Spicer, Fleischer condemn calls to confront Trump officials

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," June 25, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: All right, as Bret was saying, we have a Fox News Alert. tonight. Any moment, President Trump, takes the stage in South Carolina. He is there tonight to draw up support for Governor Henry McMaster who replaced Nikki Haley and is now finds himself in a runoff for the GOP nomination against businessman John Warren.

Trey Gowdy also is retiring in South Carolina. That seat does opening up for grab since Democrats have to flip some of these seats. But no doubt, the president will also address when he speaks tonight the rising tension and hysteria surrounding family separated on the border.

And despite the fact that these same exact policies have been carried out in previous administration.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: President Obama had a big problem. In fact, a lot of the pictures used they thought would be -- I guess I don't know what you folks did. You use pictures from 2014 that we'll, think of during the Obama administration. But the Bush administration had the same, it's the same laws they're a disaster. The laws have to be changed.

MACCALLUM: So this weekend, anger spiraled out of control to the point where Homeland Security said that they were warning administration employees. They said, "You need to be aware that there is now a heightened threat against DHS employees based on incidents like these."

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I was asked to leave a restaurant this weekend where I attempted to have dinner with my family. My husband and I politely left and went home. I was asked to leave because I worked for President Trump.

PAM BONDI, ATTORNEY GENERAL, FLORIDA: Three huge guys came up and started probably an inch from my face, screaming at me every word in the book cursing as loud as they could.

CROWD: Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jane Fonda's brother, Peter, the actor. "We should rip Baron Trump from his mother's arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles."

MACCALLUM: Incredible, right? That second last shot was Kristjen Nielsen when she tried to have dinner at a restaurant in the Washington, D.C. area. So, Democrat Maxine Waters thinks that all of this kind of protest is positive, it's constructive, and she's encouraging more of it.

REP. MAXINE WATERS, D-CALIF., FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE: You see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, in a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you pushed back on them, and you tell them they are not welcome.


MACCALLUM: Not welcome there, not welcome anywhere, says Maxine Waters, not anywhere. To that, the president said that she had called for harm for his supporters. More on all of that in just a moment.

But first, let's go to Jonathan Serrie, who was on the ground live as we wait for the president to arrive in West Columbia, tonight. Good evening, Jonathan.

JONATHAN SERRIE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. In fact, were told that the president has been delayed for a little while. There are these pop-up thunderstorms throughout the southeast this time of year, and one of them is keeping Air Force One up in the air.

An announcer told the crowd here, they expressed some disappointment but they're still enthusiastic about the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the president up close and personal.

More than a thousand people have packed into this room. It's a relatively small gymnasium at -- in West Columbia. The size of the crowd limited by told --

MACCALLUM: All right. So, as Jonathan, said there's pop-up thunderstorms in the area and it seems to be affecting the audio, as well, at the moment but we do expect that the president will be able to land fairly. Shortly, these storms tend to move through these areas quickly. And we'll take you there, obviously, as long as soon as that gets underway.

But in the meantime, moments ago, back to the story, we're just talking about. Congressman Maxine Waters responded to criticism of those remarks that she made encouraging people to, "Harass the president's cabinet."


WATERS: I have nothing to do with the way people decide to protest. Protest is a Democrats way as long as it is peaceful. It started with the restaurant tour, it started with people in a restaurant. I did not create that.


MACCALLUM: Here now, Sean Spicer, former White House press secretary under President Trump, and author of the new book The Briefing. And Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary for President George W Bush, also a Fox News contributor.

So, you both have been in Sarah Sanders' shoes, worked for administrations that at times were under pressure for various things. But Sean, have you ever seen anything like this?

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I had a couple unpleasant interactions but never anything to the extent that we're seeing now, and I think it's troubling. Look, I -- America has a long proud tradition of people being able to express themselves peacefully, and civilly, respectfully and even at times maybe on respectfully, but at least, civilly.

And I think, right now this sort of march towards a little bit of violence is what's extremely troubling. And I think, we all Americans regardless of where you follow the political spectrum need to push back when Maxine Waters said you should push back on them, create a crowd and you push back on them.

I think that is very troubling. The idea of seemingly using force to hurt somebody. You've seen people go and now make this personal, going to their places of business, places of where they eating. It's not just a threat to them, it's a threat to their families, it's a threat to those around them.


SPICER: And Martha, I just might remind you that it was just about a year ago that an activists on the left took this to a whole new level and went out got a gun and shot up a field where multiple people including Steve Scalise was shot, only because of his political beliefs.

