This is a rush transcript from "The Story," July 24, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: "THE STORY" hosted by my friend, Martha MacCallum, starts right now. Ninety-four, Martha.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Bret, do not say no to that man. That would be a bad mood.
BAIER: Yes is the answer.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, Bret. Good to see you tonight. Breaking this evening, the President as you know, says that Mueller, Comey, and company are pursuing a witch-hunt against him. And Patti Blagojevich, the wife of the former governor of Illinois says she agrees with that.
In fact, she claims that the same team did the same thing to her husband who as I said was then the governor of Illinois, who went to prison in part for saying this about his power as governor to pick a Senate replacement for then-Senator Barack Obama.
ROD BLAGOJEVICH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS (through telephone): I got this thing, and it's -- golden. And I'm just not giving it up for -- nothing.
MACCALLUM: Who could forget that, right? Good evening everybody, welcome to 'The Story.' I'm Martha McCallum. In her first ever op-ed which came out today, Patti Blagojevich writes this. "Little did we know how truly corrupt the Obama-era Justice Department and FBI really were. With pre-dawn raids, overzealous prosecutors and a flair for big, flashy press conferences, we have learned the hard way how some prosecutors have weaponized their unchecked power to criminalize the routine practices of politics and government."
She joins me now exclusively tonight. Good to see you once again, Patti. Thank you for being here this evening.
PATTI BLAGOJEVICH, WIFE OF FORMER GOVERNOR ROD BLAGOJEVICH: Oh, thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, you know, the Chicago Tribune has an op-ed that is pushing back. They are saying that you are revising history somewhat in this op-ed. Are they right about that in terms of the timeline, they say, you know, President Obama wasn't even in office when this happened to your husband?
And they also say that the claim that he -- that the charge about selling the Senate seat was overturned is not exactly accurate. So, how do you respond to that?
P. BLAGOJEVICH: Well, it was -- it's true that under the -- it was under the Bush administration that the -- when my husband was arrested in December. But it was the Obama administration that -- and their Justice Department that made absolutely sure that my husband didn't get anywhere close to a fair trial.
They suppressed evidence, they -- they've lie to the jury in their closing arguments. They made sure that our evidence, those wiretaps that were so famous that we didn't -- our wiretaps never even saw the light of day.
So, it was the Obama's -- Obama Justice Department and it's the same people that were held over from the -- from the Bush Justice Department that made sure that we didn't get a fair trial.
MACCALLUM: So, let me ask you because if President Trump did bring up a while back on Air Force One, the suggestion that -- you know, he felt that maybe your husband was -- his case was handled unjustly, and that he had some sympathy for that. Is that getting anywhere? Have you heard any more about the potential for a pardon from the president?
P. BLAGOJEVICH: I haven't heard anything at all. I -- you know, we are so grateful for the president to even be thinking about us. In that respect, he's given our family a tremendous amount of hope. And you know, we're confident that the president is going to do what he thinks is right regarding that.
So, I mean, we are -- you know, we say our prayers every night and hopefully look for the -- to the day that my husband gets home. But you know, this whole thing that this happening this weekend is just so familiar to me.
You know, I can't believe these people are at it again. You know, they use whether it's using false information to obtain -- you know, warrants or turning -- you know, trusted advisers and despised against you -- against you. It's like almost like I'm reliving it all over again.
MACCALLUM: When you talk about this weekend, you talk about Paul Manafort?
P. BLAGOJEVICH: I'm just talking -- no, now, I'm talking about like this - - the latest revelations about how the FISA court, and how that they used slander was -- essentially, opposition research slander against the president to -- you know, to spy on him.
And just like the allegation that they used against my husband to get six wiretaps on all of our phone lines was the evidence that they supposedly used was that my husband was going to be doing a lot of fundraising before the end of the year.
This was the allegation, so, if that doesn't -- you know, strike terror into the hearts of any American that they can allege that you're going to fundraise and that's the reason to wiretap you, I don't know -- I don't know who would feel safe.
MACCALLUM: But what about your suggestion that he -- that the charge about selling the Senate seat which we played in the beginning? And I know that you say there was a lot of other evidence that you feel should have been submitted on your husband's behalf. And that you feel that it was wrong that it wasn't.
But that, it was not overturned that the charge with relation to that. And you say that in the op-ed, do you want to clarify that?
