Published October 30, 2019
This is a rush transcript from "The Story," October 30, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Have a great day. A great evening there when you're speaking about your new book. Bret, good to see you tonight.
Wow! Did you see these photos? Brand new details for the first time -- video now of the raid that took out ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Secretary Pompeo joins me in moments to talk about the raid, also, the infamous Ukraine call. And also, new today, a Democratic Senator Bob Menendez's demand to investigate Secretary Pompeo for his home trips back to Kansas.
Also tonight on “The Story,” Brit Hume joins us on whether or not the whistleblower should be outed? Lara Trump is here as well with a look at how all of this impeachment talk is impacting the Trump campaign, particularly with women voters.
And Jesse Watters is here because it's Wednesday. And Jesse's always here on Wednesday for Wednesdays with Watters. And this story tonight, a stunning moment that played out during a judge's confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRENCE VANDYKE, NOMINEE, NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS: I'm sorry, though I did not say that. I did not believe that. It is a fundamental belief line that all people are created in the image of God, and they should all be treated with dignity and respect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: We're going to tell you the backstory on that moment. More on that coming up in a little bit. But first, Fox News correspondent Gillian Turner has more on today's impeachment testimony on the Hill. Hi, Gillian.
GILLIAN TURNER, CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. So, breaking this hour, we're learning new details about today's depositions of two senior state department officials on Capitol Hill. Both of them worked on U.S. foreign policy towards Ukraine. Both of them worked for Kurt Volker, President Trump's former special envoy.
Catherine Croft gave impeachment investigators new info about the alleged campaign, Rudy Giuliani led to oust President Trump's ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Croft, also implicated a former congressman turned lobbyist that's Bob Livingston, who she says called her multiple times last year to push for Yovanovitch's removal. Saying, he described her as, "an Obama holdover and associated with George Soros. It wasn't clear to me at the time or now at whose direction or at whose expense Mr. Livingstone was seeking the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch."
Then, Christopher Anderson. The other state official deposed today told investigators former National Security adviser John Bolton had a long been skeptical of Giuliani's influence over official U.S. policy towards Ukraine. Saying, "Bolton cautioned that Mr. Giuliani was a key voice with the President on Ukraine which could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement."
Now, also breaking tonight, Martha, just a few moments ago, Fox News received the first declassified images of the Special Operations Forces' raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The Pentagon also releasing video that shows the very moment that compound, where Baghdadi was hiding, blew up. This video here shows army special operators approaching the compound from two sides.
Now, the commander of CentCom says every aspect of the raid was planned in minute detail. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. FRANK MCKENZIE, COMMANDER, CENTRAL COMMAND: That's pretty clear that the success of the standoff munitions that we employ to ensure that it would not be a shrine or otherwise memorable in any way, it's just another piece of ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TURNER: The Pentagon now confirming new information that the raid over the weekend was staged from inside Syria, with helicopters using an unknown location inside the country as a forward operating base in the hours leading up to the successful mission. Martha.
MACCALLUM: Amazing. Gillian, thank you very much.
TURNER: You bet.
MACCALLUM: So, I spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo exclusively about the al-Baghdadi raid, the impeachment probe, and much more.
MACCALLUM: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much. It's great to have you with us this evening.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, today they're releasing some new pictures, a little bit more detail on this raid that happened. You know, as you look back at it a couple of days, what does the ground there look like in terms of ISIS and the possibility of reemergence?
POMPEO: So, there's always that risk, Martha. But this was -- this was a remarkable undertaking. And not only by the militaries were brave -- folks who went on to that site, but this was months and months, in fact, you could argue a couple of years in the making.
This effort -- this focus determined intelligence collection effort, joint intelligence community military effort, all along the way, supported by President Trump, guided, directed by President Trump, led to this really truly remarkable outcome.
You know had folks are somehow diminishing what took place here. I have heard some of that. Had this gone the other way and there's always risk associated with this? Had it not been him at the site?
POMPEO: Had it gone -- had it gone poorly at the site? I promise you, the criticisms would have been great. This was a, a bold, proper, appropriate, undertaking the President Trump green-lighted, and the execution was remarkable.
MACCALLUM: And I know that you have some thoughts on the Washington Post changing their headline, calling him a religious scholar in his obituary. What did you make of that?
