This is a rush transcript from "The Story," July 17, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Breaking tonight: So, Rand Paul has been almost a man all alone in defense of the president. Tonight he is here with his side of the story. I'm Martha MacCallum. Good evening everybody from New York.

So, as the president sought to shed light on what happened in Helsinki, there was this striking moment in the White House, Roosevelt Room.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I have a full faith in our intelligence agencies. Oops, they just turned off the light. I must be the intelligence agency. There we go. So, OK.


MACCALLUM: Bit of a light moment after he had reportedly huddled with aid to try to fix the mess that Newt Gingrich had called the biggest mistake of his presidency.

Earlier tonight, I interviewed Senator Rand Paul who spoke to the president today and says that the criticism he believes is wrong.


MACCALLUM: So first of all, the president said that he misspoke when he talked about whether or not he thought Russia would have been involved in meddling.

He said, "I meant to say that they would have been not that they wouldn't have been." How did that register with you? Do you think that, that washes?

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY., FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, I thought -- I have thought all along that because we've conflated two sort of different things in the Mueller investigation, that the president's reaction is typically, because he sees the Mueller investigation as an accusation of collusion that somehow the president colluded with the Russians.

And there's another aspect of the investigation that has to do with who hacked into Hillary Clinton's e-mails, and who released those to the public? And so, I think those are two sorts of completely different aspects but they're in the same investigation.

So I think, his instinct is to push back and say, "You know, there was no collusion. I was never involved with Russia," which I believe to be true. And I think, there has been a partisan witch-hunt to go after him to try to say, somehow there was collusion with Russia. But that is separate from whether or not Russia actually hacked into Hillary Clinton's e-mails, which I think he accepts. And I think was somewhat muddled in the initial comments from the press conference. But I think he's made more clear today.

MACCALLUM: Alright, John Brennan, as you know, came out and said that the president's performance was treasonous in his opinion. Here is the president responding to John Brennan in an interview that will air later tonight with Tucker Carlson. Watch.

TRUMP: I think Brennan is a very bad guy. And if you look at it, a lot of things happened under his watch. I think he's a very bad person.

MACCALLUM: Your thoughts on that Senator?

PAUL: You know, I agree completely. I think, John Brennan is completely unhinged, and you see him now calling the president treasonous. And what should worry every American is John Brennan was in charge of the CIA the most powerful intelligence gathering -- you know, group on the planet.

They can absorb every bit of information you can imagine. Your phone calls, your metadata, your bank records, your visa records. They could destroy any person's life. The person at the head of that turns out to be a very much, a partisan, a Trump hater. And very much -- just someone who is -- you know, a Trump hater. I guess that's the best way to put it.

But, you know, I really am worried that he was head of the CIA for so long harboring all that bias.

MACCALLUM: Well, well, let me ask is because you're concerned about all of that and I know you are. That is one of the big concerns as we move forward because Dan Coats has said that he believes that the attempt to meddle in the -- in the midterm elections is probably more intense than it was during the presidential election.

So, it almost feels like perhaps, rather than -- you know, kind of revisiting and rehashing what happened in the last 24 hours, we need to make sure that our cybersecurity is stronger. That feels like something that the president could really be coming out very strongly on that might go more to actual policy.

PAUL: Right.

MACCALLUM: And fixing things than fixing -- you know, a weak performance in Helsinki.

PAUL: This has been exactly my point. The integrity of the election is the most important thing, and what we should do is learn that countries do hack into elections and try.

This isn't the first time. I mean, Dov Levin study this from Carnegie Mellon University and said that the USA hacked or tried to get involved with 80 different elections over the last 50 years. The Soviet Union has, China does.

And so, the rule that we should learn or the morale we should learn from this is we need to protect our elections. And there are a lot of things we could discuss but people are so intent about making this, about their hatred or Trumped arranged in syndrome, that we aren't talking about really what we should do.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Very true.

PAUL: And I had some things like we should decentralize the elections. They are already decentralized, we should ensure that they remain decentralized, that there is a paper trail for every precinct that there is a Republican and a Democrat judge, there supposed to be that signs off on the precinct returns. And if the vote was a thousand to 800.

