This is a rush transcript from "The Story," June 10, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Comparing Nixon to any future administration, would you say there was a future administration that committed more crimes than a Nixon administration as far as obstruction?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I would say the Trump administration is in fast competition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: So, tonight it is 1973 and Watergate all over again. On Capitol Hill, you've got John Dean, back there testifying after all these years at the invitation of Chairman Nadler. Not as a fact witness with anything having to do specifically with the Mueller report, but as a cautionary tale provider, apparently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN, R-OHIO: And now we got John Dean, 45 years ago, went to -- pled guilty to obstruction of justice. And now coming in to enlighten the Judiciary Committee on obstruction of justice.
REP. DOUG COLLINS, R-GA.: This committee is hearing from the 70s, and they want their star witness back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: But there are a lot of stories that are related to all of this tonight. While Attorney General Barr did a scene to some of the House Judiciary's requests. They have been pounding him for more of the background information from the Mueller report. They're going to turn over some of those that will avoid contempt for now.
But also, make no mistake. It is abundantly clear that the Justice Department is working on several tracks here and they are very dogged in their investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. Who started it? When did they start it, and what was the motivation?
Note this telling line in the letter that was sent out from the DOJ deputy today, to Chairman Nadler, describing what their review is focused on. "The review is broad in scope and multifaceted. It is intended to illuminate open questions regarding the activities of the U.S. and foreign intelligence services as well as non-governmental organizations and individuals."
In other words, heads up James Comey, John Brennan, perhaps British intelligence is suggested here, and also outside individuals. Look at Glenn Simpson, for example, at Fusion GPS, who may be included based on their description in the letter.
Now, Senate judiciary chairman Lindsey Graham is standing by. He will join me in just a moment. First up, Donna Brazile, former chair of the Democratic National Committee and a Fox News contributor. Donna, good to have you here tonight.
DONNA BRAZILE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Good to see you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, what's your reaction to John Dean being there today?
BRAZILE: Well, I haven't seen Mr. Dean since, I guess, I was a teenager back in the 1970s. Look, he was there along with other star witnesses to talk about the parameters of what might, I guess, be part of an impeachment inquiry.
I also thought that he was there to sort of highlight some of the aspects of the Mueller report that's being swept away because many people don't want to see the full report, or at least, hear about the full report. But I didn't get a chance to see the entire hearing, but what I gleaned from the oversight hearing today is that this -- the House Judiciary Committee is looking for a way to proceed a way to go forward, and perhaps (INAUDIBLE) back.
MACCALLUM: It looks like they want to -- they want to impeach. I mean, they're trying to lay the groundwork here for that, right?
BRAZILE: I think, there's a -- there's a desire to get as much information as possible to use the oversight process to learn more underneath the Mueller report. But the bottom line is the House Judiciary Committee is going to do their job.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I want to see -- you say that you felt that Nancy Pelosi held a very important meeting.
MACCALLUM: About legislative fixes, as you put it that would prevent foreign intervention in our -- in our election system from happening. What exactly are they doing?
BRAZILE: Well, my sense is that they want to make sure that when individuals are contacted by foreign governments -- individuals affiliated with foreign governments, that there should be a process by which campaign operatives, campaign officials, and candidates notify the government.
For example, during the period of the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, once we were made aware of it, we were in constant communications with the Justice Department to inform them what was happening.
We use that process to make sure that not only did we tell the government what was going on, but we also, at least, in my case, I try to also get the RNC to be a part of what we were trying to do and protect our democracy.
MACCALLUM: But you were told that was hacking going on, right?
BRAZILE: Yes, I was informed.
MACCALLUM: So, I guess, President Trump will probably say, "Gee, I wish I had the same heads up. Then, you got his hat.
BRAZILE: But he did it. He got it -- he also --
MACCALLUM: And he got a very generic briefing. It was a candidate's briefing, it was the same thing. It did not go into specifics about what they thought was being addressed in his campaign.
BRAZILE: I don't know that. I'm sure -- I'm sure, I don't know what happened on his briefing, but I could tell you what happened in the briefing. And I hope I'm not speaking out of whatever because I signed a non-disclosure form. But they gave me enough information and intelligence for me to go back and inform not just those who were being attacked, but to make -- to make it possible to protect our infrastructure at the DNC.
