This is a rush transcript from "The Story," August 9, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Breaking tonight, simmering tensions and international alarm at the prospect of nuclear war as the United States is locked in a war of words with North Korea. Just moments ago, the hermit regime throwing another log on the fire; their military calling President Trump's threat a load of nonsense, adding that only absolute force can work on the president. This, as NBC report, our military is ready to carry out a pre-emptive strike if ordered. That's "The Story." I'm Dana Perino, in for Martha MacCallum.
The new threats follow comments today from Defense Secretary James Mattis, warning the North Koreans that conflict could lead to "the end of its regime and the destruction of its people. The defense secretary's statement coming just hours after President Trump said our nuclear arsenal is more powerful than ever. We told you last night that Kim Jong-un threatened the U.S. territory of Guam, and tonight they added a timeline. Within the last hour, the North Korea says, they will carry out strikes on the U.S. territory in a matter of days. It was on the island of Guam earlier today that Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, sought to reassure nervous Americans.
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REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the president -- what the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un would understand because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language. Americans should sleep well at night. Have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERINO: In moments, we will be joined by experts from the military and diplomatic ranks when0 Lt. Col. Michael Walsh, Stephan Haggard, and Ethan Epstein join us. But we begin with Trace Gallagher live in our West Coast Bureau, Trace?
TRAGE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: Dana, the North Korean military is also releasing exact information on how fast these four missiles will fly towards Guam, and how the North intends on letting them explode in the waters close to Guam instead of directly on the U.S. territory, which of course doesn't matter because even a close strike would be considered an attack on the U.S. soil. The North Korean statement goes on to indicate that President Trump isn't getting it saying, "Sound dialogue isn't possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him."
Of course, Guam is not only a U.S. territory but also a vital military facility for the U.S. Navy and Air Force. It sits a little more than 2000 miles from North Korea, well in the range of the North ballistic missiles. Meantime, here at home, we're on kind of a roller coaster of rhetoric. First, the president made his fire and fury comment, and then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to lower the volume by saying that he doesn't believe there's any imminent threat of an attack from North Korea and that nothing about the situation has changed dramatically in the last 24 hours.
But hours after Tillerson's comments, Defense Secretary James Mattis took the tempo back up a notch, warning that North Korea should stand down because "allied militaries now possessed the most precise, rehearsed, and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on earth." Amid all of this, the State Department says, the administration is on the same page. Watch.
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HEATHER NAUERT, SPOKESPERSON, STATE DEPARTMENT: Whether it's the White House, the State Department, the Department of Defense, we're speaking with one voice. And the world is, in fact, speaking with one voice, and we saw that as it came out of the U.N. Security Council with the resolution that passed less than a week ago.
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GALLAGHER: The White House further clarified saying the fire and fury words were ad-libbed by the president, but the tough tone message was known ahead of time by his top advisers and national security team. We should note that while Kim Jong-un continues to make bold threats, the U.S.
Missile Defense System stands at the ready, both on Navy ships in the Pacific and ground-based missile interceptors in California and Alaska. First, the problem is during testing, the defense system has only worked about half the time. Dana?
PERINO: All right. Trace, thank you so much. So, what are the options for this threat? Lt. Col. Michael Walsh, former Green Beret commander and a Fox News contributor; Stephan Haggard, a professor of Korea Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego; and Ethan Epstein, associate editor of The Weekly Standard. Thank you all for being here tonight. Michael, if I could start with you. Because we just have this breaking news coming from North Korea that they think that absolute force is the only thing that they could do to work with President Trump on this matter. What do you make of their comments and the calculus that they are thinking through?
LT. COL. MICHAEL WALSH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER GREEN BERET COMMANDER: Well, that's what has to change both with the Chinese and the North Koreans are their strategic calculus. Right now, Kim Jong-un believes that he must have a nuclear program capable of hitting the United States, Japan, and South Korea in order to ensure his survival, in order to prevent him from being the next Saddam Hussein or the next Qaddafi. And we need to make him understand that if he achieves that capability, his regime will fail and he will not survive.
We also have to importantly change the Chinese calculus. You know, right now, the thing that they most fear is a unified Korean Peninsula that's friendly to the United States and the West right on their borders, or a failed North Korean state and they have to deal with a 25 million refugee problem. And we have to make the Chinese understand that war on the peninsula is a very real possibility, that we will not accept a nuclearized East Asia, and that that would be a worse outcome so that the Chinese begin to take meaningful action.