By the time that gets into a computer system, someone could always call back and say, "What was the vote you signed off on? And do you have a piece of paper to verify that vote?

MACCALLUM: Yes. Yes, I think that's the biggest point. I also want to just bring up one more thing because there -- you know, to that end, if the FBI is so concerned as they should be with figuring out meddling in United States elections, you would think that they would have wanted to get their hands on the actual DNC server?

Here is the exchange, because there's a lot said about this because the president brought it up the other day. And it was kind of poo-pooed by a Democrat who I had on last night. He said it didn't matter that they didn't actually have the server. But watch this moment between Congressman Will Hurd and James Comey.

REP. WILL HURD, R-TEXAS, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: So, director, FBI notified the DNC early before any information was put on WikiLeaks, and when, do you have still been had never been given access to any of the technical or the physical machines that were -- that were -- that were hacked by the Russians?

JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: That's correct. Although we got the forensics from the pros that they hired which -- again, best practice always to get access to the machines themselves. But this -- my folks tell me was appropriate substitute.

MACCALLUM: What do you say to that?

PAUL: Well, and you're taking the word of someone else who's investigated it. Now, I would think the police would only take the word of themselves when they actually investigate and look at the servers. So, I don't think there's any excuse for them not having done their job better.

And the thing is this, a lot of this stuff's more complicated than people would think. When you're trying to trace who actually hacked into it, because there are people who can actually put the, the type of a fingerprint on what they are doing to make themselves look like someone else.

They can make them by going through several different servers, obscure where they're actually coming from. And so, I don't think it's always as black and white when we say so and so did this hacking or didn't? And I think it would be very important that the FBI should have looked directly at the Democrat servers.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, you know, I can see people being concerned about some of what they saw yesterday. But boy, if this happens again, I mean, you point out North Korea, China, there's a lot of bad actors out there. That would be real genuine embarrassment that the United States should be very concerned about. Senator Paul, thank you, sir. Always good to have you with us.

PAUL: Thank you, thanks.


MACCALLUM: Here now, Bill Bennett, hosted the Bill Bennett podcast, and former Secretary of Education, also a Fox News contributor. Bill, good to have you here tonight. Good evening to you, sir.


MACCALLUM: What did you think? Did you watch this whole press conference live, yesterday?

BENNETT: I did. Yes, (INAUDIBLE). Yes.


MACCALLUM: And how did you -- what was your immediate reaction? How did you feel when it was over?

BENNETT: Well, when -- my immediate reaction was a couple of big mistakes there that he needs to explain. And the two of them were -- you know, are the equivalents -- the suggestion of equivalence between what he -- his reports was getting from the intelligence community and what Putin was saying. And you know, and the second one that was -- you know, who, who he would believe? The question of what he clarified today.

So, I was bothered by it, I thought he needed to clean it up, I think he cleaned it up today. But the amazing thing to me is the lynch mob mentality. People are just going crazy.

I've heard some people compare this to Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany, to Pearl Harbor, and there was even a 9/11 suggestion that this was the parallel. Senator Paul talked about John Brennan calling it treason.

By the way, one can understand a certain reluctance on the part of the President to bless the intelligence agencies given his experience with the FBI, with Comey, and McCabe. And John Brennan was the head of the CIA.

So, and look, he said today, he tried to clear it up today, he had basically admitted error. Some people say, well, I don't believe, and I believe what he said yesterday. The real test is what he's done, what is his policy? And his policy has been very tough on Russia.

I mean, Putin said yesterday that he supported -- he would have supported Trump for president, he did support him. Why would you support a guy for president who wants to increase the American military, strengthen the hand of NATO, do what President Trump has done which is given missile defense to Poland? Given lethal aid to the Ukraine, thrown out the Russian diplomats, left and right, Russian mercenaries have been killed because of our actions in Syria? That to me is the test.

It's better to have your talk and your language consistent with your actions. But actions do speak louder.


MACCALLUM: Yes, now, I think that push an excellent points, though. But, and in it begs this next question which is what happens now? And here's a quote from The Wall Street Journal.


