This is a rush transcript from "The Story," April 1, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR: I am Martha MacCallum, and this is the twist in "The Story" tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The subpoena power is interesting, to use it or not to use it? It's a great arrow to have in your quiver in terms of negotiating on other subjects.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: A hamlet asked question from Nancy Pelosi and now, Democrats have decided to take that arrow out of the quiver, and they say, show us the full Mueller report. Every word, every comma, every period. Redactions are unacceptable.
And tonight, they say they will use subpoena power to get it. But remember this, not too long ago when then-House Intel Committee member -- Chairman, I should say, Nunes, released a Republican memo on alleged FISA abuses surrounding the Steele dossier. It was released unredacted, declassified, and with White House approval. Democrats did not like that.
REP. JERROLD NADLER, D-N.Y., CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: You're playing with the national security of the United States if you're going to release documents based on the classified information.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN., SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: The release of this memo is really reminiscent of the darkest days of the McCarthy-era. It endangers methods and sources.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL, D-CALIF., HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: They revealed sources and methods and -- in their memo. And that's what's so unfortunate.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF., CHAIR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We have crossed a deeply regrettable line. There was a vote to politicize the declassification process of intelligence, and potentially compromised sources and methods.
MACCALLUM: In moments, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, joins me. But first, Yahoo investigative reporter Michael Isikoff. Author of the book Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. Michael, good to see you tonight. Thanks for being here.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: Good to be with you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: You know, when you take a look at this, this report, this Mueller report. It's basically being gone over as far as we know by the Attorney General Bill Barr and by Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General, and Robert Mueller, the special counsel. All involved in figuring out -- you know, what needs to be redacted before it gets released. So, you know, is it -- isn't that a process that perhaps everybody should be in favor of?
ISIKOFF: Well, I think -- look, as a journalist, you and I should want to see as much of this report as we can, as do members of Congress. I mean, we've been on this investigation that's been going on for nearly two years now.
We've all been anxiously waiting for the results. All we've got is this 3- 1/2 page summary, and there are so many questions on all sides we have. So, let's -- you know, let's see it, let's see of as much of it as we can.
MACCALLUM: I totally agree, we should see as much as we can. I -- and I think that's where -- that's where the truth lies. You want -- you know, sources and methods to not be included in this report. It's all about Russian meddling in our elections and everybody knows that they will still continue that effort down the line. So I would imagine that anything that would compromise that would be something that most people would not want to include, except maybe, I don't know, Eric Swalwell, and some of the folks who have said that, that not even allowable.
ISIKOFF: All right, but look, I mean, you know, there is -- I know you'll be shocked to discover there his hypocrisy in Washington, but it cuts all waves.
MACCALLUM: No, I'm not shocked at all.
ISIKOFF: All right. I mean, Devin Nunes, who released that --
MACCALLUM: (INAUDIBLE), is exactly to be accurate.
ISIKOFF: Devin Nunes, who released that memo you cited in your intro is the same guy that last week said, we shouldn't see any of the Mueller report at all, it should just be burned. So, yes.
MACCALLUM: While he thinks that -- you know because he wants to see the other side of the story, which is somebody where I do want to ask you about.
MACCALLUM: Because you and I haven't spoken since the Barr letter came out.
MACCALLUM: But I -- you know, heard what you said on other channels. And you said that the Mueller finding undercut almost everything in the dossier that postulated a well-developed conspiracy between the Russians and the Trump campaign. Which undercut -- you know, a lot of where we were on the issue of collusion.
You know, are you curious now about the origins of that? You know, are you, as an investigative reporter digging into some of the other side of the story which Devin Nunes and the others have been talking about for a long time? Are you curious about whether or not this was as Daniel Hoffman says, 30 years at the CIA, a classic Kremlin planting of disinformation?
ISIKOFF: Look, you know, one of the hardest things to do on cable T.V. is to introduce nuance. It's not all one thing or the other.
ISIKOFF: There was -- there was a serious Russian effort to interfere in our election. There was a serious effort by multiple Russians to cultivate people who were close to the Trump campaign and in Donald Trump's orbit. There was a serious effort by Donald Trump to do business in Russia while he was running for president.
So, all that stands, all that is serious stuff we should read and find out everything that Robert Mueller found out in his investigation about that. On the Steele dossier that was certainly one element that was in the mix when this investigation began. And yes, there's a lot more we should learn about where that came from, where -- what the -- there was very murky sourcing in it. How it came to be written?
