Trump and Obama trade jabs as midterms approach

This is a rush transcript from "The Story," September 10, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: So, breaking this evening, President Trump fighting back in what is shaping up to be a very interesting clash of two political Titans. 56 days before the midterms. Good evening everybody. I'm Martha McCallum, and this is "The Story."

Former President Barack Obama slamming his successor at campaign rallies in Illinois and California.


FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It's always tempting for politicians to try to see if they can divide people. That, unfortunately, has been a spiral that we've been on for the last couple years. But the good news is in two months, we have a chance to restore some sanity in our politics.


MACCALLUM: And then, everyone will be really nice to each other, I guess. President Trump, responding on Twitter today, bragging about the great economy. But that is nothing compared to what could come next as conservatives are urging the President to go one step further. And to deliver what they hope might be a knockout punch by authorizing the release of classified documents detailing the earliest days of the Trump-Russia probe. And whether or not, the Obama administration may have played a role.

New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin and Marie Harf at President Obama's former State Department spokesperson join me in a moment. But first, chief national correspondent Ed Henry live at the White House tonight with all this backstory. Hi, Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Martha, great to see you. Advantage President Trump over former President Obama at least for now. As today, even the Washington Post acknowledged that blue-collar jobs are growing in this country at the fastest rate since 1984 which could boost Republicans ahead of the midterms. Because the boom is happening in rural areas that President Trump promised to help in 2016. Those areas that, of course, he carried to victory in the last election.

The key is these are the types of jobs and as you noted, former President Obama said, would never be coming back in the manufacturing industry, construction industry, and others. In fact, he claimed at the time, as you noted that Donald Trump was giving workers a false hope by pretending to have some sort of magic wand.

Well, whether it's magic or something else, those jobs have come back in the manufacturing, mining, and construction industries. The Post reporting in the last year, the economy has added 656,000 blue-collar jobs, you see them there.

Rural employment growing in an annualized rate of 5.1 percent in the first quarter. And then, in the second quarter, overall economic growth as you've heard has reached 4.2 percent. Now, former President Obama admits he's abandoning an American tradition of former presidents sitting on the sidelines because he wants to make the case to midterm voters that as he puts it, our Democracy depends on his party taking back Congress.

A move that thrilled some Democrats but is also cheering president Trump because he thinks Obama being front and center will fire up the Republican base.


OBAMA: Suddenly, Republicans are saying its America. I had to kind of remind them, actually, those job numbers are the same as they were in 2015, and 2016.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I'm sorry, I watched it but I fell asleep. If the Democrats got in with their agenda in November of almost two years ago, instead of having 4.2 up, I believe, honestly you'd have 4.2 down. You'd be negative.


HENRY: But White House economic aid Kevin Hassett today, had to admit that President Trump slipped up by claiming the GDP rate of 4.2 percent is higher than the unemployment rate for the first time in 100 years. It's actually, first time in about 10 years.

But the point is, the recovery is getting stronger, and this conservative Charlie Kirk noted that if President Trump is doing such a bad job as a resistant -- resistance movement claims, why is former President Obama trying so hard to claim credit for what's happening right now? Martha.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, Ed. Here now, Michael Goodwin, New York Post columnist, and Fox News contributor. And Marie Harf, former State Department spokesperson under President Obama and a Fox News analyst. Good to have both of you here. Michael wrote a great piece over the weekend talking about all of this. Do you -- so, the big question though, for these two players becomes who can sway the swayable voter out there?


MICHAEL GOODWIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Right. Well, look, I think it's very much about re-litigating 2016 which Democrats have been doing ever since 2016. And now, we have President Obama back into the fray. Hillary Clinton is still on the sidelines throwing little grenades in every now and then.

So, I think the Democratic Party sees this midterm clearly as a referendum on President Trump. But I think the economy is such a strong suit in the president's hands. And you mentioned earlier about these documents.

I do think that there is still a big, big question as to who did what in the Obama White House, and in the Obama administration regarding the Russia probe. And whether James Clapper, John Brennan, how much the FBI was involved, Susan Rice, Samantha Power. I mean, on and on in terms of all the people in the administration.

What role, John Kerry? What role did the State Department play? So, I think, this is still out there. And the president has the power to declassify the document.

MACCALLUM: So, why doesn't he do it?

