This is a rush transcript from "The Story," September 20, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR: Thank you very much, Bret.
Fox News Alert tonight. Breaking moments ago, the administration announcing that we will send troops -- additional troops to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. No specifics yet on numbers. We're getting a live report for you from the Pentagon in just a moment.
And also, as Brett was just saying, big night at the White House. State dinner, President Trump, first lady, welcoming the Australian Prime Minister Morrison for a dinner there -- state dinner at the White House. We're going to show you some of that as we get pictures of it in and out of this evening as well.
Meanwhile, breaking a short time ago as well, brand new details in the whistleblower story about the president's discussion with Ukraine's president. About the call at the center of that reported whistleblower complaint against the president. Involving some type of alarming process - - promise, you've heard this story in the last couple of days that he made to a foreign government.
Now, a Wall Street Journal report that came out late today says that in July, the president, eight times -- according to the report, "pressured Ukraine's president to investigate Joe Biden's son."
Now, Joe Biden just released a statement about all of this and he says this. "Such clear-cut corruption damages and diminishes our institutions of government by making them tools of a personal political vendetta."
So, a lot going on. Good evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum. Let's go back in time a little bit on the Ukraine story to some of the history here. And get the background of how this came to be. So, go back to the Obama administration for a moment.
The Russians took over Crimea. They were threatening to take Ukraine as well. Then, Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States went to Ukraine, offered them help in the form of loan guarantees In March of 2016. But he wanted something from them first.
Fast forward to last nights. A heated exchange between Chris Cuomo and Rudy Giuliani, who says that Biden used his leverage with Ukraine to force them to oust a prosecutor who was considered to be corrupt, and who was also going after a company that at the time was paying Hunter Biden $50,000 a month to be on their board.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Joe Biden, 2018, January, in front of the Council on Foreign Relations, saying the whole thing.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: He said, I'm going to give you this money if you get rid of this prosecute.
GIULIANI: 100 percent. Exactly. Go listen --
CUOMO: Send me the transcript.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Now, we don't need the transcript, we have a sound bite. So, Rudy Giuliani was talking about this moment back in January of 2018, where Joe Biden was sort of thinking back about the old days as vice president and his dealings with Ukraine while he was there. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kyiv and I was going -- supposed to announce that there is another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor, and they didn't.
So, they said that -- they were walking out to press kind conference, and I said, I'm not getting -- we're not going to give you the billion dollars.
If the prosecutors not fired, you're not getting the money. Oh, son of a [EXPLETIVE] got fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: OK. So, how did we get here to where we are today? There was a lot there, I know. And chief national correspondent Ed Henry is going to help us break this all down tonight. Hi, Ed.
ED HENRY, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So good to see you, Martha. Well, I've got some new information tonight about a July phone call between the president of the United States and his Ukrainian counterpart that's at the center of this controversy.
Details suggesting Democrats and pundits in the media may be overreaching a senior administration official familiar with the transcript of that call between the president and his counterpart -- you see there, told me, it's way overblown to suggest there was any threat at all to national security.
This top official saying, "The media better be careful with this. There is no there, there. It's in the president's interest to put the transcript of the call out and show there was no quid pro quo."
Here is the timeline. May 9th, New York Times reports, Rudy Giuliani is traveling to Ukraine to push for a Biden probe. That trip called off. June 13th, ABC News interview comes out. President, says he'd listen if a foreign government offered political dirt.
Fast-forward to July 25th, the president has that call with the Ukrainian president. August 12th, a whistleblower and the federal government files a complaint, saying, he or she heard something that might threaten national security.
August 21st, the time says Giuliani is pushing again to get Ukraine to investigate. August 28th, a report that the White House is slow-walking $250 million in aid to Ukraine. But we should point out that money was released and given to Ukraine on September 12th.
So, the president said today in the Oval Office, just like with the Justice Brett Kavanaugh story, the media, in the end, will look foolish. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: You've had a very bad week and this will be better than all of them, this is another one. So keep --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President --
TRUMP: So keep -- so keep playing it up, because you're going to look really bad when it falls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: So, here is the point. That Wall Street Journal scoop you mentioned -- the Washington Post also has a report on this tonight, they both say the president did not basically mention foreign aid on the phone call in July. There was no quid pro quo that basically we'll give you the money if you open up this Biden investigation. And that may be why this senior official in the Trump administration is telling me today, the White House should simply release the transcript, Martha because this official believes having reviewed it.
You know, it's going to be messy, it might look like, maybe this wasn't the best thing to do but it didn't break the law, and it didn't threaten national security. I don't know, I haven't seen the transcript, but that's what I'm hearing from the senior official.
MACCALLUM: Do you think they will.
