Kinzinger on Trump declaring ISIS defeated: The president can't speak for fallen American soldiers

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," December 19, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: So, thank you, Bret. And tonight, the border wall, it hangs in the balance as a short-term bill to fund the government through the beginning of the New Year is now in plate tonight in the Senate. But it is missing one very crucial line item that is very important to this president. The $5 billion that he wants to pay for the wall.

The clock is ticking down to midnight on Friday. If the stopgap measure put forth by Senate Republicans is signed by the president by Friday, the border security can as essentially kicked down the road until next year, when Democrats take control of the House, and all of that is unlikely to materialize after that.

So, this as the president is dealt another blow on border security front today by none other than the federal Judge Emmet Sullivan, the same judge who had blistering words for Michael Flynn at the sentencing yesterday. A lot of questions raised about how that all went down as you saw here last night.

He is now taking another step today in a totally separate case, siding with asylum-seekers who are suing the Trump administration for kicking them out of the country. He says they can come back in and have those cases heard.

Republican Senator Tim Scott, says Congress needs to do "Whatever it takes to fund the wall," and he joins me now tonight. Senator Scott, excellent to have you with us. Thank you very much for being here.

SEN. TIM SCOTT, R-S.C.: Great to be here.

MACCALLUM: So, right out of the gate, is the wall that President Trump promised dead?

SCOTT: Absolutely, it cannot be dead. Our president has been negotiating in good faith to make sure that the resources that are necessary to secure our country to be a sovereign nation, it requires border security. And our president will continue to work to make sure that, that becomes a reality.

Whether that's reprogramming money that he's looking at, and or more funds through C.R. or the other vehicles, we have to continue this fight, and it cannot be dead because that is not in the long-term best interest of this country. And I certainly, I'm not happy about any continuing resolution that does not include wall funding.

MACCALLUM: But, you know, is a practical matter. Once you get into January, there is a very sort of ownership issue with this wall. Nancy Pelosi has said that she would never let President Trump have the wall as long as she is speaker.

SCOTT: There's no doubt that Nancy Pelosi is trying to treat this president incredibly different than she did President Obama. She provided President Obama $8 billion for border security. She won't even have a discussion with our president about providing the same resources that are even more urgently necessary today than they were in 2013.

That is not putting your country first. That is putting your party and politics before national security. That's an issue.

MACCALLUM: We have 60,000-something people crossed the border illegally last month. That's a basic -- that's a pretty average number, and we have seen an increase in those crossing over the course of the last year.

As a political matter, Ann Coulter, says this about the wall issue with regard to the president's ability to be re-elected. She says, "My prediction is his support will evaporate and Trump will very likely not finish his term and definitely not be elected to a second term."

She been obviously very outspoken on this issue since the beginning and was a huge supporter of the president because she thought this was going to happen.

SCOTT: Yes. Absolutely, the president is in a strong position. These numbers have not been much better than they are right now, frankly. So, I'm not concerned about his re-election. I'm not sure that he is thinking about re-election as it relates to the wall. This is an issue he campaigned on, not because it was a good politics, but because it was good policy.

A sovereign nation, again, must defend its borders. And the president recognizes that with the number of crossings that we've had on our southern border, that a porous border is also a national security risk. Because so many people who come across the border, they don't come from Mexico, they come through Mexico.

We are not sure where they come from. And so, for us to turn a blind eye to national security, and a porous border is negligent. And President Trump is committed to continuing this fight because it's the right thing. And as long as we continue to focus on finding the resources, rather that it takes reprogramming or not, we have a responsibility to protect America, and that requires a strong, forceful position on the border.

MACCALLUM: Well, it going to takes some creativity in terms of those resources, and we will watch to see what happens with that.

SCOTT: Yes, ma'am.

MACCALLUM: As you heard me mention in the intro, Judge Emmet Sullivan, who everybody is very familiar with from yesterday, as well.

SCOTT: Unfortunately.

MACCALLUM: Said that, asylum seekers who are suing the administration because they feel like they were treated unfairly in terms of what a credible threat is that they face in their home countries.

He says they're going to have to be allowed back into the country. What do you think about that?

SCOTT: We have too many activist judges who want to create law from the bench and not follow the law.

Well, here is the truth, from 2008 to 2016, we saw a 1,700 percent increase in asylum seekers. And how many of them were legitimate? Fewer than 20 percent. So, we really have serious issues. And one of the reasons why the president seeks to close some of the loopholes is because it endangers national security.

