Rep. Matt Gaetz on claims of election fraud in Florida

This is a rush transcript from "The Story with Martha MacCallum," November 9, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight on the counting of votes in Arizona, Georgia, and Florida. Oh my, is this getting interesting? You got very high tensions out there tonight. Leading to a lot of protests this evening, and an old too familiar story out of the Sunshine State.


GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, FLORIDA: Broward County came up with 78,000 more votes after the election night. How did Palm Beach County come up with 15,000 more votes? They can't tell us where they came from.

MARC ELIAS, ATTORNEY FOR BILL NELSON: This is not a third world dictatorship. We don't -- we don't let people see ballots when they think they're losing.


MACCALLUM: So, the first speaker there, of course, was Governor Rick Scott, who is coming out fighting against the challenge from Bill Nelson for a recount in that Senate race. The second person whose voice she heard there was Bill Nelson's lawyer, Marc Elias.

Now, if that name sounds familiar to you, it's because he was also involved in the payment to Fusion GPS from the Clinton campaign for the Russia dossier. And that was in the middle of the Florida Senate race as well. So, it's a bit of a tangled web out there, oh yes, tonight.

So, anyway, here is the current count in this Senate race. Take a look, about 15,000 votes separate Rick Scott and Bill Nelson, the incumbent. Under Florida law, a machine recount kicks in when the spread is less than half a percent. And if the second set of official returns shows it tighter than a quarter of a percent, then they go to the old hand recount. And remember this moment?


ANDREW GILLUM (D), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, FLORIDA: We didn't win it tonight. We didn't win this transaction.


MACCALLUM: But not so fast. Now, Gillum and DeSantis may also be headed for a recount with about 36,000 votes separating them at this hour.

Trace Gallagher has the story tonight from our West Coast newsroom. He's watching it closely. Hello there, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. As if Broward County, needed more controversy. Breaking right now, bags of early mail-in votes in Broward have just been found.

It's unclear why they were lost, but we're told there's less than100 ballots. Also breaking, the deadline is now up in the Senate campaign of Florida Governor Rick Scott can inspect all of the ballots from Broward County.

The governor who is fighting to become a Senator sued Broward accusing election supervisor Brenda Snipes of not providing the county's vote totals and valid information.

Earlier, a judge ruled the information must be made public by 7:00 Eastern Time, about two minutes ago. But Democratic Senator Bill Nelson has filed his own lawsuit arguing that signature matching -- you know, the process used to validate mail-in and provisional ballots is unconstitutional.

Governor Scott, says Nelson is trying to commit voter fraud in broad daylight. Nelson says Scott is abusing his position as governor and the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes has come under fire from the president. Watch.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She has had a horrible history. And all of a sudden, they are finding votes out of nowhere. And Rick Scott who won by -- you know, it was close but he won by a comfortable margin. Every couple of hours it goes down a little bit.


GALLAGHER: To be exact, Scott had a 56,000 vote lead on election night that's down to about 15,000 with votes from Democratic-leaning Broward County having mostly narrowed the gap.

Which is why protesters are unhappy with election supervisor Brenda Snipes. Look.


AMERICAN CROWD: Bye, bye, Brenda. Bye, bye, Brenda. Bye, bye, Brenda. Bye, bye, Brenda.


GALLAGHER: And Florida's other Senator is also weighing in. Republican Marco Rubio tweeting, "If Broward Elections has some legitimate reason for why they have been unable to tabulate and report ballots they have had since Sunday night, like every other County did, they should disclose it. Instead, they continue to operate under an indefensible shroud of secrecy." The Broward election supervisor says they're trying. Look.


BRENDA SNIPES, SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS, BROWARD COUNTY: We want to put this election to be just like everybody else wants to know the final, final outcome. But, you know, we don't want to make any errors in haste.


GALLAGHER: And finally, there is also controversy over the placement of the Senate race on the Broward County ballot. Some say it was too close to the instructions and many voters might have simply skipped it. Martha.

MACCALLUM: Fascinating. Trace, thank you very much. So, the person at the center of that controversy who was peppered with questions today when asked to explain why the numbers don't match? Watch.


SNIPES: Oh, you going to have undervotes. You always see of undervotes. It may be that -- and I don't know where are the undervotes are right now, I haven't looked at a report.


SNIPES: But they are always undervotes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's just that when they look at the data, they say that a lot of people voted for governor and the A.G. But then, the Senate race was not calculated. So, what could it -- what could you attribute it to? People just not --


SNIPES: You know, I haven't talked to -- I haven't talked into voters about that. So, I don't know. But we do see undervotes and over vote as a regular part of the process.


