Rep. Pete King: 'Pompeo will do outstanding job'

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," March 13, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Awkward moment for brother and sister. Good to see you, Bret. All right. Tonight, on 'The Story,' shakeups at the White House and word is that there is likely more of this to come.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've worked with Mike Pompeo now for quite some time. Tremendous energy. Tremendous intellect. We're always on the same wavelength. Rex and I have been talking about this for a long time. We got along actually quite well but we disagreed on things.

REX TILLERSON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm now returning to private life, private citizens, proud American, proud of the opportunity I've had to serve my country.


MACCALLUM: So, this one appeared to be coming for some time. Tillerson is out. Pompeo is on the way in, as is the country's first woman to head the Central Intelligence Agency, Gina Haspel, who has been basically Pompeo's right-hand person since he took over the job. In a moment, Congressman Peter King; Former States Department Official, Marie Harf; and Lieutenant Colonel Michael Walsh, all weigh in on the huge developments today.

Now, Gina Haspel briefly ran a CIA black site in Thailand where al-Qaeda operatives were waterboarding. After that, there were tapes that were destroyed. She has a lot of support from very prominent members of the Bush and Obama intel agencies and a lot of support on the hill as well. But she will no doubt face some grilling questions during the course of her confirmation.

So, beyond all the drama of the day, here's the big question: what does all this tell us about where the Trump presidency's policy is going now? In an increasingly dangerous world, amid growing threats to our national security, what do all these changes actually signal about what is on the president's mind? Trace Gallagher live in our West Coast Newsroom tonight to break it all down. Hi, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Good evening, Martha. Fox News has learned that President Trump wanted to switch out Rex Tillerson for CIA Chief Mike Pompeo ahead of the meeting with North Korean Dictator, Kim Jong Un. The president says, he and Tillerson got along but weren't always on the same wavelength. In his departure speech, Rex Tillerson thanked everyone at the State Department and the American people; he did not thank the president. Listen.


TILLERSON: My commission as secretary of state will terminate at midnight March the 31st. Between now and then, I will address a few administrative matters related to my departure and work towards a smooth and orderly transition for secretary of state designate, Mike Pompeo.


GALLAGHER: And to replace Mike Pompeo as the head of the CIA, the president has nominated Gina Haspel. The 61-year-old Haspel would become the first woman to head the CIA and has spent most of her 33-year career overseas and under cover. A slur of current and former officials praised her as an effective leader who would stand up to pressures that the Trump administration places on a spy agency. But her nomination was also quickly opposed by some lawmakers, human rights groups, and a few religious organizations. Haspel, of course, ran one of the first CIA black sites in Thailand called 'Cats Eye,' where Al Qaeda suspects like Usama bin Laden, Top Lieutenant Abu Zubaydah, were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics. Zubayda himself was waterboarded 83 times. Gina Haspel was also among a group of CIA officials involved in the decision to destroy videotapes of those interrogations. The ACLU calls her a war criminal, but John Brennan, the former CIA chief under President Obama, said this on MSNBC. Watch.


JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA CHIEF UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: She has tried to carry out her responsibilities to the best of her ability and consistent with what CIA legal authorities were. And don't forget that the intense interrogation program was authorized by the president of United States and deemed lawful by the Department of Justice.


GALLAGHER: GOP Senator and Chair of the Intel Committee Richard Burr has given Haspel his support and Senator John McCain who was tortured in Vietnam, says her confirmation should include a pledge to block any plan to reintroduce harsh interrogations. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Trace, thank you very much. My next guest sits on the House Intelligence Committee where he worked closely with Mike Pompeo before he became CIA director. Congressman Pete King joins us now. Good to see you, Congressman King, this evening.


MACCALLUM: You know, obviously, one of the biggest reactions today -- I think everybody sort of saw this coming, Rex Tillerson has even said in interviews, you know, I'm still here, but it felt in recent weeks as if he felt he was settling in. And yesterday he said, you know, word was out that he felt that he was going to be an integral part of the North Korean talks. So, he appeared today to be somewhat blind-sided by this.

