This is a rush transcript from "Justice with Judge Jeanine," August 25, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JEANINE PIRRO, HOST: Breaking news tonight, Arizona senator, war hero and former presidential candidate, John McCain has died. I'm Jeanine Pirro. Thanks for being with us tonight.
McCain's death comes just over a day after it was revealed that he was no longer seeking treatment for brain cancer. McCain was diagnosed in July of last year. McCain was born August 29th, 1936, the son and grandson of four-star Admirals, McCain graduated the Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1958 and later flight school in 1960.
At the start of the Vietnam War, McCain volunteered for combat duty. In 1967, during a bombing run, his plane was shot down. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war until 1973.
For his service, McCain earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross. After his release, he served as a Republican congressman, then later senator from the state of Arizona. McCain ran for President for the first time in 2000, but lost a heated primary season to former President George W. Bush. He eventually secured the nomination in 2008, but lost the general election to former President Barack Obama.
Fox chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel takes a look back at the long and distinguished career of Senator McCain.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MIKE EMANUEL, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: John Sidney McCain III was born in 1936 at a naval air station in the Panama Canal zone. McCain's father and grandfather were both four-star Admirals. The family moved often between bases on the mainland and abroad.
It was inevitable he would pursue a Navy career and Ensign McCain graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1958.
As war broke out in Vietnam, McCain volunteered for duty. He flew attack planes against the North Vietnamese and escaped serious injury in June 1967 when a rocket aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forestall accidently struck McCain's plane. Explosion and fires killed 134 people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZONA: I felt this tremendous blow to my airplane and saw the fire coming out. So, I probably had reacted a little more quickly than those in the planes near me. Some of those planes near me didn't survive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: On his 23rd Air Mission on October 26, 1967, his plane was shot down, this time during a bombing mission over Hanoi. The North Vietnamese captured him and moved him to the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was terribly injured - fractured arms, broken knee, left arm was out of the socket - he had not been fed, and basically, he was starving to death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: McCain's captors offered him early release because he was an Admiral's son, but he refused. He endured torture and more than three years in solitary confinement. He said Air Force Colonel Day saved his life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: Bud Day was the most steadfast, the most inspirational and the toughest of anybody that must have something to do with his Iowa upbringing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: McCain was released in 1973 and awarded silver and bronze stars, the purple heart and the distinguished flying cross. His wounds left him with impaired physical abilities for the rest of his life.
He retired from the Navy as a Captain in 1981 after marrying Cindy Hensley, a teacher from Arizona. He moved to Phoenix and got into politics, serving two terms in the House of Representatives. He was elected to the Senate in 1986 where he developed a reputation as a Maverick.
While he voted with his party most of the time, it became clear he was willing to buck Republican leadership and occasionally, align with Democrats. McCain's political career hit a bump in 1989 when he and four other senators, the Keating Five were implicated in a savings and loan scandal and accused of corruption.
A Senate Ethics Committee investigation found that though McCain used poor judgment, he was not guilty of any wrongdoing.
McCain said that experience inspired him to co-author the McCain-Feingold Bill on campaign finance reform with Wisconsin Senator, Russ Feingold which finally passed in 2001. And as Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, he took on the tobacco industry with legislation to increase cigarette taxes.
McCain published a memoir "Faith of My Fathers" in 1999. It became a bestseller and later a film. In the meantime, he announced his candidacy for president, appealing to independents and traveling aboard the Straight Talk Express, but after defeat in South Carolina, Texas Governor George W. Bush gained momentum and McCain went on to lose nine of 13 primaries on Super Tuesday. He withdrew from the race in March 2000 returning to the Senate.
The Senator threw his support behind President Bush and the Iraq War, but he later criticized the Bush administration for not sending enough troops to Iraq. He became the first Republican senator to demand Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: We are in a heck of a mess in Iraq and the American people told us loud and clear last week that they are not happy. They are not happy with the course of this war. Neither am I.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: He also continued to partner with his colleagues on the other side of the aisle. McCain and Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy made a push for comprehensive immigration reform. Though the legislation failed to pass both Houses. With President Bush's second term coming to a close, McCain again announced his candidacy for President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I do so grateful for the privilege, this country has already given me. Mindful, that I must seek these responsibilities for reasons greater than my self-interest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: This time, McCain won the majority of delegates on Super Tuesday and then in the March 4th primaries, giving him the lead he needed to secure the nomination. McCain's surprise vice presidential pick was Alaska Governor Sarah Palin - together the two surged ahead of Democratic candidate and Illinois Senator Barack Obama and VP candidate Joe Biden in the polls following the Republican National Convention. But Obama gained momentum and ultimately defeated McCain in the general election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: As Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain remained active on foreign policy. He rallied for military intervention in Libya against Muammar Gaddafi, pushed for Democratic reforms in Egypt and called for withholding US aid to the Egyptian army after it ousted
President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood Party. He also publicly criticized the Obama administration for its handling of the September 11, 2012 attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi that killed four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I have no doubt, we are holding the President of the United States responsible and he is responsible and he has given contrasting versions of events to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: In 2015, McCain became Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and used the platform to push for an expanded US military presence in Iraq and Syria and a new strategy in Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: We need to have a strategy to win. The strongest nation on earth should be able to win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: As the 2016 election candidates began to emerge and he campaigned for his own Senate reelection, McCain pledged to support the eventual Republican nominee. He later pulled his endorsement of Donald Trump citing their differences on public policy issues like national security and Trump's controversial remarks comments about women. Then in the midst of his sixth Senate term, he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot above his left eye and was later diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor.
