This is a rush transcript from "The Story," August 8, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR: Good evening, John. Thank you.
Hello, everybody. So, Democrats basically have one goal, the candidates. They want to make President Trump a one-termer. And if you notice, the line of attack over the past several days for some understandable reasons has quickly shifted from this not too long ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are 10 clear incidents of obstruction of justice by this president.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What is shown in the Mueller report is enough fora criminal indictment.
BETO O'ROURKE, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have a president who in my opinion beyond the shadow of a doubt sought to, however ham-handedly, collude with the Russian government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Now, to this sentiment really almost overnight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACOB SOBOROFF, CORRESPONDENT, MSNBC: Is the president a white supremacist?
O'ROURKE: He is.
WARREN: He is a man who cozies up to the white supremacist.
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everything the president said and done accord with a white supremacist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, one of the questions now for Democratic candidates is will this work for them? Good evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum and that is where “The Story” begins tonight.
Now, if you look back the odds are stacked in favor of the current president. In recent history, a one-termer has happened only twice. And both times when you think back, it took apolitical superstar to unseat an incumbent in the White House.
Ronald Reagan came on the scene with an optimistic message and trounced Jimmy Carter. And the man from hope was the person who sent President Bush 41 packing from Pennsylvania Avenue.
Reagan and Clinton are now among the most popular of all presidents in public polling. The last time Democrats tried to unseat a president or Republican president was back in 'o4, after Howard Dean who was the strong player of the moment, his candidacy flat-lined in this very memorable moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF VERMONT: We're going to California, and Texas, and New York. And we go to South Dakota, in Oregon, and Washington, and Michigan. And then we go to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: And that -- so then, they had to go to an alternative. And they ended up choosing longtime Senator John Kerry. And the rest, as they say, is history. President Bush 43 became a two-termer.
Victor Davis Hanson writes about some of this in his piece. Will 2020 be a repeat of 2004? He is senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and the author of The Case for Trump, and he is back on “The Story” tonight.
Victor, good to see you. Thank you very much for being here this evening.
Let's begin --
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON, SENIOR FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTION: Thank you for having me.
MACCALLUM: Thank you. Let's begin with that question. Do you think from what you're looking at right now at this early stage of the game that Democrats are headed in the '04 direction again?
HANSON: I do. I mean, it's eerie isn't it that Trump didn't win the popular election like George W. Bush had not in 2000. He was widely cut -- he's widely despised, there -- although they call Trump a white supremacist, except racist they were calling Bush a Nazi, a fascists.
And they didn't -- in 2004, three and four, the Democrats didn't build a viable alternative to Bush. I mean, there was the war but the economy was going well. There were a lot of reforms he was doing and said it was Bush is a fascist, Bush is a fascist. He's evil. And then that void, there were a lot of left-wing candidates that tried to be -- this sounds eerie familiar to do this year.
But remember Carol Moseley Braun and Dennis Kucinich, and Al Sharpton. And then, even John Edwards and Dick Gephardt started to get into this. And the Democratic establishment was saying, "Wow, this is going to get out of hand."
So, they looked to anybody and Lieberman -- Joe Lieberman didn't want to run and neither did Al Gore. And people in the party were distanced himself from Bill Clinton, who had been very -- as you said, very successful in the way that they are doing that today, the Democrats are with Barack Obama.
And in that voice step John Kerry, a sort of precursor to Joe Biden. But Kerry was kind of a warhorse in the Senate, but he had a very undistinguished Senate career. And he was a gaffe machine.
Remember the -- I was for the 87 billion before, after then, I was against it.
HANSON: And then he got camouflage and he wanted to go duck hunting. And then he told those -- I think they were junior college students, if you don't study hard, you'll end up in Iraq, where we had a lot of heroic people trying to salvage that effort, so, it didn't do too well. And I --
MACCALLUM: Oh, yes. Oh, and that's right. And the -- and the members of the military held the sign that was misspelled to make fun of what he said.
HANSON: They did. Yes.
MACCALLUM: Right, I remember that. Yes.
HANSON: They did. Yes.
And so, I think today we're sort of the Democratic establishment thinks Joe Biden is going to save them from what the agendas that Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren, and these lesser candidates are running on --Cory Booker et cetera.
