Reps. Gowdy, Goodlatte on Strzok's anti-Trump bias

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," June 19, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SANDRA SMITH, GUEST HOST: Tonight, President Trump, not only remains defiant, he is digging in and standing by his zero-tolerance policy at the border. Vowing to stop illegal immigrants from, "Infesting our country," despite mounting pressure from Democrats, Republicans, and a Hollywood elite.

Good evening everyone, I'm Sandra Smith, in for Martha MacCallum, tonight. The president just wrapping up a closed-door meeting with Republicans in Congress. And the way he sees it, it's their problem to fix.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP,: We can either release all illegal immigrant families and minors who show up at the border from Central America, or we can arrest the adults for the federal crime of illegal entry.

Those are the only two options, totally open borders or criminal prosecution for law-breaking.

So what I'm asking Congress to do is give us a third option, which we have been requesting since last year. The legal authority to detain and promptly removed families together as a unit.


SMITH: But until that happens, we're stuck with these pictures and heartbreaking stories of children separated from their parents at the border. Their mothers and fathers detained and charged with entering the country illegally. It's a policy that's been on the books since 2005 but wasn't strictly enforced until now.

And according to a majority of Trump supporters, it's about time. 62 percent approved, 28 percent are against. The obvious adversary, Trump opponents who disapproved by a whopping 94 percent.

Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry is live at the White House for us tonight. Ed?

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, great to see you this urgent meeting between the president and House Republicans just wrapped up a couple of moments ago. The president did not take questions from reporters but he did say, "The system has been broken for decades." Obviously, talking about the immigration system.

Another sign, he is not backing down over the zero-tolerance policy. Earlier, before the meeting, he charges the Democrats want illegal immigrant to "infest our country", a clear sign that he's not backing down. But House and Senate Republicans are showing more flexibility. Saying, they'll support legislation that would allow children to stay with their parents, other loved ones while they wait for an immigration judge to deal with their cases.

And in fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, other top Republicans, also perhaps, seeking a political lifeline, feeling the heat, and embracing legislation to prevent families from being separated while they seek asylum at the border.

Here is the interesting thing. It appears that maybe for political reasons, Democrat Chuck Schumer is blocking this legislation that would help the children he says he wants to help. Schumer said he opposes this because he believes it would be easier for the President to simply fix the problem with the stroke of a pen.

But Democrats have also made clear they want to keep the pressure on the president because of those emotional pictures you mentioned at the border, they've been highlighted around the clock in recent days.

And at a House hearing today, on that I.G. report that showed major problems at the FBI, Democrats were open about saying they want to shift as much focus away from issues like that back to the border issue. As the president said, the real problem is enforcing the law.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, D-MD., HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: We will not keep kids in child internment camps indefinitely and hidden away from public view. What country is that? This is the United States of America.

TRUMP: We have to get the Democrats to go ahead and work with us because as a result of Democrat supported loopholes in our federal laws, most illegal immigrant families and minors from Central America who arrived unlawfully at the border cannot be detained together or removed together, only released.


HENRY: Now, the president's advisors have also been spreading video clips from recent years showing former President Barack Obama as well as Hillary Clinton, calling for immigration laws like this president is saying should be enforced.

And suggestion that migrant children should be sent back to their parents or other relatives to send a clear message that more kids should not try and make the dangerous journey across the border.

White House officials, meanwhile, suggesting me tonight, the President may be willing to sign one of these bills floating around the House and the Senate to fix this problem at the border but he also wants to include other key provisions. Money for building the wall, other border security measures, those are measures Democrats oppose. So, frankly, we're still at a stalemate, Sandra.

SMITH: Wow, Ed Henry, a lot changing even at this moment. Thank you very much at the White House for us.

HENRY: Good to see you.

SMITH: Joining me now, one of the congressmen who just met with President Trump. Texas Republican Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Mr. Chairman, thank you for your time tonight. We know you just spent a few moments with the president.


SMITH: What was he thinking, saying in that meeting? What came out of that?

MCCAUL: He's very enthusiastic, optimistic, he expressed in his words. He said, "I'm a thousand percent behind what you're trying to pass in the House. There will be two bills going to the floor on Thursday, the McCaul- Goodlatte bill, the original version, and then, the modified version.