HENRY: I think ultimately, they're going to release it. It's what I'm hearing, the end of the day is ahead.
MACCALLUM: They going to have you. Let's kind of get out one way or the other.
HENRY: Because once Adam Schiff or other Democrats get their hands on it, they're likely to leak it obviously. Bottom line is, you hearing from Rudy Giuliani and others. The law wasn't broken here. But obviously, there's a standard that you could do things that don't break the law that still could be quite messy.
But the bottom line, if there's no quid pro quo here, this might be another case of the Democrats ginning something up for impeachment that turns out to be a whole lot another.
MACCALLUM: OK. Thanks, Ed.
HENRY: Good to see you.
MACCALLUM: Charlie Kirk is here, founder of Turning Point USA. And Robert Zimmerman, DNC committee member, and Democratic strategist. So, Robert --
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, COMMITTEE MEMBER, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Good to be with you.
MACCALLUM: The White House, says there's no there, there. What do you say?
ZIMMERMAN: So, why are they covering it up? Why has the president not released the transcript of his conversation?
MACCALLUM: Now, they should put it out this, yes.
ZIMMERMAN: Why does he is -- why was he evasive when he was asked in the Oval Office about his conversation. Why that Rudy Giuliani lie about whether he, in fact, asked that Joe Biden's son be investigated? And most of all, why are they -- why are they violating the whistleblower law, and why is the White House instructing the independent inspector general from reporting to Congress?
The whistleblower complaint was marked as urgent and the threat of national security.
MACCALLUM: Yes. All good questions. Those are all good questions. Charlie, I'll put them to you, because that is the one element here. If there isn't anything there if it's not a big deal, why put up such a brick wall?
The DOJ also involved in this to prevent it from getting out.
CHARLIE KIRK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TURNING POINT USA: Well, look, this is only a couple of days old since this has hit the press. So, let's let this play out. First of all, the president has constitutional authority and ability to craft foreign policy. Usually, those conversations should remain confidential and privileged.
Now, on most -- on some of those phone calls, many other members of the Intelligence Agency usually listen in, and on both sides, in both countries, this is very common.
MACCALLUM: Which the president said he's well aware of any -- and you know, that's part of the deal.
KIRK: Exactly. So, just to take a step back, a common theme -- this is usually how it's played out over the last three years. There is over- exaggerated claim by the media that turns into unsubstantiated claims, and then, the president ends up getting completely and totally exonerated when the facts come out.
I firmly believe that the benefit of the doubt should go to the president of the United States. Whether it be the fake accusations that somebody colluded with the foreign Russian government, of which he's been totally exonerated with.
Time and time again, the media and the narrative goes right to the guilty as until proven innocent.
ZIMMERMAN: Charlie, Charlie, you rate the president -- you say the president is the most moral president on record.
KIRK: I -- is the most -- finish, let me -- say one final thing.
MACCALLUM: Let Robert get in here. Go ahead, Robert.
ZIMMERMAN: I mean, Charlie, let's be clear. You rate President Trump is the most moral president on record. I don't think anyone else besides you would put him in that category. I think Washington and Lincoln may be more competitive in that response.
The bigger point here is this president quite to the contrary being exonerated. According to the Department of Justice Mueller report, they found 11 examples of obstruction of justice.
We've seen him engage in releasing sensitive information to Russian diplomats, we saw him take call our intelligence officers Nazi -- compare them to Nazis. And, in fact, took the side of Saudi Arabia and Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence and military officials.
MACCALLUM: All right, let's try to --
ZIMMERMAN: My point -- my point simply is, on this particular topic, let's be very clear about what transpired.
MACCALLUM: Well, let -- yes, but let's wait, as you say, right? And just with regard to the obstruction of justice, I would be remiss not to say that -- you know, Robert Mueller was not able to find obstruction if he could.
MACCALLUM: He would. He laid out those examples.
ZIMMERMAN: He found 11 examples of it, Martha. He gives 11 examples.
MACCALLUM: No, he laid out --
KIRK: No, he did not.
MACCALLUM: But he, he laid out examples and said, we were -- and they were inconclusive for us. So, here's what they got.
ZIMMERMAN: Well, because he's not allowed to prosecute.
MACCALLUM: I don't want to talk about all the way back in, but that's the after fact.
ZIMMERMAN: OK, here's the point to -- but here's the point, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Because if he could have found it, he would've, and he would have announced it, but that is -- that what over the (INAUDIBLE).
ZIMMERMAN: Martha, here is the point. The president, in fact, in the context of talking about military aid to Ukraine. He doesn't rely upon his State Department or Defense Department for discussions. He brings in his criminal defense attorney, he brings his political operative.
MACCALLUM: We don't know that. You're putting something into the -- into the mix here that we don't know.
