Hurricane Harvey a stress test for the Trump administration

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This is a rush transcript from "The Story," August 25, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: All right. We are less than a minute away now from the latest track and the update from the national weather center. We're going to take you there live, of course. This is really, frankly, a night like we have not seen in 12 years. This is a monster storm. It is of catastrophic proportion. It's kind of one of those nights to watch this show from Mother Nature as it blasts onto the shoreline. And for those who live in its path, nearly six million of you, it is a night to be as far as away from this thing as possible. Here's an astonishing look at this formation from outer space astronaut Randy Bresnik took this photo from the International Space Station not long ago.

One local mayor, laying it out in no uncertain terms, saying if you do not evacuate, take a marker, write your Social Security Number on your arm so that you can be identified. So, there is that take on it tonight. I'm Martha MacCallum. Good evening, everybody. This is "The Story." Hurricane Harvey is where we begin tonight. The president is monitoring this from Camp David with his team at the ready as we watch this thing as it churns off of the coast of Corpus Christi about 30-some miles by the latest estimate off the coast. But this is really where the toughest stuff begins to hit the coastline. We're going to go live to Steve Harrigan who is live in Corpus Christi being hit hard at the outer bands of this hurricane. Steve, good evening.

STEVE HARRIGAN, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: Martha, good evening. The edge of the eye wall of that storm is about eight miles off the coast. We are likely to conditions to get worse over the next four to five hours. Right now, a category three hurricane with sustained winds of more than 125 miles per hour. By the time the eye crosses over, it could be 30 with a category four hurricane. If -- the scale doesn't mean all that much to you, let me say what a category three hurricane can do, it can snap trees and it can take chunks out of well-built houses, not just mobile homes. So, we could be looking at some initial devastation here along large parts of the Texas Coast.

That's not even the worst of it, the real problem could come over the next day, two days, three days that's if this storm as expected just sits over the area. Low lying terrains have dumped more than 30 inches of rain in that area. This could produce in the words of officials here: life-threatening floods. So, we could see a 12-foot storm surge in addition to this heavy rain and the wind. The real problem now and the danger is, that the winds are so bad, first responders can't go out at this point. We're already feeling hurricane gust winds here right along the coast. So, if you have decided to stay here, you are on your own. Now, police can't come and help you if you do need help for the next few hours. Martha, back to you.

MACCALLUM: All right. In terms of the wind speed, we're understanding that it is now a category four. Steve, thank you very much. We will be back to you in a moment. Let's go to Rick Reichmuth who is taking a look at some of these latest numbers that have just come in. Hi, Rick.

RICK REICHMUTH, FOX NEWS CHANNEL METEOROLOGIST: A new update just out from the National Hurricane Center, a Cat four storm. So, it has increased to a category four storm. Winds are at 130 miles per hour, so we have not seen any weakening of this storm. It has put up weather eight behind me, I'll show you a couple things here. But a category four hurricane right at landfall, a strengthening hurricane right at landfall is not what you want to see. A strengthening hurricane actually transports more of the winds down to the surface and it is a dangerous thing. We saw this with Hurricane Charlie and Hurricane Wilma.

And take a look at this imagery right here, Martha. We have a new satellite Goes-16; it's the first time we've seen a hurricane on it. This right here, you see all of the storms around the center of it. Centered it just around 20 miles offshore. The eye wall is going to be moving right on shore here kind of between Corpus Christi and up towards Port Lavaca. Not a lot of population right here, which is good news, but Corpus Christi right on one of it, Port Lavaca right on the other side of it. That means that's where the strongest of the winds are going to be, and the storm surge already pulling in here and in the next hour or so it's going to be catastrophic.

This is now also moving much slower. So, it's forward progression instead of being 10 miles an hour is now seven miles an hour. That means, it's just a slower moving storm -- we thought this was going to happen. That saying eight miles per hour; I think it's 7, actually. But it's going to continue to pull towards the Northwest, and eventually, kind of stall it out. But you get the idea, we have seen the heaviest of the -- at least on the radar imagery, the heaviest of the storms right on kind of the front side of it. It's filling in around again back on the other side, and if you've got a strengthening storm, that certainly would be indicative of what we're going to see.

Bad news for the storm surge right here, certainly, in the short-term, it's about to get really bad. Other bad news is the storm surge doesn't go away anytime soon, because even though the storm kind of pulls offshore it's moving so slowly and stalls, and then drifts back towards the south again. And that means we're going to continue to see an on-shore flow here continuing to keep all of that water in these bays. Storm surge, probably 12-feet. Imagine what that 12-feet -- I'm almost six-feet tall, double my height at a storm surge. And then, rainfall totals three to five feet on top of that because the storm gets stuck here Wednesday to Thursday of this coming week, Martha.

