This is a rush transcript from "The Story," June 21, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ED HENRY, HOST: All right, Shannon. See you at 11:00 tonight. Have a good show.

Breaking tonight. Top Trump officials are telling us all military options against Iran are still very much on the table. Adding the possibility of kinetic action is very much alive at this hour and all through the weekend. As the world waits to see the president's next move.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Ed Henry, in for Martha MacCallum, and this is “The Story.” With just moments to spare last night, our commander-in-chief called off a retaliatory strike against Iran, as the president tells that the U.S. was cocked and loaded ready to respond with force after Iran blasted that U.S. Navy drone from the sky over international waters.

But then, something changed. President attempting to peel back the curtain on his decision-making was nothing if not transparent. As today, he described the details he and American military leaders went through as they mulled their options in respect to Iran shooting down that unmanned American drone.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: They came and they said, "Sir, we're ready to go. We'd like a decision." I said, "I want to know something before you go. How many people will be killed, in this case, Iranians?" Came back, said, "Sir, approximately, 150." And I thought about it for a second, and I said, you know what? They shut down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it. And here we are sitting with 150 dead people, that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said go ahead.


TRUMP: And I didn't like it. I didn't think it was -- I didn't think it was proportionate.


HENRY: So, what is proportionate? One of many big questions tonight. Quite interesting, some members of the mainstream media who were recently creating a bit of a narrative that somehow the president was hell-bent on war with Iran no matter what are now, of course, shifting their attacks. Claimed the president blinked and may look weak for not going ahead with military action.


STEPHANIE RUHLE, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: What you said right there, was the president's worst nightmare.

TODD: Yes, right.

RUHLE: You said, it was reminiscent of Barack Obama.

It -- what he's doing in your assumation (ph) is Obama-like, isn't that stunning?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It feels like that hot pursuit to me where the president's competing impulses are pulling him in different directions rather than some kind of orderly procession all to try to pursue a better objective.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, CO-HOST, MORNING JOE, MSNBC: This is a president who loves to insult, he loves to bully, he loves to threaten, but what happens when our adversaries understand that he's never going to follow through?


HENRY: Well, that, of course, leaves out the two times the president threatened military action in Syria and did follow through. Still, there's pressure tonight on the president from some members of his own party who are calling for some kind of action after recent Iranian provocations.

From downing that drone to recently attacking a Japanese tanker, as well as, Tehran threatening to begin enriching uranium beyond the limits they had agreed to. The president made clear today, he's in no hurry and could strike against Iran at any time.

So, let's put these questions to a key Republican here and out, Republican congressman, Adam Kinzinger, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a veteran of the U.S. force, U.S. Air Force that still serves as an Air National Guard. Major, good evening, Congressman.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER, R-ILL.: Good evening.

HENRY: It's not just a lawmaker, but someone who's flown missions over Iraq and Afghanistan, do you think air strikes have been paused, and are still possible on the hours ahead or have they been canceled as the president the administration regroups tonight?

KINZINGER: You know, my feeling is they've been tabled. I don't think they're imminent. So, you know, maybe, obviously, there are going to be options if anything happens. I think Iran would be really dumb to underestimate the president now if they do something again. But I don't expect that to be imminent. And I think it would just be kind of awkward now. But it would be a heck of a surprise if they actually end up doing it tonight after all.

HENRY: Yes. So, were you surprised that the president found out about the potential casualties according to his account so late in the process instead of at the beginning?

KINZINGER: Yes, I was. And, you know, I woke up to the, we're striking, we're not striking as we all did. And I know that when presentations are given to the president, casualties are upfront. That said, I've never had to make a decision like the president had to make and that's got to be very difficult, it's got to be tough. And I don't know the kind of weight you have to carry on your shoulders, and maybe that number rattled around something big.

I think the president has every right to withdraw from doing the strike. What I think was unfortunate today was how this played out in the public, and I think it could have been one of those things that hey, we're going to hold this as a possibility.

But I think in the future if you use something against any U.S. force, you'll lose it. I think, at least, that surface-to-air missile site should go away in the future.

HENRY: Ronna McDaniel, the RNC chair had an interesting tweet. She said, "If Obama had called off air strikes, the media would demand he get the Nobel Peace Prize. Such a double standard."

Do you buy into any of that as a Republican that this president is getting no credit for walking up to the line, considering the situation carefully, and against the narrative that so many in the media pushes every day, said, you know what? I don't think it's the prudent thing to do right now.

