Gowdy: Mueller was the one who fired Strzok

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," August 6, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR: We'll be there. Thank you very much, Shannon.

So, on inauguration day, 2017. President Trump said these words and was criticized for calling out some of the failures and the broken parts of our society.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists.

Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities. Rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation. An education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge. And the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs, that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.


MACCALLUM: So, many said that the carnage speech was too dark. But now, regardless of where you stand on that debate, the carnage that we are seeing is clear. And America does need to be safe again, or at least, safer.

And the battle over how to fix it is where our story begins again this evening. What is fueling the anger? A lot of it coming from young men that leads to the killing in El Paso, in Dayton, and on the streets of Chicago. Here is Dayton law enforcement today on the killer's investigation.


RICHARD BIEHL, CHIEF OF POLICE, DAYTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: The individual had a history of obsession with violent ideations to include mass shootings and had expressed a desire to commit a mass shooting.


MACCALLUM: And here is the Dayton killer's ex-girlfriend.


ADELIA JOHNSON, FORMER GIRLFRIEND OF DAYTON'S GUNMAN: This isn't about race this isn't about religion, it's none of those things. This is a man who is in pain and didn't get the help that he needed. People go every day being perfectly fine with having a mental illness. Me, included. And he just -- he got the short end of the stick. No support system.


MACCALLUM: We're pleased to be joined tonight by Dr. Frank McAndrew, who is a social psychologist and a professor at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. He's written extensively on human aggression. Dr. McAndrew, thank you very much for being here this evening. It's good to have you. I want to --



MACCALLUM: Thank you. I want to start with a quote from a very interesting piece that you wrote over the last 24 hours or so. You said, "Young male violence is most likely to be initiated by young men who don't command respect from others. They often feel slight -- like slighted outcasts, deprived of what they want, or feel they deserve." Can you expand on that a bit for our home audience tonight?

MCANDREW: Sure. You may have noticed, if you look into the past of any off these mass shooters, you don't usually find somebody who was captain of the football team, or president of the student body. In fact, it's usually quite the opposite.

When you talk to people that knew these individuals when they were young, they use words like loner, unpopular, bullied, to describe the person. And that's really what sets the stage for all the trouble that comes later.

So, here's how it works. Throughout history, men have been programmed to intensely compete with each other for status, and recognition from their peers. Because it's the high-status guy who has access to mates, powerful allies, or resources -- all of the things you need to be socially successful.

And so, to be successful, you've got to be driven to achieve this dominance, this recognition from one's peers. And to achieve that as a very satisfying almost intoxicating thing. You don't want to let it go once you have it.

Now, the flip side of this is the guys who are losers in this competition, spend their lives, wallowing, and much more negative emotions. Envy, anger, unhappiness in general. And this is all due to testosterone changes.

A guy who wins in a competition or a guy who achieves a position of dominance has a testosterone rush that's very pleasurable. The guy on the other end of the coin, however, has a crash that's very, very unpleasant. And so, mass shooters are typically males who feel disrespected, marginalized, they feel like losers.


MCANDREW: And they crave the attention and recognition that they see these other men having.

MACCALLUM: You know, it's interesting. You know, because obviously, most men balance the things that you're talking about very well. You know, they deal with it, and as you write in your piece, you know, sometimes they feel like they're losing in that game, and then they feel -- you know, then they sort of balance it out and try to -- try to get back into that position that makes them feel good about themselves. But these individuals struggle with that mightily.

And they end -- you also talk about when you put the gun in someone's hand -- in this kind of individual's hand, I want to be specific about that. That sort of replaces that testosterone rush that they are missing from these other achievements. Is that right? Do I have that right?

MCANDREW: Absolutely, yes. We've done some research that shows that just handling a gun raises testosterone levels. So, nothing empowers a guy like picking up a military-grade weapon. And it basically gives them the guts to do the thing he's thinking of doing.

And it plays out a little differently if ideology is involved or not if you would like me to talk about that.

MACCALLUM: Well, you know what, I just want to ask you one quick question before I -- before I let you go because there's just one other thing and I let to have you back on.


MACCALLUM: You compared this whole scenario to what young male jihadist seem to exhibit as well. Could you just kind of briefly tell me a little bit about that?

