Kinzinger: We have not won the war against ISIS despite what the president says

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," October 7, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Good evening, everybody. So, I'm Martha MacCallum and this is "The Story." And it is a big one tonight on the pullout in Syria in the face of enormous opposition the president believes that ultimately the American people will side with him and his campaign promise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: When do we get out? There's going to be a tonight we get out, we have to bring our people back home. 
And frankly, our great soldiers have been talking about this on the campaign. You go back three years ago or more and you watch the speeches, we want to bring our soldiers back home. These are the endless wars.

And we're not fighting, we're policing to a large extent. We're policing in certain areas, we're not police --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, that is his argument. And take a look at this. This is a Pew poll from earlier in the year that indicates that roughly two-thirds of Republicans who are informed about the situation in Syria say that withdrawal would be the right decision.

Everyone from senators McConnell and Graham to General Keane, and Nikki Haley, who you see on the wall there. Reportedly many at the Pentagon vehemently disagree with this decision. But the president is, at least, at this point going to go his own way on this.

And so far, on the Hill, only Rand Paul seems to be on his side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY. (via telephone): Leaving three or 400 people in an area that are vulnerable could lead to catastrophe but also doesn't really do anything to secure our national security.

I think that the best answer is, is that we don't have all the answers and the people who live there are always going to have more of a stake in the game.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, in moments, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, one of the many Republicans against this move. But we start tonight with national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin and her reporting on this throughout the day on the Pentagon's reaction.

Good evening, Jennifer.

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. Senior Pentagon officials tell me the president has not taken a decision to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria. The president of Turkey indicated late Sunday in that phone call with President Trump that his military plan to move into northern Syria and at that point, the president ordered the 50 to 100 U.S. troops who were patrolling along the border with the Turks out of harm's way.

Here is how the president explained his decision at the White House this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If Turkey does anything out of what they should be doing, we will hit them so hard in the economy. But when you talk about soldiers, we only had 50 soldiers in the area. I think the area was -- it's a very small area -- and very small area. But we only had 50 soldiers there. I don't want them to be in a bad or compromising position.

And I will tell you this. Everybody respects our country again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: The new chairman of the joint chiefs, General Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper were aware that the president wanted to pull troops back. He had telegraphed as much for nearly a year.

But other top U.S. military commanders and senior defense officials responsible for Middle East policy, who have overseen the tough fight against to ISIS in Syria, told us they felt shocked, disappointment, and completely blindsided.

Many fear the president's decision will green light a Turkish invasion, leaving open the potential for a slaughter of the Kurds, who helped the U.S. military defeat ISIS. U.S. troops were seen leaving the border area today. Kurdish fighters are currently guarding nearly 10,000 ISIS fighters including about 2,000 foreign fighters at a prison in the eastern Syria.

U.S. commanders believe those Kurdish guards will now abandon their posts allowing these hardened ISIS fighters to escape. President Trump said one reason he made the decision is European allies would not repatriate the ISIS prisoners.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're not bringing 50, 60, 70, or even 10,000 people to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba we're not going to be paying them for the next 50 years or paying to take care of them for the next 50 years.

So, we told, yes, we did a great service to the world, and we did a great service to Europe in particular.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Now, the Pentagon is seeking ways to deter Turkey from invading northern Syria and attacking the Kurds. But they have lost key leverage with the Turks and tonight, there are ports the Turks are conducting airstrikes against Kurdish targets. Martha?

MACCALLUM: We'll see how long that takes. Jennifer, thank you very much.

Joining me now, one of the many Republicans who are against the president's move. Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger, member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and founder of the Friends of A Free Stable and Democratic Caucus. Congressman, good to have you here tonight.

What is your best guess at how long it takes before the Turks come over that line and, you know, hopefully, this kind of slaughter that we heard about doesn't happen? The president says if it does, there'll be retaliation. But what's your best guess?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER, R-ILL.: Yes, I don't think it's going to take very long. We're already hearing these reports of airstrikes, it depends when the Kurds abandon these Isis fighters. I mean, think about if 10,000 ISIS fighters get released. The president keeps saying, we've won this war against ISIS. We certainly have not won the war against ISIS, we've made gains.

And if you release 10,000 of them, that's incredible. And you think about, you know, the message that's ascending to our Kurdish allies, these are the same Kurds, by the way, that we're slaughtered in 1991 when we encouraged them to rise up, and we had a whole no-fly zone to protect that.