P. BLAGOJEVICH: Sure, the charges -- the appellate court overturned five charges relating to this political log-rolling that my husband was accused of. You're saying, well, do you think if president -- if I give the president who he wants for the Senate seat, he might appoint me to be director of Health and Human Services.
Those kind of things were totally overturned as perfectly legal politics. All that remains of our case are three fundraising allegations that -- you know, it's fundraising.
My husband's actually the only politician in the history of the United States that's in prison for fundraising. And fundraising alone.
MACCALLUM: I know you say that you look at Bob McDonnell's case, and Bob Menendez case. And you feel that, that your husband -- you know, that what they did was more egregious than what he did, and that politics came into play. How so?
P. BLAGOJEVICH: Well, you know with Senator Menendez, he was given the jury instructions that we wanted in our case. If we were given the same law that he was given in his -- in his trial, my husband would be a free man today.
But, the court played politics and they had to bury my husband so deep that he could never come out and protest. I mean, they gave him a 14-year sentence for asking for campaign contributions, essentially.
P. BLAGOJEVICH: And so, got him.
MACCALLUM: You know, I'm just curious. It seems to me that one of the strongest arguments that, that you have and I know -- you know, you go back into the case and talk about the way the jury instructions and all of that which is very interesting is the length of the sentence.
You know, it is, is that something that you're pursuing with the White House in terms of a possible pardon for him to say that the time served is enough. He has missed so much time with his two daughters growing up, and he will never get that back.
P. BLAGOJEVICH: Oh, absolutely. My older daughter just graduated from college. She's heading off to graduate school. My younger daughter is -- you know, learning how to drive and as I'm sitting there next to her in the passenger seat, I'm thinking this is a job for her father, you should be sitting here next to her -- you know, teaching her how to drive.
And these are moments that we'll never get back. My -- Rod sentences at least, double that of any other elected official up until that point. And it's outrageous for what the charges are.
Look, even if you take the charges for face value and believe somehow that it was a fair trial, and that it's just -- that sentence is so out of line from anything in the history of the United States.
MACCALLUM: Well, we will see where it goes. Patti, thank you very much. Good to have you here tonight and we'll be watching it very closely. Our thanks to you.
P. BLAGOJEVICH: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, let's bring in Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Institute scholar. And Charlie Hurt, political columnist for The Washington Times. Both they're Fox News contributors. Juan Williams is here, as well, co-host of "The Five" and a Fox News political analyst.
So, you know, obviously, Patti Blagojevich wants this -- she wants to get her husband out of prison. And who can blame her? He has missed a lot of time at home with their family.
Marc, what do you make of her argument though, and the fact that she is making it analogous in some ways to what she sees happening now? And she believes that it was politically motivated in terms of the length of time of that sentence.
MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, well, first of all, your heart breaks for her and for her family and for her kids because they didn't do anything wrong.
MACCALLUM: Yes. That's right.
THIESSEN: And they've lost their dad to a long prison term, and a husband to a long prison term. So they're doing their best to try and figure out a way to get their husband back, and father back, and I -- that's completely understandable.
However, their case has no legal merit that he was convicted not of 18 counts, 13 were upheld on appeal. The five that were dismissed were because of bad jury instructions on a technicality. He was convicted of wire fraud attempting to solicit bribes, and not just in the case of the -- of the Obama Senate seat.
He was convicted of extorting a children's hospital for a $50,000 contribution in order to release money to them. He was convicted of extorting racetrack owners of it before he were refusing to sign legislation for racetrack.
So, there's a lot of stuff that was going on here. This was not just one case, it was a pattern of extortion. And so, they've lost all their appeals and they have no choice but to get a commutation from the president, that's their only hope.
THIESSEN: And so, what they're doing is they're playing the Comey card, they're playing the Mueller card to make their case.
MACCALLUM: Other said -- and -- exactly. And you make excellent points about -- you know, he's also -- they were all -- he was impeached overwhelmingly by the Illinois House and Senate, as well.
MACCALLUM: I think the only person who voted not to impeach him was his wife's sister who was serving in the House. So, and -- you know, it's good she's stuck up for him. But, Charlie, I do think that there's a legitimate claim in terms of the time served.
And when you do look at Bob Menendez, and Bob McDonnell -- Bob McDonnell in Virginia. And you look at those cases, there are a lot of similarities and they got off much easier.