PERINO: All right. Stephen, if I can get your expertise on what you think Kim Jong-un is thinking right now, and how serious this threat is, or is it mostly bluster? Are they bluffing?
STEPHAN HAGGARD, PROFESSOR OF KOREA PACIFIC STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO: Well, I think we have to bring the temperature down a little bit. Secretary Tillerson has actually outlined what I think is a reasonably coherent strategy. And the administration had a win over the weekend at the U.N. by getting the Chinese and the Russians to sign on to very tough sanctions resolution. But now with this new war of words, we've kind of pushed off of that strategy, it seems to me, and tried to go back to threats, which are only going to get the North Koreans to pursue their weapons programs and missile program more aggressively. So, I think we should lower the temperature a bit and get back to what the secretary was doing before this last round of words.
PERINO: Ethan, you said that we can only really hope for half measures at this point what do you mean by that?
ETHAN EPSTEIN, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I mean, I fear that there's an element of us all scurrying to close the barn door now that the horse is gone and out. I mean, this has been a -- basically 25-year period where the North Koreans have pursued both nuclear and missile programs. And now, I mean, their end goal, which as we have all established, is nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States is tantalizingly within reach. And they're very real doubt as to whether we're going to be able to do anything to actually forestall that. So, I think right now we want to sort of retard the progress; we want to limit any further progress. Ultimately, stopping the position in its tracks are
-- or stopping the program in its tracks seems like a pretty tall order at this point.
PERINO: Michael, let me ask you about the Intel because we had that word yesterday that maybe it is possible, and I guess -- I don't know if we have direct confirmation yet. But North Korea is much further ahead than our intelligence had actually shown up to now. Where do you think that breakdown is? And I know that it's very difficult for us to get assets to North Korea, so is it possible that we just might not know what they're capable of doing?
WALSH: Well, keep in mind, right, these are Intel assessments. And depending on our access and placement, you know, in the targeted area or country -- depends on how accurate they are. But I do find it very interesting and curious of, you know, why over the last few months we've gone from President Obama telling incoming President Trump that the North Koreans are going to have this capability before the end of his term, so four to five years. Until then, we progress to -- they're going to have the capability next year in 2018, to now suddenly they have it.
So, either -- so either something dramatically changed over in North Korea and their capabilities and accelerated, or our assessments have been a bit off. So, I think that's something worth looking into. And to the other point, you know, in terms of kind of cooling things down, I absolutely agree. We have to work through cyber, covert, tougher sanctions. But the North Koreans and the Chinese need to believe that the military option is for real this time, which I don't think they believed in the past, and that's the only way they're going to back off this program.
PERINO: Based on your expertise, Stephan, what do you think? Do you they think that we would do some sort of pre-emptive strike? I know, obviously --we're all for peace. But what do you think that Kim Jong-un is thinking about that possibility?
HAGGARD: Well, I have no problem with Secretary Mattis and the president saying all options on the table, because that's just a statement of fact.
HAGGARD: The United States is a powerful country and we've got lots of options, but some of them have a high cost. The question is really where we want to go now from where we are? And as I said, I think we have a strategy which may be low probability to get the North Koreans back to talks. But the North Koreans are not going to magically wake up one morning and choose to disarm. They're only going to do that through some process of negotiations and we need to get the Chinese on board to do that.
I think the U.N. Security Council Resolution was a move in the right direction, it shows that these Chinese are fed up as well.
PERINO: Ethan, you said that you would support blocking oil imports to the country. But also, you were recently in Seoul, and I wonder if you talk about that. I've read the featured piece in Weekly Standard that you wrote, and you said things are relatively calm then. And based on your information, is that still true?
EPSTEIN: Yes. In fact, just yesterday, I was meeting with some of my sources in the South Korean government here in Washington -- unbeknownst to me this whole controversy of, you know, fire and fury was raging, and I didn't know about it. But my sense from the South Koreans is they're fairly calm about it. And one of them made a very good point which I'll now proceed to plagiarize essentially, which is that there's a certain sort of strategic ambiguity that the Trump administration is pursuing right now.
