This is a rush transcript from "The Story," January 25, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: So, tonight everybody, we have a brand-new reaction here on "The Story" to the new text messages uncovered tonight. So, you've two agents, you've got four phones, you've got thousands of text messages once believed to be lost. Many of them still are lost but there are new one's tonight that are just being exposed to the country. So, what's inside them could it confirm or deny what the FBI's harshest critics have been saying for months.
Good evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum. Welcome to "The Story." One of the latest conversations uncovered between Strzok and Page reportedly discussing of their worst fears: upsetting the future president, Hillary Clinton. Referring to their upcoming interview with candidate Clinton -- Page wrote, "She might be our next president. The last thing you need us going in there loaded for bear. Do you think she's going to remember or care that it was more DOJ or FBI?" Strzok responds, "Agreed." It is so stunning that they talked this way on their government-owned phones about the work they were doing for the FBI. Chief Washington Correspondent, Ed Henry, live at the White House with the breaking news. So, Ed, obviously, they were worried that they might make her mad if they asked her tough questions in there and that alone seems pretty clear from this one.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It does, Martha. And breaking tonight, the Department of Justice inspector general, as you noted, has now recovered thousands of text messages between these two FBI officials from a later time period. These messages, from an earlier time period that lawmakers are just going through seems to confirm an anti-Trump bias. A pro-Clinton bias that is going to pour gasoline on this fire. Just moments ago, Republican Charles Grassley revealed he's seen some of those new text messages and they show these FBI officials worried about how they'd be perceived, as you said, by a future President Hillary Clinton if they were too tough. The exact concerns that President Trump have been raising.
Then, another new text was seen, show in March 2016, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page talked about the possibility of a need for a special counsel to investigate the Clinton email situation. They even raised the possibility of bringing back Patrick Fitzgerald, who was the special counsel in the Valerie Plame case. Strzok saying, don't forget that James Comey, who had been deputy attorney general in the Bush Administration appointed Fitzgerald as special counsel in the Plame matter, and that he was there for Comey's investiture. Strzok, "I could work with him again, and damn we'd get bleep done."
Now, more troubling text over the fact that in December 2016, the James Comey-led FBI sent Grassley a letter insisting, it had not been necessary for the Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, to recuse himself from the Clinton case even though his wife had gotten political money from Clinton pal and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. While these new messages show that James Rybicki, the Chief of Staff at the FBI -- but remember, this week we learned is stepping down from his post amid controversy about his role in drafting Comey's exoneration statement about Clinton, while Rybicki in October 2016, privately said McCabe should have recused himself.
Page saying in a text, "Rybicki just called to check in, he very clearly, 100 percent believes, Andy should be recused because of the 'perception'."
Page, "Our statement affect the stock market."
He's talking about a statement about re-opening the Clinton probe because of Anthony Weiner.
Page, "Don't understand your e-mail. If it's a matter similar to those we've been talking about lately, why no recusal? Something different?
Strzok, "I assume McAuliffe picked up but that doesn't make sense. He said he was interviewing maybe he's heading into private practice."
So, these are new messages from March and October 2016. Remember, we had been told that there are even more messages from December 2016 through May 2017 that were gone. Well, government officials now tell Fox, the Justice Department got those back; they took possession of at least four phones belonging of these FBI officials, a development Trump that aides jumped on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJ SHAH, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We think that these text messages are very significant. The fact that they went missing is a real big problem. You have Peter Strzok, this individual, who is in charge of an investigation that we have long maintained is a witch hunt for which there's collusion, no obstruction, no evidence of wrongdoing. And now, this individual has been removed from the case for political bias. We think this development is good. We want to obviously make sure that as many messages are recovered as possible, and if the truth about the political bias of the highest ranks of the FBI is made available to the public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Now, in addition to the message, it's only government phones. Breaking tonight, Grassley says, it appears that Strzok and Page were transmitting federal records about the Clinton case. The federal case itself on non-governmental devices because there are some exchanges where they say, look, I Gmail-ed you something about the case, can you print this out on your home computer? Can you send this back through the Gmail? So, that's raising more questions about we may find even more message in the days ahead, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Extended phones, and just the irony there is rich that they were in the middle of the Clinton case, and they're sending government documents on phones that are their authorized FBI phones, you know. Meanwhile, they're texting this stuff on the FBI phones itself.