And, you know, when I hear Rand Paul, for instance, say things like, well, we only have 300 or 400 people there, the best people do it are the ones on the ground. That's exactly what the 300 or 400 people's job is, is to empower indigenous forces locals to fight their own battle.

This is exactly the kind of fight that people like Rand Paul actually said he wanted to do instead of 200,000 troops. So, it comes to a point where if you America -- if Americans believe that for whatever reason, terrorism has decided that they're done fighting, then, that's fine.

But this is not a U.S. endless war, this is an endless war that the terrorists have decided to do against us. And if we can -- if we can keep that back with 300 or 400 troops we ought to do that.

MACCALLUM: Yes. You know, I can't help but wonder though. You know, I understand both sides of this. And then, you know, you listen to the president say, how long? You know, I mean, for how long are we going to stay there and it does feel that it's an exercise in a lot of frustration.

And you do heinously feel for these Kurdish soldiers who stood by our soldiers, and who fought against ISIS when really nobody else would. I mean, you know, it was us and them, right, who were there?

KINZINGER: Yes.

MACCALLUM: Who ended this -- you know, largely, the Caliphate. But you still got 10,000 of them, and from what I've read today going back over this, they're well-funded and they are no less fired up. They will be very relieved to be set free in that area. No?

KINZINGER: Yes, yes. That's absolutely right. And -- you know, look, he asked the question about how long. It's a good question.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

KINZINGER: But the problem is that's not a choice that we can make. It's not the choice of the United States to determine how long we're going to fight terrorism. It's a decision that terrorists made because they determine if they're going to, you know, kill innocent people, they're going to reach out again to the United States and strike here. I wish they didn't believe this stuff. I wish we didn't have to fight them.

But the reason we don't think about terrorism a lot anymore is because we are fighting them over there. We are taking the battle to them in that area and they're not able to extend their power here. When we stop doing that, they're not going to change their mind.

And with technology and the Internet, they actually the world's a lot smaller and it's easier for them to organize and plan and get around. So, yes, I wish this was all over, but it's not our choice.

MACCALLUM: Yes, well, the president making a bet on something that he has said for a long time. He wanted to get out of, and that looks like the move right now.

I want to ask you a slightly separate topic but along the same lines. 
Because I was kind of stunned today when there came across a tweet that Newsweek was reporting that there was yet another person who was an NSC member who was on the call with the Turkish president, who released the information from the call. He said the president got quote, rolled by the Turkish president and that we'd be in danger for decades to come because the president has no spine and that's the bottom line.

I mean, where does this end? Can the president ever feel -- you know, no matter what your thoughts are on this that he can have a phone call with a foreign leader without somebody leaking the contents of it and losing the ability for him to negotiate as a president of United States?

KINZINGER: Yes, no, I mean, I think, leaks are terrible. Even if you really believe that's what happened with the president, I have concerns with that conversation but I wasn't on it.

The president has a right to have these conversations. He has a right to talk to foreign leaders as the president. I'm a big believer that Article Two of the presidency has a lot of power when it comes to making foreign policy.

I have the right to speak out against it, but I can't necessarily overrule it in every case, and the president has to be able to do that. So, I would encourage anybody on national security establishment, if you have a problem with the president saying, do it in a capacity that's not leaking, right? 
Do it within the administration or quit your job and come out and speak. 
But to just leak stuff like this, I'm not a big fan of it.

MACCALLUM: Congressman Adam Kinzinger, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.

KINZINGER: Yes.

MACCALLUM: Coming up next, Gerardo Rivera, says the emergence of a second whistleblower and the impeachment fight proves that President Trump is surrounded by what he calls snitches, vipers, rats, and backstabbers. He is here to explain coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When you see that the president of Ukraine, President Zelensky said, there was no pressure put on me, whatsoever. His spokesman came out two days ago said there was absolutely no pressure put on the president. I didn't tell him to say that. There was no pressure put on. All you have to do is read the report.

The problem is I released it a day after they had already made their big statements. And again, it's a big scam. It's lucky that I'm the president because I guess I don't know why a lot of people said very few people could handle it. I sort of thrive on it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, now, another whistleblower says that he or she has a first- hand account of the call. But as the president says, the call has already been released. So, we will see if that changes anything. Geraldo Rivera, tweeting up a storm on that, calling these individuals snitches and vipers. 
Geraldo will be here in just a second.

