Rep. Trey Gowdy on Dems' behavior at Kavanaugh hearings

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," September 6, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL HOST: Some tough question from Senator Cruz, there. Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That's it for this 'Special Report.' Fair, balanced, and unafraid. "The Story" hosted by Martha McCallum, who's back in New York, starts right now. Hi, Martha.


MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Back in New York. It'd be -- it'd be terrible to lose the spot for the Supreme Court justice on a basketball question. So, I don't think you will. Thanks, Bret. Good to see you tonight.

So, breaking this evening, now dozens of top administration officials rushing to add their names to the list insisting that, "It is not me." Each one of these folks, they are not the author they say of the skating insider New York Times op-ed supposedly written by an anonymous member of the Trump administration.

The denials have been coming at a furious clip all afternoon. Now, late into the night as Trump loyalist line up to say, "It wasn't me." It wasn't me, either.

Good evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum back here in New York tonight. The White House in full counterattack mode calling the author of that piece a gutless loser as many of the media rushed to describe the mood inside the White House says they know it.


HALLIE JACKSON, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NBC: The president's mood is volcanic to use their description of the words, he is exploding at this furious.

CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, CNN: We got a real witch hunt going this time, and it's happening in the West Wing.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, CO-HOST, MORNING JOE, MSNBC: What do you think about that letter?

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, CO-HOST, MORNING JOE, MSNBC: Incredible. Incredible move by the New York Times, incredible letter, and not the way the White House is supposed to work, not normal.


MACCALLUM: So, there you have it. White House director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp, to respond to all of that in just a moment. But first, Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry, live with us here on 'The Story' in the leap with the late-breaking details. Hi, Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, great to see you, Martha. This is really on fire, right now. President Trump, fighting fire with fire. Charging this was a gutless editorial that amounts to an act of treason. And he got air cover today ranging from First Lady Melania Trump to most of his cabinet.

As Liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren, tonight went on the attack. Saying, it is time for senior White House officials to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove the president from office if they are really working covertly to prevent him from doing damage.

Warren lashing out declaring to CNN what kind of a crisis do we have if senior officials believe that the president can't do his job and then refuse to follow the rules that have been laid down in the Constitution.

Top officials, of course, are dismissing that attack as key people close to the president circle the wagons. The first lady, declaring the press should stop abusing the use of anonymous sources and slamming that anonymous official in the New York Times. Mrs. Trump, saying, "To the writer of the op-ed, you are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions."

There was a flurry of speculation that perhaps Vice President Mike Pence was a suspect because the op-ed used the word "lodestar," a rarely used word that was utilized by the V.P. when he talked about creating the Space Force.

Though, it's possible the real writer used that word to try and pin this on Pence, unfairly. His aides today made clear he has the guts to attach his name to any op-ed, he writes.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think, it's a disgrace. The anonymous editorial published in The New York Times represents a new low in American journalism. And I think, the New York Times should be ashamed. And I think, whoever wrote this anonymous editorial should also be ashamed as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. McGahn, did you write that op-ed?



HENRY: White House Counsel Don McGahn, there. The hunt for the mole led to that bizarre display of top officials having to not -- deny, it's them. McGahn, already under the microscope for his 30 hours of cooperation with the special counsel, telling reporters there on Capitol Hill it's not him, as he tried to Shepherd the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the High Court. There are now literally dozens of top officials.

Look at all of them, who have come forward with formal statements declaring they are not anonymous. With Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, saying speculation that he or his top deputy penned the op-ed is patently false.

An aide to the Treasury Secretary saying, it's laughable to suggest he did it. Of course, all of those denials keep the story alive a bit more as does the fact that Senator Rand Paul tonight is saying lie-detector tests should be administered to smoke out the leak. And by the way, the president has a political rally tonight, Montana, Martha. Pretty good chance he mentions this.

MACCALLUM: We have a pretty good odds on that. Ed, thank you. Good to see you.

HENRY: Good to see you.

MACCALLUM: So, joining me now exclusively, Mercedes Schlapp White House director of strategic communications. Mercedes, good evening. Good to have you with us tonight.

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: Thank you for having me, Martha. So, you just saw that huge panel with all of the faces of all of those people who have put out statements saying that "It wasn't me."

We haven't seen an official formal statement from you. Do you want to go on the record tonight to say that it wasn't you?

