Sen. James Inhofe on Trump's infrastructure plan

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," January 29, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: "The Story" is live from Washington tonight as the president gets ready for that big address to the nation from the Capitol, behind us, tomorrow evening. It is very important, obviously, at the moment, in the year-old Trump presidency. We will hear from the White House in just a moment about what to expect, and if today's big events will come into play.

High drama today as the deputy director of the FBI is "removed from his post"; a man the president has taken aim at over the past year. Good evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum. Andrew McCabe stepped down just hours after his boss, FBI Director Christopher Wray, made a trip to the house intel vault. On Sunday, Wray was there to take a look at that controversial memo that you heard so much about, that has been touted by Republicans as proof of government surveillance abuse during and after the 2016 election.

And according to reports, the memo directly names McCabe and others, including his ex-FBI boss James Comey. And moments ago, this: The House Intelligence Committee has now voted to release the FISA memo. It has been described by some who have seen it as revealing "KGB-style tactics by the Obama administration" and even as a Watergate Part II, so it? Chief national correspondent Ed Henry joins me live with -- here on the set in D.C. with the backstory tonight. Hi, Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you, Martha. Critics of the president are trying paint Andrew McCabe's ouster as part of a pattern of the president attacking various people who are investigate him, investigating the White House. But also, McCabe may have seen the hand writing on the wall himself about his own conduct during the Obama administration that may be about to spill out because of that memo you mentioned.

Specifically, we've learned Chris Wray quietly came up here to Capitol Hill on Sunday to view that Republican memo about Obama administration surveillance of Trump officials. The Daily Beast reporting, the memo suggests McCabe was involved in FISA abuse, specifically Republicans suggesting McCabe and other officials like the number two at the Justice Department, Rod Rosenstein, may have used that unverified dossier paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign to get FISA warrants to spy on a Former Trump foreign policy adviser, Carter Page.

White House allies have also been exorcised by those text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, talking about a meeting in McCabe's office that can produce what they called an insurance policy of a Trump probe if somehow, he won the election. The president used several tweets to rip McCabe, specifically, December 23 about McCabe's wife running for state office in 2015 with backing from Clinton allies: "How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in change, along with leaking James Comey, of the phony Hillary Clinton investigation including our 33,000 illegally deleted emails," the president tweeted, "be given $700,000 for his wife's campaign by Clinton puppets during the investigation. Today, the White House insisted they had nothing to do with the ouster.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, the president stands by his previous comments, but in terms of the situation today, as I just said, we've seen the reports just as all of you have. We don't have any specific comments and I would refer you to the FBI for any specifics.


HENRY: But this afternoon, we also spotted Rosenstein and Wray leaving the White House after a meeting with Chief of Staff John Kelly, who on behalf of the president has been pressuring Attorney General Jeff Sessions to let this Republican memo be released, despite objections from justice and FBI officials. That memo could show wrongdoing by McCabe and others. The other key points that the Justice Department Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, is expected to release an explosive report the next few weeks looking at the handling of the Clinton e-mail matter by McCabe and others. So, the big question tonight is when that report hits and this memo, that the House Intelligence Committee has now voted release. If that's released, will there be more resignations at the FBI and the Justice Department?

MACCALLUM: So, there was Department of Justice pushback on this memo?


MACCALLUM: And releasing the memo? So, one of the -- the only real thing, the only real dynamic that changed in that picture is that Christopher Wray now read it.

HENRY: He's read it and said he wanted to go back and talk to others at the FBI about what their objections may be. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat, is saying look, what the Republicans on this committee have done is unfair. That they've taken information out context, made it seem like Andrew McCabe and others committed wrong doing, when they knew they didn't. Here's the bottom line tonight: now that the House Intelligence Committee -- led by the Republicans; they have the majority -- have voted to release this memo. The president has five days to either block that or not. There are some rumblings tonight that the president may just put that out there over the next couple of days.

MACCALLUM: Ed, thank you very much. Ed Henry, reporting tonight. And here with more, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, back in New York tonight. Judge, what do you make of this so far tonight?

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL JUDICIAL ANALYST: Well, we have a bit of a standstill with respect to the committee, because in response to this Republican drafted four-page memo based on raw intelligence data, the Democrats have drafted their own memo which they say is based on the same raw data and the committee voted to release the Republican version but not the, not the Democrat version. I am of the view that when Christopher Wray, the Director of the FBI, went to the House Intelligence Committee safe vault on a Sunday afternoon to read the four-page memo, he saw something in there about Andrew McCabe which was the straw that broke the camel's back for him and decided that it was time for McCabe to go.