MCANDREW: Sure. I don't think there's any difference at all between an Islamic terrorist and a white nationalist terrorist. In both cases, you have young males that are sort of at loose ends, they don't feel like they have any recognition or respect.

They are drawn to this community of people who maybe it's the first community they feel like they belong to. There are people like them. And this gives them not just a community but an audience. People will pay attention to what they do, they will applaud their actions, and it also gives them a sense of purpose. It gives them a feeling of doing something that other people care about. And it makes them feel like they're doing something right.


MCANDREW: And this is kind of a dangerous thing to put into the head of a guy who's desperate for attention and status.

MACCALLUM: Yes, and no doubt, it's exacerbated on places like 8chan where they get this positive feedback from these other -- you know, evil people who are cheering them on, egging them on, as I said last night, much in the way that suicide bombers get sort of revved up to go out and do what they're going to do.

Dr. McAndrew, thank you very much. I encourage everybody to read your piece. It's good to see you tonight. Thank you for being here.

MCANDREW: Thank you, thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, both of these shooters were known among their classmates as troubled. They say one even had to be pulled off a school bus by police, another made statements that forced the school to be put on lockdown.

Bill Bennett, former education secretary says there's a reason that these warning signs are not better documented and passed on to those who probably should know about them after they leave school. And he joins me now on that and the big picture here.

Good to see you, Bill Bennett, as always. Thanks for being here. First of all, you know, just your reaction to what Dr. McAndrew was touching upon there.

BILL BENNETT, CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's a little bit of abroad brush, the testosterone and touching the gun stuff seems to me, a little extreme. I have a son who's a marine and all those guys touch guns and most of them end up just fine. I think -- I think you were -- you were --


MACCALLUM: What? I don't -- I don't think that he was suggesting. I just want to strip because -- you know, I read his whole piece and maybe it -- we know, maybe it came across that way, but you know, he's talking about studies where they give someone the gun and it increases their testosterone, not necessarily in a bad way, but in the same way that athletic pursuits do and, you know, leadership in schools.


MACCALLUM: And, you know, leadership in school and, you know, all of that.

BENNETT: Yes, yes.

MACCALLUM: So, I mean, I -- if you take issue with that, obviously, that's your -- that's your prerogative.

BENNETT: No, it's still too simplistic and you were right to correct as you did at every gentleman, and -- but an important way by saying most guys were able to balance this.

MACCALLUM: Absolutely.

BENNETT: We are not talking about most people who are not the captain of the football team or the president of the student council. Most those people, second, third-string players, I was -- I was one. I was not the president of the student council. Most guys figure out how to handle this with the right guidance and the right kind of adult supervision, and the right encouragement.


BENNETT: I think we're missing a little -- a lot of things in the discussion. People are reluctant, I think, to talk about the soullessness of these -- of these young people. We need to talk about good and evil, we need to talk about the ways in which the world has changed, Martha.

And I think the president is right to suggest that we should put everything on the table in these discussions. By the way, I think it's great that he's going to Dayton and El Paso. He will not be getting the adoring audience as he gets into rallies. They'll get a different kind of audience, I expect, in reaction. But that'll be good. And I expect he'll withstand it. But let's deepen the conversation a little bit.

MACCALLUM: So, let's do that. What about this issue with schools where they have all this knowledge about some of these individuals who -- you know, I want to emphasize again.


MACCALLUM: We're talking about this tiny sliver of society who puts these all -- these things altogether.

BENNETT: That's right.

MACCALLUM: And ends up killing people as a result of them. This very tiny -- thank God.

BENNETT: Yes. Yes.

MACCALLUM: But to have too much impact at this point. So, in a lot of cases, the school knows something, right? And you say there's an incentive in our school systems today to not pass along that information to people who should have it.

BENNETT: That's right. Right. Right, there not millions of them like jihadists. They're just -- there's actually very few of them. But they do need to be identified. And when you do identify them in the school, action needs to be taken.

Now, we don't know enough yet about Dayton and El Paso. And their school experiences we're learning something. We do know about parkland and it will be interesting to see if the Parkland experience is replicated here.