KING: Yes, apparently, he was. Again, I'm not familiar with what went on behind the scenes. I know for the last six or seven months, there was really this constant talk that Rex Tillerson was going to be stepping down and leaving the State Department. He's very competent and very able. But it seemed that he and the president weren't always on the same wavelength. I don't think anybody expected it to happen today, but yet it did happen. And you could not have asked for a better secretary of state, I don't believe, than Mike Pompeo. He's the first rate and will do an outstanding job.

MACCALLUM: Thoughts on his process for confirmation and also Gina Haspel. It's quite, you know, an interesting development that we could see the first woman as the head of the Central Intelligence Agency. She's had a long and storied career there, and she has a lot of support.

KING: Yes, she really does. I know there's going to be some criticism of her, but I don't know her personally, but everyone I know in the CIA and the intelligence community, who I really have respect for says nothing but great things about her. They think she really has guts, she's smart. She is going to stand with the troops. She's going to do what has to be done, and she will do it in a way that's going to make the agency very proud. So, I think the president made an outstanding selection with her, again, this is based on virtually everyone that I know who has worked with her, who knows about her, and they've nothing but the highest remarks for her. Mike Pompeo, former CIA Director and Tank Commander, and West Point, number one in his class, as the secretary of state; to have a Gina Haspel at the CIA. This is really a strong, strong tough foreign policy team.

MACCALLUM: So, there's indications that we may see more changes coming in the cabinet and that there's an effort to kind of take all of this on and make these changes. Gary Cohn left; we saw Hope Hicks, you know, one of the president's top aides leave. Now, you've got this changing of the guard as secretary of state -- another move at CIA -- and perhaps more to come there's a lot of criticism that this reflects instability at the White House. What do you think?

KING: Well, it's really unfortunate, for instance, that Hope Hicks had to leave. I mean, she was just subjected to so much unfair treatment by the Democrats, by the media, and that was really a tragedy for her -- not a tragedy, but really sad for her, and really unfortunate for the country because she was an outstanding public servant. As far as others in the administration, again, I don't know what's going to happen from one day to the next. The president does have his own style of getting things done. But, again, if it turns out the way today's changes have worked out with Mike Pompeo and page Haspel --

MACCALLUM: Gina Haspel.

KING: We will be in great shape. And I just think that it's, again, the country is going in the right direction with those two in those positions.

MACCALLUM: All right. Before I let you go, you are getting a lot of criticism from Adam Schiff for saying from the House Intel Committee that you guys are done with your work and that you believe there was no collusion in Russia.

KING: Yes. Listen, we had 73 witnesses in; over 300,000 pages of documents were analyzed, and none of that showed any collusion whatsoever. There comes a time where you have to say enough is enough. And if anything comes up, if anything unexpected arises, that's one thing. But as of now, based on everything we've seen from all these key witnesses, and following all the leads and everything else, so far, there's been absolutely no evidence of collusion. We're talking about the office of president of the United States here. And the longer this hangs out there, somehow indicating that there's something to it when we know there's nothing to it. We're doing the office of the president disservice and the country disservice. So, by wrapping it up now, as far as the collusion aspect, we are doing the right thing.

MACCALLUM: We'll see where it goes from here with the other investigations. Congressman, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.

KING: Thank you, Martha. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Joining me now, Lt. Col. Michael Waltz, Former Counterterrorism Advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney; and Marie Harf who served as spokesperson for both the CIA and the State Department and she's also a Fox News Analyst. Good to have you here. Let me start with Gina in terms of her appointment as the head of CIA. Marie, your thoughts on it having worked there and also at the State Department. What can you tell us about her?

MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS ANALYST AND FORMER SPOKESPERSON FOR BOTH CIA AND STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, it's certainly historic for the agency to have the first woman nominated just on its face, that's a good thing. But she is a career operational officer, she's very-well respected inside the agency, and that workforce really takes care of their own. And they like people that have come up through the ranks. They are looking forward, from the folks I've talked to today and my former colleagues, to having a career officer running that agency. She will have to answer questions about her policies on detainee's interrogation going forward. But certainly, nothing she's done in the past is disqualifying. And I think Democrats would be mistaken if they try to block her nomination. She's a good CIA officer and she will be a very good director, I think.

MACCALLUM: I want to stay with you, Marie, in terms of the State Department, what do you think the reaction is there losing Rex Tillerson and gaining as expected, Mike Pompeo.

