Gold Star wife: President has been caring to me, my family

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," October 23, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Breaking tonight, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff saying the American people and the families of our fallen soldiers deserve answers about the deadly ambush in Niger.

I'm Martha MacCallum, and that is where our story begins tonight. Four dead soldiers, many more questions than answers at this point. So, late this afternoon, General Dunford came out to explain to the greatest possible extent at this point, what happened.


GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: It's early in the morning on third of October, as I mentioned, U.S. forces accompanied that Nigerian unit on a reconnaissance mission to gather information. The assessment by our leaders on the ground at that time was that contact with the enemy was unlikely. Midmorning on October 4th, the patrol began to take fire as they were returning to their operating base.

During the firefight, two U.S. soldiers were wounded and evacuated by French air to Miami. And that was consistent with the casual evacuation plan that was in place for this particular operation. Three U.S. soldiers who were killed in action were evacuated on the evening of 4th of October, and at that time Sergeant La David Johnson was still missing. On the evening of 6th of October, Sergeant Johnson's body was found and subsequently evacuated. From the time the firefight was initiated until Sergeant Johnson's body was recovered, French, Nigerian or U.S. forces remained in that area.


MACCALLUM: So, let's get right to it with Fox News national security correspondent, Jennifer Griffin, who was in the front row today at that briefing at the Pentagon. Jennifer, what do you think are the biggest takeaways in terms of new information here?

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martha, it's interesting. General Dunford said he called Defense Secretary Mattis in Asia this morning to tell him he wanted to brief the press to address certain misconceptions about the attack in Niger that led to the death of those four U.S. soldiers. We now know the U.S. troops arrived in the village 85 miles north of the capital on October 3rd and stayed overnight -- it's not clear if that was part of the original plan. The attack occurred midmorning the next day. Sergeant La David Johnson's body would not be found for a full two days; 50 heavily armed fighters attacked the convoy after they left the village and were on their way back to the base. Dunford commented that -- confirmed that no drone was overhead when the battle started but said a drone was repositioned overhead within minutes. He said he had not yet viewed the video.


GRIFFIN: Who found Sergeant Johnson's body?

DUNFORD: The body was reported by Nigerian forces to U.S. forces.

GRIFFIN: General Dunford, when did you alert the White House?

DUNFORD: We notified the White House as soon as we had a soldier that was missing. It was probably around 9:00 or 9:30 Washington, D.C. time, the night of the 4th. And at that point, knowing that we had a missing soldier, we made a decision to make sure that all of the resources, to include national assets, were available.


GRIFFIN: General Dunford provided a new timeline as to when the U.S. troops called for support. A full hour after the first contact with the enemy. It would take two hours before the French warplanes were above.


DUNFORD: When they requested support, it took the French aircraft, French were ready to go in 30 minutes. And then, it took them 30 minutes, approximately 30 minutes to get on the scene. It's important to note that when they didn't ask for support for that first hour, my judgment would be that that unit thought they could handle the situation without additional support.


GRIFFIN: That's different from the timeline first provided by the Pentagon that French warplanes were on site within 30 minutes. Fox News learned today, U.S. troops did not communicate with the French jets above and those warplanes never dropped any bombs. General Dunford said U.S. forces in Niger are not allowed to accompany local forces if they expect enemy contact and they did not expect resistance on this patrol. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Jennifer, thank you very much. So, here now with more, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Waltz, former Green Beret Commander who served in Niger and helped train the Nigerian army there. He's also a Fox News Contributor. Col. Waltz, good to have you with us as always tonight.


MACCALLUM: So, you listened to all of in this afternoon, what's your take away?

WALTZ: Well, my first takeaway was I think General Dunford wanted to come out and have this press conference because there's this growing chorus, which is frankly a little ridiculous in my view that this is some type of covert war going on. There's kind of shock and surprise that we have this type of presence in Africa. You know, as we've talked about before, Green Berets, Special Forces are doing this very type of mission in 60 to 80 countries around the world as we speak. And in case of Niger, it's in a very bad neighborhood with al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, with Boko Haram, and with the ISIS and weapons pouring out of Libya since that country has fallen apart.

