This is a rush transcript from "The Story," September 27, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Breaking tonight, President Trump begins the most important process of his first year. Everything is writing now on a successful new tax-cut plan for America. Health care is now back burned until January says the president, and it was a pride-swallowing night in Alabama. A win here for the White House is now essential as the president tries to get this thing back on track. The plan aims to slash taxes for the middle-class, let people keep more of your paycheck, eliminate loopholes that the tax accountants and the prep-ers just love, and cut down the process so regular folks can do their taxes. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Americans waste so much money, billions and billions of dollars and many hours each year to comply without ridiculously complex tax code. More than 90 percent of Americans use assistance to prepare their taxes. Under our framework, the vast majority of families will be able to file their taxes on a single sheet of paper.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Now, we've got a lot of applause. The brand-new Fox News poll just hot off the presses that shows that people like these ideas. 38 percent want a complete overhaul of the federal tax system; 51 percent say, yes, it does need some changes; 8 percent -- I don't know who these folks are -- they're like, yes, I think it works pretty well, I kind of like it. Reaction tonight from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who led the Republican Revolution in 1994 and taxpayer relief and welfare reform in the late '90s so he knows of what he speaks. But first, we go to Chief National Correspondent, Ed Henry, live at the White House with how the tax plan may help you if they managed to pass this thing. Hi, Ed!
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Martha. Moving quickly after yet another health care defeat to try and get some points on the board, President Trump is proposing a massive tax-cut, the biggest in decades -- some estimates pegging it at about six trillion dollars over the next ten years. But there are questions tonight about exactly how he's going to pay for it. The president, today, in Indianapolis saying that he's not going to benefit from this plan at all, insisting this will not help the rich, instead, he says, it's a once in a generation opportunity to help the middle-class.
The president specifically pitching massive changes, cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent down to about 20 percent. Consolidate seven different tax brackets for individuals down to a simpler three brackets, other plans say maybe it'll be four. New brackets would range from 12 percent to 35 percent down from the current highest personal rate of 39.6 percent. Eliminate the estate tax, the standard deduction would double for many households, plus a larger child tax credit. And mention the price tag to pay for this, the president is talking about other changes, repealing personal exemptions, repealing the deduction for domestic manufacturing, possibly eliminating other corporate loopholes, eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes. That has produced a divided opinion among Republicans.
Moderates like New York Congressman Peter King, saying eliminating the state and local tax deductions means workers faced double taxation. While on the right, a shot in the arm for a president. Conservative Congressman Mark Meadows, his all-important Freedom Caucus today said, they're endorsing the plan. Moderate Democrats and the Blue Dog Coalition called it a good start, but they warned Republicans they could either have an open debate and find compromise or "continued down the same failed path as they did with healthcare by producing a bill that caters to the extremes of their party." The Republican Senator Tim Scott said everybody should calm down and focus on the big picture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM SCOTT, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: If I could say this as simple as possible, I would say that this tax reform conversation is about #keepyourmoney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Keep your money certainly sounds appetizing but this is far from a done deal. The biggest hurdle for the president may simply be taking on that swamp he railed against during the campaign. The money, the interest here in Washington to want to keep the status quo. The Wall Street Journal reminds us today that there are more than 4,000 tax lobbyists here in Washington and what they want to do, what they get paid to do, Martha, is to protect those tax breaks and loopholes that benefit their industries, Martha.
MACCALLUM: They certainly do. Ed, thank you very much. Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, is Fox News Political Contributor -- has a new online course on defending America and wrote the book "Understanding Trump." Newt, good to see you tonight. So, first of all, you just share your overall impression of the plan, do like it?
NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, look, it's a remarkable achievement. You have the president of the United States, the speaker of the house, the Senate majority leader, they're all taking the same notes, they are all describing the same tax cuts. They all have the same commitment to middle-class tax cuts to small business tax cuts to economic growth. I mean, this is the opposite of what we saw all spring -- and I give President Trump and Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell a lot of credit. They have really worked hard along with the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady, and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Orrin Hatch, all of them worked hard to get one core position that moves forward.
