Hatch: Dem obstruction against Kavanaugh was 'ridiculous'

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," September 4, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: So we are live in D.C. as you can see where the White House is about to respond tonight to what happened today when within seconds, the Kavanaugh hearing ran headlong into a brick wall as Democrats threw a Hail Mary attempt to prevent it from happening.


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, R-IOWA, SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE: Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to serve as Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS: Mr. Chairman -- Mr. Chairman, I'd like to be recognized for a question before we proceed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Regular order, Mr. Chairman.

HARRIS: Mr. Chairman we cannot possibly move forward, Mr. Chairman, with this hearing. We have not been giving an opportunity to have a meaningful hearing on this nominee.


GRASSLEY: I extend a very warm welcome to Judge Kavanaugh, to his wife, Ashley.

MACCALLUM: So, you get the idea? So, those protests were punctuated in by tons of uprisings from the audience leaving the whole thing feeling kind of, well, like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, will you be the last one or do you want to go on all afternoon?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN.: What is the administration afraid of showing --

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, D-MINN., SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: And what's been invoked by you, could I -- please respond.

GRASSLEY: After I get done up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we going to be allowed to interrupt each other?

BLUMENTHAL: Mr. Chairman, I move to adjourn.

GRASSLEY: -- people get me heard directly from Judge Kavanaugh, and later this afternoon.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN, R-TEXAS, SENATE MAJORITY WHIP: Just a first confirmation hearing for a Supreme Court justice I've seen basically, according to mob rule.


MACCALLUM: Moments ago, I spoke with Senator Orrin Hatch who had a front- row seat to the fireworks today. Watch.


SEN. ORRIN HATCH, R-UTAH, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: So, here are the facts. Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most distinguished judges. Mr. Chairman, I think we ought to have this, this loudmouth removed. I mean, we don't -- we shouldn't have to put up with this kind of stuff. I don't know that the committee should have to put up with this like of insolence that's going on in this -- in this room today.

MACCALLUM: Senator, good to see you tonight.

HATCH: It's nice to see you.

MACCALLUM: Thanks for being with us. Long day in there for all of you. And probably, for Judge Kavanaugh, more than anybody who had to just sort of wait, and watch, and listen, to all of that.

You know, your thoughts -- first of all on what happened right out of the gate as Chairman Grassley was calling the meeting to order, Kamala Harris started barking at him and saying that she wanted to adjourn the meeting. What did you make of that?

HATCH: Well, that's typical opposition tactics. It's not a very smart set of tactics, but you know, they're entitled to make those points but it was kind of a stupid move.

MACCALLUM: But, have you ever seen that in all your years in the Senate to be at a Supreme Court justice hearing that the opposition attempts literally to shut down at probably 30 to 40 junctures throughout the whole thing?

HATCH: Well, I've seen it in another context. I have to say every once in a while, you have to say you have that happen. But that was kind of ridiculous today. This was important that we went ahead with the hearing.

MACCALLUM: But what about the discussion that Charles said -- Chuck Schumer -- Senator Chuck Schumer, sort of helped to orchestrate all of this that they had a coordinated phone call ahead of the hearing and planned it all out?

HATCH: Well, you know, I -- you can't -- you can't count on the Democrats ever being helpful with regard to any nomination by the Republicans to the United States Supreme Court. And to a large degree, you have Republicans probably feel the same way when the shoes on the other foot.

But to do with some of the things that they've tried to do is really kind of bush-league, and I get a little tired of it, to be honest with you. We should have a little more sense and a little more feeling and gravitas of how to handle these matters, and that wasn't handled well.

MACCALLUM: And what -- I mean there were a lot of protesters. It felt like they piped up every 30 seconds, and you sort of laid into them in the sound bite that we played a moment ago. What's your thinking on all that?

HATCH: Yes. Well, you know, there's a -- there's a place to protest. And inside a major hearing like that is not the place to protest. But we're kind of used to it. The Liberal Democrat students and I think college students, and maybe even law students just can't seem to control themselves in some of these situations, and it was stupid.

It made them look stupid and, of course, we were smiling to a degree but it got kind of over a quick.

MACCALLUM: At one point, Chairman Grassley was very frustrated. And he said, you know, I always advise people when they become chairman of committees to never lose control of their committee. And he said I think I've kind of done that today. Do you -- do you think he lost control of that hearing?

HATCH: No, I don't. I think that he was a little taken aback by some of the rudeness of some of these people.


HATCH: I don't even know who the people were, but they were certainly rude, they were certainly out of place. They were stupid, to be honest with you. They didn't make any real points that would help their particular point of view. And frankly, I think most people were disgusted with them.