HENRY: Which the -- they are clearly breaking the law.
MACCALLUM: Go figure. Ed --
HENRY: But if you destruct -- destruction of those federal records could break the law, as Grassley points.
MACCALLUM: Great point. Great point. Ed, thank you so much. So, here with more, Charles Hurt, Washington Times Political columnist and Fox News contributor; and Juan Williams, Co-Host of "The Five" and a Fox News political analyst. I mean, Juan, let's start with the loaded for bear comment. Don't go in there loaded for bear, when you are interviewing Hillary Clinton. Remember, she might be the next president.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure, but I think this is, to my mind, the basis in which people could say, well, gosh, FBI agents talk like we do, like everybody. You know, it's like going through your underwear drawer, everybody's going to find something and say, gosh. The question is, is it the case that they acted in such a way as to protect Hillary Clinton? Do we have evidence of that, do we have any evidence that, in fact, what we are seeing is corruption and political bias at the FBI? I don't think we see that yet.
MACCALLUM: You're absolutely right. I mean, that is the question. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, Charles. This stuff looks terrible. I wonder where these two people are? Does anybody know where they are? I've never seen a story like this where you don't see them leaving their house, getting in their car, coming into to work. So, I think it's weird that they -- that no one has laid eyes on them?
CHARLES HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND POLITICAL COLUMNIST FOR THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Yes, I would like to see a tabloid crew following these two.
MACCALLUM: We have a new picture. Is that a new picture? OK.
HURT: Can I just say, Juan, I've never heard you talk like this. I actually don't know many people that do talk like, this but they sound like a couple of teenagers in a high school player trying to pretend to be corrupt FBI agents.
WILLIAMS: Well, they were having an affair, Charlie.
HURT: Well, there you go. That adds a little sizzle to all of it. But the underlying, you know, the conspiracy, the collusion between these two and the clear effort to obstruct justice, you know, we've been hearing about all of this, but little did we know that it was all going on within the investigation into the Hillary Clinton e-mail case in the first. I find these things to be absolutely stunning. I think that it does raise real questions about, you know, I don't know if this stuff goes so far as to break the law, but it certainly undermines that investigation, and I think raises serious questions about whether either one of them ever should've been in this position of authority.
MACCALLUM: You know, let's take a look at this, because -- another big question here is whether or not Republicans have gone out on a limb -- and we're going to talk to Darrell Issa in just a moment. With this four-page memo, have they overextended, did they get over their ski on the four-page memo? Because they came out and said it's like Watergate, it's a smoking gun. If that's the case, why haven't they been able to release it? They have -- the majority on that committee, the majority in the house, the majority in the Senate, the president has to sign it. One person then, Charlie, what -- wait, let's actually play this soundbite first. This is Ron Johnson and Senator Schumer on this, and then I'll get your thoughts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. RON JOHNSON, R-WIS.: I think there's an indication that there were a number of high-level FBI officials that were holding secret meetings off-site.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: Republican members of this body, I'm ashamed to say, picked up on casual texts sent between FBI agents to peddle the nonsense that there is a secret society at the just Department of Justice without a shred of evidence.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MACCALLUM: Juan first, then Charlie.
WILLIAMS: Well, even Senator Johnson said today, you know, it might be a joke. But again, this kind of --
MACCALLUM: Referring to the secret society comment.
WILLIAMS: Yes, but all this-this is not -- I mean, you to pick up on what Charlie was saying. You know, so, people on the right, people who want to protect President Trump, therefore, look at it and say, hey, this could be something. These people in their private communications, however casual, nonetheless do not appear to be supportive of President Trump. The problem at the moment and the reason they don't release it is that even the Trump Justice Department has described the release as an act that would be considered reckless and undermining public integrity and confidence in the FBI and Department of Justice, and without a real understanding of the larger context because the memo was written by Republicans who it seems are out to protect Trump more so that they are anything else.