MACCALLUM: I mean, this thing builds up a tremendous amount of force over the past 48 hours.


MACCALLUM: Now, a category four storm, and somebody that, really, nobody anticipated was going to get to this magnitude. But they are saying that they are as ready as they can be. Rick, thank you. We'll come back to you as this develops.

REICHMUTH: Yes. You bet.

MACCALLUM: So, that's the breaking news. It is now a category four storm. Whipping winds of 130 miles an hour. So, as you know, from recent history, natural disasters clearly have a way of bolstering or sometimes breaking elected officials at times. And everybody is going to be watching how the Trump team manages this storm. In August, when Katrina turned into a human tragedy on George W. Bush's watch.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank you all for -- and Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. The FEMA director is working 24 hours.



MACCALLUM: That was a comment that got him in some hot water as well back then. We remember then-private citizen Trump remarking during Sandy in 2012 via Twitter, which he was using back then as well. He said, "Hurricane is good luck for Obama again. He will buy the election by handing out billions of dollars." That was back in 2012 when Sandy was touching the coastline. Trump -- Drudge saying this: "Trump facing the first serious crisis with Hurricane Harvey. It is about to get real." And that's where we are at 7:00 tonight. It is getting very real. And this from Chuck Grassley, "@realDonaldTrump #hurricane keep on top of Hurricane Harvey. Don't make the same mistake that President Bush made with Katrina," he warns.

So, here now with more: Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt, and Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz. Gentlemen, welcome to both of you. Good to have you here tonight. You know, we all remember, and it was a similar situation nobody anticipated that Katrina was going to have quite the punch that it did. It was an August weekend. Everybody was away. And then suddenly on that Sunday afternoon, the reports started to come in and Mayor Nagin started to say get out. Get out now. This is going to be brutal and it's going to be deadly. How is it different now, Chris, and how do you think the Trump team is going to deal with this.

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR: Well, 12 years later, the lesson for every politician -- you know, it doesn't matter why you do the right things in life often. It just matters that you do them. And the lesson for every politician after 2005 was the consequences of failure in a moment like this are so dire that do anything to avoid it. And Donald Trump has done the most important things to avoid. It doesn't matter whether he watches it on television or not, he can go work on his putting, who cares? What matters are the things he did in advance. That is number one. He's got a real expert, not a political crony, not a friend of a friend of a cousin of a cousin who is in at the head of FEMA. He has gotten his White House staff in order by putting, as it turns out, the head of the agency in charge of this, Department of Homeland Security in as the da capo to de capo of his White House. They are in control, they're in charge to the right people in the right places.

MACCALLUM: Yes. We all remember Kathleen Blanco, the Governor of Louisiana at the time, saying we don't need any federal help, we're in fine shape, everything is going to be fine. Well, it was so not fine that she ended up not being able to run for another term as governor of Louisiana, really, as a result of that storm, Howie.

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS MEDIA ANALYST: Yes. And I still vividly remember now, 12 years later, that a heck of a job Brownie mowed when obviously the Federal government was not doing a heck of a job. But reading all these headlines, New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, CNN, NBC: Trump faces first big natural disaster test. That is true. But I'm also seeing a little -- a bit of the media making every single story about Trump. Salon Liberal Magazine says Trump's already flunked the test even before the storm made landfall.

MACCALLUM: I don't know how you can assess that.

KURTZ: Yes. Well, it takes a lot of creative imagination.

MACCALLUM: We see it all the time. I just want to put out one thing, because I was remembering during the campaign last August in Louisiana, there was major flooding. And then-candidate Trump, and I think we have a video of this, visited Louisiana and he got a lot of good reaction from that. And it caused Hillary Clinton to sort of suddenly say, you know, oh, well, we were going to go but we didn't want to be a distraction. So, Chris, in a way, you know, he has a little bit of history on this. And he did quite well in that situation.

STIREWALT: Well, the one that he ought to remember on this is that Democrats will be every bit as cynical and exploitative about this hurricane as he was of that one. Trump was exploiting that moment. He and Mike Pence went down. Obama had said, if you'll recall, I don't want to go down there because I'll be a distraction. I want to be able to respond with relief. And Trump, whose campaign was struggling in August, saw an opportunity and went down there for the photo op. And then, accused Obama of not caring about the people. Democrats will be looking to do equally gross things to him as he was able to do to Obama year ago.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, obviously, this is first and foremost a human story tonight. And there are people whose homes and livelihoods are in the path of this horrific storm. And you do expect the government to step up -- mostly local government in these situations. The burden falls primarily on the state and the local governments here. But there is a moment where people either sort of come out of this situation looking like they're good leaders or not. Go ahead, Chris.

STIREWALT: I was just going to say, Martha, that's true for governors, mayors, presidents. And just to be clear, you know, if President Trump doesn't strike the right tone, especially if there are casualties, if FEMA screws up, we will and should be all over it. But, I think we ought to wait for that to happen rather than prematurely judging him on the politics.