MACCALLUM: You're referring to the protesters or some of the Senators on your committee?

HATCH: Yes. No, no, the protesters. I can stand any Senator on the committee making an ask of himself or herself anytime they want to. And I, I kind of enjoy that from time to time. But, no, there's no reason for some of these protesters who tried to disrupt a formal hearing as important as that one was.

MACCALLUM: Yes. So, I want to ask about this moment when coming back from the break, Judge Kavanaugh was confronted by a father of a student who was killed at Parkland, and he didn't shake his hand. And this is getting a ton of attention on social media and it's being called a snub by Judge Kavanaugh.

HATCH: Well, I was there. And I don't think Judge Kavanaugh saw him. Because Judge Kavanaugh would certainly not have snubbed him. Kavanaugh is one of the most gracious, kind, warm, affectionate guys that I've seen since I've been in the United States Senate.

So, he just didn't notice it, I guess, and --

MACCALLUM: But he's looking -- just to be fair in the picture that we're showing, he's looking over to him. He sees him standing there. But a security swept in pretty quickly given the feeling in the room, I guess.

HATCH: Well, I didn't see that, but you do follow your security because you don't know whether these people are -- who they are, and what kind of - - what kind of a complaints they have. So, I don't blame Judge Kavanaugh for that. I think he's a gracious guy. My gosh, if he'd have known, he would have stopped and I'm sure talk to him, but they whisked him away. And I (INAUDIBLE) for that.

MACCALLUM: All right. Senator Orrin Hatch, thank you, sir. Good to have you with us tonight.

HATCH: OK. Good to be with you.


MACCALLUM: So, joining me now on the rooftop Mo Elleithee, the former DNC spokesman. And Charlie Hurt, Washington Times opinion editor. Both are Fox News contributors. Welcome gentlemen. Good to have you here tonight.

Mo, let me start with you. Because the substance of what Democrats were pushing back on is that they feel they didn't get enough documents. They were 42,000 documents that were released and they didn't have enough time to --

MO ELLEITHEE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Release last night, right? Yes, 11:00 last night. Look, I think it was -- it was hot in that room almost as hot as it out here on this rooftop.

And yes, I think the protesters actually agree with Senator Hatch a bit that the protesters, I think detracted quite a bit. I think, Democrats putting us on all the theatrics of the day, I think Democrats set out to make a couple of key points. And I actually think those points broke through today. One is about the process.

And the fact that the documents were -- are that the documents are asking for not being released when they are being released or being released last minute when they don't have a time. Don't have time to review them. And that's a -- that's an important point, number two.

And number three are about Judge Kavanaugh's positions. One on a woman's right to choose, and two, which I think is you're going to hear more and more of into the coming days is about where he is on the rule of law vis-a- vis President Trump. As the president's under investigation, where will he come down as a member of the Supreme Court? Should any of this make it to him? And I think that broke true.

MACCALLUM: Yes, you know, because -- I get it that the weird thing was that -- you know, some of the Senators who were complaining like Hirono -- Senator Hirono. She rejected the opportunity to meet with Kavanaugh, where she could have asked him all these questions in the office.

And most of them, Charlie, had already said, there's no way we're going to vote for him anyway. So, it makes it that argument that like we can't possibly do this because we haven't read all the documents that would suggest that you still have an open mind when most of them have made clear that the mind is shut already.

CHARLES HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Exactly. And you know, when we talk about all these documents, you know, I think that it's important to sort of boil down exactly what they are talking about. The documents in question are all of these documents that were -- that were generated under the President George W. Bush administration where Kavanagh -- Brett Kavanaugh, worked.

And yes, some of those are still subject to executive privilege, some of them are classified. But what is not classified, what is all out there, 100 percent are is every opinion Brett Kavanaugh has ever written, every piece of work he's ever done not as a partisan lawyer or a lawyer -- you know, working on behalf of some client. But as a -- as a judge.

And to me, those are the most important documents and they're all out there. I've covered judicial nominations for 15 years now and I've seen -- I remember when Sam Alito's wife burst into tears because of the -- of the muck that Democrats on the committee were dragging her husband through just nonsense.

I've never seen a hearing as disorganized and ridiculous as this. We actually had the sitting United States Senator today accused the sitting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and five other -- and four of the justices of being paid off, corrupt -- of being paid off to operate on the behalf.

MACCALLUM: Roberts Five.

HURT: Yes, the Roberts Five. I mean, you talk about reckless language. I just -- this is -- and the reason that it's so disturbing is that I want these people to be serious, I want to take Sheldon Whitehouse seriously. But when he says things like that, I can't take him seriously and I don't trust him.

