Huckabee: Rushing into military action with Iran would be a huge mistake

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," June 14, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Thank you, Bret. Enjoy the weekend out there. Happy Father's Day to you.

Good evening, everybody. Tonight, this is “The Story.” Tensions mounting in Iran. President Trump points the finger at the "nation of terror" in the wake of the tanker attacks, where is this whole thing going.

Also tonight, Democrats find out who they will share the debate stage with. And David Axelrod goes after Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a big way. Going after her legacy of what he says is defending the indefensible. Governor Huckabee is going to be here in a moment. He has something to say about that.

But first tonight, “The Story” investigates what on earth is going on in the Dominican Republic. New developments this evening out of the Caribbean country where something very strange is clearly happening.

Eight Americans have died there in just 12 months. Most of them were healthy when they got down there for their vacation and they have one thing in common several of them, drinking from the hotel minibar shortly before they became ill.

More than two million Americans go there every year. There's a third -- that's a third of the country's tourism. The D.R. is the most popular spot in the islands. It runs on tourist revenue. Bringing in $6 billion a year. So, as they scramble to save their lifeblood, families are grieving, questions are mounting, as is the investigation.

In a moment, the devastated daughter of a man who died in the Dominican Republic in January. She says her father was enjoying his retirement. He went there on vacation perfectly healthy and never came home.

Plus, former deputy assistant director of the FBI who is now involved in this case as well, Danny Coulson on what they would be doing there, and how they can solve this mystery.

But first, let's go to Trace Gallagher, who breaks it down for us tonight and gives us the very latest developments this evening on this. Hi, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. Let's begin with the common denominators. First, pulmonary edema, water on the lungs is mostly caused by heart disease. The American College of Cardiology says one four Americans will die of heart problems, yet, seven of the eight Americans who died in the Dominican had a heart attack and or pulmonary edema. And we don't yet know the last person's cause of death.

So, all of the tourists we know about who were generally healthy died of very similar causes, which is exceptionally unusual especially when you consider that 63-year-old Nathaniel Holmes and his 49-year-old fiancée Cynthia Day died of the same thing at the same time.

Then, there's the minibar you mentioned. Three of the eight Americans did drink from their hotel minibars. It's unknown if the other five did, but it appears most of them drank alcohol. And our corporate cousin the New York Post is reporting that investigators are looking into whether the tourists were poisoned by bootleg booze.

Police want to know who supplied the alcohol and whether it contained dangerous chemicals. And Dominican tourism officials, say the FBI and other federal agencies have now taken an active role in the overall investigation. And that the FBI, in particular, is going back and re- analyzing toxicology results to see if there are more common links. The latest American tourist to die in the D.R. is Leyla Cox who turned 53 last weekend. Her son says he's getting very little information. Watch.


WILL COX, SON OF LEYLA COX: They have done an autopsy. They haven't sent it to me. They sent me a police report that was in Spanish that I cannot read. I still don't know the exact details of my mother's death and that's where I'm hitting a roadblock.


GALLAGHER: The families of Yvette Sport, David Harrison, Jerry Curran, Robert Wallace, and Miranda Schaup Werner are also looking for more answers. And remember, a Colorado couple says they drank from a mini bar in the D.R. and got violently ill, but recovered. They were later diagnosed with pesticide poisoning. And a forensic professor now says the symptoms suffered by most victims who died are consistent with poison. Martha.

MACCALLUM: Trace, thank you very much for that report tonight from L.A. Hear now Kellie Brown. Her father went on vacation in the Dominican Republic in January and died there just days later. Kellie, we are very sorry for your loss.

It must have been so shocking obviously. It seems like -- you know, a dream, right? To go on a vacation like this. What happened?

KELLIE BROWN, FATHER DIED IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Absolutely. So, my parents decided to take a trip to the Dominican Republic in January of this year. And they arrived on January 22nd. And they had something to eat and drink that evening, and then returned to their room. And my dad started to not feel well, and he laid down in bed and went to sleep. And the next morning when he woke up, he complained that his back hurt and his elbow hurt and that he just didn't feel great.

So, they went and had a massage. And after the massage, he still wasn't feeling well and decided to just head back to the room and lay down and take a nap. And that was pretty much what happened for the next two days.

And then, Thursday, he complained that he was so sick, he just wanted to go home.


BROWN: And my mother said, well, it's -- you know, it's in the evening we'll go to bed and let's see how you feel in the morning. Well 3:00 in the morning, he started to vomit. And he started to aspirate on his vomit and my mother tried to move him to help him and she called a friend that was vacationing with them. He was in a different building. His wife and him, came over to help my mother. And he was unresponsive. And they took him to the hospital.