It does appear from the summary that Barr wrote, that the -- some of the principal allegations in the Steele dossier did not pan out. That wasn't a big surprise to me because I thought it was clear from Mueller's findings for a while that he was not getting the kind of traction that you would expect if the Steele allegations were true.
But, you know, I think at this point, given that the report is closed, we should wait and see in another week or two, we should see it, and then we could decide what remaining questions are still out there.
MACCALLUM: We look forward to it, and we will. Thank you very much. Good to see you tonight, Michael. Thanks for coming on.
ISIKOFF: Sure enough.
MACCALLUM: So, coming up now hear, House Minority Whip Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Good to see you, sir. Thank you very much for being here tonight.
REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA., HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: Good afternoon, Martha. Good to be with you.
MACCALLUM: You know, so your thoughts on the status of this effort to subpoena. That the full report from Robert Mueller, you know, you see that the shoe goes on everybody's -- you know, on the other foot politically on these things often, as we have just demonstrated. Where do you stand on this tonight?
SCALISE: Well, Martha, I think if you -- if you -- before the politics came in, everybody, Republican and Democrat wanted the report to be made available in full compliance with law. And here is where you seeing Democrats break where they're trying to say, Oh, well now we want stuff that's not even legally allowed to be displayed because what the real bottom line is they said for over two years there's going to be collusion with Russian. There was all this collusion.
Why, by the way, when we're talking about releasing things, why does an Adam Schiff release the more than circumstantial evidence that he's claimed for years he had. I guess he's got some secret information Mueller doesn't even have. He ought to release that. You know, so until maybe the -- they ask every American to get a paperback novel mail to their house of this report, they're going to try to make some kind of other political distraction to change the fact that they promised the American people for two years that there was this collusion, they smeared the president, they smeared family members of his, and it didn't turn out to be the case.
And so now, instead of admitting they were wrong, admitting they misled the American people for two years, they're going to try to create some other distraction to change the subject.
We should be focused on the bad apples at the FBI who were part of this investigation from the beginning, who had a political agenda. We know what happened, we don't know how many and how deep it ran. I want to see all that cleaned up so we restore the good name of the FBI.
And all these people that promised there was all these things like collusion with the president that never was the case, they owe the American people an apology.
MACCALLUM: I want to show you a poll that came out, this is an NBC Wall Street Journal poll. Does the report clear President Trump of wrongdoing? And it lines up with a poll that we showed last week as well. Does clear President Trump: 29 percent. Does not clear President Trump, comes in at 40 percent. What's your reaction to that?
SCALISE: Well, it's not surprising considering for the last two years you've seen every Democratic Congress and, of course, the entire mainstream media going with this false narrative that there was collusion. When the report finally comes out in its form that legally the law allows, it's going to show what we've seen in the summary. No new indictments, no collusion, which there never was, but they promised it.
And so, maybe then the American people will see the full picture. But the bottom line is people didn't elect this majority, Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker to keep her ass in the president and his family for two years. They were supposed to be focusing on the problems of every day or merit Americans.
We, by the way, are not only focusing on getting the economy back, helping increase wages for families, lowering health care costs, but also standing up for the lives of unborn babies born alive, Martha. We've seen it now.
In states like New York, the governor of Virginia trying to make it legal to murder a baby after it's born alive. This is an even part of the abortion debate. And yet, they want to allow that to happen. Right now, and almost half the states in this country, they don't have babies, don't have legal protection.
Under the law, if they're born alive, we want to give the babies those protections. We have the Born Alive Act and Waggoner's Bill. We're going to be bringing a discharge petition starting tomorrow to bring this bill to the floor. Let's have a debate, I think, the vast majority not only Republicans and Democrats, people who are even pro-choice think it's wrong to murder a baby once it's born alive.
MACCALLUM: Yes, yes.
SCALISE: Yet, they won't even allow that vote right now.
MACCALLUM: All right, so tell me about that. And I wanted to ask you about this, who is holding back the vote on this, and why?
SCALISE: Nancy Pelosi, because part of their radical agenda, look, I mean again, this is even beyond the abortion debate. But how radical is it that you think it's OK if a baby is born alive outside the womb to still kill it? Yet, in states, more and more states, they're looking at bringing this process to make it illegal.
MACCALLUM: So, why is Nancy Pelosi with what -- you know, you say everybody even people who are pro-choice are in favor of this, so why is she not allowing a vote on this? Where does she stand on this bill? And what would she say about why she is not supporting it?
