This is a rush transcript from "The Story," October 3, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR: Good evening, John. Thank you very much. Hello, everybody. So, this presidency has been pretty much on the verge of implosion, if you follow the whole thing so many times that it's hard to keep track of all the times that the president's critics have said, this time it's over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.: There is ample evidence of collusion in plain sight.
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: I use the term that this is nothing short of treasonous because it is a betrayal of the nation. He is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, D-MD: Those in highest levels of the government must stop invoking fear using racist language and encouraging reprehensible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, you can go all the way back to the beginning to the Access Hollywood tape, to the dossier of escapades in Russian hotels, to on acted on threats to remove the special counsel. Accusations of racism, financial investigations, all leading, so far, to deep disappointment from his accusers. But like Godzilla or the Teflon President Bill Clinton, he keeps fending off the incoming.
Now, this week, the Twitter activity is in overdrive. Reports of a Cat 5 storm in the White House as many say, this time they believe it is different.
But the president says in a very interesting interview, he can take it. He tells Michael Goodwin in the New York Post, "It sounds strange to say I'm energized, but I love it." He says he's feeling good, joking that it must be a personality defect. He adds, these people are so corrupt, they are cons, they just want to win an election.
When asked does he have a war room for impeachment? No war room, he says. "I've got a very good people, good lawyers, good White House counsel." The act scene is potentially impeachable as an abuse of power. The discussion of pushing for a Biden investigation in Ukraine, now, he is not running from that at all. In fact, he owning it and doubling down on it. That is the strategy.
In fact, now, and -- at the White House today, he says he wants China also to look into the Biden's as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: China just started investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened to China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: But those who think that the president deserves to be impeached do not by the Teflon story. They are convinced that it is finally all coming apart. And they wonder when it does, how will the president take it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, MSNBC: I don't know how he's going to behave when it gets to the point where he is impeached. He's never really gotten in trouble for anything in his life. So, what -- how does he behave? Does he get sort of more aggressive or does he collapse?
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, HOST, ABC: He's going to fall down on the floor, he's going to kick his legs, and will go, I'm not going!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: All right. So, joining me now to talk about this and his role in all of this as well as John Solomon. Executive vice president of The Hill, who's reporting on the Ukraine story which we'll get into a -- in a moment has been at the center of a lot of this controversy. He was even cited in the whistleblower's report. John, good to have you here this evening.
JOHN SOLOMON, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, THE HILL: Good to be with you.
MACCALLUM: Thank you for being here. So, you know, first of all, just a big picture in terms of that introduction. You know, in terms of whether or not this time it is different for this president. What's your take?
SOLOMON: You know, I think we're very early in the process. There's investigative process going on and there's a lot of facts not yet in evidence, right? We really need to know what actually happened. Was the aid withheld because of the investigation? Was it withheld for entirely different reasons that are in the scope of the president's powers?
SOLOMON: We don't know those things yet. Let me throw one wrinkle into this that people don't -- who don't follow this closely, don't realize. At the time the president was allegedly pressing for an investigation of Ukraine, Ukraine had already reopened the Burisma investigation. You can check this with the general prosecutor's office in Ukraine.
March 28th, 2019 way before the president ever pressed President Zelensky, the prosecutor general's office re-announced and they filed a notice of suspicion that they were reopening the Burisma case and specifically looking at transactions the Hunter Biden's company.
That is not in doubt. You can call the Ukrainian prosecutor's office get that fact. Those are the sort of facts when you put them on a timeline that we have to meet out before we come to a conclusion.
MACCALLUM: All right. OK, well, that -- it raises an interesting question because when you go back and you look into all of this, it appears that both Joe Biden and President Trump have been pushing the Ukrainians to do things that work better for them, right?
MACCALLUM: That worked better for the way that they see the world. Joe Biden felt that there was a corrupt prosecutor, he wanted that person moved aside. We know that, that person had been looking into Burisma, there's questions about the timeline, which I know you can address.
On the other side, you have President Trump and his people who believe that the Ukrainians were involved in helping Hillary Clinton. That she had tapped into them in terms of finding dirt on Paul Manafort. They want the people who were supportive of that side of the equation out.
So, you know, are they both in essence really trying to do the same thing in their own best interest on both sides?
SOLOMON: I've said for a long time, Ukraine is one of the biggest political footballs in diplomatic space, right?
MACCALLUM: Yes, (INAUDIBLE).
