This is a rush transcript from "The Story," September 25, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR: So, there will be winners and there will be losers in this impeachment gamble. At this point, nobody knows who they will be. But the president today in his press conference with Ukraine president suggested that Nancy Pelosi may end up on the wrong end.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: People are really angry at Democrats. They're really angry at the Democrat Party. And things like, as an example, drug pricing, getting drugs down. Things like a gun safety, infrastructure, the Democrats can't talk about that because they've been taken over by a radical group of people. And Nancy Pelosi as far as I'm concerned, unfortunately, she's no longer the Speaker of the House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Strong words today from the president. So, will the speaker be the champion of the movement that defeats President Trump? Or will she be the face of the impeachment process that ends up hurting Democrats?
Here is President Obama's campaign manager and Democratic strategist David Axelrod.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: You could end up, in fact, invigorating the president's chances. You could end up losing many Democrats in the House if people react poorly to this. And you could end up with a president reelected and unbridled.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, back in 1998 during the Clinton impeachment, Representative Pelosi warned Republicans that they were letting their emotions guide America into a dark place. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: Today, the Republican majority is not judging the president with fairness, but impeaching him with a vengeance. We are here today because the Republicans in the House are paralyzed with hatred of President Clinton. And until the Republicans free themselves of this hatred, our country will suffer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Judiciary Committee Chairman, Senator Lindsey Graham was there then, and he joins us here now tonight.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Yes, and still here.
MACCALLUM: When you look back at that, Senator, it sounds quite familiar in the reverse. What do you make of Nancy Pelosi's move here?
GRAHAM: Well, what I would -- I ask her to do is allow the House and vote whether or not they should be an impeachment inquiry. One month before the 1998 election, we had a vote in the House of Representatives, where 31 Democrats voted with all the Republicans to open an inquiry into the impeachment of President Clinton.
He was eventually denied law-license for five years and fined by the court because of his conduct. But the one thing I do believe America deserves is for every member of the House to agree to vote as to whether or not they agree there should be an inquiry of impeachment based on this transcript.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, obviously, you know, if you're going to make this kind of charge, it would be helpful if they -- if they were willing to actually take a vote on it.
GRAHAM: If I could just -- if I could just -- if I could just add this.
GRAHAM: I don't think she has the power to say we're going to open an impeachment inquiry by herself. I think every member of the House should do what we did in 1998, vote. And I can tell you, there's a Joe Cunningham, who seems like a fine fella is representing the first congressional district in South Carolina, the Charleston area along the coast. And I think it should be required to vote as to whether or not he believes the president has committed an impeachable offense.
MACCALLUM: You know, but in terms of Nancy Pelosi, you know, the president said that he doesn't think she's the Speaker of the House anymore.
MACCALLUM: He's suggesting that she -- she's not empower -- that she doesn't have the ability to control her caucus -- that she's been overrun by this -- by this momentum and this emotion which she pointed out back in 1998 was happening on she believes the Republican side.
GRAHAM: Yes. Well, I think there's a -- I think, it's true here that they wanted to impeach Trump the day he got elected. There's been a lot of people in the Democratic Party who hate Trump's guts and just after him, every minute, 24 hours a day, but she's kind of held those people at bay.
But here is what disappoints me so much. She's talking about articles of impeachment based on a phone call she had not the transcript which she had not read. She had made up her mind because she's lost control.
A whistleblower complaint is a hearsay here. The whistleblower was not on the phone call, they heard about the phone call from somebody else. And I want to know who informed the whistleblower about the phone call.
But the fact that Nancy Pelosi would argue for impeachment before she read the transcript tells me that she has lost control.
MACCALLUM: It's interesting because you say that there were 30 some Democrats back in 19 --
MACCALLUM: 31, who voted with the Republicans for that impeachment move.
MACCALLUM: The articles of impeachment.
MACCALLUM: And now, some of your colleagues are saying that they believe that there's -- that number of Republicans in the Senate who would do the same thing now. Mitt Romney spoke out about that, and he said, "It remains troubling in the extreme. It's deeply troubling," about the transcript.
She told the reporters on Wednesday when he was asked about it.
MACCALLUM: Here is Mike Murphy. He says that if there were a secret vote, 30 GOP senators would vote to impeach. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE MURPHY, FORMER ADVISOR TO JOHN MCCAIN AND MITT ROMNEY: One Republican senator told me, if it was a secret vote, 30 Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Ben Sasse, also speaking out just to -- you know, put this together.
"Republicans ought not to be circling the wagons to say there's no there, there when there's obviously lots that's very troubling here." Your thoughts.