In Parkland, they knew about that killer. All of the adults knew, but action wasn't taking. One of the obstacles, Martha, is a simple kind of bureaucratic thing. In the schools, if you go in them, you will see there's a tendency to say, let's not throw anybody out, let's not suspend anybody because then we might get sued. We don't want to be -- we don't want to be held liable.

And then, there's the federal electronic educational records Privacy Act which keeps people from doing this.


BENNETT: But, in the case of a lot of young people like the Parkland kid, and I expect like these guys, there was plenty of evidence to act and adults didn't. There was one teacher in Parkland -- I'm only saying Parkland because we know this. Who stood up and said, "This guy is going to kill somebody, you've got to do something.

But the bureaucratic inertia was such that nothing was done. The school system there also received an award for lowering its suspension rate. Well, sometimes people should be suspended, even expelled.

And so, if we're going to get this right between -- you know, the police and the schools, and the warning signals, we have to be prepared to offer some tough medicine sometimes.

MACCALLUM: Yes, it's a great point and there has been an effort in recent years to lower the number of suspensions.

BENNETT: That's right.

MACCALLUM: And to lower the discipline and to take some of those rights away from teachers, away from principals.

BENNETT: That's right.

MACCALLUM: Because it was seen as sort of rejecting kids and pushing them out of the system when they -- you know, the feeling was that they could -- they could thrive if they were in in the system. And we needed to find ways to keep them in the classroom regardless of the fact that obviously, it has a very negative impact on the other kids who are in those classrooms, who are there to learn.

BENNETT: That's right. That's right.

MACCALLUM: You know, speaking of back to school, you know, one of the popular items apparently that that's on the Internet right now is the bulletproof backpack. It breaks my heart to say that this is something that -- you know, parents find themselves in a position to consider purchasing for their children in the United States of America as they head off to school, Bill.

BENNETT: Well, we know that some politicians are seeking to make money on these catastrophes. Why shouldn't some companies try to do the same? I think this is cashing in on a -- on a tragedy and a catastrophe, and I'm sorry to see it. I understand why some parent might say, I'm going to do everything in my power.


BENNETT: But I don't think it's -- I don't think it's the answer. The answer lies as it always does within. And it's within our schools, within our hearts, within our families. Young people need guidance, young men particularly need other men to guide them and show them the limits and show them the boundaries. And we need to have that discussion on the table as well.

MACCALLUM: Absolutely. Bill Bennett, always good to see you, sir. Former education secretary, thanks for being here, Bill.

BENNETT: Thanks a lot. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Thank you.

BENNETT: Always, always.

MACCALLUM: So, Howie Kurtz is calling out some in the media who are directly blaming President Trump in the wake of these back-to-back tragedies. He's up next.


MACCALLUM: So today the finger-pointing at President Trump ramped up as critic slammed his speech which was intended to soothe a grieving nation. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is inciting hatred, inciting violence, inciting racism. I mean, this is a president who seems to want these things to happen.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, HOST, MSNBC: The President's remarks included but one mention of white supremacy, mostly spreading the blame are among the internet video games and mental illness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The arsonist coming and saying they want to help put out the fire.


MACCALLUM: So while some are trying to pin President Trump to the hateful rhetoric linked to the El Paso shooter, they do not give equal treatment to the Dayton shooter's political leanings. The Wall Street Journal editorial board today pointing this out. The Dayton shooters leftist ravings are notable only because the media and Democratic politicians have drawn a straight line between the El Paso shooter's anti-immigrant manifesto and Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Joining me now to analyze the fairness of the coverage Howie Kurtz, host of "MediaBuzz." Howie, good to see you tonight. You know, we've kind of tried to steer clear of talking about the content of the ideologies on either side of these because, you know, it -- you know, just from everything that we've read and talked about here, it's more about, you know, the roots of where this evil and sort of imbalance comes from.

And then it starts attaching itself to various ideologies, whatever it need be, or whatever appeals to that person at the moment. And then they take that sick ball and kind of run with it. But that hasn't stopped people from using one ideology against the other when it suits their political purpose out there, Howie.