He has been consistent on this issue. But if you just think about that number, a 1,700 percent increase means that people have figured out how to gain the system. The question we should ask ourselves is once they're in the country, how many show up for court? That's a critical issue that the president is trying to address.

MACCALLUM: I know it's a big week for you. Criminal justice reform is something you feel very strongly about. A little bit of pushback from some of your fellow Senators. Senator Kennedy spoke out against it today. He feels like it's going to free people who are a danger to society. Why do you believe it's going to actually make communities safer than ever?

SCOTT: That's a great question, Martha. I grew up in a single-parent household, mired in poverty, unfortunately in a crime-ridden neighborhood. We had our house broken into. The first thing that I think about when I think about criminal justice reform is community justice reform.

If you lower the number, the number today is about 76 percent of inmates return to jail because they committed crimes. And states like South Carolina, we've closed seven state prisons, public safety has gone up because we have put in place recidivism programs that has bent that curve in the right direction. Said differently, public safety increases when we focus on making sure that those who return to society are not committing crimes.

This bill makes sure the focus is on reducing recidivism, cutting in half hopefully over the next several years. We know that -- we know it works, it worked in Texas, a close to eight state prisons. It's worked in Georgia and it's worked in South Carolina. We're taking that red state approach.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: You know, a lot of bipartisan support and clearly the support of the President as well. I know that opportunity zones are also important to you.

SCOTT: That's good.

MACCALLUM: I saw the signing of that bill the other day. So, your friend Trey Gowdy is leaving Washington, leaving Capitol Hill.

SCOTT: Come back, Trey. Come back.

MACCALLUM: But he does say that there's one thing -- well, it's funny you should ask that. He said there's one thing that would bring him back. Listen to this -- listen to this.

SCOTT: Well, that -- OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Ever run for office again?

REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: Never. I'll get back in politics if Tim Scott runs for president. And he says, "Look, I need you to go to Iowa or New Hampshire, knock on doors. But you'll never see me on the ballot again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So you're going to get Trey Gowdy back into politics, sir?

SCOTT: Well, you know, I'm not sure that I get him to walk her on my homeowner's association, knocking on doors for my presidency of the homeowners association much less anything else. God bless, Trey. He has served our nation incredibly well. We have been blessed by his public service.

MACCALLUM: Senator Tim Scott, a pleasure to have you here tonight. I hope you'll come back soon. Good to be with you.

SCOTT: Thank you, Martha. Merry Christmas to you, guys.

MACCALLUM: Merry Christmas to you too, Senator. Many thanks.

SCOTT: Yes ma'am.

MACCALLUM: So, still ahead this evening, the shock decision from President Trump today declaring victory against ISIS in Syria and preparing U.S. troops to pack up and head out.

He has just released a new video message to the country about this. Adam Kinzinger, an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran disagrees with the decision. He will join us, and he will explain why, coming up next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So, our boys, are young women, our men, they're all coming back, and they're coming back now. We won, and that's the way we want it, and that's the way they want it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: We all remember these horrific images of brutal ISIS killings as they establish their Caliphate across a large swath of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Even on the campaign trail, President Trump talked of these brutal killings and drowning's with shock and determination to eradicate ISIS. Now, ISIS is decimated. The Caliphate they had is gone. But a fierce group of Fighters hangs on. Somewhere between two and 5,000 are said to remain.

There are reports that in the past eight weeks, ISIS militants executed nearly 700 prisoners in Eastern Syria. Among -- they were among 1,350 civilians and fighters that Islamic state has been holding in the territory near the Iraqi border.

We also know now is confirmed that American Leila Shweikani, a 26-year-old Illinois native who traveled to Syria to provide humanitarian relief was indeed killed by them in December of 2016.

Also now, there's a lot of questions tonight about other Americans who may still be held there. Including Austin Tice, whose story we have talked here about quite a bit.

A Georgetown University graduate and photographer, held since 2012. Today, the president announced that he would pull out all remaining 2,000 troops from Syria. Declaring victory in this video that was released just moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I've been president for almost two years and we've really stepped it up. And we have won against ISIS. We've beaten them, and we've beaten them badly, we have taken back the land. And now it's time for our troops to come back home.

