This is a rush transcript from "The Story," February 19, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Good evening, Bret. Thank you very much. All right, everybody, let the 2020 games begin. Bernie Sanders is now the ninth Democrat to jump into the candidate pool. He announced on the radio in Vermont with this jab at the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT: I think the current occupant of the White House is an embarrassment to our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: The president responded with this when asked today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: Bernie Sanders is running out. That's right. Personally, I think he missed his time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: But the socialist Sanders, who got 40 percent of the popular vote in the Democratic primary, and certainly started something with U.S. interest in socialism is not deterred.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN DICKERSON, HOST, CBS: What's going to be different this time?
SANDERS: We're going to win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Sanders bid comes on the same day of President Trump's 2020 campaign announcing several new senior staffers joining a team that has already raised an unprecedented $130 million at this point in the race. Trace Gallagher live with THE STORY tonight. Hi, Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. The president is building out his campaign early so that he's got the straight shot to be the GOP nominee in 2020. A big part of that as you mentioned is adding more senior level staff.
To that, the campaign announced the hiring of communications director Tim Murtaugh, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and strategic communication director Marc Lotter who is a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and who you are about to talk to.
Cole Blocker was also added as finance director and Megan Powers as an operations director. The core of the campaign has been in place for about a year, including campaign manager Brad Parscale, who spoke to Martha about strategy back in January. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRAD PARSCALE, RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR DONALD TRUMP: As being an incumbent, we're building a different operation now than we had in 2016. In 2016, it was very grassroots, as you know, the campaign sometimes at its best operated at a -- at a fraction of what probably was needed. It was -- it was mobile, it was changing, it was adapting. It was just -- this was a man running his first candidacy ever. And in 2020, the operation's different. This is going to be a much larger ground game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Parscale came onboard a full year earlier than campaign managers for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The president's daughter in law Lara will serve as senior advisor.
Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld is challenging the president for the Republican nomination, but it is going to be a long shot because the Republican National Committee has already said it will support the president.
Meaning, there are no sanctioned debates, and the national party is working with state party organizations to line up delegates for the Republican national convention next year.
Then, there's the money. The president will enter the election cycle with an enormous fund-raising lead over Democrats. Just in the last three months of 2018, the Trump campaign and its affiliates raised $21 million, putting the reelection ballots at an outstanding $129 million.
At the same time in 2010, President Obama had $4 million. In 2002, George W. Bush had $3.2 million. The Republican Party has also maintained a robust staff in key battleground states to counter the growing list of Democratic presidential hopefuls.
Now, all of that said, a new Washington Post ABC poll says, 56 percent of all Americans say, they would definitely not vote for Trump, should he become the nominee. Martha.
MACCALLUM: Yes, they see him as beatable in that pole. Here now with more, Marc Lotter, that newly minted strategic communication's director for the Trump campaign. And Chris Hann, radio host and former senior aide to Senator Chuck Schumer.
Chris, let me start with you. Is that amount of fund-raising daunting to Democrats at this stage of the game?
CHRIS HANN, FORMER SENIOR AIDE TO SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER: Well, when you look at his cash on hand, they only has $19.5 million. I don't know what he's been spending all this money on so early in the campaign.
Cash on hand is really what matters. He has (INAUDIBLE).
MACCALLUM: Well, those maybe commitments that haven't come in yet. I don't know, Marc can answer that a second, but go ahead.
HANN: Well, no, that's not usually -- that's not how it works. It's you know, your -- what you raise is what you've taken in, and $19 million on hand just scare them.
Bernie Sanders raised $3.5 million today. So, he's -- you know, not too far behind the president. He's only been campaigning for a couple of hours.
MACCALLUM: But let's just -- right there. Hold on. Marc, how do you respond to that? I'm curious.
MARC LOTTER, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN: Well, let's remember too, the president has been on the campaign trail since very early last year. Having mega rallies, attracting tens of thousands of people. Those are the kinds of things that the campaign is currently paying for.
So, in addition to having one of the most sophisticated staff build outs that we are currently in the process of doing, he's busy having mega rallies as we've seen just in recent weeks.
MACCALLUM: So, you're saying that's where the money is going so far, into the rallies.
LOTTER: There's a lot -- there's a lot -- there's a lot of money that goes there and -- but --
HANN: I don't know.
LOTTER: There is no question, the president is going to have all of the support and all of the money he needs to easily win reelection in 2020.