And I think that we've started to see that creep back in the dialogue again in a very scary and troubling way, and it's got to stop.

MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, I think there's a legitimate concern that somebody could get hurt in all of this, and this is not a game. And you know, Ari, when you look at that the elevation even, you know, by some in the media of this whole scenario, it is a fright. This is Elise Jordan, talking about it this morning. Watch this.


ELISE JORDAN, POLITICAL ANALYST, MSNBC: Should someone who lies constantly and enables the president's lies to be openly welcomed in society wherever they please? Should they face any kind of social or societal pressure? I'm increasingly weighing towards, yes.



ARI FLEISCHER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Oh my God. I mean this is one of the society's most obvious moments to say, enough is enough. You don't talk like that, you don't engage in these type of practices.

And today, Maxine Waters, when she tried to hold the news conference to address what she said, and she basically denied that she called on people to harass others. No peace, no rest.

And so, she still is sticking by what she's done now. Senator Schumer, to his credit, the Democratic Minority Leader went on the floor of the Senate and really condemned her. Nancy Pelosi put out a milquetoast condemnation of Maxine Waters.

But frankly, Democrats in the House of Representatives where she serves were all need to get asked. Do you agree with Maxine Waters? The press needs to have a feeding frenzy among the left as they always do on the right where they try to ask Republicans. Do you agree with this or that, that somebody else said? It's her turn now.


FLEISCHER: And frankly, I'm at the point where if she continues to double down, the House ought to take up a motion to censure her because this does lead to violence.

And if you remember the Family Research Center? That was also the victim of a gunshot attack from activists who didn't like what the Family Research Center stood for. Sean made the point about Congressman Scalise on the baseball field. And don't forget, during the campaign of 2016, the GOP headquarters in North Carolina was firebombed. This does lead the things that go too far, and you need to stand up now for civil discourse and it's up to the Democrats to leave that charge.

MACCALLUM: Yes. This is a tweet from John Legend, because --


SPICER: Martha, if I can just say --

MACCALLUM: Just one second because you know, it looks like movie stars also feel like they can weigh in on all this stuff and musicians. "Let's make a deal with the Trump administration. Reunite all those families immediately and you can go out to eat wherever the -- you want.

You know, the other part of this, Sean, is that this policy -- this is what bothers me the most about this conversation. If you don't like what's going on, we need to have a discussion about the policy and why it's going on.

Now, granted there's been a ramp up here because there is a zero tolerance of these. You know, so which essentially meant that the laws that were on the books and the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court meant that all of that was going to be enacted. Which says that if you are apprehended, you will be separated because that Court decided that it was not proper to incarcerate the families together.

You had to separate the children out. So, this is a policy that has been in place for a long time. It was well in place during the Bush and Obama administrations. And as we showed the pictures are exactly like they were then.

So, Sean, I mean that this is what's been lost in this whole conversation, and I can't understand why these same people weren't hysterical back then.

SPICER: Well, I have two quick comments on that. And number one, what I found really troubling about the Sarah Sanders incident was in John Roberts report earlier on the program. Where he talked about the fact that after Sarah politely decided to get up not make a scene and leave that restaurant, many people according to John's report got up including the owner and followed her down the street trying to harass her further.

I mean, this is now gotten well beyond stating an opinion or free speech. This is now intimidation and it's threatening violence, which I think is crossing a big line.

But to your point, Martha, we have a way in a Democracy to decide that we don't like policies of a particular party. We go to an election, we organize, and we vote out the party we don't like, and we vote for the people that we do like.

The reality is, is the president -- the president of United States is enforcing the laws on the books. If the people don't like the laws on the books, either vote people out and in that you like, or encourage those in office to change the law. But we don't revert -- resort to violence, and we certainly, don't encourage it.

And let me just say this for the people on both sides, it's wrong with your Republican, it's wrong if you're a Democrat, it's wrong if you're conservative. And we can spend the rest of the night debating who started it.

But I'd rather engage in a discussion of how to stop it and how to move forward because this is not the right direction for our country right now. We need to understand that we can respectfully disagree on policies, we can be fierce partisans, but we can be civil and respectful of our fellow man and woman.

MACCALLUM: All right, let's take a look at what the president tweeted earlier today. And this also got quite a bit of attention. Ari, I want you to weigh in on this. "We cannot allow all of these people to invade our country." The president wrote, "When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no judges or court cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy, and law, and order."