SCALISE: Well, clearly she's OK with those babies being killed after they're born alive. I can't explain it. I think it's murder. Most Americans do, by the way, they're shocked that we need a bill to actually protect those babies born alive. Yet, you are seeing in states like New York.
The governor of Virginia literally describing these gruesome process and saying it should be OK. And it's not OK. And so, if Nancy Pelosi wants to block it, I think she is way out of step with America on this. And we're going to keep pushing these issue.
MACCALLUM: Oh, we'd love to hear from her, in why she is not bringing it forward. And what are her thinking is on it. Steve Scalise, thank you very much. Good to see you, sir. Great to have you here tonight.
SCALISE: Martha, it was great being with you. Thanks.
MACCALLUM: Thank you. So, coming up next. A second woman comes forward with an uncomfortable Joe Biden story. But are the misconduct accusations becoming the weapons of American politics these days, and what do you think about that? Coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TANYA RIVERO, ANCHOR, CBSN NEWS: If he were to be the Democratic nominee, and he's up against Donald Trump, who would you support in that kind of a match-up?
LUCY FLORES, FORMER MEMBER, NEVADA STATE ASSEMBLY: That's not even a question. Of course, I would support Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: OK, so here we again folks, the endless cycle of politics and the weaponization of accusations. This time it is coming for Joe Biden and so far potential rivals in his own party seem to be falling in step with what we have come to expect in these situations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN HICKENLOOPER, D-FORMER GOVERNOR OF COLORADO: Certainly it's very disconcerting and I think that again, women have to be heard and we should really -- we should start by believing them.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe Lucy Flores. And Joe Biden needs to give an answer.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that's a decision for the Vice President to make. I'm not sure that one incident alone disqualifies anybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So today another woman has come forward. Amy Lappos, a former aide to Congressman Jim Himes describing what happened to her at a 2009 fundraiser. She talked to the Hartford Courant. She said it wasn't sexual but he did grab me by the head and he put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth, she said.
So joining me now Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate and Robert Wolf, the founder of 32Advisors who has spoken to former Vice President Biden about running, both are Fox News Contributors. Gentlemen, thank you very much for being here.
Robert, as I was playing those rival -- potential rival candidates to Vice President Biden, you were shaking your head. What are you thinking?
ROBERT WOLF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I mean, I'm not going to discount obviously what the women have to say and they should speak up. But I really think that there's a spectrum we have to look at with respect to the #MeToo Movement.
There's no question that we have to respect what everyone says. And I agree with the candidates. Everyone should be able to speak freely. But the idea that some of the things they're coming out with, I mean it feels to me that we've kind of lost a spectrum.
But I do think Joe is making a mistake. He should announce that he's running for president and he should make sure he's able to defend his past but also speak about the future.
MACCALLUM: What do you think, Governor?
MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Gosh, I hate to agree with Robert. This hurts. This really does, but I do. And I think, first of all, Joe Biden is no sexual predator. That's nonsense. I like Joe Biden. I know that'll shock a lot of people but I think he's a good and decent man.
I think he's touchy-feely. I sometimes he's done things that even from my perspective as a southerner look a little creepy when he you know, hugs people and stuff. But I don't think that he is a person who is even thinking remotely about sexually assaulting anybody. And it's troubling to me that you have somebody who waits ten years, nine years, five -- whatever it is.
MACCALLUM: Just as someone is deciding whether or not they're going to jump to the race.
HUCKABEE: And the people who are making these accusations are people who have already committed to another candidate and then you've got the rest of the Democratic field jumping on. I get it when they say you got to believe a woman but you also need to believe the truth. And you don't know the truth just because somebody spoke it.
My daughter and my daughter-in-law have daughters but they also have sons. And when the #MeToo Movement started they both said, I want people to believe my daughter but I want them to believe my son.
MACCALLUM: Absolutely. And you know, I have to say, we've spoken about due process on this program. I think we sort of stuck our necks out and on it pretty early because of that reason precisely because it shouldn't matter. You know, there's a woman and there's a man in these equations and then there's the truth and we owe both sides due process in these equations.
Now, I think a lot of people look at what Joe Biden has you know, done snuggling people and he's very touchy feely and he's very affectionate and some people aren't going to like that. We know Stephanie Carter, Ash Carter's wife said he was consoling me. I had fallen down that morning. She had nothing you know, no problem about that moment.
