Rep. Scalise on GOP tax reform goals, budget vote

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," October 25, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Digging up dirt is part of what campaigns do. It's a dirty truth of politics. In the 2016 presidential race, first, the GOP paid a firm called Fusion GPS for dirt on candidate Trump. Then, after the primary, the Clinton camp started paying them. That is when the project went international. They paid a British spy with Kremlin ties who came with salacious but unverifiable claims. Even the FBI -- led by James Comey -- considered paying Fusion GPS and Steele for more dirt on Mr. Trump. President Trump commented on the revelations today from the White House.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Don't forget, Hillary Clinton totally denied this. She didn't know anything. She knew nothing. All of a sudden, they'd found out. What I was amazed, it's $6 million that they paid, and it's totally discredited, it's a total phony. I call it fake news. It's disgraceful. It's disgraceful.


MACCALLUM: But perhaps the biggest question in all of this is did the Obama administration use that unverified dossier as the basis for launching the Russia probe? Good evening, everybody, from Washington D.C. tonight. I'm Martha MacCallum, and that is where "The Story" begins. Chief national correspondent, Ed Henry, joins us now with more of the story. Hi, Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Martha, good to see you. That is the big question: did this dossier, funded by Republican and Democratic opponents of President Trump, lead to the special counsel probe of the Trump campaign? We don't know the answer to the question tonight but are getting closer thanks to Republican Devin Nunes who issued a subpoena for the bank records of the dirt-digging firm, Fusion GPS, run by former Journalist Glenn Simpson.

That led to the law firm Perkins Couey, finally revealing that despite the previous denials by lawyer Mark Elias and others, the firm worked with the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign to fund that salacious and unverified set of allegations against the president during the general election. Now, all eyes turned to the FBI and its former Director James Comey. Because of last October at the end of the campaign, the former British spy hired by Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele, approached the FBI with this dirt.

As a result of that meeting, The Washington Post reported this year: Steele, "reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work." There have been reports the FBI ended up not paying Steele. But Republican Charles Grassley has been pressing the FBI to answer questions about why Comey ended up briefing President-elect Trump on the dossier in January? And whether any of this became a justification for the Obama administration's surveillance of top Trump officials. Ultimately leading, of course, to the naming of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate the team of the president who's lashing out at all of this.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It was made up. And I understand they paid a tremendous amount of money. And Hillary Clinton always denied it. The Democrats always denied it. And now, only because it's going to come out in a court case, they said, yes, they did it. They admitted it. And they're embarrassed by it. But I think it's a disgrace.


HENRY: Now, the president and his allies are less eager to talk about another key fact. The dossier was initially paid for by an unnamed Republican candidate challenging the president in those heated primaries. Today, the president acknowledged the reporters this whole mess may have started with one of his Republican rivals. Pressed on which Republican paid for this dirt on him? The president said he has one name in mind, but would not share that suspect just yet. Martha?

MACCALLUM: That will probably come out, eventually. Ed, thanks very much.

HENRY: Soon enough.

MACCALLUM: So, as Ed Henry said, the big question about the dossier was this questionable research used as a basis for the FBI's Russia investigation. Here now, New York Congressman Peter King, Member of the House Intel Committee. Congressman, good to have you with us in Washington.


MACCALLUM: Good to be with you in person, in Washington. So, you know, obviously, all campaigns do opposition research, right? So, that's what Democrats are saying.

KING: In one way or another, yes.

MACCALLUM: So, nothing wrong with it?

KING: What's totally wrong about this here is whether or not it was used by the FBI or the Justice Department as a basis to get FISA warrants or listening in on phone calls, whether or not that was used as the basis to launch the investigation into the Trump campaign.

MACCALLUM: Do you believe it was?

KING: We are not getting an answer from the FBI or the Justice Department. Basically, we're being stonewalled. And that, to me, is very, very suspicious. As to why they not -- you know, they should tell us right out, no, but they're not saying that. So, I think it raises very, very serious questions. And also, the fact that Jim Comey was pedaling this around -- when he showed this to President Trump and then hours later it was leaked to another cable station, it was out there, this, to me, all seems like part of a contrived effort.

And the irony is when they talk about the Russian influence of the Trump campaign -- I'm on the committee, I can tell you there's no evidence at all of any of that. But he has personal ties to the Kremlin or ties to Russia, Steele, actually being the author of this phony dossier, and every fact we can check turns out to be totally untrue. We have Michael Cohen in; he's rebutted everything on this. Actually, he has a passport showing that he wasn't there in any of the days of the meeting. That's totally phony, and it was being -- Jim Comey took this seriously. They were, first, going to pay him. And then, he actually showed it to the president-elect of the United States, knowing it was going to be leaked out.