SOLOMON: People always have been playing with it for years and it's close to Russia, it's important to us strategically, and particularly, when an election comes down, you see the Ukrainians are always somehow involved in our election. Not in a tampering way, but people are thinking about and mobilizing and talking to them.
SOLOMON: Because Russia is so important and Ukraine is so close. But you know, there are facts and evidence. Listen, it is irrefutable that the Democratic National Committee through a contractor asked the Ukrainian embassy in Washington for dirt on Donald Trump and Paul Manafort.
Today, The New York Times has an article out, they confirm that again. That's my story, political story. There is irrefutable testimony that the wife of Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, working for the Fusion GPS contractor doing opposition research for Hillary Clinton. She states she got some of her dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Ukraine government official. She then gave it to her husband and forward it to the FBI.
SOLOMON: So, in the eye of the beholder, is that collusion? Or people trying to meddle in the election or are they simply, you know, playing games of the politics?
SOLOMON: And we need to find more facts out before we know. But these are facts that are not in dispute anymore.
MACCALLUM: All right, let's address what came to the surface yesterday with regard to you. And I should point out that you've had a long career in journalism, the Washington Post, the A.P., and The Hill.
MACCALLUM: So, this bit of -- you know, these documents that Rudy Giuliani put forward to the State Department, which as I understand it was then handed on to the FBI that was basically making his case against Joe Biden. Saying, you need to look into all of this. It included a story that you wrote.
MACCALLUM: And that is sort of being used against you. You know, some reporters out there are saying, you know, that John Solomon -- you know, used to be a great reporter but now, you know, he's just always sort of, you know, writing stories that are more benefits the President Trump.
In fact, this is Chris Hayes on MSNBC last night. I want to give you a chance to respond to this. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, ALL IN HOST, MSNBC: A lot of it as you said is debunked conspiracy theories. But my sense is from the tweets of Rudy Giuliani, the tweets of Don Jr., and the reporting of -- if you can call it that John Solomon at The Hill, there's a whole right-wing narrative about this sort of Ukrainian efforts to entrap the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, he says and many others say that you're just feeding this narrative and that all of the things that you talk about that Joe Biden's son was -- you know, that it was crooked -- all of that has been debunked and people need to get over it. What do you say to that?
SOLOMON: What I say is read my stories, download my documents, cite one fact that has been actually disputed in my stories, they have them. People could have said the same thing after 9/11. I'm the reporter that broke most of the stories about how the FBI failed to connect the dots.
MACCALLUM: That's right.
SOLOMON: People could have said then, listen, he's just feeding a narrative against President Bush's administration. I've done the same reporting for my entire life. I always put my documents out, everything is on the record.
I defy someone to come on and show a fact that I got wrong. No one they're ad hominem attacking McCarthy-like attacks. But they're not providing any evidence that I have a fact wrong in a story. And the reason why is you can click on every one of my stories and get the documents, get the transcripts, get the videotape, and see that what I've reported is true.
MACCALLUM: Let me ask you about this ambassador. Because it's clear -- let's just pull up the transcript part of the Zelensky phone call.
MACCALLUM: The President believes that the ambassador needed to go, Ambassador Yovanovitch. And she did lose her job.
MACCALLUM: She was pushed -- she was pushed out, she was sent back home. And he says to Zalensky, "The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news."
The conversation goes on like this. Zelensky says, "It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100 percent."
What was she doing that was bad and why was she pushed out?
SOLOMON: So, what I know -- these are facts and evidence. A year before that conversation with President Zelensky, the chairman of the House Rules Committee came back from a codel to Ukraine. His name is Pete Sessions of Texas.
And he wrote a letter to Mike Pompeo, saying, while I was over there, I found out that Ambassador Yovanovitch was badmouthing President Trump. You should remove her on those grounds.
That is a year before that conversation with President Zelensky ever occurred. So, we know that complaints started then. In the fall of 2018, multiple prosecutors for the Ukraine prosecutor's office reached out to me. This is before Rudy Giuliani ever got involved in anything that I know of.
Again, I don't know what's the timeline? But it seems to be before he was involved. They were reaching out to me, saying, listen, your embassy and your ambassador are doing things that make us very concerned. They're telling us who we can and can't prosecute.
And they gave me a letter from the embassy in which the embassy said, you guys at the Ukrainian prosecutor's office, you can't touch this George Soros group, hands-off, back down.
That's unusual for a U.S. embassy to get involved in the internal affairs of Ukraine.