What do you think, Ari? He got a lot of heat for that today.

FLEISCHER: Yes, look, I think there's something understandable that if you're a Border Patrol agent, you see somebody coming across a river, can't you just send them to the other side of the river? Why do you have to let them land, and then, go through a whole court process?

And I think there's just something common-sensical about that. On the other hand, we are a nation of laws that is what makes us great. And when people do come and they are in our country, they've crossed that border, under our Constitution, all persons -- not citizens, persons are entitled to due process. And so, we have to go through it. That is what makes us great.

And you know, law -- it's said that laws are the restraints that make us free, and that's true, they're a restraint. But because those restraints they make us free, and those restraints come with burdens. And all those burdens is to have a judicial process in place. I hope it's fast, I hope it's quick, and I hope it's fair. And people who don't belong here shouldn't be here. Look, I'm a son of an immigrant, my mother came here.


MACCALLUM: All right, yes. And that's why the problem is that it's not quick. The president is talking about -- you know --

FLEISCHER: That's right.

MACCALLUM: Three to five years waiting. So, it's almost like, you know, once you get across the border, you're free basically for three to five years before the judge's process kicks in.

Finish your thought, Ari, sorry.

FLEISCHER: and that's not a game of tag, it's not as if you touch base and you should be home free. You should be thrown out if you don't belong here. Look, I want immigrants to come to this country, I want people to want America to be the best country the first country they wanted to come to. But you have to come here legally. If you come here legally, your family is never going to be separated. In fact, your family is likely going to thrive because of everything America offers.

But if you do something illegal to get here, it sets off bad consequences for you and for everybody in the government who has to deal with what you did.

MACCALLUM: Sean, before we go I'm waiting -- we're watching West Columbia. We know that Air Force one had to circle because of thunderstorms in the area. The president's there to support Henry McMaster. He's got another rally like this coming up later this week.

You know, what do you make of the decision that the president has made to obviously get back out on the road, get back out to doing these rallies, what does it tell you?

SPICER: It tells me that he understands how important it is to maintain a Republican House in a Republican Senate to enact his policies and agenda. If he loses the Senate, if he loses the House, Democrats don't want to work with them. They're already going to be focused on the general election.

So, I think the president understands clearly what's at stake this November, and I think he wants to make sure that the American people and his supporters understand the binary choice that's at stake.

It's his agenda, it's continuing to have tax cuts less regulation, a thriving economy, or it's Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer who are going to raise our taxes, spend more money. And I think, continue to make poor decisions on policy.

MACCALLUM: Great to have you guys with us. Two former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Ari Fleischer. Thank you, gentlemen, good to see you tonight.

FLEISCHER: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So President Trump, as I said is expected to walk into this room very shortly to address the crowd in South Carolina. We're going to take you there live as soon as that gets underway.

Also tonight, Senator Mark Warner, reportedly tells Democratic donors to, "buckle up" about what's to come in the Russia probe. Does he know something we don't? Jonathan Swan is here with his take.

And what can we expect to an FBI agent Peter Strzok, testifies before a congressional committee? Judge Andrew Napolitano is up next.


REP. BOB GOODLATTE, R-VA., CHAIR, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It's an indication that they are actively seeking and quite likely using their position to make sure that Donald Trump does not become President of the United States.



MACCALLUM: So any minute President Trump is set to take the stage in South Carolina to rally votes for Governor Henry McMaster who he strongly supports but while we wait for that Democratic ranking member of the Senate Intel committee Mark Warner reportedly joking to donors about revealing sensitive information on the Russia probe saying "if you get me one more glass of wine I'll tell you stuff only Bob Mueller and I know. If you think you've seen wild stuff so far buckle up it's going to be a wild couple of months. So does he know something that we don't? Here now Jonathan Swan National Political Reporter for Axios. Jonathan, good evening. Great to have you here tonight. What about that comment by Mark Warner?

JONATHAN SWAN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Well jokes aside he knows actually probably very little compared to Bob Mueller. If you look at the hierarchy of what people know it's not a secret that the congressional committees don't have anything near the powers that Bob Mueller has. And even people on the committee have joked to me that they don't know probably 50 percent of what Bob Mueller knows. So there's probably very few things that just him and Bob Mueller know because Mueller knows a lot more than Mark Warner.

MACCALLUM: So how significant is Peter Strzok and having him in front of the committee on Wednesday? I mean obviously, this is a huge development he has said he is willing to come so we assume he is willing to answer their questions.

