACCALLUM: Yes, we said that here. There was no need for him to improvise because the transcript was right there and I think most people would agree that his responsibility was just to stick to the words that he had in front of them. Maybe he -- I don't know. You know, he may regret that he did that freelancing on that.

But do you talk about people who the President is concerned about when you talk to him, and there is a story tonight that says that the White House believes that John Bolton may be the source of these leaks, that the President said that. Does John Bolton fit that description and is the President unhappy with what's going on?

GIDLEY: Look, again, I've not talked with him directly about what John Bolton may or may not said -- may or may not have said, but the broader point still remains there is definitely an issue. And what he's upset about is the fact that the media and the Democrats continue to focus on nonsense.

They're holding secret meetings, secret witnesses. We can't see them, we can't talk to them. It's tough to get questions out. And then they turn around and leak selective pieces of testimony --

MACCALLUM: Well, let me ask you this because this --

GIDLEY: -- to the media only to bolster their position and demean and derive this president.

MACCALLUM: I can understand why that would be frustrating. But you know, is it -- this is when John Bolton was working in the White House. So is it you know, your memory that there was friction between him and Gordon Sondland or that he was saying to people, you know, I don't like the way this Ukraine situation is being dealt with and I don't like the role that Rudy Giuliani is playing in it. You know, he was working there, you were working there, did that happen?

GIDLEY: Right. I don't know if any conversations about Rudy Giuliani between us, but when I was in meetings, the President wants to have discussions. He wants division. He wants to see the case laid out in front of -- in front of him, and then he ultimately makes the decision.

And it's our job as members of the administration to carry out what the President wants done. That's just a simple fact of at all.

MACCALLUM: All right, let me play this soundbite which we just got in from Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Watch this.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.: So we've been bringing witnesses in quite a few space. That pace is only accelerating. We've got a very busy few days and weeks ahead. But we are running into what we expected in one aspect and that is a complete effort by the administration to stonewall.


MACCALLUM: What do you respond -- how do you respond to that, Hogan?

GIDLEY: Yes. That's an absolute joke. And this is further proof that the Democrats don't have an agenda at all. You hear he didn't talk about USMCA, infrastructure, lowering drug prices, fixing the healthcare system, no, no. Instead, he'd rather focus on impeachment.

The American people don't want this. This man lied about the President on multiple occasions. He said he had stone-cold evidence about collusion with Russia. He didn't. He said he had -- he didn't have any information about the whistleblower. He did. He lied about Kavanaugh.

This is what Democrats have done repeatedly. And quite frankly, Congress has taken weeks off in the summer, six of them. They come back for a couple of days, and they went on vacation again --

MACCALLUM: Two more weeks.

GIDLEY: Now they're back in town and they're offering nothing to the American people.

MACCALLUM: Everybody would like that schedule. You know what, I do want to ask you something else that is of great substance and that is not related to impeachment, and that has to do with Syria. Our own Steve Harrigan is on the ground there.

He was reporting that there were U.S. military choppers flying low trying to protect our own people on the ground from attacks from the Turkish military. This is a very hot situation going on there, and I know the President has called for a ceasefire. Is the President think that this toothpaste can be put back in the tube here?

GIDLEY: Listen, it's more than just a ceasefire. The President is actually sending a delegation headed up by the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, also Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Robert O'Brien at the NSC, and Ambassador Jeffrey as well. We've got to fix the situation. The President has been very clear. But also he is --

MACCALLUM: Did Erdogan promise the president that this would not happen?

GIDLEY: I'm sorry?

MACCALLUM: Did Erdogan, President Erdogan promised President Trump in that phone call that this would not happen?

GIDLEY: Well, look, the President had a conversation with President Erdogan and Erdogan made some promises to Donald Trump. And Donald Trump said in the statement at the time, we have assurances from Erdogan. If he does not comply, if he does not hold up to those promises in his end of the bargain, he's going to move to wreck the economy, and that's what Donald Trump has done.

