Parents of ISIS victim Kayla Mueller reflect on their loss

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This is a rush transcript from “The Story with Martha MacCallum” October 9, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Thank you. Thank you, Bret. We'll look forward to seeing on Monday morning as those hearings. Have a good weekend in the meantime. And hello everybody. Good evening to you. I'm Martha MacCallum and this is The Story.

So, next week's virtual presidential debate is now completely virtual. It's not going to happen at all. After the president said, he would not waste his time on a remote debate. His campaign is here to respond, to talk about the way forward for them in moments. The debate season though is in turmoil. Will there be more presidential face off as both candidates scramble to reach voters now, with only 25 days to go, folks.

Millions of people have already voted in what could end up to be a complicated election. Today had 50,000 absentee ballots that had to be reprinted in Franklin County, Ohio. Just one sign of the difficulties that could arise potentially in the largest mail in election in history.

All of that will be discussed here on The Story tonight. But first, the president who is recovering from COVID-19 is going to hold an event, the first public event since he was ill with the virus. That's going to happen tomorrow. He'll address the crowd on the South Lawn from the balcony of the White House. And he just announced that Monday, he will hold a very big MAGA rally in Sanford, Florida.

So, with Biden's edge widening, he is in Nevada today and Pennsylvania tomorrow. The Trump campaign has ground to make up if they're going to change the tide here. So, how do they plan to try to do that? Tonight, we're joined by Trump Campaign Senior Advisor Jason Miller. And then in moments, we will speak with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. But we begin tonight with Jason Miller.

Jason, thank you for being here. Good to have you here tonight. I guess the first question is, what is your response to the canceling of this debate and is it a missed opportunity? I just want to quote; this is Joe Biden's reaction. The campaign says It is shameful that Donald Trump ducked the only debate in which the voters get to ask the questions. But it's no surprise.

JASON MILLER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: Well, this is pretty rich coming from the Biden campaign. But look, the overall deal with the commission, this is what happens when the swamp strikes back. So just to be clear on this, Martha, President Trump is ready to debate Joe Biden any time, any place.

But we need to do it in person. We can't do it these virtual remote nonsense where Joe Biden can be reading off a teleprompter in his basement and President Trump is at the whim of the debate commission where they can turn off his microphone like they did in 2016 or just cut him completely like I wouldn't run it past him.

Great story in Daily Caller that just popped showing that the anti-Trump leanings of both sides of the aisle on the debate commission. So, it's pretty clear where they stack up. But the fact that they went and canceled this next debate, they try to move it to a virtual, which is just a non- starter against the agreed upon rules. Give us 15-minute heads up. And they did it the next morning after the vice president did so well in that debate this week. Pretty clear sign of what they're trying to do here.

MACCALLUM: All right, I know you have said that you think that was an attempt to step on a good performance at the VP debate, the night before.

But let me just ask you this then. Vice President Pence did a great job that night. He had a really good night. And so, it is possible for that to happen in this environment with this commission that you accuse of being very biased. So, I mean, Pence had a great night.

MILLER: He did, he had a great night and then at 7:30, the next morning, they put this out there knowing that that would go and change the news story and that everyone in the mainstream media would come running like lemmings to go and flock to.

Here's an important point as we came back and said, you know what, there are 175 doctors that have come out and said that President Trump should be good to go for the debate this next Thursday. And we said, if you're concerned about it, let's just push everything back one week, we'll have the second debate on the 22nd, the third debate on the 29th. Let's do it.

And again, the Biden camp very afraid to go toe-to-toe with President Trump once again. They said no. And the debate commission basically, which is in the pocket of the Biden camp, they went and backed him up. And so, Americans are really missing out here. But hey, Joe Biden campaign, we're ready to go anytime.

MACCALLUM: If you feel that way, are you going to still - well, the president still do the next debate in Nashville, given everything that you're saying about how you think the odds are so stacked against President Trump by this commission, why would you do that, that debate?