HOWARD KURTZ, MEDIA ANALYST: Right. These are deranged people. And I've got to say there is a massive difference between criticizing President Trump for his sometimes divisive language, that's fair game, and coming out and saying that the President wants mass violence, that he condones mass violence, that he's inciting mass violence.

And it seems to me that the issue produced an absolute media frenzy in which is no longer a debate about is the president somehow promoting racism or white supremacy, he is outright accused as if it was an undisputed fact of being a racist, of being a white supremacist.

And it seems to me -- and here's the irony, that some of these commentators are allowing their own very intense anger toward Donald Trump to lead them into the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that they accuse him of spreading.

MACCALLUM: Yes. So why didn't they discuss as the Wall Street Journal editorial page pointed out? You know, if you're going to go down that road, and you're going to say, you know, this sick, crazy person would never have done this, if it weren't for something that the President said, then you've got to also -- you know, if that's the argument that you're making as someone who's reporting, covering these stories, then you would also have to point out that the similar parallel in the other -- in the Dayton shooter in terms of what he said. His ideology seems to be all over the place, but you know -- I mean, everything is all over the place.

KURTZ: So the Dayton shooter supposedly said he would happily vote for Elizabeth Warren. So is that Elizabeth Warren's fault that he killed nine people in Ohio? Of course not. Is it Bernie Sanders' fault that one of his admirers a couple of years ago, took guns to a congressional baseball practice and nearly killed Steve Scalise and wounded other Republicans, of course not.

But when it comes to Donald Trump, some of these people say, well, because the El Paso shooter posted this manifesto that seemed to echo some of the anti-Trump rhetoric-- excuse me, anti-immigrant rhetoric that Trump sometimes uses, its President Trump's fault. And this is guilt by association.

And the worst part of all, is it takes all of our focus off the victims of these twin tragedies and their families and diverts it into the political finger pointing game.

MACCALLUM: That's a good point. Howie, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.

KURTZ: Good to see you as well.

MACCALLUM: So next, Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who wanted to "stop Donald Trump's presidency from happening and said, there's no way he gets elected, but we can't take the risk. It's like an insurance policy, he texted. Tonight he says he is the one who was wronged. He is suing the FBI and demanding to be reinstated with back pay. Trey Gowdy has something to say about that. Stick around. He's next.


PETER STRZOK, FORMER FBI AGENT: If you want to represent what she said accurately, I'm happy to answer that question, but I don't appreciate what was originally said being changed.

TREY GOWDY, CONTRIBUTOR: I don't give a damn what you appreciate, Agent Strzok. I don't appreciate having an FBI agent with an unprecedented level of animus working on two major investigations in 2016.



MACCALLUM: He is the disgraced former FBI agent to wanted to stop Donald Trump's presidency. And tonight, Peter Strzok is suing both the FBI and the DOJ alleging that he was unfairly punished, his privacy was violated, and the Bureau caved he believes to President Trump. Correspondent Mark Meredith has THE STORY for us from Washington tonight. Hi, Mark!

MARK MEREDITH, CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha! The FBI fired Peter Strzok in August of 2018. Now almost a year to the day since his dismissal, Strzok is suing the government. He says his firing was improper and the result of political pressure from President Trump, his political allies in Congress, and the media.

The President has repeatedly criticized Strzok both on Twitter and on camera. The criticism stems from text messages Strzok sent to FBI lawyer Lisa Page whom he was having an affair with. Those texts were released publicly and included Page writing "he's never going to become president, right." Which Strzok responded, no, no, he's not. We'll stop it. And Strzok also texting "Trump is a disaster. I have no idea how destabilizing his presidency would be."

In his lawsuit, Strzok says the release of this text violated his right to privacy. Strzok has also defended his reputation in the past. He says he never let his personal feelings impact his work, including cases involving Hillary Clinton's e-mail servers and Russian interference and the 2016 election.


STRZOK: Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath, not once in my 26 years of defending our nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took.


MEREDITH: Strzok also argues there is a double standard when it comes to government employees and political opinions. His lawsuit mentions presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway by name. He says Conway has not been punished for voicing her political opinions. So far the Justice Department has not responded. Strzok is asking for back pay and damages so far. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Mark, thank you. Joining me now, Trey Gowdy, former Oversight Committee Chairman, and now a Fox News Contributor. Trey, good to see you tonight. What do you think? You know, does Peter Strzok have a case here? Was he unjustly relieved of his duty?