HARF: Well, what a day. You know, I've talked to former colleagues there, too, and they're happy to see Tillerson go. He was not well-liked. They knew the president didn't listen to him that much, and they didn't feel like he had their back.


HARF: But they're also a little nervous about Pompeo. They think it's good that the president is close to him, but they do he's more hawkish on things like the Iran deal and they haven't heard him put a lot of stock and diplomacy for solving international crises like North Korea. So, I think they'll be looking for signs that he wants to invest as the nation's top diplomat and not just jump to more hawkish positions like he has in the past.

MACCALLUM: All right. Colonel Waltz, you know, in the initial sort of dispersion of all this news today, there was a lot of talk: oh, this is all because Rex Tillerson just said something sort of harsh in terms of Russia and their understanding -- England's understanding that perhaps they had something to do with the poisoning of two diplomats there and Rex Tillerson spoke out about that. The president has also said as much as the same thing today in his discussion after discussion with the Prime Minister Theresa May. How much credence do you put in that theory that those two things were related?

LT. COL. MICHAEL WALTZ, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISOR TO VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Well, first, before I get to that, I just want to say Marie and I are in agreement for once that I think Gina Haspel is a fantastic pick in the rank and file across the CIA that I've worked with are giving her two thumbs up. You know, I don't give a lot of credence to the connecting of the dots on the Russia piece. You know, if you gave that credence, then, you know, Nikki Haley, the U.N. ambassador, has been incredibly tough on Russia, is putting a finger in their chest for what they're doing in Syria in terms of bombing hospitals.

MACCALLUM: Very true.

WALTZ: And causing refugee flows. And, you know, further, on the Russia piece, you know, look, we do need to call them out in the sense that they're not our friends. Putin is a KGB officer. No one is happier about the discord that they've shown in our 2016 elections, but a number of administration officials, Mike Pompeo included, has been incredibly tough on Russia. I don't see that as a litmus test.

MACCALLUM: Colonel, let me stay with you on the Iran question, because the people who are supportive of that deal seem to be winnowing in numbers in this administration.

WALTZ: Well, look, the president has been clear, let's -- to both Congress and the Europeans, fix it or knicks it. I personally think it was one of the worst diplomatic agreements in modern American history. Mike Pompeo is on record as a congressman saying that in an interview with Bret Baier, he said so as CIA director. And I think, you know, time is up for the deal. The Iranians have supported terrorism all over the Middle East, are holding Americans hostage as we speak. Last week was the 11th anniversary of Bob Levinson; you had his family on this show. They have not come to the table as a responsible actor. They have not lived up to their end of the bargain, and it's time to move forward.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. Well, as the president reorganizes his team, we'll see what the meaning is in that for these questions out there. Thanks to both of you. Good to see you tonight.

WALTZ: OK. Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Thanks, colonel. All right. Next up, a Fox News Alert is all eyes are on Pennsylvania where the final votes are being cast in high- profile congressional special elections tonight. Looks kind of quiet at both the headquarters at this moment. But we are only about 45 minutes away from starting to get some numbers in this race in Pennsylvania 18. Our election experts Larry Sabato, Marc Thiessen and Mo Elleithee, break down what we are watching tonight in Pennsylvania moments away. But first, this news out of Austin where there have been deadly bombings. The police chief has now released the new information about the package bombings and the massive manhunt that intensifies tonight. William Dicks knew 17-year-old victims Dreland Mason, who was a young musician who was in his orchestra. We will talk about him after this.


BRIAN MANLEY, AUSTIN POLICE CHIEF: We are not ruling out terrorism. We're not ruling out hate. We didn't want to rule out any other possible motive here or any other possible way that this had happened. We're not saying that we believe terrorism or hate is in play.



MACCALLUM: Breaking new details just coming in tonight on the Austin deadly package bombings. The police there say that they can't rule out terrorism or potentially hate as a motive here. They say that all three explosions, though, they do believe, by all indications of what they've got so far are linked. A $65,000 reward is being offered for anyone who can offer information that leads to an arrest in this case that clearly has the city on edge wondering when the next explosion could happen.