Now, we've won. It's time to come back. They're getting ready, you're going to see them soon. These are great American heroes, these are great heroes of the world because they fought for us. But they've killed ISIS who hurts the world. And we're proud to have done it, and I'll tell you, they're up there looking down on us, and there is nobody happier or more proud of their families to put them in a position where they've done such good for so many people.

So, our boys, are young women, our men, they're all coming back, and they're coming back now. We won, and that's the way we want it, and that's the way they want it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: My next guest is among the startled lawmakers today who are against the move from the President's own party today. Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is a major in Air National Guard. Good to see you tonight.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER, R-ILL.: Good to see you, Shannon.

MACCALLUM: What is your reaction tonight?

KINZINGER: That video is very disturbing. I've got to be honest with you. The whole thing, you know, talk about the problem with what the President is doing. But I wear on my wrist, a buddy of mine that I flew with in Iraq back in '08 that was actually killed in 2018 in operation inherent resolve. For the President to point to the sky and say they want this inferring those that have fallen, the President can't speak for fallen American soldiers.

I'm not sure the fallen American soldiers want us to declare victory against a foe we haven't fully defeated yet. That's disappointing. On the bigger issue, look, you say that we've left. We know that there is existing ISIS fighters, it's eerily reminiscent of what happened in 2011 when President Obama left Iraq and he said just because somebody puts on a Bulls jersey or Lakers jersey doesn't make them play in the NBA.

And that's what ultimately led to this resurrection of ISIS. I feel eerily similar to that now. This is very disappointing. I have no idea where this came from and I deeply, deeply fear the long-term ramification of this.

MACCALLUM: That raises a good question. You know, as many have said today, this is obviously good news for Erdogan in Turkey. He was about to announce a new offensive in Syria. It's good news for Putin because his forces are fighting on the side of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Bad news for Israel, right? Good news for Iran clearly. And Brett McGurk, the envoy, the President's envoy against ISIS just said a couple of weeks ago, we are not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders a and that includes Iranian proxies and militias.

John Bolton told reporters that they are -- they were prepared to stay as long as need be. So why sort of -- does it feel like out of the blue this morning did the President wake up and decide that victory had been established?

KINZINGER: I don't know. Obviously, he had a discussion with the President of Turkey. He made a decision I think on the basis of that. That's what it seems like. That can't bode well for the Kurds by the way who have fought with us for a long time. I have no idea what went into this. I can guarantee you, almost guarantee you that none of his advisers said that this is a good thing to do.

I know he has been playing golf with Rand Paul and maybe Rand has tried to convince him of this. But the people that know things about foreign policy and the devastating impacts of repeating 2011 again I'm sure were shocked as I was by this. It's frightening.

MACCALLUM: Here is Rand Paul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: I'm proud of the President today to hear that he is declaring victory in Syria. The President has the courage to say we won in Syria and we're coming home. First President in my lifetime really to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KINZINGER: Rand is forgetting -- Rand is forgetting that President Obama said we won in Iraq. And we're coming home. And then we had to go back to Iraq because there was a group called ISIS that was formed basically out of the old al-Qaeda. We're in a generational fight. Our choice to fight terrorism is not ours. Our choice is where we fight terrorism. Do we fight them in Syria and Iraq or do we fight them eventually back on the streets of the United States?

I'm deeply, deeply worried about this. And I sure hope the President reconsiders.

MACCALLUM: You know, you know, one of the issues is that it's not over just because you want it to be over. An arbitrary end to things has in the past at times turned out to be something that takes away the victory and takes away the accomplishments that were made by our dedicated service men and women. Here is President Trump on the campaign trail in September 2015 talking about President Obama pulling out of Iraq in a -- what he said then was an arbitrary way. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Remember when Obama was saying, we will leave, we are leaving Iraq as of a certain date. Now the opponents said, wow, that's great. What do we have to fight anymore? Let's just wait a year and a half. That's what happened. So I want to be unpredictable, OK? I would never have given a date.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Is that the message tonight to Iran?

KINZINGER: Well, certainly unpredictable. Nobody saw this coming this morning. Yes. This is the -- the message to Iran is you out-lasted us. Imagine if you're an ISIS recruiter right now and you're trying to convince people that this is the coming caliphate. And you couldn't convince them because the United States just crushed you. And now all of the sudden the United States is leaving and you can say look, I told you this is the coming caliphate.

Sure we had trials, sure we had losses but it's coming back again. This is going to be a huge boon for recruiting ISIS in the future. I'm really -- I implore the President to reconsider this. There's no shame in reconsidering this. There's some damage that will be done regardless but much less and it's going to be done if you bring everybody home.