It sort of seems like Rex Tillerson is saying a different thing than what President Trump is saying. But my diplomat friend made the point that this is actually can be useful said this could be useful. The North Koreans learned to a tee what to expect from, for example, the Obama administration. They knew exactly how Obama would react to any of their provocations, and probably knew the same about George W. Bush and Clinton's administrations as well. The fact that they're kind of guessing, and they're sort of on their back feet right now, I think, is an asset that we should condemn -- we should, you know, congratulate the Trump administration for achieving that.
PERINO: All right. Well, your insights have been invaluable, we appreciate it. We'll probably ask you back. Thank you so much.
HAGGARD: Thank you.
PERINO: All right. Still ahead, critics, quick to hit the president for what they call unprecedented threats towards North Korea, but are they forgetting moments like this?
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is pointless for them to try to develop nuclear weapons because if they ever used them, it would be the end of their country.
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PERINO: Ed Henry is here next on how President Trump's language on North Korea isn't outside the norm versus his predecessors. Plus, Mitch McConnell is charging President Trump with "excessive expectations of Congress." Tonight, a reaction from the president himself; we examine what if anything this signals. Plus, he sparked national outrage when he dropped to his knee during the national anthem. But that's not stopping Hollywood from coming to his defense; the latest on the effort to get Colin Kaepernick back on an NFL Roster. Stay tuned.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When there's a significant change, and I feel like that flag represents what is supposed to represent. And this country is representing people the way they are supposed to, I'll stand.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERINO: President Trump putting the world on alert with a grave warning to North Korea. His tough talk and response to repeated threats from Kim Jong-un, including reports of a North Korean looming attack on Guam. But the president's critics seem more interested in lambasting the commander- in-chief's fiery rhetoric than the threat by the North Korean regime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump sounds more like a North Korean leader, unfortunately, than an American leader.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It used to be that we looked at the North Koreans and said, you know, those are the nuts with nukes. But now, it looks a little bit like we have our own nut with nukes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the first time that the dangerous apocalyptic statements of the North Korean regime have been met by dangerous apocalyptic statements by the president of the United States.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: We have never heard this kind of bluster from an American president to another world leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERINO: So, that last line stuck with us. Is this kind of strong long language, in fact, unprecedented? Fox News Chief National Correspondent, Ed Henry, is live at the White House tonight with that report. Ed?
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, good to see you. It's not just Democratic lawmakers and liberals pundits that are slamming President Trump. In fact, you have Republican John McCain saying that he long ago gave up trying to understand the president's words in general, and saying he's not sure how this nuclear rhetoric really helps in this specific situation. Yet McCain, Democrats, and those in the mainstream media, attacking the president who are also jacking up this claim that the president is driving us into a war; keep pushing the same narrative that the last three presidents have all been very careful to use diplomatic language with North Korea and that this is a big shift.
What many of those critics are failing to mention are two key facts: one, careful diplomatic language was used by the last three American presidents sometimes as North Korea kept passing various nuclear thresholds. Secondly, the last three presidents also, at times, use very stark language themselves about the possibility of the U.S. blowing North Korea to smithereens. And there was little or no criticism of those comments that we have, yes, on tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pointless for them to try to develop nuclear weapons because if they ever used them, it would be the end of their country.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Once again. North Korea has defied the will of the international community, and the international community will respond. And together we will ensure that North Korea understands the consequences if it continues down its current path.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will not hesitate to use our military might to defend our allies and our way of life. We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Then there's Hillary Clinton, who of course served as secretary of state for four years as North Korea edged closer to getting nuclear weapons that could reach the United States. Last September, as Kim Jong-un conducted a nuclear test in the waning days of the presidential campaign, Clinton released a statement trying to show her own toughness, declaring: "This constitutes a direct threat to the United States, and we cannot and will never accept this." Now, Clinton said the answer was tough new sanctions to deal with North Korea. That has not really proven to be true over the years. President Trump as a candidate, meanwhile, vowed that he would force, use the word force, China to deal with this for the U.S. economically. That has not worked out either, Dana.
PERINO: Certainly, the calculus has changed a lot, and now it's on his plate and he's going to have to play the cards he's been dealt. Thank you so much, Ed. Brian Lanza is former Trump campaign deputy communications director, and Matt Bennett is a former deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton. I'm glad that you both are here. Brian, I remember back in -- right after 9-11 when President Bush said bring it on, and dead or alive. And the media really went after him and say, no, he's a cowboy and a war monger. But I actually feel like comments like the ones President Trump made yesterday could actually fit the moment, and at least you know where he stands. What do you think?
BRIAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Yes. Listen, I think what you get out of the left, and how the media is just sort of silly politics. I mean, I remember the time when Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the evil empire. And I was a young kid and I remember the left and the Democrats going crazy then. I think it's important that the president set a marker yesterday just as Reagan set a marker in nearly 25 years ago. I mean, this is a very delicate situation that requires diplomacy, it requires everything at the table. But what it doesn't require is silly politics coming into the filter here.
PERINO: Well, we also have a different calculus now, of course. And Matt, I know that President Obama has said that in his transition meetings with President Trump, one of the first things he told him is that the toughest problem we are leaving for you is going to be North Korea. And as we are saying earlier, might have just been sooner than anybody would want but this is the one that he'll have to play. What do you make of yesterday's comments?
MATT BENNETT, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, I think as you -- as packet showed, three presidents have grappled with this all fairly unsuccessfully. They've been marching towards having nuclear weapons unrelentingly through three administrations because the problem is there's really nothing that we can do without endangering the lives of, literally, millions of people in Seoul, who are within artillery distance of the North Koreans. And so, there really aren't a lot of good options on the table.
I think the reaction to yesterday was driven by two things: one, it seemed like President Trump was drawing a line in the sand, and President Obama got a lot of grief for drawing the line in the sand on Syria that he didn't back up. I think that was one problem. The other is people just fundamentally don't trust that President Trump knows what he's doing; he kinds of revels in his ignorance about foreign affairs, and it's very scary when it comes to dealing with the regime like North Korea.
PERINO: Brian, I think -- with all that you answer, Brian, do you think that is unfair?
LANZA: I would say the U.N., over the weekend passed a 15-0 vote, instituting new sanctions against North Korea. And that's the first-time that it happened in I think nearly a generation. So, you know, the perception that he doesn't know what he's doing, you know, just doesn't fit with what's actually taking place.
PERINO: What's interesting to me too is that whenever a president speaks, they have multiple audiences all at once and that they have to think about all of them: it's the American citizens, it's our military, and it's our allies and enemies. And I think yesterday, perhaps, meant, what he was trying to do is speak directly to Kim Jong-un, and Secretary Tillerson said in language that he would understand, and that perhaps he needs to think a little bit more about the other audiences because the initial reaction was one of fear. But I actually think some people might think, well, actually it's good to have somebody that is in office that is surrounded by the national security team that he had, and that is willing to fight fire with fire.
BENNETT: Well, you know, you and I both worked in the White House. And as you know, there's generally a pretty careful process before anyone, especially the president's going to lay down a marker like this. He was just talking off the cuff as he always does. The paper in front of him at that table was about opioids; had nothing to do with North Korea. General Kelly didn't know this was coming. General Mattis didn't know -- Secretary Mattis didn't know this was coming. Nobody knew this was coming. And that's just not a good way of engaging in diplomacy or in line-drawing in international affairs.
PERINO: Brian, I'll give you the last word because the White House today through Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that actually, the National Security Council did feel like they were all on the same page, your thoughts?
LANZA: You know, listen, I know General McMaster has the respect of the president; it's a good tight team there, there are a lot of people working and rowing in the right direction. And I'm not surprised they're all on the same pages, especially with the addition of General Kelly who has organized this White House in the way that we haven't seen in a long time.
And I think a lot of people, you know, can now have more confidence than they had two weeks ago that the White House is moving in the right direction, and some of the working pieces whether it's the Economic Council or the National Security Council are now working at full force.
PERINO: All right. Well, nothing like North Korea nuclear threats to focus the mind, and get everybody on the same page. Thank you, both for joining me. I appreciate it.
BENNETT: Thank you.
LANZA: Thanks, Dana.