MACCALLUM: All right. I want to play a sound bite from Bernie Sanders, which I think goes to the heart of what the argument against the president is going to be, and get your reaction. Let's play it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I think he is a pathological liar every day. I also think he's a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, somebody who is gaining cheap political points by trying to pick on minorities, often undocumented immigrants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, the pro argument is going to be -- you know, some sort of socialist leaning idea about things like $15.00 minimum wage and free college in some of those ideas.
And then the opposing perspective to President Trump is going to be he's a bad guy, Marc?
LOTTER: And it's just ludicrous. I understand that Bernie Sanders is trying to stand out from the 50 socialists that are now running. He is no longer unique and quirky, he is just another socialist running for the Democrat Party.
The president is going to run on results. And whether its women, whether it's African-Americans and minorities, they know that they've got more money in their paychecks. They know they have more jobs because of this president's leadership, and you know, the nonsense that you see coming from the Democrats on this, they'll start their socialism platform out. They'll nominate a socialist.
LOTTER: We'll go for freedom.
MACCALLUM: Well, it's not -- clearly not all Democrats that are running are talking that way. Amy Klobuchar is saying, look, you know, "Wake up, we cannot pay for college for everyone for free in this country.
LOTTER: But she supports Medicare for all.
MACCALLUM: And Howard Schultz who is running as an Independent, says that -- you know, there's no way that any opponent can oust Trump, no matter how far to the radical left they are, it's the policy. Chris?
HANN: Look, I think that whoever the Democrats nominate, it's going to have a very good chance of being a president whose numbers have remained in the low 40s.
His entire presidency, he has never been above 50 percent in his polling average he's at 41 percent now. Marc, I love you. I hope -- I hope the president runs so you can have a job for two years, but I'm not so sure he's going to run. I think that the guy thinks, "I can only play for the chips for so long in my lifetime. And maybe I'm going to spend my summers doing that and not going to rallies."
Because I think that he knows that things are only going to get worse for him politically in the next two years and even thereafter. And I think if he decides not to run again, he claimed victory for whatever the things he accomplished in the last four years and move on with his life and enjoy it. And I think that's probably what's going to happen. And I think Republican -- and I think Republican --
MACCALLUM: I don't know -- I don't know about -- I have no idea what's in the president's mind. But I don't think he is thinking that at all. That's just my guess watching how this is going. Marc, you're working with him, what do you think?
LOTTER: I guarantee you -- I guarantee you 100 percent that President Donald Trump is running for reelection. He is focused on it, he cannot wait to take his message of success to the American people. And contrast it with this radical socialist platform that Democrats now stand for.
LOTTER: And will -- and we -- and we will see how Middle Americans going to figure that out.
MACCALLUM: But Chris -- hold on. Chris, you know, you're shooting down that the socialism side of this. But, you know, I mean, when even across - - Kamala Harris, you know, is one of the most popular candidates running so far, Vice President Joe Biden, we don't know whether or not he's going to get in.
MACCALLUM: Bernie Sanders is the second on the list in terms of polls. He is clearly in favor of the socialist ideas. Kamala Harris has said that she's open to removing people's private health care.
I mean, these are very radical ideas to most Americans and they represent some of the strongest candidates so far in the race.
HANN: So, I think when you call them socialist, and people think they're radical. But when you then break them down and talk about what they are providing health care for all Americans. Providing affordable -- or even free college tuitions for all (INAUDIBLE). I think people are --
LOTTER: $33 trillion. That's amount of tens of trillions of dollars.
MACCALLUM: What about what they cost?
HANN: Marc, hold on a minute, Marc. I think when you break those things down, people then -- like them, we already have socialist like programs in this country, it's called social security. It's called the V.A. It's called the Army, it's called police forces, it's called roads.
But Republicans want to instead of talking about ideas, they want to demonize people who have those ideas and call them socialist, and not to try to engage in an actual debate about how we're going to do things to make this country better. Look, and I think that that's their problem.
MACCALLUM: All right, Marc, final thought, and then, I got to go.
HANN: And by the way, that's why they lost in the midterms and that's why they're going to lose next time. And that's why, Marc, the president is not going to run for reelection. Trust me.
MACCALLUM: It could be. But Marc, quick -- very quick, Marc, and time to go.
LOTTER: I'm willing -- absolutely. And when you say that we're going to take people's private health insurance away from them and just put them on government health care against their will, I'll have that debate every day.
HANN: That's not what we're saying. That's not what people are saying.
MACCALLUM: All right, we'll got to leave it there. Thank you, gentlemen. We'll do it again soon. Thanks, guys.