MACCALLUM: "By going soft on Mr. Putin," they wrote, "Mr. Trump will paradoxically find it even harder to make deals with the Russians." So, I mean, you know, you have to look back at the whole goal of this meeting to open dialogue, the president has said since day one that he believes that a better relationship with Russia will strengthen the United States in the end, and strengthen our forces around the world if they can agree on some things.

But did it make it harder for him to do exactly that? Because it seems to me that now, he's going to have to be tougher than ever on Russia, and on Putin, in order to sort of stiffen those seen news, so to speak.

BENNETT: Good, good question, Martha. And look, maybe I made it a little tougher but I think it still matters more what he does. One other thing I'd mentioned, and this came up in the press cards very little comment on it, they talked about gas and oil. And we know that Russia is basically a gas station, an economy with one product.

MACCALLUM: That's right.

BENNETT: And Putin said, it's very important that those prices don't plummet. Why is that so important? Because if they plummet, Russia's out of business. If we start exporting that liquid natural gas at a great rate which we are beginning to do, that is a very tough measure.


BENNETT: And that will be hard for the president to do that and for American industry to do it, and I expect he will. So, I think, Putin is whistling in the dark hoping maybe that nice talk or would he interpret as nice talk will carry over into action. (CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Yes, I think that's -- that is such a great point. And you know, and they were talking about the deal with Germany to bring that pipeline through and essentially, in criticizing that deal. When he was in Europe, the president was sort of opening up that question.


MACCALLUM: And saying -- and he said this in the news conference too, and as you say it didn't get a lot of attention, he basically said, "Well, we can provide that service too. And may the best person win." So he's essentially -- which I thought was a fascinating moment.

BENNETT: Yes, that's right.

MACCALLUM: He basically saying -- you know, "We're going to compete with you on natural gas." You know, and you are so right, energy, they are a one-trick pony that economy and that is all they have.

BENNETT: Right, right.

MACCALLUM: One of a good thing I want to ask --


BENNETT: Straight competitive capitalism, and let's see --


BENNETT: Let's see who wins, yet. Go ahead, true.

MACCALLUM: One of the -- one of the things I want to ask you about just going back to the intelligence agencies for a moment, because I couldn't help but think -- you know, watching all of this and watching how problematic it has been in so many ways. You have to ask yourself if John Brennan and James Comey had given the Trump campaign a defensive briefing on all this, which they considered doing going to them and saying, "Here's what we know, here's what we're concerned about." We wouldn't be here today discussing any of this most likely.

BENNETT: Yes. That's right. That's right.

MACCALLUM: And so, they are to blame in that sense.

BENNETT: Yes, there was a history of inaction during the Obama administration. All, all that ever happened between the Obama administration and the Putin administration was a reset button and that whisper by Obama that he'd be more flexible which didn't get nearly any of the attention that this thing got, you know, and it was really quite an extraordinary moment.

So, no, you're absolutely right. And this explains, I think, why the president is reluctant to do full embrace. But he did full embrace this afternoon of Dan Coats and the intelligence community. And the only thing I'd like to add or suggest is that he say, this better not happen in 2018, or we'll send more liquefied natural gas, and we'll send more, and build more missile defense, and we'll build our military even more. Those are the real threats to Putin, not some words misplaced or not at a press conference, that's what Putin is worried about.

MACCALLUM: Yes. All right, I think that's a great point. I mean, you know, if that is that the sort of carrot and stick, you know, we're not going to have these meetings anymore. If we see any meddling in the 2018 election, you're going to be caught up and isolated, which is what they exactly what they don't want. So, the actions from here forward are going to be incredibly important as everybody judges this relationship.


MACCALLUM: Bill, thank you. Always good to see you, sir.

BENNETT: Exactly, right.

MACCALLUM: Thanks for being here tonight.

BENNETT: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, coming up, Maria Butina, she's 29 years old, and she's an American University grad. Our former KGB agent is back tonight with a look at how many Maria's the Russians may have here in the United States. And remember this.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS., SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: We need to rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom, starting by replacing ICE.

MACCALLUM: So, what happened when Republicans tried to call their bluff on abolishing ICE.