And frankly, I think Ed had it pretty right. This is going to be a debate between would you like the money in your pocket or do you want to send the money to the swamp? And I think a number of Democrats, when they go back home, are going to discover there's a pretty big majority back home that wants the money in North Dakota or Indiana or Missouri or Montana, to take some states as examples, they don't want the money to go back to the swamp.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, they're all going to have to sort of sign on so that they're all on the same team if that's even humanly possible. Last night, we did the show from the rooftop in Washington and I said to a couple of people that were up there with us, what's going on? Every single rooftop there's a party going on tonight. You know, it's lobby night. You know, this is to entertain your local lobbyist night. Every rooftop around us, Newt. I mean, these people are not -- I'm not kidding. I was like, why weren't we invited? And then I figured out what it was. These people were not going to give in easily. They like how complicated the tax system is. How is that going to work?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, you mentioned earlier the eight percent who like the current system, I think they probably are all accountants, tax lawyers, and tax preparers. But in -- you know, in addition to that, remember, what Ronald Reagan taught us back when I was a very junior member: if you go to the American people, they drown the lobbyists. There might be 4,000 lobbyists in Washington, there are 315 million people in the United States. And if the average small business person anywhere in America realizes, this is a plan for a 40 percent reduction in the taxes for a small business. 40 percent reduction! Now, that's real money. And that allows them to hire more people.
MACCALLUM: And that's going to encourage them to -- yes, exactly. Hire more people, buy new machinery.
GINGRICH: You'll have 100 times as many small businesses call the average congressman as you will a lobbyist. And the pressure, the more people understand it, the more people are going to be for this tax bill.
MACCALLUM: So, Chuck Schumer is upset about what it's going to do to the debt, Newt. He feels like the growth target is just not going to be met, the growth target is three percent.
MACCALLUM: He says, you know, he's very concerned because he really thinks this is going to drive up the national debt, and you laughed.
GINGRICH: Look, Chuck Schumer, trying to worry about the debt is like your favorite alcoholic explaining that the next beer could be a problem. I mean, Chuck Schumer has stood for his entire career for bigger government, more spending, higher debt; nice try, Chuck. The fact is, the average American is going to face a simple choice: do you want more take-home pay, this bill gives it to you. Do you want more jobs? This bill gives it to you. You want American companies to be competitive in the world market? This bill gives it to you. Do you want your favorite local business, small business, to have a break? This bill does it. I mean, this is a very cleverly thought through the bill. And I think Schumer's concerns are going to be drowned.
MACCALLUM: Maybe so. But we all watched what happened with repeal and replace and we heard for seven years that everyone's on the same page, that they were speaking from basically the same script that, you know, they had differences in the way to go about it, but everybody was going to repeal and replace. So, for those at home watching this and saying, you know, prove it to me, what do you say?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, I can't prove it to you, time will tell. But I'll give you the basic difference. Obamacare involved a series of very painful, difficult, complex choices and there were a lot of big powerful interest groups who did not want it to happen. This is very different. This is the swamp in Washington wanting your money versus lower taxes for corporations to compete in the world market, lower taxes for small businesses to create jobs, lower taxes for the middle class to have more take-home pay. That's a lot easier sell than repealing Obamacare. And I have a hunch that the hard work that the gang of six put in between the White House, the House, and the Senate, they're actually ready tonight to go out and campaign on this tax bill.
MACCALLUM: All right. Newt Gingrich, thank you so much. Good to see you. So, still to come tonight, a strange turn of events in Alabama, you could say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, we have a man who's going be a great senator and I'm very happy with that.
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MACCALLUM: Chris Stirewalt and Dana Perino, here on what Roy Moore's win means for the future of the GOP. And a shocking new investigation from the award-winning team behind the movie "Spotlight." What they just uncovered about the thousands of planes flying over our heads every day is downright frightening. Plus, one of the winningest coaches in basketball history benched tonight by an FBI investigation as we tackle what's really behind the NFL anthem protest with some new statistics that shed light on the police killing claim and homicides in America when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRANDON TATUM, ARIZONA POLICE OFFICER: You have no idea what you're talking about! Listen, you play a game! The people who die for that flag, it isn't a game. That's real life! That's real sacrifice!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I spoke to him last night, I never met him, and never spoke to him. I'm very happy with him and I have to say it, Luther, came a long way from the time I endorsed him and he ran a good race, but Roy ran a really great race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Well, that was President Trump earlier. His candidate lost in Alabama last night and that has some people questioning who really has the make America great again the crowd. Reports today suggest that the president felt misled by Senator Mitch McConnell on this whole thing who persuaded him to back the wrong horse, so to speak in Luther Strange. Roy Moore, actually, rode his horse to vote and he has ridden his horse to work over the many years. Moore's win sparking questions about the president's own movement.
