House committee issues subpoenas, references 'unmasking'

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," May 31, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Three stories breaking tonight: First, brand-new subpoenas issues in the Russia probe showed the congressional investigation is now bending its spotlight back onto the Obama-era intelligence people. Three names in this new subpoena that came out just hours ago: Susan Rice, President Obama's National Security Advisor who asked for the unmasking of the Trump team names; also, former CIA Director, John Brennan; and a new name in all of this - former U.N. Ambassador, Samantha Power, also named in this subpoena. So, Trump lawyer, Michael Cohen, also on the list; former NSA Director, Michael Flynn, have been issued subpoenas for their businesses by the House Committee tonight as well.

Good evening, everybody! I'm Martha MacCallum and here is "The Story." This news dropping as another very curious development comes to light. One of the names constantly in the story about Trump-Russia ties: Carter Page. But now, Democrats have suddenly dropped him from the list of those they say need to testify. He wants to get there and tell his story. His name has been besmirched and he would like to speak out. But suddenly, they don't want him on that list, so who? Also, tonight, Hillary Clinton has jumped headlong into the latest rehash of the 2016 election, saying that it was circumstances beyond her control that caused her to lose. We will get to it all. But we begin tonight with Catherine Herridge on the breaking subpoena news this evening. Catherine.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Martha. Late today, a congressional panel issuing subpoenas to the FBI, CIA, and National Security Agencies seeking records that show whether senior Obama administration officials improperly requested the identification of Americans in highly classified intelligence reports, along with former National Security Advisor, Susan Rice; former CIA Director, John Brennan; the House Intelligence Committee for the first time came to named U.N. Ambassador Samantha power, a political appointee outside the Obama White House, who allegedly made requests. The power of subpoena may help explain this unusual exchange during Brennan's recent testimony.


REP. TREY GOWDY, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: Do you recall any U.S. Ambassadors asking that names be unmasked?

JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY DIRECTOR: I don't - I don't know. Maybe it's ringing a vague but I'm not - I could not answer with any confidence.


HERRIDGE: Neither Rice nor Power, or Investigator, or Intelligence Analyst whose job required to be the identification of American citizens - leaving open the question of political motivation. Tonight, a committee aide aligned with the Democrats said the subpoenas were issued by the House Intelligence Committee's Republican Chairman, Devin Nunes, without the support of the ranking Democrat: Adam Schiff; and it was done outside of the Russia investigation.

In another indicator, the Congressional probes are expanding. Michael Cohen, a long-time personal attorney for President Trump, has also been contacted. In a statement to Fox News, Cohen said the request was overly broad, and for now, he has declined to participate. Bragging on Twitter today, President Trump slammed the decision to indefinitely postpone the congressional testimony of Carter Page, a onetime Foreign Policy Advisor to the campaign, saying the move is part of a "witch hunt."

And separately, Fox News has confirmed that fired FBI Director James Comey has spoken directly and in private to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, to go over the scope of his upcoming congressional testimony that could happen as early as next week to ensure it does not interfere with or jeopardize the Special Counsel's investigation, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Catherine, thank you. So, here now with more: Andy McCarthy is former federal prosecutor and National Review contributing editor; Karl Rove, Fox News political contributor and former President George W. Bush's deputy chief of staff; and Marie Harf, former State Department spokesperson and a Fox News contributor. Welcome, all. And Andy, I want to start with you, if I may. Good to have you here tonight, sir. What do you make of these latest subpoenas?

ANDY MCCARTHY, NATIONAL REVIEW CONTRIBUTING EDITOR AND FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, you don't issue a subpoena unless you have a good faith basis to believe the documents that you're asking for exists. So, we've heard in other reporting that Nunes has been exposed to some intelligence, and say he has uncovered some masking. The suggestion is that it leaves these three officials: Rice, Brennan, and Power - are involved in the unmasking.

Rice, we've already heard about. Brennan, it wouldn't be unusual for him to be involved if there were unmasking decisions because what we call the Intelligence Community is about 17 agencies - there are really only three of them who do the actual collection of intelligence: the NSA, the CIA, and the FBI. And they generally make the first cut - they're the ones who make the decisions about unmasking. So, that's something the CIA would be involved in.