MACCALLUM: Yes. So that's pretty confusing. Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz. Matt Gaetz, a Republican who was at today's protests, and is calling for the removal of that woman who you just saw. The Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes.

Congressman, good to have you with us tonight. Thank you very much for being here. Why do you believe she needs to be removed from office?

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL), HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, we have breaking news tonight, Martha. I'm here coming to you from what seems to be the Banana Republic of Broward County. Earlier today, just hours ago, a judge ordered Brenda Snipes to allow us to inspect records so that we could find out the total number of votes cast and the method of those votes. Either early voting, voting by mail, or voting in person. That was supposed to be complied with by 7:00.

The reason you see a scrum over my shoulder, the lawyers for Brenda Snipes will not allow our team to come in and comply with the court order. That very same order, Martha, rules that Brenda Snipes violated the Florida Constitution by not allowing access to these important records.

So, I suspect that late into the night, we will be drafting a motion for contempt and will try to get a hearing either in the wee hours of the morning or tomorrow to hold Brenda Snipes in contempt. This is obviously a sufficient basis to suspend her from her position and to have the Secretary of State who is the chief elections officer in Florida confirmed by a bipartisan majority of the Florida Senate put this office in a state of receivership. Takeover, and let's find out what the hell has happened in Broward County.

MACCALLUM: Well, that is very interesting. And she has had. She's had issues and controversies that was she is been involved in the past, right?

GAETZ: That's right. In fact, in 2016, there was litigation demonstrating that Brenda Snipes actually destroyed ballots in a Democratic primary. So, this is widespread incompetence.

But it's one thing to be incompetent when no one's looking, it's quite another thing to have a judge say that you violated the constitutional rights of Floridians, and then, to subsequently not comply with that court order. This is outrageous.

And if the governor is going to do his job, he needs to suspend her immediately and let's get the chief elections officer of the state here, we still don't know.

On Friday, after a Tuesday election, how many votes were even cast in Broward County and the law requires that disclosure.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Yes. I mean it is -- it's really remarkable. And so far, this evening, we've been watching -- you know, the lawyers go back and forth, and the judges make their decisions. And as you point out they did decide that there could be an actual count to figure out how many the total is and where these other votes appear to be coming from.

For Bill Nelson, Marc Elias is working with him. You know, he's obviously involved in a lot of Democratic politics. Tell me what his role is in your understanding in this situation.

GAETZ: Well, Elias did not say, "We're coming here to effectuate the statutorily permissible recount." He said, "We're coming here to win the election." The thing is, the elections' over. The votes have already been cast. Ron DeSantis was elected governor, Rick Scott was elected Senator.

I fear, Martha, this may be the new strategy of the resistance. They disrupted town halls. We passed tax reform anyway. They thought there was going to be a blue wave. Here in Florida, that wave was met by a red wall. And so, now they're trying to steal elections that they can't win on Election Day.

MACCALLUM: You know, Marco Rubio, Senator Marco Rubio from Florida tweeted this picture today. We showed it a little while ago. But it was reported by a paper -- I believe was the Sentinel in Florida that showed boxes that are said to contain ballots that are -- you know, just sitting there.

You know, you just -- I mean, obviously, if every vote has to match up to a real person.


GAETZ: If that's unfolding before our (INAUDIBLE), Martha.

MACCALLUM: I mean in the end, every vote got to match up to a real person who actually voted on Election Day, right?

GAETZ: Right. And you've got to be able to reconcile the ballots. A specific number of ballots was sent to every precinct. And in every other County in Florida, we know how many of those counted vote ballots were voted, and how many of them were returned blank because someone didn't vote them.

But in Broward County, we still don't know the answer to that, that's what makes fraud available. Directly beside me, there is a truck and there was stuff being loaded on and off of it. Several people tried to take video of that and armed security guards backed us off of the truck so that we weren't able to get an accurate recording of what was happening.

So, this is the type of activity that erodes our confidence in the process. No surprise, this is a Supervisor of Elections that has demonstrated incompetence and violations of the law before. The question is this, is Rick Scott got to continue to sit on his high horse? Or is he going to suspend her as the governor and install a non-biased Secretary of State, so that we can get accurate counts of these ballots?

MACCALLUM: All right. Thank you very much, Congressman Gaetz. Good to see you tonight out there on the frontlines at the protest.

GAETZ: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: We're going to watch this one all weekend. Thank you very much, sir.

So, breaking right now in Arizona, you've got Maricopa County now reporting 100 percent of its ballots have been counted. And these numbers are very interesting. And we will have them when we come back.