MACCALLUM: Do you know if when he showed that information to the president, he said, you know, this was paid for by opposition people originally by somebody who was a never Trumper. And then later, and when they brought in Christopher Steele with the Democratic chapter in this story, it was paid for by them. Do you think he mentioned that to the president?

KING: My understanding is he did not. I'm not aware of that at all. I think he gave it to him at the end of the actually --

MACCALLUM: As if it's the real deal.

KING: Yes. Well, as if -- you should know this is what people are saying about you. And if that was J. Edgar Hoover doing that to John Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson, they'd say that was his way of, in effect, blackmailing the president, saying, hey, this is all a salacious material we got.

MACCALLUM: Now, you have a new attorney general, a new FBI director, so why are they not being forthcoming with this information?

KING: I'm hoping they will be. Chairman Nunes has been meeting with people at the Justice Department and it could be just a bureaucratic resistance that's built in, but I think they have to. I mean, they certainly should, there's no reason not to. There's no political reason, there's no legal reason, there's no moral reason not to give all of the facts -- certainly to the intelligence committee talking about this dossier.

MACCALLUM: So, you said that you're, obviously, part of the investigations that are going on. You mentioned Michael Cohen who you've spoken to. Where do you think this is leading? I mean, is there more to this investigation than perhaps FARA violations by Paul Manafort or by Michael Flynn?

KING: Well, (INAUDIBLE), but that has nothing to do with the campaign. I mean, whatever Paul Manafort did and General Flynn, (INAUDIBLE), whatever they get accused of right now, it all seems to be beyond the campaign. This is about their own lobbying efforts or lack of reporting. It has nothing to do, nothing to do with the Trump campaign. Well, I said Michael Cohen -- I'm talking about his public statements.


KING: And certainly, nothing that we heard contradicted anything he said publicly.

MACCALLUM: All right. Good to know. Thank you very much.

KING: Martha, thank you.

MACCALLUM: Congressman Peter King, always good to see you, sir. All right. So, once this story broke, Democrats were very quick to jump on it and downplay the findings.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's important to remember that: A, opposition research happens all the time in campaigns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of this to me is, unfortunately, a distraction from the things that we need to be doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a lot of work to do in terms of a lot of the claims in the dossier. But I don't think it really adds much value to know who paid for it necessarily.


MACCALLUM: Here now with more, Kayleigh McEnany-- sorry, Kayleigh -- RNC Spokesperson; and Zac Petkanas, former Senior DNC Advisor who also worked on the Clinton Campaign. So, Zac, let me give you the first up to bat here, you know, you listen to those Democrat responses and the same people that are very fired up about seeing if there's any connection between the Trump campaign and Russia, seemed to think this is no big deal and shouldn't really be a focus when the shoe is on the other foot.

ZAC PETKANAS, FORMER SENIOR DNC ADVISOR: Well, I mean, look, I think we need to look at -- I mean, there's a lot of hay being made out of this, and I think the reason is very clear: this is an attempt to undermine the FBI at a time when the special counsel investigation is picking up steam. They're getting closer and closer. We believe that indictments are probably coming down soon. And so, we have Republican National Committee and others --

MACCALLUM: What makes you say that? How do you know that there are indictments coming down soon, Zac?

PETKANAS: -- who are -- I mean, already claimed to undermine this --

MACCALLUM: How do you know there are indictments coming down soon?

PETKANAS: I mean, every indication that we have from the special counsel and from what the reports that are coming out, that's what it feels like. I could be wrong, but the increased activity from a Republican partisan indicates that Republicans in this investigation are heating up, not cooling down and people are very serious.

MACCALLUM: But Zac, let me ask you something. So, you know, the question is whether or not there was an influence, attempts to influence the United States election, right?


MACCALLUM: So, why does it matter -- why does it matter if the influence was pressed upon the Democrats or on the Republicans? Because you seem to be very concerned about it when it's the potential of a Republican connection, but not so concerned when it's a Democrat connection.