These women found it a little uncomfortable but you know, what do you think about the fact, Robert, that you know, one of them is a Bernie Sanders supporter, the other one Amy Lappos, this is her Facebook header right now. It's all the Democratic women -- we can put it up -- who are running for office now.
And you know, I mean, I don't know what their motivations are but it raises that question, isn't it?
WOLF: Yes. Well, I'm glad you brought up Stephanie Carter. I read that and I felt great about it. I felt great that a successful businesswoman who is the wife of the former Secretary of Defense came to his support as did many other people.
What I don't like is that we have to take sides. I want -- I'm glad that these individuals feel they're getting off the chest what they have to, but I do not see this as disqualifying. I think to the governor's point, this is not sexual harassment. This is someone who is more affectionate than maybe we may be.
MACCALLUM: But what -- but you seem to be -- you're giving a pass to these other candidates who are using it in their favor instead of saying what you guys are saying and what we're saying is you know, look this on the scale of things you know making -- we can't live in a world where you can't you know, sort of touch someone or shake their hand or give them a hug.
Sometimes you're going to want that, sometimes you're not going to want that, but you know, I mean, these are all individual responses, obviously.
WOLF: Well, my wife and I have been with the vice president tons of times. And I will tell you my wife loves when she gets a hug from him because she has a such respect for the vice president.
MACCALLUM: So why aren't these other candidates sticking up for the Democratic you know --
HUCKABEE: It's a demolition derby, that's why.
MACCALLUM: It's a demolition derby. That's exactly right.
HUCKABEE: They don't want him to look good, they wanted to look horrible.
MACCALLUM: So they're going to go believe everybody. You know they're pointing at Joe Biden.
HUCKABEE: As a Republican, it thrills me to see the Democrats eating each other alive because it just means Donald Trump is going to get reelected. But it's a terrible thing for the political world when you have candidates who use the moment that a person is bleeding and they go and stick it to them.
MACCALLUM: I know. I want to play Vanessa Tyson now because we have followed this story too. The governor of Fairfax -- the Attorney General Fairfax in Virginia, this is his accuser and this -- I don't know where the story's going. Let's play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VANESSA TYSON, ACCUSER OF JUSTIN FAIRFAX: I was this woman working at a rape crisis center. You know, trying to -- like as a survivor speaker -- trying to empower survivors of sexual assault.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're a survivor of what?
TYSON: Of incest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So she says that she -- this lieutenant governor -- excuse me, identified him incorrectly. You know, that he took advantage of her and raped her and you know, I think people -- this Virginia story was a big deal and I think people want to know you know, where's this -- what about this? This is a very serious accusation here.
WOLF: Well, I think it goes to what we said earlier, the governor and Martha is what we said there's a spectrum right. And I think that the idea of #MeToo Movement I don't think was about --
MACCALLUM: Why aren't these Democratic candidates calling for a more attention on this case?
WOLF: I think they're talking about criminal here. So this draws a line that you know, that's a criminal offense. So that's where it falls in a completely different line.
HUCKABEE: And it's a much more serious issue to assault or to rape someone or to force oneself sexually on a person than it is to go up with 50 cameras rolling and go up and hug somebody, or to lean and whisper in their ear.
I mean, Joe Biden never is accused of inviting someone up to his hotel room, or being alone with someone. He's a very touchy-feely guy. He does it publicly.
MACCALLUM: Well, that's what I'm saying. I mean criminal accusations are very serious --
HUCKABEE: That's a very different thing.
MACCALLUM: They need to be followed up on.
MACCALLUM: And we need to make sure that you know, we don't get sort of drawn into these other stories and we leave these other ones behind because it's important. Gentlemen, thank you very much. Good to see you both.
WOLF: Thank you for having me.
HUCKABEE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Coming up next, Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels lawyer who has now cut ties with him back in federal court today on fraud charges. Have you read about the accusations here? He failed to disclose according to these charges millions of dollars in income to the IRS, lied on the bank documents, and it goes on and on and on. The race cars, the Porsches in Neiman Marcus when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER: I am nervous. I'm concerned. I'm scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Michael Avenatti appearing in a California Court just a short time ago this evening an amount of trouble basically facing charges that could land him in prison for life. The mounting legal woes shedding light on a dark history of financial dealings for the attorney who skyrocketed to fame, was on cable news several times a day as he was challenging President Trump in the Stormy Daniels case.