MACCALLUM: Back with more of these new numbers as they're just coming in. Take a look at Arizona. This is very interesting tonight. We have brand new numbers that just came in where it appears that Democrats Kyrsten Sinema's lead has gone from 9,000 votes to 21,000 votes. She is up 49.4 percent to McSally's 48.3 percent.

President Trump is crying foul in this race, as well. Tweeting, "Just out in Arizona, signatures don't match. Electoral corruption, call for a new election?" The president echoing the calls of others on the Right, like the Arizona Republican Party, which says the Maricopa County vote recorder intentionally destroyed evidence and you've got President Trump's campaign manager Brad Parscale who has accused Arizona Dems of playing tricks. And the state GOP chairman says as we said that the recorder there "cannot be trusted." So you've had a lot of accusations flying around in this race which is ongoing.

So here now Chris Stirewalt Fox News Politics Editor, Matt Schlapp Chairman of CPAC and the American Conservative Union, and Jess O'Connell former CEO of the Democratic National Committee. Welcome to all of you. I mean this is very interesting what's going on in Arizona here. I mean it looked like this was leaning towards McSally when -- on Tuesday night, Chris, and you know they keep counting. Maricopa obviously is where is -- where Phoenix is and it's the most populous county in the region and is likely to lean towards Sinema right?

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR: Well, we didn't call it, and there's a reason we didn't call it is because there was a half a million vote still uncounted. And this is -- Arizona does things a little differently than other states. This is going to take time. This is going to go into next week. I would say though, Sinema's lead probably will diminish only because of where we're expecting the ballots to come in Saturday and Sunday. So I've been --

MACCALLUM: And where is that?

STIREWALT: Well, it's -- we are right now looking at Maricopa County but there's other vote from other counties that are going to come in and we would expect to see some sort of a rebound from McSally just based on the distribution of Republicans and Democrats in Arizona. We would expect her -- we would expect to see her have a little bit of a snapback. We don't know how much and we don't how soon, but we will be watching until at least Tuesday I would imagine.

MACCALLUM: Yes, so uh Matt Schlapp, you heard what the President said, Brad Parscale weighing in as well, his campaign manager for 2020. Your thoughts.

MATT SCHLAPP, CHAIRMAN, CPAC: Well, let me just say I agree with much of what Chris said. They had these nearly 500,000 votes and what we're going through now are those ballot votes that occurred in the last four days of the election. And this is something that my party, the Republican Party has to get better at because we got our rears handed to us and a lot of these key races on the early vote.

Now, on the Election Day ballots which are about 200,000 ballots, that's the next tranche, we -- the people I talk to you tell me there's a much larger Republican registration advantage or these ballots come from Republican areas, so they feel much more optimistic when we get to that tranche of 200,000. It'll be better then. As Chris said, there's some 50,000 or so that are going to come from other more Republican-leaning states.

Remember, in both Florida and Arizona this is also important to remember. It takes quite a few days to get all these military ballots. And I don't think Kyrsten Sinema was probably very popular with those voters with her pink tutu. So I do -- I am worried about the state of Arizona. I feel much more confident about where Florida sits. And look, I think all of us are worried that when there are big leads on election night and then you get into counting these last ballots, there has to be complete transparency and there has to have the -- you have to have the ability for Rs and Ds, Republicans and Democrats to observe and that's what Florida's big problem has been. I don't think those same problems exist in Arizona.


JESS O'CONNELL, FORMER CEO, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Yes, I agree. I mean, what's happening in Arizona is routine. It typically takes days or weeks to finish counting all the ballots. They had historic turnout for this Midterm Election, a lot of energy around this particular election so it's going to take them some time. And elections don't end until all the votes are counted. That so -- if it takes time anywhere whether that's Arizona or any other states, we should expect that that is our process.

And I think the comments that we're hearing from the President and Brad and the Republican Party, it's something to sort of stop the counting of some of these votes and what they're doing. It's wholly undemocratic and it's uncalled for. And I think it's why you're seeing people like Cindy McCain really stepping out there and tweeting about making sure that you know, if you vote by mail or you show up your vote needs to count.

And just because -- you know, you can't -- look, the bottom line is you can't change the rules in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter here. We've got to play through the end of the game and I'm sorry that they don't like what the way the results are going but this is how it works and this is typical of Arizona, I'm from Arizona, and I -- and I know that Arizonans are jitters. They want to ensure that everybody plays by the rules and that's what's happening right now.

MACCALLUM: Yes -- go ahead, Matt.