Also tonight, now Democrats want to subpoena the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget on the impact of withholding military aid from Ukraine over that -- you know, several week periods over the summer.

A move that many Democrats have said constituted a grave national security threat for the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES, D-N.Y.: They withheld $391 million in military and economic aid from Ukraine. That is a textbook abuse of power. It undermines our national security.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN, D-MD.: This putting our national security at risk by trying to use other governments against American citizens.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN.There's a grave national security issue here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: But was it really? Joining me now exclusively, Congressman John Garamendi, member of the House Armed Services Committee who has just returned from a trip to Ukraine. Good to have you here today, sir.

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI, D-CALIF.: Good to be with you.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much for being here. You know, I mean, it raises a question -- sometimes, you know, I think people hear this over and over again. Well, that period, you know, of those few weeks raised this grave national security threat for the United States. And I think folks listen to that and they say, you know, really?

And then I look at what Mark Esper the Defense Secretary said, at this point, most of the money is out the door. At no time or anytime has a delay in that money, the funding affected United States national security. 
So which is it?

GARAMENDI: Well, I think you need to take it in the small as well as the large vision. In the large vision, it's certainly was a major, major problem for our national security, because we're frankly, counting on Ukraine to push back against Russia, to hold Putin in line.

Keep in mind that more than 13,000 Ukrainians have been killed in the battle to stop Russia from taking over yet another country.

MACCALLUM: That is absolutely true. I mean, you must have been very upset with President Obama then because he sent them meals ready to eat. I mean, this president no matter what you think of him, the facts is he has sent real military aid to Ukraine. So he paused for a moment --

GARAMENDI: We're not debating that.

MACCALLUM: But I imagine you must have been very upset with the prior administration on that one.

GARAMENDI: Well, let's take it one step at a time here. Certainly, the withholding of the aid sent a signal that the United States may not in the future, continue to support Ukraine unless there was a deal done. So that was what the national security was all about.

In addition to that, there's far more and other things going on in Eastern Europe that we observed as we were there over the last week. And that is the President it has taken more than $1 billion out of critical NATO projects that are specifically designed to push back against Russia's incursion into Georgia and into the Ukraine, and to protect the eastern flank of NATO.

Those -- that billion dollars was for airfields, for ammunition dumps, all kinds of projects. All of that money gone now to build a border wall. And so when you begin adding these things up, yes, there is a significant national security issue in Ukraine as well as NATO.

MACCALLUM: Let me ask you this. With regard to Europe -- because I thought one of the -- one of the interesting parts of the transcript of the call with President Zelensky was, you know, he said -- when the President said, you know, what about Germany, what about Europe. You know, they talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk with giving the support to the Ukraine and other countries along the border, in their own backyard.

And he suggested that, you know, that was the reason that they were hitting the pause button on this money, because they wanted those countries to say, you know, they're so used United States doing it for them, but they do have a responsibility to step up and put their money where their mouth is on this. Do you agree?

GARAMENDI: Well, I was there. And those countries are in fact, stepping up. NATO countries are helping Ukraine.

MACCALLUM: That's great.

GARAMENDI: The United States certainly is providing significant and perhaps more military aid than the other countries, but the other countries have been there from the very beginning particularly with regard --

MACCALLUM: Well, that's not -- the Ukraine president said that he was not getting what was promised from those countries, and that he really hoped that they were going to step up now that there is this new government there.

GARAMENDI: Well, certainly the new government is -- certainly the new government, which is an anti-corruption government and from the experiences we had meeting with the Minister of Defense and the foreign minister, both of them quite new, but very well educated, very, very much aware, very articulate, and very determined to fight Russia, and to do everything that they possibly can to push back and get their country back. And we should be helping them. The bottom line on all of this phone call business --

MACCALLUM: We are, yes.

GARAMENDI: The bottom line of it is a major speed bump in our relations with Ukraine. You can only imagine the enormous problem that Trump phone call brought to the government. Obviously, all of us now looking at Ukraine questioning one thing or another.

MACCALLUM: Well, that one was released around September 11th, I believe. 
The military aid was held up for about four and a half weeks.