BROWN: Hospital (INAUDIBLE) in the Dominican Republic. Where they put him on a ventilator in ICU. And he eventually died. So, he was in --


MACCALLUM: Kellie, I'm so sorry. I mean, this is just a terrible story. When you listen to these other people's stories, does anything connect? You know, one of those -- these peoples at the Hard Rock, another one was at a place called Bahia. Where was your dad and mom?

BROWN: My mom and dad were at the Dreams Resort. I do remember passing the Hard Rock. So, it was in the general area of the Hard Rock.

MACCALLUM: Yes. So, what about, you know, drinking from the minibar or -- you know, anything that may have been -- is there a toxicology report that on your dad?

BROWN: So, that is what we're hoping to find out. One if there is a toxicology report, and then two, how do we get our hands on that.

MACCALLUM: So, you haven't received any information about that? And when you listen to all these other stories, what goes through your mind and do you see any links?

BROWN: I see a lot of links. My dad's death certificate listed four causes of death. And one of them was pulmonary edema, and that seemed to be popping up in a lot of the other cases. So, I was seeing a connection there.


BROWN: But, just because that everybody has been coming out, I didn't think anything initially. And now there is just so many unanswered questions.

MACCALLUM: Well, who are you trying to get answers from at this point?

BROWN: The hospital, doctors, the coroner's office. I'm hoping to have the FBI do an investigation to find out if there is a commonality with the toxicology or, or what.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Well, you know, we've been hearing about these pesticides and it -- and in the liquor of sort of the two main threads here. Kellie, thank you very much. I'm very sorry for your loss. It must have just been absolutely horrible. And I'm sure, you know, it's not that long ago that you're all still suffering from it. So, I want to thank you for being here tonight. And we're going to go now to Danny Coulson. Kellie, thank you.

Danny Coulson is former deputy assistant director of the FBI. Danny, when you listen to all this, Trace's report and then Kellie Brown's first-hand account of what happened to her dad. What jumps out at you?

DANNY COULSON, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Well, I don't believe in coincidences. You have this many incidences for people losing their lives in one location, you have to start looking at why.

The FBI is there, they're doing the investigation. They'll do a very comprehensive investigation. If I were doing it, one thing I would focus on is the alcohol. I do a lot of work on that part of the world and a high percentage the alcohol is counterfeit. And Lord knows what they put in that stuff.

So, I would look at that, I'd look at pesticides, insecticides, and do a whole lot of interviews. And also, they have great surveillance cameras there. I'd be looking at that. So, there's a -- there's a lot of potential to solve this case. And I think they'll do it, we'll know what happened.

MACCALLUM: You know, I mean, one aspect of it could be -- you know, using pesticides that maybe we wouldn't use in this country that are poisonous. You know, that would be -- that would look like it leads towards an unintentional cause. But that the liquor has the possibility of leading towards something that could be -- you know, much more devious.

And you hear these stories also about the dispenser. You know, we're not talking about little bottles necessarily in a minibar that have a top on them that -- you know, are sealed. In some of these cases, we're talking about a dispenser that was in the room. And in that case, pretty much anything could be in that bottle, right?

COULSON: That's right. Also, don't rely on this. That the fact that the bottle is sealed, that isn't mean anything. Some of the finest restaurants over there have sealed bottle, it's all counterfeit. The bottles are counterfeit or recycled. And they put things in it and aren't really what you think they are.

So having it sealed is not the issue, it's what do they do with it? They're very sophisticated at copying high-quality liquor and other items. So, it could be the dispenser, it could be -- it could be something else.

MACCALLUM: So, what do you say to people who -- you know, have reservations down there or planning to go down there. How do they keep themselves safe or would you recommend not going? Are there areas that might be safer than others? What would you counsel them?

COULSON: Well, if I'd clients go in there, I'd say let's postpone that. I want answers. It's not a -- I'm not an alarmist. I don't normally say that. But if it's -- we haven't resolved this thing pretty quickly, I wouldn't send my family down there. Let's get some answers then we'll go down, it's a beautiful place, I've been there. And -- but I would want answers rather than subject myself or my family to that type of threat.

MACCALLUM: How long do you think it's going to take the FBI to get to the bottom of this? I know, you know, it's always difficult to say, but you know, what -- what's your sense of how large the investigation is?

COULSON: It's a big investigation. It's going to be a couple of months, at least, I would say. Unless they suddenly stumble across something. But they've never get manifest, shipping data, all kinds of things, and a whole lot of interviews.

MACCALLUM: Is there anything --


COULSON: Somebody may come forward.