HURT: No. Juan, you know those officials in DOJ and FBI who don't want this released, they're career people, they're not -- they do ostensibly work for Donald Trump, but they're career people trying to protect their fellow career workers. I think the real reason that Republicans are reticent to just sort of pull just sort of pull the trigger on this, is because they're so stunned by all this. They kind of find it as a lot of regular of people look at on it. It's hard to believe that -- it's hard to believe that actually, these people are actually enunciating these things. And obviously, the line about the secret society -- you know, Juan, I can believe that was done in jest. That is the least damning thing that has come out of all this, whether it's the loaded for bear thing or the concerns about, you know, I feel like I created this situation so I need to fix it, or the idea that they hate to have an alternative insurance policy in case he gets elected. It's really terrifying.
MACCALLUM: I agree with you. You know, I think the most damning one, actually, might be the loaded for bear one because he was questioning her.
HURT: Yes. And she's --
MACCALLUM: So, he's agreeing -- he's agreeing when I go in there, you're right, I better go easy because she could be the president. She might remember. So, I think that's probably the worst one that we've seen.
HURT: And look what happened. They did go easy on her -- on all of it.
MACCALLUM: I have to go. Thank you, guys. Great to see you both.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
HURT: Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, listening to all this and sitting here with me on the set is Congressman Darrell Issa. It's good to have you in New York, from California, of course, and sits on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committee. You're shaking your head, what do you think?
REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF.: Well, you know, Juan doesn't know this, but Deputy McCabe has already said that she was treated like no other witness. And as that comes out, the soft peddling, the actual sworn testimony. People are going to realize that both the Benghazi investigation and then e-mail that followed up, these are examples where there are two sets of standards. But I want to give a shut-out both in Benghazi investigation and now at the Department of Justice, it's an inspector general, a watchdog, that goes -- still part of the executive branch that goes out and finds these things.
At the IRS, it was the inspector general, a watchdog, independent watchdog. These men and women of 74 key I.G.s continue to be the best tools we have to get past the fact that there's an internal bias. You mentioned it. People have this bad habit of thinking they protect the institution. You know, for the years I was on the Select Intelligence Committee, and for the years I cheered oversight, I discovered that the highest level of classification, in any agency, is unclassified but embarrassing. That the reality is they will do more to keep you from seeing something that embarrasses us than they will some Russian spy.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I think there's so much -- I mean, to protect the institution, to protect the way of life, to protect your job, it is embarrassing. I think I agree with you. It's probably the bar here in some case. What about this four-page memo, because we-we talked to Representative Gaetz, we spoke with other people, because this is so damning. Is it as damning as the perception, and are -- is Comey named in there? Is Mueller named in there?
ISSA: OK. Because I've read it, of course, I can't tell you, but what I can tell you is that it is a roadmap. It was written by the majority. But it is a roadmap to the support documents that also have to be made available of just how bad it is, and just how wrong --
MACCALLUM: Meaning what?
ISSA: Well, the actions that were taken. This memo alleges actions that I read it, that I believe, and I can't authenticate one versus another, but many of them have been reported, and now it's a question of you see the memo, and it gives you the road map to what actually happened.
MACCALLUM: You know, we need to see this thing. Is that going to happen?
ISSA: It is going happen, but here's why it's taking so long. Member after member -- and Democrats are choosing not to read it for the most part. Member after the member has to go down and read it. They cannot ask the Select Intelligence Committee to declassify --
MACCALLUM: It's four pages.
ISSA: I understand, but to get members to go read a document and then be in the situation I'm in, where I can talk about all the things we think we know once you've read until the American people see it, you're locked out of talking about it. But I will tell you, the American people have an absolute right know this just like some of these other investigations that we've had.
MACCALLUM: And are you confident that they will?
ISSA: I'm confident that the committee will vote. I'm sad to say that Adam Schiff and the Democrats will all vote no. But when the people of American see the four pages, and then additional documents, what they're going to see is we have a problem in the FISA courts.
MACCALLUM: So, you have no fear whatsoever that when this comes out, people aren't going to say, well, that was a lot of nothing?
ISSA: The American people keep hearing about FISA courts, they keep hearing about --
MACCALLUM: And they're looking for corruption in the FBI. That's basically the message that has been sent, that it's going to be so damning that people are going to be fired as soon as it gets read.
ISSA: I'm less concerned about that than I am that we have to fix the institution that allows your fourth amendment, your privacy rights to be circumvented using these techniques. You know, remember this all started off, this whole investigation with the special prosecutor started off trying to prove that Trump's, you know, incoming administration colluded with the Russians. And now, what you actually have is the Department of Justice colluding with the Democratic Party.