GRAHAM: Well, number one, Senator Sasse, I like a lot. But here is what I would say to anybody. This phone call was billed as an attempt by the president of the United States to shake Ukraine down. To threaten to withhold military aid and assistance to Ukraine unless the president of the Ukraine opened an investigation against his political opponent.
If you read this transcript, that's the furthest thing from the truth. This is ridiculous. I've read the phone call transcript. The president the United States congratulated the Ukrainian president on his win. Said, we've been very generous to Ukraine. You know, Germany and other people ought to pay more. That's one of the reasons we were withholding aid.
And he did say, you know, corruptions a problem in your country. They fired this prosecutor. I heard he was a pretty good guy. But one of the reasons these fires cost Joe Biden called for him to be fired, and his son was sitting on a board of a company being investigated by that prosecutor.
That to me is not a quid pro quo. There's nothing wrong with pointing out a conflict. Joe Biden threatened to cut off aid to the Ukraine unless they fired a prosecutor who was looking at cases involving a company his son was receiving $50,000 a month.
Now, the point I'm trying to make here is there is no there, there. You can be troubled all you would like. But if this is an impeachable offense, this phone call, God help the next person to be president of the United States.
MACCALLUM: But, OK. Just to be specific, what do you -- what the president said on the call is Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. So, whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great.
Biden went around bragging that he had stopped the prosecution. So, if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me. That does not trouble you?
GRAHAM: Not at all because --
MACCALLUM: Given the fact that he -- you know, could like very likely run against Joe Biden in the presidential election.
GRAHAM: It troubles me that Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States threatened to cut off aid to the Ukraine without disclosing a conflict. There was a letter sent by Democratic senators in May 2018, threatening the Ukraine to cut off aid if they did not investigate Trump.
You're going to hear a lot more about this conflict. A quid pro quo is, if you do not do what I want, I'm going to punish you. Read this transcript. No rational person would conclude that the president of the United States were threatening to cut off aid to the Ukraine unless they did something against Joe Biden and his son.
The truth of the matter is, there was a conflict regarding the firing of the prosecutor. And if it had been a Republican who done this, it would be front-page news all over the world --
MACCALLUM: So, Senator, what are you -- what are you going to do about that? I know Ron Johnson --
MACCALLUM: There's talked about, are you going to open an investigation into Joe Biden and his son's international business activities?
GRAHAM: I like Joe Biden, he's a good friend of mine. I really honestly do like him but somebody has to look at this conflict. And I would like somebody outside of politics. I don't want to turn the Senate into the circus that the House has become.
Remember when we're told that Trump was colluding with a Russian ship, had him dead to rise. I can't believe they would talk about impeaching this president based on the transcript of this phone call. There is no there, there. So, when I hope --
MACCALLUM: So, what do you mean you want someone on the outside to investigate?
MACCALLUM: You want a -- an independent investigator? Independent prosecutor? What are you talking about?
GRAHAM: I want -- I want somebody to look at whether or not there was a conflict of interest involved in Joe Biden asking for the Ukrainian prosecutor to be fired. I want somebody to look at whether or not, the $1.5 billion given to the Hunter Biden private equity account from China was on the up and up. Because at the end of the --
MACCALLUM: No, I got you. I'm just asking, who you think that somebody should be?
GRAHAM: Yes. Well, I think it --
MACCALLUM: Should it be in your committee, for example? Should it be in the government?
GRAHAM: I don't want to turn my committee into a zoo like the House.
GRAHAM: I think these are serious problems. I'm not accusing anybody of wrongdoing. I'm accusing the system of losing its way here. Somebody needs to look at these allegations.
Trump has been looked at every way you can be looked at. He's looked at for years by Mueller. Somebody needs to look at the conflict of interest here. And at the end of the day, if you believe this is an impeachable offense or troubling, do something about it to my House colleagues.
You'd -- you owe it to the American people to vote as to whether or not you believe this is an impeachable offense.
MACCALLUM: All right. We're going to -- we're going to speak to the some of them right now on the other side of the aisle. Senator, thank you very much. Great to see you tonight.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Let's bring in our next guest. Freshman House Democrats and veterans who wrote this op-ed on Monday, explaining why they now favor an impeachment inquiry?
Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan and Congressman Gil Cisneros, joining me now. Welcome, it's good to have both of you with us tonight. And I thank you for being here.
REP. GIL CISNEROS, D-CALIF.: We thank you.
MACCALLUM: Representative Houlahan, let me start with you. What was your reaction when you read the actual transcript? And do you have any regrets about going forward with your decision in your editorial that you felt this is impeachable before you had actually seen it?