Now, tactically, again, we are working through local forces. We're not in combat per se, but we're in a very dangerous neighborhood. And I think the investigation is going to uncover things like why did it take an hour to initially call for any type of support? As General Dunford said, perhaps it was just a very small initial contact and the team and Nigerian commander thought they could handle it. And then other pieces, the coordination with the French and the coalition, and where did the intelligence go wrong? Clearly, the route was compromised. Was it leaked from the villagers? Was there some type of mistake? All of those things though are lessons learned, and those are things that we will have to carry forward. These missions aren't going to stop. We are in a global war against terrorism.

MACCALLUM: Absolutely. Let me ask you about this tweet by Representative Wilson who's been at the center of so much of this controversy. She said, "Niger is @realDonaldTrump's Benghazi. He needs to own it." Your thoughts on that?

WALTZ: You know, I think, I think, frankly, it's a bit ridiculous. I think that's some political gamesmanship. And I would like to see, you know, writ large this, this, this kind of discussion, this political gamesmanship on Gold Star families, and how they deal with their loss get off the headlines. Every family deals with it differently. I've had families angry at me. Angry at the president. Angry at the war. I have had others be very thankful. And I just wish it would just, frankly, simmer down and go away.

MACCALLUM: Do you think, you know, back in the early days of the Benghazi controversy if that administration had come forward and done what General Dunford did today, that it would've been more transparent that it might not have gone the way it did in terms of how many questions there were out there?

WALTZ: Well, I think there was no doubt there was political spin, you know, in on election year, in 2012 on 9/11, when it came to Benghazi, and that we heard over and over again. It was because of some video from some guy in California. And not an attack by al-Qaeda on our embassy on 9/11. And I think, you know, I commend General Dunford for what he did today. He had laid out what we know, and then he laid out what we still have to find out. And again, there's no fault on that team or on the mission. It's, you know, there are lessons to be learned here so that we move forward and prosecute this fight.

MACCALLUM: Col. Michael Waltz, always good to see you, sir. Thank you so much.

WALTZ: All right. Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, General Dunford's defense came just hours after the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson spoke publicly today for the first time about her controversial phone call with President Donald Trump. Myeshia Johnson, standing by Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson's account of the conversation. Watch.


MYESHIA JOHNSON, WIDOW OF SERGEANT LA DAVID JOHNSON: Yes, the president said that he knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyway. And I was -- it made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it. He couldn't remember my husband name. The only way he remembered my husband's name because he told me had my husband report in front of him. And that's when he actually said, La David. I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband name. And that what hurt me the most, because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risks his life for our country, why can't you remember his name? And that what makes me upset and cry even more because my husband was an awesome soldier.


MACCALLUM: One hour after that interview aired, President Trump tweeted this: "I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson and spoke his name from the beginning without hesitation," and so on and on this goes. My next guest is also a Gold Star wife, Britney Jacobs, her husband Marine Corps Sergeant, Chris Jacobs, was killed during a training exercise six years ago and she joins me tonight. It's good to have you here, Britney. Good evening to you.


MACCALLUM: You know, I mean, it's -- obviously, we all feel for her, and you can put yourself in her shoes far more than most of us. What's your reaction to all of the back and forth, that the president is still tweeting about this? What does it make you feel?

JACOBS: First and foremost, I just want to send my condolences to Ms. Johnson and her family. This is such a difficult time, I lost my husband, as you know. I know what it feels like, it hurts, and it's hard. And emotions are just really high right now with her. Honestly, the president has been nothing but amazing to me and my family. And I think it's sad the way the media, not the media but per se the way everyone is politicizing it.

The president, I think, when he called her, I think he had the best of intentions. I feel that no president would call a family member, especially as soon as they lost their loved one and say, you know, anything that they think that would offend them or upset them. By no means are her feelings wrong, and it hurts, but it's just -- it's a sad thing that has happened.

And I think that people just need to step back and give the president a chance and see that, you know what? He was trying to do the right thing. He was trying to support the family. And just see the good in it. I feel like he was trying to be supportive and caring. And I feel like it's just been twisted all around. That's not the president that I know and that I have an experience with he's been so caring to me and my family.


MACCALLUM: You know, I thought it was very interesting when we just spoke with Lieutenant Colonel Michael Waltz. Because he said that he has spoken to grieving families, and he said sometimes they respond very well and sometimes they're very angry at you. And I think everyone understands both of those reactions. I mean, you're going to have felt about what they were doing there. Whether or not, you know, you feel it's right or wrong. There are so many complicated feelings with how anybody takes it in when they receive this news or that outreach. Go ahead. I'm sorry, you were saying?