MACCALLUM: There are two sides of this equation that everybody wants to know the answers to. Congressman Darrell Issa, thank you.
ISSA: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Really good to see you tonight. So, breaking tonight, the White House just released its immigration plan, and it includes a path to citizenship for DREAMERS. In fact, many more DREAMERS than originally discussed. It's a big deal. The details coming up. And President Trump wrapping up a successful first day in Davos, by his own assessment of all of it, he said it went very well. He met with several key allies. Talking America first -- his agenda in terms of how he sees America's place in the world. So, does it work? Bill Bennett with his assessment after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think the real message is we want great prosperity and we want great peace, and I think that really is the message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I just want to say that there's been a lot of warmth, a lot of respect for our country. And I think also being a cheerleader for our country, you know, if you're not a cheerleader for your company or for your country, no matter what happens, it's not going to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: President Trump, the CEO at work in Davos today, rubbing elbows with business leaders who plan to invest in the United States. Earlier today, the president met with key foreign allies. Here with more Bill Bennett, served as Education Secretary under President Reagan and is a Fox News Contributor. Bill, good to see you tonight as always. You know, it was interesting watching him work the room today with the CEO, complimenting them on their investment, asking them about their businesses. I mean, this is Donald Trump the businessman at work.
BILL BENNETT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT REAGAN: Yes, to say that I was a cheerleader for my country, as you guys are cheerleaders for your companies. I was thinking Martin Luther King say that I was a drum maker for justice, to say it rhythm there. A cheerleader for your country. You know, I'm so glad we saw it, many of us saw it live on T.V. It was on the Fox News Channel because if we hadn't seen it live, Martha, we would've heard -- met with a number of CEOs. It was cordial but distant.
In fact, it was not, it was extremely friendly. These guys went around the table, heads of Siemens, HSBC Bank, Anheuser-Busch, Nestle, Bear, these are huge companies -- Deloit. And they not only said, you know, congratulations on being president, congratulations on your tax bill, congratulations on getting that through, that's terrific. And then they said, we're coming to America. We're going to invest $2 billion; we're going to have 10,000 jobs here and there, Charlotte, all over American. This was a tribute to the president's leadership, and again, I'm glad we saw it live because I'm worried otherwise how it might be reported.
MACCALLUM: Yes, you know, whenever he has these kinds of meetings, you know, you're sitting, you're watching things, you're working in your office. I turn them up because I find it very interesting to watch the natural interaction, as you say, the sort of read the body language and see what everybody thinks. You know there are lots of smiles, a lot of discussions back and forth, he's inquiring with them about their companies, what percentage is this, you know, this product at your company, what does it represent? So, you know, I do think that it was interesting. And it also reveals that he knew that he was not walking into a globalist, you know, lion's den. He had this meeting in mind, I would guess when he went there in the first place.
BENNETT: Yes, and people weren't offended -- these people weren't offended by America first. They understand that America being strong means strength for the world. If America isn't strong, who is strong? Do you want a stronger China than you want a stronger America? So, I think they very much welcome that. But it was just very good to see, as you say. There were some people who said when he gets to Davos, it's not going to be friendly. You know, this is the globalist groups, but these businessmen understand what he is about and what he's doing for them, and most important for America.
MACCALLUM: And he gets them. In terms of the United Kingdom, there've been some sticky moments between Theresa May, she's criticized the president at times, but I just want to show everyone at home a little bit of the exchange they had today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have the same ideas, the same ideals, and there's nothing that would happen to you where we won't be there to fight for you. You know that. And I just want to thank you very much, this is a great honor to be here.
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Obviously, our most important ally and there has been some friction -- the president canceled the trip to London. And now, he's apparently going to go.
BENNETT: Yes, well, family quarrels, family disputes, but we remember who our friends are and who are allies are. And Great Britain remembers who its major friend and major ally is. So, it's fine to have somebody's disagreements, and then make these statements that were made today that makes clear. This is like a disagreement inside the family. Again, showing Donald Trump as he really is, not these characterizations of him, it's just very -- it's just very encouraging.