ZIMMERMAN: No, I'm not. He went to Rudy Giuliani.
MACCALLUM: We don't know that -- no, we don't know that, that it was a quid pro quo because both of this report say --
ZIMMERMAN: I didn't say that, Martha. Martha, let me --
MACCALLUM: Yes, you did. You said within the context of -- for Biden military aid.
ZIMMERMAN: Within the context, that's right. Let me finish my point.
He said, within the context of, of course, military aid, our tax dollars and our Pentagon aid to the Ukraine, he didn't advise that Ukraine should work with his government. He went see -- he said to the Ukraine, according to The Wall Street Journal, he said to the president of Ukraine, go to my political assistant, go to my criminal defense lawyer, and bring up, and open up an investigation into Hunter Biden.
An investigation that was closed in 2015. And the general prosecutor said there's no reasons to reopen. He is using -- he is using possession for a political vendetta.
MACCALLUM: That's all -- that is that -- OK, but you're putting -- you're drawing a link that has not been definitively drawn yet. And let me get Charlie back in here.
KIRK: That's correct.
MACCALLUM: Go ahead, Charlie.
KIRK: Yes. So, look, I think, the boomerang out of this whole story is all of the sudden, now we're talking about Joe Biden's international corruption. Whether it be the fact that even you, Robert, will admit this is a little shady.
MACCALLUM: That's true.
KIRK: That all of a sudden, there is an Air Force Two flight --
ZIMMERMAN: Up good time shady, and it was -- it was clear already, I do not let it admit. But this --
KIRK: Let me finish. I let -- I let you talk uninterrupted. I let you talk uninterrupted.
MACCALLUM: Yes, you did.
KIRK: So let me finish.
MACCALLUM: Charlie has the floor.
KIRK: That Joe Biden has son board Air Force Two, fly to China and two weeks later, Hunter Biden secures a billion and eventually billion-and-a- half-dollar investment from a company that is connected to the Chinese Communist Party and their affiliated banks.
What happened on that plane? Why isn't there, investigation into that? There is a pattern of behavior that working-class Joe has his family and the people close to him able to secure favorable treatment to the companies that are close to countries that he's dealing with.
And the Ukrainian example is no different and I think out of (INAUDIBLE).
MACCALLUM: Well, it's absolutely true that --
ZIMMERMAN: Pattern of behavior is using the office of the presidency to pursue a vendetta against its political opponents. And Donald Trump said he would take --
MACCALLUM: Well, you have both -- you have both accurately articulated what each side believes at this point. And we're going to stay in the middle and get the facts here as they come out.
So, thank you very much, gentlemen. Good to have both of you with us tonight.
KIRK: Thank you.
ZIMMERMAN: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, next after a New Jersey man is charged with acting as an agent of Hezbollah, after scouting landmarks to target like the Statue of Liberty here in New York, we investigate, DHS's new plan to combat terrorism threats from within.
MACCALLUM: So we told you at the top of the show that the Pentagon has announced that the United States will send more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran following the attack on Saudi oil fields this week.
Lucas Tomlinson, standing by live at the Pentagon for us tonight. So tell us, what's the takeaway here from what we just heard from General Dunford and Defense Secretary Esper.
LUCAS TOMLINSON, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martha, good evening. The Pentagon press briefing, a very rare Pentagon press briefing just ended with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joe Dunford.
Both had just returned from the White House after a major national security briefing at the White House where military options were presented, Martha. And while the announcement about more troops going to the Middle East was made, it was very short on specifics, likely hundreds more troops, Martha, not thousands. And while neither General Dunford or Defense Secretary Esper would say where the attacks came from, Defense Secretary Esper blamed Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ESPER, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: That the weapons used in the attack were Iranian produced, were not launched from Yemen as was initially claimed. All indications are that Iran was responsible for the attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TOMLINSON: Defense Secretary Esper says the forces that would be deployed to the Middle East are defensive in nature, likely Patriot anti-aircraft, missile systems, missile batteries, and hundreds of troops would be deployed.
Secretary Esper also called for other nations to step up and condemn Iran for its increasingly hostile behavior in the region. Of course, Martha, this follows just a host of different events from Iran, including that shoot down of the American drone back in June, the capture of different warships and the blowing up of different tankers in the Middle East, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Yes, and then they'll be -- everybody will be at the U.N. to work the diplomatic angles on forming that kind of potential coalition. Lucas, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.
TOMLINSON: Good to see you too.
MACCALLUM: So also developing this evening, a shocking terror arrest in our own backyard. A New Jersey man is charged with scouting us targets for the terror group Hezbollah. The FBI saying he gathered information, he took photos of sites like Times Square, Fenway Park, even the White House. Correspondent Rick Leventhal, here with that story. This is -- this one gets our attention, right.