SWAN: I think it's going to be one of the most politically explosive hearings certainly of the year perhaps of the last couple of years. We have a lot of members who are deeply engaged on this issue, people like Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows they're going to be very well prepared, very aggressive in their questioning. Trey Gowdy -- even Trey Gowdy who's been much more moderate generally speaking is outraged by this issue so he's going to come under intense questioning. And that look there's a lot of material to work with.

MACCALLUM: Absolutely I mean you know Trey Gowdy has been very respectful of Robert Mueller and his process. He hasn't wanted to criticize that in any way but he has -- when he saw that I.G. report he was quite clear that he was horrified by the way that this high-level FBI agent was talking about the cases that he was covered. Here's a quote from Sharyl Attkisson who wrote a column about it in The Hill today entitled What Did Peter Strzok do? And she writes the earth-shattering finding on Strzok confirms a citizenry's worst fears. A high-ranking government intel officials allegedly conspired to affect the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. And here's the chilling part. If it weren't for the I.G.'s investigation requested by Congress, he would likely still be helping lead the Special Counsel's investigation of Trump today. Your thoughts on that, Jonathan.

SWAN: Well any fair reading of that report, a reader who's not colored by partisan you know, objectives if you just read that report with intellectual honesty, you will find things in there that he has said privately that are disturbing, that you don't want to see in a senior investigator. I challenge anyone to say that you know, with a fair reading of that report that everything is fine. That being said there is no evidence that he liked -- the missing piece is what actions he took as an investigator to put his thumb on the scale. Because it's clear -- it's clear where his mind was, it's clear what he wanted to happen. The missing piece is the action.

MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, everybody is familiar with the text messages. We can put them up on this screen. The one where he said, Trump's -- in answer to -- he said Trump's never going to become president, right? Right? And the response from Page, no, no, he's not. We will stop it. Actually, that it's the other way around.

SWAN: Strzok was the --

MACCALLUM: Strzok was the one answering that. And then the one that we saw one time ago, I want to believe in the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office that there's no way he gets elected but I'm afraid we can't take that risk. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event that you die before you're 40. So you know the question is what did he -- how did he act on that. And the Inspector General found that he could not draw a straight line between those comments and the action that the FBI took. But I think one of the interesting things, Jonathan, is going to be the questions that go around how did you treat the two investigations differently because he was central in the Hillary e-mail investigation as well as being central in the Trump Russia investigation and the treatment appears to be very different.

SWAN: Yes but different in a way certainly during the campaign season that actually was advantageous to Donald Trump. I mean, we didn't know that Donald Trump's campaign was under investigation during the campaign. We sure knew about the Hillary Clinton investigation so that's the other piece where there's a missing link.

MACCALLUM: Yes, but I mean if you look at the way that Hillary's people were investigated and discussed and the fact that they you know, began putting together the report on her being not guilty a long time before they even spoke with her. I mean, those kinds of things were very different in terms of the way they were handled. I would imagine you're going to get questions asking him that to draw him out on that issue.

SWAN: There's no question.

MACCALLUM: Yes. All right, Jonathan, thank you very much. It's always good to see you.

SWAN: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: You bet. So here not with more Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst. Judge, good to have you as always. So what will he seek do you think? You believe that he will not take the Fifth which you said he could but he's agreed to come. But I'm curious if he may try to set parameters. I will answer questions with regard to this but not that.

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: He would have a difficult time doing that. One thing he can't do is selectively take the Fifth because the Fifth is negated if you start answering the questions you want to answer but invoke the Fifth on the questions you don't want to answer. That would a tailor the whole hearing by the witness rather than by the questioners. But I have to comment on what you and Jonathan just talked about. The two of you created the most compelling case I have heard for why this hearing should be open to the public rather than behind closed doors. It is our representatives seeking the truth about our election in 2016 and we have the right to know how this guy defends what appears to be indefensible. He's not a dope. He's a very smart guy. He's interrogated, people. He's a master interrogator himself. I want to see those answers and the American public is entitled owes answers. Instead, we're going to get a Republican version and a Democratic version and we may never see the --

MACCALLUM: Which is so problematic.

NAPOLITANO: Yes, it is.

MACCALLUM: You're absolutely right. In terms of what we were discussing before because I want to get your thoughts on what the President said with regard to these families at the border and with regard to his desire to be able to push people back across the border before they need to enter into the judicial process.