I don't think Christopher Wray saw the inspector general's report. That would be highly, highly irregular for him to see the inspector general's report before it came out. But remember, Martha, you just reported a few minutes ago that the Justice Department last week cautioned the House Intelligence Committee against releasing the report when no one from the Justice Department had seen the report. In fact, as far as we know, the only human being from the Justice Department, who has seen the report, is the director of the FBI yesterday afternoon.

MACCALLUM: So, in terms of what happens now. And you know, just to also mention, there was a story last week that Christopher Wray was being pressured to let Andrew McCabe go, and that he had pushed back on that. So, now, for whatever reason, and, you know, it may be reason that we've just talked about here that the revelations to Mr. Wray about these memos. He appears to have changed his mind based on something that he saw or read, or perhaps information that he passed along to Andrew McCabe, and said, you know, you should know this, you may want to get out in front of it.

NAPOLITANO: Right. So, we don't know if Andrew McCabe was just jumped -- was pushed, or if he jumped. But we do know it followed so closely in time, Director's Wray's view of not only the four-page memo, but most likely -- because he has a top-secret clearance as director of the FBI -- but most likely, the underlying raw intel on which the memo was based. That he went to his league and long-time friend Andrew McCabe, and said I don't think you want to confront this. I think it's time for you to go. Now, what --

MACCALLUM: So, in terms of -- but, in terms of the FISA process, judge, because, you know, obviously there's a judge that approves -- there's a panel of judges that approve these requests. So, that's supposed to be the stop gap in these situations. When -- you know, if something phony from a dossier is brought before the judges, they're supposed to have the discretion and the judgment to say this doesn't add up.

NAPOLITANO: But the judge's discretion is only as good as the evidence that is brought before him. And in this unique situation -- and I've been very critical of it as you know where the court meets in secret and there's nobody there in the other side. The court needs what lawyers and agents from the NSA and generally accepts what they say. Well, I asked a few probing questions, but if give garbage to the court, then garbage is going to come out in the form of the warrant that the court will sign. Question: did they knowingly -- did anybody in the FBI or the NSA knowingly mislead a federal judge in order to get the judge to sign a warrant? If the answer to that is yes, then heads will roll. Not just discipline from the DOJ, but criminal prosecutions of the people who misled this judge.

MACCALLUM: Judge, thank you very much.

NAPOLITANO: You're welcome.

MACCALLUM: Joining me now live here in Washington, Anna Palmer, Senior Washington correspondent for Politico and co-Author of the "Daily Playbook"; Byron York, chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner; Jason Chaffetz, former House Oversight Committee, both are Fox News Contributors, the two gentlemen here. Good to see you all tonight.

Anna, let me start with you -- and actually, let me start by playing what Adam Schiff had to say tonight, because there's two different memos floating around. One has been -- is the one that the Democrats think is the accurate one; there other is the one that Republicans have stock in. Let's watch.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.: Today, this committee voted to put the president's personal interest, perhaps their own political interest above the national interest. In denying themselves in the (INAUDIBLE) from the department and the FBI. When you have a deeply flawed person in the oval office, that flaw can infect the whole of government. And today, tragically, it infected our committee.


ANNA PALMER, SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: I mean, I think this is just a stark example of how partisan things are in Washington right now. You have two different sides, having two different sets of facts. And the fact that none of us have seen, and there's a lot of speculation about what's in it, what's underlying documents that are actually informing this. This fight is not going to stop tomorrow or next week if the president does decide the House Republicans can release this. This is going to go on for weeks, if not, months.

MACCALLUM: You know, Byron, I mean, I can't believe that this document is not going to come out. The White House would like it to be out there. We've all spoken to lots of people on the hill, who believed that there's enough in here that looks bad that people have the right to see it.

BYRON YORK, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT FOR THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, I believe it will come out. It's the president's decision alone to either release it or object to releasing. By the way, if he objects to release it, the full house can still vote to release it. The president is not in control of this situation. I would add one thing, I am told that the House Intelligence Committee did vote today to make the Democratic memo available to all members of the house in that secret room setting which is the process that they went through with the Republican memo.

MACCALLUM: So, that's what they're saying, Jason Chaffetz, that, you know, we allowed everybody in the House to read the Republican memo. We're not going to release the new version, the Democratic version to them unless we go through that same process. What do you think is going on here? Where are we on this?