GOODWIN: I don't understand why he doesn't do it. I think he should do it. But, even if it doesn't help him, even if there isn't some great big smoking gun there, I think in the -- in the service of transparency which we should all want, there's too much secrecy in the government.

Secrecy is one of the great advantages of the swamp. And so, for the president not to declassify, I think he's really helping the swamp keep its dirty secret.

MACCALLUM: Yes, a lot -- a lot of people want him to declassify those documents. Here's another bit of President Obama talking about the Russian situation. Just watch this, then we get Marie's reaction.


OBAMA: They're undermining our alliances, closing up to Russia. What happened to the Republican Party?


MACCALLUM: First of all, President Obama said there is no way anyone could undermine our elections. That's when he said right before the action.

HARF: Well --

MACCALLUM: He's at -- this doesn't happen, folks. But then, whenever he lost, suddenly it happened, right?

HARF: Well, no. That's a gross generalization. That's actually not -- that's not accurate.

MACCALLUM: Oh, really.

HARF: But what I will say is President Obama is wildly popular. Look at Donald Trump's approval rating, it is way below Barack Obama. Is -- then, in many of these places his campaign, its way ahead of where Donald Trump is. So, I actually think Barack Obama has a point here when he's getting on the campaign trail.

But when it comes to Russia, the point he made there, I stood at the State Department podium and had to answer questions from Republican members of Congress about why our administration was quote, "too willing to work with Russia." All of those Republicans in Congress now are silent.

Now, that Donald Trump praises Putin, he stands next to him and blames the U.S. intelligence community, all of those Republicans are suddenly silent about Russia now. And that's what Barack Obama was saying.

MACCALLUM: But the big -- but the whole point of what Michael is saying about releasing -- you know, how the FISA requests was got through is to -- is to point out that there -- you know, there may have been some collusion going on all over the place.

If you hire Christopher Steele, and he's getting his information from Russians, and the Hillary Clinton campaign is paying for the stuff, and then, you use that stuff to get the FISA warrant, you know, you can -- you can laugh, but why not just answer those questions? Why not reveal those documents?

HARF: But, because those are assertions that are just that. There's no evidence to back that up, and I actually would totally support getting as much information about the Russia investigation out because if there's any smoking guns, it's about Donald Trump and his campaign.

Look, I think this will be a conversation after --


MACCALLUM: But there's a whole investigation has been doing that for 18 months. You're going to get that.

HARF: Well, that's right it's what I'm going to say. After Bob Mueller finishes, I think that's the proper time to talk about what we should put out to the public. Bob Mueller's investigation is the most important thing right now.

MACCALLUM: Let me just put --

GOODWIN: Yes, see that, that idea that -- I mean, Bob Mueller has nothing to do with these FISA warrants that happened two years ago.

HARF: That's not true.

GOODWIN: Two years ago.

HARF: That's not just true.

GOODWIN: There is no secrecy left other than to protect what's actually in the documents. What was asserted at the time if they haven't found it in two years, I don't think they're going to find it. So, let's see what the claims were.

You mentioned Christopher Steele. It turns out the FBI was also paying him and then, fired him. Did they tell the judges that they fired him because he lied? I mean, if you don't give the judges all of that information, you have -- you have really committed I think a wrongdoing, a serious wrongdoing.

Whether it's a crime, I don't know. But it is certainly unfair to get a spine warrant on an American citizen on the basis of false or misleading information.

MACCALLUM: Whom, by the way, they never even questioned after that.

GOODWIN: And they never arrested him.

MACCALLUM: They're have let the way that we lost interest in him.


MACCALLUM: You know, in terms of the question of this Professor Massoud, who was also part of the justification process for having this FISA warrants, because he talked to Papadopoulos. And Papadopoulos, said, you know, I got this information from -- then he talked to Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat.

So, now that the DNC lawyers say that they've been trying to serve him a subpoena and they think he might be dead. I mean --

HARF: Yes. I mean, this is like --


MACCALLUM: And they can't find -- they can't find this person who is a (INAUDIBLE) professor, who supposedly has worked for both Western -- you know intelligence sources and also Russian intelligence sources.


MACCALLUM: I don't find it that surprising that this is a person who could -- who kind of slip off somewhere. I don't know why the DNC lawyers are saying he, "he might be dead."