CHARLES HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Sure, there's a great -- there's a great argument there in terms of the amount of time because basically, the courts have been sort of moot on the issue of what exactly is political corruption.
And this is a major constitutional issue and the reason is, is because -- you know -- you know, there are a lot of skeezy politicians out there that do a skeezy thing.
MACCALLUM: News flash.
HURT: And -- exactly. We don't like that. And we want to -- we want to do something to curb that. But, of course, there's something more terrifying than a skeezy politician and that is prosecutors that are -- that -- you know, that pursue politicians, professional prosecutors who pursue professional politicians.
And we don't really understand everything that's going on, and we don't understand are they politically motivated or they not? And that's where I think that she raises a lot of interesting points at a time where we ought to be thinking about these sorts of things.
From the beginning, the reason the investigation into the Trump campaign and into the -- into those around Donald Trump is so alarming. The reason to constitute a major constitutional question is for exactly, the reasons that she enunciated even though, she may -- you know, they may not be the best case for this.
But, the idea that you would have, these -- you know, witch hunts that Donald Trump calls, but these investigations into politicians. And the only politician I've ever known who got off completely scot-free or got some advantage out of it was the Clintons.
MACCALLUM: Well, that -- Juan. He makes a good point.
THIESSEN: Good point.
MACCALLUM: You know, in my mind, Juan, you know, you look at this, and you do obviously have sympathy for Patti Blagojevich's and for her daughters. And you do have to be circumspect about both sides of the equation, right?
You have to look at the potential crime, and in this case, he was convicted on several counts as we have pointed out several times here. You also have to look at the investigators, and you have to say, is it politically motivated?
Because what we want is justice in this country and people to have a comfort level that they're getting a fair shake when they're charged with something.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don't think any question about that, but I also think that you have to be fear to the idea that the law enforcement is going -- has to hold the line against politicians who have power over budgets, who have power over contracts, who have power over appointments like Governor Blagojevich.
And so, I think what Patti Blagojevich is doing, and I totally feel for her -- you know, losing a husband and a father for that time. But I think what she is doing is trying to appeal to Donald Trump, even here tonight and to make the case to President Trump.
Hey, we have a problem similar to yours. If you have a grudge against law enforcement if you see law enforcement as excessive in the use of their powers and abusive. Then, guess what, I'm the perfect case for you to use. And we know that President Trump is pardon Joe Arpaio, right?
President Trump has gone out of the way to pardon Dinesh D'Souza, right? Fellow conservatives if you will, especially, Arpaio on the immigration issue. He's gone out of his way even to pardon Scooter Libby.
WILLIAMS: And again, in every case, it seems like he's sending a message.
MACCALLUM: What about Mark Rich? I mean, you know, you can -- Obama and Bush had hundreds of pardons when you look back at the list.
THIESSEN: Yes, yes.
MACCALLUM: And in many cases, it's just a question of believing that there should be -- you know, some forgiveness for time served. And you know, I don't think there's any question that there were laws broken here.
And I'm not -- you know, and you're absolutely right. I mean, Patti Blagojevich is hoping to catch the attention of the president with this op-ed that she wrote and she has raised questions. We'll see if she gets anywhere, but we had to leave it there. You guys, thank you very much. Great to see all of you tonight.
HURT: You bet.
THIESSEN: You're welcome.
WILLIAMS: You're welcome.
MACCALLUM: Thanks, guys. So, here is a question for you. A totally different subject, and what I want you to weigh in on this. Have you tried to get a plastic straw in your coke or your cocktail lately?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I brought myself a marine-friendly straw, and I'm going to show you how it works.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: John Stossel, here to explain why plastic straws are disappearing. It's really hard to find them when you go out somewhere and fighting back against the movement behind paper.
Even pasta with a hole in the middle has been offered as a straw and bamboo that's being pushed on you.