SOLOMON: All of that predates, the hubbub that then comes in when Rudy Giuliani gets involved. In December of '18, I was told by a White House official, President Trump was considering firing that ambassador. I tried for months to confirm, I never could confirm that.
And -- but I wrote my story based on the evidence I had. And then, you know, events played out. And you can see, President Zelensky's complaint about the ambassador was she wasn't recognizing him as the official ambassador or the official president of Ukraine.
MACCALLUM: That's a trouble.
SOLOMON: That seems to be a legitimate reason to recall ambassador. If the current president in that country doesn't get along with that ambassador, there's often a good reason to replace that ambassador, or even if she didn't do anything wrong.
MACCALLUM: Yes. John Solomon, always good to talk to you, sir. Thank you very much.
SOLOMON: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Thanks for being here tonight.
SOLOMON: Appreciate it.
MACCALLUM: So, just breaking moments ago, Axios is reporting that President Trump is preparing to send Speaker Pelosi a letter as early as Friday, saying that the White House will ignore lawmaker demands for documents until Speaker Pelosi holds a full House vote formally approving an impeachment inquiry.
This is the way has always been done. They're trying to get away with not doing it this way for a number of reasons. We'll tell you what's going on when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: We are proceeding deliberately. But at the same time, we feel a real sense of urgency here that this work needs to get done and these get done in a responsible period of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So here is Eric Swalwell and several members of the House Intel Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee, they have all been in there and listening to Kurt Volker who was the envoy to the Ukraine. Just listen just for a second here. He's talking a little bit about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL, D-CALIF.: -- investigation into the 2016 election and the Bidens. That was a predicate for getting them aid. Second, that there is this linkage, at least a concern expressed by one State Department official that security assistance was being held up unless an investigation was taking place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
SWALWELL: You know, we have a release coming out momentarily that will you know, I think characterize a lot of this and also provide a lot of evidence that was turned over to us. I think that'll be pretty helpful for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: All right, we told you a little while ago, this is the Volker hearing, Kurt Volker hearing behind closed doors. Moments ago, Mark Meadows, the congressman also came out. He said that what he learned in there is that there was no quid pro quo in terms of any agreement with the Ukraine and the president with regard to investigations. So we're going to have more on that in just a little bit.
But now, Attorney General Bill Barr is overseeing a global investigation into all of this in the 2016 campaign and his concerns about what may or may not have happened then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, I think spying did occur.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, let me --
BARR: But the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated. And I'm not suggesting it wasn't adequately predicated, but I need to explore that. I think it's my obligation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So now you've got former CIA Director, John Brennan, who has been at the center of many questions about how the surveillance of the Trump campaign members got started in the first place, is "concerned about what Bill Barr is up to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: Given that that Barr is now accompanying Durham on these things, it really makes me think that the hand of politics and of Trump are now being used to massage what is this ongoing review, quasi investigation is, so I am concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So now he is concerned about what Bill Barr is doing out there in the world. Joining me now, Jason Chaffetz former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee and a Fox News Contributor. Good to see you tonight, Jason. So why is -- why is Brendan surprised, why is he concerned here about Bill Barr's investigation, which has been very transparent and forthcoming in terms of what the goals of seeking it out is?
JOHN CHAFFETZ, CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Once upon a time, the Democrats were deeply concerned about overseas influence. And as the Trump administration, not under Senator or A.G. Sessions, but under A.G. Barr have been able to uncover, there is a lot of evidence more than smoking -- you know, smoking guns, there's actual evidence out there.
This is Attorney General Barr doing his job. It's President Trump doing his job to get to the -- to the bottom of this. All of a sudden then pops up the Hunter Biden stuff along the way. But Brennan, in particular, has been, you know, implicated indirectly. That is the subject of a lot of this investigation that as the director of the CIA, and potentially Clapper, the head of the Director of National Intelligence, were openly involved and engaged.
And if you're going to get to the bottom of the FISA abuse, you have to understand what those two gentlemen were doing or not doing. And Barr has to pursue those facts.
MACCALLUM: I mean, it's no secret that John Brennan despises President Trump and I think that's a very fair word, you know, just given his own statements on this. Here is a tweet that he sent out a while back. He says, "Whenever you send out such inane tweets, I take great solace in knowing how that you realize how much trouble you are in and how impossible it will be for you to escape American justice. Mostly, I'm relieved that you will never have the opportunity to run for public office," he said.