KINZINGER: Yes, it is kind of funny because, you know, again, why I disagreed with the president's decision, but that sad. This should be the thing that those that were claiming that President Trump was a warmonger and going to start World War III and he can't be trusted. And John Bolton, all this kind of stuff that they all say, they should now be celebrating that he's not what they said that he was, but they're not.

So, while I'm being consistent and I disagree with this decision. I think the president will use military force if something like this happens again. It is amazing to see the dichotomy of thanks.

And also, by the way, the same people that kind of celebrated when President Obama didn't strike in 2013 in the red line.

HENRY: Here is what the president himself on a question of credibility. What he has said about military action before. Listen to him.


TRUMP: America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction, and we will not allow a regime the chance death to America to gain access to the most deadly weapons on earth.

Today's action sends a critical message. The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them.


HENRY: So, is that why you're expressing some disappointment tonight?

KINZINGER: Well, I think getting out of the Iran nuclear deal is absolutely the right thing, and I think Iran is lashing out right now. The president didn't make a promise to react militarily. So, I don't think it's backing away from a promise per se.

I just think there has to be a cost to the Iranians. If you shoot down a plane that actually could have had people on it. They may have misinterpreted, mislabeled this. The size of an airliner in $200 million, it's the cost of 10 F-16s. There's got to be a cost to you.

That said, going forward if they think that the president is going to do the same thing if they shoot anything else down, I think he's going to -- and the pressure is going to be on him so much that there will be a response to that. Last night would actually pale in comparison to you.

HENRY: Yes, interesting. Last question. What about this president moving forward and the fact that he threw out there today the idea of the potential for more sanctions against Iran. It does seem as you say, Iran is lashing out in part because the maximum pressure campaign, the president has been pushing is actually working.

KINZINGER: Yes, that's true. I mean, areas where there are opportunities for more sanctions we should do, we should label it as a result of this. So, at least, there's a consequence to shooting down our assets.

And that's why -- look, a stable confident country doesn't put limpet mines on oil tankers, and doesn't shoot down unmanned aircraft. They just don't do things like that. So, they're scared.

HENRY: Yes. All right. Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger tonight. Thank you.


HENRY: Here now with more, Jonathan Swan, national political reporter for Axios. Jonathan, thanks for coming in.


HENRY: What is your sense, we're talking about the maximum pressure campaign, the sanctions do seem to be working. But, Secretary Pompeo and others seem to be arguing to this president, you could do both, keep those sanctions on the throat of Tehran but also have a targeted strike to show you mean business after their recent provocations.

SWAN: The thing that really surprised me of -- you know, of having covered President Trump for four years now is I've heard him -- look, I don't believe at any point in his administration that we're going to see him engage in a large-scale troop deployment anywhere. I don't think we're going to see a large footprint deployment anywhere around the world, whether it's the Middle East or Asia.

But I've never heard him speak with that level of caution or concern about the civilian casualties that would result from a bombing campaign. I mean, you remember what he used to say on the -- on the campaign, let's bomb the yes out of ISIS, and bombed the hell out of people, et cetera. He obviously did those two strikes on Syria.

So, to me, this was actually -- this point hasn't really been picked up that much. But to me, it was actually quite striking that he wasn't going to lay -- you know, do a ground force invasion. He was -- they were talking about doing strikes. And the fact that he considered that, or in his accounting considered that and pulled back was surprising to me.

HENRY: There's something so limited, and yet, he's still pulled back.

SWAN: Yes.

HENRY: And what is it say about as we head into 2020 because the politics of it, the campaign is always out there. That you have someone like Liz Cheney on the right expressing disappointment tonight.

And then you have Elizabeth Warren, one of the many Democratic presidential hopefuls, saying that she thinks, look, the president campaigned in 2016 on some of the points you made a moment ago about not getting in a large-scale military campaign. And yet, she thinks he's blundering towards that.

President would obviously disagree with that but she is trying to steal some of his playbook, if you will, from 2016.

SWAN: Well, this is how President Trump scrambles traditional politics. I mean, the conventional wisdom on Capitol Hill among the Republican Conference would have been, yes, you do X strike and free targets, or whatever.

HENRY: Right.

SWAN: But president -- I do believe this is one of those things that he actually does believe. This anti-interventionist instinct. The thing that -- the detail that surprised me was I thought that he was more willing to maybe cavaliers, too strong a word.


SWAN: But certainly, more willing to do -- to do -- to do bombing and strikes without a ground force footprint.

HENRY: Last question, we got 30 seconds. What about our European allies? I mean, here you have a situation where Iran has been up to all of this no good.

SWAN: Right.