The peculiar thing, obviously, is Samantha Power. Her job is really diplomatic. She's not an intelligence analyst in that function. So, there could be a good explanation for it. And again, we need to underscore that, you know, until we see an unmasking document or it gets confirmed, we don't know it exists. But it is odd to have the U.N. Ambassador implicated-

MACCALLUM: We saw that questioning by Trey Gowdy, who's now in charge of that investigation - one of three people in charge of that investigation going after that issue. Did an ambassador ever ask to have specific people in the Trump administration with regard to this "unmasked" as the crunch was on at the very end of the Obama administration? And we know that they had made an effort to sort of push some of this information out there that they were concerned about. They thought, you know, for the good of the country, but others think that there was something nefarious.

MCCARTHY: Yes. And you know that when Brennan was asked that question, he sort of hesitated answering it. He didn't say, well, she's in an ambassador, what else would you expect her to be doing? It would be unusual.

MACCALLUM: All right. In terms of Carter Page, what do you make of the fact that - he was out there this morning saying "I want to tell my story." And they asked me to come tell my story - now, apparently, I'm permanently off the list.

MCCARTHY: I've got two theories about it. Number one: to take it at face value with what Adam Schiff is saying, and what the Democrats are saying, nobody, has been interviewed yet, purportedly. So, it's not just Page, it's - they haven't interviewed witnesses yet. And what Schiff, who's a longtime former prosecutor says is, we're responsible, gathering the documents before we start to question witnesses. Now, I will tell you as a long-time former prosecutor myself, I don't remember telling a witness I didn't want to hear from them if you wanted to speak to me. But they could be doing their homework before they do all of the interviews. And they don't want to-

MACCALLUM: Well, the language that we heard was that he had been postponed indefinitely, which we're being told in this circle means, it's not going to happen. And you know, Marie, let me bring you in. The suggestion is that they might not like the narrative that he's going to present.

MARIE HARF, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT'S SPOKESPERSON AND A FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I spoke to some of my Democratic friends on the Hill who were working on the investigation, and they said that they very much want to hear from him, but it's exactly - what you just said that they're doing the investigating, they're getting their witness lists together. And something can't be postponed if it hadn't actually been scheduled. They will get to Carter Page. They want to hear from him. They want, I think, to hear from a lot of people. But the notion that they somehow don't want to question him just isn't true. And as Congressman Schiff said, they're doing this in a very orderly process. They will get to him, I think, among other people: Michael Flynn and others as well.

MACCALLUM: I mean, he's saying he was notified by the committee staff on Memorial Day that he might not immediately be afforded the opportunity to address them, as per their previously scheduled appointment for this week. So, it has clearly been postponed. Karl, what do you think about all of this?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH'S DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, I think Andy, as the former Prosecutor probably got it exactly right. The other potential is, is that - look, Carter Page has always struck me as being a fringe element of this whole story. Here's a guy who - even the Russians in the communications have been made public, are dismissive of him as a guy who was eager to make money. And so, he is using a tenuous connection with the Trump campaign to leverage himself into a big deal with the Russians, and trying to leverage his supposed connections with the Russians to leverage himself into a big deal.

MACCALLUM: And nonetheless, he was the person who was named as, you know, "intimately involved," definitely connected to the Russians in the early part of the story. It was Roger Stone and Carter Page; those were the names that were constantly thrown out there. You know, but in terms of immunity and the possibility that any of these people might get immunity, Andy, just a quick thought on that. And what kind of - how would that hamper what Robert Mueller has to do?

MCCARTHY: They're not going to get immunity unless the Justice Department- in this case, Mueller helps - and he won't. The other thing that occurs to me though is, they're expecting Comey to come in and testify in the Senate next week. I suspect that if the Democrats are doing this strategically - if there is any politics involved in this which I wouldn't be cynical enough to suggest - maybe they don't want to step on Comey's testimony. Maybe they want that to sing by itself because they think it's going to be good.

MACCALLUM: So, we know that Comey has been sort of putting things out into the atmosphere. And today, it was through a source, Karl that he is going to go in there and say that he felt he was being nudged, persuaded, whatever word you want to use to drop the Flynn investigation.

ROVE: Well, funny, how he suddenly discovered that after several months of silence. If he really felt that he was being improperly pressured to drop this, that this was obstruction of justice, then he had a moral obligation at that moment to tell the president that and then tender his resignation to the Attorney General of the United States. But you know I had a very low opinion. He is the most sanctimonious, condescending individual; I think I've ever met in Washington. He's the only honest man in the room, and he was honest to himself in January when he met with the president and didn't see anything wrong with it. And he's the most honest man in the room today when he sees something retrospectively to be very much out of order.