SCHLAPP: Look, it wasn't me. And you know, the people that know exactly who it is, is obviously the New York Times. I mean, this is just a disappointing and shocking that an anonymous source would go out there and pretend to say that he's the savior of this administration. This is obviously someone who doesn't know the president well.

I mean, at the end of the day, those of us who get to see the president inaction making very important decisions, bringing in his advisers, focusing on a variety of issues, and at the same time, pushing forward an incredibly successful agenda.

I have to tell you, it just shows that this individual is coward and focused on his own in self-interest and his ego. And quite frankly, he needs to resign.

MACCALLUM: There, you know, the responses are that the president was volcanic over this, is one of the words that was used. You're inside the White House, tell me what the -- what is the feeling about all this in there? And is everybody sort of looking over their shoulder and trying to figure out, is it you, is it that person? Who is it?

SCHLAPP: Absolutely not. The president has had a series of meetings today. Obviously, yesterday he met with the GOP leadership to talk about the Appropriations Bill. We're focused on policy, we're focused on his agenda. We saw this week the manufacturing productivity index come out. It's the best we've seen in 14 years manufacturing construction jobs are at an all-time high.

I mean we are focused on this booming economy. We are focused on the wins for the American people. It is why he's being so -- you know, it's why he is successful. It's why he keeps focusing on what matters most which is ensuring that we have a strong economy that our nation is protected. That's what matters to the American people.

MACCALLUM: Understood.

SCHLAPP: And so, when you have -- you know, I have to tell you, Martha, I've worked for two presidents. It is an honor to serve President Trump. And for me, it is incredibly hurt -- hurtful and disappointing that you have these individuals who are literally wasting taxpayer dollars by pretending again to be the ones to solve this problem here, and where there is no problem.

And so, it's so clear to me that if he has does not want to support this president, he needs to resign. It is the right thing to do. He needs to stop hiding behind the New York Times.


MACCALLUM: Let me ask you -- let me ask you this. You know, we heard this reports all the time. And in fact, we know we've heard them almost since the beginning of the administration that there are different factions within the White House. And that there are dozens of people who are working there, who like being towards the power center, but who -- you know, essentially are working against the President's agenda. You know, what do you say to that?

SCHLAPP: I can tell you here at the White House and under the leadership of General Kelly, and obviously I was brought in under General Kelly's leadership. It -- you know, there are processes in place. We are moving forward on the policies that matter. We're a team. We're ensuring that the president gets the information that he needs to make incredibly important decisions.

And then, when you look at our list of accomplishments, whether it's increasing our military spending, protecting our veterans, making sure that we're protecting Social Security. Focusing on an economy that we have not seen in a very long time. Historic numbers in terms of unemployment. I can go on and on, on the list of what we're doing. And it's frustrating to find -- yes.


MACCALLUM: Understood. And I -- and I can imagine that it would be incredibly difficult and frustrating. But I asked you, I can imagine that, that would be even more difficult if there were people who were -- you know, working against that agenda within the White House. Can you say unequivocally?

SCHLAPP: Well, and again, the New York --


MACCALLUM: That people who worked -- Now, I know last night Kellyanne was asked whether or not she thought of someone in the White House, because a senior administration official is a pretty -- you know, you could drive a truck through that title and…

SCHLAPP: It's a very broad term.

MACCALLUM: So, are you confident that it is not someone who works in the White House or even in the old executive office building?

SCHLAPP: Look, again, call the New York Times opinion editor and ask them. They know who this person is, this person should stop being a coward and come out. And let us know who they are because, at the end of the day, they've made it very broad very mysterious. A senior administration official, it can be a lot of people.


SCHLAPP: But at the end of the day, those of us who get to be with the President of United States who see him in action as -- he was leading these meetings, who is pushing forward significant and important policy that impact all of our lives, and doing a very successful job. Obviously, this is wanting to be a distraction from this anonymous source.


MACCALLUM: Understood, and he has -- obviously, it's understandably frustrating for him and nobody -- everybody wants a team that's all on the same page. So, you know, obviously, somebody is not on the page whether they're in the building or not. I thought it was very interesting --

SCHLAPP: Yes. But we stand together -- teams stands together at the White House.

MACCALLUM: I understand, I understood. You know, when you look at this -- you know, the Woodward book, and you look at all this stuff, there obviously there are forces out there that are trying to undermine what you guys are doing. There's no doubt about that.

And I thought it was interesting John Kasich came out today. And he's someone who -- you know if you ask people. Do you think anybody -- you know, in the party would ever run against the president, his name often comes up? And here's what he said when he was asked about this. Watch.