JASON CHAFFETZ, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Look, ultimately, we're going to get to a set of facts. There's been a lot of political barbs, but now we're going to have facts. I still believe and I've been advocating for a long time the most definitive view on this will be the Inspector General Michael Horowitz, 450 employees. The have been working on this. They're the ones that came up with the text messages. You know, when the FBI comes out says, well, we can't find this months-worth of text messages.

It was less than 48 hours the that inspector general went back and found those. And so, there are some deep system problems there that that I.G. report -- we've seen the precursors that it's about to be there. That actually gets shared with the White House and with the department in advance. And the last point, I'd make is I think it's naive to think this is just the FBI and just the Department of Justice. I think this memo will also address some others, potentially within the intelligence community.

MACCALLUM: Well, what about within the Obama administration?

CHAFFETZ: Well, most of this does go back to the campaign and the election of 2016. So, you're going to talk about people that were there. Some are career, but curious as to whether or not they spill over to some of the political appointees. But the unmasking is not just necessarily the FBI, it could be others.

MACCALLUM: So, one of the, you know, thing that has really surprised me in this, Anna, given all of the leaks that we've seen throughout the entire course of this story is that the content of this is really not out there yet. But Trey Gowdy this weekend spoke with Chris Wallace and gave a little bit of a road map to what is in there. Let's watch this.


REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: Do you want to know whether or not the primary source in these court proceedings had a bias against one candidate? Do you want to know whether or not he said he'd do anything to keep that candidate from becoming an elected president?


PALMER: Yes. I mean, I think one of the things that has been very surprising here is that there hasn't been very much information. There's been a little bit of drip here and there. But we really don't know what is going to be in the -- it's only four pages. I mean, what actually --

MACCALLUM: A summary. It's the summary of all of the intelligence that Devin Nunes and the other Republicans on that committee feel is valuable in terms of their argument.

PALMER: But to your point, Mr. Chaffetz, I mean, the point is here that there's going to be so many more documents that are obviously informing this. So, this is just the first step of what is actually -- even if they do release it and we do see those four pages, I mean, there's going to be a lot more questions that are going to be asked.

MACCALLUM: You know, I just want to put up a bit of an editorial today that was in the Wall Street Journal, written by Daniel Hoffman, who says that he believes that the story is that the Russians were pulling the strings on the Democrat and on the Republican side. And that that's ultimately what we're all going to learn. That they loved the idea of Christopher Steele, Former MI-6 Agent, dabbling in Russia to try to find some dirt on Donald Trump, and they felt like they could use it to both sides, and said there's a third possibility, namely, that the dossier was part of a Russian espionage disinformation plot, targeting both parties, and America's political process, which really puts a fine point, perhaps, if it's true on all of this finger pointing on both sides, Byron.

YORK: Congressional investigators have been thinking about this possibility for quite a while. We know that Fusion GPS was working with the Russians in the anti-Magnitsky Act campaign. We know they were doing that. Now, if you look at the dossier -- their source A, and source B, and source C, and it's a former Kremlin official, it's a current Kremlin office, it's a business official who has ties to the Kremlin. And you think, wait a minute, maybe the Kremlin is behind some of this.

MACCALLUM: Playing everybody. I mean, that was -- another editorial in the journal today suggested that the Kremlin was playing Glenn Simpson. That they knew exactly what he was looking for. They didn't particularly care who won the election, but they wanted to sow chaos in American democracy, which just makes them look back.

CHAFFETZ: No, I think that's absolutely right. But there are key facts in the development of this dossier that should have gone before a judge: who paid for it? Who was behind it? Did they have political motivation? All of those things play into whether or not this dossier should've been used as a key fact to do something that we take very seriously in this country, that is spy on somebody in the middle of a political campaign.

MACCALLUM: I mean, you can just imagine. You know, if this theory is true, though, they're laughing all through this thing. Because everybody here is arguing about whether or not the dossier is real, is it fake? You know, was it used to start an FBI investigation. No doubt there's some smug faces that the Kremlin as if they're with us. Thanks, you guys. Great to see you all tonight.

So, it will be the first State of the Union address from a president who has taught the nation in a year to expect the unexpected, really? White House Senior Advisor, Mercedes Schlapp, is here with a preview tonight. Plus, Hillary Clinton hails herself as the champion for women. But when confronted with her own me too situation, her own campaign manager said she failed to act. Philippe Reinus, a former top adviser to Mrs. Clinton who on the campaign and is still part of her inner most circle is here exclusively tonight to respond.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sexism and misogyny are endemic in our society.





PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We worked on it hard. Covered a lot of territory including our great success with the markets and with the tax cuts. It's a big speech. An important speech. We cover immigration. And for many years -- many, many years they've been talking immigration, they never got anything done. We're going to get something done.


MACCALLUM: President Trump earlier. He is expected to announce tomorrow night plans for a massive overhaul of the nation's infrastructure. He has talked recently about that, of course, starting on the campaign trail, and something that previous administrations have failed to deliver on although they talked about it an awful lot. Watch.


BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT: I'm announcing my administration's efforts to transform travel in American with an historic investment in high-speed rail. We will rebuild 150,000 miles of our roads, enough to circle the world six times. We will lay and maintain 4,000 miles of railways, enough to stretch from coast to coast. I'm going to keep on fighting alongside all of you to make sure that we're doing everything we can to rebuild America, not just rebuild one bridge, but I want us to rebuild every bridge.


MACCALLUM: Here now, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure -- the big buzz word in everything that we're talking about. Good to see you tonight, senator. Thank you for being here.


MACCALLUM: You know, when you watch that, President Obama talked about this huge project?

INHOFE: Yes, it sickens me, because I remember when he said that; I was sitting there. And he was the one who pushed through this 786-billion, and that turned in to $836 billion and he didn't do anything. You what percent of that money actually went to infrastructure, to roads and highways and bridges? Three percent. Three percent. Now, that's just outrageous. Of course, all of that money went into his environmental agenda and those things.

MACCALLUM: I mean, we remember also the shove-already jobs that he said, well, they weren't a shove-already as you thought. That was part of the same package.

INHOFE: He never had any intention to do any infrastructure with that.

MACCALLUM: All right. So, you've been frustrated with this White House so far on infrastructure action? administration on infrastructure action?

INHOFE: No, I haven't been. I've in -- he's ready for it now, and he'll be talking about it tomorrow night. And I think that it will be one of the main things -- and rebuilding the military. It's be the two main items.

MACCALLUM: So, in terms of the expenditures that we're going to hear about tomorrow night, how much is the president going to commit to infrastructure, and we're already hearing from states and municipalities that they are worried that the burden is going to fall on them, and that they don't have the money to do it.

INHOFE: Well, first of all, there will be an incentive there for states and for the private sector, and for local governments. Because the money, the differential between the $200 billion in the (INAUDIBLE 22:05) is going to be a lot of the incentives will be there for them to do it. There'll other things other things like there would be a program, which they would change the definition so it can go to some other projects. But I'll tell you, the one -- the major area where money is going to be coming in, nobody believes it. They just don't -- it's not logical, but the Democrats won't admit it. And yet this started with John Kennedy. This was his program. Remember reading about it -- you're too young to have been there, but you remember reading about it. But he said at that time was that we need more money for the great society programs. John Kennedy, he said the best way to increase revenue coming into the country is to reduce marginal rates, and he did. And the amount -- actually, four years after he reduced the rates from 90 down 70 percent, and all other comparable reduction.

MACCALLUM: It's unbelievable.

INHOFE: It is unbelievable, but that's what happened. Four years after that, that increased the total revenue coming into the country by 30 percent. Then along came Ronald Reagan -- I remember that went very well.

MACCALLUM: Because more people I know are having jobs. So, the bottom of -- because when you hear about the billions of dollars to be set on infrastructure, it makes you realize how much money comes into the government from taxpayers across this country. And as you point out based on this tax reform, it will probably will even increase. But how do you prevent the swamp -- I want to get into this before I lose time with you: how do you prevent the swamp from sucking that money up, and, you know, arguing that these projects belong in my state and my city, and then it turns into, you know, sort of paying people off, and having the money go to corrupt things?

INHOFE: Well, it depends on if we win the elections, and I think we will. We'll still maintain the via majority. But let's keep in mind, one thing is -- no one disagrees with this: reach one percent increase of economic activity, that translates into three trillion dollars of additional fund to come at over a 10-year period. Now, again, I was going to give the example of Reagan, but there's not time for that. But every time we do this, money does come in. Now, the key is to keep enough conservatives in the House and Senate and along with this president, that isn't going -- we're going to have a huge amount of money coming in.