MACCALLUM: Wow, what a concept.


MACCALLUM: Yes, we will do that here.

KURTZ: Who knew?

MACCALLUM: I don't know if it's going to happen elsewhere. Let's talk a little bit about Gary Cohn because it's pretty stunning. The president's top economic advisor we know had been very troubled by the president's comments after Charlottesville. And now, he's come forward in an interview and said that he wrote a letter of resignation because he was so disturbed by the reaction. And then, he decided to stay because he feels that it's his duty to do his job. But he -- let's put that up on the screen if we can, we have the exact words that he used. He said that he seriously considered leaving, and then he went on to say that he thought in so many words that the administration needed to do a much better job of handling these sorts of situations too, and I'll just read the end of it here, to heal the deep division that exists in our communities. Chris, were you surprised by this?

STIREWALT: No. He needed -- Cohn needed to get on the record, and he needs like others in the administration other Republicans have had to do, to find a way to denounce or kind of denounce or be anguished or say something derogatory. And Cohn is very careful to make sure he wasn't accusing the president of doing anything wrong but to say that he felt troubled about the administration's response and the White House's response, and he never attacked Trump. He never said you did this wrongly, you did that.

But, remember, these business guys will do -- their consciences, I don't know which part of the conscience of all the people who dropped out of the president's council, all of the companies that expressed anguish and angst over all this thing. These business guys, they want that tax cut. And if Donald Trump says the right thing or the wrong thing about Charlottesville or statues or fomenting the discontent, and all these things. If he can come through with those tax cuts, I think a lot of these guys will find their consciences suddenly assuaged.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Last thought, Howie, and we got to go.

KURTZ: Well, Cohn says, as a Jewish-American, he's not going to be pushed out of his job by a bunch of White Supremacist shouting anti-Semitic slogans. And I give him credit for saying these things on the record, risking the wrath of his voice, he felt the -- of his boss. He felt the need to speak out. He's getting a lot of heat from both sides, some saying, well, you should resign then. But he chose a middle course, stay in the job. But make his feelings clear about what happened in Charlottesville and the administration's handling of it.

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

KURTZ: Good to see you, Martha.


MACCALLUM: So, a lot of breaking news as you are seeing tonight, including this. Moments ago, U.S. officials now confirming that North Korea has fired yet another ballistic missile. This is the first launch since President Trump warned of fire and fury in response to more provocation. We are keeping a close eye on this. We're going to have a report for you in a moment.

Meanwhile, Harvey is bearing down on the coast of Texas near Corpus Christi. It is now a category four hurricane. Astonishing. We have not seen anything like this hit the United States in 12 years. 130-mile an hour winds put it up over that number four for the category. We are watching it very closely. The president is at Camp David watching it very closely as well, according to his latest tweet. We will be covering all of this breaking news live for you here tonight.

Also, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro is the latest to butt heads with U.C. Berkeley. School says they're turning over a new leaf as they welcome students back to what they called free speech year. Yes! Let's see how that's going. But there is a hitch, they are charging Ben a fortune for the right to his free speech. That's up here next.

And as President Trump feels the heat on immigration and sticking to his campaign promises, new word tonight that those brought here as children may no longer be protected. Big news. Big story. Right here, when we come back.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The DACA situation is a very, very -- it's a very difficult thing for me. Because, you know, I love these kids. I love kids. I have kids and grandkids.



MACCALLUM: Now to U.C. Berkeley, scene of riots and violence when Milo Yiannopoulos was asked to speak there. Ann Coulter was also blocked. And this is the sort of scene that we saw back in February: the destruction of property, and fires rioting in the area. But Ben Shapiro is determined to have his say when he goes there, and they are happy to have him now that they declared this "free speech year." I wonder what happened next year or what happened last year for that matters the institution? But anyway, they are insisting that the College Republicans pay 15 grand for security when Ben Shapiro speaks there. And this comes days after the school's chancellor touted this new free speech initiative at Berkeley. Watch.


CAROL CHRIST, CHANCELLOR, U.C. BERKELEY: I believe that any attack on free speech, no matter how abhorrent the views are, they're expressed is an attack on the right of free speech for us all.


MACCALLUM: There you go. So now the $15,000 man, Ben Shapiro, editor in chief of Ben, good evening. Good to see you. So, what do you think about this fee? Is it fair? Are you going to pay it and what are you going to get for it, I guess, is the biggest question?