POMPEO: Boy, they've lost their way. I must say. It was -- it was sick to do that. This is a man who'd killed hundreds -- you had last night on the show the parents of Kayla Mueller were still out there working to get her back for those, those two amazing people. She was a wonderful young woman.
To suggest them how that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was anything other than a murderous terrorist is truly sick.
MACCALLUM: So, there is still criticism and challenge about the decision to pull out of the safe zone between the Kurdish area and Turkey. This is Benjamin Hall's been on the ground there. He talked to General Mazloum the other day.
Today, he was talking to people on the ground in what was the safe zone. This is a humanitarian worker from the United States. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID EUBANK, VOLUNTEER, FREE BURMA RANGERS: The hardest part of this mission has been the U.S. betrayal of these people. We are responsible then for this unleashing of evil violence. You watch this President Trump, I'm praying for you, I love you. But please change this and it's not too late.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: The reports are that Turkey is starting a genocide in Syria. Those reports are coming from the Kurdish militia. That man pleading with the president, saying, it's not too late to change this decision and protect these people. What do you say?
POMPEO: So, I'm getting reports from the ground. My team, the State Department team is on the ground there indeed with General Mazloum. There is been no nation that has and no nation that will continue to provide more humanitarian assistance in the United States of America. USAID officials that work from a State Department team, that works for me.
The people of the region can be sure that America will lead all the efforts in that region to make sure that there's humanitarian assistance. We, we always do that.
MACCALLUM: Are you hearing that there's a genocide underway in Syria?
POMPEO: Our reporting is different from that. But we'll continue to monitor. The Turkish leaders made real commitments to the vice president when we were on the ground. And we intend to make sure that they continue to comply with them.
MACCALLUM: With regard to the raid, Susan Rice, your predecessor in the prior administration, said that she believed that President Obama should have come being contacted. That it's customary to contact the predecessor president when these kinds of large events are taking place. What do you say to that?
POMPEO: We were very focused on one singular outcome which was to make sure that we got this bad guy, took him off to the face of the planet. We did that. We made sure we had the right security procedures in place so that the story wouldn't leak, that the facts wouldn't get around. We had American lives that would be at risk and we lose the opportunity to take Baghdadi from the battlefield. I hope we did that and proud of that.
For those who want to complain from the previous administration about what's going on in Syria, that's bizarre. They unleashed this, they allowed ISIS to take all the real estate, they built up the Caliphate under the Obama administration.
For them to critique anything President Trump has done in his noble effort to take down ISIS in western Iraq and in Syria, it's outrageous.
MACCALLUM: All right. Let's turn to the impeachment process that is underway now on Capitol Hill. There's been a parade of state department officials that have been going through and testifying before Congress. Yesterday, it was Alexander Vindman. He says that there were things that were deleted from the transcript of the call that were specifically about the Bidens and about Burisma, investigating both of those. And he claims that there was a quid pro quo for a White House meeting and for the aide to be released to Ukraine.
You were on that call as well. Do you agree with him that those items were not part of the transcript but they were part of that phone call?
POMPEO: Well, I don't know what any of the witnesses have actually said. We're now reporting on the leaks from Democrats who have a mission set here to take down President Trump.
What I know is I was on the call. I listened to call, I thought the way the president handled it was appropriate. We were incredibly focused on a couple of simple things with respect to Ukraine's strategy, we've executed on that.
And don't forget, Martha, this is the administration that provided defensive weapon systems to Ukraine. The previous administration --
MACCALLUM: That's true.
POMPEO: I couldn't tell you why. I couldn't answer if it's because of Hunter Biden, the Barack Obama, and Vice President Biden didn't give defensive weapons systems to Ukraine. They'll have to answer for that. Maybe, maybe I just don't have the full story. Here is what I know. If you're looking for an administration that's been tough on Russia, help the Ukrainian people, help the Ukrainian leadership, fight back corruption, do the things that, that country needs to do, this administration is actually -- fantastic.
MACCALLUM: So, is that what we're seeing here, and these are all people that work in the State Department under you, they obviously have a lot of problems with the way that this was carried out these people who worked in the Ukraine department.
Do you feel torn between -- you know, the policy that you're upholding under the president of the United States and the policies that they wanted to see enacted because they sound very disappointed that things got pulled away from them, and they are all pointing to the common thread of Rudy Giuliani here.
POMPEO: Yes, Martha. I actually -- again, I haven't seen the testimony. I frankly wish that I had, we're not allowed to have state department lawyers in the room, that's deeply troubling. But my understanding is that every one of these individuals had the same Ukrainian policy that President Trump had.