GOWDY: I missed the part of his lawsuit where he also filed a complaint against Bob Mueller. I mean, Mueller fired him. Remember, Comey said he would have fired him had he known about the text. I mean, the backdrop, you've already gone through some of the texts.

But Martha, I mean, he said Clinton, someone who was -- he was investigating at the time. He said Clinton should won 100 million to nothing. He belittled Trump supporters. He promised to stop the presidency. He said he had an insurance policy, if that didn't fail. And the one that I keep bringing up that undercuts (INAUDIBLE) his comment that he never took official action.

Remember when he said he wasn't interested in joining the Russia probe because he didn't think it would result in impeachment. This is a counterintelligence career FBI agent where what Russia did in this country was not enough for him. That's not enough to get him interested. He wanted it to involve impeachment. So if he's going to start suing people that fired him, he needs to start with Mueller.

MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, Mueller, as you said, when he saw those text messages he believed that it was, you know, at the very least, not a good look for his investigation to have this person associated with it was going to appear to be a conflict of interest.

And you know, it seems -- and then when you look at what the DOJ found they also made some pretty strong assessments in terms of the identify the large number of routine work-related communications, the text messages here personal, and they were all done on FBI issued phones.

I mean, it was clear that both Robert Mueller and the inspector general found fault with his service at the FBI. You know, is this about getting his pension? Is it about, you know, he's got a GoFundMe page where he has raised almost $500,000? I think we have a look at that page. Is this about money do you think?

GOWDY: I don't know. It could be about money. I'm sure he is having a hard time getting a job. But you know, the challenge I have is feeling sorry for someone who brought every single bit of this on himself.

I mean, bias is so insidious. Bias destroys the criminal justice system, it destroys investigations. And here you have a case agent who is supposed to be investigating Hillary Clinton while he hope she won the presidency with a historically large margin of victory, I might add, a 100 million to nothing --


MACCALLUM: But he got tricked.

GOWDY: -- initiates the probe into Trump while he promises to stop his presidency. I don't know anyone Republican or Democrat who thinks that is a law enforcement officer that should be handling a school crossing.


GOWDY: Much less counterintelligence investigations.

MACCALLUM: Well, you know, he says the president went after him and time and time again, that the president is sort of undermine, you know, made it so difficult for the agency not to make this decision with the, you know, why the FBI sick loser Peter Strzok working on a totally discredited Mueller team of 13 angry and conflicted Democrats. You know, the president tweeting things like that. He believes it's part of his argument that it wasn't fair.

GOWDY: Right, but the head of those allegedly 13 angry Democrats also fired him. I mean, Bob Mueller fired him. Jim Comey who was no fan of the person you are talking to right now, when we deposed him, he would've gotten rid of Peter Strzok if he had known about the text.

I mean, Peter Strzok needs to blame no one other than himself for writing what he wrote. He was unfit to investigate either of the presidential candidates. How this is going to turn out, I don't know. It's D.C. I don't know what the jury is going to do with them.

But he is unfit for law enforcement and whoever fired him, I guess it was Chris Wray, I am sure that Chris did not do it because of pressure from President Trump and if that were the case, Mick Mulvaney would have been fired a long time ago.

MACCALLUM: Trey Gowdy, good to see you, sir. Thank you very much for being here tonight.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Republican Senator Tom Cotton on why every American should care about the trade war with China, long-term and short-term when we come back.


MACCALLUM: So, it may be time to get used to a life under a trade war. The president says that is what needs to be done to correct a long overdue imbalance that are getting us nowhere. But now, China has cut off all purchases of our U.S. farm products and farmers who've stood by the president, by and large, are some of them expressing a little bit of anxiety about this.

Here is the executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.


DALE MOORE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION: It is a body blow and I don't know any other way to describe it. It is a punch in the gut that it is just taking away one of the most important and largest markets that we spent decades developing. It just turned into an all-out trade war and farmers and ranchers are cut right square in a crosshair.


MACCALLUM: Here now Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas. Senator, thanks for being here tonight. What is your take on the stage that we are at now and the actions that each side has taken?