ELLEITHEE: Yes. Look, and there's a reason why in public opinion polling right now, Judge Kavanaugh is underwater in terms of people out there saying that they -- that they would -- they're not in supportive of his -- of his nomination going through right now. And I think that's because there are so many swirling questions around this.

Yes, a lot of Democrats have said that they're not going to move forward on this nomination that they can't vote yes on. And there are a lot of Republicans who be within minutes of his being nominated immediately said, they were absolutely going to vote for him.

Makes you wonder what the whole point of the hearing process is right now. It sorts of going to move this --


MACCALLUM: And then they (INAUDIBLE). This is a relatively new thing to even have these hearings and ask these questions. So, now, for 50 years or so.


HURT: I thought you were going to say that there's -- that there's a reason why Congress's approval rating is in the toilet.

ELLEITHEE: There is -- there is that too.

MACCALLUM: If that was very well demonstrated today. Thank you, guys. Good to see both of you tonight. Thanks for being here. More fun to follow tomorrow.

All right. So, Newt Gingrich is next. Plus this, the White House is about to respond to the Kavanagh chaos and the Woodward book live, next.


MACCALLUM: President Trump firing back tonight against bombshell allegations made in a new book by veteran journalist Bob Woodward that depicts the White House in chaos. Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry joins me live here in Washington tonight with this whole story for us. Hi, Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Another remarkable story charging that the Trump White House basically has been suffering from a "nervous breakdown." The book promising never before told scenes of the Commander-in-Chief lashing out at his staff and his staff basically raising questions about his intelligence and literally stealing papers off of his desk to try and limit damage within the government.

Now, breaking tonight the President though is fighting back and so are some of his top advisors. The President charging to the Daily Caller, this is just another "bad book about him" and lashing out at author Bob Woodward charging he has credibility problems and that some of the anecdotes are flat-out false. The President infuriated by scenes like one charging that after the Syrian president launched a chemical attack last year, Mr. Trump told the Defense Secretary James Mattis about Bashar al-Assad "let's effing kill him. Let's go in, let's kill the effing lot of them."

Now, the book claims Mattis humored the President by saying he'd get right on it but was stunned the President was ordering an assassination and told associates he's trying to prevent World War III. The retired general just put out a blistering statement of his own saying this is fiction and any claim that he uttered contemptuous words about the Commander-in-Chief is a product of "someone's rich imagination."

Retired General John Kelly, meanwhile, the Chief of Staff also denying a claim in the book that he privately said: "he's an idiot, we're in crazy town, I don't even know why any of us are here, this is the worst job I've ever had." Kelly declaring tonight the idea I ever called the president idiot is not true as I stated back in May and still stand --firmly stand behind that spend more time with the president than anyone. We have an incredibly candid and strong relationship he always knows where I stand. He and I both know this story is total B.S. committed to the President, his agenda, our country.

The book claims the President also goes after Jeff Sessions even more than he does on Twitter privately saying, "this guy is mentally retarded, he's this dumb southerner, he couldn't even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama." The book also asserting there was a practice session to prep the President for a possible interview with Bob Mueller and it went so badly the President's advisors were horrified. His personal attorney at the time John Dowd allegedly saying don't testify. It's either that or an orange jumpsuit.

Dowd is insisting tonight not true. "There was no so-called practice session or re-enactment of a mock interview at the Special Counsel's office. Further, I did not refer to the president as a liar, did not say he was likely to end up in an orange jumpsuit, it was a great honor and distinct privilege to serve the president."

The President in that new interview with the Daily Caller saying it's nasty stuff. He would have refuted it but he claims he did not get the messages that Woodward wanted an interview from his staff. The Washington Post has also obtained audio of a recent phone call Woodward had with the President.


WOODWARD: I've got to go talk to people and see them outside of the White House and outside of their offices and gained a lot of insight and documentation and it's -- you know, it's a tough look at the world and your administration and you.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Right. Well, I assumed that means it's going to be a negative book but you know, I'm some -- I'm sort of 50 percent used to that. That's all right. Some are good and some are bad. Sounds like this is going to be a bad one.


HENRY: The book claiming former top aides like Rob Porter who left amid allegations of spousal abuse and economic Adviser Gary Cohn who left after clashing with President on policy, that both would basically take papers off the President's desk to prevent him from taking action that they thought would be damaging. The President tonight telling the Daily Caller that is simply a fabrication.

Interesting back in 2013 he tweeted that it would be hard for the Obama White House to push back on Woodward's credibility. Tonight it's the President trying to do just that, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Fascinating. We're going to talk to folks from the White House in just a few moments. And earlier I spoke with Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and Fox News contributor. Watch this.


MACCALLUM: What's your reaction to this?

NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's very sad. I've known Bob Woodward a long time. He had a chance to do a book that would have been truly interesting. How can a guy as unique as Donald Trump have created the level of economic growth we have? How can he have created the lowest black unemployment rate in American history? How can he have deregulated more regulations than any other president in history? How can he work with Mitch McConnell and gotten more judges approved in the first two years than any president in American history?

The list goes on and on and on and yet on the Left people like Woodward who has had a great career as I said, I've talked to Bob for 30 years now. They can't unlock, they can't say gee, the really interesting story is this very unusual man is getting so much stuff done and the country is so much better off. Shouldn't we try to understand what it is about Trump that works rather than just write one more smear? I mean, I'm not John Kelly since 1995, and if John Kelly says what Woodward wrote is a lie, what Woodward wrote was a lie. And I think that tells you a lot about this book.

Bob went around to please all of his left-wing friends, gathered up every piece of trash he could, poured it all into a book, wrote it up on you know word processor with great speed, and now because he's Bob Woodward was supposed to genuflect. I think it's a sad comment that no serious reporter on the left is willing to try to understand the amazing things the Trump is achieving. And I'm not defending Trump across the board. I think he's 80 percent a remarkable historic figure and 20 percent are reality T.V. personality but that's worth exploring.

MACCALLUM: Yes, it is. I understand -- I understand what you're saying. And you know what, in some parts of this as you say, Newt, both things can be true. I mean, I think that the White House is in a situation right now that it has never been in before. Donald Trump does not run the White House the way that other people did. We know that he is very brutal, very honest at times with people about what he thinks about things. He doesn't always speak in a very piecey manner. This is the third book really of this kind that we've had in the past year that lays this out. But you know, so does it hurt at all -- you know, should he in any way change the way things work inside the White House to prevent this image that it's so chaotic or does it not matter?

GINGRICH: Well, Trump ought to do the things I think Trump could improve and the things right I think Trump could be more effective and at times less self-destructive. Let me be clear as a historian. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is probably the greatest, most effective president twentieth- century routinely lied to everybody. He routinely set up his own cabinet to fight each other. I mean, if we'd had Bob Woodward hanging out with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the stories we would have gotten of dysfunction and confusion and manipulation would have been amazing.

He also created the New Deal and helped win the Second World War. So you got to ask yourself is Trump different? Sure. Was Andrew Jackson different, was Abraham Lincoln different, I work very close with Ronald Reagan, he was different and there was tension in the Reagan White House all the time. So I think we ought to be clear about this. Yes, there are things you can write about Trump. You can demean him, you can make things look goofy, but again notice what's happening, the people who have the greatest standard for honesty are standing up and saying this book is not true and that should bother Woodward a lot. His legacy is that his last great book is just a big lie, that's a sad commentary.

MACCALLUM: All right, Newt Gingrich, thank you, sir. Always good to see you. Thanks for being here tonight.

GINGRICH: Thank you. Thank you.


MACCALLUM: When we come back, the White House response here live.


MACCALLUM: President Trump at times was the focus of the hearing for Judge Kavanaugh. Senator Dick Durbin was the most pointed on that topic. Watch this.


SEN. DICK DURBIN, D-ILL.: You are the nominee of President Donald John Trump. This is a president has shown us consistently that he's contemptuous of the rule of law. He has said and done things as president which we've never seen before in our history.


MACCALLUM: Here now Raj Shah, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary tasked with getting Judge Kavanaugh confirmed. This has been what has absorbed you for the past couple of months. So you go in there today and you're watching this thing kind of explode in the beginning. What are you thinking?

RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Well, first of all, thanks for having me on.

MACCALLUM: Good to have you.

SHAH: You know, the opening of those hearings was a little regrettable. We think that Democrats frankly haven't really taken this process all that seriously. They came out against the judge the night he was announced. They refused to meet with him for several months. Now they opened up complaining exclusively about process. I think if they had one complaint about process it should be to the former Democratic leader Harry Reid who got rid of the filibuster for judicial nominations.

But nonetheless, Judge Kavanaugh got an opportunity to talk directly to the American people. He talked about his life story, his family, his approach to the law in his judicial philosophy. We think that that story is something the American people are going to respond to. They're going to like and I think more importantly the Senators were going to vote on his nomination are going to respond to in life.

MACCALLUM: What did you think about what Dick Durbin had to say in there when he said you are the nominee of President Trump basically you know, and that characterizes a lot about you. Well, I think Judge Kavanaugh, unlike some other nominees, has a very clear and lengthy record. He's been a sitting judge in the D.C. Court of Appeals for over 12 years now and he has over 307 opinions, 13 of which we always say have been affirmed by the Supreme Court.