Despite a poor cancer prognosis, he remained a dominant voice in the Senate, at times going against his own party's efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. In July 2017, some senators audibly gasped as Arizona Senator gave a memorable thumbs down gesture on the floor.
McCain cast the deciding no vote which killed the GOP's healthcare measure. All this as McCain released another memoire in his final days, "The Restless Wave," a brutally honest assessment of his highs and lows, personal and professional.
The Maverick Senator offered this candid assessment writing, "I'm not sure what to make of President Trump's convictions, his reaction to unflattering news stories, calling them fake news, whether they are credible or not is copied by autocrats who want to discredit and control the free press. Flattery secures his friendship, criticism his enmity."
In an audio book excerpt, the man who made public service his life's passion reflected on what he considered his unfinished legacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: Maybe I'll be gone before you hear this. My predicament is well - rather, unpredictable, but I'm prepared for either contingency, or at least I'm getting prepared. I have some things I would like to take care of first, some work that needs finishing and some people I need to see, and I want to talk to my fellow Americans a little more if I may.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: John McCain is survived by his wife, Cindy and seven children. In Washington, Mike Emanuel, Fox News.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
PIRRO: And we have just received a tweet from Cindy McCain quote, "My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived on his own terms surrounded by the people he loved in the place he loved best." Senator John McCain, 1936 to 2018.
And joining me now by phone, Bret Baier. Good evening, Bret.
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: Hi, Judge.
PIRRO: All right, Brett, who have you heard from? And what were your initial thoughts when you heard that Senator McCain had died?
BAIER: Obviously, we knew this was coming and when the family announced that they were - he was stopping medical treatments for brain cancer, that the days were numbered here.
I think you are going to see an outpouring support from both sides of the aisle. You have already started to see it, President Trump had tweeted out his sympathies for the family, so has the First Lady as well as Congressional leaders all over the place.
But just in the past minute, George W. Bush sent out a statement, and remember George W. Bush ran against John McCain in the GOP primary in 2000 and butted heads with him, Judge numerous times when I covered the Bush White House. He said this, quote, "Some lives are so vivid it's difficult to imagine them ending. Some voices are so vibrant it's hard to think of them still. John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order. He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country and to me, he was a friend whom I will deeply miss. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathies to Cindy McCain and the entire McCain family. Our thanks, God, for the life of John McCain." That's from George W. Bush, former president.
PIRRO: Beautiful words.
BAIER: Obviously, President Obama has put out at statement. Joe Biden. I think, what you are seeing, Judge, is reaction to the death of a man who was unique in Washington and, you know, I think there are going to be a lot of people looking back at his life and all that he did for the country, serve the country, not himself.
PIRRO: Well, what is so striking is all of the things - or are all of the things that he has accomplished. I mean, there were 23 bombing missions that was on and then his political life as well as writing a bestseller, winning six Senate elections, but I think probably what he would be remembered most of for was the fact that he was a Maverick. That he was
someone that wants as concerned about politics as he was about what he
BAIER: That's right, Judge. Just in the last second, as you were talking Sarah Palin, his Vice Presidential nominee put out a statement, "Today we lost an American original. Senator John McCain was a Maverick and a fighter; never afraid to stand for his beliefs. John never took the easy path in life and through sacrifice and suffering, he inspired others to serve something greater than themselves. John McCain was my friend. I will remember the good times. My family and I send prayers to Cindy and the McCain family." That's from Sarah Palin, his Vice Presidential nominee who he obviously, in years later said that he had doubts whether that was the right pick.
But the fact - you are seeing all kinds of statements from all kinds of ideologies because he was kind of bigger than Washington.
PIRRO: Let me just interrupt for one moment. What we are seeing now is a flag being lowered to half-mast at the State House in Arizona. Bret, all of the people who will be referencing the impact that John McCain had on their lives, I guess, we're able to see so many sides of him, not just the fighter pilot, not just the politician, but the statesman.
I mean the man who was Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who could comment about wars and Benghazi and Iraq and everyone would certainly take him and what he was saying seriously when it came to the art of war, if you could call it that.
BAIER: Yes, I mean, listen, he was controversial at times. And he fought for things and fought against things that went against not only his party, the other party. He was very adamant that the fight against Al-Qaida should be very strong. He was a big proponent of a kind of big, strong military. He was not a proponent of any kind of torture or enhanced interrogation techniques and that was a pushback that he made in the Bush administration.
He had a lot of power as the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the military revered him and you've seen statements from Secretary Mattis and others already tonight.
PIRRO: Well, also in addition to aggressively pushing for an expanded US military presence in Iraq and Syria, he also, I guess, true to his personality caused a stir in 2013 when he ventured into Syria to meet with opposition leaders whom he hoped would topple Bashar Al-Assad.
BAIER: He did. And some of those pictures were questioned about who was who, and why was McCain meeting with them. He was always pushing. He felt that the Obama administration really dropped the ball as far as getting the opposition organized in Syria, and was a big talker about the red line that no longer was a red line for President Obama in Syria.
He was also very critical about Iraq and how that was being operated and how the military was being handled. He, Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman, others, they had a number of different senators who stood with him on foreign policy issues particularly.
PIRRO: And you know, just following up on the issue of the military, Senator McCain had opposed the repeal of the military's ban on openly gay service members, but said he would work to see the new policy was effectively implemented. Your thoughts?