Commentaries Noe Rockman wrote this: "The problem for the right's populist- nationalist wing is that the right people are a moving target. Today, it's Mitch McConnell, yesterday it was the media, tomorrow it might be Donald Trump himself," writes Noe Rockman in a commentary today.
Chris Stirewalt, we bring in now, Fox News digital politics editor, and Dana Perino, Co-Host of "The Five" and the host of the new show, "The Daily Briefing" at 2:00, which we're all looking forward to. So, thanks, you guys. Great to have you both here.
DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Dana, let me start with you. Your take away from what happened last night in Alabama.
PERINO: Well, I think a couple of things. One, these races look like national races in a way because it was the only election happening, and it's special, and it's covered all across the news. So, there's the temptation for some to say, oh, well, this shows exactly what's going to happen in 2018 all across the country. And yet, I think in Alabama, there were some very specific things going on. Luther Strange had been appointed by the disgraced outgoing Governor, Bentley. That was already sort of a taint. Chris knows exactly what I'm talking about. I'll look up people if you want to take a look. And Roy Moore was very popular in the state already.
So, you could say that there was a miscalculation by the Senate Republicans to say let's re-endorse the incumbent, who was Luther Strange who'd only been there for nine months because Roy Moore is super popular in Alabama. What's very interesting to me is that, I think, what this proved is that in a Republican Primary you can run without the support of President Trump, what you cannot do is run against President Trump and neither Moore nor Strange ever did that. They all said that we're for President Trump, and he didn't even have to endorse. And I think this might be a lesson for the White House as well that you don't have to endorse in these primaries, let them fight it out.
MACCALLUM: And perhaps, a lesson for some of the health care as well, but another story. So, Chris, you say that you think now this sets up a very interesting race in Alabama, given Roy Moore's background.
CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR: Right. Well, Moore is -- he is a wild man. He is not afraid to say things that cause trouble for his fellow Republicans. When he talks about whether relations between people of the same gender are to even be legal when he says that God's law, Trumps' man's law on issues like this. This is a guy who refused to comply with an order from the United States Supreme Court. Roy Moore is going to be wilder than a peach orchard board down there, and he's going to cause Republicans heartburn.
I don't think Democrats can probably pull this seat off. They have about a good as nominees they can have, he's tough on crime, former federal prosecutor, he'll run to the middle, he'll do his best. But his job, his only job in the whole world is to make it close enough, really, so that Democrats can't force what they did in 2012 with Todd Aiken, who said unfortunate things about sexual assault. Their only job is to force Roy Moore into the national conversation as much as possible and make Republicans eat it.
MACCALLUM: Exactly. That's going to be very interesting to watch as these things move forward and it certainly wouldn't have been, you know, that kind of issue with Luther Strange. I mean, the stuff about the governor would've been brought up in all that but this is a whole different ballgame.
PERINO: But it's not like Luther Strange wasn't conservative. This is the interesting thing. When it comes to like, what you would actually vote on, and conservatism seems to be changing from not just what you believe but how you present yourself. The style points are getting rewarded in some of these races.
MACCALLUM: Yes. Chris, in terms of this, you know, make America great, who owns it thing, and the speculation that it, you know, sort of, could even turn on President Trump, what do you make of that?
STIREWALT: Well, there is certainly among his supporters and infantilization of the president. They treat him as if he doesn't -- among his core supporters here, we're talking about former Aide, Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and others seem to say, well, the president's is tricked, the president doesn't understand what he really wants. We know what his agenda is better than him. And infantilizing the president is not always a good way to go because at a certain point, Trump will take offense and he does have considerable political clout, he still has the support of three-quarters of the Republican Party. And yes, in Alabama you can make it, you can feed him Roy Moore and he'll have to eat it grim, but in those other states where people like Steve Bannon, Sarah Palin, don't have the kind of clout they do in Alabama.