NAPOLITANO: I wish that the President had asked one of the many lawyers that work for him is there any way we can avoid due process and they would have said a first-year law student can tell you no. As Ari Fleischer just quite properly quoted the Fifth Amendment, it protects persons it doesn't protect citizens. Once a person is on our soil, no matter how they got here they're entitled to protection. What can he do about it? He can ship judges from New Jersey and North Dakota -- my friends on the bench are not going to be happy at the suggestion -- down to the border and they can start these hearings which are not full-blown jury trials that take months. They're hour or two hour long hearings with one judicial officer. They can start these things immediately so the judges can find the facts and decide who stays who has a legitimate claim to asylum.

MACCALLUM: Is it true that there are different rules with regard to people coming from Mexico or from Canada and people who come from Guatemala and El Salvador and Honduras?

NAPOLITANO: Yes. The President's contention that the immigration laws make no sense is an absolutely sound one. He is stuck with those laws. He does have some discretion as to how aggressively wants to enforce some or how lightly he wants to enforce others but it is a mishmash. There's one court decision that says you can't keep them more than 72 hours, there's another court decision that says you can keep them up to 20 days but not beyond 20 days no matter what. That stuff needs to be worked out. I was disappointed not only when he said let's get rid of due process, but when he said to the Republicans, wait till the summer is over. Wait till the summer is over? The crisis is here now, the Republican majority is in the House. They need to produce something that's fair, efficient, and workable.

MACCALLUM: And what about the 9th Circuit Court decision which insisted -- were found that you can't -- that you have to separate the family, that you can't incarcerate the family as a unit. It's not right to do that to the children.

NAPOLITANO: He, in my opinion, should violate that decision because of the bigness of his heart and the common-sense understanding that it is abusive to children to separate them from their parents particularly when they're in a foreign country and particularly against the will of the parents.

MACCALLUM: Do you find it interesting that all the same people who are so outraged right now has no problem with this same policy when it took place under the prior administration?

NAPOLITANO: Yes I do. Now, let's not mistake this, that Democrats are making tremendous hay out of it and the President needs to put the brakes on it. If this keeps going closer to November, forget those elections. This is gut-wrenching a series of events that tugs at the heartstrings up a lot of independent voters who are making up their minds now what they're going to do --

MACCALLUM: And policy-wise if the decision was made in order to make an example of these people and to discourage people from coming across the border, that obviously turned out to be a bad policy decision because that's going to blow up in their faces. Absolutely. Judge, thank you.

NAPOLITANO: You're welcome.

MACCALLUM: Always good to see you.

NAPOLITANO: I think the President is waiting for you.

MACCALLUM: I don't know. We're waiting up for the President to land. A live look at West Columbia, South Carolina where we are expecting the President shortly as often happens in the summer. There are a bunch of thunderstorms that are moving through the area, and Air Force One does not just land. They are protecting the passengers aboard and we're going to wait for them --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- circles like the regular flights may take.

MACCALLUM: Like the rest -- exactly. They're waiting for -- they're landing any minute I am told. There's a couple of Delta flights in front of them, maybe United, something like that.

NAPOLITANO: That I believe. Let's see.

MACCALLUM: Also coming up, a growing number of Democrats demanding an answer to the question where in the world is President Obama and should he step back into the fray? Interesting answers on that. Marc Thiessen and Mo Elleithee, coming up next.


MACCALLUM: Fox News alert from West Columbia, South Carolina, we understand that the president's plane is landing and we do expect him that he will take the stay very shortly in West Columbia, South Carolina. And he's campaigning as we said for Governor Henry McMaster who will be there with him. He's facing a runoff in South Carolina to be the GOP nominee this fall.

So, as we await the current president, there are those on the left who are wondering where the previous president has gone, Barack Obama. A new piece in New York magazine this week demanding to know why President Obama hasn't stepped back into the fray to help resist President Trump, lamenting the fact that he appears to be more focused on his future library, his foundation and his book.

Marc Thiessen is an American Enterprise Institute scholar and Mo Elleithee is the founding executive director of Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service. Both are Fox News contributors. Gentlemen, welcome. Great to have both of you with us.


MARC THIESSEN, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS: Good to be with you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Always interesting to watch the behavior of a former president, but Mo, the argument in this piece is that these are extraordinary and unprecedented times. And that he needs to, you know, ration on the fire truck and make sure that he does everything he can.

MO ELLEITHEE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF POLITICS & PUBLIC SERVICE: Yes. I think President Obama has been very measured, strategic and smart about how he has engaged in the political debate since he has left office. He hasn't been 100 percent silent. He has weighed in on a couple of issues the effort to defund Obamacare, on immigration on a couple of issues like that.