Also, coming up this evening on a much more serious note. The untold story of American hostage Otto Warmbier held captive in North Korea. Tonight, a new theory about what really happened when one of the negotiators joins me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Otto did not die in vain. He had a lot to do with us being here today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: New images just today show that North Korea has begun the process of dismantling a key missile site and we appreciate that. We had a fantastic meeting with Chairman Kim and it seems to be going very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Some encouraging news for North Korea today as new satellite images reportedly show some of its missile launch sites are being dismantled as part of the President's deal to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. So if this is true, this represents a glimmer of hope for the White House amidst some rocky negotiations that began in secret during the early days of the 2016 election and tonight we are getting a closer look at one part of how the Trump-Kim negotiations found their beginnings in an American tragedy that is detailed in a deeply researched new story in G.Q. Magazine. It is called the untold story of Otto Warmbier. It digs into the secret talks that took place to bring the American college student home, describing what happened to Otto as "even more shocking than anyone knew." Trace Gallagher is live in our West Coast newsroom tonight with the story. Good evening, Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: Good evening, Martha. G.Q. is reporting that in June of last year President Trump signed off on a secret mission to send a planeload of diplomats and doctors into North Korea to bring Otto Warmbier home. The article says Mr. Trump told then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to "take care of Otto." But at the time it was also known that Warmbier who had been held for 15 months was unconscious. His parents were told by their home state of Ohio Senator Rob Portman that their son had brain damage yet they held out hope that he was in a medically induced coma. That hope faded when the plane carrying their son arrived back in Cincinnati and they saw him strapped to a stretcher jerking violently and howling. Doctors still don't know what caused the injuries but there was talk of torture and coercion as evidenced by Warmbier's confession statement in February 2016. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OTTO WARMBIER, PRISONER IN NORTH KOREA: I have been very impressed by the Korean government's humanitarian treatment of severe criminals like myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Later the New York Times cited anonymous sources claiming U.S. intelligence reports indicate Warmbier was repeatedly beaten by North Korea. The torture theory was then embraced by President Trump and Otto Warmbier's parents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED WARMBIER, FATHER OF OTTO WARMBIER: He was blind, he was deaf, as we looked at him and tried to comfort him, it looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: But a day later, the Hamilton County, Ohio Coroner contradicted the Warmbier statement saying she found no signs of trauma to the teeth and no obvious sign of torture but she also confirmed there was brain damage. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. LAKSHMI SAMMARCO, CORONER, HAMILTON COUNTY, OHIO: There's a couple of ways you can get that. So you either have to discontinue blood flow to the brain or stop breathing and what caused either one of those possible events we wouldn't know. I mean, could that have been tortured at the time, we don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: The writer of the G.Q. says he spoke to a dozen experts and only one thought there was any remote possibility that Warmbier was tortured. And today when Fox News asked the State Department if Warmbier was in fact tortured, we were told only that the administration holds North Korea accountable for Otto Warmbier unjust imprisonment. Warmbier's parents have not yet commented on the G.Q. article. Martha?
MACCALLUM: There's no doubt about it that they are accountable for what happened to him when he was in their custody. That's to be sure. Trace, thank you very much. So here now a man who is mentioned quite a bit in this story. He was a crucial part of the secret negotiations with North Korea. Mickey Bergman, Executive Director of the Richardson Center for Global Engagement has worked on these kinds of cases for years bringing back hostages. Mickey, thank you very much for being here. First of all your reaction to the suggestions in this story.
MICKEY BERGMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RICHARDSON CENTER FOR GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT: Well, I think the story is thorough, it's deep, it takes into account a lot of different interviews. Governor Richardson and myself were interviewed by the reporter several times and the reporter did a good job. There's parts of all of this that none of us know and I think you just touched on it in your coverage. There's no doubt and I got a chance to see Otto when he came back to Ohio of the damage that he had but as we heard we don't know exactly what caused it and I think Fred and Cindy, his parents know everything that they need to know. The North Koreans killed their son and they're looking for accountability and there should be accountability and that's it's a tragedy.
And at the same time, I also want to remind you that what happened to Otto is the exception to other cases that we've seen in North Korea. I was on your show a few months ago when we welcome back three other Americans coming back and they were healthy. There's a lot of mystery around what happened over there.
MACCALLUM: You know, it's very clear that he was under mental duress and how could he not be? He's a young man with his whole future ahead of him who according to them you know took some piece of propaganda to bring home as a souvenir and then saw his entire life end. He was going to be there for the foreseeable future 15 years and there's a suggestion in here that that may have led possibly to something that led to you know, the oxygen being caught off to his brain and even the suggestion that he may have tried to take his own life. His parents have not responded to this story. They do not believe that that is the case in any way. But even if that were the story, what is still clear is that doing this current -- and you say that what they routinely do is put them in a room, question them for sometimes 15 hours on end and mental torture is absolutely part of the equation in all the cases.