MACCALLUM: I got your work cut out for you in the midterms and we'll be watching. Thank you very much. Good to see you, senator.

INHOFE: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Thanks for being here. So, coming up tonight, President Trump talking tough on terror at a high-level security council meeting today. What it means for our troops at home and abroad. Also, Hillary Clinton under fire after a bombshell report details how she once protected a top advisor who was accused of sexual misconduct. Philippe Reines a member of her most inner -- inner-most circle is here with me tonight to respond to a bipartisan of critics labelling her a hypocrite this evening.


CLINTON: The double standard that applies to women in politics is alive and well.



CLINTON: If we are serious about building a better, stronger, fairer America, we need to be serious about supporting and nurturing our girls, especially the young women who put their faith in this campaign and in me. I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion.


MACCALLUM: So, Hillary Clinton has long presented her as a champion and defender of women building two presidential campaigns around that premise, really. But a bombshell report from the New York Times is telling a different story tonight. It details an incident in which Clinton refused to fire a senior advisor on her '08 campaign despite learning of some very disturbing complaints of sexual harassment against him. In moments, Philippe Reines, a Former Top Advisor to Mrs. Clinton who worked on the campaign, and is still part of her inner circle on why Clinton has not apologized for this incident. But first, Trace Gallagher live in our West Coast Newsroom with the backstory for us tonight. Hi, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Hi, Martha, during the 2008 campaign, Hillary Clinton's faith advisor was a man named Burns Strider. Every morning, he would send Mrs. Clinton scripture readings. Strider was also accused repeatedly of sexually harassing a young woman subordinate -- he apparently shared an office with. The young woman claimed: Strider, who is married, often rubbed her shoulders, inappropriately kissed her on the forehead, and sent her a string of suggestive e-mails. Her complaint eventually got the attention of campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle. Watch.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I interviewed all the parties involved. I looked at the evidence. I looked at some emails that he has sent. I have looked at other documents and came to the conclusion that there was sexual harassment involved, that the young woman was very credible.


GALLAGHER: So Ms. Doyle then recommended Burns Strider be fired but Hillary Clinton refused. Now, nine years later, Clinton tweeted, quote, a story appeared today about something that happened in 2008, I was dismayed when it occurred, but was hearten the young women came forward, was heard, and had her concerns taken seriously and address. And the way the campaign addressed it is by allowing Burn Strider to continue in his role and reassigning the young woman. The reason it's only now going public is because former Clinton associates were unwilling to talk about the event until the Me Too Movement compelled them to speak with the New York Times. Remember, the 2016 Clinton campaign has been cited as an inspiration for Me Too, even though the primary factor of the movement, Harvey Weinstein, was a long-time friend and donor to the Clintons. And Hillary's latest shout out to female activist made headlines when she used one group's literally name. Watch.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks. Thanks for your feminism, for your activism, and all I can hope is you keep up the really important good work.


(LAUGHTER) CLINTON: Let me just say, this is directed to the activist (BLEEP) Supporting (BLEEP).


GALLAGHER: By the way, Burns Strider, the man accused of harassment also worked for a group that supported the 2016 Clinton campaign, but he was fired for numerous workplace issues including harassing a young female aide. Martha.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, Trace. Joining me now, Philippe Reines, who worked on the 2008 presidential campaign and has been a trusted Clinton advisor for many years. Philippe, thanks for coming in tonight.


MCCALLUM: Why didn't she just say this was wrong and I should have fired him? I made a mistake.

REINES: Well, that's the question she's asking herself. And I think take a step back and look how she got to that point because I do think lots of things went right before we talk about what might not have gone right. The campaign created an environment where a woman who was harassed, and she was, felt comfortable coming forward. She came forward and there was a rigorous process that listened to her, that believed her, and then took her complaints and brought them to the candidate through the campaign manager. That's supposed to be how it works. There is no issue. There's no debate. There was no debate then or now.

MCCALLUM: There was a debate. Let's play Patti Solis Doyle on CNN today. Watch.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was disappointed by that tweet, that response. It was the wrong call. I wish she had said it was the wrong call. I wish she had said, you know, having to do it over, I would have fired him.


REINES: No. I'm saying there's no debate, Secretary Clinton never questioned whatever or not Mr. Strider did was wrong or not.

MCCALLUM: But there was obviously a debate within the campaign about whether or not he needed to be fired.


MCCALLUM: Why was he not fired? I mean, he was doing creepy thing. She's out there, you know, as a huge advocate for women and girls every single day. I mean, I would think she would want this guy genocide immediately.