This is a Ukraine policy that wanted to provide javelin weapon systems, we did that. This was a Ukraine policy that wanted to ensure that Mr. Zelensky had the resources he needed to push back against the corruption that we all know has existed in Ukraine.
I actually think the policy that every one of my officials was trying to achieve is the same one that President Trump and I were trying to get the outcome on.
MACCALLUM: So, just turn your back for one second. You were on the call, was there anything that was on the call that pointed to a quid pro quo?
POMPEO: The call was consistent with what I had long said, a conversation with President Trump on our policy for an awfully long time. I was -- I was part of this administration from the very beginning. First, as CIA director and now as secretary of state. Our policy has been very clear all along with respect to Ukraine.
The president had real concerns that the Europeans weren't doing enough that we were -- we were have to spend more than our fair share.
MACCALLUM: That part is understandable is the question about, about Joe Biden and investigating him that is the part that, I think, is of the greatest concern. Did you hear anything on that call that is not in the transcript?
POMPEO: I heard the president very clearly on that call talking about making sure that corruption -- whether that corruption took place in the 2016 election, whether that corruption was continuing to take place.
POMPEO: That the monies that were being provided would be used appropriately. It was very consistent with what I had understood President Trump and our administration to be doing all along.
MACCALLUM: So, when Rudy Giuliani was here and I was speaking with him about this, his -- he expressed the fact that he felt that they kind of didn't get it, the people who were working on Ukraine. And that he did, that he understood the corruption that was happening in the country, and that they -- you know might have great intentions, but that they just went on to what he was on to in terms of the dark underbelly of what's going on in Ukraine.
Did he express those concerns to you and do you agree with him that some of the folks that worked on that didn't see it the way he did?
POMPEO: Martha, team was focused on a singular mission there. Every conversation I had with every one of the state department officials that was working on this was focused on a singular mission. Our team is been deeply aware for an awfully long time of corruption in Ukraine.
MACCALLUM: So, you were unaware of any friction between people who thought that Rudy Giuliani was overstepping his bounds? They didn't bring those concerns to you?
POMPEO: Martha, Martha, there is always friction inside an organization of 70,000 people.
POMPEO: Lots of different ideas, people looking for lots of different things that it is in every mission. And I must say too, Ukraine is one of the dozens of issues that we address every single day at State Department. I know, you're -- you've got people out here who are thinking about impeachment every day and all day, it's on every T.V., it's breathless reporting. State Department is out making sure that the American people are safe.
There's government in Lebanon that has just fallen. Protests in Chile that rise to the level that we had to have a meeting canceled that was very important for the world. We're focused on these big broad issues, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Well, did anything -- let me ask you this then because that's one of those issues that with regard to this, then I have one more question for you on the totally different matter. But you know, the question is, was there anything with regard to Joe Biden or Burisma that you guys were concerned about in terms of national security at the State Department?
POMPEO: Yes, Martha. We were focused on corruption. And at that corrupt involved --
MACCALLUM: So, you were. You were concerned about those --
POMPEO: If that corruption involved individuals who had a business interests there, we want to know that. These oligarchs that have operate in Ukraine, outside of Ukrainian bounds for too long, need to be stopped.
MACCALLUM: OK. With regard to this when Joe Biden was speaking out about State Department policy and about Jared Kushner's role pursuing peace in the Middle East, and here's what he had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The idea that you're going to have his children, his son-in-law, et cetera, engaged in the day-to-day operation of things they know nothing about. Just think it's --
NORAH O'DONNELL, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CBS NEWS: You don't think Jared Kushner should be negotiating in Middle East peace solution?
BIDEN: No, I don't. I don't. What, what credential does he bring to that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: What do you say?
POMPEO: Vice President Biden had eight years to try his hand, he failed miserably. It created worst conditions for people in the region. The United States policy and our peace plan that Jared Kushner has led the effort on, I think, provide a vision in the direction, I hope we can roll it out before too long, we're looking forward to the formation of the Israeli government when we do. I'm confident that people look at what this administration does and say, we got it right.
MACCALLUM: Do you want to say anything to Senator Menendez, who is bringing up Hatch Act concerns about your trips to Kansas? What do you say to that?