MACCALLUM: You know, some listen to these stories, and they say, well, you know, if Democrats are so concerned about this now, why weren't they concerned about, you know, relationships that the Chinese government had, with the Clintons back when Bill Clinton was running for his reelection, there was a lot of -- there were 22 people who were brought up on charges, who were related to the campaign with regards to all of that.
So, I guess they might look at this situation and say, where was all the outrage and the legislative fixes when that happened?
BRAZILE: You know, Martha, I recognized the frustration that many Americans feel about this. And I understand why Republicans want to bring up this, that, and the other. I can bring up a lot of thing, that's not my point. My point is we have an election in 2020.
Christopher Wray the FBI director says, "If the Russians are still at it, what are they planning to do? How many more seeds of division are there going to plant on our political soil that will cause disarray and chaos in 2020?
For me, that should be our priority and that should be our focus. That should be a bipartisan --
MACCALLUM: But it sounds like this Judiciary committee, that's not their focus. Their focus is trying to impeach the president.
BRAZILE: You know, I was concern as chair of the party that once we got into this process, the Republicans did nothing during this period. Barack Obama was imposing sanctions, you know, dispelling and getting Russians out of the country. We should have a more aggressive stand and protecting our cyber infrastructure, whether it's elections or weathers it's our electrical grids. That should be the focus of our government right now.
MACCALLUM: Well, as you point out that, that meeting was a big deal. I'd be interested to see what comes out of that.
MACCALLUM: Donna, thank you very much.
BRAZILE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Donna Brazile. Joining me now, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham. Senator, good to see you this evening.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Chairman, you know, just your reaction to that conversation right off the bat.
GRAHAM: Well, you know, there is nothing going on in the House about protecting the 2020 election. They're trying to nullify the 2016 election. Mueller has spoken, he found no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians after two years, $25 million, 19 lawyers, and 40 FBI agents.
He decided not to bring any charges regarding obstruction of justice because there is no crime here. The bottom line is what the House is doing is politically motivated, trying to destroy the Trump presidency, and I can assure you that we're done with the Mueller investigation in the Senate.
They can talk to John Dean until the cows come home. We're not doing anything in the Senate regarding the Mueller report, but we are going to try to harden our infrastructure to protect it against 2020 interference.
MACCALLUM: Well, everybody certainly hopes that that's the case. It feels like everybody talks about that, and I know that you are doing some work on that.
GRAHAM: I am.
MACCALLUM: But, you know, it so -- it's alive and well, the Mueller report and the investigation on the campaign trail which I'm sure will come of no surprise for you. Here is one example, this is Beto O'Rourke from yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BETO O'ROURKE, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We were attacked unlike any other time in our 243-year history. And we have a president who has yet to acknowledge it and a president who has yet to be brought to justice. So yes, at the end of the day, justice is important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: He wants to bring the president to justice, Senator.
GRAHAM: Who would you pick to bring Donald Trump to justice? Robert Mueller, a Beto O'Rourke or Jerry Nadler? The one person everybody agreed would be a fair arbitrator of the investigation was Mueller.
We all said he was a good guy, highly qualified, I thought that would be the end of it.
MACCALLUM: That's true. Both sides.
GRAHAM: Does anybody really believe that Beto O'Rourke and Jerry Nadler are looking for justice? If you believe that, I got a -- you know I got a bridge I want to sell to you.
MACCALLUM: All right I want to ask you about your discussions with the Attorney General William Barr.
MACCALLUM: Because before, you met with him about this topic of doing this investigation. Today, they put out a very interesting letter, which I read a little piece of it at the beginning of the show. Which makes it clear that their scope is very broad. U.S. intelligence, overseas intelligence, individual -- you know, private individuals. What's going on with this?
GRAHAM: Well, Bob -- Bill Barr did two things. He allowed Mueller to do his investigation without political interference. Gave him all the resources he needed to be the last word on Trump and Russia, and Mueller has spoken.
Now, what Barr is going to do is open up the second phase of this investigation. How did it get so off track? Was the FISA Court defrauded by the FBI, the Department of Justice? Was there a legitimate reason to have a counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign? And why did -- why wasn't Trump told what Donna Brazile was told?