We did it before with the Pastor Brunson issue and we got the desired result. Hopefully, the crippling sanctions that we have placed now on Turkey will get the desired result again. We've got to get a ceasefire here and that's what the President is pushing for.

MACCALLUM: I hope so, absolutely. Hogan Gidley, thank you very much. Good to have you here tonight. Thank you for being here.

GIDLEY: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Also joining me now Corey Lewandowski, former Trump campaign manager and Donna Brazil, former Democratic National Committee Chair and Fox News Contributor joining us this evening. Good to have both of you here.

You know, obviously, you know, just talking with Symone Sanders tonight and then talking with Hogan Gidley, you know, both sides are pressing very hard on this impeachment scenario. And the Biden's on their side saying it's not about us, it's about President Trump. President Trump is saying it's not about us, it's about the Biden's.

Interestingly, Sam Donaldson, you know, thinks that a good chunk of Trump supporters have no idea what's going on and don't know the details of any of this anyway. Watch this.


Because remember, Trump has 30, 31 percent of hardcore. They'll follow him to hell or wherever he's going. They don't care about the facts. They don't know about the facts. OK, they're fine people except they're ignorant about these things that we're talking about, and they will not budge on that.


MACCALLUM: Donna, it reminds me a little bit of the, you know, basket of deplorables statement. You know, do people think that that is a good -- a good way to go to insult people who voted for the President of the United States?

DONNA BRAZILE, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Martha, I totally -- I totally disagree. I don't think it's the same comment. And I also believe when he said they're fine people, he was describing the attitudes of those who might -- may or may not be supportive for the President.

I don't, I don't treat my fellow citizens like that and so I'll let Sam speak for himself. I do believe that tonight's debate, it's really about substance but it's also -- it's also going to be about character. And the Vice President should address these issues. He will have 90 minutes when this issue, the topic of his son comes up.

And I hope that he's able to tell the American people directly what we all know to be the truth and get this behind him because Hunter Biden is a private citizen. He's not the one that is facing an impeachment inquiry. It is the President of the United States who was facing it over his call to another foreign leader to investigate or fine dirt. So I think that's the issue. But yes, the Vice President should answer that tonight.

MACCALLUM: All right. Well, speaking of the impeachment situation, Corey, we just got word that Nancy Pelosi has announced as we had been hearing that she is not going to call for a vote right now in the House of Representatives in order to move forward with an official inquiry here. What do you say to that?

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER CHAIRMAN, TRUMP 2016 CAMPAIGN: Well, the reason Nancy isn't going to call for a vote is because she knows that there are a number of Democrats in congressional districts that our first termers that were carried by Donald Trump in 2016, and she knows that this is going to divide her caucus.

It's going to ensure that those democrats who are sitting in congressional districts that Donald Trump won just four years ago are going to lose their election and she will become the first Speaker of the House to lose the majority on two separate occasions. So she doesn't want to call for this vote, because she knows that it's going to hurt her caucus and she knows that it also gives the privileges to the minority members of the caucus, meaning the Republicans, the opportunity to actually have subpoena power.

MACCALLUM: She definitely tried to have it both ways here. She's moving forward with hearings, moving forward with testimony, but not taking a vote which is what has been done. It's been the customer in the past in the Clinton situation and the Nixon situation.

Kamala Harris is going to be on the stage tonight and is going to try to stand out and move up in the -- in this group. She says you know that this thing could happen really quickly if they would just move forward. Watch this.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We got a confession, and they don't take a prosecutor to see that was a confession. I mean, we have a confession, we have a cover-up. In fact, when people say, well, how long do you think this impeachment process is going to be? Well, it shouldn't take very long because -- I mean, he did it out in the open.


MACCALLUM: Donna, what do you say to that?

BRAZILE: Well, first of all, the Constitution gave the House to sell discretion. I was a congressional staffer during the Clinton impeachment. This is a different ballgame. I think the leadership make the decisions as to how the procedures should be regulated.