In the last 24 hours, police received almost 300 calls about suspicious packages. I mean, you can imagine how on edge everybody in the community is about opening anything. Police have also now identified two of the victims: 17-year-old, Dreland Mason, who brought in a package and opened it inside his house found on front steps; and 39-year-old Anthony House. Mason's mother and another woman are also being treated for serious injuries at the hospital. Here is the police chief who we spoke with the other night updating today. He's Brian Manley. Here he is.


MANLEY: We have lost two lives in this community and we have an additional two that have been forever changed. The 17-year-old boy that was murdered yesterday has been identified as Dreland Mason. And from everything I've heard about Dreland, he was outstanding man. His mother is in stable condition right now. And the additional victim from yesterday, a 75-year- old Hispanic female who will remain unnamed, is still in critical condition with life-threatening injuries. We are just not going to ignore the fact that the three victims that were targeted specifically that we know of were all people of color. We cannot ignore that.


MACCALLUM: Here now, Mark Wilson breaking news reporter for the Austin American Statesman. Mark, what can you tell us tonight?

MARK WILSON, REPORTER FOR AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN: Well, Austin police are still actively investigating this case as are members of the FBI and the ATF. What we've learned today is that the reward for any information leading to the arrest of this person has increased substantially. Authorities are offering $50,000 reward, and that's on top of a $15,000 reward that was offered yesterday by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

MACCALLUM: Let's take a listen -- Mike Garrity, our producer on the scene there asked a question this afternoon about specifically about the packages. Watch this.


MIKE GARRITY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL PRODUCER: Can you say anything about the marking or who it might have been addressed to? Anything at all?

MANLEY: What I will say is we're dealing with cardboard packages that have been placed on people's door steps or yards in the overnight hours that are not at all identifiable as a standard shipping box or standard shipping labels.


MACCALLUM: All right. So, that sounds -- we asked that question because you want to know whether or not these specific people were targeted who live in these homes, Mark. Is there any indication, any new developments on that front?

WILSON: There haven't been any developments on why these people were targeted and how the packages got there we do know that carriers like the United States postal service, DHL, they've all been looked into, and these packages didn't come from them. Police have still been very careful not to describe the packages in extreme detail because only the person who dropped them off or the people who were victimized are going to know that information. So, for the time being, police are asking everybody in this area to be very vigilant and to be on the lookout for anything that looks suspicious. They're saying these bombs can fit in any type of packaging. So, anything that is out of the ordinary needs to be reported as soon as possible. As you saw earlier, we've had 265 reports of suspicious packages so far in the 24 hours after the blast yesterday. So, police are working all over this city to try to nail these down.

MACCALLUM: Yes, obviously, this bomb maker is a sophisticated individual or individuals, right?

WILSON: Yes. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said that, you know, to make these bombs, to transport them, to get them to a house without detonating on their own is a feat in itself and that it requires some sophistication and skill level. So, police have still yet to identify a suspect or motive, but there is definitely danger.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Well, as was mentioned here last night, it took them 18 years to find the Unabomber. This person has had more concentrated success, unfortunately. So, we hope they can catch this guy soon. Thank you so much, Mark. Good to see you tonight.

WILSON: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, as we mentioned sadly the youngest victim in these bombings is a 17-year-old, Dreland Mason, there is he playing bass in the orchestra. The was a senior in high school at East Austin College Prep on his way to the University of Texas in a very competitive music program that he had gotten into. He's also in the Austin Youth Orchestra. Great picture of this young man that we're showing you on our screen now.

Joining me now is William Dick the Current Conductor and Founder of the Austin Youth Orchestra. Sir, I can only imagine how shocking this is for you and everybody involved in the music industry and area in Austin tonight?

WILLIAM DICK, CONDUCTOR AND FOUNDER, AUSTIN YOUTH ORCHESTRA: Yes, it's really pretty surreal because this weekend in Austin, it's our spring break and it's the beginning week of South by Southwest Music festival which is like, it's Austin at its most joyful, and for it to start out with this news is really quite devastating and surreal. And I must say, I really appreciate your interest in this story and I hope that it helps all of us that loved Dreland, helps us in the processing of this information.

MACCALLUM: I hope it does too. You know, when I read about his family, and also the family of Mr. House. They were two of the more prominent African-American families in the community. Their relatives and uncles were, you know, involved in a lot of, you know, activities in the area, including, you know, one was a dentist, the other was mentor to U.T. students. So, this is the background that these gentlemen came from. They were very well thought of in the community, weren't they?

