Sen. Cassidy: GOP health care bill would lower premiums

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," June 22, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Breaking tonight, Nancy Pelosi says she is "worth the trouble" in the face of lost election and some fierce opposition in the ranks as the president revels in a win and a road trip. Good evening, everybody, I'm Martha MacCallum and here is "The Story" for tonight. So, the secret health care plan is now out in the open and it's being hotly debated, in fact. And the president says, with regard to the White House tapes, he doesn't have any. But last night, the president was back in his element doing what he does best: playing to the crowd out in Iowa. Watch this.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: Everyone gathered in this arena is bound together by common values, you love our country; you obey our laws. All you want is a government that shows you the same respect and loyalty in return. We are making such incredible progress. We are making progress like nobody can believe. These people are being driven crazy, crazy. I mean, they have phony witch hunts going against me. They have everything going. And you know what? All we do is win, win, win.


MACCALLUM: Iowa, health care, Nancy Pelosi, and the tail of the tapes. Let's bring in our panel tonight: Marc Thiessen is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute; Marie Harf is a former Obama State Department Spokesperson, both are Fox News contributors, and Bryan Lanza is the former communications director for the Trump transition team and managing director at Mercury LLC. All right, first, so, is the White House putting together a practically Russia free week? And what did you think of the president's message? Let's start with you, Marc.

MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE SCHOLAR: Well, except for that one message of a witch hunt, this was the first speech or public utterance that Donald Trump has made no mention of Russia whatsoever. He was talking about his agenda; he was talking about health care, taxes, infrastructure, and jobs. The things people elected him to do. And the way you over - he's not still, to this day, he's not under investigation for collusion with Russia. He believes that there's no collusion.

If that is true, then the way you succeed is by flooding the zone with policy; by focusing on your agenda; by going out to the places like Iowa, rallying the country around his agenda, the things that forgotten Americans sent him to Washington to do. They didn't send him to Washington to fight with the fake news media, or you know, or have a big fight with Congress over Russia, they sent him to do these things, to them - to get jobs, can help with them opioid crises, help them with all these problems. And as long as he focuses on that, he's going to succeed.

MACCALLUM: You know, it's so interesting to watch, and you're on the communications team, Bryan. And we all remember during the campaign, you know there were times when things would go wildly off track, as I know you well remember, and then he would try to get back to the stop. Back to you know, -- everybody, you guys think, we're going to do policy speeches this week, we're going to do this policy speech, and that policy speech. And you know, it helped; it helped to turn him sort of back on focus, can he do that? And also, is he as upset about all of this as people argue? Because he didn't look that upset last night.

BRYAN LANZA, FORMER TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: First of all, thanks for having me here. Listen, the president has a unique ability to focus when the time comes to it. I think when you look at the policies that he was elected on, and then you look at the people he's looking to represent in D.C. and drain the swamp, you know, that's always been his focus. What you have is sort of a left-wing media agenda that try to bring a distraction there with this Russia investigation. What we know now is that this investigation started nearly a year ago, from the testimony that they started monitoring our Carter Page. So, in a year's time, we have not one shred of evidence of any collusion.

MACCALLUM: I mean, it's very interesting, we played the David Brooks sound bite last night, but when David Brooks who really has nothing nice to say about the president starts going, I'm a little thinking there's nothing there may be. Have Democrats gone too far out on the limb counting on this story and wanting it to bring the presidency down?

MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER OBAMA STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Well, Donald Trump was clearly in his element last night, and I think for all of us, we saw that. But campaigning is not governing. And if health care doesn't pass the Senate, it's not going to be because of Democrats; it's going to be because the Republican Caucus cannot get its act together. So, Donald Trump, clearly, was in a place last night that he's comfortable with, he was talking to voters he's comfortable with, but it still remains to be seen whether his agenda will get passed forward. And he has his base, that is clear; that's not enough to hold the House in 2018.

MACCALLUM: There was one issue that did, you know, dance around the Russia story and it had to do with whether or not there were tapes on the White House. And we all remember sort of the back and forth from the president, maybe there are tapes, maybe there aren't tapes. So, here's what he said about this today, let's put it up. "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking, and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are `tapes' or recording of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have any such recordings." Brian, you know, why did he do this? I mean, that just opened up a huge can of worms, you've got, you've got, you know, Adam Schiffer, when we talked to him a little while saying, you know, what does he mean by that? Are there or are there not tapes?

LANZA: Here's what we know is that him saying that the potential tapes exist, has actually kept Director Comey honest during the testimony. He was able to say, hey, you know what, in fact, the president says that he told three times that he wasn't under any type of investigation, by the very fact that he said he potentially had those tapes. It sort of forced Comey to confirm that he wasn't in any type of federal investigation. It also forced Comey to come back and sort of correct the New York Times story that leaks from the investigation said that there were direct ties between Russia and the administration, and the threat of potential tapes forced Comey to testify but that didn't exist.