MACCALLUM: I'm sorry. Is there anything here that looks like sabotage or -- you know, an intentional act other than just -- you know, watering down the bottles with cheap contaminated liquor that, you know, for some people might be deadly?

COULSON: I would say it's probably greed. It's probably, people trying to save money. Remember, in our country have a lot of protections of EPA about pesticides, insecticides and a lot of things. They don't have it there. So, when you go down there, you involve yourself in a crapshoot. So, it's something -- we can -- FBI will solve this. We'll know.

MACCALLUM: All right, Danny Coulson. Always good to see you, sir. Thank you very much for being here tonight.

COULSON: Thank you, ma'am. It's always a pleasure. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: You, too. We hope they solve it soon and a heart for that to these families that are affected.

In the meantime here, on the political front tonight. 2020 Democrats take a page from Donald Trump's playbook demanding an investigation even if he is out of office eventually.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: I didn't think I'd say this, but I'm going to say it, and I hate to say it. But if I win, I am going to instruct my Attorney General to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.


ANNOUNCER: This program is brought to you by Gillette, the best a man can get.


MACCALLUM: So everybody remembers those moments and now they're finding an echo in the 2020 campaign as more of the Democrat field says that they don't -- they're not going to let go of the Russia probe even if Mueller did not find prosecutable crimes and even if Mr. Trump loses the election.

Some of those who expressed disdain for what they saw at those Trump rallies now say that the investigations will follow him even after he leaves office. Mayor Pete Buttigieg telling the Atlantic, "DOJ has got to deal with it. I would want any credible allegation of criminal behavior to be investigated to the fullest." Kamala Harris also weighing in.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you want the Department of Justice now that he is no longer a sitting president to go forward with those obstruction of justice charges?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that they would have no choice and that they should, yes. There has to be accountability.


MACCALLUM: The president brushing off that in an interview with ABC this morning.


TRUMP: She's running for president. She's doing horribly. She's way down in the polls.


TRUMP I must say Pocahontas is really cleaner clock and I heard she made that statement. And you know what, who wouldn't. Probably if I were running in her position, I'd make the same statement.


MACCALLUM: Probably would, right. It's Kamala Harris he's talking about there. Tammy Bruce is president of the Independent Women's Voice and a Fox News Contributor, Basil Smikle is the former Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Party. Basil, let me start with you. So is this sort of like you know, given giving back as good as you get from the Hillary situation?

BASIL SMIKLE, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: No, I don't think it's a situation of tit-for-tat. And I think there's some of this that is the president's doing. And I say that because you know, when you run for president, you talk about why you're qualified to get -- to take the job.

So in talking about his business dealings, his foundation work, and not being able to come forward with his taxes and not doing it, you actually open the door for a lot of this type of scrutiny. So I think I think it's fairly reasonable for Democrats and others to look at some of what he's talking about and saying you know, there's some malfeasance here, there are some discrepancies here, we need to actually look into that.

Will he actually get arrested and convicted when he's out of office? I have no idea.

MACCALLUM: For what? For what? I'm just curious. For what?

SMIKLE: I have no idea. I have no idea. But that's just -- I have no idea. But that's my point. That's what --

MACCALLUM: Well, I think that's the big question a lot of people have out there. Like what is the crime that they're investigating?

SMIKLE: But the State Attorney General here in New York and the U.S. Attorney General in the Southern District --

MACCALLUM: Right -- no, there's plenty of investigation --

SMIKLE: -- they are finding some evidence of problems particularly with this Foundation which is why it's closed down. So I do expect them to continue after he's in office.

MACCALLUM: I just feel like they're going to get him on something. You're very confident there'll be something, right?

SMIKLE: Even if there isn't something, I do think a lot of what's happened does warrant some investigation.


TAMMY BRUCE, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look there's a reason why Donald Trump is the president. It's because people don't like this kind of nonsense. They saw Washington D.C. gazing at its navel, having its cocktail parties, thinking only of itself, fixated on weird things that don't affect the American people or if it does it affects them negatively.

Donald Trump was elected because he talked about the issues, he had proposals. Yes, there was chanting of locker up and all of that, but it wasn't campaigns based on let's go get that person. And I think that the Democrats should continue this. Because it guarantees the president will be re-elected. I think he will be reelected. It's certainly something they -- no one should take for granted.

But this is a reminder about the nature of what can happen when you get fixated and when you don't want to talk about the details of the issues. There's a lot of things going on with Americans right now, the news today in Iran of course, the Strait of Hormuz. The world is very -- getting very disturbed and the nation has to be governed.