MACCALLUM: Tonight an indictment just filed in U.S. federal courts slapping 29-year-old Russian national Maria Butina with charges of acting as a foreign agent in the U.S. So who is she and what exactly is she up to? Fox News Chief Correspondent Jonathan Hunt live in our West Coast newsroom. Hi, Jonathan!

JONATHAN HUNT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Martha! The feds call it a "Russian influence operation in which Maria Butina a Russian gun rights activists was given a mission of establishing unofficial lines of communication with U.S. politicians and political organizations, among those organizations the National Rifle Association. Now, Butina who's 29 was arrested Sunday. She's charged with conspiracy and acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian government. The case against her is complicated in the court documents that sometimes deliberately vague about the people or organizations with whom Butina is alleged to have made contact. But investigators appear to be focusing on her contacts with the NRA and the Republican Party. Butina by the way, studied in Washington from 2015 to 2017. And in 2015 she attended a libertarian event in Las Vegas and asked then-candidate Trump about his view of Russia.


MARIA BUTINA, RUSSIAN AGENT: Do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that are damaging of both economy?

TRUMP: I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin, OK, and I mean will we have the strength. I don't think you'd need the sanctions. I think that we would get along very, very well.

HUNT: Now, prosecutors say as part of a work Butina was directed by a Kremlin official to attend to National Prayer Breakfast meetings and who organized Russian American "friendship and dialogue dinners" in Washington. Butina's attorney Robert Driscoll flatly denies his client was a Russian agent, calls the charges overblown, and says the charging papers described nothing more than a conspiracy to have dinner and shake hands with various Americans at events open to the public. Driscoll says, "as though it is somehow unlawful, unlawful for a foreign national student in the United States to develop a personal, professional, or networking relationship with an American." Martha, Butina is currently being held in jail. She is due back in court for another hearing tomorrow. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Very interesting. Jonathan, thank you very much. So here not with more Jack Barsky. He is a former KGB spy and Author of Deep Undercover: My Life of Entangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America. Jack, welcome back. Good to have you back on the program two nights in a row. So what do you make of this? Is she -- is she a spy, what we would call a spy?

JACK BARSKY, FORMER KGB SPY: I would think so. Albeit most likely an amateur because I understand she communicated via Twitter and e-mails. A trained an operator wouldn't do that. But you asked an interesting question while ago and said how many of them are there. That's an excellent question because there could be a lot. You got to understand one thing. If you are in this kind of an oligarchy that Russia is, if you are somebody you are there -- you are somebody because you're allowed to be somebody, and if and if you're going to the United States somebody will talk to you and try to help you that you can help them. So in any contact with Russian nationals have to be suspect and I am totally flabbergasted by the lack of understanding by some of our politicians that when you touch a Russian you possibly touch Russian intelligence.

MACCALLUM: It's fascinating. I mean I mean from your own experience being here, compare what it was like for you and how you worked with how you see her working. You say that she's an amateur and maybe she's somebody who's trying to move herself up the chain of command from Mother Russia. Explain how that works when you came.

BARSKY: Well, let me tell you something. Calling her an amateur I also have to compliment her because he got a lot further than I as a trained professional got. I mean she made contact with a whole lot of people that are and would be of interest to Russia. I failed in that respect. I was trained extremely well. I was really undercover secret. She's playing the game you know, around the -- you know, there's a there's a fine line between being a friend and being an influence or trying to you know get close to somebody and eventually making that person an asset. So that's the big difference and I think the more people Russia can throw at this and we have a pretty open border. We let people in, we let people study here and so forth, the more of a chance there is for success.

MACCALLUM: One of the things that they're investigating is whether or not she was using this gun advocacy group to funnel money through the NRA to you know, then have the NRA use money to support the Trump campaign. What do you think of that theory?

BARSKY: I think it's a bit of a stretch, however, and this comes right out of the old KGB playbook, we were taught and this is -- I think this is real that the best recruits are the ones who have folks with strong convictions even more so when people who are subject to ideological thinking. But strong convictions where you will befriend people and you make believe that you have the same beliefs and that way you know, you -- and this is called an intelligence circle is called ultimately recruitment on the false flag.