POMPEO: It's pretty risk that Senator Menendez is taken shots like that. Maybe I'll just leave it like that today, Martha. I went home to Kansas, I love it in Kansas, I hope I get to go back more often. Susan and I have (INAUDIBLE) family.
MACCALLUM: Community service, senator?
POMPEO: Susan ad I have answered that question 100 times.
MACCALLUM: I know, yes. So that --
POMPEO: I went back for my son's best friend's wedding. It was fantastic. The food was great, the company was great. I got a chance to go to church in our home church. It was a fantastic trip and I hope I get to go back again before too long.
It'd been -- it'd been over two years since I've been to Wichita. It's an awful long time to be missing home.
MACCALLUM: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, thank you very much. Good to see you, Sir.
POMPEO: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Thank you for being here tonight.
POMPEO: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Our thanks to the Secretary of State. Coming up, former National Security Advisor John Bolton is now slated to testify behind closed doors next week. He will be one of the many that we've watched go down those halls and into the skiff to be questioned. His attorney now saying he will not go voluntarily. No doubt there will be a subpoena coming. Congressman Doug Collins coming up next.
MACCALLUM: So brand new tonight, the highly anticipated testimony before the House by former National Security Adviser John Bolton is now slated for next week, but his attorney says that it will not happen voluntarily. The inquiry is set finally to get a full House vote tomorrow morning. We expect that around 11:00, 11:30 or so tomorrow morning. We'll have full coverage for you throughout the morning on that.
That is expected to formalize the procedures and also to get everybody to stand up and vote yes or no on whether they want to move forward here which should be very interesting. Here now, Republican Congressman Doug Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. Sir, good to see you tonight. Thank you very much for being here.
REP. DOUG COLLINS, R-GA: Martha, it's good to be with you.
MACCALLUM: You know, one of the -- first of all, to John Bolton. You know, there's been a lot of sort of consternation over what he might say. He's very central to a lot of the people's testimony that we've heard from. He was quoted by one of them as saying you know, that Rudy Giuliani is a hand grenade that's going to blow us all up. What do you think about what's coming there?
COLLINS: Well, I think it's just another one of these ideas that will again, as was said earlier, we're only hearing what Adams Schiff wants us to hear. And I think this is the part of the whole problem. And John Bolton coming, whether he doesn't come or not, I think was left to be seen. I think they'll end up having to subpoena him.
And I think there's some significant issues there with him coming. But I think what we're having to understand is no matter what we've heard about what John Bolton heard said or did is coming through the lens of Adam Schiff who has become the sole arbiter of everything impeachment.
Why? Because he has been made the judge, jury, and prosecutor of this case. And that's a concern that really should concern me and it should concern the American people because we're not hearing the full story here.
MACCALLUM: Are you glad that there's going to be a vote tomorrow?
COLLINS: It's sad because they've missed an opportunity all along to make fairness a staple of this House. I'm sad that they're shredding the rules. They're putting a vote up tomorrow and they're going to tell their members that this is something that we're just simply codifying. We're making it fair.
Here's the realization. They're still not letting the president defend himself until he gets to the Judiciary Committee. And only then they stick in a rule that's pretty amazing. The Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler who has no liking for this president decides that the President's attorneys or others are not being forthright in their requests or their desire to ask questions. He can decide that they don't get to ask questions. This is a sad time right now for the House of Representatives, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So you know, the President tweeted something about this whole discussion earlier today, and he was urging Republicans to focus on the substance rather than the process here. He says go with substance and close it out because his argument on all of this is that there is nothing impeachable here, that he didn't do anything wrong, that there was no quid pro quo. You know, why is there not more focus on that part of the equation from your side of the aisle?
COLLINS: Well, there is focus on that, Martha, but also let's think about how we're being able to do this. They put it into a dark room, they've let Adam Schiff have the key to the kingdom so to speak, and they threatened us that we can't talk about anything that's going on, our members talk about what can go on.
I'll show you how bad it's gotten today. I went to actually review the transcripts and things that I am entitled to view under the rules of the House and was told I could not do that. Look, I'll argue the substance all day long. I'll talk about the substance of Bill Taylor having fourth-hand information that he takes is a first-hand information.
We'll talk about the fact that I've seen the transcript and there's no quid pro quo. We'll talk about the fact that the Ukrainians didn't even know that any of these discussions were taking place until an article in late August that they found out that there was even something going on.