Nobody from the FBI, the Department of Justice ever told candidate Trump that we think some people working for you may be working with the Russians. Why did they not tell Trump what they told the Democratic Party?
MACCALLUM: Good question. It's a question we've been asking here for quite some time. With regard to -- I want to jump to two more topics with you if I can, Senator.
MACCALLUM: With regard to this Mexico deal, there's some pushback on it today that the parameters of it were already laid down some time ago.
GRAHAM: You're right.
MACCALLUM: That the wind is not as big a win as the president is professing. What do you say?
GRAHAM: Well, I was talking to the foreign minister of Mexico the day before the deal, and I didn't think we could get there. There were a lot of unresolved issues. I was very involved in this. And the president has delivered a deal that I think will make us far more safer. Mexico is stepping up.
And here is what the New York Times would have you believe that Donald Trump negotiated a great deal with Mexico, for two months, didn't tell anybody about it. Do you think Donald Trump would have a great deal and not tell anybody about it?
This whole narrative that this was done before is ridiculous. He pushed Mexico, Mexico took the tariff threat seriously. We're going to have better cooperation on the Mexican side, but here is the problem. I wish the Democrats would help President Trump as much as Mexico has. If the Democrats will work with me to change our asylum laws, this would be fixed overnight.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean that seems like something everybody ought to be able to find some common ground on. Just a quick last question for you, all of this, of course, relates to sure the border, you're going to speak with the acting director of homeland security.
MACCALLUM: And also it seems to me that all of this is very quantifiable. You've got 100,000 people crossing every month. We're going to be able to tell in a month what the impact of this is to some extent. Right?
GRAHAM: Well, Mexico is doing better in terms of controlling the flow into Mexico from that the Central American countries. That's a root of the problem.
They're going to help us keep some people in Mexico while they wait for a hearing here in the United States. But what I'm doing is saying that if you're from Central America, you can't apply for asylum in the United States, you have to do it in your home country.
I've been told if you do that one simple change, 90 percent of this stops overnight and that's what I am pursuing is trying to end this disaster at the border.
MACCALLUM: All right. And you've got 80 to 90 percent of the asylum seekers don't actually have the right criteria for asylum in this country. So, this pushes that process a little bit closer to home and prevents them from being able to be, you know, sort of set free. And in this country when they actually have -- yes.
GRAHAM: One side of word here, Martha, if people in Central America knew that asylum claim had to be made in Central America or Mexico, no longer could it be made in the United States, this would end literally overnight.
MACCALLUM: Senator Lindsey Graham, thank you very much, sir. Always good to see you.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Thanks for being here. Coming up. A story exclusive with the man that you have known as Father Jonathan Morris. Tonight, for the very first time, he will join us as Jonathan Morris, on his decision to leave the priesthood and why. Don't miss it.
Also, coming up tonight. Joe Biden gets weighed on his decades-long stance on abortion. In part, by this former actress apparently. And she's also - - you remember her as a -- an anti-Kavanaugh crusader. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALYSSA MILANO, ACTRESS & ACTIVIST, HOST, "SORRY NOT SORRY" PODCAST: These are serious bills, although absurd, and the reason why they are absurd is because they're going to end up in court. And why is that important because eventually one of these cases will end up in the Supreme Court.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Maybe.
MILANO: And this -- may be. But this is what we were fighting so hard for with Kavanaugh.
CUOMO: Right, and this is certainly --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've been working through the final details of my health care plan like others in this race and I've been struggling with the problems that hide now presents. If I believe health care is the right as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone zip code.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Big applause but that prompted that wait, what, kind of reaction from a lot of moderates as Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden did an about-face on its 40-year stance on abortion funding, flip-flopping on the Hyde Amendment which says that federal funds cannot be used, taxpayer funds to fund abortions.
And it seems that the turnabout was pretty quick. The Atlantic reporting "Alyssa Milano who has become a major online presence on issues of women's rights, as well as a friend of the Biden team, spoke by phone Wednesday with Biden's campaign manager Craig Schultz telling him that the candidate needed to change."