And so far as worrying about the reelection prospects of members who won in 2018, they took the same oath of office as Donald Trump. They owe their allegiance to the American people in the Constitution so I hope that they put that first and foremost and that their regulation.

In terms of Kamala Harris, she's going to be a part of the jury. She's not collecting the evidence. That's the responsibility of members of the House.

MACCALLUM: All right.

BRAZILE: And based on my recollection, only Two members who are running currently are members of the House of Representatives that will be judging -- taking that vote when their vote occurs.

MACCALLUM: All right. Well, they are about to get out there and we'll hear what they say. Thank you very much, Donna and Corey.

BRAZILE: Thank you.


BRAZILE: Good to see you, Corey.

MACCALLUM: All right. So, coming up next, as the United States moves out, Russia has moved in, expanding its military footprint in Syria. “The Story” we will take you to the front lines tonight, right after this.



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY, MAJORITY LEADER: But leaving the field now would mean leaving the door wide open for a resurgence of this dangerous force and a new iteration of the Islamic state. Creating a power vacuum begging for the meddling influence of Russia.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Who else is benefiting? President Putin, Russian troops have now swept into the region according to reports. Russia envies the oil in northern Syria that it might control.


MACCALLUM: Very interesting. Those are senators today, right, sounding the alarm on how Russia stands to benefit from the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Syria. Moscow announcing today that military units have moved in to patrol the line between Turkish and Syrian forces after previously striking a deal with Kurdish fighters.

The Washington Post summarizing it today as one superpower ceded influence to another, according to them.

A lot of mixed feelings about this whole thing. Steve Harrigan in northern Syria with THE STORY.

STEVE HARRIGAN, CORRESPONDENT: Martha, a very complicated battlefield here along the Syria-Turkish border has just gotten even more complicated in the past 24 hours. If you think about it, on the one side you have Turkish government forces, you have Turkish backed Arab militias.

On the other side, you have Kurdish fighters and their U.S. allies, the U.S. is pulling out and now the Kurds have invited in Syrian government forces and their allies, the Russians.

So, you have the U.S. leaving and the Russians coming in on the surface, in the short term, it looks like a loss for the U.S. a gain in prestige, influence, power for the Russians.

If you look at a strategic city right now along the border, you have Russian forces playing the role that the U.S. used to play. As the mediator in the middle. On the one side, Syrian government forces, on the other side Turkish government forces right in the middle of the Russians negotiating, being the dealmaker between both sides. They may be trying to pull off a ceasefire before the U.S. does.

So, it certainly looks like a win for Russia at least in the short term but keep in mind, you know, this is just the start of what could be a very ugly war. Turkey is trying to do very grand things, it's trying to push in along a 200-mile border, 20 miles deep into Syria. It wants to resettle two million Syrian refugees, to take two million people from Turkey, move them back into Syria, and to do all this while fighting the Kurds.

Turkey has a modern powerful military but we've seen less modern militaries do quite well in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Kurds could be fighting Turkey for a long time. So, in the short term, is Russia a winner? Many people are saying yes. But check back in five years and see how this fight could be going. Martha, back to you.

MACCALLUM: All right. Thanks to Steve Harrigan in Syria tonight. Next, enraged Hong Kong protesters set fire to king LeBron James' jerseys after he returned from China and not to tweet in support of their pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

Ben Domenech just wrote a fascinating piece in the Federalist. He emerged himself with the protesters for three days. He says that there is a boiling point underneath the surface in Hong Kong that will burn you in an instant, next.



LEBRON JAMES, NBA ALL-STAR: And when you see something that is ingest or you see something that's wrong or you see something that's trying to divide us as a race or as a country, then I feel like my voice can be heard and speak volumes.


MACCALLUM: Could speak volumes. These protesters in Hong Kong see something unjust but LeBron James apparently sees nothing when it comes to their oppressive communist leadership in China where basketball and LeBron are king. In a response to this tweet heard around the world from the general manager of the Houston Rockets making his feelings known, LeBron says only this.