But let's also go back to the fact they got the equipment they needed. They never did anything that was supposedly to demand into them. There's no quid pro quo here. You can have both a process argument and a substantive argument. The process should lead you to the substance.
The Democrats have decided that they don't want any part of either one because all they want to do is impeach the president so that he can run is an impeached president. This is a blatant power grab by Speaker Pelosi who wants no consideration of what happens.
MACCALLUM: You know -- I mean, Lindsey Graham said today that they will not get one Senate GOP vote towards impeachment which does you know, raise that legitimate question that you bring up about the political nature of this and whether or not there's just a desire to have the President sort of run with the Albatross of impeachment around his neck as he runs into 2020 here.
I'm curious, you know, because you are in the House, what you think about this vote tomorrow and how it's going to look for those members who are in Trump districts who were elected in the midterms who are going to I guess stand up and vote in favor of this process or whether or not some of them, how many of them might be protected by you know, being given the OK to vote no.
COLLINS: I think right now -- right now the issue thing is there's a golden ticket out there for all the ones who want to vote no better than the Willy Wonka segments out here, and they're desperate to get them.
But let me tell -- let me be very clear to anybody watching this. Any Democrat who votes for this tomorrow is voting for an impeachment inquiry because this is exactly what is going to happen, and it's going to be done in an unfair way. So do not make any mistake about it. If they vote for this, they're going to have to go back to their voters and explain why they voted to begin impeachment and do this.
MACCALLUM: So you're saying, even if they vote no, they're voting yes?
COLLINS: If they vote no, then they're just -- they're just given a ticket.
MACCALLUM: You wanted it to be --
COLLINS: Yes, they get it.
MACCALLUM: All right, Doug Collins, Representative, thank you very much. Good to see you. Ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.
COLLINS: It's always good to see you. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: You too. You got a lot of work ahead of you. We'll be watching tomorrow. Coming up next, Lara Trump on the campaign's fight to win back women voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: Remember last time? He will not get the women's vote. He will not get the women's vote. Then after the election, they said, man, he did good with the women. He did good with the women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Some warning signs in some of the polls for the Trump campaign tonight that support among women it could be waning. The President won 52 percent of white female voters in 2016, but Fox News polling suggests that number could slide this time around. The president's approval rating among women has dropped six points to 37 percent after reaching a high of 43 percent in March.
And The New York Times report that there is massive effort underway led by the president's daughter-in-law Lara Trump to retain supporters and to find new supporters as the president rages against the impeachment efforts.
Twenty-twenty campaign senior adviser Lara Trump joins me now. Lara, good to see you tonight.
LARA TRUMP, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, obviously, you know, these numbers are what they are, I know that you are always very hesitant to believe the poll numbers. There is also a Morning Consult poll out there --
MACCALLUM: -- that you think is showing some less bad signs.
TRUMP: Well we think it's showing great signs, actually, since June, it shows that in head-to-head matchup with the president and Joe Biden, that the president has actually gained 10 points with women and that's not all. He's also gaining with independents and young voters. So that --
MACCALLUM: But still under water in both of those, but doing better?
TRUMP: But -- and of course I still always say that people are not going to be honest when it comes to polling with the president. But we feel really good about those numbers. We've always said that our fundraising also supports the fact that women are very optimistic about Donald Trump and supporting him.
You remember our first quarter, we had over half donations from women, whereas in 2016, that was a quarter from women. So, regardless --
MACCALLUM: That is very interesting.
TRUMP: That is a better measure, I think --
MACCALLUM: You know, so Celinda Lake, who is a Democratic strategist who's been around a long time, she said "He had a big gender problem already, the way he responds is one of the things that women don't like. This really aggressive bullying type of tone is part of what women don't like about him."
You know, obviously the president is in a defensive mode right now with this impeachment process. You know, is there any attempt to sort of put him in a position where women are seeing a different side of the president?
TRUMP: Well, I actually think the side of him that they are seeing now fighting back against these false claims, these false impeachment allegations, women like.
In fact, these numbers have gone up, Martha, in the midst of this impeachment nonsense. And actually, there is what we call a hidden Trump voter out there. There New York Times did a --
TRUMP: -- story with the Trump women, half of our campaign is comprised of women, actually more than half, and this hidden voter is a group of women out there, who maybe didn't vote for Donald Trump for the first time around for whatever reason, but they want to vote for him now and just because they are not talking to a lot of people about it, we are getting the sense, again, from our fundraising numbers.