MACCALLUM: Would it surprise you if this White House records things when people come in to talk?

LANZA: Yes, I'm not surprised if government records everything. I think the modern times sort of set the meetings we can watch nowadays. I mean, we know that - like I said, we know that July of 2016 that the FBI started sort of paying attention to Carter Page, so we have been under surveillance for nearly a year. So, that exists, and there was a White House kind of tapes.

I've been to the White House many times, I haven't seen any of those things, I don't operate under the assumption that those exist. But we do know that the tactic that the president said that he may have tapes forced Comey's hand to say publicly-three times during testimony-that there was no evidence of collusion, it also forced him to correct the story those after that same evidence existed in the New York Times and a competitor network.

MACCALLUM: They're saying that he's bluffing and it worked.

HARF: But it also kept the story in the news-

MACCALLUM: Kept the story in the news, exactly.

HARF: Kept the story in the news, and that's not the story the Trump administration wants out there, right?

MACCALLUM: So, is the White House may be finding a bit of new footing, and they're definitely trying to do that this week. Democrat Leader, Nancy Pelosi, is very much on the defensive; growing calls from within her own party for her to hang it up after a bad run of Democratic losses in Congressional elections. She, however, remains defiant. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why should you keep your job?

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALI., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: So, you want me to sing my praises? Is that what you're saying? Why should I? I'm a master legislator. I am a strategic, politically astute leader. When it comes to personal ambition, having fun on T.V., have your fun, I love the arena. I thrive on competition. It's my decision about how long I stay, it's not up to them.


MACCALLUM: She's not happy. As we just put on the lower third here, this is according to our Capitol Hill producer; he says that there is an "insurrection" among current factions against Pelosi. Marie.

HARF: Six months ago, when she ran for a leader again, people were scared to come out against her and vote for Tim Ryan. And in the last 24 hours, the number of Democrats who have come out and said her time has passed has grown; I've actually been surprised by it. And I do think it's time for new leadership, I think people like Joe Crowley, from Queens, right down the road; people like Seth Moulton, a veteran who served in Iraq, understand national security. These are the people that need to step up. I was pretty shocked at how the Democratic Caucus has responded, pleasantly surprised actually.


THIESSEN: Getting rid of Nancy Pelosi is like treating cancer with a Band-Aid, OK. She is a symptom of the problem but she's not a problem. The problem the Democrats have is they in worse shape than Donald Trump. Washington Post, ABC News poll a few weeks ago, just 28 percent of American say the Democratic Party is in touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans, ten points below Donald Trump. So, the Democratic Party has a deep, deep problem which is that they have lost contact and a connection with the center of the country.

There was at Priorities USA, and liberal super PAC, put out a study the other day that they lost - there are between seven and nine million Americans who voted for Barack Obama, who switched their vote for Donald Trump in the last election. They are not going to solve the problems, so they figure out a way to reconnect with those voters, and what they are doing is the opposite; they're pushing them away. Every single day, they are treating Donald Trump with contempt, and when they treat Donald Trump with contempt, those people feel that they are being treated with contempt and they will never recover until they stop.

MACCALLUM: Here's what Donald Trump tweeted about this. As we talk about these kinds of things, he tweets all the time. He said, "I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy P. out. That would be very for the Republican Party-and please let crying Chuck stay."

LANZA: Stand with Nancy. I mean, that's all I have to say.

MACCALLUM: You are Nancy?

LANZA: Listen, she is the leader of a party, she is the fund-raiser, and she is the voice in the face of the Democratic Party. They voted for her, they're going to keep her, and let's have an election of ideas and of priorities. I'm almost certain that as the voters start to analyze their priorities, they're more a line with Republican priorities than with Liberal San Francisco priorities.

MACCALLUM: So, you don't want them to figure this problem out and bring in a Tim Ryan or-

LANZA: I think Nancy's a great leader for the Democratic Party.

HARF: Why she may not be there in a few months?

LANZA: Stay with Nancy.

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much, great to see all. Good to have you here tonight.

HARF: Thanks.

MACCALLUM: So tonight, President Trump and First Lady Melania are hosting a picnic at the White House for Members of Congress. Look at that, looks like a nice night for a picnic, right? We might hear from the president; we'll take you there live, it's actually underway and we'll keep an eye on it. And they're going to need a little unity like the barbecue unity that's happening there right now if they want to get this health care bill through and on the president's desk. Doctor and Senator, Bill Cassidy, wasn't so sure whether he's going to be on board here, so we're going to ask him. And the president says that the Senate version is "very special," and that ObamaCare is "very dead." Next up: ObamaCare Architect, Jonathan Gruber; and Lisa Boothe's respond.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've made very clear, I want to get to yes and the way to get to yes is to fix the underlying problems, lower premiums, and I will happily be part of it.



MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight, at long last, seven weeks to be exact, we are getting our first look at the so-called secret Senate health care bill. Here's some of the reaction from a pretty busy day on the Hill on this. Watch.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-NEW YORK: The president has said that the Senate bill needed heart. The way this bill cuts health care is heartless.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: The speech you just heard was about a bill that he hasn't seen.

PELOSI: The most important thing is that we stop the harmful bill without a heart and Republican legislation.

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY: We want the bill to look more like a repeal, it actually looks like a reiteration or keeping of ObamaCare.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: The question for us is: are we going to deliver or not? So, time will tell.

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI, D-CALIFORNIA: We worked really, really had-

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: We can get this done. We can get to yes.


MACCALLUM: So, one of the Senators that you saw there, Rand Paul, was one of four GOP members who said that as it stands right now, they cannot support this bill in its current form. For more on the fight and the legislative task forward, we go to Mike Emanuel with the latest from Capitol Hill. Hi, Mike!

MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Martha. It sounds like there will be some negotiation to see if they can get to 50 votes. Let's take a look at some of the key components of the Senate health care bill that was unveiled today, what supporters say it would stabilize the health insurance markets, it would not require people to buy insurance. It would improve the affordability of health insurance, preserve access to care for pre-existing conditions, and strengthen Medicaid by giving states more flexibility.

Four Conservatives: Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul all came out this afternoon and said they would not support the bill in its current form. They said they want more done to repeal ObamaCare, and actions are taken that they say will lower costs. A member of the GOP leadership defended the bill.


SEN. JOHN BARRASSO, R-WYOMING: We eliminate all of the mandates: the individual mandates, the employer mandates, the things that people have hated about ObamaCare. And we eliminate all the taxes that President Obama and the Democrats have put on the American people to pay for a system which, let's face it after seven years has completely failed.


EMANUEL: So far, Democrats have not shown an interest in these talks, but a moderate Democrat says they understand they are aspects of health care that must be fixed.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN, D-WEST VIRGINIA: If this doesn't, which I hope it doesn't pass, and we're willing to sit down and we'll get six or eight or ten Democrats a minimum, maybe many, many more. And truly, work part-by-part to the private sector, we know it needs to be fixed. We've done that from day one.


EMMANUEL: Some keys to winning over those Conservatives would be getting rid of more of those ObamaCare regulations, and perhaps reducing some of the money that would be used to stabilize those insurance markets. GOP leaders are still hoping to have a vote before the Fourth of July-holiday. Martha

MACCALLUM: Joining me now with his take: Medical Doctor and Louisiana Senator, Bill Cassidy. Senator, good evening. Good to have you with us tonight. I know you said that you really couldn't say anything about it until you dug into it. How much of you dug into it and what do you think so far?

SEN. BILL CASSIDY, R-LOUISIANA: Well, I'm about 20, 30 pages in a 147. There's actually - most of what I know of that, from briefings. There's actually some good stuff. It would lower premiums right off the bat.

MACCALLUM: How so? How does it do that?

CASSIDY: Yes. So, right now the uncertainty in the individual market is driving up premiums tremendously. It would immediately establish certainty for the insurance company, allowing them to lower those premiums. Going forward, relative to the House bill, it greatly increases the amount somebody who's lower income will receive in order to buy his or her insurance-that's another good thing. It also creates a stabilization fund that insurance companies could use to create a so-called "invisible high-risk pool or reinsurance pool," that again, has been estimated to have decreased main premiums by 20 percent.

MACCALLUM: Well, let me ask you this because there are four Senators, including Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee, and Senator Johnson, who say they don't like this bill. And basically, don't like it for all of the reasons that you just stated that you like it. You're saying that it has enough heart for you, as I saw that, you know, you wanted it to pass the Jimmy Kimmel test, which we all remember well. They're saying it still keeps the government way too deep into the health care business and costs Americans too much money.

CASSIDY: There is a transition period. We cannot change the insurance industry today for this coming plan year. You just can't do that. And people who are paying 20, 30, $40,000 a year in premiums, and some who are paying that much, would next year, like next month be given a quote 40 percent higher than that. Now, I would love it if we can change things today, but that's what Democrats do. Conservatives say we have to evolve, not have a revolution, and I think what we need to do is evolve into something which lowers those premiums and provide incredible coverage.

MACCALLUM: All right. Knowing your colleagues as you do, do you think that you can put together something that's going to pass, and what do you think the timeframe?

CASSIDY: Well, the leadership wants to get it done next week. I think that seems like a tight timeframe to me. If I'm not leadership, I would stretch it out more for more consideration personally. Whether or not the leadership can reach out to those folks, is probably up to those folks.