JAMES: I think that, you know, when you are misinformed or you are not educated about something, and I'm just talking about the tweet itself, you never know what are the ramifications that can happen. And, you know, we all see what that did. Not only did for our league, but for all of us in America, for people in China as well.

I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand and he spoke. We do have freedom of speech but there can be a lot of negative can comes with that too.


MACCALLUM: Yes. Sometimes there are some negative still with free speech thing.

Ben Domenech of The Federalist just spent three days embedded in the Hong Kong protest and wrote a piece about the young man who started it all, Marco Leung (Ph) who first protested no extradition to China before he jumped to his death as he missed supposedly the inflated police cushion that was there to catch him -- he is one of nine people who have so-called committed suicide.

There is a lot going on, Ben, and you were there to see it firsthand. First of all, what about LeBron, what's your take on that?

BEN DOMENECH, PUBLISHER, THE FEDERALIST: You know, I think that LeBron had an opportunity here to -- he's one of the few people who was bigger than the league itself. He can -- he can actually come out and say --

MACCALLUM: Absolutely.

DOMENECH: -- things that other NBC players cannot say. And I think in this moment he could have sent a message by saying something that really understood the value of free speech and express some sympathy for these American, American flag-waving kids who are in the street in Hong Kong, who are protesting on behalf of their personal autonomy and freedom and independence.

They like the NBA over there, they --


DOMENECH: -- it's a significant part of the NBA's business. LeBron could have sent a message there. Instead, by saying that this was about something to do with being uneducated or misinformed, that's not what was going on here.

The Houston G.M. retweeted an image that's been shared commonly in favor of the freedoms that Hong Kong has appreciate to this point, they don't want to see those disappear, they don't want to see Beijing draw that back from --


MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, if anything, it makes it sound like LeBron is the one who is living in a bubble --


MACCALLUM: -- and, you know, has been immerse in Chinese society through their work in the basketball leagues and all that. Tell me about the people on the streets, what did you find so unique and compelling about what's actually going on the ground?

DOMENECH: This is a broad-based expression on the part of the people of Hong Kong. I think people around the world are used to seeing the different instances where students come forward and protest, or where you have campus-based issues or class-based issues.

This was a broad-based movement that includes people from all classes and all walks of life. It's not just something that is for the young.

Some of the people who I saw who are boldest on the street were actually the adults who feel like they are seeing the autonomy that they have appreciated as members of the Hong Kong society for years being pulled away from their kids and from those who are going to follow behind them.

That's something that makes this very unique. You don't have a population of seven million people in Hong Kong and then have 1.5 to two million people in the streets without having a real basis for something beyond just -- we don't want to be extradited, instead, they want their autonomy to be protected and enshrined, they are worried that Beijing is going to pull it away from them.

MACCALLUM: Yes, it's interesting. The age difference, adults, children, it reminds me of like the French Revolution --


MACCALLUM: -- or in some ways even the movement against the norm (Ph) in this country which was broad based in many ways. We got to leave it there. But Ben, come back and talk to us about it some more. Thank you.

DOMENECH: Great to be with you.

MACCALLUM: Always good to see you with us especially on set in New York.

So, coming up next, a story exclusive with a former CIA spy behind a bombshell new memoir that talks about her work in the agency from posing as an international art dealer to getting extremists to stand down and not set off bombs. Her incredible story, next.


MACCALLUM: A former CIA spy penning a captivating new memoir about going undercover to carry out clandestine operations all over the world in what's being called one of the most revealing memoirs ever put to paper by an American intelligence operative.

But her accounts are being met with a little bit of pushback from some CIA officers. Amaryllis Fox is the author of "Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA" is here in moments.

But first, chief breaking news correspondent Trace Gallagher with the back story here tonight.

TRACE GALLAGHER, ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Martha, Amaryllis Fox claims current and former CIA officials confirmed that she worked for the agency from roughly 2002 to 2010, first as an analyst in CIA headquarters then in the National Clandestine Service. That's the arm of the CIA that spies overseas.