MACCALLUM: One last thought, John Kerry, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post, was basically encouraging, you know, an aide to Mahmoud Abbas saying, you know, within a year, President Trump will be gone. "Hold on and be strong" is his message to Abbas. Tell him that he should stay strong in spirit and pray for time. He also said, you know, as I said, he would be gone within a year, and that the Republican Party doesn't know what to do with Trump. It's difficult, period, back at home. Your thoughts, Bill.
BENNETT: Yes. Well, it's attributed to Kerry. Even I don't want to believe that this was said. I'm a critic of Kerry and have been for some time, but I can't believe he said that. I mean, Logan Act aside, it is really inappropriate to talk about that. His time is short. Stay with it. Be patient. Boy, can they do anything else other than think with the midterms and three years from now? They just are going crazy with the Trump presidency, but shame on John Kerry if he said that. I can't believe he did. I agree that -- hope he didn't.
MACCALLUM: Another element of the report was that he said that he, you know, consider running again in 2020. It would be crowded if there's any truth to that.
BENNETT: Right. Oprah's out, and Kerry's in. There you go. OK.
MACCALLUM: Bill Bennett, always good see you, Bill. Thanks a lot.
BENNETT: Thanks. Thanks, Martha. Great.
MACCALLUM: Still to come tonight. Congress is cracking down today on those helping fuel the opioid epidemic in America, but this former narcotics cop, and father, says believe him, no one is immune. His message to you tonight.
Plus, the White House just released its much-anticipated immigration plan. Nobody really expected this to drop tonight, but it did. Marc Thiessen and Emily Tisch Sussman weigh in next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BILL NELSON, D-FLA.: The solution to this problem is to keep it simple. If you start putting in all of these highly charged toxic issues, it's just not going to work.
MACCALLUM: So, breaking tonight the White House just released its proposal to solve the immigration issue. And this is what's inside, the headline: a pathway to citizenship for nearly two million young illegal immigrants -- that is more than double the number of DREAMERS who were enrolled in the DACE program that President Trump terminated in the last fall. $25 billion trust fund for the border wall system, it also ends the visa lottery program and eliminates the extended family chain migration by limiting family sponsorship to only spouses and minor children. Here now, Marc Thiessen, America Enterprise Institute scholar and Fox News contributor, and Emily Tisch Sussman, campaign director for the center for American Progress Action Fund and a Democratic strategist. So Emily, it looks like there's quite a bit in here for both sides.
EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I wouldn't exactly categorize it that way. Look, President Trump caused this chaos by needlessly ending the DACA program and trying to have it ways by saying he has massive compassion for these young people.
MACCALLUM: Because I'm asking you to response to the four things that are here. You've got double the number of dreamers, you know, being allowed to stay in the country. I would think you would be jumping up and down about that.
SUSSMAN: And that piece is actually great. It's something that people from both sides of the aisle really want.
MACCALLUM: So what piece don't you like, specifically?
SUSSMAN: I don't like basically every other piece of it. First of all, he's going to put $25 million in for border security, what happened to Mexico paying for that?
MACCALLUM: Billion, 25 billion.
MACCALLUM: So, you don't want a secure border? Because most Democrats have been voting in favor of a secure border, they want to have a secure southern border -- you know, been voting along those lines for years and years, but you don't want that?
SUSSMAN: Look, Democrats are saying it can be on the table, even from Republicans are saying that's more than twice what's actually necessary. But more than that, this is a total wish list of going after family reunification programs, it will end up limiting our legal immigration program so much that it would take us back to time where we're really picking and choosing based on race and national origin.
MACCALLUM: I would say that the White House may have thought they were coffering an idea that might find some -- somewhere to get together. If Emily represents the Democratic Party, I would say no.
MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: If Emily represents the Democratic Party, what it means the Democrats don't want a deal, OK. Because the reality is what Donald Trump did today -- I mean, just compare the negotiating position of the two sides that put out this week. Donald Trump just offered a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants in this country. That's double the DACA population. That includes not just the people who apply for DACA but anyone who is eligible for DACA, and not just legalization, which is what people are discussing, but for a path to citizenship. That is something that makes his base very, very uncomfortable, but he's willing to go out there -- go on a limb and do that. That is leadership.