MACCALLUM: All right. We will see what happens. Adam Kinzinger, Congressman, thank you. Good to have you here tonight.

KINZINGER: Thank you. Yes. Thanks.

MACCALLUM: So coming up, the private cables between European diplomats were hacked into revealing true feelings about President Trump and how they feel about each other and what's going on in the world. Quite interesting to listen to all of this. David Bossie and Austan Goolsbee join me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Hackers done it again. This time they have stolen classified communications exposing secret conversations between world leaders including ones that President Xi was having about President Trump. Trace Gallagher takes us inside this story today and the stunning details of what they found and posted. Hi, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. These were not top secret diplomatic communications from the European Union that were hacked. Instead lower level classified documents and memos were intercepted but they still offer very compelling fly on the wall insight into how some world leaders are dealing with President Trump. Chinese President Xi Jinping compared what he called Trump's bullying of Beijing to a "no rules freestyle boxing match".

But Xi also vowed to stand his ground saying his country "would not submit to bullying from the United States even if a trade war hurt everybody because China was not a backward country anymore". The memos also show European diplomats describe a meeting between President Trump and President Vladimir Putin as "successful." At least for Putin. Then there are the U.S.-E.U. back channel communications.

First example, following the Helsinki meeting in July, European diplomats talk about damage control efforts by the White House after President Trump went off script during a joint news conference with Putin and said he would allow Russians to question former U.S. diplomats in exchange for Americans being allowed to interrogate Russians who had been indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

White House officials assured the Europeans that Mr. Trump's agreement would be "nipped down to prevent Americans from being questioned". The hacked memos also included conversation with leaders in Saudi Arabia and Israel. The E.U. won't comment on the intercepted documents except to say this. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VALDIS DOMBROVSKIS, EUROPEAN COMMISSION VICE PRESIDENT: All communication systems have vulnerabilities. So we're always constantly dealing with this challenge upgrading our communications systems to respond to that threats.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: The E.U. left out the fact that it has been warned for years that its aging communication system was an easy target. An expert say there is little doubt this is the work of the China's People's Liberation Army otherwise known as the Chinese government. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Trace, thank you very much. David Bossie, a Fox News Contributor and author of the new book, Trump's Enemies: How the Deep State Is Undermining the Presidency. And Austan Goolsbee, President Obama's former chief economist. Great to have both of you with us tonight. I think there's a couple of different ways to interpret actually. This information when you look into what it says. David, what's your interpretation?

DAVID BOSSIE, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I'm not surprised to say the least that's inside these cables between diplomats reporting in on meetings and such that they see President Trump as a disrupter. They've see -- they -- we've heard this before. He is not part of this broken status quo that he got elected to dismantle. And so whether it's -- whether it's fixing these bad trade deals or making NATO pay for their fair share of the military.

Whether it's -- you know, any number of issues and policies that this president has put forth that these countries don't want. That's not surprising that he would be seen as somewhat of an agitator, a disrupter.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I think that's clear, Austan, when you look at these. And I think it's interesting, I think that, you know, getting along when you have imbalanced trade relationships is not necessarily a great thing. Clearly, he has shaken up a number of these relationships and put people back on their feet. And if President Xi thinks that, you know, he is a little bit of a bully. I don't know that that's necessarily a bad thing.

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, AMERICAN ECONOMIST: Yes. You know, I'm of two minds. As you know Martha, I'm not a big fan of giving the hackers what they want. And what they want is this. That they tap in to our communications system and then open the kimono so everybody can see where the disagreements were and then -- and then we talk about it. Now that said if you look at these cables, I think it is true they're nervous about Donald Trump.

Some of that nervousness is called for. I guess I would say President Trump wants it to be. That he keeps them off balance. Though I will say some of these if you look at the cables, they're reacting to the same things that lead even some of his supporters in the U.S. to kind of cringe, you know, when he fires off stuff off-script or goes on Twitter and says things that he probably shouldn't. You can see the allies reacting and you can see the U.S. officials saying no, no.

He didn't really mean that. He is not going to do that. And so, I think there are two different types of cables in there.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I think just given what he says himself he probably doesn't mind if they think he is unpredictable and he sees that is playing into, you know, America First.