HARF: Well, they can't find him. And this is like it feels like a rehash of an old Cold War spy novel. But I think, the bottom line here is there were a lot of people warning the multiple American intelligence and law enforcement agencies that the Russians were doing dirty things in 2016. And they may have been working with Trump campaign people.

Some of those journalists that were working on this, some of these Russian dissidents, there is a history of them disappearing, as we've seen in Russia. So, this is not some fanciful story we having seen play out.

MACCALLUM: Well, lots of people might be dead. I'm just looking for some actual evidence. You know, I'm -- yes. I think that the fact that they can't find him is isn't -- you know, that's a logical assessment, right.

GOODWIN: Right. But this lawsuit, I mean, I must say I completely forgot about this lawsuit until the storm may appeared.


GOODWIN: I mean, why is the DNC suing over this? I mean, isn't that what Mueller supposedly doing? What is the point of the DNC trying to do a civil law -- I mean, it just -- it never made any sense to me. Again, it buys into this victimization that the Democrats lost because of Russia.

There's been no evidence of that, but they keep going down that hole and here we are in the cusp of the midterms and they still don't have a platform.

MACCALLUM: Yes. It's going to be interesting to watch former President Obama and President Trump go at it. We'll see if President Obama sent tweeting at him. Probably not.

HARF: No. Please, no.

MACCALLUM: Probably not. Thank you, guys. Good to see you, both. Thanks for being here.

Wow! This is quite a hurricane that has formed. It is heading straight for the Carolinas and the latest track that they're about to release is coming up very shortly, so we're going to get that for you.

Plus, we just found out that there's stock of filing perjury charges against Hillary Clinton. But the prosecutor decided to let the whole thing go. What's that story?


MACCALLUM: Ken Starr the Independent Counsel who brought impeachment charges against President Bill Clinton or recommended them now sharing never before told details about the 1990s scandal that rocked America in his brand-new memoir Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation. Trace Gallagher joins us now tracking the details from our West Coast Newsroom on some news that has bubbled up out of this story today. Hi, Trace!

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, Martha! The book drops tomorrow but a lot of jaws dropped today when we learned that former Independent Counsel Ken Starr considered bringing perjury charges against First Lady Hillary Clinton. Starr says in January of 1995, he deposed both President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton about the suicide of White House Adviser Vince Foster and other issues dealing with the Whitewater land deal investigation. Remember, Whitewater led to the Monica Lewinsky investigation.

Starr says, during the depositions President Clinton bobbed and weaved but was pleasant as he avoided answering questions. But he says the first lady was different quoting now in the space of three hours she claimed by our count over a hundred times that she did not recall or did not remember this suggested outright mendacity. To be sure human memory is notoriously fallible but her strained performance struck us as preposterous. Though Starr also acknowledges it would have been difficult to prove that she lied.

He also says he regrets taking on the Lewinsky phase of the investigation but writes that there was no practical alternative. And Starr says there are eerie parallels to his investigation and the Robert Mueller investigation saying, both came at times when the American economy was thriving and then he was asked about President Trump's comment that Democrats wouldn't impeach him because he's doing such a good job. Watch.


KEN STARR, FORMER UNITED STATES SOLICITOR GENERAL: If we don't have the rule of law in the country then we have not done what the founding generation said we're to establish justice. That's in the preamble of the Constitution. And justice means the rule of law and that everyone is accountable.


GALLAGHER: But Starr went on to say one of the messages in his book is that impeachment is hell and putting the nation through that process is wrenching. Ken Starr also mentioned Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh who worked with him on the Clinton investigation calling Kavanaugh the wordsmith of the now famous Starr report. Martha?

MACCALLUM: We are going to talk to Ken Starr on the story this week and we're looking forward to that. Trace, thank you very much. So Fox News Weather alert tonight. Hurricane Florence is now on track to be the worst storm to hit the East Coast in decades. The Category Four now gaining strength by the hour as it barrels towards the U.S. Meteorologist Adam Klotz is here now on the latest update on the projected path and the timing of Florence. That's a pretty strong looking storm out there, Adam.

ADAM KLOTZ, FOX NEWS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's a big one. This morning it was a Category Two storm jumping up to a Category Four storm already, so rapidly intensifying and the strength we're seeing currently is going to be sticking with it. Now, this is still a long ways offshore. There it spins nice to find eyewall there as it spends winds at 140 miles Category Four. Here's the projected path right now and you can tell south of Bermuda we still have to wait a while until this eventually makes its way to shore.