The book is replete with fascinating details and harrowing accounts, it is also surrounded by controversy because she submitted the book for publication without approval from the CIA's publication review board. The board is there to make sure no secrets are being revealed or lives put in danger.

Fox said she gave the CIA a manuscript more than a year ago corrected a few minor suggestions made by the agency and hasn't heard back. But the book reportedly includes the sort of details that the CIA has censored from other books like when Amaryllis Fox pose as an art dealer in China seeking to infiltrate nefarious networks that acquire nuclear weapons.

And because Fox claims she operated under the non-official cover or NOC, the details are especially sensitive because that means she pose as a private citizen, not a diplomat leaving her without diplomatic protections.

And in the book, she talks about things like the CIA, obtaining false I.D.'s for motor vehicles and passport agencies, information many believe the nation's top spies are not eager to share.

Fox acknowledges changing certain facts and names to protect national security but says any fictionalization is inconsequential. But some former CIA agents think much of the book might be fiction and they point to the climactic scene where Fox claims she met alone with Al Qaeda terrorists in an effort to stop them from setting off a radiation bomb in Pakistan.

She says the meeting was successful. Her critics say the agency would never would have sent an American case officer alone to meet with dangerous extremists. Fox maintains the book is absolutely true even if every detail is not. Martha.

MACCALLUM: Trace, thank you very much. Here now exclusively, Amaryllis Fox, author of "Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA." You and I spoke for a while earlier and that's going to be on the podcast of The Untold Story. And I encourage everybody to listen to it because there is so much here to tell.

But just a few minutes here. And you know, answer some of those questions that Trace brought up in the piece about the pushback and that meeting with the Al Qaeda operatives.

AMARYLLIS FOX, AUTHOR, LIFE UNDERCOVER: Yes. You know, it's a long and important process that we go through, right, when we want to share stories that we feel like are in the public interest but may be don't know what is and is not appropriate to share at this particular moment.

And so, for me, the details operationally and in terms of identification that I got guidance needed to not to be in the piece, gave me a moment to say OK, well, does the story even make sense without them? Is this still a useful thing to share?

And in my case, because this isn't a book about one particular operation, this is a coming of age journey of understanding what it was to be an American, to be a human in the days of the war on terror and what are called the services each and every one of us as Americans. It made sense to me to share that journey even if I couldn't include every detail that I had experienced myself.

MACCALLUM: Is there anything in the book that you feel that they feel is divulging secrets that are going to put other agents in danger?

FOX: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. This is -- this is, you know, the New York Times said that it was a John le Carre meets, eat, pray, love that might be a little bit --


MACCALLUM: I think that's about right, having (Inaudible) for a while.

FOX: You know, this was very much I think we forget that young people in their 20s when they are doing this work, they are figuring out what their place is in the world and bearing this great responsibility. And I'm a huge believer in the fact that each and every one of us really has a call to service to our country, to our community, and that it's different for each and every one of us.

And one of the things that I hope that people take away from this book is that from many young people and especially young women, this is a form of service that can be incredibly rewarding, and that many people who don't necessarily feel as though it would be for them based on the movies could be extraordinarily valuable to their country in doing this kind of work.

And that is something that I think some of the Hollywood portrayals and other things that are out there don't really give a sense of, the fact that it's actually very soulful. This is about cultivating relationships and connections with sources, allowing them to come to the light side and be a part of leaving a legacy of freedom --


MACCALLUM: Talking to people out of becoming suicide bombers.

FOX: That's exactly right. That's exactly right. And in many cases, the ability to build that relationship can predict and prevent acts of war, and that saves our war fighters our brave men and women from being put in danger. And it's a form of service that I would really encourage young people to consider, if not that, then creating that same kind of dialogue in our own communities.

MACCALLUM: It's very interesting. I encourage everybody to read the book "Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA." Thanks a lot. Good to see you, Amaryllis. THE STORY continues right after this. Stay with us.


MACCALLUM: So that is “The Story” of Tuesday, October 15th, 2019. But as always, “The Story” goes on and we will see you back here tomorrow night at seven.

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