MACCALLUM: We may get a replay of what we saw in July; we may get the flip side of that. He could go in there and say, the equivalent of extremely careless, right? Hillary Clinton was with her email server. And he may say, President Obama - I mean, President Trump, excuse me, should never have said these things to me this way. I'm not going to add anything to, you know sort of characterize what he said. But here's what he said - I'm not saying that you know, I thought it was improper but this really, you now, just lay it out there. He could do that.

MCCARTHY: But it's not improper. I mean, look, the President has the authority - the FBI Director is not an independent actor. The president runs the executive branch; the president has the authority to tell the FBI director. If he'd ordered them flat out, to drop an investigation that would not be obstruction of justice, it would be executive discretion.

The keyword and obstruction of justice is: "corruptly," so, if Trump, for corrupt reasons, were to ask for an investigation to be dropped, that would be one thing. If he thought the equities were on the side of not prosecuting, like for example, if he had fired the guy the day before and said, you know, look, with everything this guy has been through - enough is enough, we don't have to lop on an indictment with it. You may not like that decision, but that is not corruption, that is discretion.

MACCALLUM: But you can, sort of, poison the atmosphere just by saying, here's what he did, he was nudging me - you know, I didn't like it, I didn't feel comfortable. But I don't think that's obstruction of justice, which would be-

ROVE: Yes, a great political problem for the guy who fired him. This is Jim Comey - This is Jim Comey exacting revenge, maybe unconsciously for having been dismissed as FBI Director. And - but again, and he's absolutely right. There's - the President is in charge of the government. He is in charge of the FBI. If the FBI director believes that it is improper, he can resign. If it is improper, it has to involve corruption.

MACCALLUM: All right. We're going to leave it there. Thank you so much, Marie, and Karl, and Andy. Good to see all of you. Thanks for being here tonight. So, up next, we have been hearing about it for weeks. So, how exactly will a shakeup, if it happens, look in the White House? Former Trump transition team member, Anthony Scaramucci, here with the inside scoop tonight. And new fallout for Kathy Griffin, as tonight she is paying for that shocking photo depicting the beheading of President Trump. The question on that tonight, will decency in our public discourse ever return? Brit Hume with some wise words ahead on that. Plus, Hillary Clinton back in the news talking quite a bit today about how she lost in November, and why it was not her fault when we come back.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The use of my email account was turned into, you know, the biggest scandal since Lord knows when. Everything that anybody else said about it besides me, to basically said this was the biggest nothing burger ever.



MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, change is brewing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And now, President Trump's very first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is kind of back on the scene and he had this advice.


COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: When you have a president who is so active, who is so articulate, who is so good at communicating with the media. Sometimes you get a staff who have to keep up with him and it's much easier, I think if you have people who had a pre- existing relationship to understand how the president functions. That makes it much more cohesive.


MACCALLUM: Who could that be? Chief national correspondent, Ed Henry, joins us live from the White House briefing room with more tonight. Hi, Ed!

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Martha. Corey Lewandowski, in that interview, is showing us exactly why President Trump likes him. He has those sharp elbows, suggesting right there that may be some people inside this White House don't know the president that well, and are not serving him that well, particularly in the communications operation. The president also seems to like, at least, a little bit of tension among his advisors. And some of those advisors are telling me that he also wants to get that kind of Lewandowski toughness inside that White House war room we've been reporting on, that would fight back against all the Democratic attacks over Russia.

However, Lewandowski's combativeness - remember, he was ousted from the campaign after that altercation with a female reporter - is a reason why others in the administration seem upset about him getting a senior role. One White House official telling The Daily Beast today, "It would be another train wreck. I'm dreading that it could even happen, though he'll probably be kept outside the White House, it's looking like." Except Lewandowski who has previously suggested he prefer to be on the outside, helping the president through tough T.V. appearances, suggested otherwise today.


LEWANDOWSKI: If they want me to be helped on the inside; the right role is there, you know, I'd be willing to consider that. But the most important thing is you have to have people who surround the President who are on his agenda.