JACOBS: I said, and have you lots of questions. I'm sure she is just wanting so many answers right now and she's not getting them. And I know that's difficult, too. It will come in time, but I know it's difficult for her.

MACCALLUM: Yes. She talked about, you know, not being able to see her husband's body and, you know, we just heard from General Dunford. He said that you know, sometimes we don't recommend it. I mean, that is so heartbreaking. And you can feel her pain on that. You know, what's your response to that?

JACOBS: My heart goes out to her for that because that would rip my heart out. It took me a while to be able to view my husband after his death. But I was very blessed and thankful that I had the chance to view him. Yes, my heart breaks for her because I cannot imagine not being able to see him if I wanted to and say my last goodbyes.

MACCALLUM: Brittany Jacobs, Gold Star Wife, we thank you for your sacrifice and your family's sacrifice and your husband's sacrifice, of course. Thank you so much for talking with us tonight. Good to see you.

JACOBS: Thank you so much, ma'am.

MACCALLUM: So, still to come, a surprise turn of events in the Russia investigation as Hillary Clinton's name is now associated with this probe. So, what is going on with that? One of her biggest backers reportedly, the focus now of a criminal investigation here. The man who literally wrote the book on the Clintons, Peter Schweizer, here with his exclusive insight after this. And President Trump going to bat for historic tax reform. Is it enough to win over the taxpayers of America? Karl Rove joins me next. Plus did, a member of Congress threaten the president? We will play it for you and you can decide when we come back.


REP. MAXINE WATERS, R-CALIF.: I will go and take Trump out tonight.



MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, new headlines in the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. But this time it is the Democrats that are in the spotlight. Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly opening a criminal investigation to Tony Podesta. You've heard his name for quite some time related to all of these issues. He's the brother of Obama and Clinton confidante John Podesta who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager. Their accusations that Tony Podesta's lobbying firm may have violated the Foreign Agents' Registration Act, which is known as FARA by failing to properly disclose work that they were doing on behalf of the pro-Putin- Ukrainian think tank in Russia that tried to influence the Obama White House. We are going to unravel all of this for you, I promise.

Plus, there are some new reports on a cell of Russian spies who ran in the same circle of money and power as did Bill and Hillary Clinton. So, what about that? Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute and Author of "Clinton Cash," the untold story of how and why foreign businesses and governments helped make Bill and Hillary rich. Peter, welcome back. Good to see you tonight on THE STORY. First of all, you believe that Tony Podesta, that this is a real issue?

PETER SCHWEIZER, PRESIDENT, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY INSTITUTE: Yes, it's a huge issue. The Foreign Agents' Registration Act was launched in the 1930s in the wake of Nazi attempts to influence American politics. And the law is very clear, if you're doing work for a foreign government or a foreign government entity like this so-called Think Tank. You're required to register with the Justice Department, and they do that so that people know who you're meeting with and, you know, who's paying you to do those activities. Based on these reports, John Podesta's -- sorry, the Podesta Group did not register with the Justice Department. That's a huge issue.

MACCALLUM: And Paul Manafort has the same issue with the same group, correct?

SCHWEIZER: That's exactly right. They were both working for the same group. It's also interesting to point out, the Podesta Group, this lobbying firm, also was a lobbyist for Uranium One -- beginning in 2012 to the tune of $180,000. So, lots of interesting connections with the Podesta Group.

MACCALLUM: All right. And what about the $500,000 Clinton -- Bill Clinton speech. How does that play into this?

SCHWEIZER: Well, that ties into 2010 when they're trying to get the approval of Uranium One to be sold to the Russians. Bill Clinton gives a half a million-dollar speech in Moscow, which is basically three times more than he had ever been paid to give a speech in Russia before. And the company that paid for that was an investment firm that, of course, was pushing Uranium One as an investment that people ought to invest in.

MACCALLUM: So, how does all this happen -- I'm sorry because I remember that, you know, when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, the Obama administration was concerned about the Clinton Foundation and all their deals, and Bill's speeches and all of that, the former president's speeches. So, when all of this is going on, how is there no oversight from the Obama administration that would've led someone to say, hey, guys, this is, this is not cool. You need to straighten this out.