BAIER: Yes, I mean, that's the thing, he was firm on his conservative beliefs in one way, and he was pushing against some elements of his party in another. That happened throughout his career in the Senate. It happened when he ran for President, and, you know, I think people will look back at some of the stances he made and say this was a stance on principle.
If you go back and look, Judge at the last speech he makes in the well of the Senate, that is his philosophy. That is John McCain, and it's worth - I bet in the next day or two, there will be a lot of pointing back to that speech.
PIRRO: Well, I'm sure we'll probably pull it up very soon. But last question to you, Bret, I mean, you were in Washington. You had occasion to know the man, the Senator, and I get the sense and I've had him - he has been on this show "Justice" a few times. But I get the sense he was always a guy who was in a rush, that he had a lot to do, that there was always a lot going on in a sense. Tell us about the personal John McCain when you were not on camera with him and a little back and forth you might have had with him.
BAIER: He was a jokester. He loved like kind of giving you a little needle here or there. He loved popping in, just waving and saying "hi." We had an online show after "Special Report" on Wednesday nights for a long time and he was doing a live shot, I think, with Greta Van Susteren in the studio next door. And we were in the middle of talking and he just popped in. He just walked right in the middle of the online show, which was great it was the online show and we just let things roll.
And we turned the camera and he sat there and just talked to us. Now, I took my microphone off and held it out. He was just kind of a free-wheeling spirit and loved to joke with reporters especially the ones on Capitol Hill. I was there on the night of the healthcare vote and he was essentially teasing all of those reporters about standing outside the Senate, about how he was going to vote.
PIRRO: Really? What was he saying?
BAIER: He had kind of an impish grin when he would walk by you.
PIRRO: Interesting, and quite a notable evening. Bret, thanks so much for giving us insight into the personal Senator John McCain.
And if you're just joining us, Senator McCain has passed this evening. And right now, we have a tweet from President Donald J. Trump, "My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you."
Again, Senator John McCain passing this evening. And we have Senator Mike Huckabee, we are going to go to him right now. I'm sorry, Governor Huckabee.
Governor, John McCain - I assume you knew Senator John McCain.
MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: Yes, I did, you demoted me there for a minute, Judge. Many people may not remember but I came in second to John McCain at the presidential nomination process back in 2008, so I got to know him quite well.
We shared the stage in many presidential debates, spent a lot of time with him. He beat me for the nomination, but as soon as that happened, I was very happy to endorse him. I campaigned vigorously not only for him, but with him all over the country right up until the day the polls closed.
I never had a regret about that. I found him to be incredibly gracious and grateful person for this country and the truth is, even though we were political opponents, we were never enemies. We never had a cross word in that entire process, but that's kind of the nature of John McCain. There are many great things I remember, one of which is in a campaign stop here in Little Rock, where I am tonight. He came to campaign and we were at a barbeque restaurant and he did the obligatory land shakes, but what he wanted to do was get back in the kitchen and see how they were doing the barbecue, how they were smoking the meats because he is known as a very effective and quite the connoisseur of good barbeque, and so he was always learning what the tricks of the trade were.
And so he spent more time in the kitchen with the owner of the restaurant asking all kinds of detailed questions about the temperature, lengths of time, preparation for the ribs and the pork butts, and you could tell that he was totally absorbed and finally his aides had to say, "Senator, we have a presidential campaign we have to attend to. We're going to have to leave this kitchen and have to leave this incredibly huge smoker."
But it was just, for me, a poignant moment of a person who was not only a senator and at that time, a presidential candidate, but he was also a human being who loved just to be able to cook for his friends and his family, and it gave a side of John McCain that a lot of people probably never had the chance to see.
PIRRO: That's very interesting, Governor. I mean, we knew he was a pilot and a politician and author, but we didn't quite know about the cook part of it. But I get the sense from everything and the little that I know about Senator McCain, Governor, that he was a guy who was in a rush. That he always had a lot to do, that he was not a person who would suffer fools and certainly, not a person who would waste time? Is that accurate?
HUCKABEE: That's a very accurate assessment. He was a person who was well studied. He understood the issues. He was very astute to what was happening. His passion was national security and the military. I think that makes sense having been a naval academy graduate, a fighter pilot, POW. He was especially passionate to ensure that America did not engage in methods that he believed were torture because he had been the subject of being tortured during his years of captivity.
Nobody can take away from him the courage that he had when he was given a chance to get out of captivity early because of the status of his father and grandfather as Admirals, he refused. He said, "No, I'm not going to go unless everybody gets to go." Now, how many people would do that? A lot of people would have said, "Well, I'll do everything I can to get you out, but I'm checking out of here. They're going to let me go." And he didn't. He voluntarily stayed with the other POWs because he didn't feel that he should be treated differently because that his father and his grandfather were highly decorated Admirals in the US Navy and had such a remarkable and stellar career.
And that says a lot about, I think his character and his integrity. People have said that he was a Maverick. That's kind of a way of saying he could be a contrarian. He would sometimes go against his own party, go against even sometimes his own vote in a previous piece of legislation, but there was a sense of which he was his own man. He was not a person controlled by lobbyists. He was not influenced by people waving money at him as is so often the case in politics and whatever people say, you cannot take that away from him.
It is one of the, to me, hallmarks of his legislative career, whether you liked what he supported and what he maybe put forth in terms of legislation, whether you agreed with it. The point is, I don't think anybody can say that he was a person who was unduly influenced by the normal pressures of political money and that in itself a great accomplishment for him as a public servant.