GARAMENDI: Yes, for 20 days, actually close to two months, the money was held up. And the message to Ukraine was play ball with us or else. And that was a clear message. And so they will say nice words --

MACCALLUM: Well, I only know -- I mean, I don't know what the message is. 
I only know, you know, what the two presidents talked about on the call, and they talked a lot about Europe and wanting them to step up. So --

GARAMENDI: Well, we've seen the transcript, and we've seen whistleblower's, and we're going to see another whistleblower complaint. 
We have a pretty good idea that there was clearly a pressure put on Ukraine to play ball on the Biden investigation. OK, that -- is that -- first of all, we have to consider --

MACCALLUM: Well, we saw the call. The call -- we've read the call. We know what went back and forth. And you're right, there's a mention of Biden there. But I don't know what a whistleblower is going to bring to the table when we already -- I mean, we have more information than then the whistleblower did. The initial --

GARAMENDI: Well, probably --

MACCALLUM: Because everybody has seen it now.

GARAMENDI: It will probably end the discussion about second-hand information when they'll have first-hand information.

MACCALLUM: Well, we all have first-hand information because we've all seen it, right?

GARAMENDI: Well, we're going to have more. And that's -- and that kind of information is appropriate as the impeachment inquiry grows on that one or another allegation is proven by the testimony of people that were involved and engaged.

So we'll see how it all comes down. But the bottom line is we need to support Ukraine. Ukraine is the bulwark. They are in the front line of pushing back against an autocratic --

MACCALLUM: Yes, we are. And we have been -- I think more than any other country so I think that's great news.

GARAMENDI: Well, good for us.

MACCALLUM: Good for us.

GARAMENDI: And we should continue.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, Congressman Garamendi.

GARAMENDI: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: It's good to see you tonight. Thank you for being here from Sacramento, California.

GARAMENDI: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: And here now with more, Geraldo Rivera, Fox News Correspondent- at-Large. Geraldo, good to have you with us tonight.

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT-AT-LARGE: Hi, Martha. Nice to be here. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: You know, your thoughts on that -- there's this -- you know, there's this suggestion that you know, now that there's a second whistleblower, that we're going to learn more than we learned when the -- when the transcript of the call was released.

RIVERA: Well, I'm surprised it's only a second whistleblower, not a bus full because there's never been --

MACCALLUM: I think there are, probably.

RIVERA: There's never been a presidency where the incumbent has been surrounded. You know, I don't say it playfully by backstabbers, and vipers, and rats, and snitches, it's true. And you know, Congressman Garamendi just there. He looked president Zelensky in the eye. The star prosecution witness is the president of Ukraine. He says there was no quid pro quo. The President of Ukraine says there's no quid pro quo.

So how do you have an impeachment inquiry when the star prosecution witness counters your narrative? It is -- it's preposterous. This is something that -- they were just waiting, they had the trigger primed waiting for some overt act by Donald Trump where they could trigger the mechanism that they were so frustrated, they weren't able to do during the whole Russia collusion hoax.

Two and a half years they've been waiting on impeachment, and why -- and I would ask the Congressman, why is there no vote? There's an impeachment inquiry, why is there no vote? There was a vote for Clinton, there was a vote for Nixon, why no vote now for Trump?

He's the one that's now the subject of all of these various committees, they're throwing subpoenas at every official they can think of, they have the law firm all greased and ready as the whistleblowers says I heard the conversation, I heard the conversation too, me too, and I heard it even better than he heard it. I mean --

MACCALLUM: We all heard the conversation at this point.

RIVERA: At some point, we have to say, what's going on here?

MACCALLUM: Yes. Before I let you go, I want to get your reaction to the Kurdish issue. What do you think Geraldo, having been there so many times?

RIVERA: Well, you know, I've seen it with my own eyes. These are the most magnificent fighters. They're immensely loyal. You know, they're a different religious sect for me, the (INAUDIBLE), the Shiite or the Sunni, they're all by themselves. They were the people that wiped out ISIS with our guidance and our help.

I don't understand why we can't keep a garrison there. Maybe in Raqqa, Syria, the old ISIS capital, 400 or 500 Americans. We stayed in Germany after World War II, we stayed in Japan after World War II, why -- we stayed in South Korea after the Korean conflict. You know, why can't we stay just to give them that lifeline. The Turks --

MACCALLUM: I know it worked out well. They provided a lot of stability in those areas. I know that that is argument. General Mattis made that argument as well when he was here so we'll see if the President is open at all on this or if he has his mind made up. Geraldo, thank you. Always good to see you, sir.