THIESSEN: You compare that to what Chuck Schumer did this week. Chuck Schumer held a press conference where he announced money for the wall is off the table. There's not going to be a deal without money for the wall. So, you have one side that is trying to reach a deal, trying to be reasonable, and the other side that is in complete tailspin because they're base is in an uproar because they got nothing for their stupid government shutdown.
MACCALLUM: Based on what we saw over the past several days, Emily, I think that Marc maybe right because it look like, you know, the president is leaning very hard in the direction that is going to tick off 38 percent of the people who support him and his base. So, he's really putting himself out there. If Democrats don't want to meet him on this it's going to look like they're not interested in solving the dreamer problem.
SUSSMAN: Look, 72 percent of Republicans supporting a pathway to citizenship for dreamers, I would hardly say is pissing off a large percentage of his base. And putting together what's always been on the table is dreamers for wall, right? Like, that's always been out there. And in fact, it's a concept that's supported by conservative Republican senators. Senator Mike Lee, Senator Thune, they're saying that is a realistic deal. I don't know why the White House has to throw that out and come back with something that's totally unrealistic and then try to frame it as being something that people would come to the table on.
MACCALLUM: What I'm reading between the lines here is that your major problem is the amount of money for border security. Is that what you'd like to see changed?
SUSSMAN: I think that's one piece of it. But actually it's the overhaul of the immigration system as a whole that is the bigger problem. Limiting immigration so much that families cannot be brought back together, that's a huge problem. These are core Americans.
MACCALLUM: Spouses and children are in. Go ahead, Marc.
MACCALLUM: Go ahead, Marc.
THIESSEN: It's limiting chain migration to the nuclear family. Look, most these reforms that Emily is so upset about actually have bipartisan support. We need a system that is driven by our needs of our country and not just chain migration. But the reality is, look, if they think $25 billion is too much just for 1.8 million -- one of the great negotiating position has enlarge the problem. Say, OK, we're willing to give you $25 million, but let's talk about comprehensive immigration reform. And now all of a sudden you're talking, and I bet you Donald Trump will go for that. But the Democrats -- the way Emily's presenting this, the way Chuck Schumer is behaving, it really sounds like they don't want a deal, they want the issue. And Donald Trump is willing to solve the issue.
MACCALLUM: Emily, last word.
SUSSMAN: I'm not really sure coming up with the idea that Democrats are not coming to the table. It's such a moral issue that it's bipartisan support. It's unclear to me why the terms of the deal keep changing, or if you're guessing what Donald Trump would be for that's been incredibly unclear the entire time. If there was a moral case, then take care of the dreamers. Don't try to put together an entire wish list that comes from every piece of the administration.
MACCALLUM: All right, got to go. Thanks you, guys, very much. Good to see you.
MACCALLUM: So, a chilling investigation is finding that our nation's opioid epidemic is being fueled in part by bad actors taking advantage of the U.S. postal system and they need to get on board. So what is congress doing about it? We're going to take a look and talk to a dad and a former police officer who lost his own beautiful child to this awful addiction. He wants to speak to you tonight and we will give him a forum. Plus, (INAUDIBLE) adults on Medicaid be required to work if they can? One state is saying, yes, and they are facing serious pushback. Kentucky governor, Matt Bevin, joins us next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, Republican majority announced Medicaid work requirement that are purpose built -- their purpose is to chip away at our nation's promise of dignity and security for working families. It's really sad. The elderly, disabled, pregnant women and children will all suffer from today's draconian decree and that would go fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That was house minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, earlier this month slamming a new Trump administration plan that allow states to impose work requirement on some able-bodied Medicare recipients. Kentucky quickly became the first state to act on that change. It is now being challenged in court by the southern poverty law center. Earlier this evening, I spoke with Republican Kentucky governor, Matt Bevin.
MACCALLUM: You know, first of all, I just have to say that our hearts go out to all of you for the heartbreaking school shooting that took the lives of two beautiful 15-year-old students. Obviously, the nation is thinking of them as they see you because when you hear Kentucky you think about these two young people. How's everybody doing there, governor?
GOV. MATT BEVIN, R-KY.: Thank you for asking. It's heartbreaking. This has been a heavy week. Heavy week for everyone in Kentucky, very specifically for those that are in Benton, that are down in Marshal County. For those families, the heartbreak is literally indescribable. But people are doing well. It is a very close-knit community. It is a faith-filled community. And with faith and family, people are uniting in ways that are impressive in light of the tragedy that has struck. But there's a lot of healing yet ahead of us. It will take a long time.