REINES: I think for a few reasons. And I should preference with she's asking herself the same exact questions over the last few days. And she's probably coming up with the same answer that many others, including Patti.

MCCALLUM: She called this young woman and talked to her.

REINES: She did.

MCCALLUM: Are we going to hear from this young woman? Did she encourage her to come out?

REINES: She told her that she be -- we're in no way holding her back that is she wanted.

MCCALLUM: Even if she comes out and she wants to complain about Hillary Clinton.

REINES: Absolutely.

MCCALLUM: . that.

REINES: She should say whatever she wants. No one is stopping her, except herself. And that should be respected if that's what she wants.

MCCALLUM: All right.

REINES: She told Secretary Clinton that she was happy with Secretary Clinton's sharing their conversation if it help in this discussion. And.

MCCALLUM: Are we going to hear more from Hillary Clinton.

REINES: We are, eminently.

MCCALLUM: OK. We'll stay tune for that. We did hear from her last night at the Grammys, and part of what was intended as a comedic moment. Let's play that.


CLINTON: He had a long time fear of being poisoned. One reason why he like to eat at McDonald's, nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: That's it. We've got it. That's the one.

CLINTON: You think so?



MCCALLUM: How is that OK for a former candidate, a former wife of a president of the United States to go on a national award show that's supposed to be for all Americans to have fun watching, and go after the president of the United States?

REINES: I think, unfortunately, everything is not OK. But the same reason I think when I watch the NFC and AFC championships, the football games, why has the NFL become politicized? This was a joke. This was funny. I think Nikki Haley overreacted. Don Jr., as is his one, over reacted. I think everyone needs to grow a sense of humor.

MCCALLUM: But let me ask you this.

REINES: That's not politicizing. Read the book is not politicizing.

MCCALLUM: I mean, it's a book that attacks the president and has been undercut as being false in numerous ways. So, I just think it's a call about whether or not you want to be a classy person, you know. Do you want to go on TV and demean the president of the United States in that way.

REINES: I would love to stay on for another segment to debate classiness between her and President Trump, but I don't think.

MCCALLUM: I thought if they went low, Dems are going to go high.


MCCALLUM: You know, it made me think of Stanley McChrystal and how he was, you know, the things that he said in the interview in Rolling Stone that were seen as undercutting the president. It led to him leaving office. And I thought to myself, I'm trying to picture a leader standing on the Grammys stage and show and saying -- you know, their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later. It was a 10- minute photo-op says advisor to McChrystal, Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, he said in that book, and it goes on to say who he was, here's the guys who's going to run his epic war, but he didn't seem very engage. The boss is pretty disappointed. Try to imagine if that happened at the Grammys going after President Obama while he was in office.

REINES: Hold on a second. Stanley McChrystal was a uniformed military officer.


REINES: Hold on.


REINES: She's as much as -- and the president would love to treat her as a sitting president of the United States. She's just a person.

MCCALLUM: She's a candidate, a former first lady, a former secretary of state, and she.

(CROSSTALK) REINES: Wherever she does it she needs to be told to be quiet, which -- help us figure out where she can be critical and how. The Grammys are off limits.

MCCALLUM: Obviously, it was her decision to go out and do that. I just think that, you know, time and time again the book and everywhere else it's all about excuses for why she was not elected and going after the sitting president.


MCCALLUM: I'm just saying I disagree. You know, I mean, it's a question of the decisions that you make and what kind of mark you want to make on the country.

REINES: I'm comfortable with decisions that Secretary Clinton has made in terms of class and dignity as opposed to the sitting president.

MCCALLUM: OK. And you think that she is going to come out and say more.

REINES: I think literary, eminently, she is going to say that -- to do it again, she should have fired her.

MCCALLUM: Philippe, good to see you.

REINES: Thank you for having me.

MCCALLUM: Thank you for coming by. So, when we come back tonight we have come to expect the unexpected from the Trump White House as Philippe would I agree, I'm sure. So, will the first state of the union address be the same tonight? Senior White House advisor, Mercedes Schlapp, joins us with a preview coming up. This come as President Trump ramps up the rhetoric against the Taliban after a wave of deadly attacks hit Afghanistan, so will there be more aggression, potentially, more boots on the ground. We're going to talk about that when we come back.


TRUMP: Innocent people are being killed left and right, bombing in the middle of children and the middle of families. Killing all over Afghanistan.