RIVERA: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much. So coming up next tonight on THE STORY, Attorney General Barr travels abroad to investigate the origins of the Russia probe, but his request for foreign assistance gets a chilly reception in some places so maybe that's to be expected. He might have expected that. Former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, whose conversations in Europe sparked a lot of this Russia investigation, he's here with me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So the Wall Street Journal reports today that Attorney General Bill Barr's investigation into the origins of the Russia probe is ruffling some feathers overseas. "By meeting directly with foreign leaders rather than relying on investigator to investigator channels, Mr. Barr has stirred up domestic politics in some of the countries that he is tapped for assistance."

Expected to be among those who will be the focus of Barr's review as the elusive Maltese Professor Joseph Mifsud and several others who have ties to foreign intelligence and who all were suddenly very interested in this young man when he joined the foreign policy team for the Trump campaign.

Here now George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign aide and author of Deep State Target. Very interesting story and good to see you again tonight, George. Thanks for being here. Does it surprise you at all that some of these countries when Bill Barr and John Durham come knocking on the door and ask them questions that they might be a little bit concerned?

GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: I actually wasn't shocked at all. I mean, I -- because I live the story. So basically, in 2016 people have to remember what kind of governments were in place in countries like Australia, Italy, the U.K. These were not friendly to what Trump was pronouncing to the American public and around the world.

America first to -- while it was music to the Americans ears was vitriol to these countries. So when I was dealing with ministers and various diplomats from these countries, each one of them was basically reeling to me that we believe that Donald Trump's candidacy would be a threat to global order and we do not support it. And then all of a sudden, these various countries are sending spies and other mechanisms to try and undermine our campaign.

MACCALLUM: Now I know Bill Barr has your entire testimony that was given behind closed doors and no doubt that is in there, the briefing packet of information that they've gone through. Bill -- John Brennan the former head of the CIA seems very concerned about all of this. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: William Barr, you know, when he was testifying in front of Congress said he didn't understand the predication of the counterintelligence investigation that was launched into Russia's interference in 2016 election.

I don't understand the predication of this worldwide effort to try and cover dirt, either real or imagined that we discredit that investigation in
2016 and into Russian interference.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: It sounds like he thinks it's all, you know, it's all made up, silly stuff, George. What you say to him?

PAPADOPOULOS: We have evidence that Ukraine was designated as a country to find, quote, unquote, "dirt" on Paul Manafort which resulted in his resignation. We also have growing evidence now that the U.K. and Australia were overtly and actively working with the CIA at the highest levels to spy on the Donald Trump campaign.

William Barr and John Durham are not on a wild-goose chase around, and eating pasta in Rome or visiting the Tower of London and the U.K. or speaking to Australian officials because there's nothing else to do.

These countries were willfully complicit in what I believe was an international conspiracy to undermine the Donald Trump campaign and assure that if he was elected president that would be handcuffed because they had vested interest in assuring that his America first policies would not be the ones that would be implemented.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

PAPADOPOULOS: I lived it, I spoke to these diplomats and I know what they wanted.

MACCALLUM: So, you know, you have so many examples of different people that sort of touched on you and took you out for drinks and wanted to get information from you and fed you information that they hoped would turn up other places. Even $10,000 that was dropped in your lap and then a bunch of FBI agents also meet you at the airport and say where's the money?

So much of this does not add up, but before, you know, I let you go, give us one example, why is the former prime minister of Italy, Renzi -- why is he considering suing you?

PAPADOPOULOS: Well, apparently, right as Attorney General Barr and John Durham by the way were on an official trip to Italy visiting with her various intelligence agencies and the prime minister himself, the former prime minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi who was actually governing the country in 2016 when all of this suspicious behavior was going on from Joseph Mifsud.

He goes on a rant against the president and then he says that he wants to sue me for a million dollars and all I have to say is I welcome discovery in any lawsuit.

MACCALLUM: Well, you know, if there's nothing to be worried about, then none of these works would be worried or concerned about any of it. You know, they've -- Bill Barr, go ask all the questions you want. There's absolutely no connection. Who knows what he will find? And John Durham will find. But we will be watching as it all comes out to see. George Papadopoulos, always good to see you. Thank you very much for being here tonight.

PAPADOPOULOS: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: You bet.

PAPADOPOULOS: I appreciate it. Thanks.

MACCALLUM: Take care. So, coming up next, wow, did this story get a ton of attention? The NBA braces out one of their own general managers of the Houston Rockets because he stuck up for freedom fighters in Hong Kong. Are they caving, the NBA which considers themselves to be very woke for the money that they get from China? Steve Hilton up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: This is quite a story. Violence has been raging now for 18 weeks in the streets of Hong Kong, tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators on the streets protesting the new ban on face masks now that so many of them wore to these rallies.