BERGMAN: Correct and especially when you think about Otto being there we know what was happening here. We know that there was a movement, that there was attempt to get him. We don't know that he knew any of it. It is possible for somebody in isolation like that to be told many things that can be really devastating in any way or form. I know it might sound not so serious but for somebody saying hey, your parents don't care about you. Your parents admitted your fault. Your government is shying away. All those things when they repeated at you and you have no outlet can get you. So there's -- again, what the exact cause of Otto's condition I think we are not going to find out but the overall responsibility and accountability for itself no matter how it took place was the North Korean government and I think that's the important thing for Fred and Cindy.
MACCALLUM: It's hard to imagine something to be more torturing to a child than to hear that your parents don't care about you. I mean, that is -- that would be absolutely devastating to this young man or to anyone else. In terms of what we're seeing now, the dismantling of this facility and their nuclear operations, how optimistic are you that they want to move forward with these -- with this dismantling. What do you think is going on?
BERGMAN: I think what we saw today, the image is a very good sign. It means that Secretary Pompeo managed to get back on track after a bumpy visit he had. And I think what we -- what's important for us to understand that we're looking at the post at the timing of position, at a period of positioning by both sides. The summit last month was very good. It allowed the two leaders to meet but he did not produce a workable framework which was the task of Secretary Pompeo since. And so when Secretary Pompeo meets harsh language when he visits North Korea, that's the North Koreans positioning. When Secretary Pompeo goes to the U.N. as they did last week to reinstate maximum pressure, that's the U.S. positioning. So we're going to see this. It's going to be bumpy and we need to -- we need to remember not to -- not to cry all is lost every time there is a setback and not to celebrate mission accomplished every time we have a step forward. There's going to be a long and bumpy road ahead.
MACCALLUM: As you've said often where the North Koreans say no, they mean not yet and you found that in your negotiations over the years and working with them closely and something called the New York Channel here in New York which I thought was fascinating as part of the story. Mickey, thank you very much. Great to see you tonight.
BERGMAN: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Thank you. So still to come this evening, wow, from America's dad to America's newest sex offender. He is being categorized that way by the state of Pennsylvania. His people are fighting back. The shocking news story about Bill Cosby. And Republicans slammed the President for extending a lifeline to farmers who are hard hit by his tariffs. The Secretary of Agriculture joins us here to respond to that criticism coming up in a moment and one of the real-life farmers on whether or not the White House response is good enough when we come back.
MACCALLUM: Developing tonight, President Trump is now offering to help American farmers caught up in the escalating trade war with China. Twelve billion dollars in aid will go to farmers whose harvests have been hurt by the tariffs.
Kendell Culp -- Kendell Culp is the Indiana farmer, has been for 40 years and raises soybeans, corn, wheat, beets, cattle and hogs. He's also the vice president of Indiana Farm Bureau and board of directors for the American Soybean Association so he knows of what he speaks. Kendell, good to see you tonight. Thank you very much for being here. The $12 billion, how does that go over with you?
KENDELL CULP, VICE PRESIDENT, INDIANA FARM BUREAU: Well, obviously, the -- we appreciate the president having our backs as farmers and he said that he would do that as this trade issue has continued on. He said he would be supportive of us and while we appreciate that, obviously we would just like to have a deal done would be what we would really like to see done in the long run.
MACCALLUM: What kind of deal? You want to see NAFTA, you want to see TPP put back on the table?
CULP: Well, obviously NAFTA is what needs to happen first. NAFTA is really very important to the agriculture economy. Not only to Indiana, but all farmers in the United States.
You know, there are both of those, they're top five trading partners for the United States. A lot of corn, a lot of soybeans, a lot of meat products are exported to both of those countries and I think what we are being told is that would be the model.
And so we would like to see NAFTA done so we can continue to see trade agreements with other countries. That's what the administration said they preferred instead of larger multilateral trade agreements, they would rather see unilateral or bilateral trade agreement. And so, we're anxious to see those take place so our commodities continue to flow to these other countries.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, obviously the president is very concerned about people in your situation and generally part of his base and he does not want to lose your support and here's one of the tweets that he put out today.