Both are very similar in terms of the four pillars, border security as the president wants and both provide for a DACA fix. And I think, importantly on this issue of family separation, it also addresses that issue because it will detain the family as a unit rather than separate them out.

SMITH: What happens if you find out that it's not a family member, it's not a parent that's traveling over the border with that child?

MCCAUL: Well, that's the fundamental problem. As we've neglected the border in this crisis. In 2014, we had 20 million of these children crossing it's enticing to come over. And so, we have a lot of fraudulent parents. People that aren't even their parents saying they are the parents.

Now, as you know under the president's policy, the parents are now being prosecuted but we would like to see the families stay together or not separated. But I think, most importantly from my position as the chairman of Homeland Security is to have a border security bill passed for the first time since we passed the Secure Fence Act in 2006, that's a long time ago.

And this also fundamentally changes immigration to a merit-based system rather than a random lottery system or chain migration.

SMITH: How would success be measured ultimately if any of these eventually passed, the president signs it. And how do you -- how do you measure success down at the border as far as these crossings and detainments are concerned?

MCCAUL: One thing metrics are important. I think the operation could control the border, and you can't quantify that in terms of how many people are illegally -- it's illegally entering the country. And the fact is because we have these legal loopholes, and the beginning when Trump had the rhetoric about the wall, and such the numbers went way down.

The problem is they know that was just a rhetoric and that Congress has to change the laws and the legal loopholes. Otherwise, if they come they can stay. And that's the message that the smugglers and traffickers are selling to these victims at the price of six thousand dollars a person bringing them into the country.

We will never stop this problem until we dry up the deterrent issue and the legal loopholes that exist thoroughly.

SMITH: Mr. Chairman, I don't have to tell you emotions are high right now. And America is seeing these images down at our border, of these children being separated from their parents. When you look on at that and you see the disgust from the American people and even from members of your own party and on the other side of the aisle, what is being left out of this national conversation based on what you see every day?

MCCAUL: Well, I've been down to the detention centers many times and I was down in 2014. It is a very -- from -- on a human level, it is very -- it's very difficult and hard to see. But again, Sandra, we're not going to stop this problem. It's going to continue to keep going on and on until we fix our immigration system. And that's what we're trying to do on Thursday, in addition of fixing DACA.

I hope the Democrats will want to work with us to fix separation families issue.

SMITH: Do you think they do want to work with you?

MCCAUL: I would hope they would. I am concerned though, Sandra. They would prefer to use this as a campaign issue in the 20 -- you know, 18 midterm elections which I think is shameful because we have a real opportunity -- historic, to fix both the security issue and the DACA issue on a compassionate level which as the president said about 80% of the American people approve.

SMITH: Chairman Mike McCaul, we appreciate your time. Fresh out of that meeting with the president and your fellow Republicans, thank you.

MCCAUL: Thank you, Sandra.

SMITH: Katie Pavlich, news editor, and a Fox News contributor. Alida Garcia served as the National Latino vote deputy director for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign. And is the coalitions and policy director at Ford U.S.

I want to get your thoughts first, Katie. I know that this is an issue you have been on for many years and following the changes here and now the new -- this implementation and this enforcement by the Trump administration you've been listening in. What are your thoughts tonight?

KATIE PAVLICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: My first thought is that the child unaccompanied minor crisis is nothing new. In 2014, Townhall published photos from inside an (INAUDIBLE) processing center showing these children coming across the border and being detained in these facilities under the Obama administration.

There were a number of journalists who were doing this work, but it did not blow up into this national narrative. You fast forward to today, and there is a lot of focus on the enforcement side of this policy. And I know that zero tolerance sounds harsh, but zero tolerance simply means enforcing the law and making sure that there are consequences for actions in order to stop this problem.

This what we're seeing right now is a culmination of decades of not enforcing the idea that crossing into America without permission is, in fact, a crime. This administration is going after people who do that and hopes that it will deter people from coming here.

And inevitably, Congress is going to have to do something. Ted Cruz introduced legislation today, yesterday to try and stop this from happening and to keep families together. It's up to Democrats now to come to the table with their solutions to make this different moving forward.