MACCALLUM: They should know that everybody is praying for them across this country, and I hope they can feel that.
BEVIN: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: As we heard in the introduction here, your state is the first one to take advantage of a new program which would have Medicaid recipients, work or volunteer, 80 hours over the course of a month. It has now been reacted by with a lawsuit by the southern poverty law center. How would this program work? How do you see this benefiting the people of Kentucky?
BEVIN: It's interesting, when I listen to the comment that was made at the entry way to this by Nancy Pelosi, it was the exact of -- you know, audio embodiment of Seema Verma's comment about the soft bigotry of low expectations. I find Representative Pelosi's comments to be insulting to the people of Kentucky, the working people everywhere in America. What the intent is, is not simply just to work or volunteering, it could also be through education, it could also be through specific job training, it could also be through taking care of someone in the neighborhood or in the family even that needs help. In no way, shape or form will chip away at those that are traditionally eligible for Medicaid. What it does do is create opportunity for people who need help and not simply to be patronized because people don't want to be treated like so many vassals by the federal government. And so, I'm excited by Kentucky's opportunity to showcase for America what dignity looks like when extended to those who just need a little help.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. There are 10 other states that are right behind you that want to also take advantage of this program. I mean, it's stunning when you think about the fact that Medicaid, which was created in 1965 for families on welfare and low-income seniors, now makes up one in five Americans in terms of recipients, and 25 percent of people in Kentucky. But part of this lawsuit -- one of the claimant is a man named Ronnie Stewart, who's 62-years-old, he said he lost his job, he can't find another job. We all know how much poverty exists in parts of Kentucky and Appalachia. There's not a whole lot around some of these people in terms of infrastructure to find jobs, to find places to volunteer and the like. What do you say to Ronnie Stewart?
BEVIN: There's not a community in Kentucky where there is not a job, or a volunteer opportunity, or an educational opportunity, or a training opportunity, or an ability to serve someone in need. There's not one community. Not in Mr. Stewart's community or any other. And I don't know him personally and I feel that he's being used by people who have an agenda. And it's not what's in his best interest or that of Kentucky or that of America, for that matter. And again, I find it insulting that people would try to hijack those in need and to do it for their own personal benefit. It's a shame to see this. We expected there will be lawsuits. This is what liberals do. They run to the courts, they try to find like-minded people, they try to run things up the flag pole and hope to get a victory, but the law is on our side, human dignity is on our side and we will prevail in this. And Kentucky and America will be better for it.
MACCALLUM: Well, it's interesting you use the word dignity in terms of supporting this program. We heard Nancy Pelosi use it in complaining about this program. And everybody wants what you want for these people in terms of returning their dignity, giving them a chance to better their own lives. And we're going to be watching this program very closely. We thank you very much for being with us tonight, governor. Many thanks.
BEVIN: Can I say one quick thing, Martha?
BEVIN: Can I say one quick thing. That is this, I grew up well below the poverty level. I grew up with no access to health care. I am literally the embodiment of exactly what she was speaking about, what everyone is talking about, the very people that we're trying to help. And I know from personal first-hand experience that it is insulting to assume that people like I was for the first 20 something years of my life cannot do for themselves. That in fact a little bit of an on ramp and assistance is not enough. It's insulting to keep people as third-class citizen, and it is now nearly a third of those in Kentucky. It's not acceptable. I don't think it's appropriate. And we are going to do better for people because people like me, who I had the opportunity, others deserve it as well.
MACCALLUM: You make a very strong personal story. Governor, thank you so much. It's good to see you tonight.
