Rep. Gaetz reacts to being investigated for allegedly threatening Michael Cohen

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," June 28, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: That is quite a week. Bret, thank you very much.

All right, everybody. President Trump has gone after everybody so far, from Biden to Buttigieg. But for the most part, he's pretty much stayed away from targeting Kamala Harris. But when she has come up, we looked back. For instance, this February interview with The New York Times. Listen to what he said about the candidate who by all accounts had a big night. "He said, "I would say, the best opening so far would be Kamala Harris. I would say in terms of the opening act, would be her. I just think she seemed to have a little better opening act than the others."

To which a New York Times reporter responded, "She's got incredible crowds at her rollout." And the president said, "A better crowd, better enthusiasm."

And then, this backhanded compliment coming from a president who admires a biting which.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT (via telephone): I think she's got a little bit of a nasty wit, but bet that might be it.


MACCALLUM: But this moment last night may be a game-changer for Harris.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country. You also worked with them to oppose busing. And you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.


MACCALLUM: That could be a campaign line that could be gold for her. "That little girl was me." This photo went up on her social media almost immediately. Expect to see and hear that image a lot going forward. Joe Biden tried to fix the damage today at the Rainbow PUSH coalition event.


BIDEN: I want to be absolutely clear about my record and position on racial justice, including busing. I never, never, never, ever opposed voluntary busing. And as a program that Senator Harris participated in, and it made a difference in her life.

MACCALLUM: Then came the release of this letter from him to Senator Eastland who was a segregationist, adding fuel to the fire. Biden wrote in this letter, "This is to thank you again for your efforts in support of my bill to limit court-ordered busing.

Let's bring in Jamil Jivani, author of the new book, Why Young Men: Rage, Race and the Crisis of Identity. And Richard Fowler, nationally syndicated radio host and Fox News contributor. Gentleman, great to have both of you with us today.

RICHARD FOWLER, CONTRIBUTOR: Good to see you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: I guess, first of all, you know, your -- Richard let me go to your reaction in terms of Harris's appearance last night, and what it does, you know, perhaps in terms of motivating black voters, and in terms of her picture overall.

FOWLER: Well, listen, I think it was very calculated and well-placed attack on Vice President Joe Biden, and it's going to have some staying power. Here's the thing, she was clearly talking to African-American voters, just make up a good majority of the South Carolina primary demographic.


FOWLER: And these voters are very deliberative. They could really think about how they make the decision usually. They also think about who is the best candidate equipped to win the general election against Donald Trump, or against whoever the Republican incumbent it might -- incumbent might be.

So, I think this is a very calculated move that's to say to black voters in South Carolina and throughout the country that I'm here, I'm available, and I want your vote. And now, it's going to be up to Vice President Biden to show that the -- show these black voters where he has 60 percent of them currently amongst most people -- most -- what national polls say. That he is still their candidate and he is not doesn't believe in segregation, and he doesn't believe -- he, you know, and he wants to move the country forward.


FOWLER: And so, this is going to be the hardest problem for this vice -- for the vice president going into this is how does he talk these voters given a world where Kamala Harris laid such a devastating attack on him last night.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Jamil, I think that Richard makes an excellent point, you know. Going forward, right? South Carolina is enormous. It's a very important moment in this election. President Obama, Hillary Clinton, they both won South Carolina in the primary and went on to win the nomination. But take a look right now. Joe Biden is pretty far ahead in South Carolina.

You know these polls could change quite a bit at 41 percent based on the fact that we just had the first debate cycle. Then, go forward to the next one which is a black voter poll in South Carolina, I should point out, it was done by a Republican firm. But that one is Biden at 40 percent, not sure 35 percent. That -- that's a pretty big number who are still looking at everybody there, Jamil.

JAMIL JIVANI, AUTHOR, WHY YOUNG MEN: Well, being able to attack Joe Biden isn't the same as convincing voters to vote for Kamala Harris. And that's what she's going to need to be able to do. I find it interesting that her using Joe Biden's record against him could also very well be done to her.

She is been part of a criminal justice system that her party now deems as systemically racist, she's an attorney general and a prosecutor, she was involved in blocking up a lot of poor people for many cases in nonviolent crimes, and you can make a lot of the same arguments that she's making against Joe Biden against her. Maybe she doesn't have the interests of black families and black fathers being taken from their kids in mind in her track record either.

So, I think that she's going to have two challenges. One is devaluing Joe Biden's position in the minds of black voters. But the -- it's a total other challenge to be able to say, well now you should come and vote for Kamala Harris.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Richard, a lot of folks today in discussing all this said, you know, they thought that Joe Biden was done after last night. Do you agree?