Coming up next, the investigation into Jussie Smollett's alleged hate crime takes another surprising term with some brand new information tonight.
The Fed's now investigating him for what could be a separate hoax. And a local prosecutor for some reason has suddenly stepped aside. Judge Napolitano on the case next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSSIE SMOLLETT, AMERICAN ACTOR, EMPIRE: On the letter, it had a stick figure hanging from a tree with a gun pointed towards it. With the words that say it's, "Smollett Jussie, you will die, black -- "
There was no address, but the return address in it in big, red, you know, like caps, MAGA. Did I make that up too?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Brand new information tonight from Chicago as the Jussie Smollett saga continues. New reports that the feds are looking into whether the actor may have played a role in sending himself this threatening letter, which we now have pictures of in the days leading up to the alleged attack.
As police are investigating two separate incidents of possible surveillance involving the two brothers, who they say were paid by the actor to carry out this attack. Mike Tobin live with the very latest breaking on the story tonight. Good evening, Mike.
MARK TOBIN, CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. Lots of exciting developments. Those two brothers you were talking about, the Osundairo brothers were spotted at the Cook County Criminal Courts building today. At least the police confirmed they were there. Their attorneys were spotted at the Criminal Courts building today going into the grand jury room.
Police say this is not the grand jury convening in the Smollett case, rather this was police and prosecutors having yet another meeting while they continue to demand that Smollett come in for an interview. There was a report about the locals.
You mention that locals, that letter that was a report from the locals today saying that Smollett participated in the creation of this threatening letter that was sent January 18th to the Empire Studios. It contained cut out magazine letters and had racist and homophobic hate messages. The return address spelled out in red ink, the letters MAGA on it.
The FBI initially got involved because of the portion of the investigation, and that is one of the elements that is whirling pretty fast out here in Chicago. Another element that came today is the Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx just a short time ago announcing she's recusing herself from the Smollett investigation. They didn't say why.
She is someone who came into the position after all the controversy with the Laquan McDonald case so we're looking to see why she recused herself in this particular case. All while we're still waiting for some kind of movement out of Jussie Smollett's legal and P.R. team. The police have been requesting again and again and again that Smollett come in for this follow-up interview that they want ever since the Osundairo brothers were questioned. And they said they developed new information.
What we get from the legal team is not that they are refusing the follow-up -- the follow-up questioning, just that they are not doing it yet. Martha?
MACCALLUM: Mike, thank you very much. Joining me now is Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst. What do you make of this new information, Judge?
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it appears to this neutral observer that this man concocted the whole thing as the story is unraveling and he's reluctant to acknowledge that to the police. It wouldn't surprise me if the two brothers were in there testifying before another grand jury with the target being Mr. Smollett himself.
Now, they cannot compel him to speak to them particularly if he is gone from being a victim to being a target. The feds are involved because of apparently mail fraud, sending a fraudulent item in the mail. That's not typically prosecuted unless someone has lost money or gain money as a result of the fraud.
But he's facing filing a false criminal charge and lying to the police. And these are -- these are potential crimes taken seriously by the government when it wastes a lot of resources. Did it waste a lot of resources? Yes! 12 Chicago detectives have been assigned to this for three weeks.
MACCALLUM: And what about the time and hours that they spent and the other people in Chicago who may have needed law-enforcement help during those moments? It's like the extreme version of what you don't pull a fire alarm as a joke in a school, right?
NAPOLITANO: A great -- a great comparison.
MACCALLUM: Because when you do that, you are sucking up the resources of the fire department and in this case, the law enforcement in the city of Chicago that has a lot of crime, and a lot of real concerns. The news that this prosecutor, Kim Foxx, has recused herself from this case, doesn't she have to have a good reason to recuse herself?
NAPOLITANO: She does.
MACCALLUM: Or maybe she does but --
NAPOLITANO: Well, often when you do recuse, you don't state the reason. When you don't recuse, refute the application to recuse. That's when judges recuse. But for a prosecutor recusing herself, look, there are rumors that she's a distant relative of his. If -- she hasn't said this, rumors in Chicago.
If this is true, she should have recused herself three weeks ago. If she's recusing for political reasons that he's popular locally and she doesn't want to prosecute him, she's not doing her job! That's misfeasance in office. That's refusal to do her job. The other side of this argument is there are 700 prosecutors in that office. Anyone can take that case.
MACCALLUM: In terms of the larger response to this case, I'm just curious to what your thoughts are. There are still celebrities who are saying you know, maybe potentially they're standing by his story. He is sort of coming off now in some reporting as sort of a victim, why did he do -- why would he do this, all of this sort of thing. I mean, what's your view as someone who's seen a lot of criminals come before you about the seriousness of what's going on here?