PERINO: All right. Still ahead, a horrific attack in Paris today as a driver rammed his vehicle in a group of soldiers he apparently targeted; new details out of France where a terrorism investigation has officially been launched. Plus, a potential battle brewing between Senate GOP Leadership and the White House. Tonight, President Trump is firing back after these remarks from Senator Mitch McConnell yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Part of the reason I think people feel like we're underperforming is because too many kinds of artificial deadlines, unrelated to the reality of the complexity of legislating may not have been fully understood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: Now, our new president had, of course, not been in this line of work before. And I think had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the Democratic process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERINO: New reaction from the White House tonight to those controversial words from Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. President Trump, now among those hitting back at the majority leader tweeting: "Senator Mitch McConnell said I had excessive expectations, but I don't so after seven years of hearing repeal and replace. Why not done?" This comes on the heels of President Trump's surprise endorsement last night of McConnell, Senator Luther Strange in the Alabama special election; an announcement that saw the president face backlash of his own. Mark Levin writing, "Outrageous! Jeff Roe, Cruz's former presidential campaign manager, celebrating Trump's pathetic endorsement of Luther Strange, McConnell's RINO puppets screwing conservatives in Alabama and across the nation. I don't want to hear this outsider crap anymore."
Here now: Charles Hurt is a political columnist for The Washington Times and a Fox News contributor; Josh Kraushaar is political editor for National Journal. And I might be blushing because I don't think I've ever actually said that word on television. Thanks to Mark Levin. I was quoting him, I will say it myself. Charles, I have to say, when I look at this, I feel like the criticism from the two of them is actually pretty mild given all the things that are at stake here. And it sort of says that the system of checks and balances that our founding fathers envisioned is actually working. What do you think?
CHARLES HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND POLITICAL COLUMNIST FOR THE WASHINGTON TIMES: I could not agree with you more, Dana. I think that, in particular, that tweet from Donald Trump, there was nothing harsh about it at all. It was very much stating the obvious. And it's obvious that a lot of Americans across the country are thinking at the same time. He's talking about excessive expectations. What McConnell is talking about is the American people have excessive expectations, apparently, because the American people certainly expected Congress would've been able to find that Republicans control everything, that they ought to be able to repeal Obamacare.
And the troubling thing about it is, I think that it suggests that Republicans in Congress still haven't learned the lesson of Trump's election. The reason that he beat the most entrenched Democratic machine in Democratic politics for the past 25 years, and the reason he beat 16 Republicans in the field is because he intended to keep the promises that he was making on the campaign trail, and people believed that. And that's why people liked him so much.
DANA PERINO, THE STORY HOST: Josh, there's been an uneasy alliance between President Trump and Republicans who had been in D.C. before. One thing I think is interesting, President Trump points to, and rightly so, one of the best accomplishments so far of his administration was the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. But arguably, he would not have been able to put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court if Mitch McConnell had not been willing to hold the line and not allow Merrick Garland a vote when President Obama was president, right?
JOSH KRAUSHAAR, NATIONAL JOURNAL POLITICAL EDITOR: Yes, Dana, this whole episode underscores just how unstable the coalition is between these establishment Republicans who make up the majority of leadership, the majority of the elites in Washington, and the trampling of the party which makes up the majority of Republican voters, who overwhelmingly will side, as Charlie would say, with Trump in this whole episode. The challenge is that a lot of the legislation that's going through congress including the Gorsuch confirmation is stuff that McConnell likes, and he's worked with Trump, and there's that alliance of convenience in that respect. But where it gets kind of tricky is when you have these blow-ups, these dust-ups, when Trump isn't happy that the legislation -- you know, the healthcare, taxes aren't going at the pace that he's expecting. And Trump does have some unrealistic expectations in that regard, but that's what the voters of Trumps are expecting. So this is the tension that's going to probably gets worse through time.
PERINO: But they do have an opportunity this fall, Charles, to do tax reform.
PERINO: There's a lessons that McConnell might have learned, which is that you can't lose very many senators when it comes to these votes. Then, actually, I'm surprised that after the other senators saw McCain was going to vote no on health care that more of them didn't bolt, because that was a safer thing to do really back in their districts. They stayed with Mitch McConnell. So on tax reform, did they learn any lessons from health care that they could use in tax reform to make that more successful?
HURT: Well, when Mitch McConnell says things like -- what he says about excessive expectations, it troubles me and makes me think that maybe he didn't learn anything. And I don't think it was too tall of an ordered to expect, considering the fact that Republicans have passed repeal efforts for countless times in the past seven years when they knew it would never go anywhere because of Obama. The fact that they did not have an actual plan in place so that they could effectively do that -- I mean, that is truly extraordinary. But I do -- going into the fall, absolutely, I think that the tax reform is an absolute must-have for Republicans.