HENRY: Is it a failure of the allies to come to the table and help the American president, or does the White House bear some responsibility as well in maybe not rallying those allies?

SWAN: Well, this -- it's such a complicated question because at the same time, as you got the Iran situation, none of them were happy about the president pulling out of the Iran deal. But you've also got a trade war with Europe, and you know, that they've been tariffs and all sorts of things, and the threat of tariffs on automobiles.

So, there's all sorts of things complicating that relation -- those relationships. And all these European leaders we forget have their own massive domestic political problems. So, it's not like they're saying all these things from a position of strength.

HENRY: From the U.K. to France, to Germany, they've all got their own problems.

SWAN: You look across -- look across the field.

HENRY: Yes. Jonathan Swan, we appreciate your insight tonight.

SWAN: Thank you.

HENRY: Next, Joe Biden's no good week after controversy, after controversy. From working with segregationist senators to new scandals emerging involving his son's personal life as well as professional dealings. Can his campaign weather the storm?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we ask you about Ukraine and China?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a quick question for you. Mr. Vice President, what's your take on that? Was there a conflict of interest there? Was there a clear conflict of interest?



HENRY: Well, breaking this hour, Vice President Joe Biden, the former vice president in South Carolina. He's capping off a rough week that ended in damage control mode after touting his work with segregationist senators, that kicked off one controversy, could get worse before it gets better.

Questions mounting about his son Hunter Biden's personal life as well as some questionable business dealings. Peter Doocy, our Correspondent is live in Columbia South Carolina where Biden and 21 other Democrats are attending a big fish fry. Good evening, Peter.

PETER DOOCY, CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Ed. Nobody asked Joe Biden about segregationists. He brought them up on his own while talking about the days of civility in D.C. So this latest controversy is Joe Biden's fault. According to the host of tonight's event, the world-famous Jim Clyburn fish fry Jim Clyburn.


REP. JIM CLYBURN, D-S.C.: I'm not a big tennis player, I'm a golfer but I know what unforced error means and that is what I would call unforced error, just a choice of words.


DOOCY: Clyburn ultimately defends Biden when it comes to his comments remembering the days that he himself had to work with Strom Thurmond here in South Carolina. But Biden's longtime friends have less to say about the week's other developments which seem to revolve around his son Hunter.

That's the 49-year-old who was romantically involved with his late brother's widow for a time but recently married a recent acquaintance and is also now being sued for child support by a woman in Arkansas who alleges that he got her pregnant last August.

But the more pertinent primary issues are the younger Biden's business dealings like in Ukraine because his dad once bragged on camera about pressuring a prosecutor who was investigating a company Hunter was involved with and in China where Hunter was involved with a communist government- owned entity. Hunter Biden told ABC News he's never discussed any of this with his dad. His dad, less chatty.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we ask you about Ukraine and China?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got a quick question for you. Mr. Vice President, what's your take on that? Was there a conflict of interest there? Was there a clear conflict of interest?


DOOCY: Biden hasn't been to a public event since Tuesday which is when he stepped in it talking about segregationist senators that he worked alongside, but we do expect him here shortly.

HENRY: All right, Peter Doocy, thank you. Here was more, Colin Reed. He's Republican Strategist. Steve Hilton host, of course, of "The Next Revolution" and Robin Biro a former Campaign Director for then-President Obama. Good to see you all.


HENRY: Robin, as the Democrat here, please answer Democrat Jim Clyburn who says there's been a series of unforced errors for your front-runner.

BIRO: Oh that's the understatement of the week, Ed. Look, much like our current President, Joe Biden's own mouth right now is his own worst enemy. The comments about segregationists, I understand the sentiment of saying that you know, he's old school, he remembers a day when you can talk civilly with people you disagreed with. I understand the sentiment. It's the wrong message that we need right now.

I'm more concerned about his comments though that were made at a high dollar donor event where he said that fundamentally nothing would change for people of high net-worth regarding the tax plan. And that's going to be a problem for my party going forward.

HENRY: Steve, you know, I'm also struck by -- it's not just conservatives going after them, now you have mainstream media. ABC News chasing them around about Hunter Biden's business dealings. And the Washington Post just a couple hours ago came out with their weekly feature of the worst week in Washington and they ran through every single thing that went wrong from them. What's going on when people in the mainstream media are saying hold on a second here?

STEVE HILTON, HOST: Well, and I would say about time too. I mean, on my show, we've been -- we've been setting out the gory details of Joe Biden's connection to China in this corrupt manner and Ukraine for weeks and weeks. And I'm glad to see that people are catching up.