And yet, when you actually look at Joe Biden, he's eerily reminiscent of John Kerry. I think he will do better than the others would, but he doesn't have the oomph to get across that -- to win all of those swing states in the Midwest that you need to defeat Trump.
MACCALLUM: And you know, and when you look at the other conditions that were out there as you point out. President Bush 41 was that an enormously high approval ratings. At this stage of the game, I mean, nobody thought that anyone could beat him at this stage of the game. But the economy, and the -- you know, read my lips, no new taxes, obviously was a big turning point for him.
MACCALLUM: So, really it's the economy that is that underpinning element that most people pay more attention to than any of this other noise that we spend a heck of a lot of time talking about. So, but, when you look at this for President Trump at this point, so far out. I mean, there's always landmines and things turn on a dime. You know, what where do you see the landmines potentially for him?
HANSON: Well, there's three, Martha, that usually wreck a second term or they precluded reelection, and I think we all know what they are. As you pointed out, there -- if there's a recession or a start -- stock of market collapse like 2008, then Trump will be finished.
Fairly or not, the incumbent president is always rewarded or blamed for the economy. The second is, is there a major scandal? A Watergate -- something of that nature, you know, Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky that really hurt his second term.
And I don't think the Mueller so-called collusion obstruction investigation turned out to much. In fact, I think it's going to go in reverse with a lot of legal exposure on the part of Jim Comey and James Clapper, and John Brennan in the next few months. And then, the third, of course, this is -- are you going to get into an optional war that doesn't turn out, well, a Vietnam or in Iraq. And Trump's seems they have kind of an animal cunning on all these areas. He's carefully avoiding getting into an optional war that wouldn't have either good at optics or ratings which are so important to him.
And he's very careful about the economy. I don't think he's going to try to do anything too radical.
And then, he seemed to dodged the bullet on the scandals and that leaves the Democrats to either do one of two things to say that the message -- the messenger is so atrocious that you can't be president. Or the message is flawed and we have a better message.
So far, they haven't offered a better -- or a message that polls 50 percent.
Mr. Davis Hanson, very interesting piece. I encourage everybody to take a look at it on the Fox News web site. Thank you so much for being here tonight. Good to see you as always, sir.
HANSON: Thank you for -- thank you for having me.
MACCALLUM: Here now, Donna Brazile to answer some of those questions. Fox News contributor and former chair of the Democratic National Committee. Donna, great to see you. Thank you for being here tonight.
It is -- you know, I always think it's interesting to go back and look at history. And Victor is right when you -- when you think about the names that were thrown at President Bush that he was raised -- that he was fascist, that he was a warmonger.
You know, sometimes feels like this language is unique to our time. But it, it really isn't.
DONNA BRAZILE, CONTRIBUTOR: That's true. I also remember back in 2002 that many of the candidates who ran, this is the midterm before the presidential saying that I voted with George W. Bush 75 percent at a time.
He was a popular president post 9/11. The country wanted to heal, the country wanted to come together. And he saw George Bush as someone who was on the job trying to protect the homeland.
Remember the so-called security moms. They wanted a commander in chief who they felt could keep them safe and secure. So, I think that combined with the fact that John Kerry who eventually became our nominee didn't fight back some of the attempts to swift Boat him, so to speak.
It was a different political season. The difference this time is that the president has not been able to motivate Democrats to come his way. He has not been able to appeal to women to cut the majority of women to come his way.
I think the president will face ahead one, and it's not based on what just happened over the last 10 days. It's the way in which he is governed. Governed almost -- you know, looking at his base only and not looking at the majority of the American people.
I do think there are some fault lines for Democrats, Martha. And the first one is, what happened after 2016? Can we unify the party? We know the party is diverse. It's not all this, and all of that. It's a little bit of everything.
BRAZILE: And can we -- can we -- can we unify the party? And you know, campaigns matter.
MACCALLUM: But what about that fallback position in which it kind of felt like at the time, John Kerry, right? Howard Dean imploded there were concerns about him as a candidate. Anyway, I think in the Democratic Party at that point. So, Howard -- does it feel like they're going to that same sort of -- you know, the comfortable guy who's been around a long time who is not -- you know, I don't think this is -- you know a judgment.
He's not like a Bill Clinton or a Ronald Reagan in terms of the political star power. At least, he hasn't been up to this point. Maybe we'll find it.