PERINO: Josh, take us into -- sort of a broader picture as some of these members starts thinking about their re-elections, or you have this special election next week in Alabama, or the upcoming gubernatorial race in Virginia. Are you starting to see sort of a meld between Trump's way of campaigning and his ideology, and former establishment Republicans, and the coming together to try to win some of these?
KRAUSHAAR: So there's attention between the Republican base, which is overwhelmingly pro Trump, and are demanding candidates that agree with Trump and that, frankly, are speaking in his image that actually reflect Trump's values and issue positions. But what's challenging is that Trump is suffering through approval ratings overall in the mid-upper 30's. So he's getting the base, and the Republican base is fully with Trump and siding with Trump in these inter-Republican battles. The swing voters, the independents aren't. And someone like an Ed Gillespie, a Republican nominee for governor in Virginia, is trying to avoid talking about Trump as much as possible in that race, because he knows that a lot of these independent voters who are up for grabs aren't big fans of the president.
PERINO: But he needs the Republicans to turn out. So, I guess it's a good thing that he's got a lot of money in the bank saved up. All right. Gentlemen, thank you so much, appreciate it.
HURT: Thanks, Dana.
PERINO: Tonight, one of America's most prominent film makers is playing defense for controversial NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. No team wants him. So now Hollywood is taking a knee for him, that fiery debate ahead. Plus, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's home the subject of a predawn raid by the FBI last month. Ron Hosko was assistant director of the FBI, and he's here to tell us why this happened in the middle of the night, and what this might mean for Mr. Manafort, that's next.
PERINO: breaking tonight, a shocking twist to the Russia investigation as today we learned for the first time that FBI agents raided a home of former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort in a predawn operation late last month, reportedly waking the former Trump campaign manager as he slept. Chief national correspondent Ed Henry is live at the White House with this story. Ed?
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dana, that's right. Fox News has confirmed that this predawn raid occurred in late July. Very recently, at the Virginia home of Paul Manafort. Remember, for a brief time in 2016, he ran the president's campaign. And they picked up documents and material related to the investigation of Russian interference, of course, in the 2016 election. This suggests special counsel Robert Mueller is turning up the heat on Manafort, because federal agents, as you mentioned, went -- not just in predawn, but they had a search warrant. They went into his Alexandria home one day after Manafort had met voluntarily with members of the senate intelligence committee.
The timing significant because people familiar with the investigation told the Washington Post the search warrant was an indication that investigators may have had reason to believe Manafort could not be trusted to turn over all of the records requested in response to a grand jury subpoena. Now, a spokesman for Manafort pushed back on that. Jason Maloney telling Fox, quote, FBI agents executed a search warrant at one of Mr. Manafort's residences. Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries, and did so on this occasion as well. The Fox News chief judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said the move suggests to him that investigators were able to persuade a federal judge there was good reason for this search.
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ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS JUDICIAL ANALYST: We don't trust him to give them to us, and we don't trust him to preserve them, or his own lawyer is telling us he can't control his client.
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HENRY: Now, President Trump has tried recently to distance himself from Manafort, suggesting he played just a small role in the campaign. Manafort was brought on in March of 2016, stayed through the convention to help the president secure the delegates for the GOP nomination. But he resigned last August, you remember, amid questions and news reports about his business dealings in Ukraine. Dana?
PERINO: All right. Ed, one question for you, because there haven't been many leaks out of the Mueller investigation, and this actually took place back in July -- July 26, any -- how did this information get out? Do you know?
HENRY: Well, it's clear that people close to the investigation are starting to spill some details. Remember that last week, we heard that there was more than one grand jury. We had known about one in Virginia. Now we hear about a second one in D.C. So, part of why it leaked based on what we're hearing suggests that they are trying to push Manafort hard here and suggest that they mean business with him, Dana.
PERINO: All right. Thank you so much, Ed. Here now with insight on these type of raids is Ron Hosko, he was assistant director of the FBI. Sir, do you think when they went in to the home, that they were looking for something very specific?
RON HOSKO, FORMER ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR: I do. I do. In fact, it's really required by a federal search warrant expectation. An affidavit would have gone before a federal judge laying out the case for what federal crime might have been committed and what evidence would likely been found and seized.