MACCALLUM: Yes. As Dana said, the only person you couldn't run away from in this race was Donald Trump, which is very interesting, given all these numbers. Thanks, you guys. Great to see you both!
STIREWALT: You bet.
MACCALLUM: Coming up here next, this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GRISSOM, BOARD OF TRUSTEE MEMBER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA: There's a little bit of anger. It's not a happy day for the university.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: First it was paid escorts for the college basketball recruits. Now apparently, it's cold hard cash bribes and kickbacks. What has happened to patriotism and integrity in sports? We should point out while we show Rick Pitino that he says that he is not guilty of these things. Jim Gray will join me next. And the wife of American Sniper hero Chris Kyle has a message for the millionaire football players kneeling before the flag that he fought for and you should stay tuned for that. 16 years after the 9/11 attack, we have a much better handle on who's flying the thousands of planes in the sky, right? Wrong. A chilling report from the spotlight investigative team next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 16 years after 9/11 attacks and 13 years after a congressional mandate, pilots' licenses still do not include biometric capabilities or even a photo of the license holder.
MACCALLUM: So, it is sports implosion week as patriotism and just plain honesty appear to be swallowed up by self-importance and greed. From kneeling on the field during the anthem and now there's this new story about bribing college basketball players to come to your school. And Adidas will sponsor you when you go pro! The University of Louisville's Rick Pitino, one of the winningest coaches in college basketball history, effectively fired today amid an FBI investigation that has exposed what looks like the dark underbelly of the NCAA.
Pitino, along with them almost a dozen others is an allegedly part of a web of corruption using thousands of dollars in bribes to influence star athletes' choice of schools, shoe sponsors, agents, even tailors. What this means for American sports fans? Fox News Sports Analyst and Sportscaster, Jim Gray, good evening. Your thoughts on this?
JIM GRAY, FOX NEWS SPORTS ANALYST AND SPORTSCASTER: Hey, Martha, how are you?
MACCALLUM: I'm good, thanks.
GRAY: Well, you know, it's the underbelly that a lot of us have known has gone on in the NCAA has dealt with this but they're not an investigative authority. When you have the FBI now involved in this, it's a whole different level, these people are looking at massive felony charges and, you know, it's beyond disturbing but the corruption is inevitable and it's going on for a long time. When you have all of these entities who are profiteering the institutions, the shoe company, the television networks, the coaches and everybody involved except for the people were playing, they can't touch the money.
And it was a few years ago after the national championship for the University of Connecticut players sat up there and said, you know, I can't get a pizza after practice and I'm hungry. And so, this is no wonder that this has happened. The fact that it's on this scale and is serious, you know, it's disturbing, upsetting and despicable, particularly for everybody who loves college basketball in college sports.
MACCALLUM: Absolutely, I love college basketball. And you know, you look at the sport, you look at why you teach your kids, you know, why you want them to be involved in sports so they learn teamwork and integrity and honesty and, you know, putting other people before yourself out there, all of those good things. And as you point out, the double standard, where everybody is sort of, you know, taking something off the top from these talented young people and they get left with not a whole lot. That's sort of a whole other discussion. But you know, the stories in here of parents being sort of accosted by these middle folks who sit down next to them and say, gee, you could take care of your kids, why don't you come talk to us? It's really bad.
GRAY: And this has gone on -- and this has gone on for a long time and it's been under the table, and now it's being pushed to the forefront due to this FBI investigation. And all of the schools that are caught in this and these coaches that are caught in this, there are some that do go about it in the right way and they are now going to get mast into this pit, where everybody will now say it's prevalent and rampant. And it's just like the steroid-era in baseball, the guys who were doing it right are going to get totally overblown and just run over by those who have committed wrongs, and the wrongs aren't great and they need to clean it up and it's going to be a very difficult process to do it.
MACCALLUM: Well, those who are running good programs should rise to the top. Thank you very much, good to see as always, Jim.
GRAY: Thanks, Martha. Good to be with you.