FOWLER: I don't think anybody is done yet. We are eight -- we have at 16 months left that before we even get to the general election, the -- people don't cast their votes in Iowa until we have about seven or eight months until that happened. So, I think we have a long time. This is going to be a marathon and not a sprint.

But Jamil is right. In the idea that what Kamala Harris did is she sort of laid a blow on Joe Biden and now is going to be can she convince black voters that she is the go-to candidate for them. And she also does have her own record which I'm surprised and not come up in last night's debate as being a prosecutor.

Joe Biden hinted that and when he says, while you were prosecuting, I was the -- I was working at this, you know, at this -- at the defendant -- at the public defender's office. So, he started that attack line against her. But he didn't land a punch on Kamala Harris last night.

MACCALLUM: But you know, obviously, the African-American vote nationally, when it comes to the general election is a huge, huge factor here. And for the first time in 20 years, in 2016, that vote -- the number of voters in the African American community declined.

So, how important is it Jamil, you know, just looking at politics for the Democrat to be able to inspire those voters and make sure that they turn out because they could counterbalance I would imagine some of the forgotten voter, the blue-collar voter who came out when they stayed home last time.

JIVANI: Well, that's absolutely right. I mean, the Republican Party is taking the needs of black communities more seriously now than I think they have in a very long time. They're talking about black unemployment rates, they're talking about criminal justice reform. They're making an effort.

So, Democrats can't just expect that black voters are going to continue to show up for them. And the challenge, I think, is going to be being able to communicate to the average black Democratic voter, but still, make this very small but very vocal minority of Democratic voters who identify as hardcore progressives happy. Those are not the same thing.

You have among, for example, many of these very progressive Democratic voters a negative attitude toward charter schools. But when you look at black democratic polling, you see that black voters on average are very supportive of charter schools. It's one example, but it's a clear example where I'm not sure Democrats can make everyone happy.

MACCALLUM: And I think that had a big impact in Florida, in the Gilliam race. Because -- that they wanted that support of charter schools that he was not necessarily offering.

Put up the New York Post cover today. You know, obviously, a bit tongue- in-cheek, but it says, who wants to lose the election? Everybody raising their hands, for as Ari Fleischer pointed out in a tweet, the decriminalization of the -- of people crossing the border illegally, providing illegals with driver's license, providing illegals with health care.

You know, watch -- Richard, watch the numbers of people accelerate as they look at this very attractive enticement to come to the United States of America. The border is open, we -- you're not going to be held in any facility when you cross over. Come on in and we're going to offer you everything from college to a license to free health care. Is that the message of the Democratic Party?

FOWLER: That's not the message of Democratic Party. Before I gets, let me allow, allow me to pushback on this, on notion on charter schools. I think what you see across the country if you look at any poll of parents, of African-American parents, they're not having a debate or yelling about school choice, they want smaller class size, they want updated books, they want schools that aren't falling apart. And I think they want more funding in their community for high-quality neighborhood public schools.

Now, onto immigration, what you saw last night, both Thursday and Wednesday is a clear contrast between Democrats and Republicans.

MACCALLUM: That's for sure.

FOWLER: We're not saying that we want open borders, that people to come across the border. What we're saying is the first thing we've got to do, more so than anything else is we've got to strengthen the support of -- we've got to strengthen the support of what -- of the -- we got strengthen our support in the northern triangle to ensure that folks don't leave their country.

Honduras is literally -- the government's falling apart there.


MACCALLUM: Good luck. Good luck with that. You know, we --

FOWLER: One can we do -- one can -- but what we have -- what we have from Donald Trump is zero funding for these countries. So, if you have no funding happening now, he cut all the funding off that Joe Biden put in place. But he was --


MACCALLUM: That the funding is that millions and millions of dollars go back in remittances. All the time I want it, I want to give Jamil one last, last thought, but last crack it at here. Go ahead, Jamil.

JIVANI: Well, you know, I think some humility is necessary here. You the Democratic Party hasn't been able to deliver quality health care to every American, and Republicans haven't either. But Democrats certainly haven't. And now you're saying well not only have we not been able to do that. But we're also going to now deliver health care to people who don't even belonging the country?

You know, put American families first. I think that should be the takeaway. And I think that's how a lot of Americans are watch that debate last night are going to feel.