MACCALLUM: I know you said that it almost brought you to tears yesterday when you watched the President and you just said you think a lot of politicians don't get it when it comes to how this works. Would you put the President in that category?

BARSKY: Unfortunately yes. But it's not just the President, it's a lot of our lawmakers. It is -- it is my observation that Americans are very trusting and very naive unlike Europeans who are always suspicious of their neighbors and this should not trickle up to the highest levels of government. We got to be a little more careful.

MACCALLUM: Jack Barsky, fascinating. Thank you very much. Good to have you here tonight, sir.

BARSKY: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So how about this. How about everybody gets free money, guaranteed income, you don't really even have to -- you don't have to work for it necessarily. This is a plan that could be coming to Chicago. But first, for weeks Democrats have called to abolish ICE. They marched in the street, talked about the outrage of this agency, but now all of a sudden they are kind of backing off the whole thing. Karl Rove and Matt Bennett up next.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-N.Y.: We should protect families that need our help and that is not what ICE is doing today and that's why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it.




WARREN: We need to rebuild our immigration system from top to bottom, starting by replacing ICE with something that reflects our morality.

REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: I support abolishing ICE and replacing it with an agency that is more consistent with America's values.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: The disastrous immigration policy should be abolished.

GILLIBRAND: Get rid of it, start over, reimagine it.


MACCALLUM: So for weeks we've been hearing about the horrible practices of ICE and how they must be abolished but now Democrats on the Hill are saying maybe that's not such a good idea because House Republican leaders wanted to test them with a vote to scrap the agency, but then Dems said that they wouldn't vote for that. Here's House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, R-CALIF., HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: The Democrats continue talking about removing ICE. Well, you know what, we're going to have a vote on the floor. Clay Higgins has a bill, lays out what ICE has been doing to keep our community safe and our country. It also denounces the action to eliminate and abolish ICE so there's an opportunity. Your base may say you want to have it, you may introduce a bill that think you support it. I want to see what people really stand on.


MACCALLUM: He did not quite get that opportunity. Paul Ryan shelved that bill.

Joining me now, Karl Rove, former President --former President George W. Bush deputy chief of staff and a Fox News contributor, and Matt Bennett, co-founder of Third Way, a grassroots progressive organization and former deputy assistant to President Clinton. Gentlemen, thank you very much. Good to have you both here.

You know, I mean, it comes across, Matt, as kind of disingenuous when you hear all the hollering and then there's a suggestion, well, you know, let's give it a vote, maybe we should abolish ICE after all and everybody runs for the fences.

MATT BENNETT, CO-FOUNDER, THIRD WAY: Look, I don't think it's disingenuous at all. Because this was an attempt by Republicans to use this bill that was introduced along with 7,000 other bills that get introduced every session of Congress and clearly wasn't ready to be considered on the floor of the House.

But if we are going to do something like abolish or replace an agency it has to go through committees. There has to be real consideration about what you do to replace it. You saw on that clips some Democrats were saying this--


MACCALLUM: So why do the Democrats proffer an alternate bill that was one that they like that does get rid of this agency that they say is so awful and unjust?

BENNETT: I mean, that's a fair question. I think other Democrats probably will come along and do that but this issue wasn't right for consideration on the House floor. And look, this kind of thing happens all the time in politics.

Rick Perry called for the elimination of three agencies, he famously couldn't remember them all. One is the agency he now runs. So when people run for office they say things like this, but that doesn't mean they are ready to be considered in Congress.

MACCALLUM: Well, they are talking now about consolidating some of those agencies, including the one that he runs. So Karl, you know, what do you make on the politics on the side of this and what Republicans decided to do about it?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, I think the problem is not that this wasn't right. The Democrats thought they had a great idea, get rid of ICE and then they figured out that that was a bad idea.

Look, the idea that this needed to go through a committee process, or that the governor of Texas is somehow the same as three members of the Democratic leadership who co-authored this legislation, or 2020 presidential candidates of the Democratic side say we must do this. It's ridiculous.

The Democrats got caught offering a stupid idea for a bad reason. Remember, they did this because of the administration's policy of separating minors from adults. But ICE has nothing whatsoever to do with that.