GOV. JOHN KASICH, R—OHIO: It's just chaos all the time. I mean, and it seems like he's the -- you know, the commander of the chaos. It's like there's a tornado every day. Now, that's fine if that's the way he wants to run it but what I can tell you is when you have all that chaos, how do you get in -- how do you solve the biggest problems?


MACCALLUM: Do you think there's any chance that John Kasich is testing the water and trying to figure out whether or not there's any softness, any opening for him to potentially run against the president?

SCHLAPP: Look, if he wants to go see chaos, he can come to the Schlapp house with the five girls. This idea that there's chaos here in the White House is just absolutely inaccurate. We are -- again, very focused on the process that we're looking at in terms of our policies. We're focused on the agenda that's incredibly important for the American people.

Whatever Kasich decides, let him decide. Obviously, he's lost the first round, we know that the president, President Trump in his campaign was incredibly successful. He beat out those candidates, and he is winning.

And it's amazing when you're talking about two Supreme Court nominees, when you're talking about the fact that we are working through in building our economy and giving Americans an opportunity to be lifted up and just job creation in America significant, significant accomplishments on our list.

So, for Kasich, whatever his agenda might be. Obviously, he's never been a friend of the president. But here's the deal, they're all as a Democrats, and as we know, they fear the fact that President Trump is winning. And that is why they will do what they can to stop him.

But we are focused. The president is focused. He will keep fighting for the American people and that's why they believe in what he's doing, and they believe that what he's doing is the right thing to ensure that we protect our country here and making sure that we stay strong abroad.

MACCALLUM: All right. Mercedes, thanks for taking the questions tonight. We appreciate you being here. Have a good night. Mercedes Schlapp from the White House this evening.

SCHLAPP: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, when we come back, Congressman Trey Gowdy will be with us to weigh in. And let us talk about chaos. And also a bit of chaos coming on at these confirmation hearings unfolding on The Hill. And does he have a theory perhaps on who the senior White House official might be? Not White House, administration official might be, when we come back.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D—CONNECTICUT: I'm going to take that as a no, which you are giving under oath and we can put aside the humor for the moment.

BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: Right. I'm not trying to be humorous, I'm trying to be accurate.


MACCALLUM: So there's a live look at Capitol Hill right now where it is still going on. It is an absolute marathon of questioning for Brett Kavanaugh who wants to be the next Supreme Court Justice. Aside from a few short breaks, he's basically been in the chair since 9:30 this morning when all of this started off with yet another bang. Democratic senator Cory Booker believed to be a front-runner potentially to challenge President Trump in 2020 releasing what he termed were confidential documents to the public.


SEN. CORY BOOKER, D—N.J.: I'm going to release the email about racial profiling and I understand that that -- the penalty comes with potential outs ting from the Senate.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN, R—TEXAS: No senator deserves to sit on this committee or serve in the Senate in my view if they decide to be a law unto themselves.

BOOKER: Then bring the charges.

This is about the closest I'll probably ever have in my life to an I am Spartacus moment.


MACCALLUM: So just in case you don't know what he's referring to. This is the moment from the classic movie with Kirk Douglas. Watch.





MACCALLUM: So that's what it is. So there's one problem here. According to a lawyer in charge of those documents, the lawyer in charge of them, they were already made public. In a statement to Fox News, Bill Burck says we were surprised to learn about Senator Booker's histrionics, as he puts it, this morning because he had already -- we had already told him he could use those documents publicly. Congressman Trey Gowdy, no stranger to wild hearings on the Hill joins us now. Congressman, good to see you tonight. Thank you very much for joining us.

REP. TREY GOWDY, R—S.C.: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Obviously, this is going on, on the Senate side but I'm curious about your thoughts about what Senator Booker did today and whether or not there was any reason for the drama surrounding it.

GOWDY: Only 20-20 presidential politics, Martha. They missed a wonderful opportunity -- the Senate did to have a robust interesting hearing about judicial philosophy and whether you're a strict constructionist or whether you're a minimalist. I mean, these are legitimate questions and reasonable minds can differ. What I've watched over the last couple of days was a bunch of people who want to be the nominee in 2020 and it's sad. I grew up watching confirmation hearings. I'm a little bit of a nerd. I think they're -- it's incredible to watch smart people question other smart people about important matters.