HENRY: Now, the speculation continuing as well today about the White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus. (INAUDIBLE) is reporting that the President has been sounding out various top Republicans about what they think about economic advisor, Gary Cohen; or former Campaign Aide, David Urban, as potentially a Chief of Staff. But the President may just be venting, thinking out loud here. I spoke to one of his top advisors this afternoon, who told me that the president also realizes that keeping Priebus in the short term might be a good idea because there's been enough tension around here already, chaos, et cetera. Doing that, by ousting the chief of staff may just add even more chaos, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Fascinating as always. Ed, thank you very much.

HENRY: Good to see you.

MACCALLUM: So, can the president's team be improved and what exactly would it change? Here now with his thoughts, Anthony Scaramucci, founder of Sky Bridge Capital who served on the Trump Transition Executive Committee. Anthony, thanks for being here tonight. Good to see you as always. You've heard Ed's report. What do you make of it?

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, SKY BRIDGE CAPITAL FOUNDER: Well - I mean, there's a lot of smoke in this White House. I think one of the most unfortunate things for the President in dealing with this, are other leaks, Martha. So, what I hope happens over the next couple of months is that the leaks died down, and innerness in fighting that we're witnessing from the outside dies down, this just not serving the President well. As it relates to changes, my guess is that there'll be a lot of deliberation about that. But the President, at least the person that I know, is a very thoughtful, very strategic guy. And so, I don't think he's going to do anything impetuous.

Moreover, I think we have to give these guys credit for a lot of different things. They've prosecuted so far a decent agenda in the House with a health care program; they're working on the tax reform situation. I think the trip, by everybody's account, went very well; that was staff related in terms of his organization. So, I don't think there's going to be a rush, Martha, here to make these changes, despite you hearing a smoke. What I don't like, is that people are shooting at each other as opposed to just calming down and focusing on the team and supporting each other. That's the problem I'm having.

MACCALLUM: You know - I mean, Corey Lewandowski and Steve Bannon are sort of known as the players who let Trump be Trump on the campaign trail. Now, the people who are in there, some of them, are perhaps designed to give him, you know, sort of that more presidential presence, to be sort of soften the edges a little bit of the president who, you know, is his own man and always is true to himself, shall we say. So, which is better, do you think?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, certainly, letting the president be the president and his personality is way better. That's the person of the American people love, that's the person I've gotten to know and love, and I think that's a great Presidential person. So, all of this nonsense about trying to modify him I think - number one, it doesn't work; number two, it's not going to serve the president's agenda. And so, if there are people doing that, I would probably tell them to knock it off.

But I - I think the president is very much in charge, he knows exactly the direction where he wants to go. But he's also a consensus builder. He's probably reached out to people and ask them for advice, but we've to give these guys some credit on the inside, Martha. I think -I think what we're hearing from the outside is this constant litany of criticism, the newspaper articles, all this other stuff. There's an agenda that's been put in place that they are executing.

If I'm going to be critical of anything, and I always try to be an effective spokesperson because I love the president, but I would be critical of the leaking. I think it's got to upset him that there's some level of disloyalty and self-service going on, like people that are leaking and shooting at each other. I just think it's inappropriate, and frankly, at this point, it's somewhat unpatriotic.

MACCALLUM: I hear what you are saying. I want to pull up this Monmouth University poll, which took a look at some different individuals, but it took a look at the president. It says, does President Trump do more to help or more to hurt when he speaks for the administration? And this goes to the suggestion of, you know, that he needs to be more out in front and be his own spokesperson. 61 percent say he does more to hurt his own message.

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. I know I'm not - I'm sorry - I mean, listen, I've seen a lot of these polls before, Martha. And I am a Statistician by training but I sort of don't buy that, because he's an incredibly effective communicator. Maybe he's not speaking in that flowery, rhetorical flourish that people "like hearing" but he is unbelievable.

MACCALLUM: But it may be that some of those people who respond to that are talking about the times when, you know, the tweets misfire. They may be sort of saying, well, you know, sometimes when he speaks out, he does himself damage; and sometimes, he helps himself.

SCARAMUCCI: Well, we both know about the legendary Roger Ailes, may his soul rest in peace; is that he threaded a narrative every day on the Fox News Channel. And perhaps, the communication team should think about that; how they can thread that narrative and use the President, who, I think, is an incredibly effective advocate for her his own agenda as part of that narrative going forward on a daily basis. So, for me, when the President is out there, he's incredibly likable person. You can't go places in the Midwest; maybe the Coasts have issues, Martha, but in the Midwest, they absolutely love this guy. And it's easy to see why because he wears his heart on his sleeve and he really wants to do the best he can for the American people.