MILLER: Because we're going to be there in person and because the debate commission isn't going to be able to go and yank it away or try to do some virtual thing where they can go and mess around with President Trump's performance or turn off the mic or anything like that.

So, just to be clear to folks out there, there is going to be this debate on October 22nd. It'll be in Nashville. It'll be focused on foreign policy.

There will be two podiums that are set up. Kristen Welker will be the moderator for the debate just as we scheduled it out.

But again, 175 doctors coming out and saying that President Trump will be fine to debate this next Thursday and for the debate commission to go and pull the plug like this really shows you their ideological leanings. And by the way, Martha, we haven't even gotten into the fact that the moderator for what was going to be next Thursday's debate was a former Joe Biden intern who's tweeting out DMs to Anthony Scaramucci, a pretty big critic of the president.

And so, he kind of said the quiet part out loud. We'd all suspected it. But once you put it on Twitter and by the way, this is the third time he said he's been hacked. I don't know if his password is password or maybe it's Neil Kinnock 1987. Look, it could be a whole bunch of different things

that--

MACCALLUM: We have the tweets that you're referring to in case anybody wasn't looking at anything today and didn't see them. The first one, Steve Scully, Scaramucci, should I respond to Trump and Scaramucci responds, ignore. He's having a hard-enough time, some more bad stuff to go down.

Steve Scully has said that he was hacked, as you say, and he denies that he ever wrote that to Anthony Scaramucci. And you've got a lot of people from Sean Spicer on down who say that they think he's a person of integrity and they believe him. We're not going to solve that issue right now. You've said what you had to say about what you think about him. And I'm just putting out there that others have backed him up today. I've only imagined a couple of times--

MILLER: I do want to say, Martha, if I can if I can real quick. Look, I think I have a very high opinion of Kristen Welker. I think she's going to do an excellent job as the moderator for the third debate. I think she's a journalist whose very fair in her approach. And I think that she'll be a very good choice for this third debate.

MACCALLUM: So, let's move forward. So, now there's this missed opportunity where you get 50 million above that, 60 million eyeballs even more. So, how is the president going to replace that? How is he looking to reach voters that he doesn't usually reach with the work that he's going to do? How do you make up this lost ground, Jason?

MILLER: Well, first of all, the president is going to be back on the road very soon here, we just announced we have a campaign rally coming up on Monday in Sanford, Florida. That's just outside of Orlando. You're going to see the president quite a bit in the coming weeks, just this next week.

Then he'll be in North Carolina, he'll be in Pennsylvania. He'll be in the Midwest. We're going to be in a whole lot of places. But next Thursday, we've already seen that Sleepy Joe is going to accept an invitation to join a different network in the place of the town hall. He's happy to do it with the undecided voters, they're essentially all Biden supporters.

We're actually going to be on multiple networks at the same time. It hasn't been announced yet. But I can give you that tease. You actually will be able to go to multiple channels and see the president. And so, we're going to have a much bigger audience than Joe for next Thursday.

MACCALLUM: Well, he'll be answering questions during that period?

MILLER: Of course, President Trump takes questions every single day. Today, he did two hours--

MACCALLUM: I'm trying to figure out what the format, you say he'll be on multiple channels, so he'll be doing interviews during that period. What can you tell me?

MILLER: It'll be multiple channels, multiple networks that you'll see the president on, we'll have a town hall format. So, he'll be taking questions from actual undecided voters. And if you go back to 2016, we quite frankly, this is one of President Trump's best formats. And the reason why I like it is he really cuts through the nonsense. He talks to people in real terms--

MACCALLUM: So, what networks are going to be doing that, Jason?

MILLER: I can't - I've got to let the networks go and announce it. But you will see Martha, and it's going to be pretty cool.

MACCALLUM: Because I know we have a request in to do a town hall with you that night. So, I hope we're going to be part of what you're planning for Thursday night. Are we?