MACCALLUM: So, also developing this evening, as the president continues to double down on his feud with the NFL over national anthem protests, an Arizona police officer Brandon Tatum has a simple message to those players who are taking a knee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TATUM: And I'm sick of you athletes -- I was an athlete! I'm sick of you all trying to act like just because you played in the NFL, you play sports somehow, somehow you are an expert on life. If you have no idea what you're talking about! The people who died for that flag, it isn't a game. That's real life! That's real sacrifice!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, he raises that question to these players, know what they're talking about. Many say that it's in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. But some new statistics show that they don't really have all the facts about this. The Washington Post found that deadly police shootings of African-Americans last year were down from 2015, and of the 233 that occurred in 2016, in over 70 percent of them, the victims were armed with guns or knives. There's a lot more to these numbers than that, that's one little piece of this -- I want to warn anybody when you think about this. But Dana Loesch, NRA spokesperson and Host of "Dana" on the BlazeTV; and Democratic strategist, Michael Starr Hopkins, joining me now.
And Michael, I want to start with you. You know, what you think about the fact that when you look at these movements and you look at all of these folks, you know, taking a knee, and there are players of, you know, all backgrounds who are involved in this, but there are a lot of African- American players involved in it. Do you think they really, you know, sort of know why they're taking a knee? And do they understand that the statistics are maybe not what they appear to be? And so much of this was founded in Ferguson, in hands up, don't shoot. And that story would spark so much of this which turned out to be not at all a hands up don't shoot situation.
MICHAEL STARR HOPKINS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I do. I think this is bigger than Ferguson. I think this goes back to some historical inequalities and how the justice system itself is broken. I think, these players, before they're athletes, they're human beings, they're Americans, and their experience is what they are calling on. And many African- Americans have had instances with police that are positive and some have had some that are negative. And I think what these athletes are doing is saying that we need to call attention to bad police, not all police because all police aren't bad. I think the police are good and are necessary and they're brave, and just like our troops who serve, we honor them. But in honoring them we also have to make sure that we point a light to the ones who aren't being honorable.
MACCALLUM: Right. And you've also have to point a light to the fact that if Michael Brown had followed the directions of the police officer he'd probably be alive today.
HOPKINS: I don't know.
MACCALLUM: Dana? I want to bring Dana in. Dana, your thoughts?
DANA LOESCH, THE HOST OF "DANA" ON BLAZE TV: Well, Martha, thank you so much for having me. I think I and so many other individuals are incredibly confused as to why so many people are taking a knee during the anthem. I mean, personally speaking, I remember back when Colin Kaepernick first began this. Let's not forget that he told nfl.com, August of last year, that he was doing it because the flag represented oppression. And it does feel like there is this movement to repurpose the anthem and the flag as these avatars of oppression. And, of course, we can't forget when he did take to the field he also did so in socks that depicted police as pigs with police hats on them. And then, of course, this was all politicized, as you mentioned, Martha, with the situation of Ferguson and Mike Brown. St. Louis is my hometown. And that was based upon a lie, the hands up, don't shoot.
Three independent forensic investigations, not to mention the witnesses, the testimony before the grand jury, from the individuals who actually witnessed it, they were there, they lived in the community and they completely contradicted the media narrative. And truth finally won out but not before the lie had gone twice around the world. And so that was predicated upon a lie. And it just -- I'm confused because it seems as though if we're going to raise awareness and we're going to begin an honest conversation about conflict and concern between two separate entities in the United States, we would do so and started based on truth.
HOPKINS: But I would push back on that and just say that Michael Brown was an isolated incident. And that when you look at the Philando Castile, you look at the shooting in South Carolina with the officer that was on record, you know, there are historical incidences where we could go back and say.
MACCALLUM: In most of those cases the police officers.
LOESCH: Philando Castile was under the influence of a controlled substance and video show that he repeatedly kept reaching, sadly, after he instructed over and over not to.
HOPKINS: He was a gun order, and rightfully had a gun.
LOESCH: Unless you're advocating carrying under a controlled substance, change that law because that is a very different thing. I mean, it's like almost you're advocating for carrying a firearm while under the influence of a controlled substance.
MACCALLUM: I think it goes back to what the back messages to send to our young people. When they see people taking a knee they need to have an understanding of why that is. And it can't be predicated on instances that turn out to not be true. And it needs to -- you know, the message needs to be put forth that is more positive and more inclusive. But when you think about the fact that, you know, a lot of the players wanted to wear the Dallas police office -- the Dallas Police Department stickers on their helmets to commemorate and remember the Dallas police officers who lost their lives, the NFL wouldn't let them do that, Michael. So there's a double standard here.