MCCALLUM: So, the White House said that the theme for tomorrow night speech will be building a safe, strong and proud America. Apparently, that is the tone that the administration hopes that will be set tomorrow night as they head into year two. But not every member of congress will be there. Here, at least nine Democrats have announced that they will not be there. They're going to boycott the president's address tomorrow evening. Here now, Mercedes Schlapp, assistant to the president and senior advisor for strategic communications. Mercedes, good to see you tonight.


MCCALLUM: Also, Nancy Pelosi and I think 23 other members are bringing dreamers with them to this speech. What kind of statement do you think that make? And how will the president take that in?

SCHLAPP: Well, I just got to tell you the president is very focus on talking about being forward-looking in his state of the union. Talking about his accomplishments. How they're lifting all Americans. Talking about his agenda, about jobs, infrastructure, immigration, trade, national security, all these important topics that resonate with Americans. I mean, This is about uniting the country. This is about talking about values that Americans care about. Patriotism, helping to boom the -- the economic boom and the result of what the president has done in his historic first year, which I've got to tell you, I worked for two presidents. But President Trump, really, in terms of what we've seen in economic success he has quite the story to tell in terms of deregulation and pushing forward more job creation and increases the wages for Americans

MCCALLUM: I mean it's interesting, you know, after the health care bill went down, all the talk everywhere was that there were no legislative accomplishments of this White House. And now, and I hear, you know, Senator McConnell was talking to Dana Perino today, and he said he's been around a long time too, and he said, I've never seen so many things accomplished in the first year. So, when you listen to these folks who say they're going to boycott, and I think we have a little-bit of sound from some of them. Let's play that and get Mercedes reaction.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: For the sake of the institution, I cannot give this man who does not respect me the respect of be in that audience.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would rather skip this than listen to the rhetoric coming from a White House that has done away with decency.


MCCALLUM: What is the White House respond to that comment?

SCHLAPP: Well, that's quite unfortunate because we have seen is that the Democrats have not presented any agenda. Let's look at the contrast. You have leftist Democrats who decide to hang out with the celebrities at the Grammys, while you have President Trump talking about the forgotten Americans, the forgotten men and women. And that agenda, which as we know is an agenda that resonates across party lines. When you're talking about job growth, when you're talking about deregulation that impacts real businesses, where you're having companies coming back, over 250 companies basically giving bonuses and increasing their wages. This is a positive story to tell. This is about expanding opportunities for all Americans. And what you're seeing with the Democrats is an out of touch elite mentality, where in fact they have no agenda, they have no solution.

MCCALLUM: I mean, it is interesting because in terms of agenda and you listen to what they were saying, it is really all about pointing out what they see as someone in the White House that they don't approve of and you've mention Hollywood. Cynthia Nixon weighing in tonight as well. I don't know if you have a chance to see this, but let's play a little sound bite -- oh, no, it's not a sound bite. So, I'll do a dramatic reading of Cynthia Nixon, OK. President Trump's first year in office has been a dark year for many in America. For those of us who value equal rights for all or economic and racial justice or want to combat climate change, we have taken -- and she goes on to say, huge steps backwards. If we've learn anything during the first year of the Trump presidency is that the cavalry isn't coming to save us. And she's encouraging Americans we ourselves is the cavalry in 2018. Each one of us to do whatever we can to take our government back. She said it should be about the people of the country standing up and saying how horrified they're about, as she is, by the Trump presidency.

SCHLAPP: Well, President Trump fights for Americans every day. It is his focus. It is what he wants to do ensuring that we bring more jobs back that all Americans have the opportunity that they need to succeed. And he's focused on it. I mean, that's what he does every day when you're looking at.

MCCALLUM: Does he enjoy this process when he's working on the speech? Is he excited about.

SCHLAPP: Absolutely. He's incredibly energized. He's going to speak from the heart. He wants to show the American people that he's committed to ensuring that their lives improve every day. The fact is the Democrats are going to take away their tax cuts. If the Democrats have no agenda -- if they can't even accept reasonable immigration reform, I mean, it is clear that their only message is resists, while the president's message is that of a solution and providing better opportunities for all Americans.

MCCALLUM: Before I let you go, one quick news question, Andrew McCabe, did the White House have any role in his decision to step down or him being removed from the FBI?

SCHLAPP: No, the president was not involved in this decision making process. We know the president has full confidence in the FBI director, Christopher Wray.