So you're seeing 20-20 presidential politics but you're also seeing at its core this division upon about what the role of the court is. Is it a super-legislature by which you can obtain the -- your objective if you can't get it at the ballot box or do you want people to simply interpret the law.

MACCALLUM: I mean, that that is ultimately the question in terms of how a justice would rule, what goes into those decisions, and how -- what their process is, and how closely adhered they are to the Constitution. But it didn't prevent people from trying obviously to try to read some tea leaves, to try to look at some of the e-mails and statements that he has made in the past, Brett Kavanaugh, that might shed some light on how he might rule in the future.

Here's Kamala Harris asking an interesting you know, question which doesn't really have a whole lot to do with you know, basic Constitutional questions but she wanted to know if he had ever communicated with one of the attorneys who at one point was involved in the Mueller probe. Watch this.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D—CALIF.: Have you discussed Mueller or his investigation with anyone at Kasowitz Benson and Torres, the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, President Trump's personal lawyer? Be sure about your answer, sir. Yes or no.

KAVANAUGH: I need to know -- I'm not sure I know everyone who works at that law firm.

HARRIS: I don't think you need to. I think you need to know who you talked with. Who'd you talk to?


MACCALLUM: She went on to say something like I think you may be thinking of someone and pressing him further on that. What did you make of that exchange? Is it -- is it useful?

GOWDY: When I'm sitting here thinking is every time we asked a question about Mueller, we're accused of undermining the Mueller probe so she's asking, of course, you know. But is it useful? It depends on what the factual predicate is. If she has evidence that Brett Kavanaugh has already made up his mind about some essential role, some essential issue that's going to come before the court, then she needs to lay out that factual predicate and get him to respond to it.

But do you know anyone who works at the following D.C. law firm is an absurd, ridiculous question that you would only ask if you wanted to appeal to the base and position yourself as a front-runner ahead of Cory, and Elizabeth Warren, and everyone else for the pole position in 2020. Then it's a really good question.

MACCALLUM: In your mind, did anybody -- you know, we're there any moments where you thought, I don't think that was a great answer on his part?

GOWDY: I didn't watch -- the House didn't work too hard today but we did work today so I didn't get to watch as much of it today. I watched all of the opening statements. I thought Ben Sasse did a phenomenal job of framing the issue of how you view the court. I did watch -- I've known Cory since I've since I got to Washington. That's not the Cory Booker that I know that I watched on television.

And the shame of it all to me is that is what ambition and presidential politics can do to otherwise reasonable people. That was the shame of it to me. That is not the Cory Booker that I discussed criminal justice reform with. That is someone trying to position himself as the frontrunner so he can take on Donald Trump. And I think, Martha, people are sick of four year-long presidential election cycles. I mean, they were positioning themselves from the moment he finished his inaugural address and I think people were sick of that.

MACCALLUM: All right, I want to play -- just to get to one other topic because The Daily Beast tonight is just putting out a news story which suggests that there are other people in the larger Trump administration who were cheering on and fist-bumping each other at the release of this anonymous editorial that came out last night and that there are you know, folks who are sort of lying in wait to make sort of the same kind of statements out there. What do you think about that?

GOWDY: Well, why do we have the right to cross-examine witnesses? Why do we have the right to confront our accusers? Why do we make children testify in a courtroom feet away from the people that they allege abuse them? That's how much we value the power to cross-examine and confront people who make accusations. You can't do that with an anonymous source. So if you really think this president is unfit, if you really are contemplating the 25th Amendment, then resign your job or go public.

If you think the fate of our republic hangs in the balance of what you're going to tell the New York Times editorial board, then show your face and deal with the consequences of it. But this anonymity and fist-bumping behind closed doors, how does that help us? If you have information and evidence, bring it forward, let people cross-examine, and test and probe the efficacy and accuracy of your information. But to hide behind anonymity, it doesn't happen in any courtroom. I'm not saying that journalists shouldn't rely on anonymous sources. You're welcome to do that. But when you're calling in the into question the fitness of the leader of the free world, it is not too much to ask that you step forward.

MACCALLUM: Trey Gowdy, thank you very much, Congressman.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am.

MACCALLUM: Always good to see you.

GOWDY: You too.

MACCALLUM: Thanks for coming tonight.

GOWDY: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: You bet. So while everybody is focused on this drama in Washington, President Trump may have scored a big win in North Korea by reopening the issue of nuclear weapons which appear now to be back on the table in a pretty positive way in terms of their elimination. Bill Bennett is here with that news out of the White House tonight when we come back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The record is quite remarkable that President Trump has faithfully followed the agenda he campaigned on in 2016.