PERINO: Earlier today -- I'm sorry. On July 26, early that morning, President Trump tweeted this, why did A.G. Sessions replace acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend, who was in charge on Clinton investigation, but got big dollars, $700 thousand, for his wife political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives, drain the swamp. Now, some people are trying to tie the raid of that morning to these tweets. And I wonder would the president have even been privy to knowing that this had actually happened?
HOSKO: I highly doubt it, Dana. Look, this is going to be coordinated by Bob Mueller and his team with FBI agents as the tip of the spear running the execution of the search warrant. I don't think Bob Mueller is paying attention to the president's tweets, with time, a search warrant to the president's tweets, it would take a period of time for the FBI agents to develop probable cause, to get to a judge and to swear that affidavit before the judge. So I don't think that you'll see any proof that those things are tied together.
PERINO: OK, because I saw that all day long, people trying to say that he must have been trying to pressure Mueller after that. So, let me then ask you what Ed Henry was just saying, is that possibly the reason we know about this raid now is that perhaps the investigators are trying to put pressure on Paul Manafort. Do you think that would be true?
HOSKO: Well, I think as you move forward in any criminal investigation, you're bringing pressure to bear on the subject of that investigation. Quite clearly, Mr. Manafort is the subject of an investigation here, this and the execution of a search warrant is a logical technique. But you know, there're internal guidelines to the FBI. It's a big thick manual known as the -- their domestic guidelines that really require -- it expects FBI agents to use the least intrusive means to acquire the information they need to build their case.
A search warrant executed at 6:00 in the morning is not a least intrusive means, it's a rather intrusive means. So it suggests to me that they couldn't get that information that they thought was relevant and provident of a crime in some other way, like consent of Mr. Manafort and his counsel, or foreign bank records, or domestic bank records, they thought something was being held back from them or concealed, and they had to use this technique. So it will apply pressure, sure.
PERINO: Some people have wonder why would the grand jury be convened in Virginia, or Washington, D.C., and not maybe somewhere else, possibly New York, is there any reason for that?
HOSKO: Yeah, there is. And typically it's venue. It is the locality or the jurisdiction where they believe the crimes or of the crimes or crimes occurred. And so, if I do a bank robbery in Virginia, it's unlikely that a grand jury in Illinois is going to hear that case.
HOSKO: There're a number of considerations for that. That's maybe where all the people are located. If you're talking about potential electronic crimes, it could be where internet servers are located. We've done that as well.
PERINO: All right. Ron Hosko, thank you so much for your expertise, we appreciate it. All right, a brazen new attack in the French capitol, this time targeting soldiers. Up next, what we've learned tonight about the suspect and possible motives. Plus, he refused to stand for the national anthem, so now our NFL owners black listing him as a result. Katie Pavlich and Michael Starr Hopkins will debate.
PERINO: Breaking tonight, Paris police are trying to determine whether a man who deliberately drove his car into six soldiers has ties to terror. A source tells Reuters the suspect who is now in custody is an Algerian national who was in France legally. Investigators say the incident appears to be the latest assault on France's security forces, the third in the last few months. Three soldiers were seriously injured today, but all, thankfully, are expected to survive.
There's a new protest movement tonight involving the pro quarterback who sparked a national controversy for sitting out the national anthem. But this time around, supporters are coming to Colin Kaepernick's defense and planning to take on the NFL. Trace Gallagher has the story live from out west coast newsroom. Trace?
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS: Hey, Dana. At the time, San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he wouldn't stand for the national anthem because, quote, I am not going to standup to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. The NFL's initial response was the players are encouraged but not required to stand during the anthem. But Kaepernick's protest led to an intense national backlash. And now, just weeks before the start of the NFL season, Kaepernick has yet to sign with a new team.
Film director Spike Lee is among those who think the national anthem controversy is the reason he remains a free agent. So Lee is promoting a rally for Kaepernick at NFL headquarters on August 23 called, United We Stand, where, by the way, they spelled Kaepernick's name wrong. Lee admits he didn't organize the rally. In fact, he won't even attend. But on twitter he made it clear he agrees with its intents, saying, quote, how is it possible that all 32 teams in the NFL, no freedom league he calls it, can't or won't find a spot for number 7 on their roster with his proven talent. What Spike Lee fails to mention in his proven talent comment is that in 2013 Colin Kaepernick was rated the eighth best quarterback in the league and led his team to a Super Bowl.