BOSSIE: Martha, that's exactly right. Look, he has got elected as President of the United States. Not President of the world as Barack Obama tried to be. And so he said he was going to pull out of the Paris trade deal, the bad Paris trade deal. He did. They don't like that. He pulled out of this Iran -- bad Iran deal. He said he was -- he promised he would do it. They didn't like that. That's what makes him a little bit, you know, as a -- as a president they can't read.

And they don't feel comfortable with and that's a good thing for America.

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

GOOLSBEE: There's some good and some bad.

MACCALLUM: Go ahead. OK. That was a quick thought.

GOOLSBEE: Saying they're going to interrogate Americans was kind of nuts and we didn't actually do that.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Yes. That was not the best moment of the Helsinki news conference for sure.

GOOLSBEE: Yes.

MACCALLUM: But thank you, guys. Thank you for weighing in tonight. Good to see you both.

GOOLSBEE: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, coming up next, more on that stunning decision from a federal judge who says that deported asylum-seekers have a right now to come back to the United States to have their cases heard here.

Judge Andrew Napolitano on the judge who made the decision who's gotten a lot of attention this week. And also, the decision itself.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: What a week. Tonight, another stunning turn of events from the judge who provided over Michael Flynn sentencing hearing. Judge Emmet Sullivan, today ruled against the Trump administration's policies on immigration asylum claims saying those who sued after they were deported should be brought back into the country to have those claims heard.

Joining me now is Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst. Judge, great to have you back with us tonight. I want to get into both of these cases with you tonight.

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, JUDICIAL ANALYST: Right.

MACCALLUM: But let's start with the asylum one. Because according to the Department of Justice under the laws passed by Congress asylum is only for those who have legitimate fear of persecution on the basis of their race, nationality, public opinion, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

NAPOLITANO: Right. The Justice Department under Attorney General Sessions promulgated rules which the Congress could have disturbed and did not. Which said, if you are coming here claiming domestic violence or gang violence we're not going to let you in because you don't fit in the category, which is the statutory basis for asylum.

Judge Sullivan -- I want to read this and I said to myself, this can't be the same Judge Sullivan.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

NAPOLITANO: But it is. We'll talk about it in a minute. Judge Emmet Sullivan, the same judge who presided over the Flynn sentencing yesterday issued a ruling today. It's 107 pages long. He didn't write it today. This was ready to come out.

Basically, saying that fleeing domestic violence or fleeing gang violence is the moral equivalent of fleeing official government repression. In one case the government aggressively oppresses you because you belong to a group the government hates.

In another case the government is failing to protect you, so therefore, you are entitled to make the asylum claim. The Jeff Sessions rule, which, again, is a Justice Department rule that Congress could have disturbed but didn't is invalid.

MACCALLUM: OK. But in these cases, those people are coming from Honduras and El Salvador they are passing through several countries on their way to this country and Mexico offered them asylum.

NAPOLITANO: Ys. And they rejected that because they ultimately want to come--

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: But can -- but can you pick and choose--

NAPOLITANO: -- here.

MACCALLUM: -- the country that you want to be that you want to have asylum in or is it I have to plea, I'm in danger for my life and as soon as soon as I get somewhere safe, I'm going to stay.

NAPOLITANO: That is a great question. Because if you are truly just fleeing violence in your home country you will go to the same first place - - the first place in which you can be safe. But if you are truly trying to get to the land of golden opportunity for a reason that does not permit you to come here because the economic conditions are better here than in Honduras, which is profoundly not a lawful basis for asylum then you are going to reject Mexico's offer and try to come here.

MACCALLUM: And most people said they were coming to a better life which everyone can understand but we need a process to allow people in and out.

NAPOLITANO: Now, I've never heard of people being ordered back. Surely the government doesn't have -- the federal government doesn't have to go and find them and bring them back.

But when they knock on the door again their application will be accepted, they will be detained in one of those tent cities that the government has built at the border and then there will be a trial, not before a Judge Sullivan in Washington but before an immigration judge at the border. And that immigration judge will determine if this is a real or a fanciful asylum claim.

MACCALLUM: All right. I want to get your quick thought on what happened with Michael Flynn yesterday. And this judge who made some mistakes in the things that he said and he had to claw them back.

NAPOLITANO: Right. In my career as a judge and a jurist I sentenced over 1,000 people. State court but for almost any crime you can imagine. You have to be temperate and measured and sober in your demeanor when you're sentencing someone. You can't go off on them, you can't express personal rage about them. And you certainly can't misstate the facts. Nor can you say something like this to the government.