The signaling that this sends to the world is that there's turmoil here and it affects also our national security. So I think that this is something the Democrats if they were serious would stop. And the debates coming up may be the chance for people to see exactly how much these people know about the details of the issues.

MACCALLUM: Let's talk about that. Let's take a look at -- the June 26 debate stage looks like this and will put -- I couldn't name them all because there's too many, so there you go. It would take too long. And here is the 27th -- so that one has the largest poller Elizabeth Warren in that first group, but the second group is sort of star-studded.

You've got Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, and Pete Buttigieg who are all in the top group there. Basil, what do you think about the way this shakes out? Are you happy with what this is going to look like?

SMIKLE: I'm happy that the vast majority of our candidates actually get to be on a stage. It's not the happy hour stage of 2016 race, right.

MACCALLUM: Hey, I moderated the happy hour debate. It was great.

SMIKLE: And I understand that. But if you're a candidate -- but if you're a candidate --

MACCALLUM: No, no, everyone wants to be there. They all want to be on it.

SMIKLE: Why am I not on the main stage, right? I'm sitting in a stool at a bar or something, right. They wanted to be on the main stage. Everybody gets an opportunity to be on the main stage. I think in some ways there's some argument that maybe Elizabeth Warren is disadvantaged a little bit because of who she's on with and when she's on. So the question is will anybody actually watch.

MACCALLUM: I think it's fascinating --

SMIKLE: But I think it's going to be fascinating.

BRUCE: Yes. But the problem with so many people on the stage though once again to my point, no one will have a lot of time.


BRUCE: There won't be an ability to expand on the issues and the Democrats don't want that to be the case. They want it to be a reality show, some theater, where it's little bits and pieces watch.

SMIKLE: No, a political theatre.

BRUCE: Mark my words.

SMIKLE: Can I -- can I say this? Can retort your rhetoric?


SMIKLE: If we're talking about political theater, I actually think if you look at the way Donald Trump handled every single opponent on that debate stage, you won't see that from -- on the Democratic side. You're not going to see that.

MACCALLUM: No, you're not -- you're knocking off right after the other.


BRUCE: Wait, wait.

SMIKLE: But the way that he did that --

BRUCE: But that's because -- the reason that happened --

SMIKLE: The way that he did that, you won't see that -- and the use of the Hillary lock her up, that touched an emotional core that you can't --

BRUCE: There is a point. There is a point. There's a point why Donald Trump was able to do that. Because he was a star, he is a star, he knows what he's talking about, he knows what he wants to do, and he overwhelmed them. Of course, no one on the Democratic stage will do it.

MACCALLUM: No, we've never seen anything like it. We'll see.

BRUCE: Because no one is like him.

SMIKLE: We will see that.

MACCALLUM: I'm going to be watching Joe Biden very closely. I think he's very interesting to see because he's going to be in a sea of people, not as that you know, vice president but in a sea of people and everybody's going to be trying to stand out there so that's going to be fun to watch.

BRUCE: And finally they're going to be asked hard questions --

MACCALLUM: We think. We hope.

BRUCE: -- between each other.

MACCALLUM: We sure they will.

BRUCE: Let's hope so.

MACCALLUM: Thanks guys. Good to see you both tonight.

SMIKLE: Good to see you.

MACCALLUM: Thank you for being here. Coming up next, critics slam Sarah Huckabee Sanders as she prepares to leave her post as White House Press Secretary.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, her legacy is one of defending the indefensible and not being truthful with the American people.


MACCALLUM: Governor Mike Huckabee who as you might imagine didn't take kindly to that will join me in just a moment. We're also going to talk about the escalating tensions with Iran. Big story tonight coming up next.



TRUMP: Well, Iran did do it and you know they did it because you saw the boat. I guess one of the mines didn't explode and it's probably got essentially Iran written all over it. They're a nation of terror.


MACCALLUM: It's a tense situation. President Trump saying that Iran is behind the attacks on oil tankers near the Straits of Hormuz. The administration pointing to this intelligence video, very fascinating to take a look at this. It was taken obviously overnight. It shows the Iranian National Guard pulling up to alongside the tanker and removing, pulling a magnet mine off of the side of one of those tanks as it's proof.

But Iran denies these charges. Tensions are quickly mounting. National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin has the backstory.

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Martha, officials say the unexploded limpet mine removed from the tanker is the same type of mine used to attack four oil tankers last month in the same area. The Secretary of State also blamed Iran for those attacks.

U.S. Central Command released this photo showing what it says is the unexploded mine attached to the hull of one of the tankers attacked Thursday. This video also released by the U.S. military shows what it claims is proof of Iran's involvement in the attacks.