SCHWEIZER: You know, it's a great question, Martha. There was no oversight. And here's the thing: both President Obama and John Kerry, when he was Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee at Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearings, they said you're required as a condition of being secretary of state to disclose the flow of money, and in the Uranium One donations, they failed to do that. Millions of dollars they did not disclose. It only became exposed when we went through Canadian tax records. So, a lot of evidence that there seemed to have been a cover-up to try to prevent this money from being disclosed.

MACCALLUM: I mean, you know, it seems pretty simple in a way. If there is nothing there, then there was no reason to not go through the proper registration with FARA and to be transparent about it if there is nothing to be --

SCHWEIZER: That's right.

MACCALLUM: -- cloudy about. Peter Schweizer --

SCHWEIZER: I think that's exactly right.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much. Go ahead.

SCHWEIZER: If you don't have anything to hide, you don't have anything to hide.

MACCALLUM: Yes, it seems that way, right. Thanks so much. So, David Bossie joins me now in New York, former Trump campaign deputy manager and Fox News contributor; and Mary Anne Marsh, former senior adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry.

So, Mary Anne, let me start with you. I mean, it seems that if there is no problem, then why would you not go through the proper channels and just make sure you are dotting your I's and cross your T's here why keep it under wraps?

MARY ANNE MARSH, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: Well, I think an important fact here, Martha, is that Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with the Uranium One decision. Period, end of the sentence. She wasn't involved with it.

MACCALLUM: She was on the committee, the (INAUDIBLE) committee, and she had to sign off on it.

MARSH: No, she did not participate in the decision. It's a board --

MACCALLUM: But she's on the committee, Mary Anne. Her name is on the committee.

MARSH: No, that's a fact and Barack Obama is the one who approved it.

MACCALLUM: So, she wasn't doing her job? I mean, which is it?

MARSH: No, she did not participate in that decision.

MACCALLUM: But doesn't that seem rather convenient to you that she decided not to participate in this particular decision when she's on that board? That doesn't smell a little funny to you?

MARSH: Well, you're either saying she recuse herself and rightfully so, given the circumstances that were just outlined in the previous segment. Or if she had participated in it, there'd be something nefarious, is it? So, which one is it? She recused herself.

MACCALLUM: But did she recuse herself, specifically because her husband was giving speeches and because there were interactions with these companies? That's why?

MARSH: I don't know the circumstances, Martha. In terms of the speeches, so I know there was a process where President Clinton would check speeches and other things. It is probably better at this point to disclose it if it has not been. But, in terms of her participation, I don't know the reason she didn't. But she did not participate.

MACCALLUM: I mean, David, it feels like, you know, the same old, same old. They play by their own rules a lot.

DAVID BOSSIE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN DEPUTY MANAGER: Absolutely. And one of the only reasons that we found out about these connections is that we had a piece of litigation under FOIA for several years to finally get the memos that listed all of the Russians that Bill Clinton wanted to go meet with when he got his $500,000 payment. And, of course, it's the Uranium One guys. So, that's the connection. And it takes years to figure this out and John Solomon and the group on the Hill have been leading the way, no other mainstream media. All the mainstream media wants to do is talk about the Trump campaign and collusion when there's not one ounce of fact. But here, we have an important, important story and nobody is talking about it.

MACCALLUM: So, you want to know more about this, Mary Anne?

MARSH: Well, I mean, first of all, in Bret Baier's segment, earlier this evening, and in by Peter Schweizer's account where he was interviewed, the people that you're pointing fingers at did not donate money until 2007. So, in 2007, she was gearing up for a presidential race against Barack Obama. She was not the secretary of state. So, those are the facts here. And I don't think you can -- what you're trying to do here is kind of muddy the waters and try to conflate Uranium One with the --

BOSSIE: Actually, that's what the Clinton defense team does --

MARSH: Hold on, David. Hold on, hold on.

BOSSIE: The Clinton defense team muddies the water. The Clinton defense team doesn't want to have the American people know that.

MARSH: The fact is you are trying to conflate the Uranium One with Robert Mueller's investigation. And Robert Mueller's investigation is the United States of America against Russia and Vladimir Putin, not Democrat versus Republican.

MACCALLUM: Yes, Mary Anne -- hold on, hold on, guys. But Mary Anne, if that includes, which obviously it does because they're in the middle of that investigation, and every American should want to understand any influence that Russia wants to have, but that also happens to go into this other avenue with Tony Podesta. So, that's where it's going because that's what happens whether you have an investigation.