REP. CHRISSY HOULAHAN, D-PENN.: I actually would encourage every American to read the released notes from the conversation, because it's very short, only about 3-1/2 pages.
HOULAHAN: which represents a 20-minute conversation. And what I would say is our editorial that we put together as a team of seven -- people who have served in the -- in the military and otherwise before, we didn't call for impeachment. We called for -- you know, looking into this and finding out the truth. And I'm grateful that we have the very first step of that with this release of these notes from this conversation.
And I really would encourage every person to read it. It's not 400 and something pages long with the Mueller report was. That's an easy read.
MACCALLUM: No, it's an easy read. We -- you know, we all read of this morning in detail. Read it several times actually, and would recommend that everybody do that and make up their own mind.
Congressman Cisneros, you just heard Senator Graham. He says, take a vote. That's the way it happened in the past, that's the way it should happen now to open this inquiry officially.
CISNEROS: Well, like Chrissy just said, in our op-ed, we encouraged everybody that we needed to start investigations to get to the bottom of this. And that was really what we said needed to be done. And that's really what the Speaker is about doing.
This is going to be hopefully put in the hands of the Intelligence Committee, they'll investigate and they will get to the bottom of this to find out -- you know, what it was the president did. How he enticed a foreign government to get involved in our elections by withholding funds and asking him to investigate one of his potential presidents in the upcoming presidential general election.
MACCALLUM: Do you have the votes to begin that official inquiry if you were to take a vote right now?
CISNEROS: Well, right now it's not about starting an inquiry, it's about getting to the bottom of this and investigating --
MACCALLUM: I thought that what Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that they were -- which opening an official inquiry where her -- was her words. And I think a lot of people want to know, Congressman Houlahan, why not vote on it if there's such a strong feeling about this?
HOULAHAN: So, I think that it's important for people to understand that the -- and Senator Graham did sort of muddle the conversation. There's a difference between an impeachment investigation and articles of impeachment.
And I am happy -- would welcome the opportunity when and if that grave situation comes up, and I would not look forward to that to take a vote -- personal vote on the floor on articles of impeachment.
But first, we need to understand what if anything happened? And I think that we take this the -- our oath of office very, very seriously as members of service, and service, you know, Congresspeople.
This is grave, grave information that if true, we really need to get to the bottom of.
MACCALLUM: All right. This is Tulsi Gabbard today on television. One of your colleagues, also a presidential candidate, here is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TULSI GABBARD, D-HI, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you step outside of the bubble here in Washington, and you get to where most folks in the country are. Look, I'm not a lawyer, but I think most people reading through that transcript are not going to find that extremely compelling cause to throw out a president that won an election in 2016.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: She's saying when you get out there, and she goes on to criticize the president very dramatically after that, which she, of course, has done before. But she's saying, this is not going to resonate with the American people when they actually read this. Congressman Cisneros?
CISNEROS: Well, first -- well, first of all, this isn't a transcript. It's a summary of a conversation that the president had with the president of Ukraine. And it summarized. We don't know what was left out of this conversation. We don't know -- I mean, you, you, right there, when you read the memorandum, there's fine print and they're saying that this is not a transcript, this is just a summary of the conversation.
CISNEROS: This is why we are holding hearings, this is why the Intelligence Committee is going to look into this, so we can get to the bottom of this. The things that we do know is that the president withheld funds from an ally that is involved in combat against one of our adversaries -- that being Russia. And he asked them to do a favor for him and look into his potential political candidate in the upcoming general -- presidential general election. That, that --
MACCALLUM: Well, you're drawing your quid pro quo that it would be part of the investigation to figure out whether or not that was there. And the Department of Justice looked at it and said that it did not rise to the level of quid pro quo.
So, that mean, that's part of the investigation, I would assume. It's not a done deal.
CISNEROS: Well, right. And that's not part of -- you know, that's not up to the Department of Justice. The law says that when somebody comes -- the whistleblower reported this, it went to the inspector general. The inspector general thought it was involved enough the raise that he needed to raise the level of this whistleblower.
CISNEROS: And that information needs to be turned over to Congress. And right now, the administration is preventing that from happening.
MACCALLUM: I think it has been tonight. No, and the whistleblower's complaint is being viewed now by the Intelligence Committee this evening and we expect that it will come out. So, we'll see that -- when it is forthcoming. Great to have both of you with us tonight, Members of Congress Houlahan and Cisneros. Thank you very much for being here.
HOULAHAN: Thank you I appreciate your time.
CISNEROS: Thank you very much. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Absolutely. You too. So here now with more tonight Congressman Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. Good to have you with us tonight Congressman Collins. Your thoughts on all of this today having listened to this so far.