BEN SHAPIRO, EDITOR IN CHIEF, DAILYWIRE.COM: I mean, the Young Americans Foundation has already said that they're going to pay the fee. As far as it being fair, no. I mean, life isn't fair, I guess. They should be providing security. I'm a taxpayer in the state of California. I promise you, I pay much more than that in taxes to the state of California every year. So, I guess I have to pay for the security twice over. But here's sort of what I'm people who want to come on 2,000 seat stadium or auditorium that is opening up. They haven't provided the link yet, but you can go over to, and you can start to reserve your seat there. What I've been saying to people is don't show up ready to do battle with Antifa.

We perceive that Antifa will show up and try to cause violence. Do not come ready to do violence in defense of my free speech right. We just paid, so that Berkeley will do it, right? Either Berkeley is going to protect my free speech rights or they're not. Now, we get to see a nation whether Berkeley is going to keep its words to protect free speech even when Antifa shows up. And the last thing that I want is some bloody battle out in the streets with people who think they're protecting my free speech rights who aren't members of the government. The whole point here is that Berkeley and their administration have to do the job they've been pledging to do.

MACCALLUM: You know, we've seen what happened here in the past, and we're showing it again. I think one of the biggest concerns is whether or not that the police will intercede. In some of these situations, we've seen them reluctant to get in the middle of it, I guess, in part for fear of causing, you know, things to escalate even further. But you see the destruction that happens when they don't.

SHAPIRO: 100 percent. 100 percent. I mean, we had this situation at Cal State, Los Angeles, and we actually had to file a lawsuit against Cal State, Los Angeles, because we felt the police have been told to stand down by the administration. So, this again, it's going to be a test of the administration, it's going to be a test of the police. Are you going to fulfill your promise to protect free speech or are you just going to sound off about it in the press, and then allow Antifa and the far-left to do whatever they want to shut down speech with which they disagree?

MACCALLUM: Before I let you go, I want to get one thought from you on this issue of these kindergartners being taught by their teachers about the transgender issue. And the parents, many of them, for the Rockman Academy School were outraged. They feel it's just too young to introduce these ideas to these children. But, they really weren't asked whether or not that was OK before this happened.

SHAPIRO: It's despicable. It's despicable. I mean, the fact is that when you're teaching children about issues that are sensitive, like gender identity, you would imagine the parents should have some say in that. But there has been this newfangled attempt by the left to basically say we have to protect children from their own parents. The parents are the real obstacle here: we know better than you how to raise your own children. And we're going to teach them things that are absolutely contrary to science like boys can become girls, and girls can become boys. The idea that all of this is just genetically inbuilt.

There's no evidence to suggest that all transgender activity, all gender identity orientation, all of that is genetically inbuilt, and has no environmental impact at all. In fact, most kids who identify as gender confused when they're young grow out of it as they get older. And here, you have a school that's basically saying to the parents, we're going to teach our false version of science to your children. And not just -- apparently, they had a transgender party for one 5-year-old, and talk to the entire class about it at the same time. I mean, this is really despicable stuff. The idea is to protect the innocence of children, not to rip it away from them in the name of 5-year-olds making their own decision whether they're a boy or girl.

MACCALLUM: And again, when you're a kid, you know, you're learning about all of these ideas, and growing up and turning into the person that you're going to become. And we have seen that since some of these cases encouragement to have, you know, to go through the process of changing your sex at such a young age. This only exacerbates those concerns among these families and for these kids as well. Ben, thank you. We'll be watching, September 14th, to see how it goes. Good luck to you. We'll see you soon.

SHAPIRO: Thank you so much.

MACCALLUM: So, coming up tonight, President Obama believes that opening up Cuba to tourism and trade would bring about the end of things like torture and corruption by the Castros. But now, 16 Americans there appear to have been targeted by something called a sonic attack in their homes. Doctors say that they have injured their brains. The back story on this is coming up. Also, a huge fight over DACA is brewing. New reports tonight suggest that President Trump is nearing a decision to end the program shielding so-called "dreamers." Ed Henry joins us with the breaking news on this from the White House next.


TRUMP: We're going to show great heart. DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me. I will tell you. To me, it's one of the most difficult subjects I have. Because have you these incredible kids.




TRUMP: My administration will never back down in demanding immigration control, the American people voted for immigration control. That's one of the reasons I'm here. And that is what the American people deserve and they're going to get it.



MACCALLUM: That was August 22nd. President Trump may be returning to his tough stance now on immigration. The stance that he held throughout the course of the campaign. Reports this evening say that the president is now considered likely to end the controversial Obama-era DACA program, which protects young people who came to this country with their parents illegally, and the program keeps them from being deported. Chief national correspondent Ed Henry has the details on this brand-new information on DACA tonight from the White House. Hi, Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good to see you, Martha. Steve Bannon may be gone, remember, it was just one week ago today that he was pushed out of the White House, but some of his key policies may remain. In fact, one of the president's top advisors sent me a note earlier saying the nationalism and America first streak from Bannon may remain because there are multiple reports tonight suggesting the president is leaning towards ending DACA, which could impact one million immigrants.