"Tariffs are the greatest. Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on trade negotiations negotiate a fair deal or it gets hit with tariffs. It's as simple as that and everybody is talking. Remember, we are the piggy bank that is being robbed. All will be great."
And earlier today he said, "you've got to stick it out, you've got to fight. Nobody else fought it." So he's essentially asking for your patience and saying that in the end it will pay off for you. Do you believe that?
CULP: Well, I think farmers all along have been very supportive of the administration. Secretary Perdue has said multiple times as farmers if we raise the commodities and the crops that the government will find a home for those and will sell those for us, and so we believe that. We want to actually, you know, we want to see that take place and happen.
So, you know, we, farmers are free-trade people. We want free trade, we want fair trade. We want open markets. You know, we are over producers in this country, the U.S. farmers are, and so we produce way more than what the American citizens can consume, so we have to have a market and export those for our market around the world.
You know, 95 percent of the population lives outside of the United States.
CULP: And so it's important that our goods get to those people.
MACCALLUM: I got to go but before I let you go, do you think it will change anyone's vote or support in your group for the president? Is that in danger?
CULP: They are still patient right now. You know, we are a ways here in the Midwest; we're little ways from harvest. We are a couple months away yet. If this drags on and we get past harvests and our bins are full and we have a good crop and we have poor market prices, then I think you are going to see -- you're going to see more farmers saying that we need to have this deal done quickly.
MACCALLUM: Yes. All right. Kendell, thank you very much. Kendell Culp, good to speak with you tonight, sir.
Here now for a story exclusive to answer to those questions, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Sir, welcome. Very good to have you with us tonight. What's your response to Mr. Culp?
SONNY PERDUE, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: I think again, he's a farmer and farmers are real patriots. There's not a farmer in this country that would not rather have a good crop at a fair price than a government check.
But when we have trade disruptions that we now we believe illegal retaliatory tariffs against our farmers, then they need some help and that's exactly what the president has promised, and that's what he has delivered.
Our farmers, if there were open trade around the world, they would benefit greatly, and that's what we would like to see. There have been non-tariff barriers for years and China has cheated ever since they got in the WTO. So this is what the president is the first want to call them on it and that's what we need, someone to play fair.
MACCALLUM: So, I mean, in terms of China and many other countries, they have the ability to manipulate their currency, they can manipulate their markets to a great extent. They can offset some of these tariffs. Is this, you know, sort of the administration's way of trying to offset while obviously keeping within the rules that we have as a country?
PERDUE: It is. It's a temporary measure so we can get these trade disruptions resolved. The president wants trade more than anyone. He wants free and fair trade. Even our allies at the E.U. have non-tariff barriers that are damaging our farmers.
Our farmers are the most competitive in the world. If you turn them loose with reciprocal trades, they can outcompete anyone in the world, and that's why we face these unfair trade practices from around the world.
MACCALLUM: Understood. But let me ask you this because there's a lot of effort and a lot of discussions today about carve outs about exceptions for certain industries, and that's a dangerous road to go down because the next thing you know you are carving out everybody who is, you know, lobbying and pushing hard to be the one who gets that exception.
PERDUE: Our farmers provide national food security, which is actually national security, just like our defense. If we don't have enough to eat, this country is in an amazing situation that is not very helpful. And that's why the president understands how important the farmers are to the economy and the farmers are important to our national security.
MACCALLUM: All right. So I'm hearing you are going to protect them and we will see how it all works out. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, thank you, sir.
PERDUE: Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Good to have you on the show tonight. Thanks for being here.
PERDUE: Thank you tonight.
MACCALLUM: You bet. So coming up next, John Stossel is standing by with a paper straw and it's just a disaster. Will any of them live up to plastic? We are going to test it out because you know this problem at home. I know you have witnessed this and John is going to explain it to us.
But first, he was once one of America's most beloved figures. Comedian Bill Cosby is now one step away from being labeled a sex offender for life in the State of Pennsylvania and that might be the least of what he has coming ultimately.
Governor Mike Huckabee with a big picture look at all of this. Role models, celebrity, expectations that we have for these people. All of that with the governor, when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL COSBY, ACTOR: You really don't have to worry about cheese. You got half. Stop. Stop. Come on, come on, stop.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me go.
COSBY: Look the two of you--
Did you tell Denise she could go out on a date tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes I did.