NAPOLITANO: I think it's very serious and I can't even imagine a valid defense other than temporary insanity, a fear that something was about to happen to him and he wanted to divert attention from this thing to himself becoming sympathetic victim. But to utilize the instruments of the government and to state things under oath that are untrue simply is not tolerable and I can't imagine the Chicago authorities letting this go by the wayside.
MACCALLUM: What about these two young men, the brothers, who there are some reports that they were spotted in you know, in an Uber in the back of a car with a camera in the car, other reports that they might have been video with them in an elevator together that night. They appear to be cooperating now. What's their culpability potentially?
NAPOLITANO: It appears as well that they went along with this. But it also appear as -- here's what the prosecutors will do. Cough up the truth to us and we won't prosecute you. If you don't tell us the truth, will prosecute you for participating in this.
MACCALLUM: Very sloppy crime if this is a hoax. There's evidence all over the place and you know, when you look at this letter, whoever cut these letters out, they say there are magazines that are part of the evidence right now, and there could be fingerprints all over these dams and all over this letter.
NAPOLITANO: To call this sloppy is to be charitable.
MACCALLUM: I'd like to be occasionally charitable. Thank you very much, Judge.
NAPOLITANO: You're welcome.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you tonight. Coming up next, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but it didn't take long after this sailor passed away for him to get smeared by #MeToo, unbelievable, next.
MACCALLUM: Last night we told you the story of the navy sailor in this iconic V.J. Day photo that he passed away at home in Rhode Island at the age of 95. For decades, this photo has represented the (INAUDIBLE) of the moment when Americans began learning the news, the joyous news that World War II was finally over.
And when I looked at this photo yesterday, it occurred to me that there might be somebody who might look at it and not see it through that lens but through the #MeTooMovement of today. And sure enough, that night somebody defaced this statue replica of that image by spray painting the words #MeToo on the nurse's leg.
Here now, Beverly Hallberg, she is the President of District Media Group, and the granddaughter of a World War II Veteran, and Dr. Jocelyn Lehrer, Gender Violence Based Violence Expert. Good to have both of you with us this evening.
BEVERLY HALLBERG, PRESIDENT, DISTRICT MEDIA GROUP: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Beverly, let me start with you. What's your reaction when you see the red paint stripping down her leg?
HALLBERG: Well, even on this story after they did put graffiti on the statue, I went to my Twitter feed to see what people were saying. You actually had people two days after this war hero passed away calling him a sexual predator. This just shows that the #MeToo Movements would go to great lengths to try to weaponize any story. As you mentioned, it doesn't give understanding of the historical context and the joy that day when Germany finally surrendered. But I actually think there's another part that's very damaging which is this does nothing to help women who are true victims.
So I stand with groups that want to advocate for women who have been victimized. But when everything becomes an outrage, true justice is actually hard to achieve.
MACCALLUM: Let's look at the woman who was kissed because she was interviewed about the kiss. Her name is Greta Zimmer Friedman. She said suddenly I was grabbed by a sailor and it wasn't that much of a kiss. It was more of a jubilant act that he didn't have to go back. The reason he grabbed someone dressed like a nurse was that he just felt very grateful to nurses who took care of the wounded. Dr. Lehrer, what do you say about all of this?
DR. JOCELYN LEHRER, GENDER VIOLENCE BASED VIOLENCE EXPERT: Well, I think that it is -- it's an assault that happened, right? I think -- I do agree that context -- it's helpful to understand and to look at the broader context of something, but if we are going to get to the nuts and bolts of how you would define it legally, it was a nonconsensual kiss.
She acknowledged it, he acknowledged it as well. You know, but what I personally go as far as to call him a sexual predator and to use this kind of inflammatory language, you know, what he did was --
MACCALLUM: But you just called it an assault. And neither one of them said it was an assault. She said she understood why he wanted to grab her and kiss her. It's a kiss. His fiance was nearby. They had just run out of a show at radio city music hall when they heard the news, went running into Times Square to be with all the other people who were starting to get this incredible news that the country was free from war and he saw someone that looked like a war nurse and wanted to celebrate with her and grabbed her and gave her a kiss.
LEHRER: Yes, I mean, I think --
MACCALLUM: How is that an assault?