And then let's go to the March 25th quick set from John Brennan we're -- this is after Robert Mueller comes out and says we found no connection between the Trump campaign and any foreign influence from foreign governments. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: I don't know if I received bad information, but I think I suspected that there was more than there actually was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: I mean, that -- I think that was a very significant moment. And now he is still throwing shade over this Bill Barr investigation, in terms of trying to find out the other side of the equation, which was never looked into by the mother, folks for two years.
CHAFFETZ: I think Brennan and Clapper have both shown their political bias. I think they're frightened to death that the Michael Horowitz report is on the verge of coming out, that Mr. Durham has been on their tail, that the truth is going to be exposed.
These are all people that thought for sure that Hillary Clinton was going to be the next president. It would have all been covered up. It would have been -- you know, people like me, when I was the chairman of the Oversight Committee, would never be able to see it.
But here comes Donald Trump and gets an attorney general who is doing his job. And to actually get on a plane, go to Italy, go see it for himself, is exactly what I want in an attorney general. Barr is doing the right thing.
MACCALLUM: I mean, in terms of, you know, Mifsud, and Alexander Downer, I mean, these are -- that's Australia and that was also a meeting to happen in Italy and London. You know, these are the people that there are concerns where they sort of sent out there to kind of plumb the vulnerable folks who had just joined the Trump campaign and say, I've got some really great information for you. The question is who sent them out, right?
CHAFFETZ: Yes. Where did the money flow? We know that the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton campaign, they had supposedly millions of dollars flowing overseas, something these Democrats today is so bad, but they were doing it to try to dig up dirt and the genesis of this bogus report that was put together, the dossier to form the fights abuse to spy on a presidential campaign. I meant, that's exactly what Donald Trump said he was going to do is get to the bottom of it.
MACCALLUM: Well, that's what we need to know and we'll see. You know, we'll see what's in the I.G. report. We'll see what's in the Barr investigation when it all comes out. And we'll see you know, who's right in the end. Good to see you tonight, Jason Chaffetz. Thank you very much, sir.
So moments ago, we are now confirming the report that we told you about. The White House is preparing a letter saying that they will not comply with the request for documents from the House. They won't do that, they say, until Speaker Pelosi holds a formal vote which is what's typically done it happened in the Clinton impeachment trial, happened in -- or the hearings that led to it, happen in the Nixon ones as well.
They've not done that yet. And therefore there's no process here to work under. That's the concern that Kevin McCarthy expressed and now the White House as well, when we come back. Stay with us.
MACCALLUM: We are back and there is breaking news tonight on this story. For 9-1/2 hours today, Kurt Volker, the former envoy to Ukraine was behind closed doors with several members of committees on the Hill, Foreign Affairs, intelligence, talking about what the process was with the Ukraine with individuals there, whether or not the Trump administration was asking them for anything in return for aid to that country.
So my next guest just came out of that closed-door hearing with Kurt Volker, the State Department's former special Ukraine envoy, Republican Congressman Scott Perry, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. So good to have you here this evening, sir.
REP. SCOTT PERRY, R-PENN.: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: What was -- what was your reaction to what Mr. Volker had to say in there? What did you learn?
PERRY: Well, first of all, I would just say you really couldn't have been more professional and more credible witness and more knowledgeable about Ukraine. And so a couple of things, I would call Mr. Ambassador Volker, the star witness named in the so-called whistleblower report. And everything he said, unsubstantiated this claim of a quid pro quo. I mean, there was just absolutely nothing there.
And as a matter of fact, I found it particularly interesting when we went through the text messages where he was asked to read a text message that there's a conversation between him and some other folks regarding Ukraine. And this is how it went, Martha.
It said, as the President has made it crystal clear, there will be no quid pro quo whatsoever. And that really told the story, but 9-1/2 hours of essentially just tearing down the narrative of Speaker Pelosi and the impeachment narrative regarding the President of Ukraine.
MACCALLUM: So, you know, I'm sure this doesn't come as a shock that people on the other side of the aisle from you are interpreting what happened in there differently. The New York Times came out with a story just moments ago that says Trump envoys pushed Ukraine to commit to investigations.
It says that there was a statement that marks new evidence of how Mr. Trump's fixation with Ukraine began driving senior diplomats to Ben foreign policy to the President's political agenda in the weeks after the July 25 call between the two leaders. What's your reaction to that?