PETKANAS: There is a massive difference between collusion, between a campaign, and a government trying to help someone win, and sources that are trying to blow the cover or blow the story up about how the Russians are trying to collude with the campaign to help them win. Those are two very different things. There's only one campaign --

MACCALLUM: Kristin -- let me ask, Kristin, if she thinks they are two very different things. Kristin, what do you think? Caley?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, SPOKESPERSON FOR THE RNC: Zac. Yes. Zac is playing this game Democrats have played the last eight years where they point to the Trump campaign, allege collusion falsely. Senator Dianne Feinstein said that this was based on no more than rumors in newspapers. That's the truth. But this is significant here. And Zac, I can't let you downplay this. Because for a year, the Democrats, Hillary Clinton, the DNC lied to us. Maggie Haberman, a New York Times Reporter, White House Correspondent, who I'm sure you deeply respect, said I was lied to by the founders of this dossier for a year and was backed up by her colleague Ken Vogel. They lied; why did they lie? We need to get to the bottom of it.

PETKANAS: I mean -- look, I wasn't in the room when the decision was made about whether or not to talk about this. I didn't know about the dossier until after the campaign. However, if I did, not only would I have advocated having a press conference about the dossier, I would've advocated hiring a skywriter to every line in the sky about it. Because the underlying premise of the dossier is that the Russians intervened in the election to help Donald Trump win. And this is not a controversial fact, this is Trump's own CIA director agrees with this fact, the director of National Intelligence agreed to this fact.


MACCALLUM: Zac, to you, collusion is the -- before I let you guys go -- before I let you guys go. Kayleigh, I need to ask you, why the RNC put out a statement today with -- you know, part of The Washington Post story and neglected to include the part that said that originally this was paid for by a never Trumper, by one of the candidates who was going up against Donald Trump in the primary?

MCENANY: Well, the RNC were limited by the fair use clause, which said that we can't send out full articles; we picked what was the news-worthy item. The fact that a Republican donor was involved long before this dossier was ever made was known for a long time. So, we picked the highlights. The fact that the Clinton Campaign likely lied. And by the way, Zac, I just have to say, if you and Brian Fallon said you would've been screaming from the rooftops about this dossier, the facts are, you didn't. The facts are no one did. The facts are you lied. No one screamed from the rooftop because there was a coverup here,

PETKANAS: No, if we knew about, we would've been screaming about it. I'll do a dramatic reading in front of Trump Tower right now. Let's meet there.


MACCALLUM: Thank you, guys. Thank you very much.

MCENANY: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Kayleigh, good to see you. Zac, thank you very much, good to have you here as well. So, coming up tonight, this:


TRUMP: He did the smart thing for himself. This way, he can get out somewhat gracefully.


MACCALLUM: So, Senator Flake is out and now it is a showdown at the OK Corral in Arizona. Steve Bannon and Mitch McConnell backing different horses in that race. Expect to see this scenario repeat around the country. So, who will win?

Plus, a big vote tomorrow needed to clear the path for tax reform. Congressman Steve Scalise is the House Whip, of course. So, are the votes there? He joins me in the studio, next.

And it is the worst drug crisis in the history of our country. The people at the center of fixing it, next.


NAME: You know the implication of what you're saying, that these big companies knew that they were pumping drugs into American communities that were killing people. That's a fact. That's exactly what they did.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, the implication of what you're saying that these big companies knew that they were pumping drugs into American communities that were killing people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's exactly what they did.




TRUMP: He was against me from before he ever knew me. He wrote a book about me before I ever met him before I heard his name. His poll numbers in Arizona are so low that he couldn't win. And I don't blame him for leaving. I think he did the right thing for himself.


MACCALLUM: That was President Trump earlier today firing back at Senator Jeff Flake after the Republican stunned Congress by announcing that he will not seek re-election in 2018, saying speaking out against the president for him is a matter of duty a conscious. Pundits on the left say the quartet of McCain, President Bush, Senators Corker and Flake, all speaking out against the course politics of the Trump-era is a huge wake-up call but is it really? If you can't get elected, you cannot effect change.

Here now to weigh in, Katie Pavlich, news editor for and a Fox News contributor; Austan Goolsbee is former chief economist to President Obama. Welcome, to both of you.

So, Katie, I want to start there. You know, there's been a lot of outcry and a lot of, you know, eloquence on the part of many of these people who've stepped forward. But the problem is that if they're not in sync with what the voters want in their state and they can't get elected, then, it's going to be tough for them to be effective.

KATIE PAVLICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND NEWS EDITOR FOR TOWNHALL.COM: There's been a lot of talk about the feud between Donald Trump and Jeff Flake. And yes, that certainly exists. There's a personality conflict there. At the end of the day, is the people of Arizona who did not approve of Jeff Flake, and the people of Arizona didn't want to re-elect him. I actually made some phone calls today, I'm from Arizona to ask people there why they don't like him. Some of the responses they got were he ran as a conservative and abandoned us as soon as his plane hit the ground in D.C.