DICK: You know, Dreland, the youth orchestra has been in existence for many years, and this year is the 25th anniversary of that orchestra. And I have been a conductor of it for a long time, but I'm back this year as, like, help celebrating the 25th anniversary of it. And I have been working with Dreland since the fall of this year, I've watched him as he grew up coming through our ranks and watching him as a little boy and watching him this year as a senior in high school. As you said, he's been accepted into like a studio at U.T. I remember seeing Dreland, you know, in this orchestra, you have kids at high technical level, and that's already given that the kids are going to be able to play. Every once in a while, you meet -- you see a kid that just has this spark.

When Dreland appeared -- you know, in some sense he was kind of -- he was kind of incandescent like, you know, a Rembrandt painting where the light just sort of comes out of him. You know, he's in the room and his little spirit had -- was there and along with the technical proficiency he had, he was a young man that was, I think, really headed for -- he could -- I think I could've accomplished anything he wanted to. We have people, alumni of this orchestra like the first bassoonist of the Metropolitan Oprah New York City was a member of this orchestra; the principle clarinet organ symphony was a member of this orchestra. There are many string players that are in really big orchestras and university teachers. I think Dreland was once of those students --

MACCALLUM: He's headed in that direction.

DICK: Headed in that direction.

MACCALLUM: It's so sad. It's heart-breaking, and you describe him beautifully and I can see what you're talking about when we look at these pictures of him. You can see the concentration as he plays. And it is such tragedy and I hope that we will continue obviously to put as much focus on this as we can because we need to find the person that did this. This picture that we're showing now is just spectacular. So, I'm sure you're all grieving, obviously. And we thank you for being with us tonight, Mr. Dick, and best of luck with you continue working with all the other children that you have in your care. Thank you so much, sir.

DICK: Yes, thank you.

MACCALLUM: You bet. So, coming up, the major announcement today about the future of the Parkland school shooter, Nikolas Cruz. And President Trump is in the Golden State tonight with his relationship with the state's governor, anything thought as the immigration debate heats up. Illegal immigrant, Caesar Vargas, who is self-professed, and David Wohl joins us next to talk about what's next for the wall when we come back.


MARTHA MACCALLUM, THE STORY HOST: So President Trump getting close to making good on his biggest campaign progress -- promise, the wall is one step closer to getting built. So today, he went down there to check out some of the samples. He looked at some of the prototypes in San Diego, amid a fierce immigration debate in the golden state.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Governor Brown has done a very poor job of running California. You have sanctuary cities where you have criminals living in the sanctuary cities. Very dangerous people. You would say dangerous people. And I think the governor is doing a terrible job running the state of California.


MACCALLUM: Fighting words from the president. And joining me now, David Wohl, attorney and conservative commentator, and Cesar Vargas, the former national Latino strategist for Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign, and New York State first openly undocumented attorney. Good to have both of you here. So David.


MACCALLUM: How are you doing? Today, we saw the president, he said the wall is going to be concrete in some places, in some places it will be see through. It will be 18 to 30 feet high. And he made the point that if you don't have a border, if you don't have a wall, you basically don't have a country. California sees it very differently, David.

WOHL: Yeah, we do see it differently. Not me, personally, but our leaders see it differently. You know, this has become out-of-control situation, Martha. These -- the governor and the various mayors are engaging in crimes, not just civil offenses, but crimes such as obstruction of justice, accessory after the fact, aiding and abetting fugitives.

And until they're actually prosecuted, this is going to continue. You know, I've got clients I represent who don't do nearly as offensive things as these politicians have done and they're charged. So why hasn't Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland charged when she tells the undocumented criminals to get out of town before ICE hits there when she knows ICE is coming. You know that's no different than a get-away driver driving bank robbers after the fact.


WOHL: Absolutely no different. This needs to end.

MACCALLUM: I mean, you're echoing Jeff Sessions's words. He was very forceful on this a couple of days ago, Cesar, when he was there just saying that, you know, for a mayor to say that they're going to basically let people go or tell them to leave when these ICE agents are sweeping in. They have to wonder why the ICE agents -- why even have them in California? Cesar?