LEHRER: If she were alive today, it would be really helpful to talk with her more, right? But what I read of the quote where she also said that she didn't know him, this guy -- person just came in grabbed her and kissed her, that he was --
MACCALLUM: But she never said in the entire interview that it upset her, that she was bothered by it. She said it was just a moment. It wasn't about romance, it was about what was happening in the country.
LEHRER: Yes. I think it would be -- she's no longer here to speak further, right? But I think that -- so I think it's hard --
MACCALLUM: She spoke in pretty great detail about the event when she was alive.
LEHRER: Yes. Sure. So in my opinion, based on what I've read of her quotes where she said she didn't know him, he came in grabbed her, it wasn't romantic, you know, to me, it doesn't sound like she was looking --
MACCALLUM: But you're living now. You're parsing her words and you're living out the part where she says, he grabbed someone who's dressed like a nurse because he was very grateful to the nurses who took care of the wounded. Beverly, I want to give you a chance to respond.
HALLBERG: Yes. She also said before she died two years ago that she thinks that this is a wonderful moment. They even had a hard time finding who this woman was in the photo because so many women came out and said it was me. They thought it was a good thing and they wanted to take credit for it. And even when you look at the photo itself, there are people smiling in the photo. So it doesn't taken to account --
MACCALLUM: No one is alarmed.
HALLBERG: No one is alarmed by this is going on. This is out in public. I mean, I think there's a lot in our history -- there's a lot in our history that we need to bring into the forefront. There are a lot of mistakes that have been made in America's history. But this man kissing this woman when Germany has finally surrendered is not that dark thing.
MACCALLUM: Yes. It's called unconditional surrender, which is obviously an echo of the agreement that was reached with Japan. And with, you know, her surrendered to, you know, having this kiss from the stranger is, you know, I think most people think it's a beautiful parallel in a lot of ways.
At least that's the way I look at it. You are absolutely entitled to your opinion.
MACCALLUM: What about defacing the statue with this red paint. And how does that serve people who are genuinely being assaulted in the country?
LEHRER: Look, I think that whoever -- I personally am not a fan of defacing public art. I think there are other ways to start the conversation. I think a couple of key constructive takeaways regardless of your, you know, people's opinion on how they interpret these quotes from people who passed away, a couple of important takeaways that we can probably all agree on are, number one, when women are assaulted, they don't always fight back, right?
And so, an assault can look consensual from the outside, you know. If somebody doesn't know what's going through the head of that person who was caught by surprise, or who thought that they couldn't fight back, you know. So, that's one.
LEHRER: And number two is --
MACCALLUM: Well, I can only -- go ahead, real quick because, go ahead.
LEHRER: Yes. Just to say, you know, I think there's been a lot of backlash around the Me Too movement. And I just want to acknowledge, you know, most men are good men. Most men are against sexual assault and harassment. And what we most need are for that vast majority of good men to just intervene when they see something happening that shouldn't be happening.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I think most people agree that this World War II veteran was a very good man. He and this woman and his wife, kept in touch throughout Christmas cards all throughout the years and cherish this photo as an important moment in their lives.
So, to say that he assaulted someone I think is a disservice to his memory.
LEHRER: I think -- I think her -- yes.
MACCALLUM: He's 95 and he just died yesterday.
LEHRER: Yes. Her response --
MACCALLUM: So, we are going to leave it there.
LEHRER: -- is what matters. I agree.
MACCALLUM: Thank you very much to both of you for being here tonight. Thank you, Beverly, as well.
So, remember this, the attorneys for the Covington Catholic High School students seen in this video now taking dramatic legal action. This is a breaking story that we will bring you next.
MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight. Lawyers representing Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann have just filed a bomb shell defamation suit against The Washington Post.
Trace Gallagher joining us now with late-breaking details tonight. Hi, Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha. The 22-page $250 million lawsuit claims The Washington Post participated in a modern-day form of McCarthyism by targeting and bullying Nick Sandmann for three days.
Sandmann's lawyers go on to describe the teen as an innocent secondary school child and accused the newspaper of ignoring journalistic standards to advance an agenda against President Trump.
Adding, that the post you just quote, "vast financial resources to enter the bully pulpit by publishing a series of false and defamatory print and online articles which effectively provided a worldwide megaphone to smear a young boy who is in its view an acceptable casualty in their war against the president."
Sandmann was widely criticized and vilified in the media after cell phone video showed him staring down Native American Nathan Phillips. But the Post and numerous other media outlets apparently failed to look at the entire two hours of video and used small clips to paint Sandmann and his high school classmates as instigators.