I mean, the truth is that you know, the controversy over the segregationist comments, I think we can just put that down as another Biden gaffe. But you know, I don't think anyone seriously believes that he's racist, but I think that it's clear now when you look at the evidence that he is corrupt.

And the reason this is important from a policy perspective is that there is no bigger issue for the next president than confronting China's rise. China has said very clearly they want to topple America as the world's superpower and impose their vision of authoritarian state capitalism on the world.

Joe Biden is compromised by China while he was vice president. He took billions of dollars in bribes in the form of payments to his son's businesses. Now, I use that word bribes very, very carefully.

HENRY: He would push back obviously very hard and say though that was not a bribe.

HILTON: He would go all the way to destroy what actually happened in terms of those payments to his son's businesses if it wasn't to influence Biden as vice president in respect of policy towards China.

HENRY: Pardon me for interrupting but the former vice president would obviously insist they were not bribes but you're certainly right that they're going to be coming under scrutiny. I want to bring in Colin as the Republican.

When Rudy Giuliani a few weeks ago raised questions not just about China but Ukraine as well in terms of business dealings for the former vice president's son, some people mocked him. It seems like these are very much on the table, Colin.

COLIN REED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes. ABC blew the story wide open and it feels like there's a lot of layers of this onion yet to unpeel. And the intersection of money and politics and using one's government position to enrich your own personal interests sounds pretty familiar Ed. It reminds me a lot of what Hillary Clinton dealt with, the allegation she faced with her family foundation back in 2015.

And if you ask me, that's what sunk Hillary Clinton above all else was the idea that she was using her position in D.C. to sink her presidential ambitions and that's the thing that Biden is now facing and it's coming from ABC News.

HENRY: Sure. I want to get back to Robin, but quickly I want Steve to jump in because you're nodding.

HILTON: Well, that's exactly right. Look, people in this country want change from the swamp and the corrupt system. That's why they voted for Donald Trump as an outsider. It's that same election all over again this time if they nominate Joe Biden because he is the ultimate inside a swamp creature of D.C. just like Hillary Clinton was.

HENRY: So -- and on that note, Robin, because you've been honest about saying that while you have great respect for the vice president, you're not necessarily supporting him. You've got an open primary that's going on. The debates started off next week down in Miami for the Democrats.

But get to Colin's point about the fact that last time Democrats heard, it's Hillary Clinton's turn. She gets the nomination and it's not just the e-mails, it's past speeches, it's the business dealings, the foundation. With Joe Biden, there is a target-rich environment for this president of Senate votes, speeches, and gaffs.

BIRO: Exactly correct. And look, Joe Biden is a friend of mine. I respect him and he's been very kind to my family, but there's an argument to be made that it's time for new blood. And you know as well as the rest of the panelists here that the longer you've been in Washington, the more dirt they have that they can dig up on you.

Joe Biden has done a lot of good but there's plenty -- and in the lead to the segment, you know, his mouth right now is really his own worst enemies, that was my concern because we don't know what else could come up.

HENRY: Steve, where do you see this primary process going?

HILTON: I've always thought that Joe Biden, in the end, will fail to get the nomination because of these problems, not just the gaffes and the fact that he keeps making mistakes, but actually the fact that he's the wrong candidate for the Democrats if they want to beat Donald Trump.

And the corruption with China I think we'll get more and more to the foreground if he becomes closer to getting the nomination. I think he could totally derail him because it's such a fundamental policy problem.

HENRY: Colin, I've got 30 seconds. You've been very aggressive in going after Elizabeth Warren over the years as a senator. As Biden has struggled a bit, she's one of the people who's benefited.

REED: She has. And I think Biden dodged a real bullet -- political bullet that he's not on the stage with her next week and that they're on different stages because Elizabeth Warren's disdain for Joe Biden is well documented and goes back many years and she could just disembowel him on a debate stage. And that won't happen next week but it will down the road if they're both still --

HENRY: We shall see. If she dominates night one, she may have the stage to herself. We'll see. The former vice president goes on night two. Gentlemen, I appreciate you all coming in.

REED: Thanks, Ed.

HILTON: Thank you, Ed. See you soon.

HENRY: Looking forward to it. At least 11 American tourists -- that's right, the number is up to 11 have died in the Dominican Republic in recent months including the mother of my next guest who says his mom was perfectly healthy before she left contrary to what Dominican health officials are telling the family. He joins me live. That is next.


HENRY: Well, breaking tonight. Authorities in the Dominican Republic are now downplaying possible links between the recent deaths of at least eleven American tourists there. That's right, the numbers up to 11. They insist they are all isolated incidents and "not a mystery."