PIRRO: All right, Governor Mike Huckabee, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us on the passing of Senator John McCain.
And joining me now is Ed Henry. Ed, we have been talking, and it's kind of interesting, we all know Senator McCain was a fighter pilot, a graduate of the Navy Academy, did 23 bombing missions, kind of interesting, prisoner of war, author, politician, and certainly a Maverick - his own man and we just found out he was a cook, loved to cook, but you also - you worked a long time.
ED HENRY, CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: I covered him in the Senate, I covered him on the presidential campaign trail, many things stand out when you talk about his service. Let's not forget that his and grandfather, John McCain, Sr., and his father, John McCain, Jr., they were both Navy Admirals as well. His father won a silver star during World War II. His grandfather was aboard the USS Missouri on September 2nd, 1945 when the Japanese surrendered. This is an entire family of public servants.
And I mention that also because I remember the senator in a quiet moment in the Senate corridor many years ago and I was asking him, after one of his lost presidential campaigns either 2000 or 2008, "Are you going to retire? Are you thinking about walking away?" And one thing he told me that stuck out was, he said that both his grandfather and father, when they retired from the Navy, they died very shortly thereafter. They no longer had a mission, had a vocation, had a calling, and he said, "I'm not going to be like that. I'm going out fighting." That always stuck with me.
And when Governor Huckabee talks about the barbecue that he enjoyed, I was covering Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign and I remember being in Boston trying to get back from New Hampshire and John McCain happened to be on the flight and he said, "Oh, boy, what are you doing?" I said, "I'm covering Hillary." And he said, "Oh, god," and he rolled his eyes about. All of these candid - he wasn't being mean to Hillary Clinton. He was saying all of these candidates - Bernie Sanders - they are all running around. I have been there, done that. That kind of thing.
He sits down and two other things stand out. All he wanted to talk about was the Arizona Diamondbacks. See, I am a baseball fan and he loved Paul Goldschmidt, the first baseman. And the other thing, he was at that time, late into his 70s. He had this book on the flight, a big thick book on the history of the Navy. So if you want to understand how someone can keep going and fighting after all of this time, battling cancer, he was always testing his mind, always learning until his final days.
PIRRO: One of the things that is so clear about him is that he is a man who didn't waste time, and so ...
HENRY: He lost a lot of time, five and a half years in a prison camp in Vietnam, and not having been through that horrifying experience, but one would imagine that you value time a lot more than most of us do because when you lose that much time and you're going through such horrible abuse, once you get out, a lot of people would ask him, I remember, in covering the Senate, how he had a positive attitude.
You can come out of a searing experience like that pretty negative, pretty pessimistic - look, he had his good days and bad days, and he had a temper. Let's not gloss over that. He would have petty fights and he admitted later, "Oh, I let my temper get the best of me." You know, when he'd have a fight on the Senate floor. I mean, I have seen Mitch McConnell tonight and people were talking about President Trump and he didn't see eye to eye. He and Mitch McConnell rarely saw eye to eye when I covered the Senate more than a decade ago.
PIRRO: Is that right?
HENRY: And now, McConnell is putting out a statement, and I'm not saying he is being disingenuous or anything, I just think John McCain was a stormy - had a stormy temper. He was a tough guy, as you say, a Navy guy. He proudly sat at the bottom of his class at Annapolis. He prided himself that he wasn't the brainiac.
PIRRO: That's right, I think he specifically said, "I was number five from the bottom."
HENRY: Yes, from the bottom.
PIRRO: And then he paused - but I also think he said he had a lot of demerits, too. It sounds like he was a partier.
HENRY: He talked about being down in Florida as a Navy pilot getting into trouble, but look, he also talked about learning from his mistakes. And obviously, somebody who came out of that very difficult experience in a prison camp in Vietnam, he valued time as we said and really wanted to give back to this country.
PIRRO: All right, it is 9:30 in the East, and if you are just joining us, Senator John McCain has died this evening. The great Senator John McCain and we are right now about to go to Alicia Acuna who is at the Arizona Statehouse, Alicia?
ALICIA ACUNA, CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: Hi, Judge, I'd like to actually push off here and show you, if you wouldn't mind, something that was actually happening in your show and you were showing this as it happened here at the statehouse. The flags here moved to half-staff upon news that Senator John McCain left this earth.
The first flag to go down to half-staff was that black there, that is the POW flag, and it sat there for quite some time on its own, and then it was joined of course by the American flag and the state flag of Arizona. John McCain was with his family in Cornville, Arizona. That's about 19 minutes north of where I am standing here at the capital in downtown Phoenix.
He was been there with his wife, Cindy at his side for so much time. He's been there since December. He made his last vote in the US Senate on December 7th. He was having trouble with the medication and having additional health problems, he came back to Arizona and I have to talk about barbeque because everybody else is talking about barbecue. He loved to barbeque at his ranch. That's one of the things he held with so much pride as Ed was talking about, as Governor Huckabee was talking about. It was something that he practiced here in Arizona.
And that ranch up there, this family ranch in Northern Arizona is considered his most favorite place on earth, and his wife Cindy tweeted moments after we learned that he had died that she said on Twitter, "My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved in the place he loved best."