BRAZILE: Well, remember Bill Clinton was the -- he was not the front- runner in 1992. There were several candidates who were leading but before Bill Clinton caught fire. I think he was a survivor in 1992.
MACCALLUM: Is there a survivor like that in this group? Is there somebody that you look at and you say, gosh, you know, like -- you need to fire it up? You're going to be the Bill Clinton of this -- of this enormous group. Who is it?
BRAZILE: Well, there are several of them, but as you know, if I started mentioning one name, I might have to mention, at least, seven if I don't need to go.
MACCALLUM: Would you be here all night, if you're going to go the way across the -- across the stage?
BRAZILE: Yes, right. But this is what I like about this feel. It is diverse, we have -- we have young and old. We have people who are new to politics and we have a lot of veteran.
MACCALLUM: All right, so you're not going to tell me. You know -- you know.
BRAZILE: No, no, no. I don't want any trouble.
MACCALLUM: But, play this from Steve Bullock, who's one of those candidates who's concerned about what's going on. Let's play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. STEVE BULLOCK, D-MONT., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I saw his re-election becoming more likely with each passing minute. We cannot defeat Donald Trump's politics of personal destruction if we practice the politics of self-destruction. We are well on our way to losing this election long before it ever really even has started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That's not a very positive message.
BRAZILE: No, but I think there -- you know, I love Governor Bullock. I respect his work and I respect the fact that he's won in a red state. But I also believe that during the primary, you want to hear from everybody. You know the last thing I want to see is we get to the convention next year in Milwaukee and Democrats scream. Well, I want to talk about Medicare for all, I want to talk about the Green New Deal.
But you know what, you're talking about it now. And if we don't put it in our platform or if we do put in a platform, we've had an opportunity to have a debate. We've had a conversation, you've debated many of our candidates. And I hope many of them will continue to come on this show. You know why because you bring out the best in the Democrats. Bring out of it, bring it out now. Don't wait until next fall.
MACCALLUM: Well, we have Marianne Williamson here last night.
BRAZILE: Yes, I saw it. We have de Blasio.
MACCALLUM: And she is very interesting to (INAUDIBLE), de Blasio on with (INAUDIBLE).
BRAZILE: I watch you, I watch Marianne with you.
BRAZILE: And I walked Schoen with Bill de Blasio.
MACCALLUM: Well, the American people deserve to see everybody who's running. And that's what we're doing here.
BRAZILE: Absolutely. 452 days from now.
BRAZILE: We'll have a different set of circumstances and it may be to the president's favor or it may not. We will see.
MACCALLUM: Yes. Well, Ronald Reagan didn't declare until November.
BRAZILE: I remember.
MACCALLUM: So, there are maybe somebody else in the Democrats back pocket that isn't on the stage right now, even. Thank you, Donna.
BRAZILE: I wish I can cross my fingers, but I can't.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you.
BRAZILE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: All right, coming up next. Twitter puts a freeze on Mitch McConnell's campaign account for tweeting what actually happened to him outside his own home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just stab the mother -- in the heart, please. This -- lives in Louisville, Kentucky. What's the zip code?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Wow, we're at a real low point. That is -- that is really bad. Senator Josh Hawley is going to join me just in just a moment. He's leading the charge to reform social media. He's up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's in there nursing his little broken arm. He should have broke his little raggedly wrinkled-ass neck. Just stab the mother (BLEEP) in the heart, please. No, (BLEEP) that. He'll get a pension.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Die!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: It's just disturbing listening to that. So in a move that team Mitch has been -- has blasted as the problem with speech policed in America today, the Twitter account that belonged to the Senate Majority Leader's campaign was locked because they posted the actual video of the people outside his house and put it out there shouting those obscenities and the threats outside of his home in Kentucky on Monday.
Fox News Correspondent Mark Meredith in Washington with brand-new reaction from the majority leader that just came in this evening to that, and he has that for us. Hi Mark!
MARK MEREDITH, CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Martha, good evening. Tonight, several Republican campaign groups are refusing to spend any more money on Twitter ads. That is until the company unfreezes Senator Mitch McConnell's campaign Twitter account.
Now, this all comes after the video you were just showing, showing protesters shouting profanity outside of McConnell's Kentucky home. The protesters are demanding the majority leader pass new gun control legislation. Twitter, they sent Fox News a statement today about the account lockout. This is what they had to say.