But if you look at how he has addressed each of those, it's been very measured. He has spoken or at least tried to speak more inspirational. He doesn't speak about President Trump by name, which is a courtesy the current president doesn't afford him, but he talks about sort of what our values are when it comes to these issues. And I think that's an appropriate place for him to be. I think he also knows that if he goes out there and weighs in on every -- this back and back -- you know, daily back and forth, it will diminish his voice.


MACCALLUM: Yes he can't do that. And I mean, that would be so un-President Obama, you know.

ELLEITHEE: That's right.

MACCALLUM: I mean, I found this comment really almost comical from a Democratic fund-raiser who, you know, was making the argument, this is the second call for it that we have.

She is making the argument that, you know, there are such extreme times and what's happening on the border requires extreme measures essentially, and she said on the immigration stuff if you were willing to go away over the line and get arrested or something way out there, that would be a galvanizing event. And I thought to myself, you know, that, Marc, I mean, that is not the man that we come -- came to know over the course of eight years.

THIESSEN: Well, especially since he did similar things in the border, so it would be a little bit hypocritical.


THIESSEN: But I mean, look, in an age when, you know, where the culture of content has overtaken politics, and Republicans and Democrats are throwing off all the barriers of what was commonly -- the common restraints we used to have in political and inter course, this is like one of the last areas where we have normalcy. Where the former -- the tradition that the former president stays quiet and doesn't criticize his predecessor.

I mean, Barack Obama enjoyed this courtesy from George W. Bush. George W. Bush, when he came in Barack Obama did not in the quite exact way but he did the same thing as Donald Trump is doing. He criticized George W. Bush, he complained constantly about the mess he inherited. Everybody problem was George W. Bush's problem. George W. Bush never returned fire.

So having benefited from that kind of grace from his predecessor, it would be hypocritical for him to then go out and take extraordinary measures to attack the president.


THIESSEN: And also I think it would backfire on him. I mean, I think there is nothing that Donald Trump would want more than to have Barack Obama as a foil--

MACCALLUM: Excuse me.

THIESSEN: -- to fight with right now. He is almost -- he is almost, you know, tempting him, saying, come at me, bro.

MACCALLUM: Yes. You know, I mean, you bring out a really interesting point because immigration obviously has incited a lot of passion across the country. But if we have -- do we have that Jeh Johnson sound bite from the weekend? You know, because this demonstrates the point that Marc just made, the policy has been very similar since that administration. Let's watch that. It'll be ready in just a second. Do we have it? All right, here it is. Watch, guys.


JEH JOHNSON, FORMER UNITED STATES HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The images and the reality from 2014, just like 2018, are not pretty. And so we expanded family detention. We had then 34,000 beds for family detention. Only 95 of 34,000 are equipped to deal with families.

So we expanded it, I freely admit it was controversial. We believed it was necessary at the time. I still believe it is necessary to main a certain capability for families.


MACCALLUM: So, Mo, why is it being treated so differently this time?

ELLEITHEE: Well, what I hear there is actually very different. What I hear there was talking about family detention, not separating families. And the images that--


MACCALLUM: He said he only had 95 spots to keep the families together so they had to expand the separations over the course of the other people.

ELLEITHEE: I heard it as trying to expand that family detentions. Look, a lot of the images that came out over the weekend were about unaccompanied minors. But you know, look, I think the president -- here's the thing, right.

On this issue of where is President Obama, any Democrat that is waiting for Barack Obama to write in wearing a white hat and fixing all this, is missing the point. Democrats today are actually in a pretty good spot. You've got the president's numbers continuing to suffer, you've got this immigration crisis is hurting him. Gas prices are going up. Companies like Harley-Davidson are cutting jobs because of his trade war. Health care costs are getting ready to spike because of his policies.

Democrats now have an opportunity to step in and not only point all that out, but say, here's what we would do differently. The answer is not to wait for Barack Obama to come save them, they've got the opportunity to save themselves right here and they've got a pretty good chance to do so.

MACCALLUM: Yes, it's interesting. I mean, I always feel like the party that is not in power in the White House, everyone is always searching for that person who is the leader.

I remember when people said, where is Mitt Romney, you know, why isn't he sort of, you know, coming in and being the leader for the party and being the standard bearer? And I think, you know, that the answer is, there just isn't someone in that position when the party is out of power in the White House. And they are sort of waiting to see who steps up into that place for the next election.