In moments, we'll talk to a son who's not buying that saying his mom was perfectly healthy before she went to the Caribbean nation to celebrate her 53rd birthday. But first, let's go to our correspondent Jeff Paul. He is live in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo. Good evening, Jeff.

JEFF PAUL, CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Ed. Yes, the Tourism Minister went down a list of several of those Americans who have died over the past 12 months and says in his mind he believes they all died from natural causes. He says this is a situation that has been exaggerated and he believes that it's been fueled mostly by speculation.


FRANCISCO JAVIER GARCIA, TOURISM MINISTER, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (through translator): We have shown that first, there is not an avalanche of dead American tourists in the country. All of the deceased that have occurred, the causes that have been determined and the results are there does not exist -- there does not exist in any mystery.


PAUL: The minister went on to say that the Dominican Republic has nothing to add, and that it was the D.R. who reached out to the FBI in the first place to help.

Their concern at the moment has a lot to do with the impact that this has, and could have on tourism. A lot of jobs here in the Caribbean islands center around people vacationing in the D.R.

But we also got a chance to ask him if he had anything to say to the families of the at least 11 Americans who have died over the past 12 months. The minister says he's sympathetic to those who have lost loved ones, but he contended to emphasize that there is no mystery.


GARCIA (through translator): We are sorry, but unfortunately people die in situations we wouldn't want. These are things that happen and things that will unfortunately continue to happen around the world. But the Dominican Republic, we have to say it, has made a name in the tourism industry.


PAUL: One of the most recent tourists who has died is Leyla Cox. She passed away in a room at a resort here in the Dominican Republic after falling critically ill. Her son pushed authorities for a sample of her blood where it's now being sent to the New York hospital where she worked as an MRI technician for toxicology tests. And we're also waiting on the results of three other toxicology tests and there are the tests that FBI said to be working on. We could may be getting the results of those tests sometime next month. Ed?

HENRY: OK. Stand for the top. Jeff Paul, thank you.

Joining me now is William Cox who does not believe his mother Leyla died of a heart attack as Dominican officials claim. Good evening.

WILLIAM COX, LEYLA COX'S SON: Thank you for having me.

HENRY: I wonder how first of all, William, you react to those officials saying none of this is connected somehow and also declaring, look, you know, this is a great nation. It's all about tourism. How does that sit with you tonight?

COX: I mean, it's absolutely disgraceful. It's disgraceful to dismiss the concerns of the families with everything that's going on over there. There is something not right with this story. And, I mean, how many more Americans are going to have to die before something is done and we as Americans say enough is enough?

HENRY: Have you been talking at all to members of Congress from your state, from your district, the Trump administration? Are U.S. officials helping you?

COX: I mean, I would personally like to hear what the Trump administration would have to say about this whole incident. I have not been contacted by the FBI whatsoever. If you are watching, I need your help. Please reach out to me. The congressman, every U.S. official I've talked to besides the embassy has been very helpful.

HENRY: So, let's go through the facts of the case, William. As I understand it, and as Jeff, our correspondent just suggested, tragically she died and then they claim anyway, the officials -- I do not want to state it as fact because you don't believe them, that she died of a heart attack. As I understand it, you say she didn't have a heart condition.

COX: No, she had no prior heart conditions whatsoever. I have many people that were in her life that could found for in. She never had any prior heart attacks whatsoever and, you know, with all these families with their loved ones all suspiciously dropping dead of heart attacks, it raises a bunch of questions not only for me but for the American people as well.

HENRY: Now other victims' families we've been talking to of either talked about swim up bars, alcohol, the mini bars, maybe there is some sort of poison or toxic in the alcohol bottles. Others have talked, no, we didn't drink. It was food. Have you been able to do any other kind of fact gathering to establish what she did or did not do?

COX: No, I have not. I did not have any contact with her when she was down there. She did not have cell service. I haven't reached out to the hotel; they haven't reached out to me. I do not even know if there was a mini bar in her room, so it is all speculation.

I mean, for all as I know, a crime could have been committed and the Dominican authorities are not even investigating that whatsoever. And that's suspicious to me.

HENRY: Yes. What kind -- have you -- I assume at this early juncture, you have not had a chance to have closure. But have you had a chance to have a funeral? Have you gotten family and friends together to try and honor her life?