SCHLAPP: Well, just very quickly. I think it's -- we all want every ballot to be counted, every legal ballot. And what you realize in these close races is there are all kinds of subjective judgment calls with these provisional ballots. And when they leave polling places open past the legal time that they're supposed to close and then when you get provisional ballots, I think what's fair to do is to make sure those go to the canvassing boards and judges shouldn't be able to come in like a lightning bolt and make illegal ballots legal.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, Chris, so you know, if someone shows up and their name doesn't match the register or there's some kind of issue, in many cases they'll say, and in Georgia they certainly do this you know, go ahead and vote and then we're going to put your vote in this box because we have to -- we have to figure it out. We got to make sure that you're you, right?

STIREWALT: Right. That's everywhere. No, it's not a crime to vote if you're not registered and you can always ask for a provisional ballot and they put the ballot and just as you say aside, and then when you get to the canvas later in the week, elected or appointed officials depending on the state of the county are going to review and they're going to say, does this match up? Is this person who this person is? And when you have the turnout in this election that we did, I'm talking about a 114 million people voting in a Midterm Election which is astonishingly high. When you get turnout like that --

MACCALLUM: How much was it last time around, Chris?

STIREWALT: It was weak sauce last time. It was -- so just for a frame of reference, the last time it was the lowest turnout since 1942. This was the highest turnout since 1966. This -- we blew the doors off this sucker and it was great but that means that there's going to be a lot more counting and there's going to be a lot more to do.

MACCALLUM: Very interesting. Thank you very much to all of you. Great to see you tonight. Thanks for being here, Matt, Jess, Chris.

O'CONNELL: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Thanks guys. All right, so coming up tonight, federal prosecutors reportedly building a case against President Trump similar to the case that they built against John Edwards. One of the wall street journal reporters who broke this story on what it all really means next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payments to Stormy Daniels?




MACCALLUM: So tonight as the investigations into the President churn on the Wall Street Journal is reporting federal prosecutors are working on a campaign finance case against the President similar to the way the government tried to go after the 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards which ended with an acquittal. Had Edwards been found guilty, he was looking at up to half a million dollars in fines and potentially up to 15 years of prison time.

The Journal is reporting tonight that the President who in the past said he didn't know anything about his payments said this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payments to Stormy Daniels?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did Michael Cohen make this if there was no truth to her allegations?

TRUMP: You'll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney, and you'll have to ask Michael.


MACCALLUM: So that was back in April. They're saying that he was directly involved in the arrangements for the payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. You remember, this investigation was kicked up to the New York office by Robert Mueller's office. Tonight we get the story straight from the source. Michael Rothfeld is an Investigative Reporter with the Wall Street Journal who co-authored this new report out today. Michael, thanks for being here good to have you here tonight.

You know, so if the President lied and said you know, I had nothing to do with it and he did, is that illegal?

MICHAEL ROTHFELD, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, it's not illegal for the President to lie to reporters. And in fact, the President can't be prosecuted under Justice Department opinions while he's a sitting president so there doesn't appear to be that legal jeopardy for him. But what we reported today is that contrary to his denials and of the White House and his aides that he actively during the 2016 campaign was involved in these two hush money payments and directed them, orchestrated them, with Michael Cohen his former fixer who's pleaded guilty to crime.

MACCALLUM: So you're reporting that the investigators are looking into whether or not there's campaign finance violations. And in your story it says a criminal conviction would require proof that Mr. Trump willfully skirted legal prohibitions on contributions from companies or individuals in excess of 2,700. So there would have to be a link between the payment that was made and the campaign fund. Does that link exist?

ROTHFELD: Well, that's something that you know, we'd have to see what all of the evidence were if they were to bring a case. Again, they gathered this information in the investigation of Michael Cohen. That's an ongoing investigation in New York. But more jeopardy than with a criminal prosecution because he is the President is what could happen in Congress potentially the Democrats have taken over the House. You know, might they start looking into this matter in January when they take over, that's an open question.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Now, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations but as part of his plea he said that the payments were made to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election which I always thought was interesting. I mean, it was basically -- it sort of felt like he had just say that in order to get his deal.

ROTHFELD: I think they definitely wanted him to --

MACCALLUM: They wanted him to say that.

ROTHFELD: Sure, absolutely. He had other crimes and you know, they -- but he you know, he went in open court, he implicated the President, we reported based on multiple sources that he coordinated with David Pecker, the CEO of the National Enquirer parent company to pay off Karen McDougal.

MACCALLUM: Yes. You know, one of the questions I have just reading through your piece today is -- and as you say, the political side of this is totally different than the legal side of this. There's not a lot of potential legal jeopardy that has been spelled out clearly in any of this because you're allowed to make a settlement with someone, you're allowed to pay someone off. He said he didn't pay them off and he said he didn't have this relationship.