PERRY: Well, from the testimony I heard today which was directly from first party, you know, the ambassador to Ukraine and dealing with the principles in Ukraine, they never expressed that to him in any way at any time. They never expressed it. So if you're hearing that report, I'm not sure where it's coming from but --
MACCALLUM: Well, let me ask -- you mentioned texts, and maybe you can help clarify this other text. It says that Mr. Volker disclosed a set of text messages in September. So this is a couple of months after the transcribed phone call that we've all see now. He disclosed a set of texts in September in which Bill Taylor, a top American diplomat in Ukraine alluded to Mr. Trump's decision earlier in the summer to freeze a military aid package to the country.
He told Mr. Sondland and Mr. Volker, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance to help with a political campaign, and then after speaking with Mr. Trump, Mr. Sondland texted back and said, I suggest that we stop the back and forth via text. Can you explain that?
REP. SCOTT PERRY, R-PENN.: Yes. There is a greater context to that --
PERRY: -- and I don't want to get into too much of it because it was in the SCIF. But that was one person's viewpoint of the situation at hand --
PERRY: -- but there was much more to it than that. That is just a very small part of pages and pages of texts and discussion right around that period.
MACCALLUM: All right. But your big take away is that you felt that his testimony showed that there was no quid -- no attachment to the funding and the military deal with regard to investigating Joe Biden or his son? Is that your take away?
PERRY: That's what I got from nine and a half hours today. Yes.
MACCALLUM: All right, sir, thank you very much, Representative Perry.
PERRY: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you tonight. Thank you for coming (Inaudible) for us.
PERRY: Good to see you.
MACCALLUM: All right. Ari Fleischer and Juan Williams on all of this when we come back.
MACCALLUM: So very important element of this whole issue of impeachment because you hear the seriousness with which Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff are saying that the president's actions have required them constitutionally to move forward with impeachment proceedings, impeachment hearings, whatever you want to call it at this stage of the game on the House side.
Then you've got the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy today who wrote to the speaker and said, you need to suspend this inquiry until we have an agreed-upon process.
Pelosi then collapsed back in a letter of her own, writing, "There is no requirement under the Constitution under House rules or House precedent that the whole House vote before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry."
But why not vote? Well, former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy suggests the following reasons. Quote, "What is portrayed as an impeachment inquiry is actually just a made for cable TV political soap opera," he writes. "The House of Representatives is not conducting a formal impeachment inquiry. To the contrary, congressional Democrats are conducting the 2020 political campaign," he writes.
Andy McCarthy says that this is committee business as it stands right now, no different than what Jerry Nadler started, "gussied up," in his words, "to look like serious impeachment business."
So, what is going on here? Here now, Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary and Fox News contributor, and Juan Williams, Fox News political analysis and co-host of The Five.
You also have the White House weighing in tonight, saying, you know, subpoena, you know, subpoena -- I mean, we are not sending anything until there is actually some kind of process here under which we all understand how this is going to work.
That is the way it happened in the Nixon impeachment process, in the Clinton impeachment process. Juan, isn't that a fair task on the part of the White House and the Republicans at this point?
JUAN WILLIAMS, POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it's a strategy. I mean, it's distract, delay all in service --
MACCALLUM: Why don't they want to vote?
WILLIAMS: They don't need to vote. They don't set the executive. It's an independent branch. We have three branches of government. And the executive does not set the rules for the legislative branch and its conduct of oversight of the executive.
MACCALLUM: It is far, I think it's fair to say, just looking at this and looking at all sides, Ari, that when you're going to start subpoenaing and then, you know, Mike Pompeo at the State Department says, we're not -- we're not -- I'm not putting my people out there, we're not sending anything, you haven't given us -- you don't have subpoena power because you haven't started an official inquiry. We can't just make up the rules as we go along here. This is extremely serious stuff and you are putting people on the line. Is he right or wrong, Ari?
ARI FLEISCHER, CONTRIBUTOR: Look, here's the problem the Democrats have. You cannot complain that Donald Trump violates norms and traditions and to get him, you violate norms and traditions.
There are precedents. Congress usually follows precedents and here Nancy Pelosi is saying the precedents don't apply to me because I just want to get Donald Trump. The American people want fairness throughout this process and if it's not fair that Democrats are going to be perceived as just going after him for bad reasons, not good ones.
MACCALLUM: But Ari, why is she doing this in your opinion? And then I want to hear from Juan.
FLEISCHER: The core issue --
MACCALLUM: What's your strategy?