But if I take you in by Thursday morning, that is when we're sitting just off the coast I think conditions begin to deteriorate in South Carolina to North Carolina by Thursday morning. It's going to be an afternoon to overnight event as far as landfall goes for this system. Winds will still be up to Category Four level which means 140, 150 miles an hour. This is going to be a major wind event when it eventually makes landfall. There's your Category Four ranking.

It's likely going to stay right there around 150 mile-an-hour winds when this makes landfall. Typically a storm where this is sitting, South of Bermuda would turn and head off to sea. That is not going to be the case because we have this high-pressure system. So even though we're days and days out we have a pretty good idea. These are several forecast models taking this into the Carolinas anywhere for perhaps Myrtle Beach stretching up towards the Outer Banks, an area that will likely eventually see this. Now, where there's a bit of indecision still because this is so far out, what happens once we get to the coast?

Well, the models all begin to kind of fall apart. You can see there several have it hovering just off the coast, some right over the coast, some bring it right in. And that's going to make a huge difference for folks living in those regions because if you spin right over an area, we're already going to see the wind, we're already going to see the storm surge, but if you spin right over an area, that's when you start to see rainfall really beginning to pile up 12 to 20 inches, some spots getting up well over two feet.

This is just one forecast model and it's a little early but it gives you an idea what would happen if we see this storm spin over one location for a long time. So again the timing for this we're looking getting closer on Wednesday that I'm really thinking Thursday evening into early Friday morning, that is when we officially see landfall, but definitely all day Thursday, Martha, is when we really start to focus on this.

MACCALLUM: So is there anything in that path that could slow it down? I mean, the water temperature, you know, any of those factors that you think might help.

KLOTZ: No, it's all bad news. You need 80-degree water to fuel a storm from where it sits all the way to the coast 85-degree water so that's going to make it stronger. What we hope is it makes landfall and just keeps moving quickly. That's going to be -- it's going to likely well --

MACCALLUM: That will break it apart.

KLOTZ: It'll break it apart quicker.

MACCALLUM: Are people ready? Are they heading the warnings? Is it too soon to know?

KLOTZ: 48 hours out is when you start to get hurricane warnings. We're not even that close yet so this is still a ways away but as you know there have been states of emergency in both the Carolinas up into Virginia into Maryland so I think officials are ready.

MACCALLUM: Thank you. You're going to be busy with just one the next few days.


MACCALLUM: Thanks for coming by. Good to see you, Adam. So is this the Democrats secret to winning back control of Congress?


JIM CARREY, ACTOR: We have to say yes to socialism to the word and everything. We have to stop apologizing.


MACCALLUM: Stop apologizing. Jonah Goldberg not apologizing on Jim Carrey coming up next .



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is Snowflake?

CARREY: Do you know him? Does he call you at home? Do you have a (INAUDIBLE)? Do dreams are (INAUDIBLE) and you must the dolphin? You must be getting one by the dolphin's head or communicating. I'm saying to Snowflake -- and he's saying -- and he's up on the -- and you can quote him.


MACCALLUM: Actor and Comedian Jim Carrey known for being the funny guy but now he thinks that he has the answer to save the Democratic Party for themselves. Carrey said the only way they can win elections and help the country is if they stop pussyfooting around and embrace socialism.


CARREY: We have to say yes to socialism to the word and everything. We have to stop apologizing.


MACCALLUM: Here now Jonah Goldberg, Author of Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy. He is also a Fox News Contributor. Jonah, a good to see you tonight. Thanks for being here.

JONAH GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be here, Martha. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: You know, that -- there's more to what he said so I want to play the rest of it and then we'll jump in.


CARREY: If anything we've got to get back to a place where we realize that a vote is not who you are, you know, and because you voted Republican you're not stupid, you're not different, you're not worthless. You know, I could break bread with anybody who voted for Trump. We could find some common ground to love each other. So just stop doing stupid (BLEEP).

We have a president who started out when the country was together and had a wonderful leader and he is tearing us limb from limb destroying every institution.


MACCALLUM: So you can see how we can all get along.