It was a move, of course, by then President Obama during his 2012 re-election campaign that essentially shields the children of illegal immigrants from being deported. So, ending it could kick off a major controversy that draws the former president into his first direct battle with the current president, mano-a-mano. Remember, Obama warned earlier this year if DACA gets killed, he might break the tradition of former presidents holding their tongue declaring "the notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids when they didn't do something themselves would merit my speaking out."

President Trump's own Department of Homeland Security, by the way, once run by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has raised questions about the feasibility of ending it. Though on the other side, you see Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he wants to take a tough law and order approach and is backed by 10 Republicans attorneys general, who say if the White House does not end it by early next month they will go to federal court to kill it. That is a split within the administration and it may be a reason why Sarah Huckabee Sanders today was cautious.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The administration has indicated several times before that the DACA program is under review. It continues to be under review, and we have an announcement on it we'll let you guys know.


HENRY: Now what may be significant is what you showed a moment ago is that the president took such a hard line this week at his Phoenix rally warning he's willing to shut down the government unless he gets funding for building a wall on the southern border. Some of the president's advisors are telling me privately that may give him the political space to tell his base, look, I took a hard line there. Maybe I can find a more middle ground here on DACA, perhaps phasing out the program over a few years instead of ending it immediately. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Very interesting. Ed, thank you so much. So here now with more, Lawrence Jones is a host on the Blaze TV and a conservative commentator, Pablo Enrique is co-founder of K-Street Media and a Democratic strategist. Welcome, gentlemen, to both of you. There's been a lot -- good evening. Obviously, a lot of division on this issue from day one. So Lawrence Jones, let me start with you. If the president does go down this road and prevents those children from being allowed to stay here, it could lead to some pretty tense and uncomfortable moments.

LAWRENCE JONES, BLAZE TV HOST: But it's the right thing to do, Martha. Either we're a country of laws or we're not. And there are citizens in the United States that have to suffer consequences for what their parents do all the time. This is nothing different. And so, although, I feel for those children, we have to abide by the law.


PABLO MANRIQUEZ, K-STREET MEDIA CO-FOUNDER: No, we don't. I mean we do need to abide by the law--

JONES: We don't?

MANRIQUEZ: There's a lot of wriggle room there, Lawrence. I mean, you're not the only one who feels for these people. President Trump has said that these are incredible kids. And I want to put this in perspective. There're three really important points I want to make here tonight. First of all, and this gets underreported, but Steven Miller the author of the Raise Act which proposed cutting legal immigration in half, and everybody pretty much in politics said it was dead on arrival. It's no longer been accepted into the room. He's no longer invited to the conversations instead of going on about DACA. So that is an early indication that perhaps it is going toward more of a centrist position. Second of all, the danger that DACA is in coming from the Texas lawsuit through Attorney General Ken Paxton, interestingly enough, has been reported as just a distraction from Ken Paxton's felony lawsuit that's going on from securities fraud from when he was a state representative--


MACCALLUM: Just to be clear what we're focused on, we're talking about DACA, we're not talking about -- about cutting the number of legal immigrants who come into this country--

JONES: Exactly.

MACCALLUM: -- which is legislation by Tom Cotton. It's a separate issue. We're talking about illegal immigrants who are illegal in the country and have broken the law, as Lawrence Jones says, and how -- whether or not, you know, it's my understanding, and Lawrence, you know, speak to this if you can, that the ruling under the Obama administration will run out. So this White House would have to reauthorize DACA, and they don't know. Their lawyers are concerned that they don't really have the authority to reauthorize it because they don't believe that it had correct legal under pinning to begin with, is that correct?

JONES: Exactly. This is what happened when you use the pen from the president's desk and not go through congress. And I want to know that this is nothing new in American history. Even the African slaves that came here unwillingly it still took a constitutional amendment for them to be legal citizens. So I'm not going to pretend like this is something new in America. Even people that didn't want to come here had to still go through the legal process. So I want to understand, Pablo, what is different from their situation than people that came here unwillingly and still had to go through a legal process.

MACCALLUM: Good question. Pablo?

MANRIQUEZ: That is a really good question. And the thing that's different here right now is that we have to ask ourselves the question, should we punish children for crimes that are, you know, civil infractions that were committed when they were 6, 5, 4-years-old, they were brought over here by their parents. That's what we're talking about when we're talking about DACA.

JONES: Again, we did the same thing when African slaves came here unwillingly and were punished and brutally beaten and raped, and they still have to get a constitutional amendment.

MANRIQUEZ: But, Lawrence, this shouldn't be a competition--

JONES: It's not a competition. It's the law.

MANRIQUEZ: -- who's the biggest victim, right? There should be a conversation where the president can really show some amazing leadership here and try something unpredictable. And I'm going to put it out there--

MACCALLUM: We've to go, guys.