CESAR VARGAS, NEW YORK STATE FIRST UNDOCUMENTED ATTORNEY: Well, I don't think that we have obviously an issue here that -- California and Oakland and all the cities in California are not saying anything about protecting criminals and not protecting terrorists. They're saying that in this instance immigration customs enforcement and the Trump administration are aggressively targeting immigrants across the spectrum.

People with violent criminal records, but people who are just there living their lives working for their families. That is at stake on what's going on. So it was mentioned, well, they're committing crimes. California does have the right to protect its residents. It is their right, as a state, to push against a federal government when they're being overbearing and they're pretty much interfering in the state's right to protect its own residents.

MACCALLUM: But the wall.

VARGAS: I think that's the main issue.

MACCALLUM: The wall is designed to keep people out, essentially. To keep illegals out from entering California, you know. And when you look at the statistics in terms of the numbers of people who are on federal assistance who are illegals in the state of California, one set of numbers said you could basically pay for the wall in a couple of years, David, if you just lower the number of people who are coming in and presenting a financial burden to the state.

WOHL: Yeah. You know what also could happen is the federal funding that is cut from California could be diverted to the wall, to build the wall. And I'm telling you right now, it's that serious, Martha. In all due respect, Cesar, I have a client whose fiance was killed by an illegal alien who had been deported five times. Got in a car while intoxicated and killed her. Now, he should have been deported.

The sanctuary cities in the state made it so the feds couldn't deport him. And now, he has a monthly visit to her grave instead of a marriage. You can't say that this is the federal government interfering with a state's rights to keep their residents in this state. This is an outrage. It's criminal behavior. And Jerry Brown and the mayors, Eric Garcetti and Libby Schaaf, have to be put in jail to send a strong message then so be it.


VARGAS: Well, really, you know, obviously, it's tragic that this had to happen. But in this.

MACCALLUM: Didn't have to happen, that's the point. That person never should have been in the state, and no one should be protecting them. It didn't have to happen, that's exactly the point.

VARGAS: But the Trump administration and California are not preventing agents from going into California. Immigration agents can still operate very effectively in California.

MACCALLUM: But if this mayor in Oakland is going to tip them off. My question is why should they? Why should those agents put their own lives at risk to help people in California if the mayor is going to tip people off when they're coming?

VARGAS: Well, we had an actual modern immigration policy where we can actually target people with violent criminal records. We can detain them. We can arrest them and we can process them for deportation, then maybe. But this administration is not doing that. It's targeting both undocumented immigrants with no criminal records, as well as legal permanent residents, attacking even citizens who have family members. Military.


WOHL: They're targeting people with violent criminal records. Not the minor offenders. So that's just not true. And Trump, believe me, Trump takes this seriously and he's going to get very serious about it. And you're going to see serious federal action coming very soon.

VARGAS: We have a lot of people being targeted with no criminal records.

MACCALLUM: We'll see what happens to the mayor of Oakland and others. We've got to go. Thank you very much, gentlemen. Good to see you.

WOHL: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So new tonight, a major development in the Parkland shooting. What prosecutors just announced in the case against the 19-year-old shooter. Plus, this gun shop owner refused to sell Nikolas Cruz a gun. He is now speaking out tonight, and his reasoning in that moment will give you chills. We'll be right back.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Stoneman Douglas High School is being shot up.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's being shot up? Are you at the school?


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't hear you. Are you at the school?



MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, prosecutors in Broward County, Florida, say that they will seek the death penalty in the case against this man, the 19- year-old in last month's Parkland shooting that left 17 people dead, including 14 students.

A local gun shop owner says that he tried to prevent this from happening by refusing to sell a firearm to that gunman because of his age just a few months before the shooting. Here now is his story. Razi Greidey, the owner of Coconut Creek Pawnshop in Florida, joins me now. Mr. Greidey, thank you for being here. Take us back.


MACCALLUM: To that moment when he walked into your gun shop and you decided not to sell him a gun. What were your impressions of him and why did you make that choice?

GREIDEY: Well, he walked into the store. We had a couple of other customers in the store at the time, and he waited his turn. He looked around. And when his turn came, he asked if he could see some AR-15s. And when I ask him how old you are? He said I'm over 18. And I said are you younger than 21? He said yes.