Did the general ever commit treason? I mean, that is the most incendiary thing you could possibly say in that environment for which there is absolutely zero evidence.

Of course, both sides said no, no, no. We know the definition of treason, providing aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime or waging war against the United States. Your honor, there is no basis for that whatsoever.

It's almost as if he was so taken aback by the prevailing public opinion that this judge thinks this is just a little white lie and the FBI knew about it anyway and he is going to throw it out. He went 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

The question now is, can the judge who expressed its personal animosity not based on fact against General Flynn fairly sentence him in March? That's what is going to be litigated now.

MACCALLUM: Well, you know, I mean, the suggestion, the question about treason, he based on an understanding that he professed that Michael Flynn was working for the Turkish government while he was national security adviser in the White House, which the prosecution said no, that's not true, judge. That wasn't the case. He finished that contract long before he went to the White House.

NAPOLITANO: He took the treason statement back after a break.

MACCALLUM: Yes, but you wouldn't know that if you watched like, you know--

(CROSSTALK)

NAPOLITANO: Well, that--

MACCALLUM: -- 99 percent of what was going on TV this morning.

NAPOLITANO: That is true, the treason thing. As I said it's the most incendiary thing--

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Once it's out there.

NAPOLITANO: Correct. Correct. He did take it back after half an hour conference. We don't know what went on in the conference. But assuming the general's lawyers were there and the government's lawyers were there.

Now, the general's lawyers have made some mistakes. The government said we want the general to get zero time in jail. When the government says that, you say thank you very much, I have nothing else to say. You don't attack the government for the--

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Which they did.

NAPOLITANO: -- matter in which they prosecuted. That's what opened up this can of worms.

MACCALLUM: They should be quiet as little mice--

NAPOLITANO: Correct.

MACCALLUM: -- waiting for the day that they go to court.

NAPOLITANO: Correct.

MACCALLUM: And hope that what they were hoping for was going to happen.

NAPOLITANO: Correct. In fairness to Judge Sullivan I will say this. Sometimes the government and the defense lawyer come to you with a deal that you don't think is fair. So, it has to be a deal that both litigants agree on, the court has to accept it.

But the way to interrogate them on the deal is not to make incendiary allegations but to ask questions. Why did you forgive him all these things? Did he help you with that much? Why did you prosecuted his two buddies for failing to register as foreign agents but not him? I need to know.

MACCALLUM: All legitimate question.

NAPOLITANO: Correct. I need as the judge need to know. How much help he gave you? Did it really outweigh the gravity of these crimes for which there is enough evidence to prosecute and convict him?

MACCALLUM: Judge, thank you.

NAPOLITANO: You're welcome.

MACCALLUM: Great to see you tonight.

NAPOLITANO: Of course.

MACCALLUM: So, coming up next, the honorable act from Dan Crenshaw war veteran and soon to be Congressman who stepped in for an SNL star in need. Governor Mike Huckabee joins me next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE DAVIDSON, COMEDIAN: I'm sorry.

DAN CRENSHAW, R-TX, CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: Thank you, Pete. I appreciate you saying that.

DAVIDSON: So, are we good?

CRENSHAW: We're good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MACCALLUM: When you met Pete Davidson how did you guys get along? How did it go at first?

DAVIDSON: Pretty well. You know, my take on it was that they genuinely didn't really mean it the way it came out. I think they were sincerely apologetic and wanted to make it right.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MACCALLUM: That was Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw on The Story last month talking about the unlikely bond formed with SNL star Pete Davidson who once mocked the wounded veteran during a skit.

But now Crenshaw is being commended for an honorable act of kindness. He reached out to Davidson after this troubling social media post that Pete Davidson wrote. "I really don't want to be on this earth anymore. I'm doing my best to stay here for you but I actually don't know how much longer I can last."

Chilling. Crenshaw picked up the phone to deliver a personal message saying, "I told him everybody had a purpose in this world. God put you here for a reason. And it's your job to find that purpose. And you should live that way."

Here now former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a Fox News contributor. You know, obviously, it just breaks your heart to see what Pete Davidson wrote in that. And we wish him well. I think, you know, we all were endeared to him watching his back and forth with Congressman Crenshaw. And he, obviously, has, you know, some challenges and we wish him well.