REP. DOUG COLLINS, R-GA: I think the last three minutes summed it all up. They really don't know what they're doing. And I think this is the problem that we're having. You made it very clear, the Speaker came out yesterday and said that she's starting an impeachment inquiry.
Senator Graham talked about that back with the Clinton and also the Nixon times. The inquiry actually requires a vote. What they're trying to avoid here is actually going on the record. Investigation, how many more investigations do we need to do? They not looked at the Judiciary Committee for the last nine months?
This is all we're doing. They're trying to avoid a vote on inquiry. But there's also another reason, Martha. If they actually went to an inquiry, then all of a sudden there's due process rights. There's actually process for the president in this, there's actually equal subpoena powers that have been in the previous to investigate in inquiries for both the Democrats and the Republicans. It becomes a fair hearing.
They don't want a fair hearing. They want the hearings for show. They want to put there -- only you know, ex parte, one-sided hearings. That's why they don't want to go through the inquiry and they also don't want to put themselves on record is actually doing that.
MACCALLUM: So you know, what is your sense you know, sort of after the fact, right? So they called for this official impeachment inquiry, very dramatic moment. Nancy Pelosi it comes out, stares into the camera, says this is it, it's beginning. And as you point out, and as we've discussed, there's no vote that appears to be forthcoming.
Is there any sense that having seen it now that it -- that they have jumped the gun in any of your colleagues on the other side? What feedback are you getting?
COLLINS: I think it's been muted. And I think what you just saw in the old interview is there's this round about. Well, let's discuss it. Let's have investigation. Well, the press has provided at all. I mean, we're doing this. We're seeing the transcript.
What Nancy Pelosi did yesterday was a disservice to the House. What she did yesterday hurt the institution not only of the House but also of our nation when she went ahead with an attack of an impeachment knowing that what she was asking for was simply already being done.
This is the concern. I think there's Democrats that are concerned that there are ahead of their skis a little bit on this. I think they're looking at it from a perspective of saying you know, what are we actually doing here because none of these especially the two that were previously on actually came to Congress on different agendas,
Tulsi Gabbard has it right. When you look at this transcript, when you talk about what's actually being done, this is something that the -- I think the appeasement of her base, the Speaker's base is all we're seeing here. There are other members driving this conversation. But let's be very specific. This is not about that, it's about their own agenda.
MACCALLUM: There's no doubt that that would be a very difficult vote for 20-something members of the House on a Democrat side who were elected in districts that elected President Trump to take that impeachment vote. They I'm sure are reluctant to take that vote. They know that it would be difficult for them.
So it becomes sort of just this exercise that keeps this going and going if they're not going to put their money where their mouth is and actually stand up for what they say is an egregious violation of you know, the president meddling with a foreign -- with a foreign country. I mean, either they think that or they don't think that.
COLLINS: Exactly. This was egregious. They'd have it on the floor. If they was -- it goes back to -- Miss Pelosi probably when she was a member back in the 90s when she talked about this, you know, she accused the Republicans of going forth on a motion.
There cannot be anything more pure than a motion driven for someone who goes back to 2016 on the night of the election and the tears overflowed because Hillary Clinton was not president. And now all we have seen is just a debasing of the House through rules being not followed, nothing going right because all they want to do is investigate.
And then you've had two members on just prior to this who are good members, I think honest and what they want to do, but could not answer the question that you asked them because they don't -- they try to skip the words of impeachment and inquiry and investigations. We've been doing that. it showed clearly --
MACCALLUM: Well, you know, the letter -- the transcript is out, the words are here, you know, either they think that it is a violation or it's not a violation that's impeachable and they're going to have to figure that out as they go forward. Congressman Collins, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.
COLLINS: Good to be with you, Martha. Take care.
MACCALLUM: You too. So one of the outcomes of the impeachment push is that there are now calls to investigate Joe Biden and his son's international business dealings. This is absolutely going to become a big part of this story now. Governor Huckabee and Robert Zimmerman are here up next to talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When Biden's son walks away with millions of dollars from Ukraine and he knows nothing and they're paying millions of dollars, that's corruption.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: I want somebody to look at whether or not there was a conflict of interest involved in Joe Biden asking for the Ukrainian prosecutor to be fired. I want somebody to look at whether or not the $1.5 billion given to the Hunter Biden private equity account from China was on the up and up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Senator Lindsey Graham just moments ago, Republicans are talking about opening an investigation into Joe Biden and his family's international business dealings. The New York Times reports the Democratic front runner has been on a "ferocious offensive" in public, but behind scenes that has been "enraging and uncertain time for Biden, the campaign, and for Mr. Biden himself."