Gentlemen, standby, if you would. We understand -- how close are we guys? All right. So are we taking a break here or we coming? All right. So we're going to take a quick break here, so standby.

This June 28th, Bret Baier and I will co-moderate the Florida GOP gubernatorial primary debate, a little south of where the president is tonight, down in Florida at 6.30 right here on the Fox News Channel.

The Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Congressman Ron DeSantis are going to be facing off as we moderate that debate. We'll see how they hold up under the pressure. And then stay tuned for a complete wrap and analysis right here on the story. We'll be right back.


MACCALLUM: All right. There she is. Air Force One has just landed in West Columbia, South Carolina. The president on board. A little bit behind the schedule tonight. There were a lot of thunderstorms in the area but you can see the sun is breaking out a little bit there.

And we expect to see the president deplane in a few moments. He's about a mile or so from the venue so he should be there shortly. Moments ago, though, he responded to Democratic Senator Mark Warner. A bit of a war on words going on tonight.

Mark Warner was speaking at a Democratic fund-raiser behind closed doors and it leaked out that he said to the group there, if you get me one more glass of wine, I will tell you stuff that only Bob Mueller and I know. And if you think you've seen wild stuff so far, buckle up, it's going to be a wild couple of months.

So that prompted President Trump to tweet this. "Why is Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat of Virginia perhaps in a near drunken state, claiming that he has information that only he and Bob Mueller, the leader of 13 angry Democrats on a witch hunt, knows. Isn't this highly illegal? Is it being investigated?" The president writes.

Here once again, Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Institute scholar, and Mo Elleithee, founding director of the Georgetown Institute of Public -- Politics and Public Service. Mo, how big of a problem is this for Mark Warner?

ELLEITHEE: I don't think there is a problem here. Look, I think Mark Warner has been part of a bipartisan investigation. He and Senator Burr, I think they've, I think most people would argue that the Senate has conducted this investigation with honor and dignity in a way that I wish the House would follow suit.

Look, the president is facing so many crises at right now. The fact that this is what he is focused on right now, this is what he tweets about. When there are still children who are not being reunited with their families. When companies like Harley-Davidson are cutting jobs because of a trade war that he started unnecessarily. I just -- Mr. President, we are asking you. I am a Democrat, but I'm an American. I want you to do your respond. Don't -- this is not it.


MACCALLUM: Well, you now, he would probably respond that he would like to see this investigation wrapped up. It's been going on for I don't know.


MACCALLUM: A year and a half at this point.

ELLEITHEE: So do your job.


MACCALLUM: So Mark Warner -- Mark Warner is at an event making these tantalizing statements, giving and sending out the message to this group that, wow. Wait until you hear what I know. And this is the second time actually that Mark Warner has had this sort of issue.

Marc Thiessen, let me get your thoughts on this, because the first time around he was sort of passing around text messages with, you know, folks who were involved in this whole story. You know, maybe we could meet and you could give me some information. Do you remember that?

THIESSEN: Yes. I mean, but if this was flipped around and this was the Republican -- a Republican and it was Hillary Clinton's investigation, Mo would be screaming bloody murder about this.

I mean, look, the reality is, and quite frankly, he is doing his job. The economy is growing at a record clip. Unemployment is the lowest it's been in 20 decade--

ELLEITHEE: Not a record clip.


THIESSEN: -- at 20, at 20. The unemployment is the lowest it's been in 20 years, African-American unemployment is as low as it's ever been. The economy is booming. I don't agree personally with the trade policies and certainly that you mentioned with the motorcycle Harley-Davidson has a problem. But look, the economy is doing great which is why his approval rating is now the same at this time in his presidency as Barack Obama's was. Forty five percent.

MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, it is--


THIESSEN: Because he is doing -- because he is doing his job.

MACCALLUM: -- when you look at -- if you look at these numbers, excuse me, Marc, it is interesting. The president's numbers have been rising. He's at 90 percent with Republicans.


MACCALLUM: He's at 45 percent approval rating in the country. President Obama was around 45 or 46, as was President Reagan was at 45 percent in the same point in his presidency. So the notion that you do hear from the left side of the aisle, Mo, that everything is, you know, sort of going to hell in a hand basket. It's just a pretty tough argument.

ELLEITHEE: But I would remind everyone this and Marc would remember this. President -- that maybe President Obama's numbers and President Reagan's numbers, they had terrible midterm years. Those numbers were not a sign of confidence when he came to election day--


THIESSEN: Because these are up swing, Mo, President Obama was in the down swing.