He has spoken far more critically against President Trump than he spoke about President Obama -- that's something that people do not like. I mean, there's also guilt by association. Jeff Flake is part of an establishment Senate that has failed to repeal Obamacare. And in Arizona, Obamacare has been detrimental to people there with the premium increases, the lack of care, and the lack networks. And so, this is coming from the people there. Although, it has been playing out in very public space between the president and Jeff Flake.

MACCALLUM: It certainly has. Austan, what do you make of that argument?

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, you know, I think Katie makes a decent point. If you can't win the Republican primary, you can't go to the Senate. I mean, that's a reality.

MACCALLUM: Right, that's the bottom line.

GOOLSBEE: I think there is a wake-up call potentially here though for President Trump, too. You know, on one hand, I bet President Trump's feeling good because he's like look, this guy criticized me and I crushed him. But the thing is, if he generates either a sufficient opposition to his policies among all of these senators that are going to retire, that they block his agenda, or if, actually, he generated sufficient anger that Flake or Kasich or somebody like that decided to run against Donald Trump and challenge him in the primary in 2020. But believe me, from the history of the Democratic Party when your party turns on itself and they challenge the sitting president, you're going to have a hard time.

MACCALLUM: We remember that scenario. Let's play this Jeff Flake on TV yesterday, saying that President Trump, he doesn't think, should be removed from office after all that. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he's dangerous to democracy, as you say, should he be removed from office?

SEN. JEFF FLAKE, R-ARIZ.: I don't think those remedies are justified. I really don't. High crimes and misdemeanors, people talk about impeachment on the left. I think that's something (INAUDIBLE). I don't think that's the direction we go.


MACCALLUM: I mean, that led to a lot of outrage from people on Twitter. One blogger, saying, "You should make your mind up, Jeff. He's either a threat to everyone and likely a cause World War III or he's not. (Hint: He is)." So, that person -- progressive log. Crooks and Liars: "Really, Jeff Flake? Trump is the new McCarthy but let's not impeach him?" Katie.

PAVLICH: To go from retiring early so we should ask Jeff Flake to leave the charge of impeaching the president, even though there's no crime is absolutely ridiculous, and will actually draw more people towards Donald Trump because again, the left is on 110 percent outrage scale all of the time, which means things are serious and should be taken seriously. In terms of the policies here, this is a personality conflict. If you look at Jeff Flake's voting record, he actually voted 91 percent with Donald Trump; this isn't necessarily about policies.

If you look at what the president has done -- it actually lines up with the agenda of the Republican Party on Capitol Hill. The problem is that people in Arizona and other places like Tennessee with Bob Corker do not believe they've been able to get the job done. And they promised them when they were elected the first time around, if they didn't, they would throw them out and try with someone else -- and that's what they're doing.

MACCALLUM: Interesting. Austan, last words. Your thoughts.

GOOLSBEE: You know, if all of the opposition party, plus a third of your own party, plus the polls of the American people and the judicial system say that your decisions are unconstitutional, unwise, sending us on the wrong track, you should at least consider whether you're headed the wrong direction.

MACCALLUM: I think you just look over and over at what happened in actual elections and the voice of the people across the nation, that's what we'll watch. You know, as this whole thing plays out. Austan, thank you from Chicago. Good to see you tonight. Katie, in the studio, good to see you as always. Thanks, guys.

So, coming up next, breaking news in the Las Vegas massacre. The big item that police did not find in Stephen Paddock's hotel room, which he intentionally removed, they believe. Plus, a big vote comes tomorrow on the Hill behind me. Will Republicans get on board with President Trump's tax agenda? House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is one of the people tasked with getting that through. He will tell us whether or not he's got the votes, coming up next.


TRUMP: The tax plan is going to be incredible for this country.



MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, a new twist in the Las Vegas massacre investigation. There are now reports that the laptop that was recovered from Stephen Paddock's hotel room is mysteriously missing, the hard drive. Leaving investigators with yet another dead end in the search for his motive. Paddock reportedly remove that hard drive himself just before he opened fire on the country concert one month ago, killing 58 people.

It also comes as his brother, Bruce Paddock, who you may have seen -- he commented quite a bit after the massacre, has now been arrested in California on charges of child pornography. Police are telling us that the two are not related and that that investigation of the killer's brother began months before the October 1st shooting. So, boy, more to know there.