MARSH: Fine. Martha, I agree with you. And that's fine, and Tony Podesta, it's well known, did business with Paul Manafort. That is a fact. It's a well-known fact and has been reported for some time. And it appears he has FARA problem just like Manafort and Michael Flynn. None of whom registered, all of them did it retroactively. That's a felony. That's a problem. That's serious. So, I love the fact that Robert Mueller isn't going in down all the avenues here and has nothing to do with the party.

MACCALLUM: All right. We started with Mary Anne, we're going to end with David. David, final thoughts.

BOSSIE: First of all, Robert Mueller was the FBI Director, when this investigation seemed to have been covered up by the Obama Department of Justice. Eric Holder seems to have put this thing under a rug and they didn't tell Congress, they didn't inform Congress when this important decision about Uranium One's purchase was going on. No one in Congress knew about it, that's why this stinks to heaven. That's why Jeff Sessions must appoint an independent counsel other than Robert Mueller to investigate it.

MACCALLUM: We're going to leave it there, guys.

MARSH: Martha, last point. Last point. Last point.

MACCALLUM: Go ahead, real quick.

MARSH: On 2015, there were letters sent on this matter by members Congress, the Oversight Committee. They have yet to have a hearing. They might have it now --

BOSSIE: They'll be seeing hearings now.

MACCALLUM: All of these come up from The Hill story, which said that there was ongoing FBI investigation while this process of approval was taking place. But the guys on the committee didn't know about it. So, thanks, you guys. That'll make sense. Thank you, great to have you both here tonight. So, coming up next, this:


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I want to get it by the end of the year. But I'd be very disappointed if it took that long.


MACCALLUM: So, will they take that long? And what does this plan actually include? Karl Rove here on that coming up next. And he was treated like a hero when he was released. Bowe Bergdahl's parents welcomed by President Obama to the White House rose garden; you remember all of that. But now, he is about to find out his fate for admittedly deserting his post and being turned over to the Taliban. Bergdahl speaking out about his time in captivity.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a disgrace to this nation, the uniform. There is no honor in his service. Especially, when you leave your buddies and brothers in arms behind and join the enemy.




TRUMP: And I think we're going to get our taxes. I think it's going to be --




TRUMP: And I think we're going to get our taxes. I think it's going to be, well, hopefully before the end of the year, but maybe much sooner than that. There is a great spirit for it, people want to see it, and I call it tax cuts. So it is tax reform also, but I call it tax cuts. It will be the biggest cuts ever in the history of this country.


MACCALLUM: That was President Trump speaking exclusively with Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo, pushing full steam ahead to try to get the tax reform plan done. He calls it tax cuts though by the end of the year. The deadline is important so that the changes can be made for your 2017 return. There's a reason they want to get this done before the end of the year. So a lot of questions still remain about what is and is not in this plan because no one has actually seen it yet, including new reports that it could put limits on retirement contributions. President Trump quickly shooting that down on Twitter saying, quote, there will be no change to your 401k. This is always been a great and popular middle class tax break that works, and it stays.

Here now Karl Rove former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, and a Fox News contributor. Good to see you, Karl. Good to see you.


MACCALLUM: So Mitch McConnell wouldn't really commit on the question of the 401k, and whether or not -- the question is how much you could deduct tax free of the money that you put into your 401k. So is that flexible or do you think, you know, do you stick with the president on that?

ROVE: I think the president was pretty declarative about it and let's explain why they were trying to do that. Your contributions to your IRA or 401k, you pay the tax when you retire and take the money out. So it's taxed. It reduces your adjustable gross income on the front end, and you then -- because it's tax deductible and then you pay the tax when you retire, decades from now. The Roth IRA, you pay the tax when you put the money in and you take it out tax-free. So, if suddenly they reduce the amount of money you can put into an IRA or 401-K, it will encourage more people to get a Roth IRA and pay the tax upfront rather than a couple of decades from now. So this was an accounting gimmick, if you will, to take those taxes that would be paid in the future and pull them forward, thereby reducing the amount of -- that would add to the deficit. So the president was pretty clear. Let's not monkey around with it boys and girls. So we end up with something like that, leave it alone, and figure out some other way if you want to reduce the size of the deficit that it occurs as a result of this.