MACCALLUM: And what's driving them? What's their motivator?
TRUMP: Well, I think for a lot of people, right now they see how politicized things are, they see this impeachment inquiry, and I use that term very loosely because it's really a coup of sorts, against the president and they don't like that.
Because that's not this country, that's not what the United States of America is about. They are seeing great results from this president, you know, promises made, promises kept, that's something we say at the campaign, they felt the results from this presidency, they like that their country is safer, that their communities were safer.
MACCALLUM: And you worry about the GDP number that came out? Because I know obviously women are very interested in economics and pocketbook issues, for sure, 1.9 on the GDP.
TRUMP: Well, I mean, that is -- that still pretty good, it's not as good as it's been, but we still feel good about that, and the numbers are still up for women, the reality is 6.5 million new jobs created, over half of those have gone to women in this country since Donald Trump took office. Wages are up, people are prospering and that's what really matters to people.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I think, you know, you are touching on something very interesting in terms of women and how they feel. I think people in general how they feel about this impeachment process and how it's playing in, you know, real America --
MACCALLUM: -- is, I think, a question that we're going to have to dig into for some time.
TRUMP: People don't like it.
MACCALLUM: Thank you for -- Lara, thank you very much. Good to see you as always. Lara Trump here in New York.
So, stick around, it's Wednesday, of course, and you know what that means, where's Jesse? He'll be here.
Plus, what sparked one of the president's judicial nominees to break down in tears today?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRNCE VANDYKE, FEDERAL APPEALS COURT NOMINEE: Sorry. I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: This was a stunning scene in the Senate today. The presidential nominee that was nominated by President Trump, Lawrence Vandyke was brought to tears. He was completely composed and then he was brought to tears over searing claims by the American Bar Association questioning his qualifications and ability to be fair to the LGBTQ community.
Correspondent Garrett Tenney has the back story on this from Washington tonight. Hi, Garrett.
GARRETT TENNEY, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Martha, good evening to you.
For decades the American Bar Association has evaluated all federal judicial nominees and most are labeled well qualified, but in a blistering letter to the Senate judicial committee -- judiciary committee, the ABA said President Trump's nominee to the ninth circuit of appeals is not qualified for the federal bench, in part, because its evaluation found that Lawrence Vandyke is, quote, "arrogant, lazy and ideologue and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice, including procedural rules."
The ABA's evaluation didn't stop there and went on to suggest that Vandyke would not be fair to members of the LGBTQ community, a claim he got very emotional over when he was asked to respond at today's hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you say you wouldn't be fair to members of the LGBTQ community?
VANDYKE: Senator, that was the part of the letter -- I did not say that. No, I did not say that. I do not believe that. It is a fundamental belief of mine that all people are created in the image of God and they should all be treated with dignity and respect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TENNEY: Democrats on the committee are very concerned about the ABA's allegation got though, given that its evaluation is based on the interviews with 60 people, mostly judges and lawyers who worked with Vandyke during his 14 years in law.
Vandyke, a former solicitor general in Montana and Nevada who now works for the DOJ claims the ABA didn't give him a chance to fully respond to the allegations.
Several republicans are now blasting the organization supposed nonpartisan analysis, pointing out that the person conducting the interview previously donated to Vandyke's opponent when he ran for a state judiciary race in Montana.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY, R-MO: All I can say about this letter is that, I think it is a shameful exercise in political bias, I have no context or ability to evaluate any of the accusations that are made here.
SEN. MIKE LEE, R-UT: The ABA has lost its credibility as a neutral arbiter. It should be treated no differently than any other special interest group which it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TENNEY: For a context, the Trump administration so far has had more than 160 of its nominees put on the federal bench, five of those were also given labels of not qualified by the ABA. I should also point out, we did reach out to American Bar Association and we've not heard back from them, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Garrett, thank you very much.
So, an update on a story that we brought you last Wednesday night about Sil Lai Abrams, a woman who claimed that NBC News silenced her story of sexual assault. Ms. Abrams made those accusations against music and business mogul Russell Simmons.
At that time, we reached out to Mr. Simmons for comment and we received a response from his attorney after the story aired pointing us to prior statements he had made denying the allegations of forced sexual assault and harassment. And statements of others that he says support him.
They also said that the decision by some news organizations not to move forward with THE STORY was appropriate in their mind.