Also, tonight, the House gearing up for a big vote tomorrow on the Senate's budget bill. Approval could pave the way for the president's tax reform plan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, says every Republican need to get on board. Watch this.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY., SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We're watching our friends in the House with anticipation as they consider the comprehensive responsible budget that cleared the Senate last week. We anticipate they'll pass it by the end of the week. Once they do, we'll have important legislative tools to move tax reform forward.


MACCALLUM: So, you heard it there. The pressure is on this man, House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise. Steve, good to be with you.

REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA.: Good to be back with you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Great to have you with us. Can you get it passed tomorrow?

SCALISE: We're going to get it done. And this is really important as we begin to cut taxes for American families and rebuilding the economy. And we're working very closely with President Trump who's all in one making sure we get this win for the American people, to go and rebuild the middle- class. Cutting taxes is the best way to start. We've seen, for years -- we've complained about all these big companies moving tens of thousands of jobs overseas, good high-paying jobs. It's time to bring them back. Our bill will actually bring those jobs back, rebuild the middle-class and lower taxes for families.

MACCALLUM: Well, let me ask you about passing the budget. Because there is some suggestion that some of the sorts of sticky wickets in the actual tax deal might bog down the passage tomorrow. And one of those is whether or not states will be able to deduct the state and local taxes from their federal taxes. This is an issue that affects one-third of all filers. They've had this benefit since 1913. Is that going to be taken away from a place like New York, New Jersey, and California?

SCALISE: We've actually been meeting and negotiating with the members from the states that are most affected. And, of course, we look at states like New York, New Jersey, California, and Illinois; they're very big utilizers of that deduction. So, we're working with the members to try to find some kind of -- some kind of agreement where we can protect them, but also make sure that we cut taxes for the families across the board, and that's -- the real focus of our tax cut plan is to simplify the tax code. Over 90 percent of American families under our bill will actually be able to do their taxes on a postcard. So, just imagine what that means to families that don't have to go hire a CPA.

MACCALLUM: I hear you. I just want to go back to that part just one second. Are you saying that you're getting closer to an agreement on that salt issue, and whether or not they'll still be able to enjoy that deduction? Are you getting closer on that?

SCALISE: We've had a number of meetings and we'll have more meetings, that really is more focused on the tax reform bill. It's not part of the budget.

MACCALLUM: But is anybody looking for an assurance on that before they vote "yes" tomorrow?

SCALISE: There are some members that I think would like to see it solved prior to voting on the budget. But we're not there, but we're still having good talks. And look, these members, especially you look at the members of the New York delegation, New Jersey, you know over in California, and Illinois.

MACCALLUM: But Republicans don't care about those voters.


SCALISE: These are Republican members. We actually have a lot of Republicans from those districts and states, but they, you know, they still are more overwhelmingly Democrat.


SCALISE: But it's still a lot of really good members that want to try to find a solution, and we're going to keep working with them throughout this process. We're just getting started. The bill hasn't been filed yet. We have to get the budget done first. But, ultimately, this is a bill that only needs 51 votes in the senate. President Trump is all in. And this would be the biggest win for the American families in terms of actually getting the economy back on track.

MACCALLUM: You know they're watching the detail closely as you know, and the 401(k) issue. Tell me what do you think about that because people are used to be able to deduct up to $18,000 tax-free, and the word is that it could go down as low as $2,300, is that true?

SCALISE: I haven't seen the details because the bill hasn't been followed, but I know President Trump himself has weighed in on this. And look, this is an important benefit to so many middle class families to invest in 401(k)'s. Savings are a good thing. You want to encourage that. And so I think you're going to see more opportunities for people to save under our bill. Because, again, it's going to cut taxes for families all across the board, and it's going to make America competitive, so we can bring tens of thousands of jobs back to America that left.

MACCALLUM: And one of the concerns is that people don't use those 401(k) plan to the extent that they can.

SCALISE: Well, people should. I mean, it's a great opportunity. People invest for their retirement. MACCALLUM: Steve Scalise, thank you very much. Good to see you again.

SCALISE: Good to be here.

MACCALLUM: Take care. So coming up next, still ahead, new fallout from a bomb shell report on the opioid crisis in this country.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: This is an industry that's out of control. What they want to do is do what they want to do and not worry about what the law is. And if they don't follow the law in drug supply, people die. That's just it. People die.


MACCALLUM: Up next, a close and personal look at the prescription drug crisis raging in neighborhoods all across this country. We'll speak to a father who lost his son to it, and a lawmaker who is trying to stop it. And dramatic new testimony today in the Bowe Bergdahl case. Will it put him behind bars?