RICK LEVENTHAL, CORRESPONDENT: A little disturbing, Martha.
LEVENTHAL: And much of what we've learned come straight from the suspect who was interviewed 11 times by the FBI before he was arrested in July. And according to the indictment, Alexei Saab spent 20 years training and spying for Hezbollah and that he was on autopilot surveilling potential targets and gathering intelligence at every opportunity.
The Fed say the 42-year-old Morristown, New Jersey resident, also known as Ali Hassan Saab, Alex or Rashid was a naturalized U.S. citizen working covertly as an agent for Hezbollah, an Iranian funded, Lebanon-based Shia Islamic terror organization.
He allegedly receives weapons and bomb-making training and faces nine counts related to terrorism and marriage fraud. An agent said he surveilled the Statue of Liberty, United Nations, New York Stock Exchange, Rockefeller Center, Time Square, bridges, train stations, and other locations in Washington including the White House and U.S. Capitol. And in Boston, the Prudential Center Quincy Market, even Fenway Park.
The charges include providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, receiving military-type training, unlawful procurement of citizenship and marriage fraud. Saab was arrested in July, as I mentioned, is now scheduled to appear in court next Monday morning, and faces dozens of years behind bars if convicted.
MACCALLUM: That's quite a story. And as you say, a lot of it came right from his own lips. You know, I took pictures of all these places. This is what I did. We'll see where this goes and how much -- how much potential time he can get from all those skills. Thank you, Rick.
MACCALLUM: Great to have you here tonight. So those threats all too familiar in the post 9/11 era, and today the department created in the days following that attack announce that it is refocusing its efforts to keep up with evolving threats in the United States, such as white supremacism. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING SECRETARY, DHS: Attackers often plan and carry out their acts of violence alone, and with little apparent warning in ways that we the effectiveness of traditional law enforcement investigation and disruption methods. Today, white supremacist extremism is one of the most potent ideologies driving acts of targeted violence in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Here now Michael Balboni, former Homeland Security Advisor for New York. Michael, thanks for being here tonight. The way he describes it, it's very elusive, very difficult to track someone who is, you know, going to carry out one act and probably not working with anybody.
MICHAEL BALBONI, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISOR, NEW YORK: So even the name, Martha, of the new office -- you're looking at targeted violence. What really just targeted violence mean? It doesn't -- it's not very descriptive. And obviously, what they're talking about is domestic hate groups but what's important is to look at not so much the motivation as to what the potential impact is.
The challenge here, of course, is that individuals, as we saw in El Paso, as we've seen in Ohio, they look for opportunities and not going after law enforcement or military. They have access to weapons, and they just go in and they attack when the opportunity presents itself, enormously challenging to law enforcement to be able to work with within communities.
And that's what this new office is supposed to do, to be able to provide awareness, training, support, so that communities can actually have a sustainable response to this new threat, but it's actually not new.
MACCALLUM: But one of the things that strikes me is how difficult it is to arrest someone before they have committed something along these lines. And I think of the -- of the Dayton shooter, for example, who had made kill lists and rape lists in high school.
And I've had a lot of conversations with Andy -- with one of the dads from Parkland, who basically says that one of the problems is that we don't arrest people enough, you know, that young man kicked his mother's teeth in. And because he was in high school, they decided not to bring him in.
So, I mean, is there a way that you can obviously legally get in front of some of these folks who are sending pretty clear signals.
BALBONI: So the challenge becomes to law enforcement and following the days of 9/11, the orientation of law enforcement has really changed. It used to be investigate, prosecute. Perhaps you could prevent it if you knew some information ahead of time for conspiracy sake. But now, it's about we should know what people are saying beforehand.
We should try to see whether or not that is actionable, and then somehow get in there ahead of time. And that's about social media as well as what law enforcement is done. And that's an incredibly difficult standard, given the fact that you have the right of free speech, the fact that, you know, if you haven't assembled weapons, if you haven't taken any overt steps towards committing the act, very, very difficult to go in.
We don't have a detention statute right now to say that, you know, we think you're a threat.
MACCALLUM: And we need one.
BALBONI: You know, I'd actually explored that when I was in the legislature --
MACCALLUM: Michael, thank you very much.
BALBONI: And it's very challenging.
MACCALLUM: Yes, it's challenging to be sure, but we're living in a new world. Michael Balboni, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.
BALBONI: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Coming up next, what we're learning this evening about the suspect behind the wheel of this car. Have you ever seen anything like this? He set up a panic with his SUV inside an Illinois shopping mall. Plus, Heather Mac Donald hot off a fiery Capitol Hill exchange on policing in America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): There can be no doubt, unfortunately, that communities of color proceed law enforcement as a threat to their everyday freedoms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: An absolutely terrifying scene today. An SUV barreling through a suburban Chicago mall. Runners -- shoppers running for their lives as you would imagine. Many of them said that they thought it was an active shooter situation and eventually the jump -- the driver jumped out and was swarmed by the police.