So, did the White House whistleblower get outed? Brit Hume reacts to an explosive new investigative report tonight and whether or not the media has the right to share it.
MACCALLUM: So tonight, the whistleblower at the heart of the impeachment scandal may have been revealed, that coming as testimony today from or yesterday rather from top Ukraine expert, Alexander Vindman suggest that the released transcript of the Trump Ukraine call omitted key words and phrases that were replaced by ellipsis.
And now former CIA director and frequent Trump critic John Brennan says that it was doctored on purpose as part of a White House cover-up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: It sounds as though when he did that, some of his changes were accepted but some of them were not. And I think very substantive ones and very important ones were left out intentionally.
There were ellipses in there that suggest that there were words, phrases, and sentences that were left out. So, I think it was very intentional.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Here now Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst. Brit, let's start there with John Brennan's comment. He, you know, once again appears to have information on something that, you know, he may or may not not have or may not have exactly.
BRIT HUME, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he's compiled a long record of talking through his hat about Donald Trump, whom he plainly dislikes intensely. He said all sorts of foolish things during the Russia collusion excitement and in the end, as it was about to come to a close, the Mueller report was about to be issued, he said it would be accompanied by further indictments, it was not.
And he later was mumbling on the air about how he got bad information --
HUME: -- he's had a lot of bad information, I'm not sure we should pay attention to him on that.
MACCALLUM: All right. With regards to the whistleblower, there is a Real Clear investigation report, we're not releasing his name, this person's name. And we don't know if the Real Clear investigations report is accurate, although this is sort of bounced around quite a bit.
What is your thinking from a journalistic perspective on this whistleblower, given the circumstances that surround this whole situation?
HUME: Well, remember this a bit the whole whistleblower system, it is an internal government system designed to protect people inside the government from being retaliated against for reporting wrongdoing by their superiors or by others in their agencies.
It is binding on people inside the government. It is presumably, perhaps binding on Congress, so I'm not sure, quite sure about that. It is certainly not binding on the news media.
So, someone is a whistleblower and issues a report that leaks out and turns into a huge, big controversy as this -- as has happened in this case. We in the media are under no obligation legally or otherwise really, to withhold the name if we find it and the name is undoubtedly newsworthy.
Now I'm not saying that is a good thing or a bad thing, but it is newsworthy. So, the question that arises for all of these businesses, if we found out the name, would we go with it? I think the answer is probably yes.
MACCALLUM: You know, it is complicated by the fact that finding out that name also might reveal motivations, might reveal relationships, might reveal bias and all of these things that have, you know, sort of been poked at the edges of with this particular case since the very beginning.
And it is of interest that Adam Schiff sort of lost interest in this whistleblower and wants to not have him testify as part of this, I guess they feel like, you know, they've got plenty of other people testifying. But it is the genesis of where it started, Brit.
HUME: Well, it is and of course, Adam Schiff loss of interest occurred when it turned out that he and his staff had prior consultations with the whistleblower before his -- before his report was made.
So, you know, once that came to light, it raised questions about whether Schiff and his team had something to do with helping the whistleblower compose his report or encouraging him to do it or whatever, and that would be embarrassing to House Democrats who are trying to mount impeachment inquiry if it turned out that they, in some respect, helped trigger the whole thing.
So that's a line of inquiry that we're sure to be pursued if the whistleblower is to testify. You know, it's not clear to me that how much the whistleblower's testimony matters since --
HUME: -- if we can believe that this rough transcript, we had state the case, then we can go by that and not worry too much about the identity of the whistleblower.
HUME: I'm sure the Trump administration would like to find out who it is, for sure --
HUME: -- but that's an internal matter with them.
MACCALLUM: Indeed, and we're following up on it, and we'll, you know, as a network, we'll make a decision about how that's going to be handled as we go forward.
HUME: OK, Martha, thank you.
MACCALLUM: All right. Thank you, Brit.
HUME: You bet.
MACCALLUM: Always great to see you. Thank you.
HUME: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Jesse waters with a message to students at an elite college who refuse to give President Trump any credit at all for the killing of ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi and signing off on the mission in the first place. There he is. Hi, Jesse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like any president could have killed an ISIS leader like Obama killed Osama bin Laden, like, you know, like, I feel like anyone can do it. Like, it's, think about who has like, the will power, I guess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, no matter what you think about the commander-in-chief, what just happened was considered one of the greatest national security accomplishments, certainly of his presidency and certainly in recent history in the takedown of the ISIS leader al-Baghdadi.