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Well, Pete clearly got some real troubles and my heart goes out to him. When I saw that social media post, I mean, my heart sank for him. This is a young man with some deep, deep hurt. But what an amazing thing Dan Crenshaw did by reaching out to him and having built a relationship with him that didn't start out too healthy.

It just shows what a classy guy Dan Crenshaw is. And I was just thinking my gosh, I wish we could clone Dan Crenshaw and put him in the other 434 seats in the House of Representatives.

MACCALLUM: As I said, I hope Pete Davidson is doing well. And we all, we all wish him well and we're glad he reached out. That's the most important thing you can do when someone is in trouble is to reach out and to talk and take time.

HUCKABEE: Absolutely.

MACCALLUM: And that's exactly what Dan Crenshaw did.

Switching gears here to talk about the Super Bowl which apparently is having trouble finding somebody to play with Maroon 5 as a special guest during the halftime. Amy Schumer has boycotted. She did this ad and we can play last time around, and she says "I've done two Super Bowl commercials in the last couple of years and I'm so stupid thinking my opinion would matter, right? Well, guess what? I may have made a difference." She says.

So, she feels like she is helping the whole boycott thing. Your thoughts?

HUCKABEE: Well, the NFL has completely ruined its brand. Its TV ratings are down by double digits. There are people that don't renew their Sky boxes anymore because they just don't want to be part of it. All because the league didn't have the courage to just tell a player look, we are not going to take a knee during the national anthem.

I mean, this was an insult to a major part of their fan base. A few years ago, I was at a tomato festival in Arkansas. The pink tomato festival in Warren, Arkansas. And I'll never forget. They asked Miss Pink Tomato, which was a big deal.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: That sounds like a big deal.

HUCKABEE: You know, the crown, the sash, the whole thing. It was, yes. And they ask her, was she excited about having a part of the tomato-eating contest? And she looked with all the TV cameras running and said, I really don't like tomatoes that much. And I thought this is -- this is like the NFL saying to half their fans--

MACCALLUM: My gosh.

HUCKABEE: -- we really don't like you guys very much. And that's the result this whole controversy has resulted in. Just decimation of their ratings and popularity. I don't think it's ever going to come back to where it was. I really don't.

MACCALLUM: Well, you know, I mean, it's an interesting boycott on the part of these folks. You know, it feels like there is not that many people kneeling anymore and it continues to string the whole thing out.

I have a suggestion. Because I saw a good band open at the PBR. I don't know if you remember that in Nashville. There he is.

HUCKABEE: Yes, I do.

MACCALLUM: Mike Huckabee and Ryan Weaver.

HUCKABEE: Yes, I do.

MACCALLUM: Are you guys available? You want to join Maroon 5 at the Super Bowl?

HUCKABEE: I'll tell you what. Anything Ryan Weaver, who is a great American hero, he served this country in the military so honorably. If he ever asked me to do something, even if it were the Super Bowl I'd show up and do it. I really admire him and I love the PBR.

MACCALLUM: All right.

HUCKABEE: That was a great event.

MACCALLUM: Well, hopefully your message will get across. It was a fun night. It was my first time and I really liked it.

HUCKABEE: Yes.

MACCALLUM: Governor Huckabee, always good to see you. Thank you very much.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Martha. Merry Christmas.

MACCALLUM: You, too. Merry Christmas. Coming up, this is an incredible story of one sailor's lifesaving action. I think this is a story you have never heard about Pearl Harbor. And this young man. When we come back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The true story of navy sailor Joe George who disobeyed a direct order on December 7, 1941, and chose instead to rescue the final six crewmen off the burning USS Arizona.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Tonight, the story of an American hero nearly lost from the history books, navy sailor Joe George defied direct orders during the attack on Pearl Harbor in a bold and courageous modify that saved the lives of six U.S. sailors. His action earning a bronze star years after his death. His story lives on in a story documented narrated by Gary Sinise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe George was on ramp side on a Vestal doing some work when all hell broke loose along battleship row. Around six minutes past 8 a.m., after already taking several hits from Japanese bombs, the USS Arizona suffered its fatal wound. Commander Young ordered all lines connecting the USS Vestal till to the USS Arizona be cut so the Vestal could pull away from their burning battle ship.

As the smoke cleared for just a few seconds between Vestal and Arizona, Joe George saw the six trapped men. Despite being given a direct order and the ongoing Japanese attack in Pearl Harbor, Joe George was not going to leave those men on the Arizona to die.