MACCALLUM: I mean that's what it all comes down to. And clearly, for Paul Ryan, who is trying to figure out the numbers and how much revenue they need. So, and, therefore, how many tax cuts they can put into this plan. And he's kind of riding those numbers and trying to make sure that they work. And there's also this possibility that they may maintain the top -- you know, the millionaire tax bracket at 39.6 percent, or it might even go higher than that. What do you think about that?

ROVE: Well, first of all, I'm not certain that this idea on the 401k's came from the house ways and means committee or the speaker of the house. We don't know where it came from. Nobody's fingerprints were on it. And the president was wise to quickly kill it so we don't spend more time on it. But look, they have a lot of work to do on this. And, this top bracket question is going to be an important question. I don't think there's any likelihood that they're going to lower the top bracket. I also don't think there's very much likelihood that they're going to raise it, what they may do is simply leave it where it is, and realize that the top rate is going to be at 39.5, and there's going to be essentially no tax break for people at the very top.

MACCALLUM: All right. In terms of what we saw over the weekend, the hurricane relief moment, which was really special, I mean, seeing five living presidents up on that stage and all pulling together, and it's interesting the sort of, you know, buddy moments that we have seen emerging. And I think that everybody, you know, the people who are in this club, it's the most exclusive club in the world, and they're in it. So I just want to show a couple seconds of this moment between President Bush and President Obama, which is getting a lot of attention today. Watch.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Disaster, but can be a new beginning. If we just do what we ought to do. And prove that the heart of America, without regard to race or religion or political party.


MACCALLUM: So you saw that little, you know -- it's like boys in the back of the classroom snicker, snicker, and they look at each other. And I don't know if it was something that was happening in the front row, because they both seemed to be sort of looking out, or whether it was something going on with Bill Clinton. What do you think, Karl Rove?

ROVE: Well, Martha, I'm sorry, but it's not what I think I know. I saw that same moment and it wasn't a snicker. It was a giggle on the part of President Obama. President Bush ducked behind President Clinton and said something, President Obama began to giggle. I actually have -- there is a report. You may not know this, but there are -- the activities of the former presidents are carefully cataloged by intelligence agencies. And there is a top secret report out on the college station five presidents meeting on Saturday as you can see, but it's also -- it's very secret, it's code word ha-ha-ha. So sorry -- I'd like to share with you what that joke was but --

MACCALLUM: Good thing have you that ha-ha-ha security clearance and you got to see it.

ROVE: Exactly.

MACCALLUM: Karl, thank you.

ROVE: It was actually a pretty good joke. It was a very funny joke and it only took three words.

MACCALLUM: And you won't tell us what the three words were?

ROVE: NO. No, I'm not going to. I'm sorry. I'd be breaking, you know, the bond.

MACCALLUM: Here's three words, good, bye, Karl.


ROVE: Top secret.

MACCALLUM: Thanks, Karl. Always good to see you.

ROVE: You bet.

MACCALLUM: See you next time. All right. So when we come back tonight, remember this?


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: He served the United States with honor and distinction.


MACCALLUM: But Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl pled guilty to deserting his post and to running. And he's on the verge of finding out his fate for betraying his comrades and putting some of them in danger. He's talking about his time in captivity now. Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer played a role in getting Bergdahl home safely. His unique take is next. Plus, Congresswoman Maxine Waters ramps up the rhetoric against President Trump. You didn't think it could get any more ramped up, did you? Wait until you hear this.


MACCALLUM: Developing tonight, a delay today in the sentencing for Bowe Bergdahl who faces up to life in prison for pleading guilty to deserting his post in Afghanistan back in 2009. Court proceedings resume on Wednesday. Tonight, Bergdahl is speaking out though about his life outside of captivity, telling the Sunday Times, quote, at least the Taliban were honest enough to say I'm the guy who is going to cut your throat. Here, it could be the guy I pass in the corridor who is going to sign the paper that sends me away for life. Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer played a role in getting Bergdahl home safely. He's also a CIA train-intel operative and senior fellow at the London center for policy research. Colonel, good to see tonight. What's your reaction to what he said?

TONY SHAFFER, LONDON CENTER FOR POLICY RESEARCH SENIOR FELLOW: Well, first, look, the bottom line is the article 99 charge is being, you know, shown to be clearer every day. He is still a uniformed member of the military. Martha, what he's saying is giving aid and comfort to the Taliban. Think about this. A uniformed soldier of the U.S. Army is saying derogatory terms about his own service. You don't have to be in Afghanistan to be helping the Taliban like he did by walking away. Let's revisit everything that's happened.