"The users were temporarily locked out of their accounts for a tweet that violated our violent threats policy specifically threats involving physical safety." But McConnell is facing pressure from more than just protesters. Several GOP lawmakers have said they're willing to consider new gun control laws after last weekend's two mass shootings.
McConnell called into WHAS radio today and said he has no plans to call the Senate back in from its recess but says the issue can come up next month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY: There has to be a bipartisan discussion here of what we can agree on. Now, if we do it prematurely, it'll just be another frustrating experience for all of us and for the public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MEREDITH: The NRA has issued McConnell a favorable rating in the past, and the senator is up for re-election in 2020. And one of his potential opponents says gun control will be a campaign issue in the next election.
Democrat Amy McGrath tweeted "the gun lobby has spent over $1.2 million supporting Mitch McConnell. Hashtag Senator for sale, hashtag special interest Mitch. Now, McConnell has served in the Senate since -- for Kentucky since the mid-1980s, and he won his last race, Martha, in 2014 by a wide margin, some 16 percent. Martha?
MACCALLUM: Thank you very much. Thanks, Mark Meredith. So here not with more tonight Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. Good to see you, sir. Thank you for being back on THE STORY tonight. What's your reaction to Twitter's move on that account?
I mean, they're going to say it's just their algorithms and it got tripped by the language and all of that. Do you believe that that's what happened?
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY, R-MO: No, I mean this is all too typical from Twitter at big tech. I mean, you've got Congressman Castro out there actually calling for retribution against Trump supporters, against Trump donors posting their names. Twitter doesn't do anything about that.
But when Mitch McConnell who has been threatened -- his life is threatened, that he exposes what these left-wing wackos are doing and Twitter shuts him down. They censor him. I mean, this is crazy, Martha.
MACCALLUM: I mean, with regard to the Castro list of Trump supporters, it also shows you even if you believe that these are all just algorithms that you know, that trip the wires so to speak, to pull down things from Twitter, then they need to be -- they need to be broader.
They need to be -- have a better understanding of what's going on out there because these people, several of them are harassed because their names were posted as Trump supporters by Joaquin Castro, member of the House of Representatives.
HAWLEY: Of course they were harassed, and that was the whole point in posting their names and posting their Twitter handles. That's exactly what Congressman Castro wanted.
MACCALLUM: He said it wasn't. He said, that's not -- that's not what I wanted to happen.
HAWLEY: That's absolutely false. Why else would he make a point to call them out and say that they're basically racists? I mean, inviting retribution.
MACCALLUM: I mean, he didn't think that was going to happen at the very least.
HAWLEY: But let me just make -- let me make a point about the algorithms, Martha. And that is that Twitter has told me in testimony before the Judiciary Committee that they don't just rely on algorithms, that they have actual people who review these things, who make these decisions.
And that's why I've said, you know what, you should open your books and open your operation to a third-party audits to actually show us how you're making these decisions. If you have nothing to hide, open it up.
MACCALLUM: Let me ask one more question which is a very important one because it was behind the reason that those people were protesting and they used you know, really terrible ways of expressing their opinion, but they would like to see action on the laws that pass, to tighten the -- to tighten background checks that passed in the House. Would those pass in the Senate and would you -- how would you vote on them?
HAWLEY: I think it depends on whose proposal, Martha, and what's actually in it. I know Senator Toomey, for instance, has a background check bill that he has introduced in past congresses, hasn't introduced it yet but says that he might.
In the Judiciary Committee, we've heard testimony on so-called red flag laws. There are lots of different ways to write those laws. But I look forward to reviewing any proposal here at my -- I think of the principles, it has got to actually be effective.
It has got to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, out of the hands of the mentally unstable, and it's also got to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. They haven't done anything wrong. Law- abiding citizens should have their Second Amendment rights protected.
MACCALLUM: No, understood. But how optimistic are you that there's going to be anything? Because you know, I look back at what happened at Sandy Hook. Everybody said this is the moment. Enough is enough. We need to see some change. We need to see something tougher come from Washington on this. And now everyone says this is the moment. Is it or does it just go away after a few weeks like it always does?
HAWLEY: Well, I already see Chuck Schumer saying that oh, we won't accept a red flag legislation. That's out of -- that's off the table before we even get out of the gate on it, so I don't know. But here's, Martha, what else I think needs to happen. We need to have a serious conversation about the culture of violence, about the culture of depression, about the culture of isolation that is engulfing these young men in particular.