TRUMP: An article was just printed, just came out a few minutes ago. Trump breaks the record for budget gridlock, wins, scores big win. So in 20 years, it hasn't been like it is now. That's just really positive stuff.


MACCALLUM: So as President Trump pointing out that his administration he believes has won big on the economy and on foreign policy issues that often get overshadowed by a lot of the discussion especially of during the few rough days that the White House has been enduring. So for more on this, we turn to Trace Gallagher for a look at some of the undercurrent stuff that's been going on while a lot of us have been focused on some of the -- some of the buzzier stuff. Trace, what's going on?

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: Well, Martha let's begin with foreign policy. Despite the Department of Justice today filing a criminal complaint against the North Korean hacker believed to be behind the 2014 Sony Pictures hack, and despite the U.S. Treasury Department's slapping that hacker in his North Korean company with sanctions, U.S. North Korea diplomacy appears to be moving forward.

Kim Jong Un told a South Korean envoy that he continues to trust President Trump and continues to work toward fulfilling the promise he made to President Trump. Watch.


CHUNG EUI-YONG, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, SOUTH KOREA (through translator): Chairman Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his commitment for complete denuclearization of Korean Peninsula and expressed his willingness for close cooperation not only with South Korea but also with the United States in that regard.


GALLAGHER: In response, the President tweeted "Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together." The North is holding another summit with South Korean later this month. Meantime, the president also appears to be winning the so-called trade war with China. A business professor and vice president of King's College in Manhattan wrote an op-ed for Newsweek saying that China was supposed to have the political strength and economic have to win a trade war with the U.S. but quoting here, with China's economy now evidencing strain under U.S. tariffs and the U.S. economy booming, its Chinese leader Xi who finds himself in a surprisingly weak position.

The op-ed ends by saying the president's willingness to challenge the status quo on trade leaves him in a strong position to strike a much fair deal. And experts said the trade war with China would lead to job cuts because of uncertainty among employers except jobless claims are now at the lowest level since 1969 and the labor market is viewed as being near or at full employment.

Finally many on Capitol Hill are giving the president and his team credit for breaking a 20-year budget gridlock. Instead of passing one big omnibus bill to cover the federal budget Trump and leaders of the House and Senate are passing bills to cover each individual department. Experts say it sounds wonky, but truly it's a big deal. Martha?

MACCALLUM: Big deal. Right. Trace, thank you very much. So, here now with more to weigh in, our big perspective person, Bill Bennett, host of the Bill Bennett podcast. He served as education secretary under President Reagan and he's now a Fox News contributor. Bill, good evening. Good to see you.

And this President Trump getting off of Air Force One, he has just landed in Billings, Montana on what looks like a lovely night.


MACCALLUM: They have a 9 p.m. rally in Billings, Montana tonight. When you listen to what Trace had to say there, Bill, those are a lot of significant advances.

BENNETT: Yes, how about that? So we have this situation that's, I don't know whether it's laughable or appalling on this op-ed where this guy bravely says that he speaks up to the president trying to thwart the president. What exactly is he trying to thwart the president for doing?

Getting rid of ISIS? Getting two excellent people on the Supreme Court? Lowering taxes? Stimulating an economy like we have never been seen before? Getting the Keystone pipeline moving again? Cracking down on MS-13 and sanctuary cities?

I mean, John Kasich was in a clip earlier in your show, Martha, saying it's chaos, and he is the commander of chaos. If this is chaos, let there be chaos. Let's have some more chaos. I m mean, he is getting stuff done.

MACCALLUM: You know, and it is, it's remarkable when you step outside of Washington as you do in North Carolina--


BENNETT: Yes, that's right.

MACCALLUM: -- and you sort of kind of get a feel for what is action in people's minds -- the cameras haven't found there. I was reminded of news item that happened, you know, last week that Mike Pompeo was supposed to participate in some of these meetings and the president pulled him back and said don't go. I'm not pleased with what the North Koreans are saying right now.


MACCALLUM: And then lo and behold, you have this extraordinary successful meeting between the North and the South. And Kim Jong Un wants to make it very clear that he would like to have those discussion continue about denuclearization, Bill.