MACCALLUM: Senator Bill Cassidy, thank you very much. It's a big day, I appreciate you being here.

CASSIDY: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So joining me now with more on this: Jonathan Gruber is the Architect of ObamaCare and an MIT Professor; Lisa Boothe is a Fox News contributor and Republican Strategist, welcome to both of you, good to have you here today. Let's put up on the screen, President Obama weighed in on this on Facebook today. And he was, you know, sort of sounding like most Democrats have sounded on this so far. Here is what he said: "The Senate bill is not a health care bill, it's a massive transfer of wealth from middle class and poor families to the richest people in America," Lisa?

LISA BOOTHE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, look, first things first, I take issue with the Democratic Party calling this a secretive process when you have one of the leaders saying that we have to pass the bill to find out what's in or one of the architects, with all due respect to Jonathan, saying that it was a lack of transparency and American stupidity that allowed the bill to pass. But you know, also, in regard to President Obama's statement, look, ObamaCare is failing.

You have multiple big insurers pulling out of the marketplace because it's not working; because the premise that, somehow, healthy individuals are going to be able to support, you know, the higher risk unhealthy individuals simply hasn't happened. So, what Republicans are trying to do as Senator Bill Cassidy said, trying to stabilize a marketplace that is not stabilized at this current juncture, and also to help Americans with premiums.

MACCALLUM: All right. It's interesting, Jonathan, because you've said that this, really, the Senate bill as you read it, it doesn't get rid of ObamaCare. And you thought that was pretty good. So, why would the president be unhappy with it, the former president?

JONATHAN GRUBER, OBAMACARE ARCHITECT AND MIT PROFESSOR: Well, I mean, basically, because it doesn't do any good, it just takes what is ObamaCare and just makes it worse. So, essentially, it doesn't get rid of the structure of ObamaCare, and some sense that's good, I agree. But in some sense it said, look, takes somewhere who's 175 percent of poverty, instead of paying a thousand dollars a year for their insurance, they will pay $10,000 a year for their insurance. So, that's why he's mad. If basically, if not - there's no point to this, it doesn't do anything.

Bill Cassidy listed some positive aspects. That's great! We could do everything Bill Cassidy listed without massively cutting one of the largest social safety nets in our country. And look, you guys always forget the quote of what I said in the past, and I'm sorry about that. But it's commentators like the last one, who is treating your viewers like they don't have intelligence. When they don't highlight the fact that during the during the Affordable Care Act, there were 25 days straight of Senator floor debate: the second longest Senate floor debate in our nation's history, and they want to rush this through with three days after CBS score. That is ridiculous.

MACCALLUM: You know what, I think what the American people want is the better health care plan. I think they were told that if they could keep their doctor, they were told they could keep their plan; that was judged as the lie of the year because everybody up and down the food chain who gets medical care found out that that actually wasn't the case. And you know one of the things that are very interesting in this is that it does sort of try to go after things like means testing. Age-adjusted tax credits, ways of looking at where there's waste, and I remember when President Obama said, you know, one of the ways he was going to pay for ObamaCare was to go after waste, and fraud, and abuse. That never happened, Jonathan.

GRUBER: That's actually not true, we've done more to reduce fraud. This is once again - I trust your viewers will respect the facts. The single fact is, ObamaCare did more to reduce fraud in the U.S. Health Care System than any piece of legislation before, you can look it up. And look, I want your viewers to simply ask themselves, simply ask themselves will they be better off; your viewers who are rich, they'll be better off; I'm leaving them out of it.

Your viewers who are in below $250,000 a year, I know my political views don't agree with theirs. I want to just simply sit down and ask themselves: are they going to be better off under a law which makes lower and middle-income people pay much, much more for their health insurance? That's a simple fact.

MACCALLUM: Well, let me ask you this. First of all, fraud in 2014 toward the end of those years was $125 billion. And in fact, there was a program under ObamaCare that was supposed to find a fraud in hospitals, and under the Obama administration, it was cut back because the hospitals didn't like it because the program gave them a little bit of pad that they actually liked. So, there are plenty of places-

GRUBER: That's just not true. If you look at fraud collections by Medicare, they peeked under the actions taken by the Affordable Care Act. We've actually done more to reduce fraud under this law. First of all, fraud is a trivial part of health care, let's be honest, 125 billion is a tiny, tiny fraction of our health care spending. But second, the actions taken - Medicare fraud collections peaked on the Affordable Care Act.

MACCALLUM: You know, what I'm trying to get at - maybe Lisa, can we end this before we ran out time because I'm going to, unfortunately. You know, in terms of looking at the system and how it works, and getting doctors and patients back into the same sphere where they're dealing with each other instead of these faraway entities, do you think this will bring down costs and help them do that, Lisa? Quickly, I need an answer, sorry.