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: May as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs. They got what they wanted. The people who want to hang me, you'll never convince those people.




TRUMP: We're going to be doing a very, very important meeting sometime in the very short -- very near future on opioids. In terms of declaring a national emergency, which gives us power to do things that you can't do right now.


MACCALLUM: That was President Trump as he said expected to make a big announcement possibly as soon as tomorrow on the nation's opioid crisis. It is a dire situation sum at best in a sobering new piece from Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He says we find ourselves in the middle of an opioid epidemic that is the worst drug crisis in American history. It is a self-inflicted wound and one that is predominately made in America, as we consume more than 80 percent of the world's supply of opioid pain pills, even though we are less than 5 percent of the world's population. Many of those prescriptions have led to heroin use, three out of four new heroin users started with prescription narcotics. This comes on the heels of an explosive CBS 60 Minutes-Washington Post report questioning Congress' role in the crisis.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I just don't understand why Congress would pass a bill that strips us of our authority in the height of an opioid epidemic in places like Congressman Marino's district, and Congressman Blackburn's district. Why are these people sponsoring bills when people in their back yards are dying from drugs that are coming from the same people that these bills are protecting?


MACCALLUM: Week and a half after that report first broke, Congress is turning the tables. They're demanding answers from the DEA.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've heard the frustration with this panel for not getting information we need from the DEA.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to recommend to the chairman that we bring the wrath of this committee down on DEA.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that subpoenas may be really considered in this point.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Do I simply need to issue a subpoena because we are done waiting.


MACCALLUM: Joining me now, the chair of Energy and Commerce, who you just saw, Greg Walden from Oregon. He's joined by Don Flattery who lost his son to opioid abuse, and former drug czar Gil Kerlikowske. Gentlemen, thanks very much, all of you for being here today. Don, I want to start with you because the numbers that I just read for you, they are not just numbers. They are personal.

DON FLATTERY, LOST SON TO OPIOID ABUSE: They are indeed. First, thank you for having me and thank you for covering this story. They are very personal. If I could begin with a little bit of a description of my son, my son is the new face of the addiction epidemic that's striking this country. He had all of life God's blessings, was raised in a stable two- parent family home, attended an all boy's Jesuit prep school right in Washington, D.C., was a great student and a graduate of the University of Virginia. He was talented writer and film maker, and he pursued his passion in Hollywood, and while suffering from depression and anxiety, began self-medicating with a widely available prescription opioid OxyContin. People like my son represent -- and his journey represents the new face of addiction because they're -- their losses and their lives, they're real people and the public needs to understand that it's affecting a whole generation of people.

MACCALLUM: I think people are starting to understand that we're not talking necessarily in all of these cases about, you know, people in inner cities. We saw the crack epidemic decades ago. This is such a different situation. Representative Walden, you know, this argument that the DEA, that legislation was passed in congress, that actually impeded the DEA from closing down some of these pill mills in places like, you know, small towns in West Virginia with hundreds of people in the town, and they've got hundreds of thousands of pills going there. Is that true?

REP. GREG WALDEN, R-ORE.: No. In fact, in the hearing today, we showed the chart going back to 2011 where the DEA stopped using the authority that they now say was taken away from them. They went from 65 cases down to 8 before the bill was ever passed. So we asked the DEA, tell us if this is a problem, we'll change the law. There's no question about it. We've asked everybody there. Our duty is to go back and look at laws that were passed, which we were doing today on all courses and say, what do we need to do as a team to get after this. Let me talk about West Virginia, it's a town of 400 people. Nine million pills went through there in two years. We have asked the DEA for months and months and months, who are the distributors? They say we've got to check and see if there's a criminal case. Then they came back a month later and said, well, there's no criminal case.

MACCALLUM: Are they protecting these distributors?

WALDEN: I have no idea. I'm fed up with it.

MACCALLUM: That's what their argument was on 60 Minutes that they're protecting the distributors.

WALDEN: We're going to find out. And as you heard in the comments from the committee meeting today, I have the authority to issue subpoenas. I will do that if we don't get cooperation here. We should be on the same team. We're losing lives. His story is similar.

MACCALLUM: Is it pharmaceutical lobbyists that are causing this problem?

WALDEN: Not that I'm aware of. We'll find out if they are, we'll go after them, too. The issue here is how do we protect the lives of innocent Americans. This is such a potent drug that people -- chemistry changes, getting off of it is almost impossible. I had a roundtable with a very similar circumstance. A father said my son was injured in a high school football accident, got on there and he ended up on heroin.