We've got a serious problem with this in this country and it is leading to this terrible violence and also to the radical extremism we're seeing.
MACCALLUM: You're absolutely right. We talked about that a lot here with a number of psychologists over the course of this week, and I think that that's what you know, that -- I don't know if that's in the grasp of Congress but some of these other things might be so we'll see what action is taken. Senator Hawley, thank you. Good to see you tonight.
HAWLEY: Thank you. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So moments ago, President Trump announcing his pick for Acting Director of National Intelligence tweeting, I'm pleased to inform you that the Honorable Joseph Maguire, current Director of the National Counterterrorism Center will be named Acting Director of National Intelligence effective August 15.
Admiral Maguire has a long and distinguished career, they say, career in the military, retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2010. He commanded at every level including the Naval Special Warfare Command. He has also served as a National Security Fellow at Harvard University. I have no doubt, the president writes, he will do a great job. So we will follow up on that.
Next up, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe has now also filed a lawsuit for wrongful firing. Will he get his pension? Remember he was fired right before he was eligible. That's next.
MACCALLUM: Former FBI Director Andrew McCabe is now suing the Bureau and Justice Department for what he calls his unlawful termination arguing that President Trump had an unconstitutional plan to discredit and remove FBI employees who do not politically agree with him he says. And now, he would like his benefits.
Fox News Correspondent Kristin Fisher on that story for us tonight. Hi Kristen!
KRISTIN FISHER, CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Martha! Well, this is the second time this week that a former FBI official has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, first, Peter Strzok and now Andrew McCabe. The former Acting FBI Director is suing the bureau and the Justice Department for firing him just two days before his retirement.
McCabe claims it was illegally orchestrated by President Trump as part of a purge of sorts to rid the Bureau of leaders he perceived as disloyal. And the lawsuit singles out the current FBI director Christopher Wray and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for essentially carrying out the President's wishes.
"Trump demanded plaintiff's (McCabe's) personal Allegiance. He sought retaliation when plaintiff refused to give it, and Sessions Wray and others served as Trump's personal enforcers rather than nation's highest law enforcement officials catering to Trump's unlawful whims instead of honoring their oath to uphold the Constitution.
Now, so far, the Justice Department and the FBI have declined to comment on the lawsuit.
But remember, McCabe was fired after a Justice Department Inspector's General report found that McCabe repeatedly misstated his involvement in a leak to the media about an investigation in the Clinton Foundation. The report said McCabe acted to advance his own personal interest at the expense of justice leadership. At the time, McCabe denied any wrongdoing. But Martha, now he is suing to get his full pension and benefits back.
MACCALLUM: Yes. All right. We will see how it goes. Kristin, thank you very much.
So, there are new reports tonight that the White House failed to prioritize the threat of domestic terrorism at the suggestion of homeland security officials. CNN citing an unnamed source as saying they, quote, "had major ideological blinders on."
We should note the White House has denied this report. Here's Christopher Wray addressing the issue just last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: In terms of number of arrests, we have through the third quarter of this fiscal year had about give or take 100 arrests in the international terrorism side which includes the homegrown extremism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This year?
WRAY: This year. But we've also had the same exact number, again, don't quote me to the exact digit, on the domestic terrorism side. And I will say that a majority of domestic terrorism cases that we have investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Joining me now is Sean Spicer, former White House press secretary. Sean, good to have you here tonight. Thank you.
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Thanks for having me.
MACCALLUM: I want to ask you point blank, when you were in the White House, was there ever encouragement on the part of the homeland security officials, the people who were then in charge, were they nudging in saying we need to spend more resources and more energy on domestic terrorism.
And the suggestion in this piece is that the president didn't like to deal with white supremacy terrorists or issues, he didn't want to believe that there was an increase in it.
Perhaps, somehow thinking that it was politically, you know, would be linked to him in the media even though obviously he doesn't believe that that is the case. Did that scenario ever happened that you saw or witnessed?
SPICER: No. And in fact, in the testimony that you play from Director Wray out in July 23rd, he cites the fact that over 850 cases have been brought forth from the FBI that they are investigating. That certainly doesn't sound like a White House or an administration that isn't tackling this straight on.