BENNETT: Well, first North Korea and then North Carolina. North Korea, yes, North -- Mr. Kim, Kim Jong Un says he wants to deal with President Trump and he trusts him. This is something no other modern president or any president has achieved.

And in North Carolina, a friend of ours lives in a small town in North Carolina who just said she and her husband just said, this is garbage. This is nonsense, this is crazy. Who would care about someone writing anonymously for the New York Times?

So when you talk about the unhinged, I think that's a lot of the people who are taking this thing to the panic point.


BENNETT: I saw another cable station, I won't say what it begins, or what it is, it begins with C and ends with N. That they said total chaos at the White House. Everything is driven, everything is falling apart.

Well, if the record I cited just in part is what it means to fall apart, may we fall apart that way. The one thing this does do, though, doesn't it, Martha, it confirms what Donald Trump has been saying. That there is definitely a deep state. Definitely a lot to people out to put him down.

And let's remember the serious constitutional issue here, he was elected. This anonymous guy and his other people were not elected.


MACCALLUM: He's not. That's very clear.

BENNETT: And when you thwart him, you were thwarting the American people. You are thwarting the American people.

MACCALLUM: Yes, absolutely. You know, I can't help but wonder if this person who wrote this is, you know, thinking about their next job and if it's so insular inside the beltway and you have all these headlines about constant chaos, which may or not end up to be true.


MACCALLUM: But, you know, they think everything is about to implode, and they worry about their next job they're trying to make sure that it's very clear that they weren't necessarily in with the agenda at the White House so that they can maybe pave the way for a future pretty short-term thinking.

BENNETT: Yes. Yes.

MACCALLUM: Bill, thank you.

BENNETT: Yes. The Harvard Business School--

MACCALLUM: Yes, go ahead.

BENNETT: The Harvard Business School they talk about destructive innovation. So, thank you. Thank you very much.

MACCALLUM: You mean, that's an example. Bill, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.

So should Americans stop taking credit for putting a man on the moon? A movie thinks it's a good idea.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A large step for mankind.


MACCALLUM: That never gets old. Jonah Goldberg never gets old either. He is here to explain why patriotism and pride might not be such a bad thing, when we come back.


MACCALLUM: So that is part of the trailer for a new film about man's first trip to the moon. Providing a sneak peek at a glaring omission that has surfaced, not on the surface of the moon. Something was missing, America's most iconic symbol, the American flag!

And everyone remembers that incredible moment and the images that were sent back to Earth of the planting of the flag on the moon.

My next guest argues that Americans have a right to be proud of Neil Armstrong's strides and says, quote, "Pride and American accomplishment should not be a partisan affair."

Here now Jonah Goldberg, National Review senior editor and Fox News contributor. Jonah, welcome. Good to have you with us tonight.


MACCALLUM: You know, I mean, it's just like, it's really a head-scratcher to imagine why you would be able to stow a fuller story about what was going on inside Neil Armstrong's head, which is what the filmmaker he's very successfully, he did "La La Land" and now he's doing this with Ryan Gosling. He claims that, you know, somehow have would have detracted from me in some way.

GOLDBERG: Yes. I mean, I think they're a bunch of different ways to interpret this. One, you now, it could be just simply China doesn't like a lot of pro-America stuff. And if you take the flag out, it might sell a few extra million dollars over there.

But I think the real problem is that there is an unbelievable reluctance to just do the sort of basic old-fashioned pride in America accomplishment thing. I think the filmmakers are exactly right. Ryan Gosling is exactly right. This was viewed around the world as a human accomplishment. And that's something that Americans should take pride in.

It was a global accomplishments. It was accomplishment for all of mankind. As it says on the plaque, you know, one giant step for -- one step for men when giant steps for mankind. But it was also deeply rooted in sort of the American, you know, miracle that we're all sort of proud of. And there was only one country in the world that could have done this.

And the real point of the column was that, I think liberals are the ones who should have been much more outraged by all of this. I mean, how many every single Democratic present in my lifetime loves to do this, if we could put a man on the moon, we can have universal healthcare. We can do this, we can do that.

Barack Obama did all the time, talking about Sputnik moments and all of that.

MACCALLUM: That's right.

GOLDBERG: Well, every Democrat -- every successful Democratic president in the 20th century was a dedicated nationalist to one extent or another. You know, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Joe Biden, they all got into politics--


MACCALLUM: But here's the--

GOLDBERG: -- largely because of JFK and he was a nationalist.