Those people are interdicted at the border by Customs and Border Patrol. They are turned over to the U.S. Marshals, who separate the children from the adults and the children are then turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services to take care of.

ICE is nowhere near involved in that process. What ICE is involved in is taking people in the United States who are here illegally, primarily criminals. Three quarters of the people that they removed from the country last year had criminal convictions. Fifteen, nearly 16 percent of them had pending criminal charges in addition to that.

So, about 90 percent of the people that they removed from the country are criminals. And the idea that the Democrats were in favor of even talking about getting rid of that agency, it shows how just a little thought they gave to this whole issue.

MACCALLUM: All right. Here is president Trump in an interview that's going to air tonight talking about this issue and about open borders. Watch.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The Democrats want open borders, which is basically saying, we want open borders, we want crime.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Why do you think they want that?

TRUMP: Maybe as a political philosophy that they grew up with, maybe they learned it in school. Maybe they are fools. I don't know.


MACCALLUM: Matt, what's your response to that?

BENNETT: That is the most preposterous thing I could possibly imagine him saying. And he has said some really preposterous things in the last few days.

Democrats don't want open borders. Not a single Democrat in public life wants open borders and if there are any, they should be step aside.

What we are talking about is policy that is being run by this White House that is inhumane, that is ripping children from the arms of their parents, that is deporting people who have been working here without committing a single crime for decades that are doing stupid things as using the resources of the government in stupid ways.

Karl's figures include people who have committed crimes like speeding. So, ICE may not need to be abolished. It moves around boxes on the flowchart of government all the time. INS was abolished under the Bush administration but it does need to be changed and most fundamentally what needs to be changed is the policies that they are following.


MACCALLUM: But Matt, you know, lots of people watching the show right now are saying, you know, they broke the law when they cross the border so if they were speeding on top of that then that's the second time that they broke the law and you do have open borders if you are just going to let people flow across.

If they can't come through the port of entry that they are supposed to come through and then they find a softer spot to come through they are breaking the law and that is an open border by definition.

But I guess one thing I want to ask you before I let you go, is if this was something that Democrats felt that they should connect themselves to and that they should run on, what will they be running on? What do you see as sort of, you know, the big signature message of the Democrat Party as they head into the midterms and then I want to get Karl's response to that.

BENNETT: Well, I don't think it's going to be abolish ICE. I do think it's going to be stopped taking children from their parents and stop acting inhumanely at the border the way that we've seen over the past few months.

But more importantly, I think Democrats are going to try to focus on things that matter to virtually everyone in the United States. Immigrants and citizens alike which is providing opportunity in a moment when people are deeply anxious about the future of the economy.

MACCALLUM: The economy is pretty steaming along. Karl?

ROVE: Look, I'm an advocate of immigration reform and have been for a long time, but it is amazing to me that the Democrats took this maneuver. You know, Matt is right, there are people on that list who have been speeding. Twenty thousand people, though, the largest number of them, are people who were convicted of a DUI and of those people, they have a total of 60,000 criminal convictions.

That is to say every one of those individuals has on average two other crimes they've committed besides the DUI. We have 16,000 people that were removed last year who were convicted of assault and they had a grand total of 32,000 convictions for violent acts.

So the idea that somehow now our society is going to be made safer by getting rid of ICE is just ridiculous. The Democrats realize quickly that they made a mistake and they cannot bring themselves to admit that it was a mistake. They simply want to avoid it and move on.

Well, maybe that's good for our country, but it shows how bad our politics is that this was treated seriously by the leadership of the Democratic Party.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, gentlemen. Great to see you both tonight. Thanks, Matt. Thanks, Karl.

BENNETT: Good to be with you.

MACCALLUM: All right. Coming up, what if you could keep babies from getting diseases by altering their DNA? It could happen much sooner than you think, but what are the dangers?

And should the government guarantee a basic income for everybody in America, even if they don't have a job? The idea is gaining steam in Chicago in a state that is $200 billion in debt.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT.: One-tenth of 1 percent should not own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. Everybody in this country should in fact have at least a minimum and dignified standard of living.




BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: We are going to have to consider new ways of thinking about these problems, like a universal income, review of our work week, how we retrain our young people. How we make everybody an entrepreneur at some level. But we are going to have to worry about economics if we want to get democracy back on track.


MACCALLUM: Former President Barack Obama making a bold statement today in one of his first major speeches since leaving office and endorsing universal basic income.

It comes as his hometown of Chicago is poised to become the largest city in the country to test this idea of giving $500 a month to a 1,000 families with no strings attached.

Joining us from Chicago is Jason Hill, DePaul University professor and author of the new book "We Have Overcome: An Immigrant's Letter to the American People." Jason, good to have you here today.


MACCALLUM: So the Chicago alderman who is pushing this idea may up a lure, says that nearly 70 percent of Americans don't have a thousand dollars in the bank for an emergency and he feels that this would be a great way to help people sort of get over the rough spots. What do you think?

HILL: Look, I think that anytime you decouple income from work it's a bad idea. You leave people undervalued, unproductive, you incentivize them to marry the state and that you leave them with an incentive to become socioeconomic supplicants.

And people have an intrinsic value in themselves and a need to work. But more importantly, Martha, I think that this is just a big excuse for the far left to advance this country towards a precipitous move toward socialism.

I mean, we have Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talking about she will not rest until there is free education for all students and now we have talked about a basic universal income.

This is a move on the part of the far left to slip into the moral vocabulary of this country, free this, free that. It's a move to advance a socialist agenda and I don't think we should buy into it. I think it is immoral and unethical because we're talking about expropriating higher taxes from basic citizens to fund something like a basic universal income.

MACCALLUM: You make excellent points. And we also have an economy that is steamrolling. We have unemployment numbers at their lowest levels in a very long time. You have businesses hiring. You have companies who are in a new tax situation and it's freeing up their ability to buy equipment and to expand their plans and all those sorts of things.

So it is odd and it is sort of, it does sort of sound like a lure to sort of put people under the auspices of a socialize government and to zap their initiative.

Here's the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, talking about this, and then let's roll these together. Then right after that, the former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, FACEBOOK: We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.


ROBERT REICH, FORMER UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR SECRETARY: The idea is getting some traction again. Some think it could be security to welfare or other kinds of public assistance because a universal basic income doesn't tell people what to spend the assistance on.


MACCALLUM: So what if it replaced welfare, would that be a good idea?

HILL: It is a form of welfare. It's expropriating taxpayer's money. These are just conceptual inanities. There are no conditions that fix to the money. What are people going to do with the money? Buys, pays strippers, buy liquor? What will they do with the money? There is no incentive or there are no conditions fix to how they will use the money in terms of skill development, investment in a college education.

It's a bunch of malarkey really when there are no conditions to fix to how the money will be spent. And this idea that it is not a form of welfare is a nonstarter. It is welfarism. Welfarism under a different name, a more respectable name and an attempt, again, to fool the American people into thinking that this is a form of benevolence when it's just the form of welfarism in the form of socialism.

MACCALLUM: Something that clearly that puts the state of Illinois which is already deeply in debt, even deeper in debt. As I said, so many problems in Chicago. It had so many problems. It's difficult to imagine that this is going to improve situations and give people incentives and get them back to work.

Jason, thank you.


HILL: And I might add--

MACCALLUM: Yes, go ahead. Quickly.

HILL: I might add, Martha, that Chicago, right, is enjoying an unemployment rate something in the neighborhood of below 4.5 percent, the lowest in what I understand to be decades and has seen an exponential increase in jobs in the city.

MACCALLUM: Which would make this very odd timing.

HILL: Exactly.

MACCALLUM: Ahead of elections no doubt. Thank you very much. Good to see you, Jason.

HILL: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So coming up next, a controversial decision in the U.K. could lead the way to genetically modified babies becoming a reality. Marc Theissen and Father Jonathan Morris, up next.


MACCALLUM: A huge scientific and moral debate is brewing tonight after a landmark decision in the U.K. where the ethics council gave the green light to genetically modified babies, meaning that parents could choose what DNA they do and do not want their children to have.