MILLER: It's not with you guys, but we want to do one with you and Bret very soon, obviously big fans of both of yours and think you'll do a very fair job. So, we're working. We want to get that on the books before Election Day for sure.

MACCALLUM: All right, well, that sounds good and we look forward to hearing more. I want to ask you one very quick question before I let you go. Where are you putting your ad buy money? Because I know you've pulled ads in Iowa and in Ohio and cut some ads in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota. Do you not see that as the path anymore?

MILLER: Well, that's incorrect, and it's easy for the other side to go and throw out their version of the truth, but unfortunately, it's not the truth. The fact of the matter is we're doing very well in a number of states. And so, we don't have to go and spend ad money in places where we think that we're going to win.

Additionally, in some of the states, give you an example, Arizona, we've moved some of our ad buys to National and so that it's actually cheaper, for example, to buy a national spot to reach folks in Arizona than it is to go and buy locally in that state. But actually, we just increased our ad buy in Michigan by quite a bit. Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida.

We're up advertising in Wisconsin and in Minnesota.

And so, any of these reports saying that we're cutting it, that's ridiculous. We're actually adding to our media buy and in fact, the only person cutting ads today was Joe Biden cutting his spending in Texas, which by the way, is just a pipe dream anyways.

MACCALLUM: All right. Well, thanks for setting the record straight. Jason, good to see you tonight. Thank you very much for coming on. Good to see you.

MILLER: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: You bet. So, in battleground Ohio, in the county home to the state's capitol, nearly 50,000 voters received incorrect absentee ballots.

Remember, the president won the election in 2016 by just 80,000 votes in three states. So, can the incumbent win again? We're going to talk to Speaker Newt Gingrich, who joins me on that as the president reacts to Nancy Pelosi's effort to remove an unfit president, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: She's gone crazy.

She's a nut job. But this 25th Amendment, I think they put it in so they can get Kamala.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Lindsey Graham has been a South Carolina senator for 17 years, but he is now in a very tight race, got a challenge from Democratic opponent Jaime Harrison, and that Senate race could potentially be one of the ones that could shift the balance in the Senate. Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel has the back story on this for us tonight. Good evening, Mike.

MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Martha. Good evening. Senator Lindsey Graham has quite a battle on his hands, facing a very well-funded opponent at a time when he's playing a very powerful role, leading the Senate Judiciary Committee in the confirmation process for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Graham is being seriously outspent by his Democratic rival. And with polls tied, Democrat Jaime Harrison is receiving a whole lot of national attention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAIME HARRISON, CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATOR: This is not about Democrats versus Republicans or progressives versus conservatives. It's about focusing on what is right versus what is wrong. And Lindsey has forgotten it. I used to respect him greatly. I thought he was a good guy who could rise above the political fray. But what we have seen is he's why people hate politics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL: A critical statewide televised debate was scheduled for this evening, in fact, this hour. But they've been squabbling with Harrison, demanding Graham get a COVID test and Graham saying he'll take medical advice from a doctor and that they negotiated terms weeks ago. Graham is saying Harrison is too liberal for South Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): This is a big choice election between me and Mr. Harrison. Capitalism versus socialism, conservative judges versus liberal judges, law, and order versus chaos.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL: I spoke with an expert from Clemson University who notes in previous races the threat to Graham has been from other Republicans during the primaries, some arguing he wasn't conservative enough. This time it's different.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The difference now is, he's got a very capable and well- funded Democratic opponent. The Harrison campaign has been very professionally run. And so, you're getting that kind of motivation on the other side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL: This would be a huge prize for the progressive left if they can pull off the upset that explains the massive amount of campaign cash being sent in to help Harrison. But Republicans say don't count Lindsey Graham out just yet. Martha.

MACCALLUM: Mike, thank you very much, Mike Emanuel in Washington with one of the Senate races that we are watching. More to come on those. But right now, we've got Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House and Fox News Contributor and the author of Trump and the American Future, Solving the Great Problems of Our Time. Thank you very much, Speaker. Good to have you with us this evening.