But on the campus of Georgetown University, this pains me to say many students were reluctant to give the commander-in-chief any credit at all. Watch these Georgetown students.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think he deserves credit?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (muted) Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to take that as a no. Do you think he deserves credit for that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I really don't know much about that so I don't know what to tell you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, I guess it happened despite him. So, you know, he didn't (muted) it up too bad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like any president could have killed an ISIS leader like Obama killed Osama bin Laden, like, you know, like, I feel like anyone can do it, like, it's think about who has like, the will power, I guess.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is like in charge at the moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's probably not great that he is taking credit for someone being killed in general.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: I mean, my jaw is like on the floor.
Wednesday with Watters, Jesse Watters, co-host of The Five and host of Watters World.
This is Georgetown University.
JESSE WATTERS, HOST: Yes.
MACCALLUM: I would expect these students to, a, give me a better sense that they actually understand the question that's being asked of them. Like that they are aware --
MACCALLUM: -- of who al-Baghdadi is and what just happened. I'm not convinced that most of them have any clue even what THE STORY was, are you?
WATTERS: I'm not convinced those were Georgetown students.
MACCALLUM: I hope you're right.
WATTERS: My God, Martha.
MACCALLUM: I hope you're right.
WATTERS: Like, whoever could like kill the leader of ISIS. Like, anybody could like, do it.
MACCALLUM: Yes. And they can't say one sentence without a bleeping --
WATTERS: That was really bad. Those are the best and the brightest.
WATTERS: Here is the deal. We know he wasn't on SEAL team six coming out of the helicopter and putting led on people. We know that. He is the commander-in-chief. He gives the orders. The military executes the orders. He ran on destroying ISIS and he did it.
They are saying anybody could have done it. Well, Barack Obama could have done it but he didn't do it. Remember he didn't have a strategy. He said he didn't have a strategy. he underestimated ISIS. And maybe if they had spent more time trying to kill ISIS --
MACCALLUM: This was the J.V. team.
WATTERS: -- instead of setting up Trump for Russia collusion, they would have gotten all the credit that they want.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, to me, this is one of the most difficult decisions that any commander-in-chief makes, right?
MACCALLUM: And it's you, you're the person, the president in the oval Office who they turn to when you've got all of the top brass where they say, Mr. President, we can do this but we need your go. That is extraordinarily difficult.
MACCALLUM: And as I -- we talked about the other night on The Five. Joe Biden when it was in the Bin Laden case and he's admitted this, said don't go.
MACCALLUM: It's too risky. It could blow up in our faces, do not go. I don't know that those were his exact words but that's the sentiment. This is a very hard decision to make and if went wrong imagine what could happen.
WATTERS: Could you imagine if it goes wrong in the middle of impeachment and the middle of the --
WATTERS: -- hysteria over Syria? He would have been crushed. And everybody would have been calling for his head. It was a very risky move. And the military actually said it was more risky than the Bin Laden raid. But everybody knows the commander-in-chief gets either credit or blame when something happens in the world on their watch.
Truman gets credit for bombing Hiroshima, Barack Obama gets credit for Bin Laden, Carter gets the blame --
WATTERS: -- for the Iranian hostage crisis. That's the way it is. Trump just has to seize the credit because he never gets the credit for anything good that happens.
MACCALLUM: Yes. So, he has to, you know, sort of toot his own horn on that --
MACCALLUM: -- which doesn't go over very well.
MACCALLUM: I would also venture to guess that if that were the case, right? If it went badly and I hate saying this, but my guess is that those students would have a better grasp on what had happened if it had gone badly.
MACCALLUM: And I find that really distressing.
Before I let you go, John Legend wants to change the words to baby, it's cold outside to suit the Me Too generation. Here's real click. Here is the original diversion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: All right. Here's what he want to say. If I have one more drink, it's your body and your choice. That's going to be the new very catchy, very catchy lyric. You got five seconds.
WATTERS: That's what Chrissy Tiegen, the wife. I'm sure she wants everything to be Me Tooed. It doesn't sound like that romance, that's the way it went down.
MACCALLUM: It doesn't sound very romantic, does it?
MACCALLUM: Jesse, thanks. All right. We'll see you next Wednesday, that's this Wednesday October 30th, 2019. But as always, “The Story” goes on so we'll see you back here tomorrow night.
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