MANRIQUEZ: -- maybe it's time for amnesty. I was at the White House the other day for an amazing tour the president seen had us by. And I noticed one thing that was really interesting, the carpet that they have in the oval office right now is the same carpet that Ronald Reagan had in the Oval Office when he negotiated the last big amnesty that made people legal and finally got them right with the law.

MACCALLUM: The amnesty wall to wall.


MACCALLUM: We've got to go, guys. Pablo, thank you very much. Lawrence Jones, good to hear from both of you tonight. All right. So you love your iPhone, you love your Apple TV and all that. But while Apple strives to be socially conscious, they're putting your money from the Apple iPhone and TV into a group that condemns so-called extremists. But the problem is that they consider some frequent guests of ours, like the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, for example, and women's right advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali in that category, and they are being assaulted essentially by this group. We're going to tell you what's going on there.

Plus, top of the hour here, Fox News confirming that North Korea has fired three short range missiles into the east sea. Remember it was just last week that Secretary of State Tillerson pointed to their lack of provocation in reaction to the strong language from the American leaders. So what should our response be? Two former state department officials weigh in.


MACCALLUM: Quick look live at Hurricane Harvey, which is now been upgraded to a category 4 storm, about 130 miles an hour. You can see the winds whipping through Corpus Christi, Texas. We're keeping a close eye on it. We'll bring you all the latest news on that as it comes into Fox. In the meantime, also breaking just moments ago, confirmation from U.S. officials that North Korean has launched multiple short range missiles into the east sea. Let's get right to Trace Gallagher live in our Westcoast newsroom who has the latest on this story tonight. Hi, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS: Hi, Martha. The number we're hearing is three. And U.S. officials saying one of the missiles failed during the launch process and the other two failed in flight. Though, they're not saying how far they went. But South Korea media says the missile launch from one of North Korea's eastern provinces, which is on the opposite side of the Korean peninsula from Seoul, appears to have been a ballistic missile that flew about 150 miles and then landed in the ocean between Japan and the Korean peninsula.

The firing comes one day after North Korea's state run media released pictures of Kim Jong-un inspecting a missile site that appears to show North Korea's missile program has made unexpected advances. The photos include a previously unseen missile that experts say might be, might be, the key words there, the next generation of missiles the north has already fired. All of this is troubling for the Trump administration, which this week said that North Korea seemed to be backing down a bit. Remember, last week, Kim Jong-un was threatening to fire missiles near the island of Guam, which is a U.S. territory and considered to be U.S. soil.

In July, North Korea conducted its first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the shores of Alaska, and experts say they may also have the technology to arm the missiles with a small nuclear warhead. We should note that while the north has fired yet another missile, the USS John McCain is in port out of commission in Singapore after being hit by an oil tanker. The McCain is equipped with an aegis missile defense system, an effective counter weapon to North Korean missiles. And remember, South Korea and the U.S. military are conducting joint military exercises as we speak in the Korean peninsula. Martha.

MACCALLUM: All great points. Tense times. Thank you, Trace. So this North Korea news comes as another regime is acting out. An investigation is underway into sudden mysterious injuries and illnesses that are striking at least 16 Americans who are serving diplomatically in Cuba. So it was one year ago that President Obama decided to strengthen ties with the repressive regime. Now there are suspicions that the brutal dictatorship is actively targeting American diplomats in their homes, which by the way, Cuba insists they live. Recently, all this happened with relation to the U.S. embassy.

So here now to talk about it, Jose Cardenas is former official in the Bush administration state department, and David Tafuri is a former Obama state department official. Gentlemen, welcome. Good to have both of you with us. Let's start with Cuba, and then I want to get your thoughts on this North Korean missile launches as well, because this Cuba story is bizarre. And Mr. Cardenas, let me start with you, the story is that in their homes and in their workplaces they believe they are under sonic attack, some sort of waves that doctors have determined after examining them are happening. And that they are experiencing mild, traumatic brain injury. What's going on here?

JOSE CARDENAS, FORMER BUSH ADMINISTRATION STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, it's frankly an outrageous violation of Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, basically how countries treat one another's diplomats posted there. But more than that, it really is an appalling human story. These individuals who are Americans serving abroad. Representing the United States abroad, were subjected to this attack that they didn't even know was happening to them. And, therefore -- and they could wind up with permanent brain damage or other permanent health repercussions. It really is -- it boggles the mind to believe that this could happen in this day and age. Number one, it also shows the, basically, the folly of the Obama administration's attempt to normalize relations with Cuba and the Castro regime. And number two, it really does demand a very strong policy response from the United States.

MACCALLUM: I mean, you've got this one hand opening to Cuba, and then they're slapping our hand, David, with these assaults on American diplomats. It's something out of a spy novel, but it's actually happened to these poor people.