BOOTHE: I do think it's going to head in that - look, this bill is not perfect; they have to use the reconciliation process. There are so many limitations in what you can do within those parameters. But I think there are real mechanisms they're trying to do - and just look at, even just giving states more flexibility with the 1332 waiver that basically ObamaCare and Democrats tried to make impossible for states to access: allowing states to be able to be more innovative. And you'll get something like Medicaid, which is unsustainable at the rate it's currently expanding. But look-

MACCALLUM: All right, we're going to leave it there. I'm sorry, Lisa.

BOOTHE: That's alright, I understand.

MACCALLUM: I hope you are to come back because I would love for you to come back and we're going to be talking about this for a while and I'd love to hear more from Jonathan Gruber, thank you for being here, and Lisa Boothe. Thank you very much, you guys.

GRUBER: You bet.

MACCALLUM: We'll continue. So, still ahead, Democrats waking up to the realization that President Trump is in prime position to reshape our nation's courts. So, why might this be the Democrats fault? We'll explain. Plus, some off-the-cuff remarks from the president last night, dominating the morning's media coverage; what the president said about who he wants running the economy in his administration that has folks very upset about his reference to poor people. What did he mean? Charles Hurt and Juan Williams, coming up next on that.


TRUMP: I love all people, rich or poor. But in those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person, does that make sense?


MACCALLUM: So, President Trump is about to address the Congressional picnic on the south lawn at the White House. There's Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife, Karen Pence, introducing them now. So, while we're waiting for that, I'm joined now by Charlie Hurt, Columnist at the Washington Times and Fox News Contributor; and Juan Williams, a co-Host of "THE FIVE" and a Fox News Political Analyst. So, you guys weren't invited to the picnic, I guess.


JUAN WILLIAMS, "THE FIVE" CO-HOST: Thank goodness. I think I won't ever get invited to that picnic.

MACCALLUM: You know, you look at what the White House is been doing over the past couple of days, there seems to be a concerted effort to sort of move beyond some of the issues that have been dogging them. Now, Mike Pence, the vice president, is introducing the president. So, let's just watch this for a moment.

MIKE PENCE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA VICE PRESIDENT: United States of America, President Donald Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This is so beautiful, wow. Thank you Vice President Pence. Thank you, Karen. You've been such a tremendous help to me, both of you, and we very much appreciate it. And Melania and myself, we've become great friends and great job, really great job. Thank you.


TRUMP: This is truly become as, you know, wonderful tradition. It's the very first congressional picnic that Melania and I have the pleasure of hosting, so I hope you enjoy it. I hope you enjoy it.


TRUMP: We've gotten to know many of you over the last weeks and months and developed many friendships with politicians, can you believe it?


TRUMP: And some really great people I have to say, mostly. Mostly. A couple of bad ones, but that's OK. But we're honored to host you at the White House, and privileged to count you as our very close friends, so many. Tonight, our thoughts and prayers remain with one friend who is not here, a man that we all come to know and respect and love, Congressman Steve Scalise.


TRUMP: The outpourings of support for Steve and his family have been truly inspiring. We're so touched that joining us here this evening are Steve and Jennifer's children, Harrison and Madison.


TRUMP: Beautiful children. In fact, we just gave them a tour of the White House. Just gave them a beautiful tour of the White House. They got to the A-tour. You know, sometimes we give the B, the C, the D, and the F-tour, just like here it is, let's get out of here. We gave them the A-tour. And I want them to know that the whole country is praying for their courageous dad, and all of us are praying for them. It's been amazing. The recovery is going now well. For two days I was saying it's really tough. But today, I can report things are looking very, very good, so we're very happy about it.


TRUMP: I also want to give a very special thanks to special agents, Greiner and Bailey of the Capitol Police.


TRUMP: Lucky they were there. Their life-saving actions and all of the members of congress, a lot of brave people in congress who acted in those moments of danger and protected each other, they cared for the wounded, they shielded the vulnerable, and they really did put their own safety aside. So I want to thank some of those people, who are really very, very brave. We would have never maybe found out about them, except we got to see them in action. So now we know for sure. But we want to thank them. There was a great deal of bravery on behalf of everybody.


TRUMP: And you know, agents Greiner and Bailey, they came rushing in from the outfield, somebody with a rifle and they had handguns, and that's not a good deal. But one of those bullets struck in the right place, and that was really incredible, or that would have been a far worse morning, believe me. So we want to thank them. America is also filled with pride over the display of character and sportsmanship at the congressional baseball game. I heard it was very special. I wanted to go there, but our folks from Secret Service said maybe we better take a pass. I wanted to be there so badly you have no idea. But I've spent a little time at the hospital instead with Steve.