And also, Judge, I spoke with former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl earlier today. And as we were talking about the 18 years that they served in the US Senate together, he said, "We got a lot done. We went a lot of places." And he was so deeply sad, and this was earlier in the day of course, and he said, "There's not much silver in this cloud, but if there is one little bit, it's that he is in a place that he loves so much and he is with the people who he loves." He has been receiving family and friends; the family had this entire week, we know and then when news crossed just yesterday that he decided to forego his cancer treatments anymore and just kind of go with the way nature was going to take him in the way this disease was going to take him, he was with the people he loved most.
One of the people obviously he loved most, his kids and his daughter Meghan McCain, she put out a statement and tweeting first, "I love you forever, my beloved father." And she put out this most beautiful statement, saying, "My father, United States Senator John Sidney McCain III departed this life today. I was with my father at his end as he was with me at my beginning in the 33 years we shared together. He raised me, taught me, corrected me, comforted me, encouraged me and supported me in all things. He loved me and I loved him. He taught me how to live. His love and his care ever present, always unfailing took me from a girl to a woman and he showed me what it is to be a man." Judge.
PIRRO: All right, Alicia, thank you so much and as you read those words of Meghan McCain, I can't help but, as I am sitting here with Ed Henry, of course, Meghan is someone who worked with here us at Fox.
PIRRO: And I must tell you that I see a lot of the Senator in her, a strong, well-spoken woman, tough, who loved to cook.
HENRY: I've got a story for you.
PIRRO: You've got a cooking story.
HENRY: Well, not just about Meghan.
PIRRO: But let me just finish about Meghan. She is beautiful, she is articulate. She is quick and she is very much her father's daughter and totally devoted to the man. Totally.
HENRY: You are absolutely right, and I want to associate that - myself with all of that, and I exchanged e-mails from Meghan McCain shortly after he had announced his battle with cancer and she was very kind in saying how much she loves everyone in the Fox family and I'm reminded of Lindsey Graham telling me about John McCain's mother who by the way outlives John McCain. She is still alive at the age of - Roberta McCain, I believe is 106 years old.
PIRRO: No kidding.
HENRY: And she is a remarkable woman. She lives in Washington, DC. She likes to travel a lot. She still gets around.
HENRY: Absolutely, and here is the story that's going to blow you away. Lindsey Graham says, a few years ago, she was well into her 90s. I don't know the exact dates, and John McCain, the senator was saying, "Mom, what are you doing?" She was going on a European vacation like by herself basically. She goes to a rental car - you'll love this - a rental car counter in one of these countries in Europe and says, "I want a car. I'm going to drive around Europe." And again, her son is telling her not to do this.
And the rental car people say, "We have rules on this. You're too old. You can't rent a car. We can't be liable for this." So she says, "How much is the car?" And according to Lindsey Graham, Roberta McCain, well into her 90s bought that rental car and said, "Dash, darn in, I'm driving to Europe, I don't care what my son says, I don't care what Hertz or Alamo whoever says," and she bought that car instead of renting it.
I tell you that story because I think it's funny, but I also think it shows you where Meghan McCain and John McCain got some of their toughness and their stick through wittiness.
PIRRO: And their spunk and their determination and perseverance. What a great story. And our heart goes out to John McCain's mother this evening, as well as his wife and his daughter. You know, I think that we are going to be joined by Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz. Jason, are you with us?
JASON CHAFFETZ, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS: Yes, Judge. Yes, I am.
PIRRO: Okay, all right, Jason. I mean, you were Chair of Congressional Oversight Reform. You worked in Washington and I'm sure had many occasions to be with John McCain. Your thoughts on his passing.
CHAFFETZ: Yes, it was my honor to serve in Congress and certainly, at the time that John McCain was there. John McCain is an American original. You could never question his patriotism, his commitment to the country and certainly to the military. I didn't always agree with him on his votes or his approach on certain things, but boy, he was there to put up a vigorous debate and he spoke from his heart and he spoke with determination and he was very effective.
One of the things, Judge, I got to do a couple of years ago, I got to go to Vietnam, and I went to the place where he was incarcerated for years and held as a prisoner. And to see that small room and to kind of feel what he might have been going through even though I was there for a short amount of time, it really shakes you to think there were Americans that were held there for years.
And so the degree of respect for Sam Johnson who serves in the House and John McCain, it's just absolutely unbelievable what he went through and to have that perseverance and that strength and that fortitude throughout his whole career I think is uniquely player American, I really do.
PIRRO: You know, what's interesting, I'm reading about his early life and it actually says here that McCain's ancestors fought in the Civil War and an ancestor, Captain William Young served on the staff of General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. I mean, that is amazing.
HENRY: Literally generations of public service, Judge going back to the Revolutionary War.
PIRRO: Wow. That is amazing. Talk to me, Jason Chaffetz, talk to me about the man. What was he like when he wasn't on the Senate floor? What were his passions that you know of working with him?
CHAFFETZ: Well, he was a person who was always in a hurry. He had lots to do. There were lots of issues he had to get up. I never saw him sort of just relaxing, kicking up his feet. He was funny, but he could also be a little bit crusty.
I remember once we were at the Capitol Hill Club and there was some reception and he was in a line and I got in the line behind him. Well, I'm a fairly new member of Congress and I sort of tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Senator, hey, Jason Chaffetz here," and reminding him of who I was and he turned around to me and looked like me like, "I know who you are. What are you trying to say." I mean, like, I was somehow criticizing him. And he was poking me in the chest with his finger, saying, "I know who are," and then he wanted to talk about something else and then somebody pulled him out of the line.