And I told him our store policy not to sell weapons to under 21, or under the age of 21. He tried to -- he didn't argue, but he said, you know, it's within my rights, and I said I understand that but it has been our store policy and to prevent that from happening when it comes to our store and -- I didn't make much of it at the time. He turned around and left, obviously, he was very upset. And he left us a google review which was pretty bad.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. He wrote a google review of your store, and what did he say about you on that?

GREIDEY: He said, if I recall, he said something like denied me customer service. Denied him the customer service, very judgmental. Denied me customer service.

MACCALLUM: Very judgmental. Why did you make that decision? Now the law will be 21 in the state of Florida, since the bill has been signed by Governor Scott, but that was just your own decision. Why did you make that decision back then?

GREIDEY: Well, I own an air-conditioning company in Florida, and the pawnshop is pretty new thing for me. I only own it for about a little over five years. And it's a different type of crowd, different type of people. And when I'm studying my pawnshop I noticed that kids that come to the store at the age of 18, which they can start selling and pawning stuff are very disrespectful.

If they don't get their way they get rowdy. And I've got spit on a couple of times. I've got people throwing punches at me a couple times. And I decided when it comes to weapons, not to sell weapons to them. Obviously, I didn't think they would be ready for it and I didn't want anything to happen, you know, that being on my conscience. And it has been my store policy from day one not to sell weapons to kids under 21.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. And you have a military background yourself, I believe. So tell me when.


MACCALLUM: What your reaction was when you saw who did this in Parkland to all of these poor students and you realized that he had been in your shop? How did you feel?

GREIDEY: Well, I saw a picture of him, I was -- actually when it happened I was in Israel visiting family. And I checked -- when I heard the name I knew it sounded familiar because I engage all my customers in my store with conversation and ask for the names. I went online to see a picture of him and I realized that he was in my store.

I don't want to say the word jump out of happiness that I didn't sell him the weapon, but I was so relieved. And there was still a little doubt in my mind. You know, I was 99.9 percent sure that it was him. And I knew he was there a few months prior to. I couldn't place him exactly in time. But when about a week ago when we went over our google reviews we realized that he came about four months ago in the store.

MACCALLUM: You sound like a wise man, sir, and that you make decision -- responsible decisions in your store. And unfortunately, the same decisions weren't necessarily made by others. And I thank you for being here, Mr. Greidey. Good to see you tonight. Thank you, sir.

GREIDEY: Thank you very much. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So as you know, it is an election night in Pennsylvania 18, and the polls are about to close. We're going to start getting numbers rolling in just minutes from now. Our power panel, Larry Sabato, Marc Thiessen, and Mo Elleithee, on what to watch for tonight in Pennsylvania. We'll be right back.


MACCALLUM: Fox News alert, we've got high drama tonight in Pennsylvania, where the polls are about to close in about 11 minutes this evening. And the battle is in the 18th congressional district in Western Pennsylvania.

A look now at the campaign headquarters for Republican Rick Saccone, looks kind of quiet, as they get ready to wrap up. As we've said the polls are going to close at 8 O-clock. This -- and then Democrat Conor Lamb is on the right-hand side, he's in South Pointe, Pennsylvania, or he will be. So this contest has been flush with money that has poured in from the outside, very expensive race. Both parties view the result as in some respects a referendum on President Trump and his success up to this point. And a preview of what we may see when we get rolling in the November midterms.

So the season has essentially begun. Let's bring in our panel, Larry Sabato is director of the University of Virginia's center for politics, Marc Thiessen is an American Enterprise Institute scholar and a Fox News contributor, and Mo Elleithee is executive director at Georgetown University institute of politics and public service. Gentlemen, welcome. Good to have all of you here. So this is a race in a district, Larry, that won't exist the next time around, right?

LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA DIRECTOR: Yes. Won't even exist, as you noted, spending millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars to win essentially a one year term, but it's symbolic. It's a special election in a district that was heavily pro-Trump, plus 20 percent pro-Trump in 2016, where the Democrat had a real shot to win.