Trace Gallagher in our West Coast newsroom where all this played out today with the back story. Hi, Trace!
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, Martha! Court documents now show a troubling pattern. For example, Michael Avenatti's former law firm Eagan Avenatti filed for bankruptcy last month claiming it was $50 million in debt. But according to a former partner in that firm, even Eagan Avenatti also filed for bankruptcy years ago so that Michael Avenatti could allegedly hide millions of dollars from the government.
And now Avenatti's new law firm Avenatti and Associates also appears to be a front for a lavish lifestyle. Court documents show that dating back to 2011, Avenatti's corporation paid the following. $979,000 in child support or alimony, $216,000 thousand to Neiman Marcus, $68,000 to a luxury watch store, 276,000 to a Porsche dealer, $1.2 million to a home builder in Newport Beach, $500,000 to rent a beach house for four months in 2016, plus an additional 176,000 on a private vacation club also in 2016.
Here's the catch. The feds say Avenatti didn't pay taxes for several years and didn't file tax returns but he did submit phony tax returns to a bank in Mississippi to obtain more than $4 million in loans. Avenatti says the government's got it all wrong. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AVENATTI: For nearly 20 years, I have represented David's versus Goliath as an attorney. Throughout that entire time period, I have relied upon the justice system and judges sitting in courthouses just like this. I am highly confident that when the process plays out that justice will be done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: He's very much in favor of due process now, not so much during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. And don't forget Avenatti is now accused of trying to extort Nike allegedly saying he would blow the whistle on the shoe company for paying high school athletes unless they handed over $20 million. But when President Trump's attorneys threatened to sue Stormy Daniels for violating a nondisclosure agreement, Avenatti said this. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: There's no question. You threaten someone with a $20 million lawsuit, it's a thuggish tactic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: And speaking of thuggish tactics, Avenatti is also accused of stealing a client's $1.6 million settlement to pay his own expenses. Martha?
MACCALLUM: Wow. That is quite a list. Trace, thank you very much. Here now, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst, Monday night. Good to see you Judge.
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: Good to see you Martha.
MACCALLUM: What is your reaction of what's been out there?
NAPOLITANO: Well, if he is convicted of everything and Trace laid it out so nicely, he is facing -- you ready for this number -- 150 years in jail. If he pleads guilty to what one would expect would be a rational guilty plea, a reduction on all three of the charges, you are talking 20 to 25 years in jail.
So, his career is effectively over and his means of earning an income is effectively over. Now, the case in Mississippi, the bank fraud, and the cases in Los Angeles, we haven't seen all the evidence, but we have seen the evidence in New York. And among the more serious charges is the extortion where there actually is his voice on tape making the threats that he himself acknowledged is thuggish behavior.
This is beyond thuggish. This is criminal behavior. I can't repeat the language that he used but this was an effort to get $1.5 million for his client, a high school basketball coach to remain silent about alleged Nike payoffs, and $20 million to hire him.
It would have been a false hire to remain silent. Who has ever heard of an outcome like that? This is what brought his behavior to the attention of the Feds and they wired the law firm office where he was trying to extort the money.
MACCALLUM: You know, he said he will be exonerated. Obviously, he goes through the judicial system. That is the way it works in this country. But, you know, in the cases that everybody has watched him work in and play out in the public sphere, you know, the Stormy Daniels case, blew up, right.
MACCALLUM: It didn't go anywhere. Julie Swetnick turned out to not be as was presented by Michael Avenatti. He said that there were going to be many more women that he knew of who were going to come forward against Brett Kavanaugh.
MACCALLUM: That also went down in flames. And now, this Nike case which, as you present it seems like it is flimsy.
NAPOLITANO: And only in America, footnote to this, he is involved in the R. Kelly case where he is allegedly representing some of the female victims. I am sorry to tell you, I have seen Michael Avenatti's in my career.
There are lawyers out there who are sleazy, who do wing it, who are not prepared, who don't try cases, who win by intimidation. But I have never quite seen anything like this. I've met him. I found him as perfectly charming and fine.
MACCALLUM: R. Kelly's attorney, Steven Greenberg was outside the court in Chicago today and he said this, watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN GREENBERG, ATTORNEY OF R. KELLY: And that's what happened in this case, a rush to judgment, a rush to prosecute because of pressure all polluted by Michael Avenatti.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Avenatti said this in a tweet, "The only thing that has polluted the R. Kelly case is Steve Greenberg and R. Kelly's never-ending bull -- you can finish that --
NAPOLITANO: Again, and you can't make this up. The prosecutor in the R. Kelly case is the same prosecutor as in the Jussie Smollett case --
MACCALLUM: Which some people think are connected and in her mind in terms of, you know, she went to bat for one person and not the other.