FLEISCHER: The core issue is this has nothing to do with what the president said on his call to Ukraine. It has everything to do with the American people's call to Donald Trump. He won an election and the Democrats never accepted the legitimacy of the election. Many liberal groups try to overturn it in the electoral college but the margin was too big.
More than 60 Democrats boycott of the president's inauguration. They have never accepted his election --
MACCALLUM: It's true.
FLEISCHER: -- they tried to impeach him for everything, every month of his presidency.
MACCALLUM: Juan? Why is she not going to put a vote on the floor, if they feel so strongly --
WILLIAMS: I don't think she needs to. I think that if this was just about politics, I think right now the polls show, four or five Democrats could beat President Trump. But I think the larger point here is that, and again, I think you hear this from Republicans who have a conscience and who are not simply lining up blindly, that the president tried to pressure the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on a political opponent.
MACCALLUM: But Juan, you're not -- you're not answering my question either.
WILLIAMS: Even today he did that with China.
MACCALLUM: They don't have the subpoena power. They don't have the rules in place to approve this process.
WILLIAMS: They do have subpoena power. Are you kidding? Under impeachment they have tremendous subpoena power.
MACCALLUM: Under the committee rules but not under the -- it will be a much stronger --
WILLIAMS: No. That's -- in other words,
MACCALLUM: -- force for them. They are not going to get any of this, they're not going to get it from the White House, they're not going to get it from the State Department --
WILLIAMS: Yes, they will.
MACCALLUM: -- because they are not going through the process the way it's been done in the past.
WILLIAMS: Let me remind you, when this goes to the courts, under the rules of impeachment, and the power of impeachment --
MACCALLUM: Which they don't have right now.
WILLIAMS: -- they will -- they will absolutely clean the White House's cloth.
MACCALLUM: Ari, do they have the subpoena power that they would have under an official impeachment hearing currently or not, as Andy McCarthy writes?
FLEISCHER: I would take Andy McCarthy, a very smart lawyer, word on this. Andy McCarthy wrote unless they have a duly appointed vote by the House of Representatives, they do not have subpoena power.
And of course, the only letters that have been sent demanding documents are just that.
FLEISCHER: They are letters, they are correspondence, they're not even subpoenas because as Andy McCarthy pointed out, the Democrats lack subpoena power without the vote.
MACCALLUM: And Juan, I've asked you this question a couple of times. But so, you know, why, if there is such a constitutional crisis, right --
MACCALLUM: -- then do it the way it has been done in the past? We have the numbers for Richard Nixon --
MACCALLUM: -- we'll put up the number that Richard Nixon got when he was going through this process, it was an overwhelming number of Republicans and Democrats all believe that it was time to go through the process.
There is the Clinton number in October of 1998, 258 to 176 members of the House or Representatives representing the people all across America, said yes, please go forward. Please do this process. That is the will of the people. Why do we not have that now?
WILLIAMS: Again, see the precedent, and even the president, that you are citing, Martha, is not setting the rules for this House in this political circumstance --
MACCALLUM: So, it's make up the rules as you go along?
WILLIAMS: No, it is not. It is the rules. Because what you have here is a situation, Nancy Pelosi said, there was a cover-up taking place, people are shifting --
MACCALLUM: I don't understand the reasons that she wants it.
WILLIAMS: -- and so therefore she is persuading as well as --
WILLIAMS: -- going after this process and doing it --
MACCALLUM: That's not an answer.
WILLIAMS: Yes, you are saying why doesn't she have a vote?
MACCALLUM: No. I understand why she wants to go forward with it. I'm saying, why doesn't she want to do it the way that it has been done in the past that gives the American people and the representatives achieve --
WILLIAMS: This is unique. I don't think -- I think one thing we can all agree on, we've never had a president like this and we've never had a president --
MACCALLUM: We had two impeachment processes.
WILLIAMS: -- do something so egregious as to say to a foreign government, interfere in our campaign, please.
MACCALLUM: You are conflating my question with --
MACCALLUM: -- the bigger issue of why she wants to do it. I want the political reason and I think it's pretty clear.
FLEISCHER: Let me --
MACCALLUM: She doesn't want a lot to remember to have to take a vote on this and she doesn't want --
WILLIAMS: They've all said --
WILLIAMS: A majority --
WILLIAMS: A clear majority of Democrats have said they want impeachment.
MACCALLUM: So, vote.