So, I mean, again, I think that this is some somebody who is just trying to --
MACCALLUM: Where do you think THE STORY is coming from?
SPICER: Well, I'm sure it's from somebody who doesn't like the fact that their suggestions on whatever particular policy or procedure wasn't taken into account or wasn't followed and were somewhere else.
But clearly, from the director's testimony in front of Congress on July 23rd, he makes it very clear that the FBI has made rooting out domestic terrorism, rooting out white supremacy a top priority of the bureau and has appropriated, you know, countless man-hours and agents to this task.
So, the numbers don't add up to what CNN's reporting is saying. I mean, I'm sure that there is somebody who isn't happy, but that doesn't comport with what the director's testimony suggests in the FBI and the Department of Justice.
Furthermore, just take be on that one step up.
SPICER: The president has been very clear that he has ordered the Department of Justice to go root out this kind of behavior and problem. So, it is coming straight from the top and then it's clearly being implemented at both the department and agency level.
MACCALLUM: All right. I just got a couple of seconds left but I want to play what Joe Biden said in his speech yesterday in his response to how passionate he thought the president was on this issue when he spoke the other day. Here is Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation. His low energy, vacant eyed mouthing of the words written for him condemning white supremacist this week I don't believe fooled anyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: What do you say?
SPICER: He can't win being the president. When he calls out white supremacy, when he calls out hate, when he calls for a message of unity, then they have a problem with the tone and tenor it was giving in.
The first president's -- the first state of the union, rather, is a joint address that the president gave in February during my tenure, he let that off with a call for unity and calling out hatred. This has been at the forefront of the president's administration and his tenure in the White House.
The problem is the Democrats case after case don't want to take yes for an answer.
SPICER: They don't like how he says it or when he says it, but the fact of the matter is he's said exactly what they say he should say, they just don't like hearing that because it takes their talking point away.
MACCALLUM: Sean Spicer, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.
SPICER: You bet, Martha. Thanks.
MACCALLUM: A powerful Catholic cardinal is speaking out exclusively about the church and 2020 candidates who claim to be, in his words, "followers of Christ." He's got a big message for Joe Biden when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAYMOND LEO BURKE, CARDINAL, VATICAN JUDGE: I've had non-Catholic leaders of government in this nation told me that they were certain that the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion and so-called same marriages and so forth that change because so many Catholics on Capitol Hill are readily supporting this kind of legislation. That's a scandal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Presidential candidates know that in most cases, if you want to win, you've got to win over the Catholics. President Bush 43 won 52 percent of Catholics in 2004 against John Kerry who is actually Catholic.
President Obama won 54 percent in '08 and 50 percent in 2012. In 2016, more Catholics chose the winning candidate Trump over Hillary Clinton. So how will the more than 60 million U.S. Catholics vote in 2020?
Tonight, perhaps the most powerful American in the Catholic Church, former Vatican Supreme Court Chief Justice Cardinal Raymond Burke, who famously said that he would deny communion to John Kerry in '04 over his stance on abortion is putting his foot down again, this time taking issue with 2020 candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, saying anti-Catholic bigotry is now considered acceptable in Washington. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURKE: They say that I'm the enemy of the pope. Nothing further from the truth, I've never spoken against Pope Francis or spoken disrespectfully of him.
MACCALLUM: We caught up with Raymond Burke in his Native Wisconsin, a world away from his day job as a Vatican judge and Supreme Court advisor.
BURKE: The church is in the state of great turmoil and a state of tremendous confusion. The truth of it is division.
MACCALLUM: For years now, the cardinal is spending his personal time here in La Crosse, Wisconsin, working to build a unifying shrine to our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas.
BURKE: We have many young families, of couples coming to pray to have the gift of children.
MACCALLUM: But far from this peaceful place where the cardinal seeks to unify Catholics when he looks to Washington, D.C., he sees division and misrepresentation of his church by politicians who claim to be Catholic and those who are not.
BURKE: I've had non-Catholic leaders of government in this nation tell me that they were certain that the Catholic Church's teaching on abortions and the so-called same-sex marriages and so forth had changed because so many Catholics on Capitol Hill are regularly supporting this kind of legislation and that's a scandal.
The Body of Christ.
MACCALLUM: Now heading into 2020, the cardinal is sending a message to Catholic positions that go against Catholic teaching.