But he was always like that and nobody took it personally. He just - a man on the run and a little crusty, but we all respected and loved him for it.
PIRRO: Well, indeed, indeed, and as we sit here tonight thinking about what he has done for this country and spending so much of his life in service of his fellow countrymen, we certainly can't ignore the fact that he was selfless in everything that he did throughout the course of his life.
HENRY: You saw that many, many times and this is somebody who gave and gave and gave and I think when we talk about his service in Vietnam, what you have to remember as we mentioned a moment ago, Judge, that he was the son and grandson of four-star Navy Admirals. So at one point in his captivity, maybe even multiple points as I recall it, he was offered the opportunity to go, to leave early because the Vietnamese were trying to curry favor with US military officials to say, "We're letting your boy out. We're letting John McCain out." And John McCain refused to get out. John McCain refused to leave early.
He said that the code was that American prisoners of war leave in the order in which they were held captive. And so when the Vietnamese tried to release John McCain and say, we are going basically curry favor with the Americans because of your father and grandfather, he refused.
PIRRO: When you think about it, I mean, the whole thing is kind of interesting that the Vietnamese would say because of your grandfather and your father, even though we're fighting you, we're going to give you a pass, not a pass - certainly not a pass ...
HENRY: They figured it would be a propaganda, too. They thought it was going to be a propaganda too, and John McCain saw through that. Even at a young age, and even in distress. Any one of us in a situation like that, who knows what we would do because you would want to get out.
PIRRO: Sure. Think of it.
HENRY: He had his arms broken. He was punished and tortured again and again.
PIRRO: Yes, his arm was dislocated. I mean, it's amazing and as I understand that he suffered for the rest of his life from the inability to move some ...
HENRY: There were many times that I would see him, I'd be doing a live shot for Fox News and he'd be going to a camera just down the way in the Senate Russell Building and right before he went on, one of his staffers would say, "Hey, Senator, come here." And he would comb his hair because he could not reach - even into his 80s, he couldn't reach his arm over his head to comb his own hair. Those are daily reminders of the scars of war.
PIRRO: The scars of war and the determination of the man to continue to fight on. I think that we're now being joined Chad Pergram, Chad?
CHAD PERGRAM, SENIOR CAPITOL HILL PRODUCER, FOX NEWS: Hi, how are you?
PIRRO: Well, how are you, Chad?
PERGRAM: Well, it's a sad night here in Washington. This is a night that a lot of people on Capitol Hill have been expecting for a long time, but they knew it was inevitable and this was just the inevitable that happened tonight.
PIRRO: Well, but given that you have spent your career in Washington and working with the Congress and you are almost the government historian for Fox here, talk to us about how John McCain was held or seen by other members of Congress, and your own personal thoughts when you heard that he had passed.
PERGRAM: Well, I mean, one of the first things I remember about John McCain, and Ed has talked about this, about - kind of he was a man in a hurry. I remember one time going down into the Russell Senate Subway Station. There is a subway that runs between the capital and the Senate office buildings, which one might be as far as about quarter of a mile away and he was in a hurry and he kept pressing the button as though it would get the subway to come faster.
You could hear the bell ringing and he kept pressing it and pressing it and pressing it. Years ago, I think my first interaction with him, and this was kind of the funny side of John McCain, it was the mid-90s. I worked at C-SPAN and we had gone into his office to do an interview and he had a blue pen which he had put into his pocket and hadn't put the lid on and there was a big blob of blue all over his white shirt.
And he was just like, "Well, you know, it's another day," and it was the first day of the Congress, I believe, I think it was in 1996 or 1997, I guess, is when that would have been. Ed mentioned him being a partisan of the Arizona Diamondbacks. I remember, I had a conversation with him within the past year about how the Diamondbacks - they had this big rivalry with the Dodgers and the Dodgers had beaten the Diamondbacks, and as you know, at the stadium in Phoenix, there's a pool in the outfield and the Dodgers went and jumped in the swimming pool and McCain was appalled with that because they said, "Guys, if you win, you can do whatever you want, but just don't jump in the swimming pool." And he went off giving me this entire diatribe about how much he hated the LA Dodgers and how they went and jumped in the pool and he didn't like that.
One thing - yes, now a couple of things we should talk about here that will come into play in the next couple of days. If custom holds, what will happen, the Senate comes back into session Monday afternoon at 4:00, and we expect them to do is drape a black cloth over his chair in the Senate. Again, he has not been there since December 7th, that was the last time he voted and they will place flowers there and there will probably be a moment of silence to honor John McCain.
We haven't heard anything, I just reached out to see if they were going to lower the capital flags to half-staff. Usually, in a case like this, they wait for the order to come from the President and the Speaker of the House follows suit.
The other thing that we're hearing in the past few minutes and this came in the statement from Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader. He is going to introduce a resolution to rename it Russell Senate Office building after John McCain. Now, it's named after Richard Russell, a long-time senator from Georgia, and I should point out that McCain's office is in Russell, also he is the Chairman of the Senate Arms Services Committee and that Committee is housed in the Russell office building.
There is one part of this if they do change the building name, it wasn't always known as the Russell Senate Office Building when they first built it, it was it the only Senate office building and so they called it just the Senate Office Building or SOB, and some people thought that was appropriate for Richard Russell and if they renamed it after John McCain, one doesn't know.