HOPKINS: That's because there was a rule specifically saying that the sticker have to be approved weeks before.
MACCALLUM: Doesn't that seem a little silly to you?
HOPKINS: I mean that's a rule just. There's a rule -- just like in the NBA there's a rule saying players have to stand during the national anthem, there's not one in the NFL. And so, you know, I think trying to compare apples and oranges misses the whole point, that we all love this country and we should be able to be critical of it while also pointing out its greatness.
MACCALLUM: Dana, last thoughts?
LOESCH: There was a Muslim player who was also in trouble with the NFL because he took a knee to say a prayer in the end zone and, of course, he got in trouble for that. But apparently taking a knee in protest of the flag or anthem is acceptable.
LOESCH: They have the free-speech right to do it, and we actually have the free-speech right to criticize it. It's just interesting the differences.
MACCALLUM: Thanks, you guys. Very good to have you both here tonight.
HOPKINS: Thanks for having us.
LOESCH: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So still ahead tonight, in the wake of violent campus protest we talk to famed attorney Alan Dershowitz, who is set to address Columbia University minutes from now and he fears that something along these lines could potentially happen to him. And what if you found out there was a tiny town in Texas that had a thousand planes registered there and no airports? How that lead to an explosive investigation on just who is flying the private planes overhead and what we did not fix after 9/11.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: American pilot licenses don't include a picture of the pilot despite an order from congress in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. And that's a big problem. If authorities don't know who's flying American planes, it's possible they don't know what those planes are being used for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: The award-winning movie, Spotlight, focused on a journalist's team at the Boston Globe who uncovered the rash of child abuse by priest in Boston. That team is now uncovering a new and frightening story about the privately registered planes to fly over our heads every single day and about how little we know about those pilots. It paints a picture of a post-9/11 reality that is actually stunning. Trace Gallagher, live in our west coast newsroom with this story. Hi, Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS: Hi, Martha. Sixteen years after 9/11, the Boston Globe spotlight team found that five people with ties to terrorism or international crime were still carrying valid FAA licenses to fly or repair airplanes. Astounding when you consider that eight years ago the FAA was actively warned about the very same problem. Then, there were at least eight FAA license holders with ties to terror. Including a student pilot convicted of possessing biological agents and toxins. And this man, Abdel al-Megrahi, the convicted bomber of Pan Am flight 103. In 2009, 21 years after the plane exploded over Scotland, Megrahi still had a valid FAA dispatcher certificate.
The Globe investigation also found LAX oversight allowed a convicted criminal from Iran to steal the identity of a professional U.S. pilot. The Iranian man wasn't caught until he crashed his plane in Denmark. And another man obtained a valid U.S. pilot's license using the identity of a dead man. Part of the problem is the only pictures on FAA licenses are of the Wright brothers, even though former Florida congressman John Mica took to the floor of congress in 2016 and pointed out that a day pass at Disney was more secure than an FAA license, watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Orville and Wilbur. Orville and Wilbur, I blew it up here, OK? It's a joke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: The FAA respond saying licenses are only meant to show training levels and that license holders must carry government ID. The FAA also points out that it is not in charge of policing the skies, that's up to TSA, DHS and the FBI. But as the Boston Globe found out there are also flaws when it comes to registering aircraft. One company discovered an FAA loophole that allowed it to help foreign nationals register their planes in the U.S. without publicly revealing their names. That resulted in a twice convicted drug smuggler crashing his U.S. register plane into a home in Venezuela, killing four people. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Help me, I'm burning. And finally, consider the Globe also found two of the planes used in the 9/11 attacks were still listed with the FAA as active until 2005. And that one in six aircraft in this country are registered through illegal means but are very hard, even for law enforcement, to determine exactly who owns the airplane. Martha.
MACCALLUM: Unreal. Trace, thank you. Joining me now, two people who played a key role in exposing these deep cracks in federal aviation security. Investigative reporter Jaimi Dowdell is the Boston Globe spotlight fellow, and Scott Allen is the Boston Globe spotlight editor. Good to have both of you with us tonight. I want to just dig right in here. Jaimi, you had sort of a, a-ha, moment when you started digging into the FAA. What was that, what triggered you on this story?