BURKE: They may not present themselves to receive Holy Communion because they are not in communion with Christ.
MACCALLUM: Cardinal Burke specifically saying former Vice President Joe Biden should no longer receive communion.
BURKE: It's not a punishment, actually it's a favor to these people to tell them don't approach because if they approach, they commit sacrilege.
MACCALLUM: The cardinal is also calling for an apology from Senator Kamala Harris after the Democratic presidential candidate recently questioned federal Judge Brian Buescher's membership in the men's Catholic service group the Knights of Columbus.
She asked if he knew that it was a, quote, "all-male society opposed to a woman's right to choose and marriage equality when he joined the group."
BURKE: This is completely unacceptable. I mean, I think your everyday citizen whether you are Catholic or not, you need to look at that kind of statement for what it is and say, well, this isn't a person who I want to be the leader of my nation.
MACCALLUM: We did press the cardinal on the church's moral credibility amid the ongoing clergy child sexual abuse crises. Burke says he is calling for transparency and zero-tolerance.
BURKE: Otherwise, we have no credibility. People have lost confidence. We have to come clean on who is responsible for these situations.
MACCALLUM: He has come under fire from critics who say he's blamed the crisis on gay clergy. But Burke maintained he has stated what he has seen investigating abuse cases.
BURKE: The far greater part of them have been homosexual acts with adolescence or young men. And I'm not homophobic, but we cannot have this active homosexual activity in the priesthood.
MACCALLUM: We also asked about defrocked former Washington, D.C., Archbishop Ted McCarrick, a cardinal and friend to the U.S. presidents who tumbled from grace when he was ousted after he was found guilty in an ugly abuse scandal that made huge headlines.
BURKE: People said you must've known. I didn't know. That really shakes the faith, shakes my faith. But Christ is the head of the church. And Christ doesn't abandon this church.
MACCALLUM: And we asked about the cardinal's own time as a bishop in Wisconsin and St. Louis, where some abuse victim advocates claimed Burke was less than transparent.
BURKE: I know what I did as bishop. And what -- I'm sure it can be questioned and even attacked. But the important thing for me is to have a peaceful conscience about it.
MACCALLUM: As for his efforts at the shrine, Burke notes it is inspiring some visitors to convert and become Catholic. And it attracts many young people who the cardinal sees as the next generation of church leaders.
BURKE: I know so many wonderful young priests. And so, I know a fear about the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: We reached out to the Biden and Harris campaigns for comment. We have not heard back as of yet. The Knights of Columbus, by the way, have more than 1.9 million members with 15,000 local councils all across the United States.
Joining me now, Jonathan Morris, a theologian ethicist and former Catholic priest. Jonathan, good to see you tonight. Thank you for being here.
JONATHAN MORRIS, FORMER CATHOLIC PRIEST: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: What do you think about his comments about Kamala Harris and Joe Biden?
MORRIS: Yes. Well, he's going to be a fascinating figure during this whole election process because in certain ways, he has nothing to lose. He's already been very outspoken about the fact that he believes that Pope Francis needs to be clear in some of his statements.
And he's been sidelined to be honest in many ways. He's been sidelined by the Vatican during this pontificate of Pope Francis. So, he's able to speak out in a way that other bishops in the United States are not speaking out about very political things including what you ask about of Kamala Harris.
He is saying, hey, listen, the church should be clear. If you are saying that you believe with the Catholic Church, well, then act like it. If you're not, don't.
And Kamala Harris here is talking about, specifically about an organization that is very mainstream in the Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus, and to say that anybody who is involved with that is somehow a radical?
I think -- I think should she be called out on it and asked to explain. Why is that radical?
MACCALLUM: I mean, you know, in terms of communion we've been down this road several times before in politics but, you know, he's saying Joe Biden --
MACCALLUM: -- or anybody really who supports abortion rights technically, you know, in church doctrine -- should not be allowed to come forward for communion as he says. What do you say to that?
MORRIS: Yes. Yes, well, Pope Francis has thrown a few things out. Like maybe this is something for your own personal conscience, you can decide. But the pope, I think what Cardinal Burke is saying is, Pope Francis, just be clear. Let us know what you think. Be clear.
And with communion, like, it already, like, has a presupposition that you commune with the belief of the church. So, if you don't believe, why would you go to communion?