MACCALLUM: Let me ask Gil because you're a former drug czar for this country. You need to look at it from the big picture in terms of how to attack this. What's your advice?

GIL KERLIKOWSKE, FORMER DRUG CZAR: So only one person, actually, in the entire administration can decertify a budget of any part of the executive branch, and that's the drug czar along with the president and the OMB director. You bring in that position everybody together, health and human services, the department of defense, the department of justice, to go after whatever the particular drug problem is, and that's the long history of this. It's important tomorrow to watch and listen carefully to the president's announcement. The treatment issue has to be fully funded without quality treatment.

MACCALLUM: He says he makes it a national emergency it will give them more power, is that true?

KERLIKOWSKE: There are some things that can be done for instance. It also brings to the attention of the American public the crisis as you saw with Dr. Gupta. It brings that -- they have that tension to the problem, but I think the treatment money that's expensive. But we know the treatment works. We know that there're people all over this country that have recovered from opioid addiction and are serving -- they're tax-paying good citizens, so treatment.

MACCALLUM: Don, let me ask you, who do you think is central to fixing this problem? You know, when you sort of rail at whatever system this allowed to perpetuate, who do you feel that towards?

FLATTERY: I think there're multiple parties that are complicit in the anatomy of this epidemic explosion. Clearly, and without question, the over prescription and overuse of opioid drugs for conditions for which they were never intended is directly implicated. Even today with -- despite considerable time, energy, and attention by health professionals, medical professional, clinicians and elected officials, the overdose statistics continue to climb in a very, very gruesome manner.

MACCALLUM: And you all know that doctors are incredibly sensitive to this suggestion. That there's overprescribing. Now we all know that most doctors have the best intentions and don't to this. But it only takes one place where you've got nine million pills going through that someone is allowed to distribute those pills.

WALDEN: In the legislation we passed last year, different than what you saw on 60 Minutes, the care act is designed to get at the issues you raised. For example, you used to be that you couldn't issue a partial prescription for painkillers, so you've got the whole jar, right?


WALDEN: Now we allow partial. We set up all kinds of requirements to go in and look at best practices for pain management. The thing you have to be careful here is 27 million Americans also have chronic pain. We don't want to go so far that they can't be treated. You have cancer patients, so we're trying to walk that line. But there's no excuse.

MACCALLUM: With someone with minor surgery there's no reason for them to go home with 30 opioid pills.

WALDEN: That's exactly right. So we also need to be able to get those pills off the market because a lot of what ends up in the black market is out of people's medicine cabinets, unused pills.

MACCALLUM: So true. Thank you very much, all of you, for your time and your energy. And we're sorry for your loss and we thank you for the work that you're doing.

FLATTERY: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Coming up next, dramatic testimony today from the U.S. troops injured while searching for Bowe Bergdahl, as the navy seal breaks down while describing what happened to him and his military dog when he was out there looking for Bowe Bergdahl. He says someone is going to get killed trying to rescue him. More on that. Also, North Korea ramps up the rhetoric with a chilling warning for the United States. General Anthony Tata is here on why we are now moving more carrier groups in when we come back.


MACCALLUM: Dramatic new testimony today in the Bowe Bergdahl sentencing hearing as a judge considers whether or not Bergdahl should go to prison for deserting his post. The military court hearing from troops who put their lives on the line trying to find him while he was being held by the Taliban, among those to take the stand, a navy seal who ultimately suffered a career-ending injury during the mission, a mission also during which his dog who he loved very much was killed. Fox's Jonathan Serrie has that story for us from Atlanta.

JONATHAN SERRIE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. Today, the court heard about the human toll involved with the search for Bowe Bergdahl when the army sergeant walked off of his post in Afghanistan in 2009. A search party endured days of hot, grueling, unsanitary condition and took enemy gun fire. A former Navy SEAL who sustain injuries during that search tearfully described Remco a trained military service dog who was fatally shot during the mission. When first given that mission, James Hatch, as he predicted, someone is going to get killed trying to rescue him. He said his entire team was well aware the soldier had walked off his post, but decided to try to rescue him anyway because Bergdahl was an American and had a mom.

The court also heard from Bergdahl platoon leader Captain John Billings who explained the mission was to bring Bowe home. We leave no man behind. The military judge says he's still considering defense arguments that President Trump may have tainted the sentencing when he briefly referred to comments he made during the presidential campaign. Back then, he described Bergdahl as a dirty rotten traitor. The defense argues as commander-in-chief, Mr. Trump may have had what's called an unlawful command influence on this military court.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, the idea is that if someone higher in the chain of command than the accused sends some kind of a message, a signal, either direct or indirect to the decision makers. That would be a violation of due process and it can be used as a defense.