It turned out the altercation started with a group of black Hebrew Israelites who called the students extremely offensive terms we cannot repeat and also called them crackers and incest children. Sandmann said he and his fellow students only chanted and raise their voices to drown out the offensive slurs and were not directing their chants toward anyone.
That's when Nathan Phillips entered the picture and moments later, Phillips and Sandmann are face-to-face. But some students did do Tomahawk jabs which some consider offensive. Sandmann maintains he was trying to defuse the situation by remaining calm.
And after watching the full video many outlets apologize for their rush to judgment. Minutes ago, The Washington Post said it is reviewing the lawsuit and plans to mount a vigorous defense. Nick Sandmann's lawyers have vowed to sue numerous media outlets and celebrities in their efforts to go after, quote, "wrongdoers." Martha?
MACCALLUM: Quite a story. Trace, thank you very much. Time is up as the saying goes. But now it's for the Catholic Church as the pope convenes a global meeting in Rome. Our panel next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are here today from around the world, and here, hopefully that our voices will be heard at the highest levels of the Vatican so that changes will be made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLASE CUPICH, CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF CHICAGO: The holy father wants to make very clear that the two of the bishops around the world, not only those participating that each one of them has to claim responsibility and ownership for this problem.
We're going to do everything possible to make sure that people are held responsible, accountable, and there is going to be transparency because those three elements will keep children safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: She is a big supporter of Pope Francis who is preparing for a high-stakes conference at the Vatican this week, its aim at damage control and transparency in trying to repair the reputation of the Catholic Church.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNE BARRETT-DOYLE, DIRECTOR, BISHOPACCOUNTABILITY.ORG: We have a public list of 101 accused bishops, except for seven, who have been laicized, they all retained the title of bishop emeritus or they did so until their deaths.
I think that the way forward for the Catholic Church, unfortunately, is going to continue to be a bloodied, hard fought path with prosecutors and government inquiries, and lawsuits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: She's right about that. Joining me now, Raymond Arroyo, Fox News contributor, EWTN news managing editor, and author of "Will Wilder 3: The Amulet of Power," Ashley McGuire, senior fellow at the Catholic Association, and Matthew Schmitz, First Things magazine senior editor and Catholic Herald columnist. Great to have all of you with us.
Matthew, one of the criticisms already before this thing has even begun, these meetings even began is that they are only going to address the abuse of minors. And a lot of people feel like there's been a lot of abuse of young adults, young seminarians. Why aren't they doing that?
MATTHEW SCHMITZ, SENIOR EDITOR, FIRST THINGS MAGAZINE: Well, Cardinal (Inaudible) was because they wanted to really narrowly focus on this one issue and they had to address it alone. A few months ago, they told us that they were going to address the abuse of vulnerable adults as well but now that has shrunk.
I think that what we are seeing here is a challenge of the central ideas of Pope Francis' pontificate, mercy and synodality. Mercy - when Francis said who I am to judge? He was talking about a priest with inappropriate relationships or a series of men with young men.
So not too far from what happened with McCarrick, and synodality, so let's say he'll cooperate but ultimately, the buck has to stop somewhere. I think what we are going to see with abuses, either Pope Francis owns this problem or doesn't.
SCHMITZ: Then a lot of meetings won't make a difference.
MACCALLUM: But I mean, obviously it's incredibly egregious to assault a child. Everyone says there is no disagreement on that. It's also very bad to be doing the same thing to young seminarian boys as we now know McCarrick was doing.
RAYMOND ARROYO, CONTRIBUTOR: Right.
MACCALLUM: So, Raymond, what do you think about this?
ARROYO: Well, look, there's a big difference. We were talking a moment ago. There's a big difference. The New York Times did a profile today of priests who had children. There's a big difference between "Pornbirds" (Ph) and Cardinal McCarrick. OK?
And we have to differentiate. One is a love affair that you shouldn't be involved and everybody breaking their vows. But it's not a crime. You know, it's consensual. And many of those priests, I know some of them, they come back into ministry after that child grows up. OK? That's not right. But it happens.
The other thing is egregious crimes against people and the bishop using his power to enact his sexual will on seminarians, young boys, girls in some cases and nuns. The fact that the Vatican is not addressing those issues this week and that's what this part of the crisis, Martha, is about.
ARROYO: Ten years ago, 15 years ago, it was about the protection of minors. That in the United States and many parts of the world, that's been contained. There are procedures in place. But in this other area we're still seeing right now --
MACCALLUM: This is the area that nobody wants to go to --
ARROYO: That's right.