ROTHFELD: You're not allowed to do that to influence an election and --

MACCALLUM: Correct. That's where -- that's where the camp -- the potential campaign final violations kicks.

ROTHFELD: Right, if you're an ordinary citizen, that would be a different matter but he's the president and you can't prosecute --

MACCALLUM: Right. I'm wondering if there's -- if there's a pattern of these kinds of payments over the course of someone's life. Is that a mitigating argument to whether or not it had anything to do with the election?

ROTHFELD: Potentially but it would also have to do with what's the timing of this payment, what evidence is there in terms of communications about why they made the particular payment. Stormy Daniels was paid two weeks before the election. You know, that's a timing issue. That would be part of evidence if there were ever a case brought against Donald Trump.

MACCALLUM: So in terms of John Edwards, you know, he basically said look, I didn't want my family -- I don't want this to come out. I mean, one of the you know, sort of potential defenses for the president is, of course, I didn't want to admit to this payment or this arrangement because it's embarrassing to me, it would be embarrassing to my family, and it's a private matter.

ROTHFELD: That would definitely be a defense that the President would assert. In this case, Edwards is a little different because some of the payments actually were made after he had dropped out of the presidential race so a lot of experts have opined this is would be a stronger case if it were brought if the president could actually be prosecuted. And you know, we -- again, we don't have all the evidence but we are reporting that he was actively involved during the campaign contrary to what he and in his aides had said for the last you know, two years.

MACCALLUM: Well, what was your sense in terms of what the plan is in this prosecution, how actively they're pursuing this and where they think this stand?

ROTHFELD: Well, they are doing an ongoing investigation into the Trump organization and his company.


ROTHFELD: So, we do not know where all of it it's going to go.

MACCALLUM: So that's for the next big piece from the Wall Street Journal. Thank you very much, Michael. Good to see you tonight.

ROTHFELD: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, Democrat Stacey Abrams had hoped to make history by becoming Georgia's first black governor. Tonight, with the race till close to call, the debate appears to be centered on racial issues there to some extent and whether or not she got a fair shot.

Jason Riley from the Wall Street Journal up next.


MACCALLUM: So, there is no decision yet tonight in Georgia where Democrat Stacey Abrams hopes to be the nation's first black female governor. That race is still too close to call.

Take a look at the numbers here. Her opponent Brian Kemp has a slight lead. From the beginning, race has been a big issue in this contest.

And the New York times adds fuel to the fire writing this. "Those neo-Jim Crow barriers were rising from Georgia's confederate soil like ghosts." She writes.

Here now, Jason Riley, Fox News contributor and author of "Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Succeed." Jason, always good to have you with us. Welcome. Thanks to have you here tonight.


MACCALLUM: Let me just take a look at one more bit of the New York Times piece because I want you to get to react to this. This is by Carol Anderson. She says, "I saw the election through the eyes of black people who had to deal with Jim Crow who remember that the euphoria of Barack Obama's win and who now have to grapple with neo-Jim Crow."

RILEY: Yes. Well, Stacey Abrams has been running as a progressive and this is what the 21st century liberals do, they make everything about race, by identity politics, so they are stressing race, gender, or sexual orientation, everything but someone's fellow American-ness, in other words. And so, this is what we see happen. You know, Hillary Clinton blame her problems on sexism. Barack Obama blame his problems on racism. This is where we are today.

MACCALLUM: So, you know, but one of the issues in this has been that Kemp is a secretary of state and had jurisdiction over the election itself.

RILEY: Right.

MACCALLUM: And she argued over throughout the course of this entire race that there were going to be problems with the vote, that there were, you know, that he had created rules where if the signature didn't exactly match up with your registration, that that ballot could be tossed out.

So, it almost feels like if she didn't contest it at this point, she would be negating a lot of the arguments that she had made all through it.

RILEY: Well, it's surprising that the race is this close and it does tell us something about Georgia in the year of 2018 that it's even this close. But, again, this is from the same playbook of the identity politics left, so she is stressing voter suppression. In Florida--


MACCALLUM: Do you think there is no voter suppression in Georgia?

RILEY: No, I don't. I don't think we see evidence of voter suppression in Georgia or anywhere else, Martha. When black people are sufficiently motivated to come out and vote like they were under Obama, they turn out in numbers. In the case of 2012, that exceeded the white's turnout rate. Even in states with the strictest voter I.D. laws.

So now, I don't see evidence of that. If you are measuring it by black voter turnout. She's losing, so she's playing that card -- that's one other thing about this, Martha.

This is also an example of why the left is being very disingenuous when they talk about longing for a post-racial America. They don't want to have a post-racial America. They want to keep race front and center in our national discussions. They think it helps them politically.