MACCALLUM: And, you know what? It's fine to offer free college and free health care, nothing is free though. If somebody pays for it, and ultimately it's the American taxpayer. If they go to the polls and they say -- and they say, "I'm willing to pay for it. I'm happy to do that. I think it's the right thing to do." That -- that's the choice. That's the choice.

FOWLER: No, I agree there, Martha, but let's remember. 11 million of these individuals live here undocumented.



FOWLER: They pay the property tax, they pay sales tax. They're part of our communities. Their kids go to our schools. But to deny those kids access to a high-quality public education, to deny those kids access -- the most family's access to health care.


MACCALLUM: Understood. That is definitely --

FOWLER: The harm's all of us. It harms the entire society.

MACCALLUM: Yes, no, that's your perspective, and that's absolutely what people have to consider when they decide -- you know, how they want to move forward in the next election. Richard and Jamil, thank you. Thoughtful conversation, great to have both of you here tonight.

FOWLER: Good to see you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: You, too.

So, it wasn't on the president's schedule. But moments ago, this surprise request popped up on Twitter. Inviting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to meet him at the border with South Korea. John Roberts is standing by with what is going on with this latest tweet at the G20. He's up next.


MACCALLUM: Don't meddle in the election. President Trump facing criticism today for that light-hearted tone that he struck with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit. The two leaders meeting for the first time since the release of the Mueller report and it comes ahead of a highly anticipated face-to-face meeting.

Just a few hours from now, President Trump will take part in a bilat with Chinese President Xi amid a raging trade war and an issue that has a lot of folks in the economic world and Wall Street on edge. Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts live again tonight for us in Osaka, Japan. Good morning to you, John.

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Martha, good morning to you. And a little bit of breaking news to start us off. Our spider sense has been tingling for days now about what will happen after the President leaves the G20 and goes to South Korea. Would he possibly visit the DMZ?

And within just the last few minutes the President tweeting this out. "After some very important meetings including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea with President Moon. While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the border DMZ just to shake his hand and say hello.

It sounds like kind of an open invitation type of thing but I'm getting a precooked sense about this. Now, to what's going to happen today last night. The chief trade negotiators for the United States and China got together to lay the groundwork for today's summit between the president and President Xi Jinping.

This meeting could determine whether trade talks with China get back on track in a bilateral meeting with Brazil's president, President Trump building on the anticipation. Listen here.

TRUMP: We'll see what happens. It will be an exciting day. A lot of people are talking about it and very interesting and it's going to come out hopefully well for both countries and ultimately it will work out.

ROBERTS: What happens to the Xi meeting is going to be the big news today, but people still talking about the President's bilateral meeting yesterday with Vladimir Putin of Russia in particular and the on-camera mic moment that was not caught by American T.V., American T.V. I wasn't in the room, only Russian T.V. was as the President was sharing a rather caustic joke about his favorite foil the news media with Putin. Listen here.


TRUMP: Fake news. You don't have this problem in Russia, we have. You don't have it.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Yes, yes, we have too. The same.


ROBERTS: The President also appeared to joke about another very serious subject Russian meddling in the U.S. elections. Now, it's a question that has been asked and answered several times by the president, whether he will speak or whether he has spoken to Putin about Russian interference in the election.

And it came up again today but rather than answering the question, the President did something a little differently. Listen here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?

TRUMP: Yes, of course, I will. Don't meddle in the election, please. Don't meddle in the election.


ROBERTS: The President's critics didn't see the humor in the President's interaction there with Vladimir Putin. The Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeting "The joke is on us and Putin is the only one laughing. President Trump is basically giving Putin a green light to either fear in 2020."

And in an extraordinarily rare move, the former President Jimmy Carter publicly criticizing the President while he was overseas. Listen here.


JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT: He lost the election and he was put in office because the Russians interfere on his behalf.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So do you believe President Trump is an illegitimate president?

CARTER: Based on what I just said which I can't retract.


ROBERTS: Now, there's a long-standing policy that politics ends at the water's edge, that you do not criticize the American president while he or she is overseas, so President Carter breaking tradition with that which really was a rather extraordinary moment. But of course what we're all focused on now Martha is whether or not we've had an inkling that the president would travel to the DMZ but it sounds to me like something might be already arranged.

We saw that handshake between President Kim -- Chairman Kim and President Moon last year. Maybe we'll see the same thing between President Trump and Chairman Kim as they shake hands across the DMZ tomorrow in South Korea. We'll see.

That would be quite an image and quite a moment. John, thank you so much from Osaka, Japan this morning their time.