MACCALLUM: Joining me now Tim Gray, filmmaker of "Lifeline, Pearl Harbor's Unknown Hero" and founder of the World War II Foundation. Tim, good to have you with us.

TIM GRAY, FILMMAKER: It's spectacular to be here.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Gary Sinise is so wonderful. His voice is so fantastic. So, what happened after that, how did he save these men?

GRAY: Joe George is an interesting guy because the USSA Vestal was tied up to the Arizona. It was a repair ship. So, the executive officer told Joe George stop cutting the lines from the Vestal to the Arizona. We got to get our ship out of here. And George looked up and he saw six men, the last six men who are on the USS Arizona alive. And he made a decision at that point do I cut this next line and get my ship free or do I save these men?

And Joe George was a rambunctious guy. He was a boxer. He was a brawler. He liked to drink. He was old navy. And he made a decision in that moment to save those final six men on the USS Arizona. And it was one of those decisions that any soldier has to make in combat. It's not necessarily the rule book decision. It's the decision that's the right decision. And he made it.

MACCALLUM: And they owe him his life and so do all of their children and here is another piece of sound from the movie. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are here on account of him. My sons and my family and my granddaughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God knew on that morning of December 7th, 1941, just what was going to happen. And he knew he would have this larger than life man Joe George, my father, in the place he was for a reason, to save these magnificent men.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't get it done. Joe could appreciative.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Incredible. It gives me chills watching that. And you know, you think of all of the over a thousand men went down with the ship. Most of them were asleep. It was early morning on the Arizona.

GRAY: Yes.

MACCALLUM: And these individuals were saved because of him. And he was home the night before because he was in trouble.

GRAY: He got in trouble. He got into a fight. He was a boxer. He was a heavyweight boxer for the navy and he was one of the best boxers in the navy. And after he had his official bout, he went out in downtown Honolulu in North Hotel Street which are where all the bars are and everything.

And he got into an unofficial fight with, and the M.P.'s came and put him back on the ship on December 5th. So, he just happened to be there confined to the ship on the morning of December 7th. And when all hell broke loose. And he was the right man in the right place at the right time in history.

And he was a big guy. He was muscular. He was the only guy probably who could have got than line over the 70-feet over from the Vestal to the Arizona so these survivors that you just saw in that clip, Don Stratton being one of them could hand over hand get over.

And there are generations and there are grand kids and kids and great grand kids who are alive because of this man Joe George who was not known and was one of the first heroes of World War II for America.

MACCALLUM: And he never spoke about it. His children didn't know that that he was this truly great hero who saved lives.

GRAY: Yes. He didn't speak about it until much later in his life. And when the Arizona survivors, two of the six who were still alive, Don Stratton and Lauren Bruner. They decided that this guy needed to be recognized.

Cassin Young was the captain of the Vestal he won the Medal of Honor at Pearl Harbor. But he was killed in the battle of Guadalcanal. So, he wrote a little entry in his logbook commending Joe George. But that was it. It went away after Cassin Young dyed. And these veterans said listen, this guy deserves a medal. He wasn't the perfect model sailor but what he did he saved six lives.

So, Don Stratton and his son Randy and Lauren Bruner and the others spent 15, 20 years trying to get a medal. And they met with President Trump in the Oval Office. They met with Secretary Mattis. They went to the Pentagon. They met with Cory Gardner and Jeff Flake.

And right at the last minute in November of last year, a bronze star with a V for valor came through and was presented to his daughter Joanne Taylor on the USS Arizona memorial. The only time a medal has been presented on the USS Arizona memorial. And he is just one of the unsung heroes of Pearl Harbor. There are others we know about. Dory Miller and many, many others. But these are the stories that we like to tell to motivate people to learn more about World War II.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: I'm so glad you are telling them. And people can see it on PBS. It's been running since November 1st.

GRAY: Correct.

MACCALLUM: It is just one of the many stories that you tell and keep these stories alive. And we thank you that and for staying tonight.

(CROSSTALK)

GRAY: Thank you for having me. It's an honor.

MACCALLUM: So, that is our STORY for this Wednesday night. Tomorrow, my exclusive untold story behind Senator Susan Collins' Kavanaugh vote. She explained things to me that she has never talked about in this whole process and how she got to yes. That is tomorrow night at 7:00.

We will see you there tomorrow night, everybody. "TUCKER CARLSON" is up next.

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