MCCALLUM: Thank you, Mercedes.

SCHLAPP: Thank you.

MCCALLUM: We'll see you tomorrow. All right. Coming up next, it is one of the most talked about stories ahead of the upcoming winter Olympics. Why did North Korea abruptly cancel a joint Olympic cultural event with South Korea? Lieutenant Colonel Michael Waltz joins me next, coming up on that on "The Story."


MCCALLUM: So tonight, President Trump ramping up his rhetoric against the Taliban after 2 deadly attacks in Afghanistan in just 1 week, took the lives of more than 100 people. In a meeting with the U.N. Security Council at the White House today, President Trump pledged to put an end to the terrorists once and for all.


TRUMP: When we see what they're doing and the atrocities that they're committing and killing their own people, and those people are women and children, many, many women and children that are totally innocent, it is horrible. So, there's no talking to the Taliban. We don't want to talk to the Taliban. We're going to finish what we have to finish, what nobody else has been able to finish, we're going to be able to do it.


MCCALLUM: Here now, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Waltz, a former Green Beret commander and counter terrorism adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. Good to see you tonight.


MCCALLUM: Obviously, the Taliban is spiking up again. We've seen these horrific attacks over the course of the last 2 weeks. Why the resurgence at this moment?

WALTZ: Well, you know a number of reasons. One is that we started taking on Pakistan. And this is why I supported this president since he won the primary. He's calling it like he sees it. Enough is enough with Pakistan's support of the insurgency of the Taliban insurgency. So they're dialing it up. We're going to see this escalation, unfortunately. I think the president is right to send in advisors and air support to support the Afghan army as they move forward. But he's also trying to undo 8 years of the Obama administration kind of passive approach and peace talks at all costs. Remember, they traded 5 Taliban leaders for Bowe Bergdahl trying to get the peace talks started. It was -- you know, whatever it takes to move at a table and the president today said enough. We're not going to talk with terrorists who do this to innocent women and children. And I think he's spot on.

MCCALLUM: But as you say, Pakistan has enabled this.

WALTZ: That's right.

MCCALLUM: The Haqqani network over the border and that's a situation that we have put up with for such a long time.

WALTZ: Well, they've just withheld $900 million from the Pakistanis, and I think that was the right move and long, long overdue.

MCCALLUM: So, in terms of the U.N. and Nikki Haley and the voice that this administration has put forward as we get ready to sort of look back on this year and look ahead to next year, what's the priority?

WALTZ: Well, you know, the president met today with the U.N. Security Council members, again, in the White House. He also declassified missile parts from where the Iranians have provided to terrorists all over the region, specifically the ones in Yemen. So, what he's doing is taking a diplomatic approach, despite everyone that criticizes him, and walking the Security Council through the process of saying, look at their support of terrorism, look at their missiles program that's out of control just like North Korea's years ago. Look at their bad behavior and world -- and Security Council, you can take care of this or we will.

MCCALLUM: So North Korea has sort of extended a hand to South Korea to get ready for the Olympics. But now they seem to be changing their tune about some of the together performances that they were going to do. How do you read this?

WALTZ: So, one, the extending the hand is right out of the North Korea playbook. When the pressure gets too hot and the sanctions were starting to bite that President Trump has put in place, then they go to the table. At the same time they knew that the South Korean president was desperate to have an Olympics without missiles flying overhead, so they knew he would sit down. What I'm watching is the day after the Olympic are over, we need to dial the sanctions back up, and dial the pressure back up on both North Korea and China. That's the best way to avoid war. This president knows this. And I think only through a pressure campaign -- remember, he abandoned Obama's strategic patience campaign that got us to this point. Only through a pressure campaign can we avoid a military option here.

MCCALLUM: Lieutenant Colonel Michael Waltz, thank you very much. Always good to see you.

WALTZ: Thanks, Martha.

MCCALLUM: . in a chilly night in Washington. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back with more of The Story from Washington, D.C. live tonight, after this.


MCCALLUM: So, tomorrow night we'll be back here live in Washington. The president will be giving his State of the Union address. We're going to be joined by several special guests here on out set overlooking Capitol Hill, such a beautiful shot up here. And at 9:00, Bret Baier will join me with special coverage leading up to the address followed by expert insight and analysis immediately following the Democratic response. Thanks for watching, everybody. We'll see you back here tomorrow night from Washington. My friend Tucker Carlson is coming up next. Don't go away. That's "The Story."

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