DAVID TAFURI, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Yeah. This is truly bizarre. And a remarkable relationship that we have with Cuba that's undergone some, you know, miraculous changes over the last few years. Now, it's worthwhile to note that we're not yet sure who is responsible for these attacks. It could be Cuba. But reporters and media reports suggest it could also be a third country. Either way, Cuba has a responsibility under the Vienna Convention, as Jose noted, to protect our diplomats and help us protect our diplomats. It sounds like they're cooperating with U.S. authorities and Canadian authorities in order to figure out why this happened, how this happened, and how to prevent it from happening in the future. That's important.

There should be a response from the U.S. Perhaps we have to put in place some new sanctions, targeted sanctions to retaliate. Perhaps we have to do expulsion of more Cuba diplomats. We have to have a firm response. But it's also important to note that we have made some progress in the relationship with Cuba by opening up Cuba as a result of the normalization of relations. And that has helped the Cuban people and it's made Cuba a less closed society--

MACCALLUM: I mean if they are behind this attack they don't seem to be, you know, very grateful for the opening up of that relationship. I want to go back to both of you. I'm going to start with David, quickly, your response to the North Korean missile fire tonight.

TAFURI: Well, this is really unfortunate. Things have seemed to die down a little bit. Quiet a little bit. But North Korea said that they might have a response to the new sanctions that were put in place this week in order to punish the companies that are helping support the financial sector in North Korea. Perhaps this is their response. There was a great report from Trace. He noted that these are short range missiles and that it sounds like they have failed. So it was a pretty poor weak response by North Korea, but certainly a provocation. And we have to see what the U.S. is going to do next. Certainly we need to push back again with strong language and, of course, warning North Korea that all options are on the table, including military options.

MACCALLUM: This is clearly a further provocation, Jose, and we watched the secretary of state in a somewhat hopeful measured discussion the other day. Say we're heartened to some extent. Actually, let's take a look at it. Let's watch it.


REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I am pleased to see that the regime in Pyongyang has certainly demonstrated some level of restraint that we've not seen in the past. We hope that this is the beginning of this signal that we've been looking for.


MACCALLUM: Jose, your thoughts.

CARDENAS: Well, I don't think it is, unfortunately. I think that -- as Trace Gallagher noted, we are in the midst of having some current military exercises going on with South Korea. I think we need that and we need a lot more between us and our allies in the region, Japan, South Korea, in making that very strong demonstration of our commitment. And we also need to turn the heat up on China. There is going to be no resolution to North Korea without China getting involved. And we have to use our leverage with China, and keep pressing the Chinese. We need to hang North Korea all around their neck and identify them at the obstacle to a resolution to this crisis.

MACCALLUM: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Jose and David, good to see you both tonight.

CARDENAS: Thank you.

TAFURI: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So coming up next, we are back on the ground in Texas as Hurricane Harvey continues to barrel toward the coast. The storm is the most powerful that the U.S. has seen in 12 years. Plus this, why do Apple and JP Morgan think it's socially conscious to back the southern law poverty center? A group that's now calling the family research council, a conservative Christian organization, a hate group. Victor Davis Hanson is here with his take, next.


MACCALLUM: So you're looking live at Hurricane Harvey, a storm shaping up to be the biggest to hit the United States in 12 years. The National Weather Service has issued a warning of, quote, immense human suffering for those in its path. They need to get somewhere safe by the time this storm makes landfall. They've got a couple of hours left according to the maps that we're looking at. Steve Harrigan is out in the middle of it in Corpus Christi in Texas. Hi, Steve.

STEVE HARRIGAN, FOX NEWS: Martha, some hurricane force gusts every few minutes here as they prepare for the worst of it over the next four to five hours. Two pieces of news, one from Corpus Christi police, they will not be responding to emergency calls. This is likely to last for the next several hours. Secondly, in the town of Rockport about 30 miles north of where I'm standing, the mayor there has told residents who decided to ride out this storm to use a sharp -- to write their names and social security numbers on their arms. Many of the areas in low lying Texas and areas along the coast have had mandatory evacuations in place. A lot of people either not heeding those warnings or not able to heed those warnings, they're going to try to ride it out. And now, the rest of the night they're going to be doing it largely on their own. Martha, back to you.

MACCALLUM: Steve, thank you very much. We'll be back with Steve Harrigan throughout the evening. In the meantime, do Americans know just what the companies they support are endorsing? The southern poverty law center in their quest to root out what they consider hate in this country labels these two people, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, as part of that group that they're against. She responded by saying this, quote, I'm a black woman, a feminist, and a former Muslim who has consistently opposed political violence. Yet, the SPLC has the audacity to label me an extremist. But the SPLC has been the beneficiary of huge corporate donations from the likes of JP Morgan and Apple. And that prompted Kim Strassel in a Wall Street Journal op-ed today to note this. By funding this list, JP Morgan and Apple are saying they support labeling Christian organizations that oppose gay marriage as, quote, hate groups. Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and he joins me. Now, Victor, welcome. Very good to have you on the program tonight.