Some reports said that she spoke directly to the former V.P., we're not sure about that but Biden's history on this issue is going to make this a little tough to explain in some states on the campaign trail. Biden has supported the Hyde Amendment since it was passed in 1976.
In 1981 he pushed something called the Biden Amendment which sought to make sure that federal dollars could not be used for abortion research overseas. In 93 he voted again in support of the Hyde Amendment. He explained why while campaigning in '07.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I still have opposed the public funding to abortion. And the reason I am is again, it goes to the question of whether or not you are going to impose a view to support something that is not a guaranteed right but an affirmative action to promote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So Biden also voted for partial-birth abortion bans in '95 and '97 that then-President Clinton vetoed and he's been outspoken about how his faith has played a big role in his beliefs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: With regard to abortion, I accept my church's position on abortion as a -- what we called they feed a doctor. Life begins at conception. That's the church's judgment I accepted in my personal life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: But that was all then and now apparently this is now. Here now, Mollie Hemingway Senior Editor at The Federalist, Robert Wolf is CEO of 32 Advisors and a Democratic donor and supporter, both a Fox News Contributors. I know -- Robert, let me start with you, that you have spoken with Vice President Biden over the course of you know, his decision process in this campaign. Were you surprised about this flip?
ROBERT WOLF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I wasn't surprised. Most of the -- most of the candidates actually supported the Hyde Amendment while they were voting for the Affordable Care Act even though most of them didn't want to support it, it was the only way it would have passed.
The vice president -- former vice president has obviously seen what's going on in Alabama, Missouri, and it's clear that he thinks a woman's right to choose is part of their right -- that health care is a right.
MACCALLUM: Mollie, what do you say?
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, this really is a noticeable change for someone who has for decades held to a fairly mainstream position. There aren't that many things in the United States when it comes to abortion that people agree on, but one of them is definitely that people should not be forced to fund violence in the womb against their conscience.
And this is something that is definitely helping him in the Democratic primary but it might be troubling once he get back into the general. The whole point of the Biden candidacy thus far has been seemingly that he's going to be in the moderate, sort of the middle of the road while other people try to stake out far left positions.
But as this suggests, he might be able to be bullied into taking a far left position pretty quickly as he did in last week.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I'm just picturing the debate environment. He's going to be pressed on this, Robert, in a -- in a major way because he has a very long history here saying that you know, it's based on his faith, it's based on his experiences in life.
Here's the NPR Marist Poll that is from June of this year, this month, which shows that abortion views in the country have actually moved more in favor of pro-choice 57 percent, pro-life or at 35 percent. There are other polls that show that 71 percent of Americans believe that abortion should only happen in case of rape and incest. So you know how is he going to respond to these questions under the gun?
WOLF: Yes. I think that's a fair question. I don't agree that the Vice President has shifted left. He's a -- I would call him a progressive moderate versus a populist progressive. He didn't support Medicare for all. He's not supporting the Green New Deal. He's supporting climate change. He is supporting gun reform. He's supporting immigration reform.
But he's not -- he hasn't shifted left where Senator Warren and Senator Sanders are, just the opposite which is why I think right now he's polling better than President Trump in most of the states at their head-to-head.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, you know, even in Texas, Mollie, that's the case right now.
HEMINGWAY: Well I'm not sure if -- I really don't think that the Republican nominee will be in trouble in Texas. But it is interesting when you talk about polling about abortion. Generally speaking, people do support the legalized abortion in the first trimester of a pregnancy. What we have in this country is actually far more radical. And it's far more radical than what you see in Europe or other civilized countries where you see the limit -- you see abortion regulated to that first trimester.
And we heard mention of the Alabama law, we don't hear a lot of mention about some push by Democratic legislatures such as in New York to permit abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, to not protect children who survived abortions. These are pretty radical things that will come up in the general election.
Joe Biden's big claim to fame was that he would be able to appeal to people who were not far left, Democratic voters. And when you'd start sticking out these positions that are well outside of the mainstream, it makes it less comfortable for people who are pro-life to vote for someone like him.
MACCALLUM: I mean, it's also pretty clear, Robert, that this was a very quick change of heart. Here he is being asked about it on the campaign trail just the other day, and here's what he said. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you commit to abolishing the Hyde Amendment which hurts poor women and women of color?