Officials say this Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard fast boat were the ones to remove that unexploded mine from the hull. Iran denies it played any role in the attacks.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, Jennifer. Joining me now former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a former presidential candidate and Fox News Contributor. Governor, good to see you tonight. Obviously, you've been a very outspoken supporter of Israel. You've been to the Middle East many times. What's your take on what Iran hopes the outcome of this provocation will be?

MIKE HUCKABEE, CONTRIBUTOR: I cannot even begin to imagine unless they're poking at the bear just to see what the United States and other countries will do. But it's ridiculous for them to claim they had nothing to do with it. It's like who you going to believe, Iran or your lying eyes. I mean there's the tape. It's clear what they're doing.

But this is a region in a country, in a regime that has been so dishonest, and they've been so brutal not only to their enemies like Israel and the rest of the world but also to their own people. But I think the president is playing this right. He's not rushing into military action which would be a huge mistake. He is being very careful and calculating. But I think he is also being very clear that this kind of behavior is not something that the rest of the world, not just the U.S. is going to sit back and tolerate.

MACCALLUM: Well, it's clearly a tense situation and something that the president will have to monitor very closely in the coming days and weeks.

Let me turn your attention to another issue, which is the resignation of your daughter from her job as press secretary at the White House. She has been getting, you know, a lot of very strong comments about her tenure there and this one comes from President Obama's former top advisor David Axelrod. Watch this.


DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: If you are the spokesperson for a habitual liar, it's like being fire marshal for a pyromaniac. You know, it's not going to end well for you.

In this job, she was called upon to choose between her fidelity to Trump and her fidelity to the truth. And she chose Trump. I mean her legacy is one of defending the indefensible.


MACCALLUM: I mean, you know, Sean Spicer got the same kind of treatment --


MACCALLUM: -- and your daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders also lined up for it when she took over.

HUCKABEE: Well, the truth is people that don't like Donald Trump don't like my daughter. And it's not that they don't like her because most of them don't even know her, they just don't like President Trump and that's unfortunate because a lot of us do like him and we are grateful for what he is doing.

I'm a little surprised that this came out of Axelrod. He is a better person than that he knows better. And I am really shocked and surprised that he would go there to that degree.

But, again, he is a CNN contributor. What is he going to do? They pay people to hate President Trump. That's what they pay them to do. So, I guess he earned his paycheck on that particular segment.

MACCALLUM: I know you've heard the talk and I think you commented on it a little while ago about what she might do next. You are the former governor of Arkansas. And there is some discussion that perhaps she would like to follow in your footsteps to the state house. What would you say to that?

HUCKABEE: Well, I would be thrilled to death if she decided to do that, she probably is the only person ever moving into the governor's mansion who had lived there before who spent most of her growing up there. So, I think it would be kind of interesting. She knows where all the bodies are buried. I think she helped bury some quite frankly.

MACCALLUM: What do you mean by that?

HUCKABEE: But I don't know what she's going -- you know, I don't know what she is going to do. I frankly don't think she knows either. Because she hasn't had time to come up for air in the past three or four years.


HUCKABEE: So, she is going to spend some time with her children. She is going to kind of reassess. Decide what's next but I can tell you this. She is so grateful to the president for the opportunity she had.

And if anybody wonders, I can assure you she loves this president very loyal to him, didn't leave for any negative. She just left because it's a tough job and she's got three small children --


MACCALLUM: It sure is.

HUCKABEE: -- and thought it was the good time to make the move.

MACCALLUM: Yes. She's done an enormous amount of travel and she has put in excruciating hours and done so without any complaint about it. She is a very hard worker, and the president I know it feels very strongly about having her there.

You know, just real quick before I let you go. He's also said speaking of loyalty that he is not going to, you know, encourage Kellyanne Conway to leave based on what a watchdog agency has determined are Hatch Act violations. What do you say to that?

HUCKABEE: Well, I think he has taken the right position. Kellyanne like everybody else in the administration is under just scrutiny to a level that is unprecedented. And I really think it's ridiculous to say what Kellyanne has said violates the Hatch Act.

And it's unfortunate that she is being targeted like that. I think the president is right to stand his ground and stand by his people because, when he does that there is so much more likely to stand by him. And they do.

MACCALLUM: Governor, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight. Governor --

HUCKABEE: Thanks, Martha. Great to be with you.

MACCALLUM: Governor Huckabee. Good to be with you.

MACCALLUM: Coming up right now a special edition of lady's night. Plus, the newly unearthed video that seems to say how Joe Biden really feels about abortion.