NAPOLITANO: And not for the other.
NAPOLITANO: So, no one knows how this ends, but he is in very, very, very hot water with a lot of evidence against him in federal court where the type of shenanigans that have been happening in Chicago state court, Illinois state courts, normally do not occur.
MACCALLUM: Thanks, judge.
NAPOLITANO: You're welcome.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you. Coming up next, a story exclusive with the latest Democrat to enter the 2020 race for president.
MACCALLUM: The 2020 Democratic primary field is getting pretty crowded. At least 16 have thrown their hats in the rings. More are expected. The latest is Wayne Messam, a 44-year-old mayor of Miramar, Florida -- the 44-year-old mayor of Miramar, Florida -- who formally launched his campaign on Saturday vowing to take on the big issues including gun violence, climate change, and student debt. Mayor Messsam joins me now. Thank you very much for being here, mayor. It's good to have you here tonight.
WAYNE MESSAM, MAYOR OF MIRAMAR, FLORIDA: Thanks for having me, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, you know, I'm looking at this board of all of these contenders that are in so far. And you know, others who are still undeclared like Joe Biden and the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who you see pictured there.
You know, a lot of them -- he may not be in this category -- but a lot of them are better known than you are, they have more experience on the national stage. So why get in?
MESSAM: Well, you know, as the son of immigrant parents who came here to America from Jamaica, chasing the American dream. My father cut sugar cane for a while to help support his family. And to live that American dream they set out for me being mayor of a major city in Florida, starting a construction business, playing football at Florida State University.
I see that those dreams and opportunities are slipping away from the American people. You know, you said the word about experience, you look at Washington and you have to wonder if solutions are solving -- they are solving the problems of Americans. You know, mayors are closest to the people.
We don't have the luxury of shutting down our government, you know, as a mayor of the city of Miramar. We are tackling some big issues. You know, we have a climate, a business and climate where our companies are choosing to stay in our city opposed to going to China.
MACCALLUM: All right, I hear you.
MESSAM: We passed the living wage in our city. We have done a lot of great things.
MACCALLUM: Let's talk about a couple of your key issues. In terms of the student loan debt which is an enormous problem. I think everybody recognize that. We're $1.5 trillion in debt. What is your solution for that?
MESSAM: Well, you know, the student loan debt crisis is really crippling not only Americans from being able to purchase homes, invest in businesses. They are paying on average $400 a month. This is what's slowing down our economy as the second highest consumer debt second only to housing. And I'm proposing that there be student loan debt forgiveness that we wipe out this burden so that we can give a boost to our economy. We can create jobs as well as --
MACCALLUM: So everybody who has a student loan out there, it would just be forgiven, and who would pay the colleges back?
MESSAM: Well, the debt would be covered by the repeal of the Trump tax cut. If you look at the estimates, approximately about $2 trillion worth of tax credit, and cuts to the richest of Americans and corporations. We would use that funding to forgive that debt.
MACCALLUM: So, don't you think that that, well, I know you're a businessman, don't you think that that would sort of kind of put a cog in the wheels of the economic engine that has been turning since we saw those taxes lowered on corporate America?
MESSAM: Well, if the companies were putting the dollars --
MACCALLUM: And they would make different decisions right away if they knew that a lot of that money is going to be gone and that it was all going to go to student relief, right?
MESSAM: If companies were putting the monies back into Americans where they could afford to live, where they can afford healthcare, they can invest in businesses, but that's not happening. They're laying off workers. I think it would actually be a boost to the economy. It will be a boost --
MACCALLUM: Extraordinarily low unemployment rate in this country right now, which I know you know.
MESSAM: It will be a boost to the economy. It will be -- actually, it will make $86 to $100 billion impact to the GDP. Create over 1 million jobs over the years. And it would be an economic stimulus that will allow average Americans to buy homes, invest in businesses.
You have the accountant that has all these debt that have to pay you back in student loans. They will start their own practice, create new jobs. It's a great opportunity for this country.
MACCALLUM: So, what about going forward, though? What about all the students going forward who have -- and I agree with you. The student loan debt is a big issue, it's a problem in this country, but would we just continue to pay for, you know, the debt going forward?