BIDEN: Yes, yes. Right now, this has to be -- I can't stay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: He can't stay but then he turned around on that, Robert, right away and he said oh, I didn't hear the question properly. That wasn't what I meant. I still back the Hyde Amendment, and then you know, 48 hours later, he's got a different position.
WOLF: Yes, I mean, the amount of talk on this over the last 72 hours to one week have been literally non-stop between what's going on Missouri and obviously Mollie mentioned as well as I did Alabama --
HEMINGWAY: And New York.
WOLF: And New York, although that hasn't been at the forefront the last week.
HEMINGWAY: Because the media don't push it to the forefront as they should because it's so radical.
WOLF: But irrespective of that, we're talking about what Vice President Biden was what -- was what he was responding to, and I think over the last 72 hours things have changed I think pretty dramatically. This is now about the right of women. It's the right to choose and it's a right as health care as a choice.
MACCALLUM: And apparently Alyssa Milano has a lot of poll -- with some folks on the campaign if not -- if not the vice president. Thank you both. Good to have you both here and your conversation.
WOLF: Thank you for having me on.
MACCALLUM: Mollie, good to see you tonight. Robert, thank you. So coming up next, forget the Obama phones. You remember that whole thing, a free phone, right? Freshman Democrat Rashida Tlaib is now pitching to send trillions in order to give thousands of dollars in free cash to low-income and middle-class Americans including the unemployed. But critics are asking that this -- you know, does this have a negative impact on the incentive to work? Congressman Dan Crenshaw is fired up on this and he is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep Obama in president. You know, he gave us a phone. He's going to do more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He gave you a phone. How did he gave you a phone?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) you have food stamps, you have social security, you got low income, you have disability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: An update tonight on a story with that we first bought you last month. California will now become the first state to offer free health care to illegal immigrants in the state of California. Under Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, state lawmakers reached an agreement to provide coverage to adults aged 19 through 25. Once approved by the state legislature, nearly 90,000 people will receive the benefit at a cost of nearly $100 million per year to the state of California.
So also developing tonight, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib pitching a plan to fight poverty and income inequality with cash. The Democrat -- the freshman Democrat introduced the "Livable Incomes for Families Plus Act." It would give between $3,000 and $6,000 per year to all low income and middle-class Americans including a full cash payout with no -- for those with no income at all.
Here now Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw, a member of the House Budget Committee. Congressman, welcome, good to have you here this evening. You know, first your reaction to the California plan to cover people who are in their state illegally?
REP. DAN CRENSHAW, R-TEXAS: Well, it's immoral and it's not fair to the taxpayers living there who have been paying their taxes and would like to see their money go to services and good governance from California. I mean it's not a sustainable proposition and also creates a magnet for more illegal immigration.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean you wonder if it creates an enticement for people to move out of California, right, and we have seen some movement from California to your home, state of Texas, right?
CRENSHAW: Yes, exactly -- exactly right.
MACCALLUM: Let's talk about Rashida Tlaib and her plan which sounds a little bit -- she says it's not universal basic income which Andrew Yang, who is running for President on the Democratic side is advocating. How do you see her plan?
CRENSHAW: It's a misunderstanding of basic economics and also human nature. OK, so it's a misunderstanding of economics because one, we always have to ask the question how we're going to pay for it? Are we going to put our children in even more debt? Are we going to raise taxes on somebody else? We already have one of the most progressive tax systems in the entire world.
And -- but it also -- it also doesn't make sense because it basically entices people not to work, OK. If you're making $49,000 a year, then you're going to have an incentive not to take that extra job or extra promotion because you're going to lose your benefits. It is not a smart or efficient way to do welfare policy.
A better way is on income tax credits or work requirements for able-bodied people to receive welfare, that encourages them to actually get a job and to keep working and to promote themselves, OK, to actually be self-reliant. That would be the moral thing to do. It's also misunderstands human nature because it's basically making people dependent on government.
You know, we have to ask ourselves the question, why wouldn't she just propose a tax cut? She's not proposing a tax cut because she wants you to be dependent on government. This is deeply immoral, OK, and it's just -- it's not the right thing to do. We don't want another bureaucracy handing out money, we just want people to keep more of their money. So why doesn't she work with us on tax cuts?