COX: I haven't had a chance to yet. You know, I'm trying to fight to get to the truth. I'm trying to fight to get an American autopsy, an American toxicology. I just want answers. The family of these tourists, or the families of their loved ones need answers too. And I'm going to do everything I can until I get to the bottom of this. I have not had that moment to, you know, gather a family, our friends yet. Unfortunately.

HENRY: Well, we certainly hope you get some peace in the days ahead. William, and that there is somebody watching listening to you who's got some expertise in this and can help you get the answers you certainly deserve. We wish you well in the days ahead and we're certainly going to have you back to find out what those answers are, sir.

COX: Thank you for having me. I hope the same thing.

HENRY: OK. Best to your family. Horrible, horrible.

COX: Thank you.

HENRY: Next, well, you're not going to believe this, but Madonna is saying that Jesus and the pope would be totally OK with abortion.


MADONNA, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Don't you think Jesus would agree that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her body?


HENRY: Boy. I have a feeling ladies' night will have something to say about this.


HENRY: Well, there is no shortage of drama or cat fight -- cats fight at The View, but this week an on-air dispute between co-hosts Meghan McCain and Joy Behar took a bit of a personal turn. Take a look.


MEGHAN MCCAIN, CO-HOST, ABC: You know what, Joy, I really come here every day open-minded just trying to explain it.


MCCAIN: And it's not a fun job.

BEHAR: But who do they hate?

MCCAIN: I know you're angry.


BEHAR: You bet I'm angry.

MCCAIN: I do get you're angry that Trump is president like a lot of people are.


BEHAR: I'm angry that every single thing that he's doing --

MCCAIN: But I don't think yelling at me is going to fix the problem. Being the sacrificial Republican every day --


WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, ABC: Well, listen. Here's the thing.

MCCAIN: Don't feel bad for me. I'm paid to do this.


HENRY: Boy. Here now for lady's night. Lisa Boothe, Susan Li, and Rochelle Ritchie. Good to see you all, ladies.


HENRY: Rochelle, you say that when a little alert, a little text came across your phone about this fight.


RITCHIE: Yes. It came across my phone. And I saw it drop down and it said, you know, Meghan McCain calls Joy Behar the b word, and I'm like, what, my mouth literally dropped. And then when I watched it, you know, and I heard that she says -- we call each other that all the time, blah, blah, blah. No. You meant it exactly how you said it. You can tell from her energy and her tone.

HENRY: Susan? You would never say that in a workplace.

SUSAN LI, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No. I wouldn't say that in the workplace but it's combative TV. Isn't that what The View is about? And sometimes, I'll be honest with you, when I'm on television and I'm having girls chat, I kind of forget sometimes I'm on television. So, I understand where she's coming from.

HENRY: Lisa, they said as a little to -- go ahead, jumped in.

RITCHIE: No, no, go ahead.

HENRY: Well, they said that they kiss and made up. Watch this, and I'll let you react.


MCCAIN: I love the word (muted). Joy and I call each other (muted) all the time and text each other (muted). I know you're comfortable with it. She knows I'm comfortable with it. I also enjoy fighting with you.

BEHAR: I know.

MCCAIN: So, and she enjoys fighting with me.


HENRY: Lisa?

LISA BOOTHE, CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I would definitely get a text messages from momma and papa Boothe being like, we are disappointed. If I did that, right, be prepared (Ph) I get fired, you know.

But look, Meghan McCain is smart, she's tough, she can certainly hold her own at the table. I just think, so the New York Times recently build this show as sort of the preeminent political show, but in a 2020 landscape the voice that's missing, there's nobody on the show that actually supports the president, so the landscape is actually not covered by the show.

HENRY: Isn't the book about the show "The Ladies Who Punch?"

BOOTHE: There you go.


HENRY: There you go. They're punching. So, are you buying the we're all friends?

RITCHIE: No, absolutely not. They fight every single day. I am not buying it. When you look at Joy's face, it didn't seem like she was buying it either.

LI: She also has glasses on, so she's got a little bit of --


RITCHIE: She just see your eyes --

BOOTHE: The sunglasses, like, you know, she could be really throwing those daggers and nobody knows right now.


BOOTHE: So probably a good time to be wearing the sunglasses.

HENRY: So, Madonna is out promoting a new album so maybe that's really what's behind this, but she made some provocative comments. Let's hear them.


MADONNA: Don't you think Jesus would agree that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her body? I think he would be -- he would be open to having that conversation with me.


HENRY: Do we really know what Jesus would do?

BOOTHE: Well, I mean, you could look at the bible. The bible says that we are created in his image, that he created us, that we are unique human lives. The bible talks about that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, so I'm pretty sure that God would not be supportive of ending a life that he created uniquely. That is my opinion. I think that's also what the bible shows.