MACCALLUM: So pop star Ariana Grande has donated $250,000 the proceeds of the recent Atlanta concert to Planned Parenthood in response to Georgia's restrictive abortion laws. The issue is a hot topic among -- among 2020 Democrats. Many promising to be champions of a woman's right to choose. Watch this.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-N.Y., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Autonomy for our body in this country.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, D-MINN., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We cannot allow them to move this country backwards.

SEN. CORY BOOKER, D-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will not stand for this kind of attack on human rights.


BOOKER: This kind of attack on women's rights.


MACCALLUM: So that from three of the prominent candidates. But this newly unearthed video from 2006 shows then Senator Joe Biden taking a very different stance. Grappling with his support for Roe v. Wade, even calling abortion a tragedy. Watch this.


JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: See, I'm a little, I'm a bit of odd man out in my party. I do not view abortion as a choice and a right. I think it's always a tragedy. And I think that it should be rare and safe. And I think we should be focusing on how to limit the number of abortions and there ought to be able to have a common ground and consensus how to do that.


MACCALLUM: Here now Lila Rose, Live Action founder and president, and Rochelle Ritchie, former press secretary for the House Democrats. Great to have both of you with us.

Rochelle, let me start with you. You know, when I listen to that old sound bite, fairly old 2006 from former Vice President Joe Biden, it sounds a lot to me like most Democrats used to sound on the issue of abortion.

ROCHELLE RITCHIE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes. And, you know, it's a sound bite that's from 13 years ago. And I think there was another comment that he made in 1974. So, we're really talking about comments that have been made over a lot of time.

And I think that you know, a candidate has been the opportunity to evolve and clearly, he evolved from 1974 to 2006. And I think this is exactly where Biden needs to stay.

He needs to stay in the middle of the road. He needs to be true to his values. He doesn't need to get into this whole fight about the Hyde Amendment. He needs to stay true to who he is. So, I don't see a problem with the comments that he made if that is his truth.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Lila, you know is, Joe Biden, is he drifting, I guess, is one of the questions because we saw his overturn on the Hyde Amendment. It was a lot of confusion about it.

It suggested that he, you know, was changing his mind about federal funding for abortion and that maybe he felt like it had to be supported now and then he said no, that's not what I said and then he said yes, that is what I said. What is going on here?

LILA ROSE, FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, LIVE ACTION: Right. I mean he is a flip flopper, Joe Biden, he's just like everybody else now in the field in the Democratic Party running for -- running to be the nominee for president. They all are extreme on abortion. Out of touch with the vast majority of Americans.

This isn't evolving on abortion. This is regressing on abortion. Look, most Americans want abortion restrictions. Seventy percent of millennials and gen-z want abortion to be banned until the first trimester or banned all together.

So, this idea of these Democrats that abortion should be legal through all nine months for any reason, funded by the taxpayer, funded by anybody, everybody, is really repugnant to most Americans.


ROSE: So, I think this is not going to --

RITCHIE: Martha --

ROSE: -- bode well for Joe Biden. He's just like everybody else and he is a flip flopper.

MACCALLUM: Go ahead, Rochelle.

RITCHIE: Martha, that's just not true. Actually, there are polls out there that show more than 50 percent of Democrats do not support -- they support abortion but they don't support using federal funds for those abortions. So that's just not -- that's just not true. I don't think that --


ROSE: But that's exactly right, they don't support federal funds for abortion.

RITCHIE: Right. Isn't that what you want? You don't want us to use federal funds for abortion, right?

ROSE: But Joe Biden wants federal funds to be used for abortion.


RITCHIE: He is saying that now. But you said that -- you said that a lot of Democrats.

ROSE: You know, Harris --

RITCHIE: You said 70 percent want that and that's not true.

MACCALLUM: I think it's going to be very interesting to see --


ROSE: Bernie Sanders all in support of funding abortion.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Hold on. I want to -- I think it is going to be interesting to see where Joe Biden stands on this going forward and if he sticks to his most recent sort of evolution on this topic because I think Rochelle makes a great point.

Because when you do look at the polls, there is a lot of support for people who are more in the middle on this issue. And it has sort of become the party line among Democrats that unless you are pro-choice, there is no room in the party for pro-life Democrats.

Kirsten Gillibrand has said that very clearly. Then you see sort of on the Hollywood and music level, Ariana Grande giving the money that she gave because in Georgia they have adopted more harsh abortion laws that is the debate that has been shaping up.

I want to ask you before I let you go about Live Action which is your organization, Lila Rose, which is against abortion. You had some ads or some postings that were pulled off of Instagram. What were they and why did they do that?

ROSE: Sure. So, it was Pinterest which is a popular --


MACCALLUM: Pinterest, excuse me.