GOLDBERG: Sure, absolutely. Yes, look, I mean, I like some of that sentiment about the idea because I'm -- as a conservative, I think politics should only describe a small fraction of our lives but it's so obvious that this guy lives in a bubble. You know, when he says that at the end when Donald Trump took office we had a president who united us, I mean, come on. The country has been divided for a long time. It's not -- wasn't all Obama's fault, it's not all Donald Trump's fault, it wasn't George W. Bush's fault.

But this is -- you know our politics beginning were polarized for a long time. And for him to think you know that the key for Democrats to win is for them to embrace socialism and stop apologizing for it shows that the bubble is about you know, is not a bulletproof glass if he honestly thinks that that is the way to -- if that is the secret to the Democrats electoral success is to double down on a caricature of Democrats that was once considered a grave insult to say the Democrats were socialists and now he's saying we have to stop apologizing for socialism, that's not how you win the moderate middle of the road voter.

MACCALLUM: I mean, you have to ask yourself if socialism is being you know sort of redefined. I mean socialism in its purest form is you know, giving up all private property right? I don't think Jim Carrey wants you know, the government to take his house and just sort of give him a house that would be nice enough for him to live in. And I think for him to sort of propose this idea and it suggests that everybody needs to embrace it, you know he's not -- he's not a kid. He's like 56 years old. He should understand what socialism is.

GOLDBERG: He should but a lot of people don't, you know. And you would think more people who are worth a reported $150 million would be a little more reluctant to embrace a program that would take most of that away. But part of the problem is particularly for younger people you know, a lot of conservatives are wringing their hands about how Millennials are more positive towards socialism than they are towards capitalism. Part of the problem is that a lot of young particularly young people but a lot of people generally just when they say socialism they just mean an economic system different than the one way -- the one that we have right now.

When Bernie Sanders goes around screaming about Denmark, like he's a tour guide in an FCoT center exhibit about 1950 Scandinavia, he's not describing any place that actually exists. He's -- you know, Denmark, Sweden, these places are much more free market than people realize and America's welfare state is much more generous than they realize. What they're saying is I didn't like the financial crisis, I want things to be different and they call that socialism.

MACCALLUM: Right. You know, he also talks -- you know, I mean, it's totally hypocrite because he talked about how you know, we can all get along, you know, I can like people who voted for President Trump you know - - you know, as long as they as long as they stop saying stupid bleep. And then we also heard from President Obama also saying and you know so much of the McCain funeral was all about you know, bringing people together. But they don't necessarily sound like that's what they want. And Maxine Waters, clearly that's not what you want. Here she is earlier today.


REP. MAXINE WATERS, D-CALIF.: They say Maxine, please don't say impeachment anymore. And when they say that I say impeachment, impeachment, impeachment, impeachment.

I wake up in the middle of the night and all I can think about it I'm going to get it. I'm going to get it.

I did not threaten his constituents, his supporters. I do that all the time but I didn't do at that time.


MACCALLUM: I mean, clearly she's you know, she's preaching to the choir there and everybody's sort of laughing it up, but you know, I mean, the idea that everybody wants to get along which is a nice sentiment doesn't seem to play out in reality in terms of the language being used.

GOLDBERG: No, everyone wants go get -- everyone wants everybody to get along but only on their terms.


GOLDBERG: So Barack Obama said a lot of things I agree with in principle about how, you know, where we are but he kind of has a huge blind spot about in his own role in how we got to where we are.

Maxine Waters is sort of a different creature, right? I mean, she -- she really is a perfect example of how politics on the left and the right, I would argue, really only want to talk to their own base and then become useful caricatures for -- to be exploited with everybody up.

The more Maxine Waters talks in this digital television age, the greater the gift is to Republicans because most people in America don't want the kind of politics that Maxine Waters is promising.

MACCALLUM: Well, everybody back in school. Labor Day is over. It's time for everybody across the nation to start to listening to both sides of this argument as the midterms play out It's going to be very interesting to see how this also shakes out.

Jonah, always good to have you with us. Thanks a lot.

GOLDBERG: It's great to be here. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: You, too. So coming up next, you thought that was good, coming up next, we have Chris Stirewalt. And he is here live to tell us about his first book "Every Man a King," next.