One last point here, it's something else that I think is important. John McCain found himself caught up in the Keating Five scandal in the late 1980s. This was this issue of the Lincoln savings and loan and Charles Keating in Arizona. There were five senators. Another senator from Arizona, Dennis DeConcini, John McCain basically, the Ethics Committee, they didn't come down on him terribly hard. They came down on Allen Cranston, who is a senator from California much harsher, but they said he used poor judgment and McCain said later, he said that the appearance of impropriety on his behalf was wrong.
Well, this set something into motion with John McCain. This was the side of him of always fighting back against power and influence. And that didn't really crystallize in him until the Keating Five, and if you look at the famous McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law back in the early 2000s, that is part and parcel of what he went through and said, "Wait a minute, we need to be careful about money and politics." When you hear those ads, and we'll start to hear a lot of them here in the next couple of months, and a candidate will appear on TV and say, "I'm so and so and I approve this message." That's the result of McCain-Feingold.
I should point out that the version that they ultimately - was signed into law was the House version passed by Christopher Shays and Marty Meehan of Massachusetts, but it's basically the companion piece of legislation, but everybody knows that it's McCain-Feingold even though it was Shays and Meehan because why? It's John McCain frankly.
PIRRO: All right, Chad Pergram, senior producer for Capitol Hill. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the passing of Senator John McCain earlier this evening. And right now we have on the phone, we have Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona. Senator Flake?
SENATOR JEFF FLAKE, R-ARIZONA: Yes.
PIRRO: Yes, Senator, thank you so much for joining us this evening. Your thoughts tonight on the passing of Senator John McCain.
FLAKE: Well, just gratitude for having him serve for so long and so well. He leaves a huge void in the Senate obviously. In Arizona, there is a huge void, and there is a void in terms of international leadership as well where has been so active in. He has a huge legacy obviously that we are grateful for.
PIRRO: And Senator Flake, what were your interaction, what were your experiences with him as the co-senator from Arizona, junior senator, you.
FLAKE: You know, I was just referred to as the other senator from Arizona, which anybody who served alongside McCain was always the other senator which I came to enjoy. But I'll just give you one experience.
Early on, when I was in the House of Representatives before I got to the Senate, I had angered a lot of people at home because of opposition to earmarks or pork barrel spending. John McCain approached me on a plane flying back to Arizona and stuck his finger in my chest, I don't know, he did let me have it, too, and he just said, "Don't back down. You are in the right, they will come around." And I've always appreciated that.
He just stood as an independent voice and I think that the country has been well-served by that so for long.
PIRRO: What will you miss about Senator McCain?
FLAKE: I'll miss just banter on the Senate floor, trips that we would take campaigning around the state. He was not just a mentor and an incredible person in terms of his statesmanship, but he was a good friend, and I will miss that greatly as well as a lot of my colleagues.
PIRRO: Certainly, Senator McCain will leave a vacuum. Such a bigger than life almost figure. Senator Jeff Flake, thanks so much for joining us this evening.
FLAKE: Thanks for having me on.
PIRRO: You're welcome. And you know, Ed, as we sit here and we listen to all of the thoughts, he was consistent in his demeanor. He was a fighter, he was spunky. I got the sense he didn't care what people thought.
HENRY: No, he didn't and I am laughing because I recall when Chad Pergram made that motion there a moment ago of pointing the button to get the Senate train to move faster from the Russell Building to the Capitol - it's looks like we're seeing a motorcade there.
PIRRO: All right, I believe we are looking at the hearse that is carrying the body of the late Senator John McCain going through the terrain in Arizona. Sad, very sad. Very much Arizona. You could see it. Yes, but go ahead. Go ahead, Ed.
HENRY: He loved being on his ranch there and that's what Governor Huckabee was talking about with the grilling and the lighter moments, but it was also where he wanted to go home to Arizona.
There had been talk when there were some close votes in the Senate some months back, tax cuts and other things, would he come back to Washington and how complicated would it be, he wanted to be home in Arizona. That's where his family was. That's where he really, in all these battles not just with cancer, but battles in the Senate. He would talk about Arizona would be a place that would certainly renew him, renew his spirit ...
PIRRO: Reinvigorate him.
HENRY: Reinvigorating and a stress reliever, but I was laughing in this sad moment when you think about John McCain's happy moments and the happy warrior that he was. Chad Pergram in that image of - I saw that maybe a thousand times. John McCain literally like almost punching this little old button.
PIRRO: As if the button is going to respond.
HENRY: That Richard Russell put in 1962 or something that, "Come on, subway, go faster. Go faster." And he just was impatient, and look, impatience can be a good thing when you want to get things done, and impatience can be a difficult thing when maybe a little bit of taking a step back. And he knew that, he understood that sometimes, he pushed a little hard.
PIRRO: Yes, and as we look at the screen of the hearse carrying the body of Senator McCain, it is certainly a very sad evening for Cindy McCain and in terms of their marriage, it's kind of interesting, Ed, I mean, she always seemed to be at his side. Certainly, when he was running for president, she was on the trial with him, always looking stunning, always right there next to him, and his daughter loyal also to him.
The women in his life appear to be very loyal to him. You can see them right there saluting as the hearse goes by carrying the body of the now deceased, Senator John McCain.
HENRY: And one of the things - with Cindy McCain, when you mentioned her and rightly so is that she's not just wife of, when he was a candidate for election, when he was a candidate for president, she wasn't just the wife of. I have gotten to know her a little bit. She works very hard on going and fighting child trafficking all around the world for example. It's a cause deep in her heart and soul.