By the way, Fox News, Catherine Herridge, reported all of this in great detail way ahead of the curb two years ago. He abandoned his post. A great deal of effort was expended to try to recover him. Men were killed and injured badly in the process of trying to do this. We're talking about upwards of between seven to 10 dead. And most importantly, Martha, remember, his departure in going to the Taliban gave huge leverage by the Taliban against the United States and our Afghan allies. So, again, after all this time, he can't just sit down.


SHAFFER: . plead guilty and do the right thing. Instead, again, if I were his commanding officer, I would sock him with a second article 99 charge for saying what he's saying, and giving the Taliban legitimate propaganda for them to use against us in Afghanistan.

MACCALLUM: You know, you hear all of this and you read his own words. He said he left his unit because, quote, one of the biggest s-something is being put in charge of our team. His father wrote to him and said, son, you've got to follow your conscience. So he took off. Now, you know, fast forward to the Rose Garden ceremony where he's there with the parents of Bowe Bergdahl, and Susan Rice and President Obama both suggesting that he served honorably. I mean, how do you square that?

SHAFFER: Look, Martha, I served for thirty and a half years, and I worked for a lot of, you know, butt heads.


SHAFFER: . to say it that way.

MACCALLUM: That's a nicer way.

SHAFFER: I've never walked away. I've never failed to do my duty. And this is where -- clearly, there's a huge departure. This man decided to abandon his post, put in jeopardy his colleagues and comrades, and then in the end, again, this was not unknown to President Obama and the White House. The then chairman of the joint chiefs, the admiral in charge actually knew all of this. He was confronted by the troops while visiting Afghanistan that the fact that Bergdahl abandoned. And, again, I was part of the recovery effort. Martha, all of this was known behind the scenes to include classified information that cannot be released, but does support the article 99 charge. It's completely insane.

MACCALLUM: Tony Shaffer, thank you very much.

SHAFFER: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: . lieutenant colonel, for being here tonight. This gets started on Wednesday. Good background. Thanks, Tony.

SHAFFER: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So coming up next, some ugly rhetoric, when you thought it couldn't get any worse. It appears to be.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will go and take Trump out tonight.


MACCALLUM: That was received with a huge applause in that crowd. The California Democrat, Maxine Waters, go too far in criticizing President Trump. Ben Shapiro and Richard Fowler on that, and another case of a curious cartoon in the Berkeley Newspaper when we come back.


MACCALLUM: Congresswoman Maxine Waters ramping up her rhetoric against President Trump. The California Democrat started calling for the president's impeachment shortly after the January inauguration. Watch.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republicans should step up to the plate and confront the fact that this president appears to be unstable.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: When is the black community going to say, yeah, impeach him? It's time to go after him. I don't hear you.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've said over and over again, I think he's the most deplorable person I've ever met in my life.


MACCALLUM: But this time, some say that Waters may have taken it so far. Listen to what she said at a recent New York gala.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am sitting here listening, watching, absorbing, thinking about even though I never met him, and with this kind of inspiration, I will go and take Trump out tonight.



MACCALLUM: Then, there's that. Ben Shapiro, editor in chief at, and Richard Fowler, national syndicated radio talk show host and a Fox News contributor.

Richard, I'm just watching this, and it really isn't that surprising. I mean, you know, when you look at all the things that Maxine Waters has said since the inauguration. But I can't help but wonder if previous president, President Obama or President Clinton, if someone had stood up and said that about them, don't you think the outrage on the other side would have been uncontainable?

RICHARD FOWLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: And I think the outrage was uncontainable when Ted Nugent threatened to shoot the president, there was outrage on the left and it was uncontainable.

MACCALLUM: He's not a congresswoman though.

FOWLER: No, I mean, I get that. And I don't think that she was threatening to kill the president in this particular sound bite. I think that some from the right have sort of made this idea that she's trying -- threatening to kill him. I don't think that what's she's saying here. I think she's saying, I'll go and take him out. Just like when the president once say, I'm going to go take out Hillary Clinton and beat her in the next election, right? It's a very tongue in cheek saying. She's been in congress since 1991. Nobody believes that she's going to go to the White House and try to harm, physically harm the president in any way.

MACCALLUM: All right. I gotcha. So you're saying that the rhetoric has evolved so dramatically on all side that this is sort of the way we talk now. Ben, what do you think?