Last year, he was a highly paid quarterback who ranked 23rd in the league. And as an ESPN writer tells it, quote, don't over think why Colin Kaepernick is still a free agent. Simply put, years have passed since he was an effective quarterback. And last year, we should note that television ratings for the NFL were down 8 percent from the previous year. Now a new poll shows that 26 percent of those who stopped watching did so because of the national anthem protests. Dana?
PERINO: All right. Trace, thank you. Joining us now, Katie Pavlich, Town Hall News editor and a Fox News contributor, and Michael Starr Hopkins, a Democratic strategist who served on the Obama and Clinton campaign, thank you both for being here. You know, I have really deep football knowledge, so -- actually, I don't. Katie, let me turn it over to you. What do you make of this whole controversy?
KATIE PAVLICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, the stats on Colin Kaepernick's talent are true. Last year during week three, he threw four interceptions against the Arizona Cardinals proving that he's just not that good at football anymore, and he's not at the starter level. There's been reports that he turned down what they call backup pay, meaning he was offered a deal to not -- be a nonstarter on a variety of teams. And instead, wanted to continue pursuing this narrative. The second is, just the poll that Trace mentioned by J.D. Powers, the number one reason why NFL fans, not just people in general, fans tuned out of games last year was because of the disrespect that Colin Kaepernick and other people who followed them showed for the national anthem and for the American flag which represents all of us in this country.
PERINO: It's interesting because I just remember last fall, the only thing I could do is work on the campaign coverage and the election. Michael, you have a very different view of this. You think he is being unfairly targeted.
MICHAEL STARR HOPKINS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I do. I wrote a column about this for the Huffington Post yesterday. And Colin Kaepernick is absolutely being banned. Colin Kaepernick had 18 touchdowns, four interceptions. Like the reporter stated, he may have been the 23rd best quarterback in the league, but there's still 31-32 teams in the league, which means he should, at least, be a backup if not a starter. This isn't about Colin Kaepernick. This is about a really uncomfortable conversation that America needs to have about African-Americans and the policing that's going on in this country.
PERINO: One of the things I've learned, Katie, was that Brandon Marshall who played for the Denver Broncos, and I think he's at the Giants now, he took some heat in Denver. But what he did is he started having meetings, bringing in police officers and, actually, apparently, about half of the NFL teams have tried to follow that model. So perhaps something good did come out of all of this.
PAVLICH: Look, I think that there may have been some good conversations. But to act like Colin Kaepernick who had a $100 million contract, who's the victim here, is absolutely absurd. The only person he has to blame is himself. He's also not a team player. It's not that he stop for the national anthem, he also wore socks to practice with cops portrayed as pigs. He wore a Castro t-shirt. I mean, his activism is one thing to do it outside of the workplace, which is the football field, but on the field, you're part of a team, you're part of a league, and based on the numbers and what the audience says, he's a business liability. And the NFL also has an obligation to say you stand during the national anthem. The NBA has a policy. It's time for the NFL to implement one too.
PERINO: Michael, I have a question that even if -- these are private clubs. These are private businesses. For whatever reason, they don't have to hire him. And some might think he's untalented. Some might think that he actually causes a problem for their business, or might like bring unwanted unnecessary attention and negative attention to their club. So why try to force them? Why have this rally of protest if it actually could be based on the free market?
HOPKINS: Because this isn't really about what Colin Kaepernick has said. There's this argument about whether Colin Kaepernick is good enough to be an NFL quarterback, and that's not really the issue. Colin Kaepernick is good enough to be an NFL quarterback, but he's being black-balled because he's making people uncomfortable. The topics that he's talking about. You know his teammates have come out and defended him. The NFL has come out and said that he doesn't have to stand during the national pledge of allegiance. And this is -- I think we should look at Mohammed Ali and how that was handled, and when we think about Colin Kaepernick. Mohammed Ali spoke out in an unpopular way.
PERINO: I'm coming up against a hard break, Michael, but that's a good point. All right, Katie, Michael, thank you so much.
PAVLICH: Thanks, Dana.
HOPKINS: Thank you.
PERINO: We'll be right back, everyone.
PERINO: That's The Story for tonight. Brian Kilmeade doing a little moonlighting. He's in for Tucker next. He's up next. And I will see you back here live on "The Five" at 9:00 PM with the whole gang. Have a good night.
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