ROSE: -- picture sharing company, social media platform. And there was a whistle blower that came out just a few days ago saying we had been added to the porn block list that Live Action. So, all of our images of ultrasound. I mean, images that pregnant expecting mothers share, images sharing facts on abortion that they had been banned from Pinterest when the whistle blower came out, he was insider and employee at Pinterest.

Pinterest actually fired him and then completely suspended Live Action's life-affirming account. And so now we can't post any content to Pinterest. Meanwhile Pinterest, the social media tech company, allows abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood to post abortion ads.


ROSE: Selling abortions on the platform.

MACCALLUM: All right. We got to leave it there.

ROSE: So, it's pretty horrific bias.

MACCALLUM: Lila Rose. Yes, it's very -- it's an interesting debate obviously. Lila Rose and Rochelle Ritchie, good to see both of you tonight. Thank you very much, ladies.

RITCHIE: Thanks, Martha.

ROSE: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, is the key to a happy marriage living in two different places? Our lady's night panel debates what is a little bit of a growing trend out there.



MACCALLUM: Your wife handles a lot of the family expenses and the campaign finances so are you saying it's more her fault than your fault?

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, R-CALIF.: Well, I'm saying when I went to Iraq in 2003, the first time I gave her power of attorney and she handled my finances throughout my entire military career and that continued on when I got into Congress. Because I'm gone five days a week, I'm home for two.

So, she was also the campaign manager. So, whatever she did that will be looked at too, I'm sure. But I didn't do it.


MACCALLUM: Wow, do you remember that? That was pretty incredible. He basically threw his wife under the bus in that interview. And now Congressman Duncan Hunter is once again sort of passing the buck to his wife amid charges that they misused campaign funds for personal use.

Margaret Hunter has now pleaded guilty to knowingly and willfully converting those funds, admitting to spending the money on things like this.

A $10,000 trip to Italy, a flight for rabbit whose name is Eggburt. Zip lining excursion for Duncan and their kids, and a $351 lunch for the family.

Here's now lady's night, Lisa Boothe, Jessica Tarlov, and Susan Li. You know, when I look at that and she pled guilty, you know, maybe it was all her fault, Lisa.

LISA BOOTHE, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, we will see what happens happening for Duncan Hunter. But assume he is feeling the heat now that she's flipped. But can you blame him?

I mean, Martha, I remember when you did that interview with the congressman and we did this ladies panel and talked about it.


BOOTHE: We were all so infuriated. I mean, how despicable just to throw your wife under the bus on that. But I also just think how -- what an arrogant abuse of power to be spending your campaign funds this way.

And if you are those individuals who donated or took part in his campaign, what a slap in the face to them.


BOOTHE: What a slap in the face to the office that you hold. It's disgraceful. I really honestly think he should step down. And I assume especially after this and we learn more when the trial begins you are going to see an enormous amount of pressure from Republicans to get him to step aside -- step down.


MACCALLUM: Yes. when I hear things like that, Jessica, I just think, it just makes me wonder why anyone gives to campaigns honestly.


MACCALLUM: Because I think there is a lot of this kind of sentiment that well, you know, it all has to support me and my life because if my life is supported then I'm going to be a better candidate. I mean, it's all kinds of ways to justify this stuff.

TARLOV: This is also to the absolute extreme. I'm all for having conversations about how much elected officials should be paid and people who work in these offices who want to make sure that they get a living wage.

But Duncan Hunter knew when their bunny rabbit was on the plane with them - -


TARLOV: -- there was a problem. And that when he was in Italy or having that lunch that there was an issue. I mean, he also he grew up in a household his father held the seat before him.


MACCALLUM: Yes, he's very familiar how it all works.

TARLOV: He knows about how much people in public service make, how they should be living their lives and I don't know if his father was corrupt as well.

But I remember that interview well because we talked about it with you. And the juxtaposition that he wanted to draw with I was over in Iraq serving our country and my wife was back home abusing the public coffers.


TARLOV: Bad dude to merit.

MACCALLUM: It was pretty stunning.


MACCALLUM: And so, we'll see what happens with the Hunters going forward and, you know, whether or not she is sort of flipping on him at this point.

I want to get your thoughts on something completely different which is Gwyneth Paltrow and her --


TARLOV: Very different.

MACCALLUM: Some of these segues are a little difficult. Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, newly married husband Brad Falchuk, basically she came out and said that they live separately. They have two different sets of kids from their first marriages and that he spends basically part of the week with his kids at his house and then the other part of the week with her kids at her house.