Meanwhile, we got the NBA getting a lot of heat, some say they are caving to China which is one of their biggest, most lucrative audiences. The Houston Rockets G.M. tweeted in support of the freedom fighters in Hong Kong and then he took it down quickly and essentially apologized, more strongly to China than the U.S. Two different t versions of that tweet went out.

Now you've got Senator Josh Hawley and others blasting the NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and in a letter asking him to now end all exhibition games in China.

Joining me now, Steve Hilton, host of the Next Revolution. Steve, always good to see you. Thanks for being here. What do you think about this?

STEVE HILTON, FOX NEWS HOST: I think in a strange way this is a helpful story because it's the NBA, because it's a big popular sports team, a lot of attention on it as you mentioned. But truthfully this is what it's like doing business in China. Many companies have done this kind of thing.

Just last year at Marriott hotel fired an employee of theirs at China's request because he liked to tweet about Tibet they didn't approve of. 
Disney, you can't imagine a more iconic American company, Disney on Shanghai one of their biggest parks. Disney and China have communist parties' cells in its office structure. When you got to an office there you got communist party meetings.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

HILTON: Hammer and sickle displayed. And the compromises you make to get access to the market are increasingly severe and sometimes much more serious as we see with Google in terms of handing over technology that actually enables the Chinese regime to oppress its people.

MACCALLUM: You know, it's interesting because there is a thinking that basically they have tried to dominate us with the economy, right, with business --

HILTON: Yes.

MACCALLUM: -- rather than with tanks. But I think back to the examples that sports have been over the history of time in terms of standing up for what's right. You know, you think about Jackie Robinson bringing down the color barriers --

HILTON: Yes.

MACCALLUM: -- in baseball, I think about the miracle on ice standing up to the symbolism of communism and the Soviet Union and how powerful the message was of that win in Lake Placid in 1980, this feels like they're asking the NBA to do that, you know, and the NBA has been so outspoken. 
They don't call their owner's owners, because they think it's reminiscent of slavery.

HILTON: Yes.

MACCALLUM: So, they don't want that. So, what do they say to this? What do they say to this kind of history?

HILTON: Well, this is the hypocrisy and it's not just them. You see it with Nike as well exactly the same. All champions of woke politics here in America.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

HILTON: What did Nike do? Again, just recently withdrew sneakers that the Chinese regime objected to. And you see it over again because in the end it is about the commercial interests and I think we've got to the point now where we've had decades now of theory that if we go to China we engage with them, do business with them, they are going to get more free, it's going to get more open. You're going to move gradually towards democracy, exactly the opposite is happening.

It's becoming more authoritarian and that's why I think --

MACCALLUM: Yes.

HILTON: -- long-term we've got to have a strategy of disengagement from China economically. That's the only way to put pressure on the regime.

MACCALLUM: It is. It's a, you know, boycott essentially.

HILTON: Yes, exactly.

MACCALLUM: I got 20 seconds, but tell everybody THE STORY that you told me.

HILTON: So, I was -- I work in Hong Kong back in the 90s and I went back for the handover from the U.K. when it went back to Chinese control. We had fun parties all night, it was a night of celebration actually.

I'll never forget leaving a party in the early hours, wandering out slightly bleary eyed in the morning after the handover and I literally saw Chinese tanks rolling down the street and at that moment I just thought, you know what, this is not going to end well. Something about that just gave me the chills and I remember it every time I see these images from Hong Kong.

MACCALLUM: I mean, we'll see. Your heart goes out --

HILTON: Yes, that's true.

MACCALLUM: -- and we got to see where this whole thing goes. But we'll see what the NBA does. Steve, thank you.

HILTON: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Always good to have you here in New York City.

HILTON: Exactly.

MACCALLUM: For a little bit. Coming up next, protesters mark one year since Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation of the Supreme Court with new calls for him to be impeached. Even to sending on the home of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell once again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About paying a visit?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About paying a visit?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To Mitch McConnell's house?

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY, D-MASS.: Kavanaugh may have that seat for now.

(APPLAUSE)

PRESSLEY: But what you, what we are fighting for is so much bigger than one insecure man, blinded by his privilege.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Blinded by his privilege. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of the co-called squad calling for Justice Brett Kavanaugh to be impeached one year after he was confirmed to the highest court in the land. But the protest did not end there. There was more.