FLEISCHER: Let's find.
MACCALLUM: Let's have a vote like we have in the past.
MACCALLUM: Yes, real quick, Ari.
FLEISCHER: Let me jump in on this. There's a very principled reason why a vote is important. Impeachment is extraordinary.
FLEISCHER: It should never be made ordinary. And that's why if you are going to take the step --
MACCALLUM: that's exactly right.
FLEISCHER: -- people deserve to be on the record --
MACCALLUM: Of course, they do.
FLEISCHER: -- and it forces their hand. And that's an important principle in self-governance.
MACCALLUM: Yes, you can't just rip a president out of his office without going through a process that has been long established and people deserve that representation from the people that they elect into the office and they should have that vote and they should not be afraid to take it if this is such a dire situation as they say it is. So, we'll see where it goes.
WILLIAMS: Well, I think we'll have a vote on impeachment.
MACCALLUM: That's what we're all asking for if that's -- they should do it.
WILLIAMS: No, I'm saying when they impeach him.
MACCALLUM: They need to start the process. All right, guys, thank you, very much. Ari and Juan, great to see you as always. Thanks, guys.
WILLIAMS: You're welcome.
MACCALLUM: So, coming up next, an undocumented immigrant is shot and killed when police accidentally go to the wrong home. His widow 20 -- his widow files a $20 million civil rights lawsuit in the shooting of her husband who was here illegally.
Fascinating constitutional issues here coming up next.
MACCALLUM: All right. We're going to totally switch gears here for a moment, folks, and talk about a very interesting constitutional case. What rights do people who are here illegally have under our U.S. Constitution?
So, here is the case. The widow of an undocumented man who was shot and killed by a policeman in Mississippi after they responded to the wrong home has now sued the city for $20 million. We will hear from the attorney representing the man's widow and family as well as constitutional law attorney just in a moment.
But first, chief breaking news correspondent Trace Gallagher gives us the back story on this. Hi, Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha.
In July 2017, police in Southaven, Mississippi, were out looking for a domestic violence suspect. They went to a mobile home park but knocked on a door of the wrong home. A pit bull ran out and the officers say 41-year-old Ismael Lopez cracked open the door and pointed a gun at them. They opened fire, killing Lopez.
A grand jury later declined to indict the officers and now the city is trying to convince a judge to dismiss a $20 million lawsuit filed by the family, saying Ismael Lopez does not have constitutional rights because he was in the country illegally, and had a lengthy criminal record including domestic violence and drunk driving.
The city goes on to argue that Lopez was not one of, quote, "We, the people of the United States of America" as referenced in the preamble to the Constitution. And the city also points to a 1990 Supreme Court case where justices ruled the Fourth Amendment does not protect foreigners from unreasonable search and seizure while they are in foreign territory or international waters.
Lawyers for the family call that reasoning chilling, ludicrous, and insane, saying the city's position is basically, quoting here, "because he's an undocumented immigrant who has no constitutional protections, it's OK for the city of Southaven to kill him."
The family's lawyers also argue that constitutional protections apply to all persons in the USA, not just citizens. And they add that if this was an accident, as the city contends, local authorities should have taken responsibility and made it right. Unclear when the judge might decide, Martha.
MACCALLUM: All right. We'll see where it goes. Joining me now, Jenna Ellis Rives, a constitutional law attorney, and Murray B. Wells, the attorney representing Ismael Lopez's estate. Good to have both of you with us.
Let me start with the attorney for the estate, Murray Wells. You know, where, in your mind, what rights does an illegal immigrant have in the United States of America with regard to this?
MURRAY B. WELLS, ATTORNEY FOR CLAUDIA LINARES: That's a great question. The 14th Amendment gives all persons in the United States jurisdiction the full rights of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has weighed on the issue over and over again, and been very clear that it doesn't matter if you are here legally, illegally, documented, undocumented, when you're on American soil, you get the full protection of the constitutional rights, which means you --
MACCALLUM: It's interesting that you put it that way. Let me just -- I'm sorry -- because the city attorney said something extraordinary. If he ever has Fourth Amendment or 14th Amendment civil rights, they were lost by his own conduct and misconduct. What do you say to that?
WELLS: Well, I say that she just missed the entire point. The fifth circuit where she is arguing this has addressed that issue squarely, and said that it's just not true, as long as you are on American soil, you get protection of the United States Constitution and its amendments.