SMITH: Alida, it's interesting what Katie just said there and you wonder about the effect -- effectiveness of this enforcement by the Trump administration as a deterrent. Another network happened to be MSNBC, had a -- had a family on. It was a father and son where the son had been separated from the father and he was asked a really important question. And I want to get your take on his response. Listen.


YASMIN VOSSOUGHIAN, CO-ANCHOR, MORNING JOE FIRST LOOK, MSNBC: Can you just quickly ask the younger Jose if he knew that he was going to be separated from his father when he came across the border? If he had any idea that was going to happen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A question from our Yasmin in the studio. "No, I did not know." Would you have crossed had you known that this could happen? "Maybe not."


SMITH: Wow. Alida?

ALIDA GARCIA, DIRECTOR OF COALITIONS AND POLICY FOR FWD.US: Well thank you for having me. It's really hard to hear words of zero tolerance being downplayed. I just -- I woke up in McAllen, Texas this morning, which is ground zero of the family separation crisis.

And yesterday afternoon, I spent my afternoon giving cough syrup to a number of children who had been sleeping on the floor in cold cages and all had a cold. And so, it's really important at time work that this time when we go back in forth with the politics of this moment that we understand these are small children who have been taken hostage by this administration in order to put forth a political agenda that incarcerates families at greater length in worse conditions. And that is just simply un-American to me.

SMITH: Katie, your response at Alida is making the point that this is politics over the care of those children. Your response to that.

PAVLICH: Politics is certainly involved, but if anybody knows what kind of children are, and the ages of the children who are in these detention centers. It's me because I've been reporting on this for years.

This idea that these children are not being taken care of is just simply not true. And when you look at the types of people who are coming over, 83 percent of these -- of the people that are crossing are individual unaccompanied minors that leaves the other 18-17 percent being family units, at least, they claimed to be.

There are very serious reasons why ICE is deciding to separate adults from children for the first reason being making sure that they're not being trafficked. The second reason being there is no proof that these adults are actually the parents of the children.

So, again there are solutions on the table to change the way this is handled. Is up to Congress to do this not the executive branch. The ICE is simply doing their job and enforcing the law. And you can say that this is a horrible humanitarian situation, but my question is why is it our fault? Why are we not holding accountable to parents who sent their children alone through Mexico? Why aren't we looking at the inhumanity of little girls taking birth control shots and bringing along plan B along the way because the horrible awful inhumane things that are going to happen to them as a result of an open border?

This goes again to the very crux of the issue and the strongly held belief that the left doesn't want prosecution of the crime of entering the country illegally, and that provides inhumane conditions for children that you were seeing today in those detention facilities.

SMITH: We'll go a last thought from you, Alida.

GARCIA: What is actually inhumane is that right now at ports of entry where families are trying to lawfully seek asylum in the United States which is not an illegal act are being told by Border Patrol agents that they are full, that they cannot lawfully seek asylum, and then, they are crossing the river and being separated immediately.

PAVLICH: Which is breaking the law.

GARCIA: It is our administration who started this policy a month and a half ago which has now manufactured this overcrowding crisis in all these systems. And we are traumatizing small children because of this decision. It must stop now.

SMITH: Right. We'll have more on this coming up in a bit but the President says he wants to fix the problem. The Homeland Security Secretary, Democrats, Republicans alike, it's the solution everybody's having a hard time coming up with right now. Alida and Katie, thank you.

PAVLICH: Thanks, Sandra.

SMITH: Well, this is a Fox News Alert. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo just announcing he will sue President Trump over the border separation policy.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, D-N.Y.: I believe personally that the act is inhumane, it's extortive, it's un-American.


SMITH: Some are asking is Cuomo really worried about the kids or his own political ambitions. Corey Lewandowski and Zac Petkanas are here to debate that. Plus a huge new development in the Russia investigation, a big day today. The Inspector General confirming he is looking into whether FBI agent Peter Strzok's anti-Trump bias impacted the probe, the Russia probe. Congressman Trey Gowdy and Bob Goodlatte who have been leading this charge, they will join me exclusively next.


REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: So I want to go back to the no, no he's not going to be President. We'll stop it. what do you think the "it" is and that phrase "we'll stop it"?

MICHAEL HOROWITZ, INSPECTOR GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: Oh I think it's clear from the context, it's we're going to stop him from becoming president.




CUOMO: Now there's been a lot of talk about the morality of this practice. We also believe that this practice is illegal and we are intending to bring suit against the federal government.


SMITH: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rumored 2020 presidential candidate as well announcing today that he intends to sue the Trump Administration over the controversial family separation policy at the border saying it violates the constitutional rights of children and families, a problem he called a moral failing and human tragedy. Here now Corey Lewandowski, a former Trump Campaign Manager, Zac Petkanas is a former Senior DNC Advisor. Cory, I'll go to you first. The New York Governor going after the Trump team.

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well it's very clear that this governor thinks he's going to be the next President United States as so many other potential candidates have thought about boards very, very clear is this administration is enforcing the laws which Congress passed. And if he wants to go and change those laws, he's welcome to lobby his members of Congress to make that happen. But the bottom line is this. As soon as you cross that border illegally, you have committed an act which is a disservice to all of the people who have stood in line and waited to get into this country legally. And this governor doesn't understand what that means and he thinks is his path forward but it is not, it's a path to failure.

SMITH: What's the Governor's intentions here, Zac?

ZAC PETKANAS, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I mean, look, I read today about a 10-year-old girl with down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage.

LEWANDOWSKI: Womp, womp.

PETKANAS: I read about a -- did you say wow, wow, to a 10-year-old with down syndrome being taken from her mother?

LEWANDOWSKI: What I said is you can --

PETKANAS: How dare you. How dare you. How absolutely dare you, sir. How dare you. we have infants that have been taken from their mother. We have infants who are stolen from their mother --


SMITH: Nobody could hear when you both talk.

LEWANDOWSKI: When you cross the border illegally --

PETKANAS: How dare you, sir. How dare you.

LEWANDOWSKI: When you commit a crime, you are taken from family --

PETKANAS: She has down syndrome when she was taken from her mother.


SMITH: All right, Zac -- hold on Cory. Let's get Zac to --


LEWANDOWSKI: If you commit crime, you are taken from your parents --

PETKANAS: There's a reason -- there's a reason why faith groups, there's a reason why 12 Republican Senators sent a letter begging this administration to reverse this policy. There's a reason why the Governor of New York is suing this administration to stop this policy. This policy is abhorrent. It is offensive to all moral people.

LEWANDOWSKI: Where were you during the Obama Administration when this policy was in place?

PETKANAS: This amount of (INAUDIBLE), this policy was not done during the Obama Administration. You were now lying about this policy in addition to saying --


SMITH: Just to be -- just to be clear, Zac, children were detained at the border under the Obama Administration.

PETKANAS: When it were unaccompanied minors. The difference now is they are accompanied minors. The Trump administration is forcibly making them unaccompanied minors when they take them from their parents and put them in cages and we have members of the Trump team who are going wah-wah when we - - when you learn about the stories of horror that's going on down on the border.

LEWANDOWSKI: When you commit a crime in this country, that's very clear --

SMITH: OK, Corey?

LEWANDOWSKI: When you commit a crime in any country, whether it is the United States or Canada or anywhere else, you are separated from your child. Coming across the border illegally is a crime. If you want the opportunity to come to this great country, the greatest country in the world, then you -- there is an opportunity to do that but there is a process to do that. And when people come across the border illegally, that's number one. You have broken a law of the United States and all of a sudden -- all of a sudden the mainstream media is concerned about those individuals who broke the law. What happens if a United States citizen with their child breaks a law somewhere else? They are separated from those individuals.

PETKANAS: What one-year-old is breaking the law somewhere else, sir?

LEWANDOWSKI: I don't understand --

SMITH: To be clear --

PETKANAS: What one-year-old is breaking the law somewhere else? Can you answer me that? What crime?


SMITH: Let's stick with what's happening though in New York State.