MACCALLUM: Unprecedented, that is the word that many people have used to describe the presidency of Donald Trump. But our own Chris Stirewalt points out that, quote, "If you tug on one golden thread of Trump's presidential seal you will find a cord going running all the way to the beginning of us." Or the United States which everyone knows--





MACCALLUM: And in his new book Stirewalt does just that taking a closer look at the influential populist leaders who came before and who share in common, quote, "their ability to convince millions of ordinary Americans of these things. That the system is rigged against them. Only these individuals can fix it and that urgent action can still make every man a king!" Do you like that--


STIREWALT: I should have had you do the audio book.

MACCALLUM: Chris Stirewalt is a Fox News politics editor, he is Fox News politics editor and now author of the new book "Every Man a King (Inaudible), a Short Colorful History of American Populace." And we're going to learn a lot about us.


MACCALLUM: I must read this fantastic book that yo have put together.


STIREWALT: Well, thank you so much.

MACCALLUM: And I love the cover of "Every Man a King." It's a great looking book. It's interesting you have Teddy Roosevelt, you got Ross Perot, and you have Andrew Jackson. There's no Donald Trump on the cover?

STIREWALT: But there's Donald Trump throughout the book.


STIREWALT: Yes, well, and in this way. I didn't want to write a book about Donald Trump. There are a lot of books being written about Donald Trump. I'll let Bob Woodward have this week. I won't (Inaudible) Donald Trump.

I wanted to write a book about America. We have populace, we need populism when the system gets out of whack? Right? When the elites are too much. And things -- the game feels rigged for the House. And people feel frustrated.


STIREWALT: And we have to have a system that lets that energy go someplace. Learning how these guys get it right how they did it wrong, it's instructive about our moment, it's instructive about us and it's also by the way, how do we get once you start that teeter totter teetering, how do we get things back into alignment? It's not just about taking a swipe this way and then taking a swipe that way. It is about finding equilibrium so that things can be predictable, healthy and sustainable.

MACCALLUM: Yes. But as you say when things get out of whack, this is, you know, this is a country that wants the power to rest primarily with the people. And the message that you talked about there was exactly what Donald Trump said on the campaign trail.


MACCALLUM: I'm the only one who can fix it.

STIREWALT: That's right.

MACCALLUM: Can you give us a sense of the parallels that you see in Jackson, in Roosevelt and Trump?

STIREWALT: Well, I think, you know, I was thinking about this very much today. Barack Obama over the weekend was talking about how basically he was decrying Trump's populace. He was -- because it feels like a different brand from Obama's populace.

It's a different set of voters. It's appealing predominantly to an appeal to working class white voters especially in the upper Midwest whereas Obama was talking to some of those voters but a different group.

And Obama was lamenting the divisiveness. And he was lamenting the demagoguery and all of that stuff. And I kept thinking, well, it was pretty good for you when you were doing it. It was pretty for you when you were running in 2008 and you were building straw men and using light demagoguery of a different maybe more subtle kind but using some of the same tactics,

Look, populism is always appealing because the guy who comes says I will fix it for you, not those suckers, I'll fix it for you. And what Trump did was led a counter charge against the one that Obama did.

MACCALLUM: The forgotten men and women of America?

STIREWALT: Exactly. So now we have two charges against each other. And the question is, does Trump evolve into a leader who can unite and unify or who is next? What's the next thing out over the horizon?

Because I promise you this, if we keep going after each other with bayonets and charging each other every time like this, it's going to get old pretty quick. People need -- people need some space to live together.

MACCALLUM: Let's do a dramatic reading and we'll see who is better.

STIREWALT: You are better.

MACCALLUM: You are going to do this one.


MACCALLUM: So let's put up the other quote from Chris' book.

STIREWALT: No, watching American politics meltdown in the past decade like two scoops of sauerkraut sherbet on a July afternoon has not been fun. But maybe it would feel a little better if you knew that not only have we melted down before but that we evaporated all the way out of the cup and evaporated down do a sticky little spot on the sidewalk.

MACCALLUM: That is such a vintage Chris Stirewalt. I love it! Sauerkraut sherbet.

STIREWALT: I don't think I would churn up a bit of that.


STIREWALT: I don't think I would--


MACCALLUM: No. No, no, no That sounds liek fancy tomato ice cream or something. I'm not going to.


STIREWALT: Hard past. But be of good cheer. We have been here before. We have done this before and we have come out better every time for it.