And so she didn't just rest on her laurels and want to be a spouse of, she is somebody who has also been in the arena and has fought very valiantly, I think on these important public policy issues. And I mention that as well at this moment because at some point after a few days, talk is obviously going to turn to what happens next, and the Governor - the Republican governor is going to appoint someone on a temporary basis to take the seat.
And I mention it because Cindy McCain's name has come up and she is somebody who may be interested in that seat, again, at an appropriate time after she has had a chance to mourn, but she has been preparing for this.
PIRRO: That is very interesting and you know, I think that people would be comfortable with that concept given the fact that she was so much a part of his life. She wasn't someone who distanced herself from politics or from the senator and she is someone who knows Arizona, and has lived there and knows the issues, certainly has lived the issues.
And you know what? You have some also recognize that a woman who has lived with a man like John McCain, and lived with the stories of this POW and his history as a fighter pilot and then all of the other components of his career that she was a part of, she is one knowledgeable woman.
HENRY: A tough cookie herself.
PIRRO: I'm sure she had to be.
HENRY: She had to put up with John McCain as he would be the first to say all of these years. Because as I said, he would talk about his temper in the Senate hallways, and says, "I know sometimes, it let it get the best of me." I just get so fired up when he starts throwing those fits down.
I mentioned Mitch McConnell earlier and some of the battles and they became friends in later years, but it was largely over - they had fights over campaign finance reform. Mitch McConnell did not want those limits on contributions that John McCain got. Mitch McConnell, more of a conservative view that you should not have any limits. Just full transparency.
If somebody wants to give a million dollars to a Senate campaign, disclose it. So they had their policy battles. And one other quick thing, remember in the 2008 campaign, when he was struggling against Barack Obama and the economy was in a free-fall, I was covering the McCain campaign, not the Obama campaign, and I remember one day being in New York City and all of a sudden, hearing John McCain has abruptly suspended his campaign because he said, "I'm getting off the trail, the economy is falling apart. I'm going back to Washington because we're going to have an important meeting at the White House to figure all of this out. We're going to come together." He said,. "I hope that Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee and I can come together with George W. Bush." And I spoke to then Speaker John Boehner many years later and told me that it was the darnedest thing because McCain announced this.
Everyone in the Republican House and Senate thought, there must be a grand plan behind this, right? And so Boehner called him and says, "McCain, what the heck is going on? What next?" And McCain literally said to Boehner, according to Boehner, "I don't know, what do you think I should do?"
He said, "You just suspended the entire campaign." And then they got to the White House and McCain didn't really have a plan, and Barack Obama ended up debating him back and forth with George W. Bush mediating. And I mention that not to rain on his parade, but to point out that he knew in the later years, he would talk about, he was impulsive and he wasn't perfect none of us are and John McCain knew it.
PIRRO: And that's what made him charming. Anyway, we are going to wrap my coverage this evening on "Justice" of the passing of Senator John McCain, but before we do, I believe that Peter Doocy is going to join us from Washington and then Jon Scott will be taking over at 10:00 p.m. Peter?
PETER DOOCY, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: Judge Jeanine, John McCain was the first person who gave me an opportunity to ask them a question - a political question on TV. It was 2008. I was a junior at Villanova University and he was right in the midst - he had already locked up the Republican nomination for president, but the Obama versus Clinton fight there in Pennsylvania where I was a college student was still really going strong.
And so he came on to the stage there at Villanova University, and he was going to get interviewed by Chris Matthews, an MSNBC producer came around and asked if I had any questions, and that morning earlier on the front page of the newspaper there in Philadelphia was a picture of Hillary Clinton with a whiskey shot and she was toasting some voters, and I thought that it was a funny photo. It was getting a lot of play there on the college campus.
And so I thought it would be nice to ask Senator McCain if he wanted to go out for a shot with me and a producer came around and said, "Hey, anybody have any questions for the Senator?" And I said, "Yes, I would like to ask the question," and told him I said, I would like to ask if he thinks that Secretary or I guess then, Senator Clinton was just drinking the shots because she was trailing Obama at the time and then I asked him if he wanted to go out and I told him I wanted to ask if he wanted to go out for a shot with me. They said, "Okay, that's great." You will go second.
And so I asked him the question live on TV and he just laughed and he paused and he had this great reaction and he collected himself and he eventually got around to saying that it was one of the two best questions that he had had throughout the entire campaign and for a college junior, that is something that was so cool to hear and it is something that I still think about all of the time and it is also the reason that I got interested in political journalism and that I let the LSAT books that I had from Barnes & Noble there in, the main line in Pennsylvania start collecting dust and I never pursued a career as a lawyer.
Years later, it's been almost ten years since then, I had the great pleasure of seeing Senator McCain a lot on Capitol Hill and he loved to tell that story to other journalists that were there and he would say, you know, he would come up to me and he would put his arm around me and he would say to the other gathered photographers and producers and writers and reporters and he would say, "You know, this little jerk or this little punk did ..." and he would tell the story about me asking this crazy question in college, but he always made sure to know that if he was calling somebody a little jerk or a little punk, it's because he had a lot of great admiration for them.
Senator McCain, until the end, was the Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman. He was the person that you would want to go to anytime that there is anything going on, whether it was outside the Senate scandal, something going on with the floor and he never once walked away from us, not everybody always wants to take a questions on The Hill, Senator McCain always did and we are going to miss him a lot there in the hallways because he was the one who always gave us the best information of anybody and he had the best insight based on decades of experience. Back to you.
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