You understand this man's approach to the law. When he was nominated by President Bush to his current seat, he nonetheless had to rule against him on a number of cases. He did nearly two dozen times whether it's administrative actions, whether it's law enforcement actions so he's an independent-minded guy.

MACCALLUM: A lot of records and a lot for them to look at. What was Brett Kavanaugh's reaction to what happened in there today? His daughters had to be brought out when it got pretty rough there in the beginning. What was his reaction?

SHAH: Look, it is regrettable. I mean, I think every lawyer and every judge dreams of their moment to be a Supreme Court nominee eventually sit at the highest court. And I think that yes, to some extent the Democrats in making partisan potshots out of this opening day have marred it to some extent. But I don't think he's deterred. I think he understands that his job is to answer their questions and to talk about his philosophy and he's going to have a great opportunity to do that over the next two days.

MACCALLUM: All right, so in the White House Communications Department, your guys are dealing with yet another book which claims to shed light. This is from Bob Woodward, he's been around a long time. He's been written about eight presidents to shed light on what he sees as a nervous breakdown environment in the West Wing. What is the reaction of the White House to this book?

SHAH: Well, you know, we put out an actual response to the book. I think a lot of people who were mentioned who were cited specific instances that are reference in the book, people who are cited have raised questions about the veracity of the things that are being reported in that book.

You know, I haven't had an opportunity to read it as I said, I've been focused on Judge Kavanaugh but what's been reported about it is not the White House that I've seen.

I think if you look at the president you look what he's done, yes, sure, he's not a traditional of Washington politician, that's not a surprise to anyone. But he has had incredible achievements over the first nearly two years now.

When it comes to the economy and when it come to the national security, when it comes to changing the complexion of the U.S. court system, the federal court system including the Supreme Court to bring in more of the kinds of judges that he promised.


MACCALLUM: And he made those points in the recorded phone conversation that we heard with Bob Woodward, but you know, he seems very frustrated, the president, that he didn't know that Bob Woodward wanted to talk to him, he said you should have called Madeline.

He mentioned you. Did you call Raj, did you call Kellyanne? Then he brings Kellyanne into the conversation. She gets on the phone, she says, well, I can only go so far and then it got cut off. And it got turned it down. Is that -- it was a process?

I mean, you know, if I were to want to write a book, why couldn't the president understand that he wanted some time with him?

SHAH: Well, look, I don't schedule the president's interviews in most instances but I will say that there is an internal process and, you know, certain things are brought up the chain of command.

I don't know what happened in this instance, but I think that people who were interviewed and were cited in this book have questioned the veracity of a lot of the reporting. John Dowd, the president's personal lawyer--


MACCALLUM: But John Dowd interviewed for the book?

SHAH: Well, I don't know if he was interviewed for the book. I'm not sure. But he has pushed back on specific instance involving a meeting in which he says basically what happened and what described in the book is not accurate.

MACCALLUM: Yes. All right, Raj. Thank you. Good to talk with you tonight.

SHAH: Thanks.

MACCALLUM: Busy day and another busy day tomorrow for Kavanaugh.

SHAH: Of course.

MACCALLUM: You've been working on so hard. Thanks for being here.

SHAH: Thank you very much.

MACCALLUM: Good to see you tonight.

All right. So Colin Kaepernick is now the face of Nike's just do it campaign saying, believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. My next guest, army veteran Sergeant Robert Bartlett has spoken out about this before. He is back tonight. He knows something about sacrifice. And he has a message for Nike, next.


MACCALLUM: New tonight, President Trump is now weighing in on this controversial new Nike ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, and it is not in some ways a response that everyone might expect. The president telling the Daily Caller tonight, "I think it's a terrible message and a message that shouldn't be sent but it is what this country is all about. You have certain freedoms to do other things that people shouldn't do. I personally, I'm on a different side of it."

The president also mentioned that the Nike flagship stores in his building and pays him a lot of rent. The ad triggered backlash from some customers, many turning to social media to share photos of Nike products burned in protest. The company's stock was down today about 3 percent.

My next guest is outraged by this choice by Nike and he knows something about sacrificing for something.

In 2008, and his Humvee was hit by an IED in Afghanistan, leaving him severely burned and blinded in one eye. Here now, welcome back to THE STORY tonight, Sergeant Robert Bartlett, army veteran and adviser to United Against the Nuclear Iran. Sergeant, good to see you tonight. Thank you so much for being here.


ROBERT BARTLETT, ARMY VETERAN: Good to see you too, Martha. It was May of 2005, just so you know in Iraq.

MACCALLUM: Thank you. We stand corrected.

BARTLETT: Yes, no problem.

MACCALLUM: Two thousand five.