MACCALLUM: Yes and it's an interesting point. There are ways to allow people to keep more of their own money and then there's a program that gives people handouts which is what she is in favor of here. I want to ask you about your bill. This is the first bill that you have put forward and it has to do with finding efficiencies in the DHS, can you explain?
CRENSHAW: Sure. So, this puts into law an acquisition review board which basically helps the Department of Homeland Security do a much better job with acquiring projects or other assets they might need and making sure that we're using taxpayer money in a much better, more efficient way. It's bipartisan, it's good governance, it's the kind of thing we should be passing out of Congress.
MACCALLUM: And what happened with it? Is it stalled?
CRENSHAW: It's not stalled right now. We should be on the floor this week and we're hoping for a yes vote and we're hoping for companion bill in the Senate.
MACCALLUM: Are you -- do you believe that there's waste in DHS, is that what the origin of this is?
CRENSHAW: There is waste all over government and I don't think -- I don't think it's ill-intentioned but it happens all the time and we should be doing what we can to make sure it doesn't happen.
MACCALLUM: Congressman Crenshaw, always good to see you sir. Thank you very much.
CRENSHAW: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
MACCALLUM: You bet. Still to come tonight, he has been a familiar face to Fox News viewers for the better part of 14 years but tonight Father Jonathan Morris will appear for the first time without the collar that you see there and as Jonathan Morris in his only interview about what he calls the bittersweet decision that he has made to leave the Catholic priesthood.
MACCALLUM: Big story tonight, a West Point cadet who served two years in prison for rape has now been reinstated at the U.S. Military Academy. A Military Appeals Court has overturned his conviction, saying there was not enough evidence to prove that sex with a classmate in 2016 was not consensual. In moments, we will speak exclusively with the lawyer for that cadet, Jacob Whisenhunt but first Trace Gallagher in our West Coast newsroom with the backstory.
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Martha, the female cadet identified only by the initials LM testified that she was in her sleeping bag and woke up to Cadet Jacob Whisenhunt raping her. She told the court she remained frozen in the fetal position during the entire assault. Cadet Whisenhunt said it was consensual and that it began with a series of escalating and consensual touching.
The panel of three judges on the Army Appeals Court, two women and one man pointed out the alleged rape happened during field training where sex was not allowed, that many other cadets were nearby to where she claims the rape happened and that she had a crackling space blanket nearby. So given the proximity of the fellow cadets and the noise the blanket would make, it was difficult to conclude that the victim "would not make any reflexive noise or movements upon being awakened" which would have alerted multiple others to his criminal activity.
And Cadet Whisenhunt also testified that "both parties try to avoid detection and even stopped and held their breaths after hearing a nearby noise. Advocacy groups say the verdict being overturned is upsetting in the light of the Me Too movement and the fact that recent survey found that between 2016 and 2018 sexual assaults in the Military were up 38 percent.
Some also believed Military Appeals Courts are the most inexperienced courts in the country, though it's worth noting the Military does not require a unanimous verdict and the jury or panel as it's called is handpicked by the general who convenes the court. Cadet Whisenhunt was kicked out of West Point and sentenced to 21 years in prison. He served 25 months and went back to West Point last week. Martha.
MACCALLUM: Trace, thank you very much. Here now exclusively, Bill Cassara, the attorney for the Cadet Jacob Whisenhunt. Good to have you, excuse me, good to have you with us this evening, Bill. Thank you for being here.
WILLIAM CASSARA, JACOB WHISENHUNT'S ATTORNEY: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: I want to put up a quote from Kirsten Gillibrand, who was very unhappy about the overturning of this verdict. She said, I'm extremely concerned that the panel's reasoning reflects an outdated understanding about the nature of sexual assault and may deter reporting by survivors. What would you say to Senator Gillibrand?
CASSARA: I would say in a system in which the rights of service members who are accused of a crime are significantly different and lower than the rights afforded to ordinary citizens, that the right of an appellate court to do exactly what Congress told them to do and what they should have done in this case, which is to make an independent determination as to whether or not they were convinced of the guilt of the accused by reasonable doubt, is an extremely important safeguard against the -- against the system that can very often be tilted towards the prosecution.