Here now, Governor Mike Huckabee, former Republican Presidential Candidate, Fox News Contributor, and Robert Zimmerman Democratic Strategist and DNC member. Robert, let me start with you. Is this -- is this you know, bring it on for Joe Biden, or is it behind the scenes a little bit of concern that no matter what as this conversation continues, it's going to turn time and time again to these business dealings in China, which we haven't even heard that much about yet, and Ukraine, is this good for the campaign?
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, the reality is that's the Republican message that's coming out, of course, as we know. And frankly, I need drama go without spin. If they're going to gossip about Hunter Biden as you saw -- as you saw from Lindsey Graham, they're going to make up facts about him too and make up -- make up false rumors about him.
The reality simply is while they want to talk about Hunter Biden, Donald Trump is our president. According to the transcript -- according to the memorandum the White House released today, was on the phone with a foreign government, the president of Ukraine, and asking him to do him a favor and interfere in our American election and try to dig up dirt on his political opponents.
And that's -- we're going to talk -- they're going to talk about Hunter Biden, we are going to talk about the independent special -- the independent special counsel that in fact got the whistleblower support, a Trump appointee, no less, and came out and said this is urgent and threatens national security.
So there are substantive issues here about the president abusing his power, about once again welcoming foreign government, attacking our democracy, and undermining our American electoral system for his own benefits. That's what is going to be the focus of the election.
MACCALLUM: There's no doubt that there will be a lot of digging into these business dealings. It goes with the territory here, Governor Huckabee. But you know, as you hear from Robert Zimmerman, he thinks it's going to be not great for both sides.
MIKE HUCKABEE, CONTRIBUTOR: I'm sure nobody's going to enjoy this. I will say it's too bad the Emmys over. Robert, we would give you an Emmy for that performance. You were very convincing. But here's the fact that you've got to look at. Donald Trump released the transcript. Why? Because here was nothing that he had to worry about. He didn't put any pressure. There was no quid pro quo.
Now we see that Democrats in Congress aren't Congress people, they're clairvoyance because they already in advance of the release of the transcript decided what was in it. That was amazing. And this is the same group of people including Adam Schiff who said we've got the evidence on Russia. It turned out he didn't.
Today he came out and said oh it's worse than I ever thought. I laughed out loud. I was in the car listening to that. I laughed out loud and I said you know, as we're sitting here today, we're talking and there are people having dinner all across America. Martha, I assure you that only the people who hate Donald Trump are in a froth over this. Most people are just rolling their eyes --
ZIMMERMAN: I know they're the people, Governor who love the Constitution and respects our constitutional process, want to see the facts come forward. And they want to ask the question, if the transcript or the memorandum the president put out reveal.
He's holding up $400 million from Ukraine as they're trying to defend themselves from Russia. He's holding up military assistance and he's asking them to do him a favor. They're asking him to -- he's asking them to help them politically.
HUCKABEE: He did not.
ZIMMERMAN: Governor, if you ever watch an episode of The Sopranos, you would know what a shakedown is. And this is nothing more than an old- fashioned shakedown and a gross abuse of presidential power.
MACCALLUM: Well, you know, the --
HUCKABEE: You've got the talking --
MACCALLUM: No, I mean, the quid pro quo is what a lot of people think. When they look at this, Robert, it's actually not there. We listened to the president of Ukraine today. He said he didn't feel like this was a shakedown.
ZIMMERMAN: Martha, what's he going to say? He needs --
MACCALLUM: I'm just telling you, that's what he said. I mean, you know, he --
ZIMMERMAN: I would say that if I were the president of Ukraine. He needs -- he needs the United States to defend him.
MACCALLUM: How about this?
ZIMMERMAN: The reality is though, clearly the money was being held up until Democrats in Congress started inquiring about it. Then it was released. And at the same time, the money is held up, the president's asking for a favor. You do the math on that.
MACCALLUM: Well, you know, it's also -- but also in the transcript is the President explaining in great detail before any of this ever came out that he's really not happy with the fact that other European countries are not doing their part which is why he says he was holding back that money because he wanted them all to rally. And the President of Ukraine says yes, so do I. I think that's a big problem too.
ZIMMERMAN: Martha, he's given --
MACCALLUM: So that corroborates what he said about his reasoning for not putting out that money.
ZIMMERMAN: Martha, he's given three different explanations as to why. At first he denied it ever happening, and then he -- first he denied it, then he said he wouldn't comment on it, Rudy Giuliani lied about whether he asked the Ukrainian government to in fact investigate Joe Biden's son. And so there are lots of explanations they put forward.