The Guardian newspaper writing, quote, "The U.K.-based Nuffield Council on Bioethics says changing the DNA of a human embryo could be morally permissible if it is in the child's best interest."

Joining me now, Marc Theissen, American Enterprise Institute scholar and Fox News contributor, and Father Jonathan Morris, Fox News religion analyst.

So at this point you can't create genetically altered babies but you can edit the genes to prevent certain serious diseases. Father Jonathan, on the morality of this, your thoughts?

JONATHAN MORRIS, FOX NEWS RELIGION ANALYST: Anytime you have scientific advances that are for the good of the human being, right, and in this case, for the good of the child, wonderful. But when we're using scientific advances for the good of the people who want that child to be something for them, that's when we have problems.

A human being can never be used as a means to an end. A human being is an end in and of itself and of course if you had perfectly moral people, then these type of scientific advances would not be a problem, but we know that put into the hands of people who are imperfect, like all of us, well, there can be some very scary, very scary purposes and means.

MACCALLUM: I mean, this is the basics of medical ethics. When you have the ability to do something but then you have to make the decision about whether or not it is ethical or whether or not it's good for humanity and for society.

This is a quote from one of the authors of the study, Allen Bradley. He says "This is the first systematic assessment of unexpected events resulting from CRISPR editing which is what it's called, in therapeutically relevant cells, and we found that changes in the DNA have been seriously underestimated before now."

So my unscientific brain, Marc, in taking a look at this earlier, basically it means that when you do those alterations, you don't know what kind of impact they are going to have on all the other cells that are affected in the embryo.

MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: This is medical experimentation on human beings.


THIESSEN: I mean, it did do this. If we alter the faulty genes, we don't know what we're doing, what the scientists are doing to the healthy genes and it's not just affecting that one individual child. You are changing their DNA sequence, which means their children and their children's children and their children's children will be affected by whatever changes you make in the laboratory.

So it's an enormously problematic. Look, everybody wants to eliminate the suffering of these genetic diseases, but there are all sorts of unintended consequences that come along with us because if you can change the DNA in order to eliminate diseases, you can also change the DNA to make people better athletes, to make them more intelligent, to make them more attractive and all of a sudden you get down on the slippery slope of this genetically altered designer babies where parents are choosing what attributes they want for their children.

That's going to have a lot of downstream impacts. One of the things it's going to do is it's going to dramatically exacerbate inequality because only the wealthy are going to be able to afford genetic engineering.

So what you will have is you have income inequality replaced by genetic inequality where you have two classes of people, the genetically altered elite who have more skill, more intelligence, more talent, and the unaltered poor, who are going to be even more of a lower class in society. So this has a really, really big downstream consequences nobody has thought about.

MACCALLUM: Yes. We've talked a lot on this program, father Jonathan, about Down syndrome.


MACCALLUM: And you know, the sort Iceland rejoicing over the fact that they have zero Down syndrome babies because they are all aborted. So if you could possibly, you know, alter that in the DNA, you know, there are so my parents that would tell you that they love their child exactly the way they are. So, I mean, what is best? What is perfect? That's our notion of what that means.

MORRIS: Well, God makes his best, in my opinion. But another thing to keep in mind, Martha, is that very often when there is money involved, what these hospitals or governments do is they hire bioethicists to tell them that it's OK.



MORRIS: And so we have to be very careful. This was a bioethical committee organization that said we think this is now perhaps morally permissible. And then the government, or the business or the hospital can say we passed it by our bioethics committee and it turns out it's all good. Very dangerous.

MACCALLUM: It is dangerous and then on the other hand you think if you could, you know, make sure that no one is born with the body that's going to produce cancer eventually, I think we would all want to try to strive towards that. So it's very, very tricky.

Gentlemen, thank you. Father Morris, always great to see you.

THIESSEN: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Marc Thiessen, always great to have you weigh in. All right. We'll be right back with more of THE STORY after this.


MACCALLUM: Tonight from President Reagan, tonight sharing this lighthearted observation about communism in 1987.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: How do you tell a communist? And I said well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how to tell an anti-communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.



MACCALLUM: Coming up next, Tucker's interview with President Trump, straight ahead. Have a good night.

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