People who want a post-racial America are not, you know, talking about racially gerrymandered voting in districts or racial preferences and Harvard admissions and that. They are not interested in a post-racial America. They want to keep the focus on race. And that is what she's trying to do here. It's what Gillum is trying to do in Florida.

MACCALLUM: Michelle Obama - just before I let you go - out with a new book it comes out on Tuesday. Very strong statements in there about President Trump. She says "Donald Trump with his loud and reckless innuendos putting my family's safety at risk. And for this, I'd never forgive him." And she is talking about going back to the whole birther discussion. Here's President Trump responding to that. Watch this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I guess she wrote a book. She got paid a lot of money to write a book. And they always insist that you come up with controversial -- well, I'll give you a little controversy back. I'll never forgive him for what he did to our United States military by not funding it properly. It was depleted! Everything was old and tired! I came in and I had to fix it.


MACCALLUM: So, there is the counterpunch as usual from President Trump.

RILEY: Well, first of all, I think that when Michelle Obama said she was worried about the safety of her husband and her family, I think she is being honest about that. And this isn't the first time we've heard about those concerns when she was in the White House.


RILEY: But I will say, Martha, that she is not the only black person in America who hasn't gotten past Obama's comments about birther bitherism. A lot of black people have interacted with.

MACCALLUM: Trump's comments.

RILEY: Right. Trump's comment about birtherism. A lot of black people that I've interacted with they're also upset despite the fact that blacks are doing so much better economically under President Trump than they were ever doing under Obama.

But I don't -- you know, a booming economy that even helps a lot of blacks who aren't doing very well is not going to mend offenses. And so, no, everyone is not over these comments, like I'm sure there are members of the McCain family that aren't over some of the comments he made about the late senator, there are some gold star families out there who aren't happy about the comments he made about their family members. So, yes, he's got to mend some fences here.

MACCALLUM: Before I let you go, quickly, if you can, the question on whether or not the black vote is increasing for President Trump, his support is increasing based on what you said about the economy and the unemployment numbers?

RILEY: Yes. I think there is something real going on there. I think some of the polling might overstate that, but there have been enough polls out there that convinced me that he has increased his support significantly among blacks, particularly among black men.

And that's something the Democratic Party cannot ignore going forward. They are going to have to make sure that they make some appeals to these groups of people and that they don't lose them to the Trump camp--


MACCALLUM: Fascinating.

RILEY: -- that those people don't turn out because they can cause Democrats the election as Hillary Clinton found out.

MACCALLUM: Jason Riley, thank you very much. Good to see you as always.

RILEY: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So reports tonight that Saturday Night Live wants to make good on what happened here.


PETE DAVIDSON, COMEDIAN: This guy is kind of cool. Dan Crenshaw. I'm sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever.

MACCALLUM: Dan Crenshaw won his election this week. He did not ask for an apology. We'll see what happens this weekend coming up next.



DAVIDSON: You may be surprised to hear he's a congressional candidate from Texas, and not a hit man in a porno movie. I'm sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever.


MACCALLUM: Saturday Night Live's joke so call about my next guest, war veteran Dan Crenshaw did not sit well with a lot of people this week. And now one of the show's costar says that they are looking for ways this weekend to right that wrong.


KENAN THOMPSON, ACTOR, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: I know it's being handled internally. They are figuring out a way to right that wrong, I'm pretty sure. Because it's not our intention to disrespect anyone. Our whole thing is to be artisan hold up the mirror.


MACCALLUM: Joining me now is Texas Congressman-elect now, former Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw. Good to have you with us. Congratulations on your election this week.

DAN CRENSHAW, CONGRESSMAN-ELECT, (R) TEXAS: Thanks for having me, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, when they say they are going to write the wrong, any thoughts on how they might do that?

CRENSHAW: Well, you know, I had some ideas before, right. I was looking at veterans' groups they could donate to.


CRENSHAW: Producers did privately reach out and apologize.

MACCALLUM: They did.

CRENSHAW: But, you know, again, I do not want to ask for apologies, right.


CRENSHAW: Let's try hard not to be offended in this country all the time, but now, that doesn't mean it wasn't offensive, right, it just means that I don't have to be offended. I don't have to be angry about it. You know, we lost the House. We didn't have to have riots, right, and we didn't and I think that's -- I think that's a really good step in the right direction. Let's not always be mad about what the other side is doing.

MACCALLUM: Were they responsive when you spoke to the producers about your idea of maybe a million-dollar donation to charities?


CRENSHAW: I think they are thinking about it. I think they are thinking about it.

MACCALLUM: We'll be watching, we're going to see if they do.