MACCALLUM: Thanks, Anthony, good to see you tonight. So, we showed you last evening that vile image that was put out by Kathy Griffin holding a severed head mask of President Trump. Then, late last night, toward the end of our program, this came out.


KATHY GRIFFIN, STAND-UP COMEDIAN AND TELEVISION HOST: I sincerely apologize. I'm a comic. I crossed the line. I moved the line then I crossed it. I went way too far.


MACCALLUM: A lot of line-crossing going on these days. Brit Hume, here on the decline of all civility, all around in the public discourse. He's very civilized, so we brought him in to talk about that tonight. Plus, outrage at the prospect of the United States pulling out of the Paris climate change accord. But do you know what is in this accord? The deal allows China to basically go on polluting the air at greater levels for decades with no firm promise to ever bring that in, does that make sense? Katie Pavlich and Krystal Ball - debate, coming up next.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: We're going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreements and stop - unbelievable. And stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.



MACCALLUM: So, breaking tonight, new reports that President Trump wants to uphold his campaign promise to back out of the Obama-era Paris Climate Change Accord. Some say it's terrible for our international relations. Others say the deal is a bad one for the United States. So, there's a showdown over this whole issue, we are told, in the White House. And the suspense on this one is building.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any decision on the Paris climate deal Mr. President?
Are you close?

TRUMP: Very soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you leaning towards getting out?

TRUMP: You're going to find out very soon.


MACCALLUM: Very soon, you're going to find out. Chief White House Correspondent, John Roberts, covering this all day and has the latest for us tonight from the north lawn. Hi, John!

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Martha, good evening to you. In terms of soon, we don't know exactly how soon, soon is. But the president did say last week, when he was at the G7, in Italy, that he'll make his decision about whether to pull out of the Paris climate accord next week, which could mean we have a couple of days left and he should make the decision. As to which way he's going to go, things have sort of been evolving during the day. Initially, this morning, we had a couple of people telling us that he was planning on getting out or at least expected to say that he was getting out, that we had some more information thrown into the mix, that he hasn't made a decision yet. He's still weighing some more options. And then, we have one more piece of information that he may sort of engage in a solemn and -- sort of exercise and split the baby, and get partially out of the Paris climate accord, such as get out of maybe the green climate fund, but then stay within the framework of the Paris agreement. But during that pool spray in the oval office, you've heard him say that he's planning on making a decision soon, and he also said that he's getting a little more information from a lot of people. Listen to what the president's said.


TRUMP: Soon, very soon. I'm hearing from a lot of people, both ways. Both ways, believe me. I'm hearing from a lot of people both ways.


ROBERTS: Hearing from a lot of people both ways. Some of those people that he heard from more European leaders at the G7, as well as Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, most of whom if not all support the Paris climate accord. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX tweeted out today, quote, don't know which way Paris will go, but I've done all I can to advise directly to POTUS through others in White House and via councils that we remain in the agreement. Elon Musk is on a number of White House counsel. When asked if the president pulls out what he'll do, he said, we'll have no choice but to depart councils in that case. Don't forget, though, that Elon Musk made a lot of his money and his business is run because he's heavily subsidized to renewable energy from the government. Those subsidies would only increase under the Paris climate accord, so some vested interest there.

And some breaking news, Martha, tonight on a completely different issue, Fox News has learned that the White House will soon publish all of the ethics pledge waivers that were granted to people to come into work at the White House. These could be former lobbyists, or people who are working on issues that they're working on now in the White House. That will go live on later on this evening. You just click on the briefing room and then on the disclosures tab and that will take you directly to the ethics pledge waivers section. It's been speculated that dozens of people received waivers to come and work at this White House. I'm told by the White House counsel's office that the number is more like 12, so all of those people, plus the actual waivers themselves, will be published here on the White House website, Martha.

MACCALLUM: That should be fascinating. John, thank you very much.

ROBERTS: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So here now with more, Katie Pavlich is a Fox News contributor and editor at Krystal Ball is the executive director of the people's house project and the author of Reversing the Apocalypse, hijacking the Democratic Party to save the world. That is a big order. Krystal, thank you for being here. Let me start with you, Krystal, what do you think about this decision, non-decision yet on the Paris accord, which way do you think it's going to go?