ROBERTS: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Here now with his thoughts on all this David Tafuri, former Obama State Department official. David, good to have you with us this evening. Thanks for being here. I think first of all your reaction to this tweet about a possible overture for a handshake and a hello at the DMZ between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.

DAVID TAFURI, FORMER OBAMA STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: It's a little hard to figure out what to think about this. It just came out. It's a surprise. I know John expected something but we didn't know this was going to happen. And I don't know what President Trump is exactly suggesting. Is he going to go to the DMZ, they're going to high-five each other from one side of the border to the other, but what exactly are there are they celebrating.

There's nothing to celebrate. There's been no detente between us and North Korea. North Korea has continued on its path towards having nuclear weapons, for weaponizing its nuclear weapons, and it's still a major threat with no solution.

So the President instead of talking about just dropping by and saying hello to his friend, should be talking about what the plan is to get toward some sort of agreement so that North Korea --

MACCALLUM: Well, it seems like the plan is to compete -- keep the dialogue going and maybe reopen that dialogue and --

TAFURI: But that doesn't work.

MACCALLUM: -- maybe it's an effort at you know, at continuing that process.

TAFURI: But I think every time President Trump meets with Kim Jong-un, he empowers him. It's a great photo image for Kim Jong-un. He gives him something of great value to be there with the American president shaking his hand across the border. What are we getting back in return? We're getting nothing.

MACCALLUM: All right, talk to me about the Putin moment here where he you know, the President is -- a reporter shouts out you know, did you ask him about meddling and he goes you know, he kind of laughs it off a little bit and says you know, don't meddle in the election. What do you -- what's your take away from that, David?

TAFURI: Martha, that didn't play well here back in America. You have -- let's put it in perspective. You have the leader of the free world in President Trump and you have the leader of the country that opposes freedom everywhere, Putin and Russia.

Russia attacked our election. That attack was illegal, it was offensive, and it was done because Russia hates democracy. And the president is supposed to be there defending democracy instead of delivering a stern message to Putin that you can't interfere in our election, again, he's sitting there joking about it which is sending a message that hey, this is OK.

It's ok if you interfere in our election again. And you have to wonder does President Trump stand up for democracy? Republicans --

MACCALLUM: But wouldn't it look weird, David -- just put yourself in that -- in that moment, right. Wouldn't it look weird if the reporter shouts a question like aren't you going to tell him not to go after elections and the president goes, oh yes, by the way, you know, let's have a serious moment here and talk about that.

I mean, even President Obama who you worked for said this when he was asked you know, about publicly shaming Putin and its effectiveness. Watch this.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: It's not like Putin is going around the world publicly saying look what we did wasn't that clever. He denies it. So the idea that somehow public shaming is going to be effective I think doesn't read the thought process in Russia very well.


MACCALLUM: I mean, I think, you know, you might agree with President Obama that like that's not really the moment where you're going to you know, have a breakthrough discussion that's probably something that's going to happen more behind closed doors. And you know, the other thing is --

TAFURI: But President -- but look, can I respond to that?

MACCALLUM: Yes, please.

TAFURI: Because President Obama followed up with sanctions right after he said that, really strong sanctions on Russia. He made public statements about how Russia was responsible for these attacks then the intelligence report came out -- the intelligence report came out a couple weeks later it showed that the attacks on our election system were ordered by Putin.

So the President Obama was very strong in response though a little bit slow. I think he should have reacted much more quickly so I have some criticism of President Obama. But President Obama never sat next to Putin and joked about something that goes to the sanctity of our election, our democracy. Our Founding Fathers would be turning over in their graves.

MACCALLUM: You know, I mean, you know, with the talk of you know, new missile systems in Eastern Europe, you know, I just wonder you know, Vladimir Putin, you know, who he would really be supporting because there's a lot of things that this administration is doing that are very much against what Vladimir Putin would want. Quick thought on that, David, and then I got to go.

TAFURI: Putin didn't seem like that. He seemed very happy to be sitting next to his friend, President Trump, and to talk about you know interfering in our election and joke about it, and then joke about getting rid of reporters. That should be offensive to you and to all reports.

MACCALLUM: Yes, that's awful. Absolutely, I agree given their history.

TAFURI: 58 reporters have died in Russia since the Soviet Union.

MACCALLUM: Very good point. David, thank you very much. Good to see you.

TAFURI: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So when we come back, the search for a missing student in Utah now an investigation into her murder.


MACCALLUM: A very tragic end in the search for missing University of Utah student, MacKenzie Lueck. Salt Lake City Police now saying that the 31- year-old man has been charged with murder and kidnapping after they found burned body parts in his backyard. Matt Finn with the very latest tonight from Salt Lake City. Matt?