CRENSHAW: I'll keep pressing. I will keep pressing. I've got a lot of ideas for where that money should go.

MACCALLUM: Are you going to watch the show on Saturday night to see how they respond?

CRENSHAW: I -- maybe I will, maybe I will. I usually don't but it's I will this time.

MACCALLUM: Maybe this time you might, right?

CRENSHAW: That's a good point.

MACCALLUM: So, congratulations on your election. You know, obviously you talked a lot on the campaign trail about things that are most important to you. So, you know, on day one, when you get there and someone says, what do you want to do? What's the answer to that?

CRENSHAW: I'm fortunate in the sense that I don't know if this fortunate for my district, but I'm fortunate in the sense that even going into the minority, the biggest issue for my district is flooding. We are still reeling from hurricane Harvey. And we need the infrastructure in place.

I need to be able to work with the army core of engineers to ensure that those projects go forward and that Houstonians feel like next time there is a hurricane Harvey, we're not going to get flooded.

I think there's other issues we can work on too. Workforce training, getting that middle skill labor force up to speed in this country, and we have seven million job openings, it's a good problem to have. But you know, how do you fill that gap? And it's a skill gap most often. So, I think that's something we can probably work on together on as well.

MACCALLUM: I do want to ask you about what happened in California this week because there's a lot of attention after the horrible shooting.


MACCALLUM: Twelve people killed by obviously, you know, someone who was not in his right mind out in California. He was -- he's a former -- he's marine.


MACCALLUM: And served in Afghanistan. A lot of talk about PTSD with regard to this. And obviously all members of the military and I think all Americans are sensitive to drawing connections between those two things. Bu is there anything that stands out to you in that story as a veteran?

CRENSHAW: As a veteran, you know, first, it's a heartbreaking story. I just -- I can't imagine what those families are going through. There's actually a fellow SEAK who lost his son there. It's truly unimaginable. My heart really goes to everybody in California. I spent 10 years in California in the SEAL teams, it's heartbreaking.

We're always looking for an answer, we're always looking for something to blame. And this time maybe it's PTSD, maybe it's gun-control. PTSD doesn't make you do that, OK. PTSD is a gray area. It's hard to define, it's hard to recognize. It's tragic. But I don't want to blame that. I want to blame the evil of this man because that's actually what happened.

Like, I don't think that his experience in the military made him do this. I would never blame his experience in the military or any kind of PTSD. I think there was truly something inside of him that made him do this. It's inexplicable to do good people. I wish we had better answers but I'm not sure we do.

MACCALLUM: I'm sorry for the SEAL that you knew, we also lost someone. We also lost someone in our Fox family. One of our former reporters who was here for years and years lost his knees and it was really just a terrific strategy, all of it.

So, anyway, Dan, thank you. And on a more positive note, we wish you well as you go to Washington and we'll watch Saturday Night Live this week and see what happens. We'll see if you get your million dollars. Dan, thank you very much.

CRENSHAW: Thank you for having me, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, coming up next, a woman's wave is about to crash to the capital after a record number of women are elected to Congress. It's a special edition tonight of ladies' night here on the Story coming up next.


MACCALLUM: So, you heard about the red wave, the blue wave, but it may be a women waive that dominated this week's midterms. A record number of women are headed to Capitol Hill. Right after President Trump was elected as you remember, there were a lot of marches like this across the country and scores of women committed to taking their resistance all the way to Capitol Hill.

A record 257 of them actually ran and so far, because you know we are still counting, at least 110 made it over the finish line and will be sworn in in January, setting up a Congress with a record-breaking 123 women who will serve.

So, what's really the impact of this? And do Republican and Democrat women get equal credit for breaking barriers out there? By the way, the first ever woman ever elected to Congress in 1917, Jeannette Rankin of Montana, but it's not so lonely up there anymore.

Joining me now with a special election edition of ladies' night, Anna Palmer, senior correspondent for Politico, Nan Hayworth, former New York congresswoman and an Independent Woman's Forms -- Women's Forum board member, and Penny Nance, EO and President of Concerned Women for America all in power red tonight for the women out there.

So, Anna, let me start with you. You covered this election from the very beginning, you watch this huge rush of women. Was it as big a wave of women as it could've been and what's the impact, do you think?

ANNA PALMER, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: I mean, I think clearly this is a high watermark for women in Congress. There is going to be more than 100 women in the House alone, that's huge. It definitely broke for Democrats. Democrats had more women running in these races.

I think the big question going forward is going to be can the Republicans try to also find the catalyst for their women to get more active in some of these races and can Democrats also say, hey, a lot of these women still didn't win, right. You have these big numbers up top.