MACCALLUM: I just don't know -- I want to get back to the governor but I don't -- the governor may be right.
HUCKABEE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: And the fact that most people around the table are not paying a whole lot of attention to this tonight, maybe that's true, maybe it isn't. The polls show that people do not want the president impeached. Governor Huckabee?
HUCKABEE: You know, Robert has got the talking points now, but let's just be real clear. If the Democrats want to impeach Donald Trump, I say go for it. Get out there and go for it. If you think it's a constitutional crisis and you just said you did, then you have every obligation to go impeach him.
So quit talking about it and do it. Just go for it and see how the American people respond to the Democrats not doing anything about border security, not doing anything about taxpayer-funded late-term abortion, not doing anything about taxes and regulations, and instead going after Donald Trump to impeach him.
Good luck with that. I say go for it. You've got a constitutional crisis. You're convinced you do. So pull the rope, start the motor, let's make it happen and see what happens a year and two months from now in the election.
ZIMMERMAN: Governor, Governor, the Democrats in the House --
MACCALLUM: I think they both (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- have passed over 40 pieces of legislation, the Republican Senate has only looked at 50 of them. We've done our legislative homework.
MACCALLUM: Robert, would you insist that this both be taken in the House?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not. We have to first get our facts, first have hearings and bring --
MACCALLUM: Wait a minute, yesterday Nancy Pelosi stood in front of a camera --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
MACCALLUM: -- wide-eyed and said today is the day, it is official --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct.
MACCALLUM: -- we are now opening this inquiry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
MACCALLUM: Typically, as we've seen in the past, that means that everybody is ready to vote --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it doesn't.
MACCALLUM: -- on a procedure beginning for the investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't vote articles of impeachment --
MACCALLUM: Absolutely not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and so you have a congressional hearings.
MACCALLUM: You don't want anyone to --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's how it works.
HUCKABEE: Stand up and do your inquiry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) and do your investigative work, which Governor Huckabee doesn't want to get near.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then after you do your investigation, then you have your vote on articles of impeachment.
MACCALLUM: Just 21 Democrats in moderate counties they -- in moderate districts they do not want to vote on this.
HUCKABEE: Go for it, Robert. Go for it, Robert.
MACCALLUM: And you know they don't want to vote on this one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why we are going to have -- that's why we're going to have these investigations, collect the facts and hold this -- and stand up for our constitutional problems.
MACCALLUM: And yes, months and months and months. Probably --
HUCKABEE: Yes. That's what it's about. It's all about the Constitution.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, guys, very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Robert (Inaudible), always a pleasure, Governor Huckabee, always a pleasure. Thank you, gentlemen.
So, with Joe Biden shielding attacks on his family's business dealings, is Trump -- is the Trump campaign worried about Warren waiting in the wings as she rises in the polls?
Twenty-twenty campaign advisor Lara Trump coming up next.
MACCALLUM: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani closing the door in negotiations with the United States, accusing the U.S. of economic terrorism and issuing a chilling warning to foreign adversaries who dare interfere in his country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): I hail from a country that has resisted the most merciless economic terrorism and will never negotiate with an enemy that seeks to make Iran surrender with a weapon of property, pressure, and sanctions. We shall not tolerate provocative intervention of foreigners. We shall respond decisively and strongly to any sort of transgression.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Joining me now, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell. He has made it very clear he wants everyone out of this region.
RICHARD GRENELL, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY: I mean, look, this is a guy who is saying that Israel supports ISIS. I'm not sure that we can -- we can really deal with this -- (CROSSTALK)
MACCALLUM: Yes, he did, he said that in his interview with Chris Wallace.
GRENELL: Yes. And we can't really take him seriously. You know, they're on Twitter, they're on social media, but the people of Iran are not.
MACCALLUM: No. That's exactly right.
GRENELL: And it's crazy to me that we are allowing him to have this platform. You know, I've actually written DOJ and said you've got to really look at this because we've consistently have people like Zarif, who -- the foreign minister, who is out there pushing messages on social media, on American platforms, and yet his own people aren't allowed to be on those platforms. That hypocrisy, to me, is too much, especially when we have sanctions on the country.
MACCALLUM: So, with regard to the deal, the JCPOA, it looks to me like President Trump has now put himself squarely in the center of a possible renegotiation of that deal with these intense sanctions.
GRENELL: Through diplomacy. Through diplomacy. And look, this is a huge win for the president and for Secretary Pompeo. They have painstakingly over the last year pushed the Europeans on every level to say look at the facts and remind them that we actually share the same goal.