But she is also selling an album right now. And she made some other repugnant comments about Jesus on a cross so I think that is the motivation, that's the impetus behind these disgusting comments that she's making.

LI: I'm just annoyed that we're still talking about Madonna. Isn't she so passe at this point?

RITCHIE: Madonna is --


LI: OK. Remember when she was --


HENRY: Wait, we might have a fight here. Hold on.

BOOTHE: I know.

LI: We are not having a fight here. But remember when she was talking about Lady Gaga?


LI: And she was saying Lady Gaga is very reductive? Doesn't this feel reductive? Have we've been hearing about this for 40 years?


HENRY: She's a little --

BOOTHE: Lady Gaga is a thousand times better than Madonna.

RITCHIE: I mean, if you think it back to 1989 when she had "Like a Prayer," there was a lot of controversy around that, so I think this is just something that Madonna tends to do where she just challenges, you know, the church.


BOOTHE: Also, did she have an eye patch?

HENRY: Yes. That was a little odd. It was like a pirate look.


BOOTHE: I thought you saw that. I'm not making this up, right?

HENRY: It's like a pirate look. All right. I want to get to --


BOOTHE: But there go. Yes, yes, yes. What is that?

HENRY: She was --

BOOTHE: I don't get that.

RITCHIE: It's art.

BOOTHE: Like I hope nothing is wrong with her eye. But like --


RITCHIE: I think two eyes is more attractive.

BOOTHE: If not, that's super weird. Why would you do that.

RITCHIE: It's just art.

HENRY: There you go. As much as I love about talking about the eye patch - -


BOOTHE: Weird.

HENRY: I do want to get to this. Because Bernie Sanders had a theory that me as the only guy here, I kind of want to know what you got -- what you all ladies think. Watch.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think there are a certain number of people would like to see a woman elected. And I understand that. There are people who would like to see somebody who is younger. And I understand that also. There are a lot of factors out there.


HENRY: So, the question was why is Elizabeth Warren rising and appearing to take some support from Bernie on the left. And Rochelle, he's saying there's advantage to be a woman.


RITCHIE: So, here's the bottom line. I'm really tired of people saying that they are voting for this person they're supporting this person because they are a woman or they are a man or they are black or they are white or they are young or they are old.

No. People are supporting Elizabeth Warren right now because you could really see that she actually has a consistent plan. Now we might not necessarily agree with her policies that she is proposing, but she has a plan. And so, and also, she's not as scary, I would say, as a candidate when it comes to a very far left candidate like Sanders.

HENRY: In terms of her socialism and all.

RITCHIE: Yes, exactly.

BOOTHE: She scares me.


BOOTHE: She scares me.

RITCHIE: Of course, she scares you.

BOOTHE: Look, Biden says this and then meanwhile --

HENRY: Sanders does.

BOOTHE: Or sanders. Sorry.


BOOTHE: And meanwhile, Joe Biden is the leader of the pack right now. A man, he's old as dirt. So that would sort of go --


LI: Come on.

BOOTHE: -- that would go in contradiction what Sanders just said. I would say the reason why he's not leading the pack any more people are losing interest with him is because his policy positions are no longer unique to the Democratic Party. They've all adopted things like Medicare for all.

HENRY: Susan?

LI: I was thinking with the Democratic -- most of the Democratic want to see someone else beside a white 70-year-old man as their nominee? Yes. But I think he is still haunted by 2016. He remembers what happened to Clinton and he doesn't want that to happen again given that Warren is surging in the polls all of a sudden.

HENRY: It's been 45 men so far.

LI: That's right.

HENRY: We shall see. We shall who is 46.

BOOTHE: Maybe Nikki Haley.

HENRY: Ladies, not this time.


BOOTHE: Just a suggestion.

HENRY: You're not talking about --

BOOTHE: No, no, no. Twenty-twenty-four. But you're saying --


HENRY: I thought you are breaking some news.

BOOTHE: No, no.

HENRY: All right. Ladies, I appreciate your insights.

BOOTHE: I wish I had that kind of news. That would be awesome. All right.

HENRY: Have a nice weekend. Sorry, we don't have the drinks this time. But will Congress give the president credit for quickly de-escalating tensions with Iran? Senator Marsha Blackburn of the armed services committee joins me with details next.


HENRY: Returning to our top story tonight. It's now been 24 hours since the president called off air strikes in Iran. Tonight, the world is waiting for his next.

For that, we turn to Washington correspondent Rich Edson.