PALMER: You know, will they try to run in 2020? Will that momentum continue to build?

MACCALLUM: All right. Here is Nancy Pelosi, one of the best-known women in Congress of course. Here she is talking about the speakership.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA, MINORITY LEADER: Well, let me say that I will be the speaker of the people's house, and the people will hear the commitments that he makes. And they'll see whether he will or can be trusted in that regard.


MACCALLUM: So, she's basically saying now that she is going to work towards working together and that President Trump said he also to also. What do you think, Nan, is that going to happen?

NAN HAYWORTH, BOARD MEMBER, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM: It would be wonderful if he did, Martha. I see some roadblocks ahead, starting with speaker Pelosi's indeed perspective election as speaker.

You know, let's face it, Martha. When it comes right down to it, and we laud the participation of women in politics, we laud as I know from being the first female position like to do a full term in Congress, not only the first one. There were more this year. But it's great to have those barriers open but it's all about policy. So really is about what these women do for the whole American people when they get there.

And Nancy Pelosi has not been about lifting burdens but unfortunately about growing government. That disempowers women. As a woman, I'm concerned about that and I hope she will work with the president.

MACCALLUM: All right. So, a little bit about the question that I raised in the intro there about, you know, whether or not women -- because there was overwhelmingly Democrat women who won, I think 30 out of the 31 who are headed to the hill are Democrats.

Chelsea Handler basically chewing out white women for not voting for Beto O'Rourke in Texas, in the Texas race. Watch this. You can't watch it. I'll read t. I'll do my best, Chelsea handler, OK. "Fifty-nine percent of white women voted for Ted Cruz. I don't know what it's going to take us -- what is going to take for us to be sisters to other women, but we have to do better than this," she says. And she goes on to say "We need to vote for the best interest of others and stop thinking only about ourselves." I'm not really sure what she means by that, Penny, but how about it?

PENNY NANCE, CEO & PRESIDENT, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: Yes. And she goes on and says some other really inflammatory things like castigating white women because we didn't vote for Beto overwhelmingly. And in fact, they -- in Texas supported Ted Cruz.

And the problem is I think the left has a big blind spot when it comes to conservative women. We really annoy them that we want do as we're told, that we speak for ourselves, beginning with 30 million women voting for President Trump.

And then you had Madeleine Albright reminding us that there is a special place in hell if you don't support Hillary. Once again, especially in the Senate, you saw conservative women coming to the aid of certainly Cindy Hyde-Smith in Mississippi, and Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee, but also taking down to liberal women, Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.

We carried the day in Florida, in Texas, and some other, about five states. So, we think for ourselves, that they actually want to carry our vote they need to actually stop being dismissive and demeaning.

MACCALLUM: You know, it's interesting because women, sort of, don't necessarily rally around each other regardless of their political leanings.

PENCE: That's true.

MACCALLUM: What do you think about that, Anna?

PALMER: I think it's going to be something to watch, right. Because as the congresswoman said, oftentimes where Pelosi is not where the Republican women have been, there has been more bipartisanship among women in the Senate to actually get some of these things done.


MACCALLUM: You think that they work together better?

PALMER: They do work together. They work together on a lot of things from passing the budget and really kind of helping move things along in the Senate. So the question I think is going to be how does Nancy Pelosi as a leader say, you know, she's going to lift up all of these women, not only Democrats but as Republicans, can they find a way to bond together and potentially get things done.

MACCALLUM: And what about the sort of power structure and the old boy network. When you've got almost a quarter of the house, almost quarter of a house women, does that eventually start to melt away or is it as big of a problem as people think it is?

HAYWORTH: You know, Martha, when I was in the house, I mean, we had 10 percent of the House Republican conference were women. It was just, just 10 percent. And I think that was actually a record number for us.

But I have to tell you, yes, the woman with whom I was privilege to working, including Kathy McMorris Rodgers who became the chairwoman of the House Republican conference. Wonderful friends and mentors. Two of them are now senators. Marsha Blackburn, Shelley Capito.

I have to say, the men in our conference welcomed us, elevates us, mentored us. So, I really, as a woman in that conference, felt very much as though I was part of the team and considered important. And I always think, you know, it's a canard to say that Democrats somehow own the claws of women.


MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, I think the next goal is to get to the point where it doesn't matter if you are a woman or a man.


MACCALLUM: It's all about your policy what you're arguing for--

HAYWORTH: House feminists.

MACCALLUM: -- what you want to accomplish, and post-feminism.

PALMER: That's right.

MACCALLUM: Amen to that.

PALMER: I agree.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much. Great to see all of you. Thanks for coming in tonight.

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