One of the problems that President Trump is facing right now is getting re- elected. He's having - we've seen the polls widen a bit. What would be your advice to him now with 25 days to go?

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Look, I think he has a clear path to a very large victory. It starts by simply continuing to pressure Biden over whether or not he would pack the court. Two-thirds of the American people are deeply opposed to packing the court. The radical left, the base of the Democratic Party is deeply committed to packing the court, and that's why he and Kamala Harris keep fighting.

So, I think it's driving away at the idea of this guy either is afraid or for some other reason won't tell the rest of us the truth. I think that's beginning to take an impact. And it's the first time in this election that I've seen a news media actually go after Biden, I've never seen to do it until the last couple of days.

Second, Trump has a very simple argument to it. Is he the guy who mishandled COVID-19 and 200,000 Americans died? Or is he the guy who very early on understood the threat, was told it would kill over 2 million people, took the right decisions, even though Biden harassed Pelosi and others attacked him. And as a result, Donald Trump saved over 2 million lives. Now, the answer to that choice is a very big part of what this campaign's about in these last few weeks.

MACCALLUM: I think you're right about that, we have a Pew poll that shows who people think would handle COVID-19 better, and we've seen a lot of polls like this, Newt. This one is a 17-point deficit for President Trump.

So, you talk about the messaging on this. And obviously one of the hardest messages to fight against right now is the outbreak at the White House itself and that the president got it. And a lot of people look at that and they wonder, if you can't keep it out of your own house, how are you going to keep it out of my house is sort of the thing that he's fighting against right now. What do you think?

GINGRICH: Well, I think that's part of the challenge this this this is a Chinese virus, it came in in a way we did not expect. When the president took the right steps to save millions of lives. It was Pelosi, Biden, Harris, and other Democrats who attacked him, ridiculed him, called him names, but he was right. And so he - probably 2 million people are alive today, because Donald Trump didn't listen to Joe Biden or to Nancy Pelosi and two of the states that had the most deaths, New York and New Jersey, Democratic governors who did exactly the wrong thing, there's no question that Governor Cuomo, for example, ended up with policies that killed somewhere between six and 12 million senior citizens Governor Murphy far behind.

So, I think we have to have an honest, open conversation and not just allow the Left-wing media to define reality. The fact is, when this started, we were told - the president was told by experts that well over 2 million Americans were at risk. He took very bold--

MACCALLUM: That's true.

GINGRICH: Decisions and as a result may have saved 2 million lives.

MACCALLUM: So, let me ask you about the debate strategy, because now they're down to only two, the first one was a rough one, as has been well- documented. So, the president will now - I was just told by Jason Miller that he is going to do some kind of town hall event with to be named networks, not Fox, next week on that Thursday night, when that debate would have taken place. So, how do you take advantage of the time left? What do you think about the commission and the way that this middle debate that is now lost was handled?

GINGRICH: Well, I just wrote a newsletter, Gingrich 360, which is available for free or I think releasing it tomorrow morning, calling for abolishing the commission. What the commission has done was deliberately, totally undermine the President of the United States. Look, first of all, that who they picked as moderators, consistently Democrats, consistently Washington insiders looked second at the fact that they changed--

MACCALLUM: Chris Wallace would take issue with that, as you know. And we think he did an excellent job. Go ahead.

GINGRICH: No, no. I'm just saying, you take the footage, you take the moderators in general. I mean, the next moderator who I like personally, Steve Scully is a wonderful guy, but he was an intern for Biden. He was an intern for Teddy Kennedy. You have to take some seriousness about this. The last moderator is a terrific reporter, did write a very glowing biography of Nancy Pelosi, you don't see any - you don't see.- you or Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity, who see nobody on the Right ever offered by the commission as a potential moderator, so you're always going in with it being two to one against you and then they changed the rules.