MACCALLUM: This piece by Kim Strassel caught my eye this morning. And we had looked at -- obviously, your piece the other day on the war monuments. But this one to start with in terms of this sort of progressive leaning at corporations where they feel that if they don't back groups like the SPLC they might be criticized. There might be backlash from some of their consumers. But they may get just the opposite here.

HANSON: Yeah. They do. They're business people. So they look at the world in a cost benefit analysis. And they've come to the conclusion that a few activists like the SPLC represent a greater danger by defamation to them or blackmail or boycotts than do the vast majority of Americans who basically agree with the tolerance of classically liberal views of Hirsi Ali. And more importantly, the SPLC to be specific looks at minority people as a burgh that they have to have uniform views. And somebody who's brilliant, beautiful, black, ex-Muslim, courageous female like Hirsi Ali, comes out and speaks empirically and talks about the world in way she sees it in a logical and rational manner. That represents unessential threat to the SPLC. And corporations as I've said are just a moral. They react to what the perceived profit loss calculus is.

MACCALLUM: And we saw similar thing with many of them stepping away from these councils that the White House was operating for the same reason, right? They just felt that they sort of looked at their PNL and decided it wasn't going to be worth it for them because they're likely to get blasted on Twitter and on social media by organizations that may or may not represent the feelings of the American people at all.

HANSON: No. And most people are traditionalist and they live and let live, especially, conservatives. And they're not the type of people when they see something that bothers them to get everybody riled up and to boycott and to magnify their numbers as people on the progressive left do. So, business people just react to perceived pressures. We've seen that with ESPN and the Asian American sportscaster psycho drama. We see it with USC Horse that happened to be named traveler. But I think corporations really have to ask themselves how long can they be this immoral and just react to perceived business decisions without offending people who may come out of the shadows and finally say enough is enough.

MACCALLUM: Let's put up this hate group map that the SPLC put out, that included group like the Family Research Council. I mean, Victor, if you look at this, you would think there's just hate crawling across the entire country and you better just stay in your house and hunker down.

HANSON: Yeah. They're bullies and they intimidate people. They're sort of like the McCarthyites of the 1950's. I've been a target of them for just speaking about in support of assimilation, integration, and inner marriage in the case of immigrants. And they feel that is somehow discriminatory. So they're riding high because of the Charlottesville incident. And they've got a lot of donations and it's gone to their head. And they better be careful because I think they're going to create a backlash not only among the American people but maybe the corporations that appease them right now might not in the future if there's a popular backlash.

MACCALLUM: You know, with every passing day there are more examples of these statues and monuments being taken down. And they've become a symbol of the kind of strife that you and I are talking about right now. Thomas Jefferson was doused with red paint at the University of Virginia, which he designed and founded. And then you have Colonel Crawford at an Ohio University, and his statue was decapitated. You've been writing about this as I said, and you said when we wipe away history in a wind, and in parenthesis, why in 2017 and not say in 2015 or 2008. We better make sure that our targets are uniquely and mellow dramatically evil rather than tragically misguided, and which category do you think these individuals fall into?

HANSON: Well, I mean, we're humans by nature applaud. When we apply the standards of the 21st century we can find all sorts of sinners in the past. But notice it's selective. People are not going after progressive racists, by our terms they're racist --, Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood, Susan B. Anthony, Woodrow Wilson. We can have a whole session on the things that they said by modern standards they should be airbrush away. They're not going after the Shake Lavera statue in Central Park who personally executed people with his own revolver. They're not going after Mahatma Gandhi who was a great man, but he said some terrible things about blacks in South Africa, and he said some terrible things about Jews on the eve of World War II. So they're selective and they're outraged. They're also insidious. As you pointed out, it's evolutionary and they're going after language. The horse and USC are -- things like that. They eat their own revolutionaries--

MACCALLUM: Mr. Davis Hanson, thank you so much, sir. Good to have you tonight. Hope you'll come back soon. So tomorrow night, as you may know, is fight night. Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor take to the ring in one of the most hype boxing matches of all time. There's no title on the line. But if McGregor wins, it will be considered the biggest upset in sports history. They've been trading at lot of words throughout the course of this week. So we will be watching to see who wins. We want to know your story. I want to know what you think about the big fight. Stay tune to Fox News throughout the night, live continuous coverage of Hurricane Harvey is straight ahead throughout the course of this evening. We will be carrying all of it as it hits the coast in Texas. We thank you for being with us tonight on The Story. We'll see you back here on Monday. Tucker Carlson takes us through the next hour.


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