LEWANDOWSKI: When a parent breaks the law and their child is part of that crime, whether it's in the United States or anywhere else --

SMITH: Right, Corey, the President -- the President is a man you know well. Let's take this to the -- you are having the debate in the conversation that's happening around the country right now. Cory, the President doesn't like what he's seeing at the border. He's made that clear. The First Lady has made it clear. They don't like what they're seeing the border so where does the President want to take this? Where is he going to go with this?

LEWANDOWSKI: Look, it's very clear. It's up to Congress to change the law. This administration is implementing and following through the laws that Congress passed. So it's very clear. If Congress wants to change the law, they have that opportunity. But this administration is a zero- tolerance policy of the law that exists.

SMITH: Zac -- hold on. Zac, we just talk to Chairman Mike McCaul we said he needs Democrats to come to the table and needs Democrats to work and go across the aisle to get this done. Will they or are they just going to keep showing the pictures and talking about the children at the border?

PETKANAS: One person needs to change this policy and that is Donald Trump. They announced in a press conference in April that they were going to enact this policy of taking ten-year-olds with Down syndrome away from their mothers, one-year-olds away from their mothers who are breastfeeding. That was a policy change they enacted in April. One person is needed to change this law, that is Donald Trump.


SMITH: Real quick -- Corey, Corey, Corey, real quick. I want to get your --

LEWANDOWSKI: Go ask -- go ask your Jamiel Shaw what it's like to have an illegal immigrant come across the country and kill their son in cold blood. Go ask Jamiel Shaw what that's like, OK. Because when you come across the border, you've committed a crime and there are repercussions for that what.

SMITH: Corey, real quick. Your response to the U.S. withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council? Nikki Haley making that announcement today.

LEWANDOWSKI: Look, it's very simple. The United States stands on the side of Israel and that's what we've always stood on and this President stands on the side of human rights but he stands on the side of Israel and this is a clear, clear issue that the United States has been on and here's where we are, right? When this President moved the embassy, it is something that twelve administration's before him may have done and none of them followed through on.

SMITH: All right, last to you, Zac.

PETKANAS: The reason why the administration has pulled out of the UNHCR is because yesterday they criticize Donald Trump for his policy of separating children at the border. This is real allegation for that and it is a shameful, shameful act of a coward who is going after one-year-old and ten- year-old with down syndrome.


SMITH: This is not -- this is not something that -- not a sudden move by this administration --

PETKANAS: Why today? Why today?

SMITH: All right, guys, obviously heated discussion. I thank both of you for being here tonight. Zac and Cory, thank you. Well still ahead President Trump making good on another campaign promise and making China pay to do business with America so why are critics calling foul? Plus anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok just releasing a statement calling the questioning of his character politically motivated. Congressman Bob Goodlatte and Trey Gowdy, they are here fresh off of hours of hearings today to respond next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He ran the Clinton investigation, he runs the Russian investigation and he hates the president, but your report says that while his bias cast a cloud it did not impact the final decision, is that correct?

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT, R-TEXAS: Bias is all the way through this and I'm sorry that you were not able to see that.

REP. MATT GAETZ, R-FLA.: In this country we cannot live in a world where unelected people at the FBI get to shelter someone who I believe was actively working against the president.

REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.What is more textbook bias then prejudging this investigation before it's over and this one before it begins?


SMITH: New fallout tonight from today's heated hearing on the hill. That was the small piece of it. Lawmakers grilled Inspector General Michael Horowitz on why FBI agent Peter Strzok's anti-Trump bias was not found to be an influence on the Clinton e-mail investigation?

And tonight, Strzok is responding, saying those lawmakers are actually who are biased. A short time ago his lawyer releasing a statement saying in part, quote, "All of this seriously calls into question the impartiality of the disciplinary process which now appears tainted by political influence. Instead of publicly calling for a long serving FBI agent to be summarily fired, politicians should allow the disciplinary process to play out free from political pressure."

Here are now exclusively, Congressman Bob Goodlatte and Trey Gowdy who chaired the two committees that question the I.G. Horowitz today. Thank you to both of you and for your time tonight. Congressman Gowdy, I'll start with you first. I know that was a first you're hearing of Peter Strzok's attorney and that letter responding today.

GOWDY: I hope he says that when he comes from Congress. I hope that his defense that he's the victim. This is the same guy that said his fellow citizens, you could smell them that they were Trump supporters. This is the same guy that said the election should be 100 million to nothing.