TRUMP: It's our hope that this unity that was displayed that evening can maybe continue to grow and thrive between Republicans and Democrats. And I think, honestly, I think we'd all be doing a lot better. And I know the country would be doing a lot better.


TRUMP: The American people have entrusted us with great responsibility, and I know that we will prove worthy of the trust they have placed in each of us. I'm hopeful that the spirit of cooperation that we've seen in recent days will deepen as we move forward. I really believe it's something that can happen. Maybe it's too early. Maybe the wounds are too deep in terms of the relationship because it's been bad for a long time. A long time. Not just when we got there, I mean, this has gone on for many years. And hopefully those wounds can heal, and heal quickly because we owe it to the American people. Tonight, let us enjoy the company of friends in the comfort of our loved ones, and tomorrow let us continue to do the people's bidding and create the optimistic future our citizens so richly deserve. I want to thank you all for being here tonight, this very special evening. A beautiful evening. And I just want to say God bless you, and God bless America, thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you, very much. Thank you. Thank you.



MACCALLUM: There you have it. President Trump and first lady Melania Trump, and the vice president, Mike Pence, and his wife Karen Pence, as they kick off a tradition on beautiful summer night in Washington, D.C., as they get ready for the picnic with members of Congress. Obviously, Democrats and Republicans all gathered there on the south lawn for the evening, and the president expressing his hopes that perhaps they can come together on some legislation in the very near future. And also, he was obviously putting out some good words for Steve Scalise, who is still in the hospital, but appears to be doing better. He's got a long recovery road ahead of him to be sure, but he is someone who was very well-liked on Capitol Hill. And his children got the A-tour tonight, which I'm sure they're happy about. So we want to keep on eye on this as we move forward. But we also want to bring back our friends Charlie Hurt and Juan Williams who are here tonight, watching this with us. And before we get to other topics, just a quick thought on what we just saw, Charlie?

CHARLIE HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You know, the president is not exactly always presidential, and doesn't always exactly say everything the way politicians are supposed to say it. But, you know, it's heartfelt. It's funny. I think he genuinely means what he says. And he completely talks over the media and reaches people -- voters. And that's all that matters. He's very effective at that.


JUAN WILLIAMS, THE FIVE HOST: Well, I love it when he says, you know, I've made some friends, even politicians.

MACCALLUM: Can you believe it.


WILLIAM: And, of course, I was struck by the idea that normally the president comes to the picnic with an open collar, he chose not to. He looks great. He looks like the president. But.

MACCALLUM: He wears two things, he wears a jacket and tie.


MACCALLUM: . or golf clothes.

WILLIAM: That's it?

MACCALLUM: I haven't seen anything in between, have you?

HURT: It's all about marketing, he's a marketer. And he knows that's his style, that's his thing, and he doesn't deviate from it. And it's effective, I think.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. And there he is, sort of working the crowd, which he also very much likes to do, as everybody is out there on this very nice evening. We want to go back to something that he said last night that got some attention. He was in Iowa. And he was explaining why he chose people who happened to be very wealthy to have high positions in his cabinet when it comes to the economy, watch.


TRUMP: So somebody said why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy? I said, -- no, it's true. And Wilbur is a very rich person in charge of commerce. I said because that's the kind of thinking we want. I mean, you know, really, because they're representing the country. They love all people, rich or poor. But in those particular positions, I just don't want a poor person, does that make sense?


MACCALLUM: Charlie, what's wrong with that? You don't think there's anything wrong.

HURT: I don't think there's anything wrong with it. And when he said -- I turned to the guy that I was watching with, and I said, you know what, that's going to be the only thing we'll talk about tomorrow is that. The media is not going to get the joke. Obviously, you know, he's not saying that he doesn't like poor people, he's saying that he wants a rich person -- somebody who's made a lot of money to be running the commerce department.

MACCALLUM: Because they're good at handling money.

HURT: Because they're good at making money. And it's going to make all of us rich. And I think most people that heard that, they automatically go to that unless you're in the media and you just -- you have no sense of humor, and you automatically have to parse everything entered into a scandal.

MACCALLUM: You just set up this perfectly. Let's take a look.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: It's what he said about who we want to lead his economic team and poor people, is making news this morning.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: John, this is a presidential campaign on the forgotten man, what was this all about?

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I've just never heard a leader say, you know, when you come right down to it in certain things, I'll qualify it, the rich are just better than the poor at it.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Any other person in politics who would say something like that would then -- have their career crushed. Donald Trump is kind of like skate by it. Are you speechless?




MACCALLUM: Such critical --Juan, impossible to figure out why you would want someone who is good at handling money to handle the money.

WILLIAM: Well, that's not what he said. He didn't say that he wanted people who are expert at handling money, handling money. He said he thought rich people. Now you can inherit money, you can be blessed by God almighty and come into money, but he didn't say expertise. I think this is Donald Trump.