SEN. TOM COTTON, R-ARK.: Martha, I think it's important for everyone to remember that this trade war is not new. China has been waging a trade war against the United States for 30 years. They have not lived up to their commitments to international trade organization or their commitments to the United States.

For instance, Xi Jinping in 2015 promised Barack Obama that China would stop stealing our intellectual property and hacking into our computer systems. They broke that promise.

He promised President Trump earlier this year that China would buy more of our farm products. They broke that promise as well.


COTTON: So this trade war hasn't been a started, this trade war has been joined by the president on behalf of our farmers and ranchers and foresters and manufacturers to try to stop China's unfair trade practices that have threaten so many of our jobs and taken so many of our factories over the decades.

MACCALLUM: I mean, I think there is no doubt that the president certainly acknowledged and I think a lot of the players acknowledged that this is going to be painful at times, and obviously that's a difficult thing to absorb for farmers and they did a $16 billion sort of subsidy to help the farmers.

You know, what's the impact of this? To tough it out and to get to the other side if that's -- if that's where we are going here. What's the potential impact do you think on the 2020 election?

COTTON: Well, there is no doubt that there are tough times in farm country partly because of the trade disputes we have with China, and partly other factors as well like a very wet spring and some flooding as well.

That's one of the reasons why the president and the secretary of agriculture announced earlier this year the Market Facilitation Program to try to help protect our farmers from some of those harms of China's trade practices, but ultimately China needs American food. They cannot feed their own people. They really that can't even source all the food they need from other countries.

So, if we hang tough, if we stand behind in a firm united fashion the United States trying to fight this trade war with China, I'm confident that not only our farmers but all Americans will ultimately benefit.

MACCALLUM: Yes. And what about China and the moved that they made in devaluing their currency? Which is, you know, currency manipulation is something that's been going on for a long time there as well. Does that sort of show further weakness on their side and a short-term play that they are carrying out?

COTTON: Martha, I think it does reveal that the Chinese leadership is worried perhaps under more of panicked about this trade war that we have finally joined against them. They devalued the currency briefly yesterday, but then they stabilized it in part because of the impact it would have on their own Chinese consumer market.

China has been manipulating its currency for a very long time in addition to a whole other host of policies they've used to gain unfair advantages on American workers.

MACCALLUM: Yes. And this president is the first one to actually call them out as a currency manipulator although we've been hearing about it and talking about it for a very long time as you say, Senator.

The other tension that China is dealing with right now is what's going on in Hong Kong which appears to be an escalating situation. Now you've got a massive 12,000 Chinese troops on the border as they, you know, sort of approach this anniversary date, what do you see happening there?

COTTON: Martha, the tensions just outside of Hong Kong and the protests inside of Hong Kong are very high. Beijing should make no mistake though. If they were to impose martial law on Hong Kong or otherwise, crackdown in violation of Hong Kong their basic law of 1984 Joint Declaration that took Hong Kong back to Chinese governance, it would require a fundamental re- appraisement of the United States relationship with China.

I would call for halting all trade negotiation, for imposing sanctions on senior Chinese communist party officials, revoking their visas and the visas of their family members, revising the Hong Kong Policy Act which gives Hong Kong a special privilege status as an isle of freedom inside a sea of Chinese tyranny.


COTTON: If they were to crackdown on Hong Kong or impose martial law or send all of those police officers and troops into Hong Kong, then it would be a moment like Tiananmen Square was 30 years ago. Only this time, I hope that we don't make the mistakes of largely letting Beijing off the hook as we did after the Tiananmen Square massacre.

MACCALLUM: I've got to go, but quickly, what do you put the chances of that happening at?

COTTON: The tensions are very high. I would simply caution Beijing not to doubt American resolve and not to cross that border and not to impose martial law or otherwise violate their obligations under the 1984 Joint Declaration relative to Hong Kong.

MACCALLUM: Senator, thank you. Great to see you tonight. Thanks for being here.

COTTON: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Coming up next, the attorney general taking his fight to hold drug manufacturers accountable in the opioid crisis directly to the Supreme Court.