This is the same guy who slept walked through the Hillary Clinton investigation and then woke up and got really excited at the prospect of ending the Trump campaign or ending the Trump presidency. I hope to goodness that he comes to Congress next week and that's his defense.

SMITH: Congressman Goodlatte, it's a pretty unbelievable statement that says he is the target of unfounded political attacks, political gains and inappropriate information leaks.

REP. BOB GOODLATTE, R-VA.: There is absolutely no question that all across our two committees, members on both sides of the aisle acknowledged how appalled they were by the statements that he made.

And many acknowledge that making those statements using government offices and government equipment is highly inappropriate. And it clearly reflected upon the distinction between these two investigations were his bias shows through clear and clear.

But in any event, I agree with Trey. We want him before the committee. He has now indicated that he would come voluntarily, but he has not pinned himself down on when. So we are eminently going to issue a subpoena to him to appear next week.

SMITH: OK. So the subpoena has been prepared but has not been issued yet?

GOODLATTE: It is ready to go.

SMITH: On the way. OK. So we should we expect to see Peter Strzok testify publicly next week?

GOODLATTE: We are still open to working with him but he needs to understand that he has to do it on his timetable not on his. So if he's going to appear voluntary his lawyer better contact us right away because the subpoena is coming.

SMITH: Well, I think you will hear that message loud and clear. Chairman Gowdy, you talked a lot about the timeline of this text messages today. And then, the big news that the I.G. is now confirming that they are looking into whether or not this FBI agent in his bias whether it impacted the launch of the Russian investigation, that is the question. Did it?

GOWDY: Well, it's the seminal question. If you look at the chronology, of course in late July of 2016 is when the Russia probe began. And you're not two weeks into it before Peter Strzok is saying we'll stop it with the 'it' being the presidency. We're not two weeks into it before he's talking about an insurance policy to make sure Donald Trump is never the president.

So keep in mind, he is two weeks into an investigation and he's already talking about impeaching the target of his investigation. They hadn't done anything at that point. I mean, two weeks, the paperwork is not even processed. But yet, he is already reached his conclusion on what the outcome of that investigation is.

Fast forward to what he's put on the Mueller probe, and he's talking about how important this is and how momentous it is and he's got to fix and finish what he's started with the Hillary Clinton investigation.

I have never in 20 years being a prosecutor seen a law enforcement agent with this amount of animus and bias towards the target, and I hope and pray that he comes next week and portrays himself as a victim.

SMITH: I think a lot of people at this point based on that set up are going to want to see that as well. But Chairman Goodlatte, as far as now the I.G. confirming that they are looking into Peter Strzok those text messages and his role in this launch of this Russia probe, what more after those hearing wrapping up today, what more do you want to know?

GOODLATTE: Well, there are a lot of things that the inspector general was not tasked with looking at. But he also -- let's just note, that same Peter Strzok was deeply involved the lead investigator in the Hillary Clinton e- mail investigation, and at the same time he was making the statements that Trey just referred to.

He was also helping a process that bent over backwards to not follow proper investigative procedures with regard to former secretary of state and then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

That is a shocking contrast of that should be allowed again to occur in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. So we have to continue to pursue that to make sure that the 2020 presidential election or any other future investigation is not tainted by this kind of bias and not tainted by the inappropriate procedures.

SMITH: Are you happy with the way things went today, chairman?

GOODLATTE: I thought it was a very good hearing and I think that many people were today on both sides of the aisle acknowledging that the decision that was made by President Trump, they don't some of them did use his name as recommended to by Deputy Attorney Rosenstein to fire James Comey was the correct decision.

SMITH: Chairman Goodlatte and Gowdy, I know it was really a busy day for you, a busy day in Washington. And thanks for coming on the program tonight. We appreciate it.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am.

GOODLATTE: Thank you.

GOWDY: Thank you.

SMITH: Coming up, actor Chris Pratt making headlines for his faith. His unexpected and inspiring message to his fans.

Plus the Dow diving nearly 400 points today as trade war tensions with China escalate. But Charlie Hurt, well he is here next and says we are already in a trade war.



PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP,: China has been taking out $500 billion a year out of our country and rebuilding China. I always say we have rebuilt China, they have taken so much. It's time, folks, it's time.


SMITH: President Trump insisting he is working to level the playing field on global trade. His latest tariffs threat of another $200 billion on imported Chinese goods has China lashing out calling it blackmail and threatening, quote, "strong countermeasures against the U.S."

Stocks taking a dive on the news today putting the Dow back into negative territory for the year, that's after a couple days of selling, dropping more than 400 points at one point in today's session before closing down 287.

Joining me now, Charlie Hurt, political columnist at the Washington Times and a Fox News contributor. Good evening to you, Charlie.


SMITH: So at least the market seemed to be interpreting this as a trade war. Or at least they are fearing there is one.

HURT: Sure. And of course, obviously the markets have been all over the place for the last couple months. But you know, in the main, Donald Trump is right about this. You know, we've been at a trade war whether we like it or not, China has been in a trade war with us for decades now whether it's stealing technology or stealing designs, and then of course taking, you know, millions of jobs from this country, either furniture, textiles or whatever into China.

Donald Trump ran a campaign promising to do something about it. And of course there are so many people that make a lot of money in this country or people in Washington who are unaware that we've been in this trade war for a long time because they're all making money hand over fist.

There are a lot of people in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania or in my state Southern Virginia, where they are not making money, in fact, they're not working. And they haven't worked since their jobs went to China. And Donald Trump won an election promising to put people on notice about this and to do something about this. And we can debate about free trade and all that kind of stuff but he is doing what he promised to do.

SMITH: And not only it does seem to be some sort of a shock or surprise that he's following through on that. And then you can go to pre-President Donald Trump, pre-candidate Donald Trump and see the businessman Donald Trump who spoke of being tough on China.

HURT: Sure it is.

SMITH: But he just had this meeting on Capitol Hill with Republicans about immigration. What did he do, I think it was Mark Meadows who stepped away to talk to Bret Baier. And Mark Meadows said the president started out the meeting saying don't worry about the trade issues with China.

This was his first statement leading into that meeting with Republicans. He doesn't want anybody to worry about this, he says he's got it.

HURT: Right. Because I think that and I do think that there is some wisdom in this. Donald Trump wants all of these issues, whether it's North Korea or trade or he wants all of them on the table as moving parts, that he can sort of negotiate different things.

And his, you know, if he is the master at the art of the deal then he can take all of these things and make it a win. Certainly, most importantly, a win for the United States. But something that, you know, China likes, too.

SMITH: You know, it's interesting though some of the publications that are looking at the winners, losers, potential winners and losers.

HURT: Yes.

SMITH: The Des Moines Register which did endorse Hillary Clinton this week putting out a big warning in their headline front page of their paper, putting out a warning what this means for farmers. But as far as losers Axios point out crude oil, U.S. coal producers, agricultural exports, whiskey, U.S. car makers. You know, looking at the near term in the long term here is one of the toughest things to do.

HURT: Sure. And there's no doubt at all that China is picking these products with an eye towards hurting Donald Trump's most ardent supporters. But again, it goes back to the same thing and that is that, we have been in a trade war for a long time with that part of the world and they have been eating our lunch. And Donald Trump ran an election.

And I have to say, you know, in terms of the fair traders -- and I consider my -- I think fair trade is not only good, it's also inevitable. But the bottom line is, if you are not convincing American voters--


HURT: -- of how it benefits them, then you're losing. We live in a Democratic republic and you have to convince them of that.

SMITH: Excellent point. Charlie, always good to see you.

HURT: Always good to see you.

SMITH: OK. Thank you. Well, next, we are used to hearing this from Hollywood.


ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR: I'm going to say one thing. (muted) Trump.


SMITH: But one A-list actor is making headlines for using his star power to spread the word of God. Bill Bennett on that message, next.


CHRIS PRATT, ACTOR: Learn to pray. It's easy and it's so good for your soul.



SMITH: He has a major movie star but at last night's MTV movie and TV awards, Chris Pratt didn't use his time to pat himself on the back or bash politicians. Instead, he offered the younger generation nine rules for living. Many of them touching on faith.