MESSAM: What we would do is we will learn from our lessons. We will make higher education less costly, more accessible. We will invest in our public colleges and public institutions where we would hope that the states and our nation would be in an environment where people can actually go to college at a much reduced cost.
And we would put on proposals and policies that will help spur that. But at the end of the day, when Americans cannot afford higher education, which is required to get high paying jobs that corporations are requiring Americans to have these jobs. They should not have to leave college with this high debt --
MACCALLUM: I agree with you.
MESSAM: -- and basically mortgaging off to your professional careers.
MACCALLUM: I think everybody agrees on that. I think the solution is, you know, obviously is up for discussion as we move through this whole process, but it is an important issue. Wayne Messam, thank you very much. The mayor of Miramar in Florida. Good to meet you tonight. Thanks for being here.
MESSAM: Thanks for having me.
MACCALLUM: You bet. There is some chilly new details in the case of a college student found dead after she hopped into the car of a man she believed was her Uber driver. The official cause of death tonight has just been revealed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SKIP HOLBROOK, COLUMBIA POLICE CHIEF: Our hearts are broken. They are broken. There is nothing tougher than to stand before a family and explain how a loved one was murdered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: The parents of 21-year-old Samantha Josephson were reportedly planning to surprise their daughter at the University of South Carolina on Sunday. Instead, they attended a vigil there in her honor. The college student found dead after mistakenly getting into a car that she thought was her Uber ride home.
Chilling surveillance video shows her, look at this -- everybody is standing outside this bar, club or something and she comes out the door and hops into this car and gets in the back of a Chevy Impala. And she was leaving the bar around 2:00 in the morning on Friday night.
So the police say that the next thing that happened was that the safety locks, the child safety locks were activated in the car. So that she couldn't escape. Her body was then found in the woods about 65 miles away.
Moments ago, an autopsy has revealed multiple sharp forces -- sharp force injuries I should say, caused this young woman's death. Now, the suspect, 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland has been charged in her kidnapping and her murder. Here now Harry Houck, former NYPD first grade detective joins me. Harry, thank you for being here tonight. I mean, obviously this is just --
HARRY HOUCK, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Hi, Martha. Thank you for having me.
MACCALLUM: -- a chilling, horrible story for everybody, for every family, especially any parent of college students --
MACCALLUM: -- where kids, you know, are calling Ubers all the time and jumping into the back of these cars and they don't know who is driving. And in this case, this wasn't her Uber driver. He arrived on the scene a few minutes later wondering where she was.
HOUCK: Clearly, this was a predator out looking for a victim and unfortunately he found one. Now, when you watch that video, Martha, you can see that, you know, she looked into the car when he pulled up and then she got into the rear of the car.
First, when I heard this report that maybe she might have known him, but when I saw the video and I saw her get into the backseat, if she would have known him, she would have got in the front seat of that vehicle.
MACCALLUM: So when you look at this as a detective and, you know, what do we know so far about this suspect? And what would you be investigating in terms of figuring out what happened here?
HOUCK: Yes, well, you know, they've got plenty of evidence so, you know, when they recover that vehicle and they arrested him there was plenty of DNA, blood in the rear of the car, they recovered her phone inside the car. We've recovered her body and there's going to probably be plenty of his DNA on that also.
Now, another important thing to me is, you know, when you see a crime like this, a predator like this out there, I could probably say to myself that this guy has done something similar like this before. In fact, I'm sure that detectives are looking into his background and looking at unsolved cases in the area to see if he might be involved of other crimes.
MACCALLUM: I'm sure you right. But before I let you go, what advice would you give to people, you know, getting into these cars? I mean, what can you do to protect yourself when basically strangers are driving up and people are getting in the cars and driving off with them?
HOUCK: Well, all these apps like Uber -- and I use Uber a lot -- they show you a picture of the driver, the picture of the car. They show you the plate number of the vehicle. I always check the plate number of the vehicle.
And when you get in the car, the driver will always ask you your name first to make sure he is picking up the right person. So, all the information is there. You just need to pay attention to it.
MACCALLUM: But this guy put the child locks down as soon as she got in the car.
HOUCK: You know, if you hear that, when you get into a vehicle, you know, I'd be a little worried myself. But the fact is that this guy was not an Uber driver and there have been some incidents in the past with other drivers, but the fact is most of these guys are pretty safe to get in a vehicle with.