MATT FINN, CORRESPONDENT: Martha, this is the house where police say the murder suspect lives here in Salt Lake City and hard to fathom. Police say this is where they found some of MacKenzie Lueck's flesh and charred remains here on this property.

Neighbors tell media that in recent days there were fires in this backyard that created a stench that hit you in the face. And throughout the day in this evening, we've seen investigators going in and out of this property. They even expanded their police line as they interview neighbors.

So many neighbors who say that this murder suspect in his 30s was polite and even focused on making improvements to this property.

Police say the murder suspect was arrested today and then booked into county jail on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, and desecration of a human body.

Police say phone records show Mackenzie Lueck and the murder suspect were communicating and that Mackenzie's rideshare vehicle took her from the Salt Lake City airport to a nearby park. And at about three o'clock a.m. last Monday where she likely met up with a man who police say killed her. Why she did, we do not know.

Today, the parents of Mackenzie Lueck say they are not taking questions, understandably. Mackenzie's uncle released a statement thanking law enforcement and we spoke to neighbors here who brought flowers.


THEA PRIMANN, NEIGHBOR: I don't know what happened here, but I do not want her -- I do not want this to be her last terrible thing. Maybe somewhere her spirit is still here, may be these flowers -- I don't know. Sorry. It's really emotional. It's really a sad thing.


FINN: The murder suspect did briefly work for Dell in Utah. He was also briefly in the National Guard for about six months. We have not found any major criminal background on the suspect other than some minor traffic violations. And right now, police say they have much more investigating to do, Martha, whether this murder suspect acted by himself. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Matt Finn, thank you for the latest in that. What an awful story. And here now, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, Mark Eiglarsh. Mark, what was a mystery is looking a little bit less mysterious tonight. But still, you know, the main questions surround what on earth happened here.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. Yes. And the good news is prosecutors never have to prove motive because we may never know why and people do it for crazy reasons, Martha. It's almost not possible in every case to prove why someone did it, just that they did. And the evidence seems to be overwhelming.

MACCALLUM: So, talk to me a little bit about the evidence as you understand it.

EIGLARSH: Well, he was the last one to see her. His cell phone was in direct correlation to hers. It shows they were both at the park together. Again, we don't know why. But within a minute of each other, her charred remains were found in his backyard.

He lied to law enforcement, claiming that he didn't know what she looked like and there were photos of her that he had in his possession. The list goes on on the checklist of what prosecutors want other than a confession and a busload of none that saw him do it, they've got it.

MACCALLUM: You know, when you look at this and, you know, we'll probably learn more about whether or not they knew each other before they start to contact each other at this point. But as you heard in Matt Finn's report, he does not have any record, no criminal record. I mean, this just seems like such bizarre behavior from someone who, you know, has no background or no violent backgrounds, doesn't it?

EIGLARSH: It does. Although who lived with him in the army for the brief time that was there said that he had some type of temper and he would flare out. But that doesn't then necessarily lead to the abhorrent behavior that he involved himself with.

MACCALLUM: So, in terms of, you know, moving forward in this case, if he is found guilty, and as you point out there is a very large mountain of evidence that appears to point in that direction, but he hasn't gone through the process yet. What's likely to happen to him?

EIGLARSH: All right. Just so we're clear and I'm a defense attorney. He's presumed to be innocent.


EIGLARSH: But if prosecutors can prove what we are now learning, he's facing potentially the death penalty. Utah still has the death penalty. They got lethal injection. The only thing that really helps him in this process is that like Florida and some other states, it has to be a unanimous verdict for the jurors.


EIGLARSH: So, all of them have to feel that they have to issue the ultimate sanction of death. If one says otherwise --


MACCALLUM: Thank you, Mark.

EIGLARSH: -- they spare his life.

MACCALLUM: Mark Eiglarsh, thank you as always.

EIGLARSH: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Tonight, there is a brand-new ethics investigation being launched into Congressman Matt Gaetz and he is here with his first response exclusive to THE STORY.


MACCALLUM: So, tonight, the House ethics committee launching a formal investigation into Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz. Gaetz is accused of trying to threaten President Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen ahead of Cohen's congressional testimony back in February.

At that time, you may remember this story. He tweeted this. "Hey, Michael Cohen, do your wife and father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good night for a chat. I wonder if she'll remain faithful when you are in prison. She's about to learn a lot."