SERRIE: The judge is also likely to weigh the suffering Bergdahl endured after he was captured by the Taliban. They threaten and tortured him for five years until he was released in a prisoner swap negotiated by the Obama administration. As part of that swap, five Taliban detainees were released from Guantanamo Bay, something the judge is also likely to consider as the sentencing hearing continues. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Thank you, Jonathan. Joining us now, retired Brigadier General Anthony Tata, author of The Siege. General, good to see you tonight.


MACCALLUM: This has been a very difficult chapter all around when you look at the injuries that happened from people that were looking for him, searching for him. When you hear their words about why they looked for him, he was one of us, we knew he deserted, but he had a mom, and they went to find him.

TATA: Right. That's every soldier's conflict, right? Because they know that Sergeant Bergdahl abandoned his post. And the first duty, the first lesson that any private or lieutenant learns is never quit your post. That is general order number 1. Never quit your post. And so, there's desertion and then there's misbehavior before the enemy, which is actually the more serious of the two crimes. And that's where endangering your comrades comes into play. And so, as he quit his post and as he wandered into the Afghan wilderness, the teams that went out looking for him, as we've just heard, were endangered, and he caused that to happen.

And so, as we look at the punishment that may or may not come from his trial, we have to ask where is the justice for those that were wounded and killed looking for Sergeant Bergdahl because that is the real question here. Just like in any trial, where is the justice? And it's less about Bergdahl and more about the men that we just heard about.

MACCALLUM: Jumping to another subject. North Korea. We have now more than two carrier groups in the area. What does that signals you?

TATA: Well, there's three. There's Nimitz, Roosevelt and Reagan. Anytime we have two, which usually meant we're going to go to combat, and now we've got three in the same area, and it tells me that we're tightening the screws from a military element of power standpoint on North Korea. It tells me that things are very tense in that region. We know this. The element of power, the economic piece that's working, and North Korea is being squeezed hard economically. You've got the information power, the words going back and forth. You have diplomatic power, and now you've got military powers, three carrier strike groups. That is -- we're poised to do something if we have -- that's expensive.

MACCALLUM: Show of force, as well. The president heads to the region. Shortly, he's headed to South Korea. One more subject while I got you, Niger. There's a report tonight that in the wake of the loss of four U.S. soldiers, we're ramping up efforts to use drones in the area and lethal force.

TATA: Well, Martha, we've been ramping up efforts to use drones in that area. We've got a drone base that's been under construction in that region for over a year now. And so that -- the terrorists that seek sanctuary, part of the mission that came out of Afghanistan was to deny terrorists sanctuary. And so this is where ISIS and al-Qaeda have been fleeing to, Libya, Mali, Niger, in those areas. And so it's right that we have that drone base there. It's right that we've got the green berets there and perhaps other national assets on the ground as well.

MACCALLUM: General Anthony Tata, thank you very much. Always good to see you, sir

TATA: Good to see you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So coming up in just a moment, as we move on through the course of The Story tonight, we will have more for you from Washington, D.C., when we come right back.


MACCALLUM: We have some breaking news just coming in, and it is that the department of justice is now saying that they will provide the FBI informant who was essentially embedded in the deals that led to the sale of uranium one to Rosatom, the Russian company, that he will now be available to the committees on the hill that wants to ask him questions about the Clinton Foundation about uranium one and all of those developments. So that is new tonight, and we will follow up on that tomorrow night more on The Story. And also today, the president was in Texas to look at the progress being made after Hurricane Harvey.


TRUMP: I just want to say I'm very proud of all of you, everybody at this table. And keep it going. And we're going to look at the concept of a more permanent solution.


MACCALLUM: So that was President Trump earlier today. He was in Texas thanking the emergency workers and all of those who have put in a lot of hard work on the hurricane relief effort there. The August storm created catastrophic flooding across the Lone Star State. I visited Houston shortly after the storm to tour some of that damage, and I met a firefighter, Scott Beale, whose home was devastated. Tonight's quote comes from Scott. He send us this update, he said unfortunately our flooded home is frozen in time, figuratively speaking, sad to say that no one is back on our street. The one thing we know, we're staying because the community loves us and we love the community and we are Houston strong.

We wish them well. Good to be in D.C. tonight. See you back in New York tomorrow night. Tucker Carlson is next.

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