MACCALLUM: Jonathan Morris --
MORRIS: Just be honest and say I don't believe so I'm not going to commune.
MACCALLUM: Thank you very much. Always good to see you. We'll see you soon. Take care.
MORRIS: Thank you very much, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Dr. Ben Carson responds exclusively to the latest allegations leveled by Democrats that the president is a white supremacist next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, D-MD: Those in him speak of those in the highest level of government must stop invoking fear using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior.
That we are done with the hateful rhetoric that we are done with the mass shootings. That we are done with the white supremacist domestic terrorists who are terrorizing our country in fighting against everything America stands for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That was Congressman Elijah Cummings taking a swipe at President Trump without actually naming him there. Even encouraging the president, he has as well to visit his district in Baltimore.
This all follows of course their recent feud about how the city is run and President Trump's comment that it is a rodent-infested mess.
That prompting a visit to the city from HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN CARSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: I've talked to the president over the last couple of days about what can we do for Baltimore. He's very willing to work with people here in Baltimore, including with Elijah Cummings.
And you know, I would like for the president to actually express his heart to the people the way he has expressed it to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Dr. Ben Carson joins me now. Good to see you, sir. Thank you very much.
CARSON: Good to be back.
MACCALLUM: And good to have you in New York. What has he expressed to you in his heart that you would like him to say to the people that they better understand his feelings about Baltimore?
CARSON: Well, he feels that the people particularly in inner cities have been promised everything over decades and still they remain in the same situation. And he wants to do something about it. We actually have some good plans to do things about it and have already set in motion a lot of different things.
MACCALLUM: Like, can you give us an example?
CARSON: Yes. Like, we've revamped section three. Now section three says if you are getting HUD money you have to hire or train or give contracts to the low-income people in that area. It's been on the books for a long time but it's hardly been used because it's cumbersome.
That's been changed. We're working now to remove the perverse incentives. Like if you make more money, you have to report it so that your rent can go up. That doesn't give you a lot of incentive other than if you get married, you probably lose everything.
So, you know, removing those things so that people can actually climb the economic ladder.
MACCALLUM: So, you heard Elijah Cummings going after the president calling him a white supremacist. You've heard the candidates over the course of this week basically saying that they believe that the president egged on and created an environment that helped to egg on this shooter in El Paso. What do you say to that?
CARSON: Well, it saddens me that, you know, the leaders in our country would lower themselves to the point of calling each other names rather than focusing on the problems that exist.
And you know, we are our own worst enemy right now. It's not the Russians, it's not the Chinese or the North Koreans. It's us. A House divided against itself cannot stand constantly accusing people of things which are absolutely ridiculous.
A racist would not be doing the things that the president is doing with, you know, with the second chance, with opportunity zones, with the things that I just mentioned. There are so many things. A racist wouldn't be doing that.
Forget about it. And its projectionism, you know? I don't know why people do it. I guess it's political. But if we can stop being politicians and start being representatives of the people and actually deal with the problems that they have I think we can make a lot of progress to the nation.
MACCALLUM: Before I let you go, you're very involved in a foster kid's program that have some transition when they're 18 and they're out of that, and you know, not become homeless.
We talked a lot this week about young men --
MACCALLUM: -- who grew up without fathers the structure that isn't there in the family or the church. Just a quick thought on that program, if you would.
CARSON: Yes. The foster youth to independent program. So about 20,000 youth time out of foster care each year. And about a quarter of them go on to become homeless.
And you know, when people don't have a home --
MACCALLUM: It's really sad.
CARSON: -- and they don't have a foundation, they become vulnerable to all kinds of influences but they are very uncertain. And if we can change that dynamic, I can tell you story after story of young people who were given that opportunity who blossomed and really went on and then also a lot of stories about people who weren't given that opportunity.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, Dr. Carson. Good to see you here tonight.
CARSON: Always a pleasure.
MACCALLUM: Thanks for what you are doing.
CARSON: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: More of THE STORY coming up next.
MACCALLUM: Finally, tonight, quite a moment. An entire Dallas terminal pause in silence as the Vietnam War veterans remains finally came home. Colonel Roy Abner Knight, Jr.'s plane was shot down in a 1967. The pilot who flew him home today was his own son, who had waved goodbye to his father at that very same airport when he was five years old. Rest in peace, colonel.
That's “The Story.” Good night.
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