JAIMI DOWDELL, THE BOSTON GLOBE SPOTLIGHT FELLOW: Yeah, Martha. So, just with any story you tend to work off of a hunch, and so we were looking into these aircraft registrations with these companies and it wasn't until we saw a town of 2500 people with no airport that had more than 1,000 planes registered to them that we thought oh, my gosh, why are all these planes here? What is happening? And from there we just started to unpeeled the onion and go through all the layers that lead us to where we are today.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. And Jaimi, you've done -- the companies just can register planes, you know, anywhere, and they're sort of our fronts or something, right?
DOWDELL: Yeah. It is really easy to register a plane in the United States. I think as U.S. citizens we think we go through a lot of hoops to register our vehicles, but all you have to do is just fill out some paperwork, sign your name, send $5, it's $5, mail it to the FAA in Oklahoma City, and they're pretty much going to trust what you say.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. You know, Scott, we just looked at that poor family in Venezuela, a drug plane crashed into their home, killed several members of the family, it's a tragic story, but they were never -- it was registered in the United States, right? That plane. And they still don't know whose plane it was.
SCOTT ALLEN, THE BOSTON GLOBE FELLOW EDITOR: That's correct. It's really a tragic situation for the Gonzales family. They're minding their own business on the ground and the plane lands on the house and kills several members of their family. And for the next eight years, they are trying to find out who really owned the plane so that they can get some sort of justice. And they couldn't do it because the American registration system is so confusing. Asnaldo Gonzales, the father, calls it the monster. It's something that you can't penetrate and find out what's really going on, and so they were left with nothing and they haven't even been able to repair their house.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. Jaimi, what was supposed to change about all of this after 9/11?
DOWDELL: Well, 9/11 really should have been a wake-up call, right? And as we were reporting, 9/11 was constantly in the background, how is this happening in a post-9/11 world? But there were mandates. So, in 2004, congress mandated that pilot's licenses should have a photo and that seems like something really basic, but here we are 13 years later and we still don't have photos on pilot's licenses.
MACCALLUM: Why? Why not?
DOWDELL: Well, that's a good question for the FAA. There are a lot of excuses and it's just still hasn't happened.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. Scott, this team, and you're the editor of it now, has uncovered a lot of big stories. What's your sense of what the FAA reaction is to this? Is this going to lead to change?
ALLEN: Well, they say they're working with the FAA and expecting changes like walking through fixed glue, they're not an agency known for being a very fast reacting institution. But I will tell you this, they know that we were right, and they know that we were deeply right. There's nothing cheap about what we did, we laid out the case very clearly, and everything we said was true, and they need to stop and think about what they're doing.
MACCALLUM: Jaimi, what's the terrorism implication here?
DOWDELL: So, I mean, what we found through our course reporting, we found people with links to terrorism who were operating American aircraft. We found people with links to terrorism who have been certified by the federal aviation administration and many still remain active with their licenses. So the implication is that this is a system that has a lot of gaps, and the gaps can be infiltrated by bad actors.
MACCALLUM: All right. Jaimi, thank you very much. Jaimi and Scott, great work. Good to see you both tonight. And we'll be watching this story as it develops. We hope it brings some change as your last stories have. Good to see you both tonight.
ALLEN: Thank you, Martha.
DOWDELL: Thank you for having us, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So seems like these are familiar for some conservative speakers, but now a liberal lawyer thinks he may get a similar reaction when he speaks of an Ivy League school tonight. Alan Dershowitz joins me before his big talk to explain.
MACCALLUM: So within the hour, law professor Alan Dershowitz is going to take the stage at Columbia University. He fears that he may be the latest target of scenes like this. Protesters shouting down mostly conservative speakers. Recently, a Ben Shapiro speech at Cal Berkeley caused an estimated $600,000 per security, unbelievable, right? And who can forget the violence triggered by Milo Yiannopoulos appearance at the same school. Or Charles Murray, who was shouted down and had his car toppled on his way out of Middlebury. Here now, Alan Dershowitz is a Harvard Law School professor emeritus, and author of Trumped up, how criminalization of political differences endangers democracy.