KRYSTAL BALL, THE PEOPLE'S HOUSE PROJECT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, I think I would be a fool to speculate on what exactly this president is going to do, but what the heck, we're here, so go for it. I think on this one he is going to follow through with the campaign promise. And the reason that I say that is, you know, he has had a number of issues where he's been at odds with what he said on the trail. There's mounting pressure about building the wall, for one example. His comments on entitlements, he seems to be going back on his word. So I think there is a sense of, is this issue where you are so clear and so unequivocal on the trail, if you go back and your word on this one, it's going to be a problem. Now, for my own perspective, I think getting out of this is a disaster.


BALL: Because essentially, it does advocates our leadership in the world on this issue. This doesn't really obligate us to do anything.

MACCALLUM: Precisely. What difference does it make?

BALL: It keeps us at the table, right. The complaint from conservatives for a long time is that we don't have China and India in these deals.


BALL: Well, China and India are in.


MACCALLUM: China signed on. And Katie, let me bring you in. You know, China signed on and said, you know, by 2030, we'll consider making some changes. That doesn't seem like much of a deal.

KATIE PAVLICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first, I think it's important to look at the president's domestic agenda when it comes to climate change. And his domestic budget, they came out and Mick Mulvaney, the budget director said, we're not allocating any more resources to global warming because they think it's a waste of money. So if it's a waste of money for tax payers domestically, it certainly is internationally. In terms of what the U.S. has to give up, they have to give up a lot. We're not just talking about the government here. We're talking about everyday families. This climate agreement will decrease the household income of an average family of four by $20,000. It will increase electricity prices by 20 percent, and decrease jobs, especially manufacturing by 400,000 jobs. And so, these are the types of people who Donald Trump was able to pull in from Michigan, from Ohio, from Wisconsin. And his message is that we need to stop spending American treasure, stop spending American resources on international community pet projects at the expense of American families and their well-being.

BALL: But Martha.

MACCALLUM: He estimated that it costs $42-$176 billion every year, Krystal, and that's the Mick Mulvaney argument. These things are nice but we can't afford it.

BALL: Well, going back to what we're saying earlier, this accord doesn't actually obligate this president to do anything, perhaps if he continued President Obama's policies, then, some of these costs might be in play. But he's not obligated to do any of that and it doesn't appear that he wants to any of that. Staying in the Paris accord means that we can continue to be a leader on this issue, that we can continue to have a voice, and that we can continue to put pressure on countries like China and India, which with their growing populations it's so important, if you care about climate change.

MACCALLUM: We've got to go.

PAVLICH: The United States has cut its emissions by more than any other country. It's not like we're sitting back.

BALL: Let's keep going then.

MACCALLUM: All right, we've got to go. Thank you very much, ladies. Good to see you both. So both the president and Mrs. Trump not taking the abuse from comedian Kathy Griffin, the president called her move, shameful and sick. And the first lady raised questions saying this, it makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did this. Brit Hume here on what many calls dramatically declining standards of civil discourse in this country when we come back. And also this, Hillary Clinton today went further than ever before on her loss last November, getting a ton of attention tonight. We're going to show you what she said. Here's some and more in a bit after this.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that's not why I lost.



MACCALLUM: New fall out tonight from Kathy Griffin's deeply troubling mock decapitation photo shoot. So today, CNN brought down the hammer, pulling her from their annual New Year's Eve show with Anderson Cooper. This image of our commander-in-chief pressing too many lines for too many people and were sacred of it. We've seen enough of that. So this episode just the latest in a series of shocking political displays. Trace Gallagher from our L.A. newsroom on the state of what maybe the new normal in this country. We hope not. Trace, what did you find?

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS: Martha, in his Wall Street Journal piece, Gerry Seib wrote when it comes to the current state of uncivil discourse in America, Donald Trump has to shoulder some of the blame for running a campaign in which he publicly insulted his opponents, from lying Ted Cruz, to hit crocked Hillary Clinton, but he notes that political antipathy is a growing trend. It has plenty of followers on both sides of the aisle. This week, on the floor of the Texas state house, a GOP representative said he called immigration authorities on a group that was protesting a ban on sanctuary cities. Democrats were appalled, and the shoving and shouting ensued.