One witness saying that he appeared dazed and confused. Amazingly, thankfully, no reported injuries here. Authorities have not released the name of the driver or any possible motive. What? Crazy, right?
All right, so from the string of water attacks against NYPD officers, to the firing of Daniel Pantaleo and the death of Eric Garner, recent events have placed a strain between law enforcement and the communities that they serve.
So this week, a Capitol Hill hearing was held to dig into that issue and possible solutions to mend that gap. You can see it's going to be pretty difficult looking at some of these videos. But it seems that not everybody was on the same page.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADLER: There can be no doubt, unfortunately, that communities of color perceived law enforcement as a threat to their everyday freedoms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are public servants, we're not public enemies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How come no one was held accountable, no one was held and charged for my son's death?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In fact, black civilians are shot less compared to whites than their rates of violent crime would predict the study found.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The authors of that study have recently acknowledged to the rest of the scientific community or should say, to members and scientific community that their central causal claim is unsupported by the data and factually wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So as you saw there, there were some fireworks as my next guest made her case as a witness at that hearing. Heather Mac Donald is a Manhattan Institute Fellow and author of The War On Cops. Heather, welcome back to the program. Good to see you tonight. So he says that the research that you referred to is unfounded.
HEATHER MAC DONALD, FELLOW, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE: It's a lie. It's quite extraordinary. The level of mendacity at this hearing stunned even me. And I've seen a lot of it when it comes to policing. One of the -- one of the other studies he claimed has been repudiated and I asked the author and he said, I don't know what this guy is talking about.
This is a narrative that the police is shot through with systemic bias and white supremacy that can only be sustained based on ignoring the data that we have, which is that there's no government agency more dedicated to the Black Lives Matter and that police are not infected by systemic bias.
MACCALLUM: Here is Hank Johnson, Representative Hank Johnson speaking at the hearing as well. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. HANK JOHNSON, D-GA: So, we've got a lot of local law enforcement who are military veterans and they are also reservists and national guardsmen who are trained to kill, to occupy and destroy. And they are roaming our streets.
I think we need to take a comprehensive view in terms of mental health as it is applied to our law enforcement officers, and with that, I run out of time. I don't have a chance to ask anybody for any feedback.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: I mean, that is a huge charge that he leveled. He basically said police officers are crazy, crazy killers, basically, who are trained to kill. And he didn't have any time for a question.
MAC DONALD: I've spent a lot of time in police academies. People there want to help communities. They are the most public-spirited people I've come across.
This hearing was a signpost, Martha, of where this country is heading if we get a Democrat in the White House again.
MACCALLUM: Why do you say that?
MAC DONALD: The policies that they have been outlining that they want to put into place, mandatory implicit bias training for cops, which is grotesquely unnecessary and expensive, mandatory racial profiling data collection, which will not be properly analyzed.
Racial quotas and hiring which lowers standards. Unleashing the Justice Department again to inflict unnecessary consent decrease on police departments. That's what is in our future and they are hungry to get that White House back.
And it will result in police demoralization and more loss of black lives because they refuse to acknowledge -- they literally deny that the police can lower crime. Something that New York learned that it can and revived a city and gave people in high crime neighborhoods the same freedom from fear that people in wealthier neighborhoods take for granted.
MACCALLUM: I mean, it is, there is such an obvious disconnect, and everyone is sympathetic, obviously, to the individual stories in the loss of life but to brand it as a problem that can be solved in that way, it just sweeps everyone with a broad brush that I know you feel is very unfair.
MAC DONALD: Well, you know, this is just an application of the rhetoric we keep hearing from the presidential candidates on the Democratic side, who, the call -- the claims of white supremacy, of systemic bias in America are becoming more frequent and more strident.
This is applied to policing. When it's applied to policing it has particularly pernicious consequences. Recruitment is also impossible now.
MACCALLUM: No. I can imagine. Why, yes. It makes it very tough for people to decide --
MAC DONALD: Yes.
MACCALLUM: -- that they want to do the work that you describe and protect their communities. Thank you, Heather.
MAC DONALD: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you tonight. Heather Mac Donald.
Coming up next, his negativity dragging down some of the campaigns of some of the 2020 Democrats? While those who adopt a more optimistic approach seem to be doing better.
MACCALLUM: It's been more than 10 years since hope and change secured the White House for Barack Obama. But campaigning on optimism could once again be the key to winning, at least winning the nomination and maybe the presidential bid as well if people are more positive in 2020.