MACCALLUM: We stand corrected.

BARTLETT: No problem.

MACCALLUM: So you feel very strongly that this is the wrong message from Nike.

BARTLETT: Absolutely.


BARTLETT: I think Mother Theresa said it best. The fruit of love is service, right? My family has fought for this country and served this country under this flag since the birth of this country.

This is my grandfather's flag, he broke his back in a coal mine, where (Inaudible) broke out. He walked through with the cane. He threw his cane in the front yard and went signed up for the navy the next day. His son, my grandfather, he said, my grandfather is going to war with a broken back and unable body, he went.

You know, we served. And in that service you feel the love of what you did being part of something bigger than yourself. Getting on your knees is not being part of something bigger than yourself. Service getting into the community, helping out those in need, that's service of others.

MACCALLUM: So, what, I mean, but Colin Kaeperick says that he feels that there's racial injustice in the country and that as an American he has the right to protest, if he feels that that will send his message. And now Nike is on board, they are helping him send that message in a big way.

BARTLETT: Right. Yes. So they make all this money off of those who sacrifice for the freedom for them to do that under a flag that provides them with that service the freedom to do that.

So they are protesting the very thing that provides them that opportunity. And then you look at Nike and you say, OK, well, they have their freedom to put up whoever they want in advertisement, I have a feeling that Nike is not going to make its number this year.

All my friends are burning their stuff, we got friends who got rid of all of their Hollywood stuff or those who didn't support America or not pro- American, it's continued good friends who don't watch the NFL anymore, lots of them.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Their ratings were down 10 percent last year and--


BARTLETT: It's growing.

MACCALLUM: -- this, this subject has definitely hurt them and it's very much back in the forefront with Colin Kaepernick's trial going forward now as well.


MACCALLUM: And Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of all people has decided to weigh in on the Nike camp -- the Nike ad with Colin Kaepernick. Here's what he said. "The NFL season starts this week. Unfortunately, once again, Kaepernick is not on an NFL roster. Even though he is in one of the best quarterbacks in the league."

BARTLETT: Well, if he was, he'd have a job.


BARTLETT: No matter what he was doing, right? No matter what he was protesting, you have a job. And that's not the reality. And so Ahmadinejad if he is, you know, the great divine person of American politics and what's right and what's right, then the world is really upside down.

MACCALLUM: OK. Less than a minute left. I want to get your reaction to John Brennan who was also been much in the news. He says "Colin Kaepernick drew our collective attention to the problem of continued racial injustice in America. He did so not to disrespect our flag but to give meaning to the words of the preamble of the Constitution in order to form a more perfect union. Well done, Colin. Well done." Says John Brennan.

BARTLETT: I'd say that's continuation of voting for communism. If you don't stand for the flag you don't care about the flag in the very things that provide you with those freedoms and representative of that, then what are you standing for?

Are you standing for a communist flag of some other country or are you standing with Ahmadinejad or who, you know? If you don't stand for this country, where do you stand for? If so, head there straight. Straight for people who want to come here, all right? You go there, we'll take them here.

MACCALLUM: Sergeant, we wouldn't trade you for anybody. We're very glad you're here tonight.

BARTLETT: I love this country.

MACCALLUM: And we thank you so much--


BARTLETT: If we're dying for this country, it's worth it.

MACCALLUM: -- you and your grandfather and your great grandfather, we thank you for your service.


BARTLETT: My father, yes.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much.

BARTLETT: Thank you very much. I appreciate, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Good to see you again.

BARTLETT: You, too.

MACCALLUM: Always a pleasure to have you on the program.

BARTLETT: God bless.

MACCALLUM: You, too. So when we come back, the battle between NBC and Ronan Farrow. This whole thing is heating up tonight. He tried to break the Harvey Weinstein story for the Peacock network, but he say they weren't having it.

And Chuck Todd says it's time for the media to start fighting back and he goes after Fox News first. And why the New Yorker caved on having Steve Bannon speak. Howie Kurtz is the best person to turn to for the reaction to all of this. He is up next.


MACCALLUM: More punches thrown tonight in the battle between NBC and Ronan Farrow. As reports the network tried to kill his bombshell investigation on Harvey Weinstein. NBC is still trying to do some damage control over their handling of the story amid repeated claims that it blocked Ronan Farrow from reporting what he knew.

NBC chief Andrew Black writing in a lengthy memo to staff saying in part, quote, "Contrary to recent allegations at no point did NBC obstruct Farrow's reporting or kill an interview."

Farrow has been quick to hit back, saying in part, quote, "Executives there have now produced a memo that contained numerous false or misleading statements so I'll say briefly, their list of sources is incomplete. It omits women who were either identified in the NBC story or offered to be."