MACCALLUM: Yes, so this -- his trial was only four days long and then when the appeals process kicked in, how much more exhaustive was that process? Why do you think that was a more fair process?
CASSARA: It is an extremely exhaustive process. It took this court seven months of reading everything that happened at trial. And I think it's important to note that the appellate court is not saying that the trial court got it wrong. Although I think that they did, that's not what the appellate court said. The appellate court said that they personally were not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of Cadet Whisenhunt's guilt. That is exactly what they are required to do and that is why we have appellate courts.
MACCALLUM: All right, Bill Cassara. We're going to follow this as it moves forward and your client is now free. He was sentenced to 21 years and no pay and discharged from the army. He is now back at West Point. Sir, thank you very much. Good to have you with us tonight.
CASSARA: Thank you, ma'am.
MACCALLUM: Coming up next, an exclusive with the man that you know as Father Jonathan, telling his untold story behind his decision to leave the priesthood. We will ask all the questions when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN MORRIS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: The very last words -- public words of John Paul II said which is from Gemelli Hospital, there were 400 of us there and he said, greetings for us, of course me as a young priest I was totally overwhelmed.
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MACCALLUM: So, it has been 14 years since we first met Father Jonathan Morris here on Fox News. Back in 2005 fresh off his visit with the now late Pope John Paul II, Father Jonathan recounted being with the Pope in his final days. Now not long after, he became a regular friend of ours and a face and contributor at Fox News.
But tonight he is here for the first time as simply Jonathan Morris, telling the untold story behind his difficult decision to leave the priesthood after devoting his life to the church when he was fresh out of college, in his early 20s and he entered the seminary some 25 years ago. It's still -- I still go -- to say Father Jonathan because I always address priests as Father Jonathan but Jonathan, my friend, it is good to see you here tonight. Thank you very much for being here.
MORRIS: Yes, it's good to be here. It's bittersweet of course. It's bitter because there are so many parts of my ministry that I loved and thrived in and I will always have amazing memories and gratitude to God for those years.
But, it's also sweet because I believe I'm doing what God is asking of me and I hope people can hear the joy in my voice and the peace that's in my heart, knowing that as hard as this decision was and I'm sure we'll get into that, I'm doing exactly what I think I should be doing. I'm following my heart, I'm following my gut. I don't know where it's going to lead me but you got to do it.
MACCALLUM: So, let me ask you this, we have some tough questions here tonight. What do you say to those Catholics out there who say, you took a vow and you are abandoning your parishioners and the people who rely on you to keep that vow?
MORRIS: Martha, for 25 years, so I entered when I was 21 years old, I'm 46 now, I said I cannot leave, even in the seminary before I became ordained, I cannot leave because I don't want to let people down. I don't want to let down their expectations of me and so I stayed in, even when I knew deep down this is not what's for me.
And it's a mystery because I know God used me despite my imperfection, despite my weakness and despite the fact that in many ways I felt emotionally trapped. But I'm here and I thank God for the past and I ask him for grace for the future.
MACCALLUM: Are you still Catholic? Do you intend to be Catholic for the rest of your life?
MORRIS: You better believe it. I believed and I believe and you don't change beliefs just because you changed your role in God's plan and I believe that the same God who called me is calling me today.
MACCALLUM: So you know, you talked in your statement about the fact that one of the things that gnawed (ph) at you from the very beginning was that you had given up the opportunity to marry and to have a family. So, I think a lot of people who read that statement assumed that there's somebody that has prompted this decision. Is there somebody that you are leaving the church for?
MORRIS: No, there's not. There's nobody that I have in mind for marriage. There is no existing relationship. I am starting off right now just waiting to hear what God wants of me and I'm going to go very slowly, professionally and personally and I trust that God will lead me.
MACCALLUM: Yes and I mean along the way were there temptations? Did you ever break your vows?
MORRIS: Yes and you're a good friend and you just showed a great journalist too and I appreciate that Martha. And I've been very open with my superiors. Certainly nothing in there, if anything, of the abuse or of the illegal anything, but I put it in my statement that for years the duties and obligations of the Catholic priesthood have been very difficult and especially not being able to marry and have a family.