The Washington Post observing going negative doesn't seem to be working for 2020 Democrats. They point to recent enthusiasm for Elizabeth Warren. Noting, "Warren's absolute refusal to go negative was a choice, made easier by the reluctance of the other candidates to believe that she could become a strong competitor." Instead, offering up moments like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, Minnesota.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: She likes to wave, and she's got a lot of plans. Here now, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, author of "Our Broken America: Why Both Sides Need to Stop Ranting and Start Listening." Jackie, good to have you here tonight. Do you agree with that theory that you have to be upbeat?
You know, I think of Bill Clinton, you think of Barack Obama that got to offer a very big, very positive message if you want to get a nomination?
JACKIE GINGRICH CUSHMAN, AUTHOR, OUR BROKEN AMERICA: Well, I think what is interesting is, I think what happens to the Democratic Party they obviously want to beat Donald Trump. And they look back, right at the last time they ran against him and they lost. And they are attributing that to the infighting in the primary.
What really happened last time is the DNC shot Hillary Clinton down, you know, to the nomination process, she was the nominee, and quite frankly, she was a terrible candidate. She just wasn't a good candidate. She didn't like to campaign; she didn't like to be out front of people.
So, I think it's not just the message, it's also the candidate and the challenge the Democrats have is their stances are so extreme that they are trying to divert from the fact that they have, you know, these very extreme, you know, policies. And instead they want to focus on optimism and being helpful.
CUSHMAN: I don't think it will work.
MACCALLUM: Well, look at Iowa. Kamala Harris, who I think everybody felt and maybe she will, maybe she'll come back around, but right now she's having a tough time there. She was at 10 percent in September of 2018, now she is down to 5 percent.
And then after, look at Iowa for Castro. After he kind of went after Joe Biden, and that was in -- that well received according to the polls, now 60 percent of Iowa -- of the Iowa Democratic caucus says that he has been ruled out for them. What do you think?
CUSHMAN: Well, the reality is everyone loves Joe Biden and they really want to really have someone that can beat President Trump. And right now, all the Democrats of that I've talked to they really think that Joe Biden can beat him.
I think the challenge you have is that you have to realize no matter who their nominee is they have to run against President Trump.
And the other thing they are doing is they have a narrative of how terrible Trump is, and so all the facts that they have they keep pointing to, look at Trump, he is terrible.
I write about this in "Our Broken America: Why Both Sides Need to Stop Ranting and Start Listening." And part of this is look at immigration, when they had President Trump on the front of Time magazine with a picture of the little girl. That didn't happen. She wasn't separated from her mother. In fact, her mother came to America and didn't even tell the girl's father.
So, there are so many places time and time again where they're taking bits of facts that aren't even facts and making it into this narrative against Trump. And I think they're really going to be in a bind because their policies are so extreme, they just don't work for mainstream America.
MACCALLUM: You know, I just want to put this up from Pete Buttigieg, because I think there is so much focus on everyone's identity box, you know, this woman.
MACCALLUM: There's a black woman, there's a white man, Joe Biden is too old. Pete Buttigieg was asked about this. And here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, D-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just am what I am. And you know, there's going to be a lot of that. That's why I can't read the LGBTQ media anymore, because it's all too gay, not gay enough, we're kind of gay, like, geez, all right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Yes. We got to leave it there, unfortunately. But I'll leave everyone to think about that. Thank you very much for being here tonight. Good to see you. Thanks, Jackie.
CUSHMAN: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Coming up next, our ladies panel takes on a 20 -- 2020 candidate Marianne Williamson's powerful response when she was asked if she stands by her comments that prayer could help turn around a hurricane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You think that everybody who prays in those southern states and were praying. Dear God, turn this hurricane around? You think they're stupid? That's real smart strategy, Democratic leftists. That's real smart strategy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, you may remember this tweet from 2020 Democrat Marianne Williamson last month when millions of Americans were bracing for a deadly storm.
Quote, "The Bahamas, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas may all be in our prayers now. Millions of us see Dorian turn away from land is not a wacky idea, it's a creative use of the power of the mind."
She was mocked for suggesting that the mind or prayer would be beneficial during a natural disaster but when asked yesterday if she wanted to clarify her comments, listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMSON: You think they weren't praying for that thing to turn around? And you are going to just -- are we going to just talk down to them because they -- you think that everybody who prays in those southern states and were praying. Dear god, turn this hurricane around. You think they are stupid? That's real smart strategy, Democratic leftists. That's real smart strategy.
Mock and make fun of everybody who believes that God is powerful. I am a woman who believes in God, it doesn't mean I don't believe in science.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: You can hear a pin drop in there. Ladies night. Vera Gibbons, Jessica Tarlov, Susan Li. Jess, first up, what do you think?