MACCALLUM: Yes. Historic lessons that it's really so interesting to look. And really it just teaches us so much about who we are.


MACCALLUM: And where we are going. I love it. Thank you so much.


STIREWALT: And it has pictures.

MACCALLUM: And it has pictures. "Every Man a King."

STIREWALT: Thank you for having me.

MACCALLUM: Chris, congratulations on your first book. I hope it's not your last.

STIREWALT: Well, then make sure you buy it.

MACCALLUM: Coming up next, the story exclusive that you must stick around for. A Pennsylvania family speaking out from their hearts about what happened to them. Five sisters all victims. How they have moved forward in forgiveness and they are now helping other people like them.


TERESA MILLER, SURVIVOR: I mean it's mind boggling to know that they covered this up for so long. You know? I mean, we're children. We were children. We were babies.



MACCALLUM: A devastating report from the Pennsylvania attorney general's office detailed the allege abuse some 1,000 people endured at the hands of over 300 predator priests.

One of those stories involves the Fortney family. We recently sat down with this brave family to discuss what happened and how they are fighting to prevent others from going through what they did.


MACCALLUM: This family went through hell. Their lives ravaged by their trusted family priest who betrayed them in the most depraved way imaginable, steeling the innocence of five of their beloved daughters. All while masquerading as a man of god.

It was early 1980 when Father Gus Giella suddenly packed up and left his parish in New Jersey. He headed to a new church in Pennsylvania. The Fortney family welcomed the new priest into their home. He came for dinners. Gave the kids gifts. Ask the children to come to the rectory and helped them count the Sunday collections.

The sisters say he began to groom them under the guise of what he called education. The family says the abuse began to happen in the rectory, in their home, on family trips. Virtually everywhere they went together.

For Patty it started when she was 13. Continued until she was 15. Lara was 10 years old and it went on until she was 14. Teresa was just eight. She went through this for four long years. Marissa was only seven and it stopped when she turned 10. Carolyn was just a toddler. She was two years old. He didn't stop until she was 12. And only then because that's when his story blew up in his face.

While we do not know the full extent of what they suffered, a recent grand jury said he admitted to fondling the girls, investigators then found he had regularly collected samples of their urine, pubic hair and blood.

Tragically, the grand jury also discovered now in all-too familiar tale that the church new about Gus Giella. In 1987, a local teacher got a complaint that Giella was doing, quote, "wrong things with children." Asking to follow them into the bathroom. The teacher reported them to the principal who immediately reported it to the diocese where it went nowhere.

Another note rested then bishop and later Cardinal William Keeler mentioned concerns about Giella. But neither did anything.

Although he voluntarily retired in 1988, he was still an active predator according to his victims. And in 1992 some of the Fortney's beach house when the unthinkable happened. A young niece found a box of photos in the house. Inside were pictures of naked young girls. One of them was Caroline Fortney.

Father Giella was confronted and questioned by a Father Helwig. Giella told Helwig it had started in the bath and had progressed from there. He said he imagined the family would be sore at him. And he would agree not to contact them.

Father Helwig told Mrs. Fortney, you can relax. Father said that - redacted - just took his intentions to her wrong. That he loved her and he would never hurt her. That is when Giella was arrested but he died before his trial.

No available church records indicate that they ever told the authorities about him. The full story only coming out decades later as a part of a massive state investigation into clergy church abuse.

Joining me now on set, sisters Laura, Patty, Carolyn and Teresa. And from Pennsylvania, mom Pat and dad Ed, and their supportive sisters, Sandra and Jennie.

You know, I do want to start, Pat, with you in Harrisburg. Because when I go through your story and you learn about after all of this, begin to become exposed. You went to the priest.

PAT FORTNEY, MOTHER: I went to the diocese building and met with a father. Monsignor (Inaudible). At the meeting Monsignor (Inaudible) he questioned why I let the girls go to the rectory.

And I said to him, well, my older girls used to go to the rectory to help you. Should I have wondered what was going on? I get a call from Father Helwig and that's who they sent to New Jersey. He called me and he said, Pat, I talked to Father Giella and he assured me that Caroline was mistaken for his feelings for her. There was nothing was going on. Never heard from the church again.

MACCALLUM: You know, when you hear that, Carolyn, it's so hard to identify sort of what's the worst betrayal is because the cover-up is almost just as bad perhaps as the actual abuse.