Experts say this type of behavior among state and federal lawmakers has led to an impasse when it comes to compromising and legislating. But it's unclear exactly where the voters stand. Last week, Montana GOP congressional candidates Greg Gianforte body slammed a reporter, was charged with assault, and still won the election, and if this political pot needed stirring, the late-night comedians are more than happy to oblige. Fallon, Kimmell, and Colbert have learned that presidential roasting rates. And though Stephen Colbert did get strong pushback for making inappropriate remarks about Mr. Trump, he survived the storm.

But so, for Kathy Griffin so far, it's really not so much, despite the fact that she apologized to the mock decapitation photo of the president, she has already lost two jobs and at least one endorsement. President Trump said the picture upset his 11-year-old son, Barron. And the first lady called it disturbing, saying, quote, when you consider some of the atrocities happening in the world today, a photo opportunity like this is simply wrong and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it. We should note just a few years ago, Kathy Griffin was a firm believer that the office of the president should be respected. Martha.

MACCALLUM: Trace, thank you. It raises a lot of questions, right, about our standards, about what we're willing to tolerate. Fox News senior analyst, political analyst, Brit Hume joins me now. You know, Brit, look at all of this, and that severed head yesterday I think sort of pushed a lot of people over the line. And it raises a lot of questions about what's acceptable, what's funny, what is OK in our humor in this world today.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS: Well, I think, Martha, that there has been a decline in the civility of our discourse in this country. This has been happening over time. We may now have reached kind of a zenith of this, of which that Kathy Griffin episode is an example. And I think it owes something to the fact that the nation -- I'm just talking about political point of view here, is so deeply divided. It's not just that the two sides, the left and right don't agree. It's that they so vehemently disagree. I've never seen it in my 50 years of being a reporter. I've never seen anything like this.

And now, of course, more fuel has been added by the attitude of so many people toward President Trump. It's not just that people oppose him, disagree with him. Worry about his qualifications. People who oppose him, a lot of them can't stand the sight of the man. It horrifies them that he's president. And it's leaked over into the coverage, to the point where we see every day reporters who are supposed to be -- not getting into the opinion business, letting opinions leak into their work. We see biased reporting to a degree that I've rarely seen before, although I've kept an eye on it for a long time. So I think we're at a point here where we got almost a civility crisis on our hands.

MACCALLUM: Everybody needs to think about it. I think you nailed it when you talked about this, you know, sort of very -- sort of gut level hatred that exists out there. There's a feeling that it's justified to do these kinds of things because doesn't everybody agree with that notion? And everybody doesn't agree with that notion, and a lot of people find it very offensive. Before I run out of time, I want to get your thoughts on this because today we're all sort of -- we're all watching on our TV's, this Hillary Clinton appearance. I found it interesting on a lot of levels. I want to play a little bit of it for you and see what you thought about it, Brit. Here it is.


CLINTON: I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that's not why I lost. So, I think it's important that we learned the real lessons from this last campaign because the forces that we're up against are not just interested in influencing our elections in our politics, they're going after our economy, and they're going after our unity as a nation.


MACCALLUM: What do you think?

HUME: Well, she's had a hard time coming to terms with this loss. And it was a shocking loss. I mean, Donald Trump himself goes around saying that this election, she should have won. I don't think he knew that he was going to win until it suddenly happened on election night. And I think for her which has been a lifetime trying to reach this moment, she was going to be the first female president of the United States. Her level of disappointment is to some extent I think understandable. But now, she's talking in terms that make you wonder about her. She outlined in that interview, this vast conspiracy theory, not the first time she's spoken a vast conspiracy theories, as we all remember.


HUME: But it doesn't really add up. And she says, you know, she take responsibility for the decisions she made. You know, does she take responsibility for the fact that at the beginning of that campaign, in the middle of the campaign, at the end of the campaign, they were still a good question, which was, what was her campaign about? Donald Trump was campaigning on, Make America great again. Now you can argue that he didn't have the right ideas to do it or it is a simpleminded slogan, but it had real, real appeal to a lot of voters. Her campaign slogan was, stronger together, whatever that means.

MACCALLUM: Well, I mean, she's clearly pitting the whole thing on the Russia issue, except for the misogyny part, which she also talked about today that she said also played a role.

HUME: Well, she's (INAUDIBLE) Facebook. She was complaining about Facebook.