That's Julie Swetnick by the way being hugged by Ayanna Pressley. She is the one who accused Brett Kavanaugh of gang rape although there were no -- no one who would substantiate that story. A lot of holes were punched in at almost right away. Some marched directly then to the home of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with a message that was loud and clear.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About paying a visit?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About paying a visit?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To Mitch McConnell's house?

(APPLAUSE)

(CROWD CHANTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: All right. Here now, Charlie Hurt, Washington Times opinion editor and Fox News contributor, Chris Hahn, syndicated radio host and former aide to Senator Chuck Schumer. Gentlemen, thanks for being here.

CHARLIE HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Hey, Martha?

CHRIS HAHN, HOST, THE AGGRESSIVE PROGRESSIVE PODCAST: Great to be here.

MACCALLUM: How do you feel about paying a visit to Mitch McConnell's house? Charlie? I mean.

HURT: You know, wow, I guess? I mean, it's insane. Look, this guy, you know, Brett Kavanaugh was completely vindicated, completely exonerated at a level 10 times higher than what have been required by the court of law against these scurrilous, unfounded ridiculous charges. He got a completely clean bill of health by a ridiculous kangaroo session of the -- Senate judiciary committee.

But what I think it really does underscore, it underscores how utterly and totally bankrupt the Democratic Party is when it comes to running a campaign on ideas and a platform that will actually improve the lives of ordinary Americans and it's the same thing with their impeachment of Donald Trump.

They've got nothing to run on so they are going to go back and re-litigate this nonsense and they look quite frankly, ridiculous. And my advice to them, move on.

MACCALLUM: You know, I'm just looking at these signs that they are holding up, Chris. Stop, entitled man. And then Ayanna Pressley said, you know, that he was blinded by his privilege. So, you know, the charge that as Charlie points out which was investigated every which way they could and the three people who were supposed to be witnesses all said they had no recollection of anything like that happening.

So, at what point -- you know, so they're not saying he was an accused rapist, they're just saying that his privilege and that in of itself means that he apparently should be impeached, Chris.

HAHN: I don't think that's what they're saying.

MACCALLUM: Tell me then, tell me what are they're saying? Please?

HAHN: Look, I'm against -- I'm against protesting in front of people's houses. I think go to their office, protest there all you want, but don't go to their house. I'm not for that. Unless they don't come out of their house then go there and protest at their house. But if they come to their office, go protest at their office.

Bust as for Kavanaugh, look, he's on the Supreme Court. I don't see him being removed at any time ever in the future until he decides to retire. I do -- I disagree vehemently with Charlie, I don't think he has the temperament to be on that court. I think that the Senate Democrats failed in pointing that out after the man utterly lost it in the Senate and he probably should have been --

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: So, if you lose your temper when you've been falsely accused --

HAHN: -- you know, he should have been disqualified --

MACCALLUM: -- and your family has been dragged through the mud for, you know, in the most excruciating way possible, right?

HAHN: Yes, well --

MACCALLUM: You're not allowed to lose your temper? Is that what you're saying?

HAHN: Yes. I think -- I think that when you want to sit on the highest court in the land you need to be able to take some shots and he didn't and he was ridiculous the way he behaved and he should be ashamed of himself for. But he will be on the Supreme Court for the rest of his life.

HURT: True.

HAHN: And you know, we'll see how that goes. As to Charlie's other thing about the party being bankrupt in its attempt to remove the president who has absolutely admitted to crimes himself and continues to do so, I think you're wrong there. And I think we're going to see what happens and I'll put March 15th on the over under before you start writing an editorial about how this guy has to go.

HURT: All right. So, let me ask you one question, Chris. Do you want to spend January, February, and Marc of the Democratic primary talking about impeachment or would you like to talk about ideas for improving the lives of ordinary Americans?

HAHN: I agree.

HURT: The way it's set up right now, we're going to be just talking about impeachment and it's all going to overtake the entire Democratic Party --

HAHN: Yes

HURT: -- primary and I, by the way, somebody who doesn't agree with much of anything in the Democratic Party, I think that's a really bad thing because I want an open an exchange about the ideas about these issues.

MACCALLUM: All right, we got to go.

HAHN: I think when you have a president that his intent on running rough shot over the Constitution you need to take care of that. That's why they're there. That's why Congress is there and they need to hold him accountable and they can't allow him to continue to commit crimes in the Oval Office.