President Trump saying the military was ready to strike and then he called it off. The president says 10 minutes before the military was ready to launch, he asked how many Iranians would die in the attack.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: Nothing is green- lighted until the very end because things change.


TRUMP: Here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would've taken place probably within half an hour after I said go ahead.


TRUMP: And I didn't like it. I didn't think it was -- I didn't think it was proportionate.


EDSON: A U.S. defense official says the military targeted the radar installation and surface-to-air battery that Iran used to shoot down the drone before the president called off the strike. It is still unclear how, when, or if the United States will respond to Iran. The president says he is ready to go though he says he is in no hurry.

Iran claims it has recovered the drone's wreckage and said it entered Iranian airspace. The U.S. says it never did.

On Capitol Hill Democrats say the president should have kept his decision making private.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-WASH.: We should not be saying stuff like that publicly. Because it is in question of the level of indecision that (Inaudible).


EDSON: The Federal Aviation Administration has prohibited flights over the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman citing heightened military activities or risk of miscalculation and Iran downing that American drone. Ed?

HENRY: Thank you, Rich. Joining me now live, Senator Marsha Blackburn, a Republican member of the armed services committee. Good evening, senator.


HENRY: So, on one hand we've had Democrats for days and days, maybe weeks and months saying this president hell-bent on starting a war with Iran. Now he steps back and says, hang on, I want to think it over, and he is being attacked for being indecisive.

BLACKBURN: What they can't admit is this. Donald Trump is very consistent when it comes to dealing with Iran. He has said his goal is to end wars in the Middle East, to end the threat and thee spread of terrorism worldwide and to make certain that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon.

And he has been very consistent with that. I think his actions yesterday shows that he prefers to have a diplomatic solution. He is increasing the maximum pressure campaign and the sanctions. And, Ed, we know that Iran's economy is in tatters. That people cannot get product. And what Donald Trump did yesterday was to show a compassion for the Iranian people that would have been in harm's way.

HENRY: Yes, senator. But when you talk about a diplomatic solution, are you expecting more from our European allies? We haven't seen the French, the Germans, the British, they haven't really stepped up and they seems to be all the weight of it is on the American president tonight?

BLACKBURN: I agree with you. That they have not stepped up. We would like to see them step up and when you look at the fact that you have had the commercial shipping vessels that have been attacked, the oil tankers that have been attacked, and then also the Japanese, you have Prime Minister Abe and the concerns there. And of course, they were willing to talk with Iran.

What we have to do is force Iran back to the negotiating table. The JCPOA was a bad deal for us. It did not do anything to address the funding of terrorism nor did it do anything to deter Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

HENRY: Right. And this president, as you know better than many, has said that he wants to enter such talks with Iran from a position of strength --

BLACKBURN: That's right.

HENRY: -- compared to what we saw under President Obama where we were sending cash to the Iranians and that the big reason why this president pulled out of the deal. On the other hand, if such talks never materialized or if they do sit down, the U.S. and the Iranians, at some point in the near future and it gets nowhere, what then shouldn't this president be strong from a military standpoint to let Iran know that they can't get away with going after a Japanese vessel, shooting down an American drone?

BLACKBURN: Indeed, he will be. And I think one thing to keep in mind is this. As Donald Trump and as this president has approached the issue, they are with Iran and with the Middle East. And knowing full well that Iran has continued to fund their proxies in the region, what he has done is to approach everything with deterrence.

What you have seen Iran do is continue what they have been doing since the '70s, which is they are the aggressor in this situation. It is like shooting down the global hawk. That was an unprovoked attack. But they have been the aggressive one in these issues. Our allies in the region, our European allies need to stand with us as we deal with this. Iran's economy is in tatters.

HENRY: Absolutely.

BLACKBURN: And we know that it is shrinking. We know that the Washington Post reported that Hezbollah said they couldn't carry out some of their bad actions because they were deprived of funding coming from Iran.

HENRY: Yes. And you're right, Senator. Iran's economy is in desperate straits right now. It appears i large part because of the president's maximum pressure campaign.


HENRY: The president tweeting today that he might even have more sanctions for Iran in the days ahead.

BLACKBURN: That's right.

HENRY: Senator, we appreciate you coming on as a member of the Senate armed services committee. And we hope you have a good weekend.

BLACKBURN: Absolutely.

HENRY: More of “The Story” is coming up next.


HENRY: That's it on this Friday night. Martha will be here Monday at 7. I will be here bright and early at 6:00 a.m. for "Fox & Friends." Have a wonderful weekend. Tucker, up next.

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