Now that tweet sparked bipartisan criticism and later, an investigation by the Florida bar. Initially, Gaetz doubled down. And days later, he appeared here on THE STORY and said this. Watch.


REP. MATT GAETZ, R-FLA.: I want to say publicly what I've said privately to Michael Cohen and to his family, that I'm sorry if it is entirely appropriate to test the truthfulness of a witness, but that could've been done in a way that didn't invoke someone's family and I shouldn't have done it.

MACCALLUM: Did you have -- what information did you have that cause you to write that tweet?

GAETZ: Yes. I mean, to get into all of that would be to continue to reference someone's family and I'm just not going to go there, Martha.



MACCALLUM: All right. So, here now exclusively tonight on this news and tis development, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz. Congressman, thank you very much for coming back. You've been very forthcoming about this whole thing. You know, what you're feeling tonight now that the ethics committee led by Representative Anthony Brown, a Democrat from Maryland, is pushing this forward and they are going to review you?

GAETZ: Well, there's been no finding that I've done anything wrong. I stand by the comments that I made on your show. But it really highlights the double standard that exists with today's left.

We've got members of Congress, Maxine Waters, actually incite violence against Republicans and supporters of the president. We had Rashida Tlaib before the ink was even dry on her election certificate using profanity to talk about how she was going to impeach the president.

And so, I guess when a Republican says something that might go a little over line it might be treated a little differently. But at the end of the day, Martha, I'm not worried about it at all. I'm worried about the 5,500 people that show up at our border every day. I worry about the fact that we haven't changed our asylum laws.

I wish that Nancy Pelosi's Democrat House would prioritize a vote on President Trump and renegotiated NAFTA deal. But apparently, the Pelosi House whether psycho analyze my tweets so I'll let them do it.


MACCALLUM: I understand that you believe that this is, you know, that it's not important, but you know, they are a lot, they are the ethics committee. Right? And if you wanted to bring ethics issues up about the things that you just mentioned, perhaps that would be a good idea and an appropriate idea.

But, you know, this did garner bipartisan criticism of you, and it is very specific in terms of the question of whether or not you are threatening a witness the night before he was about to testify. And in fact, in your home state, the bar is also investigating you for the same reason.

I just want to play some of the -- you know, we have Rick Scott who is a Republican and then we have Adam Schiff. Let's play that.


SEN. RICK SCOTT, R-FLA.: It's wrong and I think it's disgusting. I'm glad he -- I'm glad he apologized.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.: Just being appalled at what looks like a blatant effort to intimidate this witness.


MACCALLUM: Your reaction?

GARBAGE: That's garbage. Look, Adam Schiff is someone who lied to our country for 22 months about the president being an agent of the Russian government.

You know, I think there are three things that happened this last week. You had Robert Mueller's testimony announced, you had the oversight committee ridiculing Kellyanne Conway, and you had the ethics committee open up on me.

So, they're very well may be a coordinated effort to go after people like me, people like Kellyanne Conway who are effective advocates for a transformational president.

At the end of the day, Martha, it's really not something that concerns me. I'm more worried about the great work that President Trump is doing and the important role I have to make sure the Democrats don't proceed with a fact- free impeachment as they prepared to bring Robert Mueller before the judiciary committee. That's what this is all about.


MACCALLUM: And so, you're saying --

GAETZ: We wouldn't be here if I wasn't a high-profile defender of the president.

MACCALLUM: -- you're at it. So, you believe that his is a political attack on you and it's all about your support for the president.

GAETZ: Sure. Of course, it is. Of course, it is.


MACCALLUM: Did the president ask you -- I just have you this, because I'm sure this is what they are thinking as well. Did the president ask you, you know, did he say, like, you might want to put something out there on social media about Michael Cohen, the girlfriends and the whole bit, did you ever talk to him about any of that?

GAETZ: I've -- No, I have not had a conversation with the president that would bear any resemblance to that. I think that's probably why they want to --


MACCALLUM: Nothing about Michael Cohen personally?

GAETZ: -- continue investigating. No, absolutely not. No conversation like that with the president and I think that that's really where this is going. Folks think they think they can get to the president through me because I work with the president a lot, talk to the president a lot.


GAETZ: Look, I'm going to continue to do work on behalf of my constituents who've overwhelmingly voted for me when I've stood for election and I know who I'm here fighting for. And I know why I'm in the Congress fighting.

And look, if Democrats want to prioritize the psychoanalyzing of my tweets, I can they can go back and reflect on that with their voters, but nothing regarding what I put on Twitter impact the lives of Americans and the work I do in the Congress is geared toward making sure we've got a safer and more secure country.