I'll be super personal right now. I remember when I was 28 years old, I was still studying to be a priest at the time and all these time I was like, I do not feel like I should be here but I don't want to let people down. And I met somebody, this is -- so this is long time ago, I was 28 and had a one-time relationship with that person. And I wrote a letter immediately to my superiors and said I am gone. I need to leave.
And it was -- I was part of an order that turned out to be, the founder was a total fraud, abuser of children and many other things. The order was the Legionaries of Christ and when I turned in my letter to say I want to leave, they flew me to Mexico to meet the founder, who told me listen, this never happened. Don't ever tell anyone about this again. And then strangely, moved up my ordination to the priesthood by two years.
Let me give you a positive example though, I mean a happy -- Cardinal Dolan, my former boss, my -- I hope forever friend, I've shared with him my own struggles as well and he has been with me, close by my side. He's told me go slow, think about this. There's always a chance for you -- ask for forgiveness and you start over. But then when I said, your Eminence, I really -- I'm done.
And I know this is what God wants for me. He has supported me like a friend would and like a father would. And that's what I have experienced from him and there's a lot of good going on in the church and maybe it's crazy for me to have done this interview. But you know what? I'm so happy I did. You know --
MACCALLUM: That's why (ph) -- are you relieved? Do you feel -- I mean, you know, you've been living for 25 years with this one nagging part of you and you're one of the best priest I've ever known. I mean nobody gives a sermon like you do. You're a wonderful, wonderful priest. So, do you feel relieved now that you've finally followed your heart?
MORRIS: I do feel relieved. Again, I said it's bittersweet, so I'm not -- it's not a celebration time, although I might celebrate tonight a little bit with a glass of wine but --
MACCALLUM: Not that you didn't do that when you were a priest as well.
MORRIS: No. I did. I did but, you know, why am I this interview? Because, most people -- when a priest leaves, the priesthood or even an evangelical pastor, a minister or Protestant minister, usually they disappear. They want to start over, it's totally fresh and I get that.
There's a certain part of me that says I would love to just disappear, but I don't think it's the right way, at least in 2019. All of us no matter our past, no matter our present, all of us, clergy, laypeople alike, we have to give our best and I'm going to try.
MACCALLUM: What do you think you're going to do now?
MORRIS: Get a job. I don't know, Martha, honestly. I'm going to go really slow and I'm going to be with people who know me and whose counsel I trust and I'm going to figure out.
MACCALLUM: I got to you ask this, just one last question about the big picture, what's going on in the Catholic Church because I'm sure a lot of people listen to this and they say, are you leaving because you are disenchanted with the hierarchy of the church. Is it -- have they blown it? Because, a lot of people are having that struggle right now with their own decisions.
MORRIS: Yes, there's been disasters that have happened in the hierarchy and all along and -- but let me tell you there's a lot of great men and women out there leading and I will be in their pews -- let me just say this to the priests and to the laypeople, I will be in the pews next to you and I will be serving alongside of you. Because, God's grace is sufficient, God's grace is enough for us to do wonderful things in tough times. The church has been in much worse situations in the past, much worse. It's going to get through this too. I don't mean just the Catholic Church but the people of God.
MACCALLUM: Jonathan, thank you. It's good to talk to you tonight.
MORRIS: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: And I hope we continue this conversation because I have a lot more things I need to ask you.
MORRIS: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you. Thank you, so much for being here. God bless you.
MORRIS: God bless you too.
MACCALLUM: Thank you. More on The Story coming up next.
MACCALLUM: All right before we go, a special hello to a gentleman that I met in Normandy. Jim Deal (ph) is a 96-year-old Army veteran, stormed the beach in Omaha in 1944, youngest of 12 children. He was drafted at the age of 18 and he was among 750 young men who formed the 737th Tank Battalion, which was a very famous battalion, known as Patton's Spearheaders, he was awarded a Purple Heart for his service.
He told me that he watches "The Story" every night, so you better be watching right now, Jim, and I promised him we would personally say "Hello, Jim. Thanks for your service." Good to see you, Jim. Nice to meet you. See you tomorrow night, everybody.
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