And I think it did so in part to smother Vice President Pence's brilliant debate of the night before.

MACCALLUM: That was what Jason Miller just said. Well, myself or anyone in the news division would be happy to host any town hall we have offered.

Bret and I have done them with the president before and we would welcome that opportunity again. Newt Gingrich, thank you very much. Good to have you with us tonight, sir.

GINGRICH: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, just a few moments ago, we have word that Hurricane Delta is now making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane. We're going to get you there live and we'll get an update from Lake Arthur right after this.

(VIDEO PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Hurricane Delta making landfall in Louisiana just moments ago, bringing damaging winds, life-threatening storm surge and reports of more than 100,000 people who have already lost their power. Senior Correspondent Mike Tobin live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this evening. Good evening, Mike.

MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. The conditions aren't that bad here in Baton Rouge, the worst of the storm is going to pass to the west of here and it's currently southwest of this location.

What officials are expecting here in Baton Rouge, along the banks of the Mississippi, there's a wind and a rain event.

The problem here is that the rain came through yesterday. There were some

23 rescues yesterday from flooding. And the problem is that the ground is already saturated and soft, and it doesn't take a whole lot to start knocking over trees. And when you expect to get wind gusts 25 to 40 miles per hour, that means the trees are going to go over and they're going to start taking out power lines.

So, power crews are at the ready expecting that people in this region will experience some power losses. The people who are taking the direct hit are in Lake Arthur, Lake Charles, Lafayette. They are getting hit directly by the storm right now. And the problem for them is that a lot of them still have the blue tarps up. They haven't fully recovered from the hurricane that came through just six weeks ago. In fact, some 8000 people are still displaced from the storm trying to recover. Governor John Bell Edwards says they're going to be tested one more time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): We know that some people are still evacuated and families have not yet been reunified. So, this is a very tough time.

But we also know the people of Louisiana and in southwest Louisiana are very tough and resilient and faithful. And we're going to get through this.

And it's not going to be easy, nobody should not take this lightly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TOBIN: Now something that Governor Edwards points out that of the people who died in the last hurricane, most of them died after the storm passed.

They'd died traveling, they died in cleanup accidents, and a lot died from carbon monoxide poisoning because the power went out, they use the generators and they use them improperly. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Good warning. Our thoughts are with all of those people in Lafayette, Louisiana and in that whole region. Tonight, we're keeping a close eye on this. Thanks for your coverage, Mike. We'll check back in with you later.

So, this word moments ago from the Trump campaign again calling for an additional debate on October the 29, not that next week's virtual debate has been scrapped. The Biden campaign so far has said that that is not an option that they are sticking with the original dates. So, we'll see if there's any movements on that.

Coming up next, Marc Thiessen and Jessica Tarlov, a preview of Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearings which started this Monday, scrutiny over her religious beliefs ramping up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Some new information from Judge Amy Coney Barrett's past has come under some scrutiny today ahead of her Supreme Court confirmation hearings that get underway on Monday morning at 9. We'll have full coverage for you of that.

But this evening, there are reports that she failed to disclose in her Senate paperwork that she gave two talks hosted by anti-abortion student groups in 2013.

Joining now, Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Institute scholar and Jessica Tarlov, senior director of research for https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__Bustle.com&d=DwICAg&c=cnx1hdOQtepEQkpermZGwQ&r=66NL-BOo471AGSm_KnwRE_qfHEjM19jJhbDYidH1S1U&m=p9TEX3fLBvJ2q4kbe820coMW-uHXf4wamSPCEEyto1k&s=SL-De21GOVqBlSZP11QunJ8PTjUw1LF_aKlh596N7jM&e= . Both are Fox News contributors. Of course, great to see you both. Thank you for being here.

MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be with you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, Marc, as I look at this --

JESSICA TARLOV, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: -- there are two issues here. One is an error not to include something in the paperwork which has in the past delayed things. So, I want to know if you think it's going to delay things, but on the substance of it, it strikes me -- it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone. That as a person of deep Catholic faith, Amy Coney Barrett is against abortion but she said time and time again, that it would not have an impact on how she would rule on whether or not there was constitutional merit to Roe v. Wade or other issues. What do you think about these documents?

THIESSEN: Well, you're exactly right. This is not going to slow or stop her confirmation. The fact that she spoke to pro-life groups is not going to disqualify her with any of the Republicans who are going to vote for her.

So, this is not a deciding issue.

And the reality is look, the Democrats have zero chance of stopping Amy Coney Barrett and they have nobody to blame but themselves for that situation. They made two catastrophic errors. First, they filibustered Neil Gorsuch who is so eminently qualified. If they had not filibuster Gorsuch there is no way that Republicans would ever gotten rid of the filibuster.

And if they still had a 60-vote, a requirement for Supreme Court justices, Brett Kavanaugh would not be on the court today and there will be zero chance of getting -- of Donald Trump confirming Amy Coney Barrett today.

So that decision is why those two people are going to be on the Supreme Court. And second, they better learn the lesson from their smear campaign against Brett Kavanaugh. Because that cost them a chance to win back the Senate in 2018.

It is very well-documented at least three Democratic senators lost their seats precisely because of the Kavanaugh hearings and Republicans gained two more seats which means they have wiggle room of three senators now that they could lose. So, if they -- if Democrats won back the Senate --

MACCALLUM: So, Jessica --

THIESSEN: -- they could have -- they could have blocked Amy Coney Barrett, but they can't now.

MACCALLUM: Yes. No, it's an interesting point. It's an interesting point, Marc. Thank you. Jessica, do you think that's true? And I am picking up some indications that Democrats are looking at this one differently. That they might not put up as much opposition as they have in the past for a number of reasons.

TARLOV: Yes, I think that that largely thrown out. I wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago for http://foxnews.com before Amy Coney Barrett was announced as the nominee and right after Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. Essentially saying I consider the seat gone. Republicans are going to move forward. No appeals.

But Merrick Garland are going to stop Mitch McConnell from doing this especially because he is certainly feeling the heat about what might have happened on November 3rd and losing his majority in the Senate which would make it obviously pretty hard to drive this through after that in a lame duck discussion.

So, I treat it at the court right now as being at six-three.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

TARLOV: But to the point about Amy Coney Barrett withholding this information it does affirm what liberals have been saying that she is hiding these things for public appearances. But anyone who is been paying attention knows, as Marc says, that this is how Amy Coney Barrett feels.

As someone of deep Catholic faith, she's openly pro-life, and saying that she opposes abortion and calling it a barbaric on one of the letters she finds onto in 2006 as that. And though she may have said that she doesn't believe Roe v. Wade will be overturned she has talked about chipping away at abortion rights at the state level which frankly is the path that pro- life groups know that they have to take.

MACCALLUM: Jessica Tarlov, thank you very much. Marc Thiessen, great to have you both with us tonight.

THIESSEN: Good to be with you.

MACCALLUM: We're going to have a full coverage as I said --

TARLOV: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: -- on Monday and we'll be calling on you again as it gets underway. Thanks to you guys.

Special coverage of Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearing begins Monday morning at 9 a.m. And coming up next here tonight on The Story, two alleged Islamic state militants are now in the United States and they are facing terror charges for brutal acts of violence. In some instances, beheading against four Americans who were captured and held hostage in Syria.

One of those Americans 26-year-old Kayla Mueller, they are on humanitarian aid mission, she was held 18 months before her death. Her parents, Marsha and Carl joined me exclusively when we continue here tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Help people. She was there to help people. And he saw her and he thought she was beautiful. And he brought her for captivity for a long period of time and then he killed her. He was an animal. And he was a gutless animal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: In 2013, Kayla Mueller was a very brave woman who was working with refugees in Turkey and Syria when she was captured and then tortured and held in captivity for 18 months by the evil ISIS leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi.