MACCALLUM: Understood.

GAETZ: I think that's far more productive.

MACCALLUM: Just before I let you go and before we put this issue to rest, the Florida bar is also investigating you. Are you concerned that you may be disbarred for potentially intimidating a witness?

GAETZ: No. I haven't been involved in the practice of law for years. I'm a member of the Florida bar but I don't work for the Florida bar. The Florida bar has no mechanism to disbar me or punish me outside of a ruling or determination by the Florida Supreme Court and I feel very confident that I will do quite well there.

MACCALLUM: All right. Congressman Matt Gaetz, thank you for coming in and answering questions about this issue and we'll see you soon. Thank you, sir.

GAETZ: Thank you. Happy Friday.

MACCALLUM: You too. According to this Democratic candidate, there is only one way to defeat President Trump.


MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field and, sir, love will win.


MACCALLUM: Love will win. Love will find a way. Ladies' night coming up.


MACCALLUM: The consensus seems to be that Kamala Harris had an impressive night last night. Several moments going viral today.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Guys, you know what? America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we are going to put food on their table.

She was a bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.

I will ensure that with this microphone that the president of the United States holds in her hand is used in a way that is about respecting the values of our country.



MACCALLUM: On Wednesday night, it was Elizabeth Warren who was touted as the star of the night. So how will these showings by these two candidates change the polls. The latest from Fox News before the debate showing Warren leading Harris by just 1 percent among Democratic primary voters.

Here now, ladies' night. Tammy Bruce, Jessica Tarlov, Carley Shimkus. Thank you all for being here tonight.


MACCALLUM: Tammy, let me start with you. You know, does Elizabeth Warren wake up this morning going, I guess I've got to contend with her for sure.

TAMMY BRUCE, PRESIDENT, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S VOICE: I think everyone is thinking that. But at the same time, when Warren first entered, I thought it was odd because her constituency is Bernie Sanders' constituency. She's not as popular as him. She doesn't have as much access to this much money.

And she splits that vote, which is, and I thought -- why is she willing to go in there to split that vote? So, I'm not so sure that we have an answer yet about why she's there.

Look, a lot of these individuals like when the Republicans had a primary are looking to bolster their own profile, right? And it could be that situation. I don't know if she actually thinks she's going to be the nominee or looking for --


MACCALLUM: You mean Warren, you are talking about Warren.

BRUCE: I'm talking about Warren.


BRUCE: Whether if Warren actually is looking at this like as being a job introduction for the next Democratic president.

MACCALLUM: I don't know. Jessica is making a face. I think Warren is pretty serious about the nomination.

TARLOV: She definitely is serious. She's a lot of money she borrowed from her Senate campaign. She has a big campaign --


BRUCE: Not as much as Bernie Sanders.

TARLOV: No, absolute -- that's absolutely true. But going to debates, she was the number one most surging candidate. There is a Morning Consult poll out that snap after this debate --


TARLOV: -- saw Kamala Harris the biggest, 11-points, Warren up a few, Biden down four. Bernie Sanders was the one who needed to perform better and it looks like if you are going to be going far left --


MACCALLUM: Not a great night for Bernie Sanders for sure.

TARLOV: -- you're going Elizabeth Warren.

MACCALLUM: Marianne Williamson was the outlier, meaning she was the last one on the end there, but perhaps an outlier of sorts as well. I remember her as, you know, the self-help guru of the '80s.


MACCALLUM: Everybody remembers her. She went on Oprah. And here's what she said last night.


WILLIAMSON: So, Mr. President, if you are listening, I want you to hear me, please. You have harness fear for political purposes and only love can cast that out. So, I, sir, I have a feeling you know what you're doing. I'm going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field. And sir, love will win.


MACCALLUM: Love always win. I mean, I'm not going to speak out against the message of love. A message of love is a great thing. But I know I'm not the only person in the country who like, sort of imagined a Saturday Night Live skit during the course of the entire -- watching of that last night, and Kate McKinnon was thinking about it too. Here she is on Seth Meyers. Watch.


KATE MCKINNON, ACTRESS: My plan is to gather all the sage in America and burn it, my plan is to harness the energy of babies to finally put a man on the moon. And I said to the president of New Zealand, I said to my girlfriend, you are so on. And I would say to Donald Trump, boyfriend, you chill.




SHIMKUS: I'd vote for her.

MACCALLUM: Yes, absolutely.

BRUCE: That I would vote for.