PRATT: Got is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you, believe that. People are going to tell you you're perfect just the way you are. You're not. You are imperfect. You always will be. But there is a powerful force that designed you that way. If you are willing to accept that, you will have grace and grace is a gift. And like the freedom that we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for by somebody else's blood. Do not forget that.


SMITH: Bill Bennett is host of the Bill Bennett podcast and a Fox News contributor. Bill, did they encourage you to see this actor stepped up there at a time when so many are taking an opportunity like that to get political and actually talk about God and faith?

BILL BENNETT, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS: Yes. It was sure encouraging. I remember I gave a speech once and I talked about the role the U.S. military and I said even in godless and in eviscerated places. And someone came up to me and said, no, no, there are no godless places. Then he paused and said, well maybe Hollywood. So there is Chris Pratt taking it right on.

And by the way, it's Chris Pratt. This is not the aging, sorry, Robert, but not age, Robert De Niro. This is Chris Pratt matinee idol. Have you seen "Guardians in the Galaxy?" have you seen the "Jurassic Park" new series? This is Chris Pratt, he's a heartthrob, he's a great actor. He's an action hero. And in addition, Sandra, what you heard, what we heard from when we played it, it's not just him saying it. Did you hear the audience cheering it?

SMITH: It's interesting. There was a big applause for them, and the reviews of his speech went over quite well.

BENNETT: Yes. Well, there was something in the speech for everybody and we know we don't have to go through all of it, as you know, if you read it all. But talking about prayer and God, you have a soul. And you know, actually for the social media users and his audience to say you are not perfect was probably pretty a good idea as well. Because that stuff tends to exalt themselves to a degree that it's unheard of in human history.

SMITH: You know--


BENNETT: So, smart advice from a smart guy and a good guy. "Guardians of the Galaxy 3" let's go.

SMITH: Bill, you wrote the book, "The Book of Virtues."


SMITH: And you wrote about the essentials of good character. This is something that you like to talk about and it's something you like to hear about. It's nice to end of this hour talking about that because if we're not raising children, we have friends raising children or grandchildren whatever it may be, and it's tough times. What's your message?

BENNETT: Well, the message is, the truth remains the same. You can no more invent a new value or virtue than you can a new color. They've been there and they've been there a long time. The interesting thing is that when a guy like Chris Pratt says it, we all sit back and go, wow, how about that. That tells you it's not an oversupply in our world or at least in certain parts of our world. I'm very heartened by it and very encouraged by it.

SMITH: Something that perhaps emotions are running high on today as we all look on that hearing on Capitol Hill, the inspector general report.


SMITH: And the inspector general himself was the key witness. In a hearing today we just talked to the chairman of both committees. It was a joint committee hearing. That report was made public last week and I know that you have been looking on and you have some strong thoughts on that.

BENNETT: First of all, I think people don't appreciate. That was a good segment you did with Goodlatte and Gowdy.

SMITH: Thank you.

BENNETT: And they're talking about just this report. There's another report coming out, this was a report basically based on the Clinton stuff. There's another report about Russian collusion and that will be out, too. And if Horowitz doesn't see great fact finding job he does in that one as he did on this one that will really be something.

The second thing is, history has a way of making certain kinds of statements emblematic of an age, and that statement, we will stop it, has a chance to be like Richard Nixon Watergate hearings, you remember, well, that would be wrong that's for sure. Or Bill Clinton it all depends on what the meaning of is, is.

We will stop it and it may go down in history. That will be close the chapter I think and I think it's a huge political and cultural win for Donald Trump who has been saying he has been vilified, it's been unfair. Remember way back in the campaign.


BENNETT: He said it was rigged. Well, it looks like some people really trying to rig it.

SMITH: It's great to get your thoughts tonight, Bill Bennett. Nice to speak with you.

BENNETT: Yes. See you at the LSU game.

SMITH: Go tigers. All right. We'll be right back.


SMITH: Well, that is our story for tonight. Don't forget to join Bill and me tomorrow morning and every weekday morning on the new expanded "America's Newsroom" from nine to noon. Bill like to hashtag that. Hashtag nine to noon. Join us. Thank you for joining us. Tucker is up next.

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