It in a letter to her family, she wrote, I know you would want me to remain strong and that is exactly what I am doing. And I remember mom always telling me that all in all, in the end, the only one you really have is God.

The Trump administration sought justice in Kayla's 2015 death. In 2019 Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley named the operation that killed Baghdadi in honor of Kayla.

Here's Vice President Pence this week with Kayla's parents looking on from the audience at the debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The reality is that when Joe Biden was vice president, we had an opportunity to save Kayla Mueller.

It breaks my heart to reflect on it but the military came in to the Oval Office and they presented a plan. They said they knew where Kayla was.

Baghdadi had held her for 18 months and abused her mercilessly before they killed her.

When Joe Biden was vice president they hesitated for a month. And when armed forces finally went in, it was clear she'd been moved two days earlier and her family says with a broke that broke the heart of every American. That if President Donald Trump had been president, they believe Kayla would be alive today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Now two remaining British ISIS fighters are in U.S. custody on charges stemming from the torture and the beheading of western hostages, including Americans James Foley, Peter Kassig, Steven Sotloff, and Kayla Mueller. The allege militants pled not guilty this afternoon.

Kayla's parents Marsha and Carl Mueller join me once again on The Story.

It's good to have you both here. I know you've had a very emotional and busy week at the debate and spending time with Vice President Pence and flying to another ceremony as well. So, I am grateful to you both for being here.

You know, I was watching in the hall as you were when Vice President Pence said those words and afterward, Kamala Harris -- Senator Harris side to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: To the Mueller family, I know about your daughter's case and I am so sorry. I am so sorry.

What happened to her is awful. And it should have never happened. And I know Joe feels the same way. And I know that President Obama feels the same way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Marsha, what was your response as you heard that in the hall?

MARSHA MUELLER, KAYLA MUELLER'S MOTHER: Well, it was emotional to hear first Vice President Pence speaking so well about Kayla and what happened.

And you know, I don't know exactly how I would respond to that. I'm glad she said it, I do believe that everyone believes Kayla should be here, even the last administration.

They -- they just waited too long to do anything over there. I think a lot of lives would have been saved if more would have been -- one more action would have been taken in 2014 at the least. So, but I'm grateful that she did say it.

MACCALLUM: Yes. OK. That's good. You know, I want to just take a look at the painting that was unveiled. Carl, you were at this, you are both at this. It's an amazing painting of the raid similar to the one that killed al-Baghdadi and Kayla's pictures on it, the raid that killed him was named in honor of her birthday, 8, 14. What is -- how did you feel when you saw this?

CARL MUELLER, KAYLA MUELLER'S FATHER: Well, a friend of mine and myself have been working on that project for a long, long time. We were due to unveil that earlier in the year, but COVID happened and we had to postpone that. But that was an amazing, amazing ceremony to have Ambassador O'Brien there and what our Governor Doug Ducey said there was -- they brought me to tears.

M. MUELLER: Yes.

C. MUELLER: He really had a wonderful speech and I'm sure people can find that on YouTube or someplace if they cared to watch that ceremony. It was -

- it was to honor our military, it was to honor the Trump administration, and thank them for acting decisively and quickly to do the raid that took that guy out.

MACCALLUM: I know you're both grateful for that and the whole country is grateful for that justice. And we hope that there is justice done with these other two individuals who are now in the United States as well.

Marsha, can you read from the note that you carry with you always? From Kayla's own words?

M. MUELLER: Well, it's just one of the things she said, it's her own words, and I think where we are right now is important to read this.

Here we are, free to speak out without fear of being killed. Blessed to be protected by the same law we are subjected to. Free to see our families as we please, free to cross borders and free to disagree. We have many people to think for these freedoms and I see it as an injustice, not to use them to their fullest.

MACCALLUM: Marsha and Carl, thank you both so much. Amen to that.