If you look at the European statements, whether it's when they pulled out of the JCPOA or even now, they always say we share the same goal with the Americans. We want to deny Iran a nuclear weapon. We just have a different tactic, and so what we've been able to do through diplomacy is prove to the Europeans that their tactic is working to reach us to the goal, so this is a big win that people are talking about.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, there are a lot of Iranians who are glad that we are putting the sanction squeeze on his leadership because they are not giving them any room to breathe. And you've been working on trying to get these German companies to leave Iran, to put their money where their mouth is on this issue, how is that going?
GRENELL: Look, we have a U.S. policy that is sanctions on Iran and all I'm trying to do is articulate to European businesses and German businesses that they have a choice. They can either do business with United States, or they can do business with Iran, but you can't do both.
MACCALLUM: So, just quickly on the Ukraine, John Kerry sort of popped his head up on us today and said, "The investigation will flush more rats from the sewers, Rudy, exclamation point. But don't get lost in the weeds of quid pro quo. The president abused his power to bully an ally into becoming his campaign's opposition research arm. If it wasn't already a constitutional crisis, it is now."
You were just in Ukraine last week.
GRENELL: Yes. Well, I was in Ukraine to announce the first corporate sponsor for the decriminalization of homosexuality, the campaign that President Trump talked about at the U.N. and that is pushing, so let's be very clear for why I was there.
By the way, nobody covered that, you know. Nobody talked about it in the media. I don't think we even had one publication talk about how important that step was, thanks to President Trump's commitment on this issue.
MACCALLUM: Well, that's exactly what I wanted to ask you in my last question, which is, have there they been concrete steps, because we heard the president bring this issue up at the end of his address and you feel that there are concrete steps that he is taking?
GRENELL: Absolutely, we are making a lot of progress. I will say that we just found out that Beirut Pride in Lebanon has canceled its opening concert because the government of Lebanon could not guarantee the safety of people going to the concert.
So, I think we've got more work to do. We've got to try to do everything that we can. Seventy-one countries criminalize homosexuality. Six countries will kill you for it. That's unacceptable. It is against the U.N.'s Declaration of Human Rights. I don't think you can be a member of the U.N. in good standing if you're not upholding the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights.
MACCALLUM: It would be great to hear more outcry from people here in the United States about this issue who, you know, are aggrieved at much smaller things -- not that you're not allowed to be agreed, but this is a very serious international issue.
MACCALLUM: So, thank you, Ric, for bringing it to our attention today. Ambassador to Germany for us. Thank you. Great to see you.
So, we are getting fresh reactions tonight in from intelligence committee members who have now reviewed the whistleblower complaint that everybody wanted to get their hands on and see. So, what's in there? Breaking details on that next.
MACCALLUM: Brand new tonight, a short time ago, the director of national intelligence, the office of DNI that you've heard so much about over the past couple of days, has now delivered that whistleblower's complaint at the center of all of this against President Trump.
And tonight, that document has been reviewed by members of Congress who serve on our intelligence committees.
Correspondent Gillian Turner has been working her sources in Washington and she joins us now with the details tonight. Hi, Gillian, what did you find out?
GILLIAN TURNER, CORRESPONDENT: So, Martha, the House and Senate intel committees are both looking at copies of the complaint and they began reviewing the document in separate closed-door sessions about 4.30 and they are now starting to weigh in with their reaction.
Senator Schumer tells Fox News, "Having read the documents in there, I'm even more worried about what happened than it was when I read the memorandum of the conversation. There are so many facts that have to be examined, it's very troubling."
He also says it should be released to the public immediately. Senator Warner, vice chair of the intel committee, says "I'm still processing this. It will make all the more important to get some questions cleared up tomorrow."
President Trump, meanwhile, insists the White House was always going to release this complaint to Congress as the administration is required to do by law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I've spoken with Leader Kevin McCarthy and the Republicans, many of them, and we were going to do this anyway, but I've informed them, all of the House members, that I fully support transparency on the so-called whistleblower information, even though it was supposedly secondhand information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TURNER: Sources explain the reason whistleblower complaints are often held close to the vest is to protect the identity of the person that's filing them. As of this hour, we know whatever is in my complaint was enough to compel the inspector general of the intel community to determine that it was urgent.
We don't know, Martha, a whole lot about the whistleblower themselves, but insiders say it's likely they work in intelligence and they weren't a first-hand source, meaning they didn't actually hear that July 25th phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine. Martha?
MACCALLUM: Yes. And you and I will be on the Hill tomorrow in those committee talking about that with all of them, we don't know if any of that will be open. It isn't generally, but we will see what happens there. Gillian, thank you very much.
TURNER: You bet.