MACCALLUM: And the Russian infiltration of Facebook, which may have happened to some extent, but to say that there is some -- to say that she bears no responsibility mainly for party in tough shape going forward. But I got to go. Thank you so much. Good to see you, sir.

HUME: You, too.

MACCALLUM: So congressional Democrats targeting more than 70 seats ahead of the next election, but are seemingly determined to take the path of most resistance to get there. Focusing not on jobs, not of health care in terms of issue, but impeachment is the way back for them, they believe. Chris Stirewalt here on the party struggling for a message and for leadership, and he will join us right after this.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think this is going to put us a little bit further on our way to what I've been calling for, for so long, and that is impeachment. Thank you.



MACCALLUM: We are back. And Democrats are looking ahead to next year's elections, but some are having some trouble finding their footing, focusing more on, quote, the resistance than on the issues. So one of the loudest voices in that was Congresswoman Maxine Waters, she was named one of the most corrupt politicians at one point in the town of D.C., and that's not easy to do. But she is now in charge.


MAXINE WATERS, U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: I believe this president should be impeached. I don't care what others say about it's too soon. He's a liar. He cannot be trusted. We don't have to think impeachment is out of our reach. You know, I've said all along that he will lead us to impeachment and he's doing just that.


MACCALLUM: Always shoot high. Impeachment is always within your grasp, Chris Stirewalt. Good to see you my friend. Fox News political editor, what do you think?

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS: Well, look, the catch-22 for Democrats who would like to impeach the president is this. If she -- not just her, Maxine Waters as one of the loud voices in the room, that are speaking for the Democratic Party, you can't get the moderate voters who you need to get control of the house. Let's make no mistakes the Democrats are in a great position to retake the house right now. They only need a couple dozen seats to take it over the top. And I bet if you had the election today, the Republicans would be hurting. But they got to maintain that energy for a long year and a half to get there. And if you're talking about impeachment the entire time, that sounds like agony. They have to be talking about -- yes, about being a check on Donald Trump. Yes, elect us so that we will hold the president in check, but not to the point of continuing this tri-ballistic political war to its bloody conclusion.

MACCALLUM: So, Hillary Clinton, as you saw earlier, was asked about. So she's talking and that's making some people wonder if she wants to try one more time, perhaps, and Joe Biden announced a political action committee efforts. So it makes you wonder if we're going to get sort of a rerun of last time next time around. Here's Hillary Clinton also trying to get the Democratic Party back on track with statements like this.


CLINTON: The use of my email account was turned into the biggest scandal since lord knows when. Everything that anybody else said about it besides me to basically said this was the biggest nothing burger ever. I know you had Dean Baquet here from the New York Times yesterday, and they covered it like it was Pearl Harbor.


MACCALLUM: What do you think, Chris?

STIREWALT: I mean, really. I mean, really? At long last, will you let the Democratic Party alone? Now, Biden is kind of an interesting choice. He's three years older, two or three years older than Trump is. So he's not exactly in the shank of his political career. But he's at least an interesting topic of conversation for Democrats to have. If this woman and her family will not leave the Democratic Party alone, which I think they've shown no signs of doing, despite the failure, despite the corruption, despite all of this stuff, the New York Times was not her problem. Honest- to-goodness, the New York Times was not Hillary Clinton's problem in 2016. And I tell you, if they won't leave the Democratic Party alone, it will be necessary for the Democratic Party to, in a clear voice, reject the Clinton's and Clintonism and say, don't come back here anymore.

MACCALLUM: I think that she's about to take off in that red Star Trek chair from what I can see.


MACCALLUM: Chris, thank you very much. Coming up straight after this, the quote of the night when we come back.


MACCALLUM: So we leave you this tonight, which hearkens back to our discussion about civil discourse and the importance of respecting the dignity of others. All brought on by this Kathy Griffin fiasco. So the quote of the night is going to elevate us. It is from Jackie Robinson who said simply this, I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me, all I ask is that you respect me as a human being, lessons from a legendary athlete and a great man to us all. Send us your ideas for the quote of the night or you can tweet me at @marthamaccallum or @thestoryFNC, using the hashtag, the story. We will see you right back here tomorrow night at 7:00 PM, our good friend Tucker Carlson from Washington, D.C., comes up next. That's "The Story." We'll see you tomorrow.


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