M. MUELLER: Thank you.

C. MUELLER: Thank you for having us.

MACCALLUM: Thank you both. We'll be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: As a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division, Vincent Speranza spent 144 days in combat during World War II, a survivor of the long and bloodied battle of the Bulge. Now at the age of 95, he decided it was time for one more jump. He recently joined the army's Golden Knights airborne team for a tandem jump in California. There he is with a big smile on his face. Here's how it went.

Wow, that was a smooth landing. Vincent Speranza joins me now, bronze star and Purple Heart recipient. Vincent, thank you for your service in World War II, sir. It's a real honor to talk to you. What was that jump like for you and why did you decide to jump again after all these years?

VINCENT SPERANZA, 95-YEAR-OLD WORLD WAR II PARATROOPER: I was telling somebody else today that you never get use to parachute jumping. It's the same exhilaration and thrill that you had with the first one. The first one as soon as you get by that moment of truth where you're asked to step out the door and you conquer that moment, the rest of it is pure joy.

The silence as the shoot opens, the gentle breeze as you go down and you've been taught to land properly so you don't get hurt and it is just nothing but a pure exhilarating experience.

MACCALLUM: Well, that's what we feel when we watch you on this video as you go through the sky, it's an amazing video and an amazing experience. I want to ask you a little bit just for a moment, may be a memory or two about what was it like when you were fighting in the Battle of the Bulge?

SPERANZA: Wow. The Battle of the Bulge it was the most uneven fight in the history as far as we were concerned. Here were 12,000 American troops,

9,000 of them paratroopers, the other 3,000 were from the 10th armored and the 705th (Inaudible) and 25 German division. All nine of the divisions were panzers with their leader's tanks and so on.

And we had 73 tanks, they had over a thousand, they were fully equipped, we had no winter clothes, we were low on food and ammunition and so on. But, Martha, one more time, one more time -- battles are not necessarily won by who has the most men, who has the most equipment, who has air cover and so on, it's what's in the heart of the individual soldier.

A man who digs a hole in the ground and puts a bayonet that the end of his rifle and says I don't care what you throw at me, you're not getting by my foxhole. And that kind of spirit throughout that battle although we were

171 -- I never felt or even saw any of my buddies anything but high morale, we are going to lick them no matter what they do.

MACCALLUM: It's remarkable. What do you say to Americans today, some of whom are not as familiar with these stories, what do you want them to understand about the sacrifice and the mission?

SPERANZA: Well, you know, today's troops and today's battles are different from what we were facing. You know, an all-out war and the motivation for the soldiers is different, we were fighting for the defense of our country.

At that time, America was really in danger and so our attitude was very simply, we're going to keep you guys from getting to where my family lives and so on. Today's troops I think they are much more focused from what I can tell about them -- I visited with a lot of them and we've got the finest bunch of guys and gals that you ever saw.

They're dedicated, they know their job, they're well-trained and so on and as you can tell, you know, a handful of our troops overseas can take on greater numbers and so on and now, you know, we're fully equipped and so on. And so, I tell them when I speak to them, I say, you know, so long as we still have people like you out there, America is not in danger of ever losing any more.

MACCALLUM: Vincent Speranza, you are really an inspiring individual, we thank you so much for your service in World War II and the continuing example that you set for all Americans. Thank you so much, Vincent. It's an honor to speak with you, sir.

SPERANZA: You're quite welcome, Martha, and I look forward to watching your program every night. I have Fox News on almost all day most of the time.

MACCALLUM: Thank you. Thank you.

SPERANZA: And I'm delighted to have the opportunity to speak with you.

MACCALLUM: Well, the feeling is mutual. Thank you so much and I'm honored that you're watching every night. Thank you, Vincent. Be well. Take care, sir.

That is The Story of Friday, October the 9th, 2020. But as always, The Story continues, so we will see you back here on Monday night at 7 o'clock.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

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