MACCALLUM: -- and nobody wants to talk about. Ashley, what role can women play because women so far have played a very small role in what we are going to see play out in these four next four days? And they are a huge part of the church, obviously.
ASHLEY MCGUIRE, SENIOR FELLOW, THE CATHOLIC ASSOCIATION: You're absolutely right. Women are heart of the church. We are the mothers of the children that are being abused.
And so, you know, I think the hope of women all over the world is that what comes out of this is that these bishops when they go back to their diocese, back to their countries that they implement reforms and that they involve women.
Most of the reform action is going to take place at the local level, at the diocesan levels at the various conferences. That's where the voice of women absolutely needs to be heard. They need to be on the lay commissions, they need to be the ones that are investigating the abuse. They need to be --
MACCALLUM: Is there any indication that that's going to happen?
MCGUIRE: I think so. I think that's what the bishops in the United States wanted to do.
ARROTO: But the pope is shopping now.
MACCALLUM: Yes. Well, they were told they couldn't do anything until this big meeting.
MACCALLUM: They said don't go making your own rules in the United States.
ARROYO: Without lay involvement, without an audit, I believe that every parish, every diocese in the country, you are not going to get to the bottom of the current abuse. And some of these people involve in shaping this summit in Rome, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany, this guy is giving a speech and a guidance on transparency. This is like Cardi B. giving a teaching on modesty. OK?
The record in Germany, the German church is an abysmal failure. We have to look, I think deeper at this problem and lay involve --
MACCALLUM: I only have one minute. It's a huge question, the issue of gay priests. OK? And as far as I look at this, you know, there are gay priest. We all know that. There are priests who would be heterosexual if they weren't priest. But the bottom line is, once you join the priesthood, you're not supposed to have sex of any kind.
MACCALLUM: You're supposed to be celibate. Correct?
MACCALLUM: Is that the message that's being sent?
SCHMITZ: I think we are getting confusion about whether we should maybe get rid of requirements for celibacy, whether we should even change Catholic teaching about homosexual acts being wrong. And we're not having a reaffirmation that the Catholic sexual ethic is good and that living that leads to happiness. I think we need that reaffirmation if we are going to address this.
ARROYO: No, it's critical. I think and as Matthew mentioned earlier, when you got a monsignor like Monsignor Ricca who was a -- he had a scandalous past in Uruguay. The pope rehabilitated him and brought him into Rome, he runs the Vatican house that the pope lives in. That sends a mixed message.
if you have somebody who is a predator whether straight or gay, they need to be out.
ARROYO: They need to be out. And so, that's the heart of the matter.
MACCALLUM: And that's the different conversation. You have people who are predators, and then separate from that, because I think that people don't want to talk about the issue of gay priests who are actively perhaps having relationship.
ARROYO: You can't be actively at sex while as a priest.
MACCALLUM: You can't do that whether it's heterosexual or homosexual.
SCHMITZ: Correct. Correct.
MACCALLUM: Ashley, do you agree with this?
MCGUIRE: Absolutely. It's a crisis of fidelity and it goes both towards sexual orientations.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, all. We will see what happens over the coming days at this very important meeting. Thank you. Good to have you all here tonight.
More coming up on the Story tonight with that gentleman right there from South Carolina. Mr. Trey Gowdy after this.
MACCALLUM: Former acting director Andrew McCabe pushing forward on his publicity blitz for his new book. Today, he circled back to May of 2017, a very important moment in all of this after the firing of former director James Comey, to recall his conversation with congressional leaders who he said were fine with him opening a counterterrorism investigation into the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, CO-ANCHOR, NBC: I know you and your other members of your team briefed the so-called gang of eight. Did you tell them that you opened a counterintelligence investigation into President Trump?
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: The purpose of the briefing was to let our congressional leadership know exactly what we've been doing. And I told Congress what we had done.
GUTHRIE: Did anyone object?
MCCABE: That's the important part here, Savannah. No one objected. Not on legal grounds, not on constitutional grounds, and not based on the facts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Trey Gowdy, former congressman and chairman of the House oversight committee, now a partner at Nelson Mullins, and a Fox News contributor. Good to have you with us tonight, sir.
TREY GOWDY, CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: What's your reaction? What do you think he was getting at with that, that no one objected?
GOWDY: That Devin and Paul knew about it and had no problem with it. That's exactly where he is getting at. And the reason he's doing it this way is that Devin and Paul are not allowed to discuss anything that is said in the gang of eight meeting. And McCabe knows that.