MACCALLUM: Should they vote, Chris, should there be a vote in the House --

HAHN: Yes.

MACCALLUM: -- on whether they are going to proceed?

HAHN: Yes. There should be a vote and they should --

MACCALLUM: OK.

HAHN: -- do it next week to open up the impeachment --

MACCALLUM: Why not?

HAHN: -- and there should be a full impeachment inquiry and then there will a removal of this president by the Senate sometime next year.

MACCALLUM: OK. Chris Hahn --

(CROSSTALK)

HURT: Good luck with that.

HAHN: All right.

MACCALLUM: Charlie Hurt. I'll invite you back, we'll see how it goes.

HAHN: We'll try.

MACCALLUM: Every month, we'll see how it goes. Thanks, guys.

HAHN: Thank you.

HURT: Thanks.

MACCALLUM: Coming up next, Pope Francis opens the door, loosening a 1,000- year-old requirement for celibacy for priests. Jonathan Morris, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Pope Francis signaling a possible departure from a century's old tradition in the Catholic Church, convening a three-week of bishops at the Vatican where the requirement of celibacy for priests is open for debate.

During mass yesterday, the pope didn't refer to the celibacy issue but then warned "If we spend our days content that this is the way things have always been done, then the gift vanishes, smothered by the ashes of fear and concern for defending the status quo."

Here now, Jonathan Morris, Fox News religion analyst and former priest. 
Good to see you, Jonathan. Good to have you here.

JONATHAN MORRIS, FOX NEWS RELIGION ANALYST: Martha, thank you.

MACCALLUM: You know, I mean, with all of the scandal, there's been so much of that that has been pushed back on this question of well, you know, maybe it would help a lot if you had people who were married priests. Where do you think these falls?

MORRIS: OK. Well, first of all, about this scandal. OK. Not having sex does not make somebody want to abuse a child. OK. Let's be very clear about that. Nut what Pope Francis is talking about here, and it seems that the church is looking at is a possibility is the fact that there are not enough priests to take care of the congregation, and we are talking about a congregation of over one billion people around the world.

So, the question is whether or not offering the possibility of ordaining married men to the priesthood would alleviate that need. And that's a question. I don't know if there is a perfect answer but Pope Francis saying let's see.

MACCALLUM: He talks about how in some parts of South America there are areas where there are 7,200 Catholics with only one priest.

MORRIS: yes.

MACCALLUM: Just the -- and you know, it really opened my eyes in terms of, because people think that, you know, the church is shrinking but in a lot of parts of the world, it's growing.

MORRIS: Yes. In Asia, in South America --

MACCALLUM: Absolutely.

MORRIS: -- in Africa, no doubt. But what I have a problem with is not the question of should priests be allowed to marry, OK? I think that's a very valid question that should be confronted head on. Both because of the need of priests but also for other reasons.

But what I don't like is the methodology that Pope Francis is taking. He's saying there is an area in the Amazon region, in South America that has --

MACCALLUM: Right.

MORRIS: -- they have a great need for priests, so let's get some representatives from there, make a decision based on that, -- we know that that's going to open it up for the rest of the world. What I would suggest is, Pope Francis, you are the leader of the universal church. Be clearer.

Bring rep -- if this is a real issue, bring representatives from the whole world, get their opinion, and then be a leader and speak out to us about why you are making that decision.

Why do I say that this is a problem? Because so many Evangelical pastors have told me, you know, Jonathan -- back -- it was Father Jonathan. Thank God for the Catholic church, because it is the strongest unified voice for issues like the respect for life, abortion. Or how about even the divinity of Jesus? How about the salvific mission of Jesus? We need the Catholic Church as a strong bulwark for faith, and for dogma, for doctrine, for belief.

MACCALLUM: So, you think once that door opens, it puts all of these things
--

MORRIS: Well, you know, --

MACCALLUM: -- in jeopardy?

MORRIS: -- if you're using that methodology, he said -- Pope Francis has said let's create confusion, confusion isn't bad. Let's listen to the confusion and then discern. OK, I sort of get it. But the reason why the Catholic Church has been so strong for 2,000 years is not because a perfect leadership but because of the unity of faith and of morals.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I hear you. Jonathan, thank you.

MORRIS: Is that clear?

MACCALLUM: Great to see you. Yes, crystal clear. You have to come back for further detail.

MORRIS: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Good to see, though. And thanks for being here.

MORRIS: Thanks, Martha.

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