MACCALLUM: Harry Houck, thank you very much. Good to have you with us tonight.
HOUCK: Thank you for having me.
MACCALLUM: Coming up next tonight, on the story, Geraldo joins me with his take on President Trump's threat and he says it is a serious one through his spokesperson to shut down our southern border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: -- is the president really serious about closing the border this week with all the disruption to our economy or is this just a bluff?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: It certainly isn't a bluff. You can take the president seriously and here's why. You are getting those metrics. What he is looking is that 4,000 migrants apprehended in one day recently. We are on track this month for close to 100,000. We have never seen a surge like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Kellyanne Conway insisting when she was talking to Chris Wallace this weekend that President Trump has no intention of backing down from his threat to close the southern border. Earlier today, DHS Secretary Nielsen, Kirstjen Nielsen issued an emergency surge operation to re- allocate 750 Border Patrol officers to different sectors to cover the areas where they have the surge that you are looking at in this video on the left.
So, in order to help control that surge on the daily border crossings, which as we said is now at 13-year high. So joining me now, Fox News correspondent-at-large, Geraldo Rivera, joins me tonight. Good to see you Geraldo. Thanks for being here.
GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT-AT-LARGE: Hi Martha. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Well, what do you think about the president's threat to shut down the border as early as this week?
RIVERA: I think that the cure in that case may be worse than the disease. The disruption would be enormous, it would be profound. You know, they say its $1.7 billion in goods and services every single day. People -- millions of people just cross over some -- live on the Mexico side to save money.
They come, commute to the United States, citizens of the United States during the day to work. I mean, those people's lives would be totally disrupted, tourism, factories along the border. It would just be chaos.
MACCALLUM: I mean well, perhaps, you know, a move like that would make it very clear to Mexico that they need to do a lot more than what they have been doing because they're obviously on the other side of that trade equation and they need that trade as much as we do if not a lot more.
RIVERA: I absolutely agree. The republic of Mexico is being woefully inadequate in terms of its response. It's letting all these people from Central America transit across Mexico. Mexico apparently feeling, well, it's not our problem. They are just coming through. It's going to be the problem along the southern border with the United States.
But I think that is very shortsighted on Mexico's part. I think that the president, aside from this surge, which I think is a good idea of these officials to the border to handle all of these asylum cases. I also think the president of the United States should -- he convened a summit meeting immediately between him, the president of Mexico, the president of El Salvador, of Guatemala and of Honduras and say, listen, we have got to fix. You've got to help us fix this. This shouldn't be our problem.
MACCALLUM: Homeland Secretary Nielsen has been meeting with the leadership in Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador to do exactly that. But it seems like, you know, the president looks at this situation and says, we've been doing this for too many years and it's not making a difference. Nothing is changing.
So you have to do something dramatic to force everybody to the table and make it painful, economically painful, hopefully for a very short time in order to force that change.
RIVERA: Something has changed though, Martha. The -- when I was spending my time at the border, the people coming across were single men usually from Mexico, coming in to work.
MACCALLUM: that's right.
RIVERA: You catch them. You send them back across the border. They come, they go. It's like a game they play. They ebb, they flow. They come to pick the crops. They go back. They come to work seasonally in the factories, they go back. This is families. This is different. This is almost 7,000 --
MACCALLUM: That's exactly right.
RIVERA: -- children in the month of February alone. This is really a crisis, a humanitarian crisis. We have to deal with this I think at the chief executive level. I mean, with all due respect to the Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen and her counterparts, or at the aid level where they're talking about how to spend the hundreds of millions the U.S. wants to give in aid.
This needs to be dealt with as a national security issue. It is a national emergency. Let the president meet with the other presidents, make it at that level where their word will be law, where the armed forces of those countries will be employed if necessary, where aid will be contingent of performance.
MACCALLUM: I hear you.
RIVEA: Where everybody is in it together.
MACCALLUM: I think they should, you know, come up with a group of Democrats, a handful of Democrats, a handful of Republicans say, you know, you're going to get together in this room in Congress on the Hill and you're not coming out until you have something that all parties can sign because it's ridiculous. Geraldo, I got to leave it there. Thank you. Good to see you tonight.
MACCALLUM: Geraldo is in Cleveland for us tonight. So, that is "The Story" on this Monday night. Thank you for being here. On Thursday night, Bret Baier and I will be moderating a town hall with Howard Schultz in Kansas City. We'll see you then. Tucker is up next.
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