COSBY: Well, have you seen the boy?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I have.
COSBY: Well, how ugly is he?
The fathers are the geniuses of the house. We are the geniuses at the house because only a person as intelligent as we could fake such stupidity.
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MACCALLUM: Those were the good times. A stunning fall from grace for Bill Cosby, once regarded as America's dad. Wrote a book on fatherhood. His Cosby show, his stand-up act, a fatherhood book, all considered to be a role model for people across the country until it all came crashing down with sexual assault convictions.
And today a Pennsylvania board recommended the 81-year-old, who is now under house arrest while he waits for sentencing, which could be 15 years long, while he's doing that at home is declared potentially a sexually violent predator. That's under advisement in Pennsylvania right now.
So if the judge approves it, it would mean he has to register with the police for life, undergo mandatory sex offender counseling once a month and if he's released from prison, the neighbors would be alerted to his location. So how did this man get here?
Joining me now, Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor and a Fox News contributor. You know, it just occurred to me when I looked at this today. We've all watched the story, governor, as it has unraveled.
But it just makes you question, you know, who we hold up as role models and how this kind of person ends up with this kind of situation surrounding them. It's just so disheartening.
FORMER GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, R, ARKANSAS: It's one of the saddest stories I think I've ever seen in my life. This entire episode reveals him as something totally opposite of what we believed him to be.
HUCKABEE: The people I feel most for are obviously the women that he took advantage of whose lives were ruined by his predatory behavior. But I feel sorry for the country because he did a lot to change even the mind of people regarding race because he played an upper-middle-class African-American father, extremely successful, great family.
Changed the whole view and made it so mainstream and took away a lot of stereotypical and racist roles for African-Americans up until that point. And all that is gone. It's tragic.
MACCALLUM: It is. And unfortunately, he joins people of all races who find themselves in this situation in the current world that we are living in and you just realize that there are so many people who believe that pushing the lines with people and crossing the lines and getting people to do things that they don't want to do is far, far too frequent in this society in terms of what they may see as sexual promiscuity, which is interpreted which is not, which is actually a violation of someone's freedom and liberty.
But one of the things that you pointed out in your -- in what you sent over to me earlier is this. The whole fatherhood issue and the fact that he at one point in his career was very committed and was actually, you know, ruffling a lot of feathers in terms of encouraging black fathers in this country to take responsibility and do not abandon your children and to make sure that they are raised in homes with two parents.
HUCKABEE: Well, and he pushed for strong education and accountability and responsibility. He made it very clear that nobody should go around saying I'm the victim, because what you should do is take responsibility for your life, your actions and at that he was the iconic American dad.
He gave us a picture that we didn't have really since father knows best back in the '50s. So it was an incredible role. And Bill Cosby owned -- he owned the '80s on television. His show was number one for five years that it was on the air and always in the top 20.
And yet what we see I think from this, Martha, is that the people that we can look to as role models because of their public persona may be very different in private and it gives us pause, but it shouldn't take away that the role he played is a role that fathers should seek to be, and I pray that that won't get destroyed.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I think if you want to look for role models, you should look -- I mean, I look to my dad, who is a fantastic father, and you know, maybe don't look at these celebrities. Look closer to home, look for people who you know and who you trust and who really do create role models that we can all look up to and I think everybody hopefully has somebody like that in our lives. I know your daughter feels like that about you. So you are a pretty good dad.
HUCKABEE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you tonight.
HUCKABEE: Well let's hope we don't have many stories like this again, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I know.
HUCKABEE: Thank you for having me tonight.
MACCALLUM: Power corrupts absolutely sometime. Governor, thank you very much.
MACCALLUM: Great to see you as always. All right, the great showdown of the straw. We've been discussing this a lot lately at the story. Our bothers -- how much it bothers us that you can't find plastic straws anymore. Now some people think they are saving the environment by switching amount for paper.
But John Stossel is really good at drilling down on this stuff and he did just that. So he's going to tell you if you really have to worry about your plastic straw or not, next.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Straw suck and we are no longer going to allow for plastic straws here in San Francisco.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their time has come and gone.
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MACCALLUM: They are talking about straws. It's pretty serious stuff. San Francisco and New York just two of the major U.S. cities declaring a war on plastic straw -- straws. So what's behind this and do the alternative straws that are being offered even work?