BEVIN: Thank you very much, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, coming up next, congress is cracking down on the opioid crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: It's shocking that we're still so unprepared to police the mail arriving to our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: But lawmakers say that large volumes of the drug come in the mail, order on the internet from China pouring into U.S. mailboxes. This former narcotic police officer's daughter died of an overdose, and now he has a message for everyone. Tonight, Kevin Simmers shares his story right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't let supply come-in in the amount that it is because it has driven the price -- the street price down and it has created an opportunity for transition from prescription drugs to illegal street drugs.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: This is an all-hand on deck moment.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: How many more people have to die before this poison stops coming into our communities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Senators today saying that the U.S. postal service needs to do more to help protect Americans from deadly Chinese opioids, order on the internet, shipped right in the mail like everything else and coming to people's houses. It comes as a member of President Trump's opioid commission is blasting the administration. Former Democratic congressman, Patrick Kennedy, saying, quote, this thing is a charade, he says. You can't expect to stem the tide of a public health crisis that is claiming over 64,000 lives a year without putting your money where your mouth is, he said. It is true that this crisis is deeply affecting families of all backgrounds across America. Brooke Simmers was just 14 when she started experimenting with marijuana. At 18, she was abusing pain killers, and at 19, this beautiful young lady died of a heroin overdose after she has been clean for four months. Her father was, at one point, a narcotics police officer, he joins me now, Kevin Simmers. Sir, welcome, thank you very much for being here tonight.
KEVIN SIMMERS, FORMER NARCOTIC POLICE OFFICER: Thank you for having me, Martha.
MACCALLUM: It's hard to imagine that you -- you know, could have done more to protect your family from this as a narcotics police officers, you'd take your kids to alleys, show them the needles, show them what happens, show them why you would never want to go down that road, and yet it happened to your own daughter. What happened to her?
SIMMERS: I'll tell you, Martha, looking back at it as a father's worst nightmare. I can't think of anything worse than -- when she came to me, initially, and said that she was addicted to pain killers. We tried to get into some out-patient treatment. The out-patient treatment didn't really take. Within three months the addiction had grown and she had moved on to heroin.
MACCALLUM: So, you say that one of the biggest problems you felt was there weren't enough options for treatment that you could get her into.
SIMMERS: Not what I would call acceptable treatment. I mean, a lot of the treatment facilities we went to, you know, it was all based by -- it was all dictated by what your insurance would pay and how long they will allow you to stay there. We could get a 28-day program, and then after that they would put us into -- they would recommend that we go to a halfway house. Every halfway house we went to, Martha, run down sections of town, overcrowded, boarded up. Really didn't give girls an honest chance of recovery.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. And I know you're doing something about that. But I do want to ask you one element about what these senators were talking about today with the online stuff coming in from China. It's too easy to just flood our market with all of this. How do you respond to that?
SIMMERS: Well, what I'd tell you is we're never going to win this war as long as the drug is more accessible than the treatment. I mean, I can walk out in front of your studio here and get heroin. If I need to get treatment tonight it would take me a week to two weeks in order to find a treatment facility that would take me. So, until we make treatment as accessible as the drug, we're not going win this.
MACCALLUM: I know it's heartbreaking that your daughter wanted an all- women's facility that was clean, some place that she could stay, that you could afford, and now you're trying to build just that in her memory.
SIMMERS: Yes. I mean, we are. I mean, that's what my life is pretty much dedicated to at this time. We're building a house. It's going to be called Brooke's house, it's in Hagerstown, Maryland. We're going to build -- it's an 8,000 square foot facility, we'll have 15 women there, and it's going to be a long-term facility, Martha. What I think is going to help is that we have up to a year-long stay there. We're naturally have to provide some counselling and mental health treatment, as well as jobs for the girls that are there. But we're going to restore their self-esteem and give them an honest chance. I think that's all any heroin addict wants, really, or any girl that's in recovery. I mean, they just want an honest chance at recovery. And my wife and I is now our mission to -- you know, we weren't able to provide that for our daughter and it's too late to save our daughter, Martha, but it's not going to be too late to save maybe your daughter or a loved one of yours. And that's what our life's mission is now.
MACCALLUM: You know what? I wish you the best of luck in that mission and you are doing God's work. I really thank you for being here. And we hope that Brooke's House is a tremendous success and a tribute to the life of your daughter. Thank you, Kevin.
SIMMERS: Thank you, Martha. I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
MACCALLUM: We'll be right back. Stick around.
MACCALLUM: So, tomorrow night we will hear from Olympic gymnast, Dominique Moceanu, who has been sounding the alarm on abuse within her sport for more than 10 years. She will speak to us, exclusively, tomorrow night at 7:00. We hope to see you then. Have a good night, everybody. Tucker Carlson is up next.
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