JESSICA TARLOV, CONTRIBUTOR: I think that Marianne Williamson is in a very difficult position right now in terms of the Democratic primary, which is why she is harping on this. She didn't qualify for the last debate. It doesn't look like she is going to make the next one.
As for mocking or saying the Democrats are just mocking people who pray or their faith, prominent candidates like Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Bernie Sanders, all talk about their faith.
I think that the initial backlash was that Marianne Williamson sounded too much like Republicans do after mass shooting, for instance, when they offer thoughts and prayers and that was the criticism. But mostly I see this is her vying for attention at this particular moment. And I don't think the Democrats think that it's embarrassing to believe that you connect with God.
MACCALLUM: I think she touch on something though. I think there is sort of an un-cool aspect to religion in some political factions and I think that's troubling. I think that's kind of what she is touching on here.
VERA GIBBONS, FOUNDER, NONPOLITICALNEWS.COM: She sounded a little crazy to me. I mean --
TARLOV: her voice is so good, though.
GIBBONS: The voice is very soothing.
MACCALLUM: She has a great delivery.
GIBBONS: She is very pretty. But she sounds a little cray-cray. You know, I think.
MACCALLUM: You're not alone. You're not alone. A lot of people think that.
GIBBONS: She did something smart and something stupid, may be smart to delete the tweet that she deleted and may be dumb to take it off. Now she is generating a lot of media attention, now we're in fact talking about it.
So, it was smart to remove the tweet and it was dumb, I mean, it's just -- it's smart and dumb is what I'm trying to say.
MACCALLUM: Yes. You know, I still think she has touched on something and an important chord here about the way that politicians, some politicians look at religion or being open about their faith --
SUSAN LI, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Right.
MACCALLUM: -- and talking about it because it used to be common in the country and now it was a little bit taboo.
LI: I find her fearless, actually, because she doesn't care what you think about her. You can think she is cray-cray because she believes in religion, she will say it anyway. She is a bestselling author by the way.
GIBBONS: There you go.
LI: She is not a dumb woman. And the fact that she is bringing it up that it's not I don't believe in science; I really respect that. That at least she is saying, hey, there is another point to this. I recognize that and I can also reflect on that as well.
TARLOV: I think it is important to have a discussion and I say this as a Democrat here. I think that religion plays an important role in a lot of Americans lives and it is maybe under discussed as part of Democrats' lives here.
So, I -- all due respect to that, but I do think she is trying to find her way in a primary that seems to have no room for her at this particular moment.
MACCALLUM: No. I where Bill de Blasio, apparently.
TARLOV: Well, thank God he's gone.
GIBBONS: And I'm thinking about tarot cards for foreign policy. That's my take.
MACCALLUM: She wants to have a peace cabinet member. I kind of like some of her ideas.
TARLOV: Marianne Williamson had the best (Inaudible) on race of any Democrat in the first debate.
MACCALLUM: Yes. She did.
TARLOV: She did.
MACCALLUM: Take a look at this Vox article. The Kavanaugh culture elite institutions, is the argument. The author says, "I am a Latino who went into an elite institution. Kavanaugh culture dominates."
And she says, "Only by understanding the unique perspective of strivers like Ramirez -- she is talking about Deborah Ramirez -- can we begin to recognize how culture entrenches the status quo grooming those born into privilege to preserve a firm grip on social power."
GIBBONS: I like labeling between the two, the strivers and the elite for one thing. I mean, that just really bothers me. Maybe that was more of the case in the '80s and the '90s, but now it's almost flipped, just gone the other way today. So?
TARLOV: I'm not sure that it has flipped. I mean, we have seen games obviously in elite universities being attentive to diversity, socioeconomic, and --
MACCALLUM: Very much so.
TARLOV: Absolutely very much so. But I think the conversation and I was bothered -- there was a lot that was problematic with the New York Times piece including the glaring omission, which obviously they had to fix there.
I didn't like couching the Kavanaugh story in the terms of the privilege, like the haves and the have-nots. Because I feel like if you want people to zero in on the new information --
MACCALLUM: It's so easy.
TARLOV: -- and accusation.
MACCALLUM: It's so easy.
TARLOV: But it's important to continue to reflect on the two-tier system. If you look at someone like Brock Turner, who only got six months for that violent rape, for instance, that's one of the most glaring cases of this.
And I think that we should continually be reminded or people, wealthy white people who have not struggled in the same way as poor whites or people of color --
TARLOV: -- that we do -- minorities, generally, that we have an easier time and that situations that might seem completely normal and find like a frat party, like at your first frat at college might not be the same for someone who didn't grow up with the financial --
MACCALLUM: All right. You know what, I think that frat parties were daunting and strange to someone like me.