MACCALLUM: So, 2020 campaign senior advisor Lara Trump response to critics who claim the president was wrong to offer Ukraine Justice Department helped to investigate Joe Biden. She's here next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is not a matter of politics, this is a matter of constitutional responsibility.
WARREN: Nobody is above the law, not even the president of the United States. If Congress does not hold this man accountable, then he will break the law again and again and again, it is time for impeachment now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Elizabeth Warren a short time ago at a town hall in New Hampshire. A new national poll puts her with a slight lead now over Joe Biden. And there are new reports tonight that Trump insiders are worried about her slow and steady rise.
Joining me now, Lara Trump, senior advisor to the Trump 2020 campaign. Are you one of them, Lara Trump, are you worried about Elizabeth Warren?
LARA TRUMP, SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN: We are not worried about Elizabeth Warren. I've told you many times, Martha, we --
MACCALLUM: I know you're not worried about anybody, but as she starts --
L. TRUMP: We're not.
MACCALLUM: -- to rise and one of the GOP consultants was quoted as saying that she's had a populist streak to match Trump and I think it would make her tougher to beat than a lot of people realize.
L. TRUMP: Well, I've said always that we were never worried about Joe Biden. Now you see that he is sort of slipping behind, for many reasons I think, in the polls.
The thing with Elizabeth Warren that you have to keep in mind is she is very far left. I think a lot of folks who may have considered voting for someone like Joe Biden are going to be very turned off by ideas like universal health care, which would essentially force 200 million Americans off of private health insurance.
You look at the fact that she wants open borders, health care for illegal immigrants, champion's ideas that are so far left and really so far out of touch with such -- with so many things that people in this country agree with, I don't know that many people could stand to vote for her.
MACCALLUM: All right. So, with regard to Joe Biden, what's the campaign's aggressiveness level on these issues of Ukraine and China? Is Rudy Giuliani going to be the face of that? Because he has had there's videos coming out on China. Is he going to be the person who we're going to see digging into Joe Biden's past?
L. TRUMP: Well, as far as Rudy Giuliani is concerned, that's between Mr. Giuliani and the president. At the campaign, we are still focused on why people are going to reelect Donald Trump. And it's because their life is so much better now.
Our focus has always been on the results that this president has produced. It has nothing to do with Ukraine, although it doesn't look very good for Joe Biden and his son, what we have seen possibly happen there, but that's not a focus of ours. We are still focused on making sure that the American people are reminded why they need four more years of Donald Trump. Because he's been so great for this country.
MACCALLUM: All right. So, let me ask you about this Ukraine issue because I'm sure at the campaign and I would imagine at the White House, when the Mueller thing was over, it was like OK, that's done, two and a half years of that. Right?
L. TRUMP: Yes.
MACCALLUM: So then, the next day the president is on the phone with the president of Ukraine and he says this. So, whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution. So, if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me.
Why would the president, given what he had just gotten through, ever bring up his potential political rival in 2020 on a phone call with a foreign leader?
L. TRUMP: Well, nothing he said was illegal, nothing he said was wrong and obviously, he is very happy to share the transcript of this call with the American people, because nothing he said --
MACCALLUM: Again, but why hand the opposition this big piece of juicy steak that they are going to chew on for months and months? I mean, why -- I just think a lot of people look at that and say why on earth would the president bring that up with this, in this phone call, why give your opposition that material?
L. TRUMP: Well, you see now what has happened. You see that even before seeing what was in that phone call, the Democrats pounced on this and called for impeachment inquiries.
Listen, I think that that looks really bad for the Democrats. The majority of Americans do not want impeachment of any president, so maybe it's to their demise. Maybe he is smarter than all of us, Martha, and maybe he thought one day somebody would try to say that he did the wrong thing. I don't know.
Nothing he did was wrong and that is the bottom line here and people can try and spin it anyway they want, I know the Democrats are having a field day with it, but at the end of the day, they have now back themselves into a corner trying to say that this is why they should impeach this president. They've been trying to impeach him since day one because they are still are not over the fact that Donald Trump won in 2016.
MACCALLUM: All right. Well, the campaign said it raised $5 million. I've got to leave it there.
L. TRUMP: We did.
MACCALLUM: Thank you very much, Lara. Good to see you tonight.
L. TRUMP: Thanks.
MACCALLUM: More of “The Story” coming up next. Stay with us.
MACCALLUM: All right. More than 20 children of firefighters killed on 9/11 or from related illnesses graduated from the New York City Fire Department Academy this Tuesday. It is the largest group of legacy graduates ever, and we thank them for their service to this great city of New York. Thank you, guys.
That's “The Story.” We'll see you tomorrow.
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