Why do you think, given your background, you voted for Hillary Clinton, you've supported a lot of liberal causes over the years, why are they coming up after you?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Because they hate liberals as much as they do conservative. These are radicals who think they know the truth. They don't want to hear different points of view. In fact, liberals are their greatest enemies because we speak to some of the same constituencies. Tonight, I'm going to be speaking about free speech, I'm a liberal, I support free speech, they're against it. I'm going to be talking about Israel, the case where the two states solutions. They're against the two- state solution. They don't want to see Israel exist. So it's radicals versus everybody, versus liberals, conservatives, people in the center.
MACCALLUM: And who do you think is organizing these particular protesters against you?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think there are many groups. There's Student for Justice for Palestine that has a policy of disrupting pro-Israel speakers. They've been sanctioned and censored by many universities. We don't know whether Antifa will come, but certainly they have me in their crosshairs. There are other groups as well. Radical groups that don't like my liberal views. And so, you know, remember, I'm not like Yiannopoulos, I'm not like the kind of guys who come on campus to make a point to disrupt and to show how much free speech is suffering. They deserve complete protection of the first amendment. I'm a 50 year Harvard professor who is coming to talk rationally in a moderate way about the two-state solution in the Middle East, and these students don't want other students to hear my view. They're afraid I might actually persuade them.
MACCALLUM: What about the president of the university, and how much protection are they giving you? Because we hear now from a lot of universities, Princeton is one, they says they're trying to really make an effort to have educational dialogue back and forth which is the basis of the word education, actually, existed in their institution.
DERSHOWITZ: And I'm sure Columbia will do that. I'm sure they'll protect me and they'll protect the students, it's a full house. Students have come to hear me speak. By the way, I will encourage critical questions. I will allow the most critical questions to come first and I'll stay as long as there is a critical question. I also want to object if they -- just boo generally.
MACCALLUM: We don't want two states. We don't want Israel to exist, what are you going to say to them?
DERSHOWITZ: Let's have a debate, let's argue about it. Let me tell you why I think the two-state solution is best for Israel, for Palestine, for the United States of America, for the world. If you have a different point of view, here's the mic, you make your point of view. Let's have a dialogue. Let's have a discussion. Let's understand this is a complicated issue, and let's address it like it is a complicated issue, not like it's an issue of simple black and white, back and forth.
MACCALLUM: Tell me -- I want to put up a headline from the Daily Beast. You know, how much of this is coming at you because you have said some things that are favorable to Donald Trump in terms of whether or not you think there's a liable criminal prosecution against him. You've stuck up for him. How Alan Dershowitz went from Hillary donor to Trump's attack dog on Russia.
DERSHOWITZ: Not quite accurate, I'm not a supporter of Donald Trump, I voted for Hillary Clinton. I'm a supporter of the constitution and of the law. And I don't want to see the law stretched. I would be making the same argument if Hillary Clinton had been elected and they were yelling lock her up, lock her up. I'm going to make the same argument no matter who's in office. But, some of the protesters may hold up my book, Trumped up, they may say, look, he's a Trump supporter. They don't understand the difference.
MACCALLUM: They don't understand that gray area. You're a rare bird in this environment, let me tell you.
DERSHOWITZ: When I defended the rights of Nazis to march through -- on the 70's, people said he's supporting Nazis. You know, that's just not the way people do it when you're a civil libertarian. So I'm looking forward tonight.
MACCALLUM: We will see. Alan Dershowitz (INAUDIBLE), thank you, always a pleasure to have you here.
DERSHOWITZ: My pleasure.
MACCALLUM: So the quote of the night, right after this.
MACCALLUM: Here's the last story of our night, this great picture of President George H.W. Bush and the former first lady, Barbara Bush, with some patriots and their furry friends, their service animals, very close companions. Mrs. Bush wrote the forward for this new book, Vets and Pets. An excerpt from her forward -- for the book is our quote of the night. She writes, for many of us coming home to our cuddling with our beloved pet is one of life's greatest joys. No matter how your day has gone, the unbridled excitement for your pet when you walk in the door can really make your problems seem a little less grim. Now imagine for a moment the same bond between our military veterans and their pets. For years, we have all heard stories about how that relationship not only changes but saves lives. Their pets make dark days brighter, and the helpless feel helpful, the lonely feel loved. Great words from Barbara Bush tonight. I feel that way when I get home and see Squire. That's our story tonight. We'll see you back here tonight night at seven. Have a great evening, everybody. Tucker Carlson is up next.
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