That's not to say he's the favorite. Simply to say he has a shot to win. And the last turnover we had in any house special election was 24 elections ago back in November of 2012. So it doesn't happen very often in this heavily gerrymandered age that you have a turnover.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. Marc, when you look at the breakdown in this district of Republicans to Democrats there are slightly fewer Republicans and they are enough -- who don't belong to either party that you could swing this race. So obviously, it's going to come down as it often does to people who are in that, you know, who are not necessarily deeply aligned with the party, right?

MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. And it's a conservative district. But I agree completely with Larry that Conor Lamb has got a chance to win. But the reason he's got a chance to win because he's a political unicorn. He's a pro-life, pro-gun, pro-fracking, anti-Pelosi Democrat, which means he's basically to voters a Republican.

And this is, you know, this is not something that -- if Democrats were to replicate this all over the country and put up a bunch of pro-life, pro- gun, pro-fracking Democrats in middle America they'd win a lot of elections. But they're not going to do that.

And you can see that in the case of -- in Illinois recently where the DNC refused to endorse a seven-term incumbent Democratic congressman named, Dan Lipinski, for the simple reason that he's pro-life. The head of the DNC recently said that we'll refuse to say whether pro-life Democrats were welcome in his party. So, if Democrats wanted to replicate this, I'd be worried but they're not.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. So Mo, there's not a lot of room in your party for a lot more Conor Lambs, it sounds like.

MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: There is a lot of room in the Democratic Party for a lot of different people who are running against Donald Trump. Look, I mean, Donald Trump is the reason why this race has becomes as competitive as it is. He won the district by 20 points.

But we have seen in every special election since the 2016 election, Democrats over performing. Even in those districts where they are falling short, the energy is behind the Democratic candidates, and they're doing better than they ever have in these districts. The place to watch here tonight are the suburbs, the Pittsburgh suburbs. That's where a lot of congressional races are going to be fought over the course of the next year.

And how the Republican does in those districts where polling is showing Donald Trump hemorrhaging support. Hemorrhaging support. If in the suburbs he gets shellacked, then that is a huge red flag for the Republican Party heading into the midterms.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. And when you look at the whole state, look at the Philadelphia area and the suburbs are going to be very important as we move forward in the course of these midterms. Larry, when you look at this also, you've got to talk about candidates, candidate quality. And you think about Alabama and what happened to Doug Jones, was the victor over Roy Moore there.

And now you've got this candidate who, according to some reports, the president himself has said is pretty lackluster, although he cheered him on the other night when he was there.

SABATO: Yeah. Beware of your friends. Your enemies you know what to expect from. It's your friends that will get you. And, look, party is central. There's no question about that. But we forget candidate quality really does matter. And the point that Marc made should be underlined.

Regardless of whether Conor Lamb wins or not he's going to be highly competitive in a district that shouldn't even have been close. Why? He's a really good candidate, and he has some moderate views, and he made it clear he doesn't embrace Nancy Pelosi. You know, hello, Democratic Party, when you have suburban districts that are red or purple, this is the kind of candidate that you really ought to put up, assuming you actually want to win a majority.

MACCALLUM: And you know -- and Marc, to underline your point as Larry rightly suggests, you know, moving forward, Tom Perez has suggested that he doesn't want any more of these kinds of candidates.

THIESSEN: No, that's exactly right. These are exactly the kind of candidate Democrats should be trying to run in states that Trump won by, in some cases, by double digits, if they want to win back middle Americans. Instead, they're focused on being the resistance and getting the coast. But also this candidate, the Republican candidate, isn't just bad, he's offensive. He said Democrats hate America and hate God. It's hard -- if you lose to somebody like that it's bad.

MACCALLUM: I've got to get Mo in. Mo, I've got 10 seconds.

ELLEITHEE: Yeah. Look, I think what you're seeing here is Democrats nominating a candidate who fits their district, and Republicans nominating a candidate who fits the Trump White House. And I think that's what it comes down to.

MACCALLUM: We'll see. We're going to watch. Very tight. So we don't know what's going to happen. Stick around. Quick break. Thank you, gentlemen. We'll be right back.


MACCALLUM: So about 15 seconds away from the polls closing in Pennsylvania. Live coverage right here tonight on Fox News as the results comes in. We'll be watching, as Rick Saccone's headquarters, and we're going to Conor Lamb's headquarters up in just a second. Have a great night everybody. We'll be watching. Tucker is up next.

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