MACCALLUM: Big news tonight out of the State of Arizona. They are taking a first of its kind step to hold drug manufacturers accountable in the opioid crisis. They're taking it directly to the Supreme Court asking that the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue Pharma return billions of dollars that were earned through opioid sales.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich made this filing, he joins me in moments. But first, chief breaking news correspondent Trace Gallagher with the back story tonight. Hi, Trace.


The allegation is that between 2008 and 2016, the Sackler family which owns Purdue Pharma withdrew more than $4 billion from the company.

Now there is certainly nothing wrong with owners taking profits. But the Arizona lawsuit contends, the money transfers happened at a time when the Sacklers knew that because of the opioid crisis, Purdue Pharma was facing massive financial liabilities and that siphoning off $4 billion plus would leave many victims without compensation.

At least 36 other lawsuits have been filed against Purdue Pharma in state courts. In fact, we covered the Massachusetts lawsuit on the show. What makes this suit unique is that it was filed directly in the Supreme Court which also never hears cases until the lower courts have considered them.

But Arizona says it could take years for the lawsuits to when their way through state and federal courts and state officials have decided the urgency of the epidemic simply does not have time to wait.

Legal experts say the Arizona case is a long shot and they point to a case in 2016 where the justices turned down a request by Nebraska and Oklahoma to challenge Colorado's legalization of marijuana.

In this case a spokesperson from the Sackler family said the accusation were, quote, "inconsistent with the factual record" and vowed to vigorously defend the allegation.

From 1999 to 2017, some of 400,000 people in the U.S. died from opioid overdose. Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family have repeatedly been accused of deceptively selling the painkiller Oxycontin including pushing doctors to give more patience on opioids at higher doses for longer periods of time.

The Arizona lawsuit says over the years Purdue Pharma has earned more than $30 billion from the sale of Oxycontin. Martha?

Martha: Trace, thank you. Quite a story. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich joins me now. Good to have you here tonight, sir. Thank you for being here.


MACCALLUM: I want to start by putting up this statement from them about your lawsuit. "The United States Supreme Court is an improper forum to conduct a trial of the claims being made by Arizona. The petition was filed solely for the purpose of leapfrogging other similar lawsuits, and we expect that the court will see it as such." What do you say to that?

BRNOVICH: I guess I would ask how do you define leapfrogging? If we want to have a process that creates some certainty, consistency and expedites this process, then that is true. What I did and what we did as an A.G.'s office is we want to make sure that we can get some certainty with this.

We have a crisis. We all recognize that. And the Sackler family made billions. In that piece that you just played, billions. Billions with a B off the misery of other people. And I want to make sure that they get held financially accountable because they basically siphoned money out of that corporation, out of Purdue Pharma in order to enrich themselves at the expense of all these people that are left off of their bag.

MACCALLUM: All right. So, I mean, obviously you are going to have to prove a couple of things, one is that there was anything illegal about them pulling money out of the company and then you'd have to prove, I believe, that they did that with the knowledge that these lawsuits were going to go after that money and that that was their motivation. Is that correct?

BRNOVICH: Martha, the bottom line is this, as there are literally thousands of lawsuits in cities, counties and towns. For over the last decade, there have been investigations by the state governments and various levels, plaintiffs and lawyers.

And so, what we allege and what we know is true is that all these investigations are heating up, as lawsuits are lawsuits, the Sackler family had a strategy to pull billions of dollars out of Purdue Pharma.

Look, I'm a free -- I'm a believer in the free market, but if someone is going to manipulate and use the system -- that's why people have -- are losing their faith in capitalism is because people like this that are literally making billions of dollars of the misery of other people and then somebody else is going to be left holding a bag.

And I'll make you a guarantee right now and the viewers out there, Martha, Purdue as a company it's probably going to bankrupt -- in bankruptcy very soon.

MACCALLUM: Why do you think that?

BRNOVICH: And meanwhile -- well, I that that that's because it's part of their legal strategy. That's why they pulled all these billions of dollars out of the company because they wanted to enrich themselves. And I want to make sure that that money doesn't end up in some Swiss Bank account or in the Cayman Islands. And instead, that's available --


MACCALLUM: I understand. I mean, you obviously want to go to the people that were hurt by it.