Howie Kurtz joins me now, host of Media Buzz on Fox News. And now tonight another woman from NBC has come forward on the Weinstein story.


MACCALLUM: And said yes, that she was very willing to be on the record on this story. How bad is this for them?

KURTZ: Martha, I was an investigative reporter for many years and you know in your gut when your employer doesn't have the stomach for controversial stories. Andy Lack had to send that step and be out because of the damage that is being done to NBC.

We now know the network suggested that Ronan Farrow walk out the door and take that story elsewhere and two months later the New Yorker published Farrow's Pulitzer Prize winning expose of Harvey Weinstein that ends up launching the Me Too movement. And no amount of rationalization can explain away the fact that NBC could have had that story and I think flinched.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, obviously it was a huge moment and it would take some courage because Harvey Weinstein's people were pushing back big time. But it was obvious, it appears to be curse that NBC did not have in this story.

KURTZ: And the notion it started it didn't have enough (Inaudible) on the record. Obviously he eventually did. And that we even knew that Farrow says he did at the time that he was still at NBC.

MACCALLUM: Yes. All right. Chuck Todd speaking out today. Here's one of the quote he said in his editorial and in Atlantic about Fox News, "The promised to be balanced was a quoted pledge to offer alternative explanations, putting commentary ahead of reporting. It was an attack on the integrity of the rest of the media. Fox intended to build its brand the same way Ailes had built the brands of political candidates by making the public hate the other choice more."

KURTZ: So Chuck Todd seems to decided that Roger Ailes and Fox News are single-handedly responsible for the incredible loss of credibility in the media, and of course he doesn't really get into the fact that if you will watch MSNBC even some daytime news hours the anti-Trump tone is palpable.

Now the fact is what's really responsible is decades of bias and mistakes and have cause the media to lose the confidence of half the country. These are self-inflicted wounds by (Inaudible).

Now Chuck says, well, you know, journalists may have some biases but they were working on them as if they are just requires a little tinkering. It's a lot more fundamental than that and I think, just to try to blame a competing cable network, one cable news network could be responsible for this decline. It doesn't really work.

MACCALLUM: I mean, I think so many people have lost faith in the media and you know, I, for one, you know, we get a lot of support for telling both sides of the story here and, that's something we are very proud of.

So, as we move on I want to get your thoughts on the New Yorker which was going to do this, you know, talk on the stage kind of thing with Steve Bannon. They promoted it and then they got complaints and they pulled the record.

KURTZ: So New Yorker editor David Remnick did a provocative thing. He's going to have Steve Bannon at this annual festival and then unfortunately he caved. He caved to readers of the liberal magazine who didn't like the idea. He caved to some of his own staffers and he caved to Hollywood types like comedian Jim Carrey and producer Judd Apatow who said Bannon is out of this festival.

And unfortunately we see too much of this. This disinviting of conservatives it was a great -- the reason Remnick wanted Bannon, sure, he's controversial.


MACCALLUM: Because he's provocative.

KURTZ: It's because it would have been an interview and they could have challenged each other.

MACCALLUM: Interesting.

KURTZ: Interesting.

MACCALLUM: Rather than having everybody is there saying exactly the same thing.

KURTZ: And within hours Twitter erupts and the invitation is gone, Bannon is calling it gutless.

MACCALLUM: Weak. Weak. Yes.

KURTZ: And it would have been better if Remnick had stuck to his guns.

MACCALLUM: It will be interesting. Thanks, Howie.

KURTZ: Great to see you.

MACCALLUM: You did. You got it all in.

KURTZ: We did.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, Howie. All right. So, coming up on a busy day, Senator Lindsey Graham has stopped by the rooftop here as Arizona's governor has now picked a new senator to take the spot of John McCain. We'll be right back with Lindsey Graham.


MACCALLUM: Fox News alert, tonight the New York Times is reporting that special counsel Robert Mueller will accept written communication from the president in the Russian investigation.

According to those who were briefed on this letter they told the Times, quote, "The tone of the letter and the fact that special counsel did not ask for written responses on obstruction prompted some Trump allies to conclude that if an interview takes place, the scope will be more limited than President Trump's legal team initially relieved."

Senator Lindsey Graham, Senate judiciary committee member, very busy day for him, joins us now. Good to see you tonight, senator. Thanks for being here.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: I just left the circus.

MACCALLUM: You just left.

GRAHAM: So, it's good to be with you.

MACCALLUM: Circus, exactly.

GRAHAM: Yes. I've been in a clown car all day.

MACCALLUM: Let me just get your response to that first, what does that signal to you?