MACCALLUM: Yes, understood. But here is sort of the elephant in the room, so to speak, right? That something about patriotism and flags, you know, seems to have some connection to Donald Trump, at least in Hollywood right now. That patriotism has become sort of a dirty word.

I mean, you have talked about populism being a negative thing, you're talking about nationalism being a positive thing. But people, you know, the definition between nationalism and patriotism, I mean, you know, is this an anti-Trump move in this movie? Is that what it's really about?

GOLDBERG: There might be some of that. But to be honest, the, you know, Hollywood has had the sort of cosmopolitan point of view for a very long time. You know, I remember one of the last "Superman" -- one of the preview "Superman" movies, you know, he sort of renounces he has American citizenship. He becomes a citizen of the world. I think that happened on Obama's watch.

This is a constant strain, and my point is that, if liberals want to do ambitious things, most of which I disagree with, they are going to have to draw on something other than pride in being, you know, by Tatum (Ph) humanoids. You know, you can't just say human pride is going to do all these things, you have to take pride in being an American.

I'm not a big fan of nationalism. I like patriotism. I think there is a difference. But I think the right is going too far with the nationalist. But one of the reasons they're doing it, is because the left is giving up any notions of patriotism whatsoever.

MACCALLUM: As Marco Rubio said, this is total lunacy and a disservice and a time when our people need reminders of what we can achieve when we work together. He said the American people paid for the mission, the rockets were built by Americans with American technology and carrying American astronauts. It was not a U.N. mission to the moon.

Jonah, thank you very much.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Good to see you tonight.

GOLDBERG: Great to be here. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So still to come on 'The Story,' President Trump about to take the stage in Billings, Montana, as the crowd is filling up the arena there ahead of the critical November midterm. We're going to go there live next.


MACCALLUM: We are back with this Fox News alert braking moments ago. The president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has now made a definitive statement to the Associated Press, saying that President Trump will not answer questions from federal investigators in writing or in person on whether or not he tried to block the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, also known as obstruction of justice.

Rudy Giuliani, his lawyer saying that anything related to obstruction of justice is, quote, "no-go."

Now we learned two days ago that Mueller's team would accept written answers on the subject of collusion, so this appears to be the next stage response from the Trump team. We'll keep you posted as we get more on that.

Also, as you can see on the right-hand side of your screen tonight the president has arrived in Billings, Montana. We are told he will take the stage in about an hour from now. It is the second time in two months that he has rallied in the state in support of Republican Senate candidate, Matt Rosendale.

And Dan Springer live in Billings tonight where we saw the president arrived moments ago, with the latest from the scene. Hi there, Dan.

DAN SPRINGER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Hey, Martha. The second trip to Montana in the last two months, but the third in the last two years. President Trump campaign here in Billings two years ago, so the people who supported him in Montana can't believe their good fortune they have so many trips from Trump.

Two months ago he was out here campaigning for Matt Rosendale who was the auditor of the State of Montana who was running against Jon Tester. He came back two months later and this is going to be a big crowd. About 10,000 people fit in the stadium. They are expecting this to be completely filled.

There is a very small number of protesters outside. All these people here are supporting Trump, we are seeing a lot of MAGA signs. We're seeing people chanting, USA! USA! It's going to be a big crowd and we're expecting Trump to be touting the economy, talking about the tax cuts, talking about deregulation.

What's interesting is what we'll hear, if anything about the op-ed piece in the New York Times and whether we'll hear anything about the Bob Woodward book.

I talk to some people who are in line beforehand, they say that they don't really care about these anonymous sources, they believe in Trump. They want Trump to be Trump and they don't really want a more civil Donald Trump either. Back to you.

MACCALLUM: All right. Dan, thank you very much. So Fox and Friends weekend co-host Pete Hegseth is also in Montana tonight where he will interview President Trump ahead of tonight's rally. You can see the whole interview tomorrow morning starting at 6 a.m. on Fox and Friends.

And he is one of the most outspoken survivors and heroes of the attack that took the lives of the four individuals that you see on our wall. But there is one story that Kris "Tanto" Paronto has never shared in public and he will do so tonight in his untold story. Next.


MACCALLUM: The deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 left four Americans dead and many Americans wondering why no backup ever arrived to help those on the ground in our diplomatic post.

One of the most outspoken heroes and survivors of that night, Kris "Tanto" Paronto has talked about the stand-down order and the sacrifices that were made. Yet, some of the scars are deeper than we knew. He shares tonight his untold story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody killed four Americans and wounded three others in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in Libya.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A day when Americans hope to pause and remember the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, they were instead greeting with the faces of a new age of terrorists.