BEN SHAPIRO, DAILYWIRE.COM EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: I think there is some truth to that. I think it's a pretty outstanding example of just how far the rhetoric has evolved. I mean, Maxine Waters have been saying pretty inflammatory things her entire career. There's a woman who once said at the L.A. Riots -- L.A. uprising, she's used charged language for 20-odd years. She one of the most corrupt member of congress. I don't think anyone is particularly surprised by this. But the shouting and cheering for the idea that I'm going to take him out tonight. It's the word tonight that really adds that extra flavor there. It's not just I'm going to take him out in 2018 or 2020. It's I'm going to take him out tonight that I think everyone is upset about and rightfully so.


FOWLER: (INAUDIBLE) The president's rhetoric is almost just as bad. He said he could shoot somebody on fifth avenue and still be elected president of the United States, right? So his rhetoric is just as bad. So, I mean, I think to sit here and to criticize the Congresswoman Waters, we should also be criticizing the president for using the same type of rhetoric.


MACCALLUM: Devolved to such an extent that we sort of think of this as no big deal. Speaking of rhetoric, let's take a look at this cartoon that was put out in the Daily Californian, which sounds like a Sunday newspaper, but that's what they publish. It's Alan Dershowitz with his head sort of pushed through some sort of wall, and the images that are back there depict something on the Palestinian flag and an Israeli soldier shooting an unarmed person. And let's also put up what Alan Dershowitz showed us in terms of what was put up at the university on the bulletin board where there was a swastika draw drawn over his face. Ben?

SHAPIRO: I mean it's pretty shockingly anti-Semitic stuff. This particular cartoon is straight from the pages of -- appearing in the Berkeley newspaper that suggestion that Alan Dershowitz is a tool of the Israelis. Not only the tool of the Israelis, the Israelis are engaged in Nazi occupation in which they're killing innocent children for no reason at all. And this is pretty obvious -- you know, anti-Zionism equaling anti- Semitism in this particular case.

MACCALLUM: Let's put up a quote from an interview that you guys did at the with Alan Dershowitz, and he points out -- he says, you know, irony is two kind of word, its hypocrisy. Remember, this is a reaction to a speech in which I said that I support a Palestinian state, and he goes on to say I support the end of the occupation. I'm against Israeli policies on settlements. You know, and Richard, it just raises the question of whether or not there's some similarities between, you know, sort of the hard progressive left and this neo Nazi hard right.

FOWLER: Listen, I've said all along. I think that there's racism on both sides of the aisle. I don't care how you split the cookie. I think there's racism in the Democratic Party. I think there's racism in the Republican Party. I think there's homophobia in the Democratic Party. I think there's homophobia in the Republican Party. I don't think homophobia, racism, xenophobia, sexism, I don't think they know party affiliation. I think there's hate in people's heart and there's nothing you can do about it. And I don't think it hides under one particular political cloak or another. Period.


SHAPIRO: I mean that there's some truth to that. The question is how close is that hate to the heart of a particular movement? When you're talking about the anti-Zionism, antisemitism, some part of the left that seems a lot closer to the heart of the Democratic Party than the heart of the Republican Party.

(CROSSTALK) MACCALLUM: I've got to go. I'm getting counted down, you guys. But that was a really cheery segment. So thanks a lot. Both sides are horrible. An emotional moment when we come back, after this.


MACCALLUM: Moving moment today, nearly four decades in the making. President Trump awarded the Medal of Honor to 71-year-old retired Army Captain Gary M. Rose. In 1970, Captain Rose was a 22-year-old medic, dropped into Laos on a secret mission that would not be declassified for nearly 30 years. Captain Rose is credited with saving 60 wounded men over four days of intense combat. Even though he was himself severely wounded. Eyewitness accounts say that Captain Rose rushed into enemy fire to save his fellow soldier again and again. Watch this.


TRUMP: In reaction during those four days Mike valiantly fought for the life of his comrades, even if it meant the end of his own life. Mike, you will -- I may not have to say, you really, your will to endure, your love for your fellow soldier, your devotion to your country inspires us all. I have to tell you, that is something. Nations are formed out of the strength and patriotism that lives in the hearts of our great heroes.


MACCALLUM: Captain Mike Rose and his family, we are thinking of them tonight. That's our story for this evening. Our story goes on though, tomorrow night at 7:00 right here. In the meantime, stand by. Tucker Carlson is right after this.

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