So, he can level the accusation and Paul and Devin cannot refute him. What I think is fascinating is there were three investigations into a duly elected president, the Peter Strzok one from July of 2016 and then McCabe started a counterintelligence, and if he is telling the truth, started a criminal probe into the president of the United States.
I listened to Devin and Paul question the DOJ and the FBI for hours on multiple occasions about the one counterintelligence investigation. We all knew about it.
I find it stunning that they would know about a second one and not say a single solitary word. And I will continue to not believe they knew about it unless one of the other contradicts it.
MACCALLUM: So, you're saying that Paul Ryan, Devin Nunes, that the whole gang of eight was not aware that there were two investigations. So, the first investigation that everybody understood was whether or not there was Russian interference in the election. Correct?
GOWDY: Well, if you look at the FBI document which was drafted by and approved by Peter Strzok. It was a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. Now the FBI doesn't like it when I say that, but unfortunately, I've seen the documents. I know exactly what Strzok wrote.
They want you to believe that it was into what Russia was doing. And that's fine. That's appropriate. Unfortunately, Strozk use the phrase Trump campaign. So that was the one from July of 2016. And now McCabe says there was one in May of 2017 in addition to the criminal investigation of instruction of justice.
MACCALLUM: Understood. Understood. I mean, and everyone knows that the FISA warrants were happening during the time of the original investigation which goes right to the heart of what you're saying about the Trump campaign in and of itself.
But what triggered the second part of this for Andrew McCabe is quite clear. He was very upset that James Comey was fired. And when he was pressed on this by Savannah Guthrie on the Today show this morning, he said -- you know, she said, what evidence, what reason did you have?
And he says, because he clearly wanted us to stop investigating. He talked about Michael Flynn, he asked for, you know, perhaps you could see a way past this investigation. And he felt that there was a direct line, perhaps, from that to him having some -- being an agent of Russia, essentially.
GOWDY: If thinking that Jim Comey is not a good FBI director is tantamount to being an agent of Russia, then just list all the people that are agents of Russia. Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Rod Rosenstein who wrote the memo getting rid of Comey. Michael Horowitz who is the inspector general.
I mean, look, I know McCabe like Jim Comey. I know that. But lots of people think that -- thought that Jim Comey had lost the ability to lead that department. And the fact that President Trump got rid of him in May of 2017 is not sufficient basis to launch a criminal obstruction of justice probe.
Look at what happened, Martha. He gets rid of Comey, replaces him with a Comey acolyte who not only continues the probe, but expands it. So, if his goal was to obstruct a Russia investigation, gosh, he did a terrible job of it.
MACCALLUM: Well, your friend Adam Schiff clearly believes that there is this evidence that Andrew McCabe speaks of definitely existed. And just to remind everyone, Andrew McCabe said he believed that the president was a national security concern. And that it was such a potent moment for everyone because they are so terrified about this.
Here is Adam Schiff talking about what he sees as the continued evidence at this point on Sunday. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.: You can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion, pretty compelling evidence. Now there is a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Your thoughts.
GOWDY: Well, collusion is a sin and aim for conspiracy. So, I hope the questions are followed up and said, OK chairmanship, you just said that you have evidence of a criminal conspiracy between the president of the United States and the Russian state. What is that evidence? What is the crime -- was Trump involved in hacking of the DNC server? Was he involved in the hacking of John Podesta's e-mail?
Are you alleging that he participated and deciding when to disseminate the proceeds of those two hacks? I have never -- I have heard Adam on a number of occasions say that he is the third eye raven, has evidence and seen things that nobody else has ever seen before. But I've never heard him ask what is it? What is the evidence of crime that you have, chairmanship? I've never heard him -- I've never it followed up on.
MACCALLUM: Well, he also weighed in on the Jussie Smollett story with this tweet on January 20th. He also made some assumptions about the outcome of this case perhaps. He said, I met him at the pride parade in Los Angeles, I've seen his passion in moral clarity of his activism firsthand. This week he was the victim of a horrific. We pray for your speedy recovery and we reject this act of hate and bigotry says Adam Schiff, with regard to that, quick thought.
GOWDY: Horrific attack is the words I went to. It is another long list of instances where Adam Schiff would rather get the attention than get the facts. And I've said before, he was a good lawyer.
Unfortunately, he is a much better politician. Lawyers get the facts and then they make conclusions. Politicians just want the attention. And he got it. And I wonder if anybody is going to ask him, how did you get this so wrong?
MACCALLUM: Trey Gowdy, thank you, sir. Good to see you as always.
GOWDY: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: That's “The Story” on this Tuesday night. "Tucker is up next.
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