MACCALLUM: I don't think either of the men that he mentioned, Cohn and.

WILLIAM: Wilbur Ross.

MACCALLUM: . Wilbur Ross, thank you. I don't think either one of them inherited their money.

WILLIAM: No. But obviously, when you're talking about things like Goldman Sachs, when you're talking about billionaires, in fact, you're talking about billionaires, Martha. What you're saying is these people somehow in Donald Trump's mind fit with the smart, the beautiful, the successful. OK. So going with Charlie, I'll take that. But the fact is being rich doesn't mean that you're not corrupt. It doesn't mean that you're not greedy. We've seen a lot of that 2008 recession. Guess what, it was those very beautiful rich people who took the country down.

MACCALLUM: And you know was President Obama's economic team, had Jason Furman, $24.7 million net worth, Penny Pritzker, $2.4 billion net worth. He chose similar people.

WILLIAM: I think his cabinets five times wealthier than the Obama Cabinet, by 34 times wealthier than the Bush Cabinets, by the way.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, guys.

HURT: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Good to see you tonight. So up tonight, the left sounding new alarms fearing that President Trump could reshape the courts across the land with current judicial vacancies well over a 100, the president is in a prime position to do just that. Pack the courts with men and women who align with his way of thinking. The president for the alliance for justice group warning, quote, they're taking advantage of the moment to realize their dream of putting judges hostile to civil rights and civil liberties on the bench. Who will be there long after Donald Trump leaves office? Hear now David Wohl, and Attorney Richard Fowler, is a senior fellow at New Leaders Council, and a Fox News contributor. Gentlemen, as we watch the picnic tonight, your thoughts on the potential for these judge positions and how they may make America look, David?

DAVID WOHL, ATTORNEY: Well, since Donald Trump declared his candidacy, he vowed to have a robust, conservative judiciary, one that would stick to the black letter of the constitution. What a concept. Now there are 100 vacancies right now in the federal judiciary, and what does that mean? He's going to be able to get people in thanks to Harry Reid deploying the nuclear option four years ago with a simple 51 to 49 majority, which means he could get all of those judges to be conservative judges, and we need to balance that. We've seen the ninth circuit court of appeal, the hyper-liberal ninth circuit court of appeal shoot down everything he's brought in front of them, Martha. So this is critical. This is going to be a big deal for him. Gorsuch made the Supreme Court -- conservative majority, now we're going to go to the federal bench, so he's going to get what he wants done with these judges. Big deal for him.

MACCALLUM: I remember we showed a picture once of the strategy room at the White House, and Steve Bannon was in there being interviewed. Behind them there was this huge list of things to do. And one of the prominent things on that list was to fill these judicial positions. I mean, it falls under every president's purview, Richard, and it is their right to do so.

RICHARD FOWLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It is Donald Trump's right. I don't know why Democrats are alarmed because it's what he said he was going to do. So what could you expect for the viewers at home, the more proliferation of guns, discrimination against LGBTQ community, the disenfranchisement of voting rights, and the laundry list continues with conservative justices. You will once again see them do the same thing.

MACCALLUM: Are those going to be the priorities, David?


FOWLER: Yeah, of course, it is.

WOHL: First of all, Mr. Trump has made it very clear that he wants to protect LGBTQ rights.

FOWLER: Not these judges.

WOHL: . First Amendment rights, and, listen, as far as protecting the homeland, what could be more critical? He knows that he has the executive power by statute to implement a temporary travel ban, any judge who is nonpolitical knows that. That's what's going to happen next. It will have to go to the Supreme Court, but it will go to a Supreme Court that understands a simple letter of the law. He can implement the travel ban.


FOWLER: Is going to discriminate against gay people. That's what these types of judges do. They've done it over and over again.

MACCALLUM: I'm going to leave it there, guys. I'm sorry. Sorry to put you off.

FOWLER: It is.

MACCALLUM: Richard and David, good to see you both. So tonight, another provocation by North Korea, as they take one more step towards fueling a successful rocket that could put U.S. lives in danger. This as friends and family gather today to remember the life of Otto Warmbier, who was killed by the North Koreans. Up next, we'll be joined by a pair of congressmen targeting the hermit nation.


MACCALLUM: Also, on The Story, tonight, a heartbreaking final farewell to student Otto Warmbier, who died this week after being released from his captors in North Korea. Thousands of mourners lined the streets of his hometown in Ohio, today, where he was remembered as being the nicest kid who had a bright future ahead of him. That's his family on the right in that picture. We know that he suffered severe brain injuries while he was in custody, and it has outraged many including our nation's leaders. A bipartisan pair of lawmakers are trying to prevent other Americans from facing a similar fate. They join me now, California Democrat, Adam Schiff, and South Carolina Republican, Joe Wilson. Gentlemen, thank you very much for being here. Obviously, a very difficult day in Wyoming, Ohio, today, but you are trying to have something good come out of this. Congressman Schiff, tell us about this legislation.