John Stossel, author of "No, They Can't: Why Government Fails but Individuals Succeed." So this weekend, you know, I was out, I had of couple meals out, lunch, dinner, cocktail, everything. It came with a straw that eventually in the hot sun, like, started falling apart in the middle of drinking it and you can get to the bottom of it. So what's going on?
JOHN STOSSEL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It's one more pointless environmental zealotry. We are going to ban straws because there's a lot of plastic in the ocean, it's a real problem. But almost all of it comes from Asia and Africa. Almost none of it from the United States. And banning the straws is going to make no difference in what people are going to use instead our paper, which disintegrate.
MACCALLUM: Which falls apart.
STOSSEL: Or they want us to use reusable straws like this metal one or this plastic reusable one.
MACCALLUM: So this metal when you are supposed to carry this around your purse and then you're supposed to take it home and wash it out so wherever you go -- it's very large, by the way. This is my straw. I have my own straw. That's what you're supposed to do?
STOSSEL: Or Starbucks giving up plastic straws. If they are going to use washable ones, do you really trust the fast food place to wash the straw?
MACCALLUM: Absolutely not. So it started with a child who did a report that says that there were 500 million straws being used, but unfortunately, he's nine years old and the number was wrong and it just took off like wildfire and everybody--
STOSSEL: Because he was cute and CNN put him on TV.
STOSSEL: A 9-year-old kid. He called some straw companies and said there are 500 million used in many of them end up in the ocean, but real number is much lower and the number from the United States is pretty small.
MACCALLUM: So San Francisco where they have much--
STOSSEL: Seattle already bans.
MACCALLUM: -- Seattle has no straws. So don't try to get a straw in Seattle. San Francisco which, you know, there is a Daily Wire piece today that talks about how they think ridiculous it is that San Francisco is considering banning straws.
It says, "The proposed ban comes at a time when San Francisco is currently experiencing a public health crisis, becoming a city whose sidewalks are frequently littered with urine, feces, and discarded syringes. A web site that allows residents to request maintenance has received 16,000 complaints with the keyword feces in last week."
OK. So that's the really disgusting problem they have on their hands but they are very excited that they have outlawed straws.
STOSSEL: The environmental movement has been great. Catalytic converters on cars, scrubbers and smokestacks. The EPA has been wonderful.
STOSSEL: But it should now stand for enough protection already because we are now down to pointless things like straws.
MACCALLUM: Aren't you surprised how quickly it catches on. Like overnight.
STOSSEL: It makes you feel good.
STOSSEL: Somebody else is going to give up straws. Also the substitutes cost more in the environment, it's just a penny or two but if you are in business, that makes a difference.
MACCALLUM: Yes. So you are drinking out of a paper straw but it stuck in a big plastic cup, right? I don't know. I don't know where all this is going but Tom Brady was, who everyone knows I love, has also recommended that I give it up.
STOSSEL: Even he fell for it.
MACCALLUM: He wants you to have one of these. So, we'll see. John Stossel, thank you very much.
MACCALLUM: Can I keep one?
MACCALLUM: To try it out? All right, coming up next--
STOSSEL: You pay for them.
MACCALLUM: -- the internet has proclaimed Senator Orrin Hatch dead. And he has something he wants to say about that, coming up next.
MACCALLUM: And finally tonight, a very important story. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch wants to clear up a little bit of a misunderstanding after Google search result listed him as being dead since last year.
Hatch tweeted, "Hi, Google, we might need to talk." The senator making sure that everybody knows that he is definitely still here by posting this proof of life. Quote, "here is Senator Hatch preparing for an interview just weeks ago, alive and well."
And this the senator's 84th birthday back in March, the theme was bacon, always a good theme when you're turning 84, and he even provided this video evidence.
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SEN. ORRIN HATCH, R—UTAH: The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.
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MACCALLUM: I think that's (Inaudible), right? Did he say that? That is our story for tonight. We are very glad that Orrin Hatch is still alive. He's a great guy, and we wanted him to come on tonight to prove it, so maybe he'll come tomorrow night.
But, so what do you think about the straw thing? Because I'm already getting some pictures of sea turtles with the straw in their nose, and we're going to find out whether those pictures are actually accurate because we might have to revisit.
But this is the straw cleaner that comes with the portable straw that you can carry around. So do you like that kind or this kind, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we wish you --
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