MACCALLUM: I know it cut you to the core. And you say at one point you even were so low that you consider taking your own life?

KRIS "TANTO" PARONTO, BENGHAZI SURVIVOR: You know, you go through demons and nobody needs to feel sorry for me about that, we all go through of those demons. But when you come back and then your life is completely changed from being very secretive and then having a very public life. And seeing that those people that you were sworn to protect our calling you liars. It's a bit of a shell shock.

I have a lot more admiration for actors and high profile people, because people grabbing at you, I didn't want that. I didn't go on to the CIA to do this. I didn't go to the military to do this. And at that point in life, I was just trying to adjust to it. I didn't know how to adjust to it. And it was just sucking me dry. And I was like, I'm going to go home and suck start to, lack of better term, and I have since I'm in military talk in military tongue gets in to suck start a Glock, a pistol. I put it in my mouth basically.

MACCALLUM: There was a moment that you run into an older lady in an airport--

PARONTO: Yes, yes, I remember that.

MACCALLUM: -- who said that she believed you. And that she wanted you to keep going.

PARONTO; And all she said as she goes, are you Tanto? You know, and I was very abrupt with her. Because I didn't want to talk to anybody. Like, more or less, what you want? I turned around and said yes, ma'am, I'm Kris, I'm Tanto. And she goes, I believe you. Don't stop talking.

And that was early on. And I was like, well, maybe this is what I need to keep doing. So I kept pressing on. Having people there that said, you know what, we do listen to you, we do support you, we have your back. And that kind of person, an older lady, I know that she is a lot wiser that I can ever hope to be and saying you can do this, keep going. That gives you the strength to keep going.

MACCALLUM: Sometimes people give you a message, their messenger for you--


MACCALLUM: -- in one way or another.

PARONTO: Yes, ma'am.

MACCALLUM: I mean, obviously there is a real suicide problem in the military--

PARONTO: Yes, ma'am.

MACCALLUM: -- and among our veterans which is so tragic. Can you tell me a little bit about how you felt then? Because you were able to pull yourself out but there are going to be people out there who might find some solace and understanding how low you felt at that point.

PARONTO: You know, it's not a disorder, post-traumatic stress, I've been diagnosed, I have it. I was to play with it for many years. Men and women they find themselves traveling down that road and not able to pull themselves back up and that's when they end their lives.

And there were just a time where I did. What I did is I went to the V.A. and people didn't know this, I will tell you right now. I went to the V.A. hospital in Omaha. I checked myself in, I gave my cell phone. I said here, take this. Check me in. I won't be in here until it's time for me to go.

It helped me recalibrate myself, get me back online, realize that, you know, life is short and I can't do it all this all by myself.

MACCALLUM: There is something you always do? What was that about?

PARONTO: The jumbo. Actually. It was started in Tunisia. It means good morning actually.


PARONTO: But how I developed that. I just kept throwing it out to everyone when I was in the area. It did help me idea if somebody would have freak me. That night, when I did it and that's not the movie, I did that. I was - - I couldn't think of anything else. I had no communication and it was what I knew to do. And I did it.

Paolo did a great job playing me in the movie. I mean, just that what he did was exactly what I did. And it was, OK, this might hurt but I've to do something. And I was out of options.

I remember that vividly, that smile that he gave me. And it was that genuine, hey, we're here. And I remember saying, they were with us on the radio to (Inaudible). I had a little bit of breakdown because of all the adrenaline.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are with us. They are with us. They are with us.


MACCALLUM: What does it say on the bracelet?

PARONTO: This is a KIA bracelets, a memory bracelet for Tyrone and Glenn. I wore it. I have worn it since I got it before we went to -- before I went back to (Inaudible) and after Libya. Actually I haven't taken it off. I don't remember taking it off.

In fact, you can even see being out in the sun. Yes, it's to remember Tyrone and Glenn and to, you know, remember what I'm doing this for and to continue to press on. I mean, they gave their lives. Those guys are the heroes. I'm here, I'm no hero. They sacrificed everything.

MACCALLUM: To them and to him for sharing his story with us. That is our story for this Thursday night. We'll see you back here tomorrow night at seven. Stay tuned. Tucker Carlson is coming up next in President Trump's rally in Montana still ahead tonight. Thanks for being with us.

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