But it's more than that, it's really sort of, their philosophy of how to keep their intimacy strong. And she says she has an intimacy coach who has guided her through all of this. She has a lot of coaches. What do you think, Lisa?

BOOTHE: It must be nice to be that rich. Just like I guess this is the biggest problem she faces.


MACCALLUM: Yes, how many house --

BOOTHE: I guess this is her version of conscious coupling.


BOOTHE: Because she consciously uncoupled from the Coldplay guy Chris Martin --


BOOTHE: Thank you. So, you know, I guess this is her conscious coupling. I thought the objective of marriage was finding someone that you want to spend time with. But, you know, who knows?


LI: You need to --

MACCALLUM: I want to play what Meghan McCain -- play Meghan McCain here and then we're going to go to Susan.


MEGHAN MCCAIN, CO-HOST, ABC: It seems like rich people stuff. What if you can't afford to have this. Come on, you guys.

I mean, I don't try to judge anybody else's marriage because you don't know what goes on and what works for people. But I just -- the rent alone would be enough to make me angry or that stuff. So, I probably wouldn't do it.



LI: I don't think it's a money thing. I don't think it's rich or poor. It's just a sign of the times. You know, people work in different places. They fly around the world. What about bicoastal relationship. If you live in New York and you have a boyfriend or husband in Los Angeles you are not going to see each other 24/7.

But I would prefer to have my own bathroom to be honest. I would probably have my own bed if I had my choice. But I don't see a problem with not spending seven days a week together.

TARLOV: So, my boyfriend lives in Chicago. So, we actually live this.


TARLOV: But when we're in New York we are in the same place.

LI: Same bathroom?


LI: OK. Two bathrooms. It is important.

TARLOV: It is important but on holiday we are normal people. But it's interesting because they are in the same city though. This isn't a question about bicoastal relationship. He is just up the road. What it does bring up is a conversation about when you're merging families which I know is very difficult --


MACCALLUM: Yes, exactly.

TARLOV: -- for divorced people who they don't want to their kids to necessarily be uprooted and there are a lot of the psychiatrists who say that it's really good for kids to be able to stay in their own room.

MACCALLUM: To stay where they've -- I think that's probably what this is.


TARLOV: Yes, she should talk about that part more.

MACCALLUM: But they seem like they have a pretty good marriage.

BOOTHE: Godspeed.

MACCALLUM: I think very, very happy. So, whatever you are doing, Gwyneth, as usual it appears to be working for you.

Here is a quick sound bite from Cory Booker who is -- would be, you know, one of the only I think there is two others. James Buchanan and Grover Cleveland who would go to the White House as unmarried man if indeed that happens. But here's what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If elected you would be the first unmarried president in a long, long time there was one before.

BOOKER: The swearing in isn't until the 21st of January 2021.


BOOKER: You never know what might happen between now and then.



MACCALLUM: No. Well, Rosario Dawson was right there in the studio.

BOOTHE: I don't like that.

MACCALLUM: What do you think?

BOOTHE: It just seems like this is politically motivated like some sort of stunt or something with Senator Booker to be like putting that out there especially with her in the audience, you know, maybe.

And what does that mean for her? She is sitting in audience? Like, is this real? Is this political? Does he actually want to marry me? I mean, this is what would be going to my mind --


MACCALLUM: She's already been told that his mother would like him to marry her. Which is like, wait, do you want to marry her?

TARLOV: I think Rosario Dawson is plenty in control of this situation. I think it's very cute. I like with (Inaudible) whenever he talks about this the first time where I do have somebody.


LI: I think he's like how he is gushy romantic with RuPaul.


LI: RuPaul brings romance --


TARLOV: Like a White House wedding.

MACCALLUM: All right. You guys, yes, a White House wedding would be fantastic. It would be a lot of fun.

TARLOV: I'm here for it.

BOOTHE: I'm sure he'll seize it.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, guys. Yes, exactly. Good to see you, guys. More of The Story coming up next.


MACCALLUM: Finally, tonight, Notre Dame Cathedral hold a small mass this weekend exactly two months after the devastating fire brought the century's old spire tumbling down and cause catastrophic damage to the iconic landmark. Wow. Remember that moment?

The mass is going to take place in a side chapel. No more than 30 people will be in attendance but broadcast on French television for Christians to take part around the world.

So pretty good idea to bring attention to that. It keeps tradition with the anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral's altar celebrated every year on June 16. As of this week Notre Dame Foundation has received nearly $18 million donations. Another 425 million pledged by donors in an ambitious effort to get it rebuilt within five years is the dream of President Emmanuel Macron. So, we will see if he can pull it off.

That is “The Story” for this Friday night. Have a wonderful weekend, everybody.

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