SHIMKUS: Well, of course, clearly Marianne Williamson style of speech is better suited for a weekend retreat debate site forum. But I thought it was refreshing. She is unapologetically herself.


SHIMKUS: When there are so many candidates on the debate stage that are trying to be somebody who they aren't, the Elizabeth Warrens, somebody get me a beer, I'm going to get me a beer moment. The pandering with the Spanish from Beto O'Rourke? It was sort of refreshing to see somebody that's just comfortable in their own skin.


TARLOV: I also think if you look at the two ends of the stages, I would rather be on team Marianne Williamson than Eric Swalwell any day, like coming in there swiping at Biden within 30 seconds.


TARLOV: And Marianne Williamson is just saying, you know, we're not doing the right things here. We've been over policy, remember she said that. Like Donald Trump didn't win as a policy wonk. He just had slogans.

MACCALLUM: I like the moment when everybody was like, playing can you talk this with like their latest medical problem. You know, like, I was in the hospital, I was in the hospital.

BRUCE: Yes. But if you are in Los Angeles during the '80s --


BRUCE: -- she has a big following.

MACCALLUM: Absolutely.

BRUCE: She is being herself, absolutely. At the same time, she also has friends across the political spectrum there. She has conservative friends, liberal friends. I mean, she really kind of transcended this.

But I do think it's a really good opportunity for Democrats and Americans to realize after the Democratic Party being kind of shut down for a while like the Republicans, the kind of variety of people who are Democrats, the different points of view.


BRUCE: And how may be that kind of part of a conversation is valuable.

MACCALLUM: All right. I'm going to jump over to the G20 now and take a look at a moment that got a lot of attention in the social media world.


BRUCE: But they need love.

MACCALLUM: Speaking of love. Exactly. So, you know, a little kiss with the Argentinian president's wife. She's a beautiful woman. I think, you know, there was a moment of like titter laughter and everyone saying, you know, well, what's so funny? And of course, you know, this gets made something of, she's a beautiful woman. As is his wife, Melania Trump.


MACCALLUM: And why -- is there anything wrong with that?

BRUCE: There is no shortage of beautiful women across every --


TARLOV: Look at this table right now!

BRUCE: Exactly. But my question would be seriously with the media being focused on that, would there still be a question of that if she looked like Angela Merkel? If she did not look like that.


MACCALLUM: No, I don't think so.

BRUCE: Look, I've also met her before, we've had the couple at the White House, who knows her.


BRUCE: He said he'd worked with the Argentinian president's father in a business deal a long time ago so there is a history there. And maybe it's fun to wonder what they talk about. But it's a fascinating group, I'm sure with the G20.

SHIMKUS: It's so fascinating.

MACCALLUM: You see, you know, Mohammad bin Salman is standing there. Putin is right next to him.


MACCALLUM: I'm always fascinated by these pictures. But let's up this picture of President Obama back at the Mandela funeral and he got a lot of heat for this, you know, selfie moment with the prime minister, Carley.


SHIMKUS: I look at Michelle, the former first lady. I remember when this happened and it was a bit of -- I mean, I think that Michelle Obama is right in that regard because it was at a funeral this didn't look appropriate for the president.

But everybody is always going to sort of, hone in on these moments of intimacy when it comes to presidents, whether the president holds Melania Trump's hand is also a big thing that people talk about. So, the gossip --


MACCALLUM: I know. Everybody watching this funeral either there's any meaning in them or not.

TARLOV: Yes. I think after it -- you know, I haven't been married for decades, but I'm sure at some point you aren't just holding hands and the other you are holding hands. I think people also like -- I remember that about the selfie and the inappropriateness of this.

But I think with Trump because of who he is and where he came from, like New York City kind of womanizer, playboy guy. It's just, it's a fun narrative to be like, I found the hot one.


TARLOV: I'm going to -- he was whispering to her. He was like MBS.


MACCALLUM: Well, he said some chill. Everybody cracked up in the group.

SHIMKUS: And they did host the Argentinian couple in 2017 so they do have history. And he said that --


TARLOV: He wasn't kissing her randomly.

SHIMKUS: Exactly.

MACCALLUM: They are friends. They are friends.

All right. Thank you, ladies. All of you.


TARLOV: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: A wonderful weekend to you tonight. You do the same.

BRUCE: Fascinating world, isn't it?

MACCALLUM: It sure is. More of “The Story” coming up next.


MACCALLUM: That is “The Story” of this Friday, June 28, 2019. We're going to see you back here on Monday night at seven. Tucker Carlson coming up from Osaka, Japan, at the G20. Good night, everybody.

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