MACCALLUM: All right. Let me turn to Jenna here. One of the issues in this case is how he was killed, Jenna. Whether or not -- you know, his wife -- the widow maintains that the bullet went right through the door and shot him in the head. The other side of the story is that he opened the door and that he pointed a gun at them. How -- what's the impact of those two sides of the story on his rights?
JENNA ELLIS RIVES, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ATTORNEY: Well, those two facts are much more important here in terms of analyzing this from a constitutional perspective. And so, I would agree that he certainly has a legal status does not merit a direct dismissal of this case.
But we can't -- we have to be very careful, Martha, to not say that illegal immigrants get all protections of the Constitution. We have to be very precise because we know that anyone here who is not a citizen can be removed under immigration law.
And so, there are some protections of the Constitution that don't apply. But in this specific instance, this person's illegal status does not have any bearing on the case at hand. And so, this should be treated constitutionally speaking, just as if this was someone who was visiting on a visa, just like this was a citizen, just like any other case in terms of a wrongful death sort of claim.
MACCALLUM: Yes. All right. We'll follow it. Thank you very much to both of you. Good to have you here tonight.
RIVES: Thanks so much, Martha.
WELLS: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Coming up, what a great story this is. “The Story” behind this incredible moment in a courtroom in Dallas when we come back.
MACCALLUM: So yesterday we brought you “The Story” of a former Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, who was sentenced to 10 years for fatally shooting an unarmed man in his own apartment. She claims she entered her apartment thinking it was her own and mistook him as an intruder.
But it's what happened after the sentencing that has captivated not just the courtroom, but the whole nation when the 18-year-old brother of Botham Jean who was killed offered this incredible act of forgiveness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRANDT JEAN, BOTHAM JEAN'S BROTHER: I love you as a person. I don't wish anything bad on you. I don't know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug? Please. Please?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: I mean, that was such a powerful moment. I can't watch that without tearing up.
Joining me now, Daryl Washington, the Jean family attorney. Daryl Washington, thank you so much for being here. I mean, obviously, this family has been through so much with the murder of their 28-year-old son, Botham, but this young man, his brother, his compassion for -- his brother's killer is extraordinary. Did you know that he was going to do this?
DARYL WASHINGTON, JEAN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Absolutely not. It was totally unscripted and no one knew what Brandt was going to do. All we knew was that Brandt wanted to testify. We asked him to see the statement that he was writing and he just wanted it to be something that came from the heart.
WASHINGTON: And I think this was very important for Brandt because his mother had testified earlier during the trial and she talked about how Brandt has basically shut down since the death of Botham. He really hasn't talked very much.
So, this was a moment that Brandt really needed, this was a moment to release the hurt that he had inside. As you can imagine the 18-year-old kid carrying this type of hurt for over a year is devastating and oftentimes, you know, people have to forgive others for themselves so that they can move on and try to live a life.
WASHINGTON: And I think that moment -- that defining moment not only touched everybody in the courtroom, but I think it has touched people across America.
MACCALLUM: It absolutely has. I mean, it is an incredible moment, very, very powerful. I don't think many of us could do what he did to the person who took away the life of his brother, regardless of the circumstances.
Does it say -- was he in the courtroom a lot? I mean, did he hear the whole case? What does it say, if anything, about his feeling about what her motivation was? Does he believe it was an accident?
WASHINGTON: I mean, you know, Brandt is very disturbed with the way his brother was killed because he really felt that it could have been preventable -- prevented. There were a lot of missteps in their entire incident.
WASHINGTON: So, he's heard about that. I talked to him just briefly after he testified and I told him, I say, it appears that Botham was inside of you and Brandt's word was, Botham has always been inside of me. So, I think not only did people get to hear Brandt give his testimony, but I think people saw firsthand what everybody was saying about Botham, the type of person Botham was.
And I think his parents were very serious, if Amber Guyger would've introduced herself when she walked in to Botham's apartment I think Botham would have been the type of person based on all the stories we heard about him, he would have invited her to sit down and have some ice cream and watch the game.
So, it's -- unfortunately -- unfortunate that this situation happened and I just hope it sends a clear message throughout this country that before we use deadly force --
WASHINGTON: -- let's make sure it's the absolute last resort.
MACCALLUM: Yes. Well, I would imagine everybody in that room agrees watching all this. Thank you so much. Good to have you here, Daryl Washington.
WASHINGTON: Thank you having -- thanks for having me, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So that's where we end “The Story” on this Thursday, October 3.
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