ADAM SCHIFF, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, the legislation would require a license to visit North Korea, and it would essentially ban one category, that is tourist travel. Tourist travel exposes American citizens to great risk and harm. We saw, obviously, how tragic that could be with the death of Otto Warmbier. But it also provides a source of hard currency for North Korea. It allows the north to take Americans hostage and use them as bargaining chips to compel high-level delegation visits to try to retrieve American citizens. So, this is something that we want to do more to discourage. I want to thank my colleague, Joe Wilson, for all his leadership on this issue, and our foreign affairs chairman Ed Royce for agreeing to take up the bill. It is a very bipartisan work product. And I think it's time, certainly, tragically come.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. Let's listen to this from the president last night in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


TRUMP: Would you look at North Korea, what's going -- look at Otto, beautiful Otto. Went over there a healthy wonderful boy and you see how he came back. You see how he came back. So we've been given a bad hand, but we're going to take that bad hand and it will all be good.


MACCALLUM: Congressman Wilson, how would this bill that you're proposing hurt North Korea?

JOE WILSON, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, I'm really grateful. It would require a license before tourists could visit North Korea. Currently, people can visit at any time, but this would limit the persons, they would have to have a license from the U.S. department of treasury, and it would provide for humanitarian efforts, but not for tourism. Tourism only benefits the communism totalitarian dictatorships. And I'm just so proud of President Donald Trump pointing out his deep affection for Otto Warmbier and his family. The American people have been so tragically affected by this murder of a -- just a wonderful UVA student.

MACCALLUM: You know, obviously, we've seen a lot of escalation, a lot of missile test coming from North Korea. Today, we had a failed missile interceptor test off of Hawaii. You know, Congressman Schiff, in terms of how that part of this tension is going, you know, this bill have any impact on that? Or what do you expect from the president when it comes to that in the face of the death of Otto Warmbier, and the new resolve to be stronger against this regime.

SCHIFF: I think this bill, certainly, signals a willingness in the United States to do whatever we need to do to crack down on North Korea. In this case, deprive North Korea of this hard currency, as well as the opportunity to exploit to the presence of American citizens. But there's a lot more we need to do as the president has alluded. And as our secretary of state underscored recently, there's a lot more that China can do, really needs to do. China has the primary economic leverage on North Korea. I think we're going to have to make it clear to China that unless they do more, were going to have to put secondary sanctions on Chinese financial institutions, expand our missile defense, expand our naval presence. Those are steps we don't necessarily want to take, but will have to.

MACCALLUM: I mean, there's not a ton of tourism in North Korea, but I understand the meaning behind what you're trying to do and to prevent anyone from seeing the same fate that Otto Warmbier saw when he visited that country. There are still other individuals that are there, there are three other Americans. What can be done in congress, are you putting pressure on the situation, Representative Wilson, to try to bring them home and use this as some sort of leverage.

WILSON: And sadly, we've had 17 Americans that had been held by the North Koreans over the last ten years, and three still are in custody. And we will be making every effort, and I appreciate the extraordinary efforts of President Trump working with President Xi of China. Every effort we made to bring these persons home, to protect American citizens, and in any way -- this is a classic example of bipartisanship that American people need to see. A Republican from South Carolina, a Democrat from California, the American people are united against a dictatorship in Pyongyang.

MACCALLUM: It's good to see both of you tonight.

SCHIFF: Thank you very much.

WILSON: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Coming up next, a story from Wyoming, Ohio, is our quote of the night.


MACCALLUM: Today, thousands gathered at Otto Warmbier's high school for his funeral, in the tightly-knit community of Wyoming, Ohio. Tonight, we remember a young man whose life was taken violently and senselessly. Our quote of the night is from him at his graduation of high school back in 2013.


OTTO WARMBIER, STUDENT: As we prepare to leave Wyoming High School, if feels like having to say goodbye to our close friends. In a literal sense, it is. Many of us moved far away and not come back for a long time. But there's also a different kind of goodbye, a farewell to something larger than just a friend. This is our last day together as Wyoming High School class of 2013. Tomorrow morning, we will all belong to another class, another job, or another city. No matter where we go or what we do though, we will always have this group here. Even Wyoming class of 2013 is a thing of the past. We'll have the support of all these people around us. We'll have to knowledge we gain as a group, and we'll have to make reruns. The memories we created to be played over and over again. Thank you.



MACCALLUM: That's Otto Warmbier's story. Like 9/11 and other attacks on our nation, it's a story we must never forget, good night, everybody.


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