GRAHAM: It sounds like they are making some serious efforts to negotiate an interview but it also means to me that Mueller is not going to issue a report before the election now because we're so close to the election. They are still negotiating about talking to the president. Most likely you won't get a report until after the election.

MACCALLUM: And they implied that they would like a written response, they would agree to a written response with regard to collusion.


MACCALLUM: But they left the door open when it came to obstruction of justice. Does that mean they still would like speak to them personally about that?

GRAHAM: It's pretty hard to read the tea leaves there but I've seen no evidence of collusion. In fact, if they would take written responses to collusion tells you pretty much there is no collusion.

In terms of obstruction of justice it's almost impossible to prove that this president had a corrupt motive for firing Comey because almost every Democrat wanted him fired.

There's plenty of Democrats who told the president and the nation you need to get rid of Comey because he's incompetent.

MACCALLUM: All right. Let's get to the hearing.

GRAHAM: Yes, my favorite part.


MACCALLUM: You called it a circus, here are a little bit of your introductory remarks today.


GRAHAM: This is shaping up to be the hypocrisy hearing and that's hard to do in the Senate in today's time.


MACCALLUM: What did you mean by that?

GRAHAM: Well, when the shoe is on the other foot, you have a different view of this. In 1994, when Clinton was under investigation, I remember it well, he nominated Stephen Breyer to be chief member of the Supreme Court, they didn't halt the hearing, they said it was OK to go forward.

There are so many examples here of when the shoe is on the other foot. Joe Biden cited Kavanaugh's article about you should not indict a sitting president. You shuld leave that up to Congress. So it shouldn't be a decision by single prosecutor.

So Brett Kavanaugh who is going to destroy the republic because of his views on executive power. Joe Biden used his article on behalf of President Clinton. There's a thousand examples for the shoe was on the other foot they did something differently.

MACCALLUM: All right. So tomorrow we will dig into the questioning.


MACCALLUM: I will be there to watch all of that unfold as it gets underway.

So today a big decision from Governor Ducey in Arizona, you obviously were so close to John McCain and spent of last week essentially remembering Senator McCain. What are your thoughts on what Arizona has decided to do here?

GRAHAM: They've taken John's wing man. Jon Kyl who is steady rock conservative who tries to solve hard problems and let him finish out his good friends term. It makes a lot of sense to me. And come January we'll get somebody that will be able to run in 2020.

But Governor Ducey did the people of Arizona great service and so vote Kavanaugh. Today the big winner was Trump in the hearing and the big loser was the Democratic Party because if this is their approach, as to how to govern, they are going to have a hard time in 2020.

MACCALLUM: There was a lot of campaigning going on.

GRAHAM: A lot.


GRAHAM: A lot. So if you are running for president as a Democrat, you got to please the people doing the yelling. I think the country is tired of the yelling and they have lied to us to get things done and at times Donald Trump drives me crazy but he has produced.

And Kavanaugh is the single best legal mind of his generation; any Republican president would have picked him. He's as equally qualified if not more so than Sotomayor and Kagan. At the end of the day when they are in charge, they expect us to vote for their judges but when we won an election we are supposed to appoint liberals. It doesn't work that way. Kavanaugh is going to be on the Supreme Court. Well done, Mr. President.

MACCALLUM: All right. So you know there is always some palace intrigue. And there's a new Bob Woodward book--


MACCALLUM: -- that has come out, very hot quotes that came out of the books today and a lot of response to them. One, then there was a phone call between Bob Woodward and President Trump where they were trying to iron out why they weren't able to sit down and have an interview for this -- for this book. And here's what they said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Graham said he had talked to you about talking to me. Now is that not true?

TRUMP: Senator Graham actually mentioned it quickly on one meeting. I'm just hearing about it. And I heard, I did hear from Lindsey but I'm just hearing about it. So we're going to have a very inaccurate book and that's too bad.


TRUMP: But I don't blame you entirely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's (muted) accurate, I promise.


MACCALLUM: So fill in the blanks, did you encourage him to sit down with Bob Woodward?

GRAHAM: We are playing golf I told the president, Woodward is writing a book about you as president like he has everybody else. I think he wants to talk you. Might be, might want to have your side of the story, but that would be up to you.

The president nailed it. It was brief intervention and the president was right, it was a brief conversation about Woodward is writing a book. I think he wants to talk to you. It might be good. I'll let you decide.


MACCALLUM: do you think you should have? Do you think it will make a difference?

GRAHAM: I don't know. That's a really good question. I know this. That Donald Trump is not going to win or lose because of this book. He is going to win or lose based on what he does for the country. So far, so good.

MACCALLUM: Senator Lindsey Graham, thank you for joining us tonight.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Always good to see you.

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