ELLEITHEE: Not -- the Gallup today has him down. The Gallup today has him down. So, you know, I actually agree with the people who say let's not focus as much on those approval numbers, right. At the end of the day--


THIESSEN: As they get better.

ELLEITHEE: I would say that back when his numbers were down, too. That and I think you go back and find a tape of me actually saying that. There are much more serious issues than the president, for the president to focus on then tweeting about this or tweeting about Jimmy Fallon as he did last night.

MACCALLUM: Well, look, you know, I mean, we all know that President Trump likes to tweet about pretty much everything, you know.


MACCALLUM: And it's very stream of consciousness and obviously--


ELLEITHEE: And it's exhausting.

MACCALLUM: -- this was something that is very exhausting for you may be but it's not exhausting for him, he seems to enjoy it.

ELLEITHEE: That's true.

MACCALLUM: But the camera is a rather dizzying. So let me apologize for that on the right-hand side of your screen but we are waiting for the president to deplane Air Force One and head over to this rally.

Just quickly you guys with regard to Harley-Davidson because the president tweeted about this evening as well which has to do with the economy and it has to do with trade. And he urged them to be patient. He said he was disappointed in their decision.

I think, you know, the suggestion is that this process is only in the early stages, and for companies to pull up stakes and move at this point is may be a little premature. Marc?

THIESSEN: Yes. I don' know if that's premature. They are making decisions based on business decisions and base on public policy. I mean, this is the big problem is that, you know, when President Trump imposes tariffs on steel and aluminum, there are more people who use steel and aluminum to make things in America by many fold than there are people in the steel and aluminum industries.

And so he is -- actually we're going to lose jobs for the predominant Americans that he went to fight for. So these policies and then you can add in the trade war and all of a sudden there are retaliatory tariffs that we have here from the European Union and even more American jobs are at stake.

So you know, just a few month or a year ago he was sitting on the front lawn with it or the South Lawn of the White House with Harley-Davidson executives--


THIESSEN: -- and now Harley-Davidson is saying they're going to start manufacturing outside of the United States, that's the opposite of what Donald Trump came to Washington to make happen.

MACCALLUM: All right. Gentlemen, thank you.

ELLEITHEE: I agree with everything Marc just said on that note.

MACCALLUM: That's -- we'll put you down for agreeing on Harley-Davidson issue.


THIESSEN: Bipartisan show.

MACCALLUM: So we are going to squeeze in a quick break here so we can get over to the rally which we expect the president will be at very shortly. There he is just arriving as we watched. We'll take a quick break and we'll be right back.


MACCALLUM: So we do expect at any moment President Trump will take the stage in South Carolina, he is there for Henry McMaster as we've been saying she -- he replaced Nikki Haley as South Carolina governor, and now he's himself into a run off a situation for the GOP nomination. So he needs some help. He's running against businessman John Warren who hopes to unseat him as the next governor of the state of South Carolina.

And Jonathan Serrie is there and he is watching as we await the president. Jonathan, are the folks getting excited at this point now that the president is almost there?

JONATHAN SERRIE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: They are. They are. In fact, during the commercial break, they announced that the president was on his way and the crowd began cheering. In fact, I'll step out of the way to give you a review of the crowd. More than a thousand people packing a relatively small gym at airport high school here in West Columbia and they are enthusiastic because many of these people were waiting before the thunderstorm arrived out in the hot sun, humid air and temperatures reaching about 100 degrees just to guarantee a spot to see the president.

Mr. Trump is coming to South Carolina to return a favor to Henry McMaster who, while serving as lieutenant governor was an early supporter of his 2016 won for the White House. In 2017, McMaster rose to the governorship when Nikki Haley left to join the administration as United Nations ambassador.

McMaster led a five way GOP primary race on June 12th, but failed to pass the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff. And so now President Trump is coming to South Carolina in hopes of pushing McMaster over the edge. Martha, back to you.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Jonathan, thank you. The president has gotten involved very early in the primary process across the country and he's doing a number of these rallies, another one later this week. So we're going to be watching very closely as he tries to have an impact on some of the early stages here.

We're going to take a quick break and we will take you back to the president live in West Columbia, South Carolina after this.


MACCALLUM: All right. There we go. Almost an hour late due to thunderstorms in the South Carolina area. The president has now entered the room to big cheering crowds. Ad we will watch as this gets underway. That's our story for tonight. Tucker Carlson is up next.

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