TARLOV: Me as well.
MACCALLUM: So, I don't necessarily -- that's what bothers me when she talks about dropping out of math class, she didn't understand and she was afraid to talk to the very famous professor. I would have felt the same exact way.
So, I think some of these are very common experiences and I think when we put them into the boxes --
MACCALLUM: -- of your cultural background, it negates, you know, sort of the -- I think the intimidating elements that everyone seizing going to college and being in a bigger mix of people. Susan?
LI: I find that amazing that you said that. Because, you know, obviously, I'm a minority female and you know, I grew up in a single-parent household, an immigrant household as well. So, growing up I actually felt intimidated, unsure, vulnerable as well, especially going to a college. It was one of the top colleges in the country that I come from.
And I just felt like, maybe it's just me, you know. Maybe this is how I feel, people that may be looked more like the majority didn't feel this way. But I'm glad to hear that it was intimidating for everybody.
MACCALLUM: Yes, there's plenty of that to go around.
TARLOV: I think there are denominations of it. I personally went to an all-women's college and part of my decision was that I wanted to be an academic environment where I knew that I would not be talked down to in the way. You know, there is that dynamic people talk about --
TARLOV: -- in elite schools where boys over top girls, and I really benefited from those --
MACCALLUM: I've had girls over talk me. I'm going to over talk you right now. Because I'm getting (Inaudible). I have 30 seconds left. Bye to you, guys. Have a great weekend.
TARLOV: Have a great weekend
MACCALLUM: Jim Gray is here with the breaking news tonight out of the NFL, next.
MACCALLUM: Breaking news thought out of the NFL controversial star receiver Antonio Brown released by the New England Patriots late today after just one game amid sexual assault allegations now from multiple women, including one accusation of rape.
Here now Fox News contributor, Jim Gray. Jim, that was fast. What do you make of this?
JIM GRAY, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the Patriots went through every red light in signing him. I mean, they saw what he did with the Steelers, they saw what he did with the Raiders. His behavior has been abysmal, despicable and the talent went out.
He is a great receiver. He is a great player. But now these allegations come out and they continue to come out. And then he texted himself to the accuser of one of these new allegations and she called in a threat. So now the lawyers are looking into that. So, he did this Wednesday night. So, he is just undermining himself at every turn.
MACCALLUM: Yes. Bill Belichick was characteristically non-expressive on this topic as usual. He said he wanted to stick to talking about the game against the Jets this weekend.
But you know, what's your feel within the franchise? Do you think that they regret this move? Was this a mistake? Do they admit that at this point?
GRAY: Well, I think Bell Belichick had enough and he made that clear today, Martha.
GRAY: Because he went into his press conference and wanted to talk about the Jets and he got asked two or three questions about Antonio Brown after being asked all week about Antonio Brown. And he walked off the podium. So, he has just had enough. This is just a distraction.
Look, this is a championship team, a Super Bowl team. And they are going to win a bunch of games without Antonio Brown. Would they be better without the player? Yes. He is perhaps the best player in the National Football League at wide receiver.
GARY: But they just can't have this going on. They've got other people and you've got a whole organization. And you have to have standards and those standards were not being met. You cannot have this going on in the National Football League on a team, any team.
MACCALLUM: Yes. And that is the appropriate message that should be sent. Is he going to get money from this contract and where do you think he is going to go next?
GRAY: Well, that's up for debate. He was supposed to get $9 million. But he had a $5 million payment due on Monday and I doubt the Patriots now are going to pay him. I'm sure they want to have the grievance process go through because he only played in that game in the second week. He wasn't on the roster in the first week.
GARY: So now perhaps now the guarantee isn't there because he has violated the standards of the National Football League with these rape allegations and they are just allegations. We should be really careful about that right now, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Yes, absolutely.
GRAY: We don't know all of the facts.
MACCALLUM: He denies them all.
GRAY: But they just --
MACCALLUM: It was just another point that we need to make.
GRAY: Exactly. They just keep coming up more and more and more debts and lawsuits. Look, come on.
MACCALLUM: Well --
GRAY: He is a bad actor no matter how you slice it. He is a bad actor and it's a shame because he is a great talent.
MACCALLUM: And he is not going to be putting on a jersey this weekend. So, we'll be watching all the action. Jim, thank you very much. Good to have you here tonight on the breaking news.
GRAY: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So that is “The Story” of this Friday, December 20th, 2019. But as always, “The Story” goes on. So, we hope that we will see you back here on Monday night. We look forward to that at 7 o'clock when “The Story” goes on the road with Secretary Ben Carson in California to investigate the homeless crisis.
Have a great weekend, everybody. Tucker Carlson coming up next in Washington, DC.
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