BRNOVICH: Of course.

MACCALLUM: And the people that you are representing in the State of Arizona, but I would imagine, you know, is it correct that the court will want to evaluate whether or not it can be proven that, you know, that one - - that a equals -- that a plus b equals c in this case, that the reason that they were pulling that money out is because they were trying to remove it from the potential of losing that money?

BRNOVICH: Ideally, what would happen is the Supreme Court would agree to hear this case. They would appoint a special master in the fall. That person he or she would gather all the information evidence presented to the court and then we would make that argument.

Is this unusual? Is it a little bit of a long shot? Yes. But I think if there's any time in the history of the court that they will hear a case like this with original jurisdiction, we have a natural -- national crisis.

There are thousands of ongoing lawsuits in state court, federal court, those cases are going to wind their way in the state and appellate courts, and ultimately end up in the Supreme Court.

So, if we can make -- if we can expedite the process in some way and create some certainty and consistency for all the victims and all the states impacted by this crisis, I think we have to do that. I think we have to take that chance.

MACCALLUM: So, what's to prevent the court from saying yes, and that's why there are all of these cases at the state level, let the states handle it, they're each handling unique cases for their state. And then perhaps we'll take a look at it down the road?

BRNOVICH: Well, I think the court maybe would argue that, maybe the Sackler family would argue that. But to me, right now, there is a crisis and there are literally billions of dollars being siphoned from that company.

So, I don't want to be the public official that someone looks back or my kids look back on and say, my goodness, why didn't you do something to stop those billions of dollars from being taken out of the company? Why wasn't that money available for the states? Why wasn't that available to the victims.


MACCALLUM: Is there any evidence that that money has left the country?

BRNOVICH: No, I don't. But I do know that it's left Purdue Pharma. There are literally have billions of dollars have been taken out of the company. That's not a dispute. I mean.

MACCALLUM: Mark, thank you very much.

BRNOVICH: Thank you very much.

MACCALLUM: We'll be watching. It's an interesting case.


MACCALLUM: Thanks for coming on tonight. We'll see where it goes.

BRNOVICH: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Good to see you.


MACCALLUM: After this, breaking news on Jussie Smollett tonight, next.


EDDIE JOHNSON, SUPERINTENDENT, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: At the end of the day, it's Mr. Smollett who committed this hoax, period.


MACCALLUM: There is news tonight in the legal battle between Jussie Smollett and the City of Chicago. The actor who allegedly stage his own hate crime back in January now wants the city to drop its case against him. They want him to pay back what the city spends trying to chase down his attacker.

National correspondent Matt Finn with that story tonight for us from Chicago. Hi, Matt.

MATT FINN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Martha, after Chicago's extensive investigation into Jussie Smollett's alleged hate crime the City of Chicago demanded Smollett pay back a $130,000. The actor never did and the city sued.

And today, Smollett's attorneys filed motions to have the lawsuit drawn out.

Back in March, Chicago's legal department sent a letter to Smollett demanding restitution for its two dozen detectives that spent weeks of overtime looking into Smollett's alleged hate crime. Reviewing videos, conducting interviews, pouring over evidence.

Chicago's Police Department and even former Mayor Rahm Emanuel concluded Smollett's allege hate crime was a hoax. The city warned Smollett that not paying the $130,000 could result in a lawsuit seeking much more in fees and damages which the city now is.

Today, the actor's attorney filed motions calling the city's lawsuit a perverse tactic, stressing that Smollett never admitted wrongdoing and prosecutors dropped the case.

Smollett's legal team also cited another case of an alleged false police report where the city did not sue. A few weeks ago, a veteran judge in Chicago ruled that a special independent prosecutor will now investigate the entire Smollett case from the start. The actor faces the same or even new charges.

Smollett's legal team also filed a series of motions trying to get that special prosecutor stop. But last week here in Chicago a veteran judge denied all of their attempts. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Thank you, Matt. So that is “The Story” of this Tuesday, August the 6th, 2019. But as always, “The Story” goes on. We will see you back here tomorrow night at 7. Tomorrow, the president heads to Dayton and to El Paso. We'll have live coverage throughout. Good night, everybody.

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