CAROLYN FORTNEY, SURVIVOR: You know, I feel like I'm living in the twilight zone. How do people even think this is OK.

MACCALLUM: Teresa, when did you all start to realize that he was doing this to all of you?

T. FORTNEY: It wasn't July the grand jury investigation. Yes, it was known that Carolyn was abused. And then I came out shortly after that. But as far as these two, it's just been a short of two and a half years.

PATTY FORTNEY-JULIUS, SURVIVOR: I didn't realize. I was in a counseling session with my husband and my pastor and his wife. I was sharing with him what the priest would do to me and my pastor literally leaned forward and he said, Patty, do you realize you were sexually abused?

MACCALLUM: He worked his way through the family, Lara?

LARA FORTNEY MCKEEVER: SURVIVOR: Yes. For me, I am still discovering things. It was about two and a half years ago when Carolyn, Patty and I said we need to break the silence. And she didn't know of our abuse at that point. And then Patty would call me and say, Lara, do you remember when he would do this? And I'd say I didn't, but now I do. I do remember that.

MACCALLUM: You know, Ed, I'm sure obviously for a father it's so devastating?

ED FORTNEY, FATHER: I believe what happened to my Carolyn right away when I was told about it. Because the way she was crying and acted and everything, it was just had to be true. Because no one would act like that or lie to their father in that manner. So I knew it had to be true. I couldn't work for two years after that happened. That really put us in a hole.

MACCALLUM: Talk to me about that, you know, the after-impact. You know, as you go through life, how you deal with it as a family? And what does it take away from you that you are trying to get back?

C. FORTNEYL I would have people say to me, how many sisters and brothers do you have? I say I have seven sisters and a brother I'm the youngest of the nine. But I kind of, I've always felt like an only child because, you know, we're just -- we really are just now starting to get to know each other.

T. FORTNEY: I moved away. I constantly was moving away. I wanted to suppress it. I did suppress it. I'm just so thankful that I do have my family back. And I'm not ashamed anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had to say it exacted our children too. Because of this we lost a lot of trust in people in society, especially leaders, coaches, we didn't know who to trust.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really want to put a program together that, you know, educates children because some people might push that aside, thinking it's too much information for a child to handle. But, not today.

MACCALLUM: He never went to trial. He died before he went to trial. And we have seen in some of these other cases the opportunity for people to step forward and to look this person in the eye and say something that they want to say. If you had that opportunity, what would you say?

MCKEEVER: Well, for me, I have forgiven him because I feel like the Catholic Church was the one responsible for having such leniency to all of this. That it pretty much attracts pedophiles because of how these laws are. It's a place to hide.

MACCALLUM: It's a place to hide.

MCKEEVER: It's a place to hide.

P. FORTNEY: I feel exactly like Lara does. I forgave Father Giella a long time ago. I really did. I blamed the hierarchy. Bishop Keeler was on his road to cardinal, and it was more important for the Harrisburg diocese to have a bishop that was going to be named a cardinal than it was to protect our family and that's the bottom line.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven't forgiven him. I don't know if I ever will.

MILLER: As a Christian, I can't harbor that guilt to not forgive him. But, it's very hard to.

MACCALLUM: I want to thank all of you so much for sharing your story and for hopefully making it easier for other families to come forward. It's so wonderful to see all of you together and pulling together. And I wish you all the best.


MACCALLUM: What a wonderful family. And I thank them so much for opening to us and for coming here with us and being on "The Story." They are asking victims of priest abuse to reach out like they did. Use this hot line number they say, 1-888-538-8541.

Their form diocese provided us with this statement. It reads in part. "On behalf of the diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop Gainer sends his deepest apologies and prayers to the Fortney family and all survivors of child sexual abuse. Clearly this case was not handled properly. And those in positions of power failed to protect children from Giella, a monster who preyed on innocent children."

The diocese has removed the names of the accused abusers and former bishops from all buildings and places of honor.

We'll be right back.


MACCALLUM: So moments ago, President Trump tweeted about the federal response to hurricane Florence, now a category four, expected to make landfall in the Carolinas later this week. The president saying, quote, "Just had calls with the South Carolina Governor, Henry McMaster, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam regarding the incoming storm. Federal government stands by ready to assist 24/7."

So that is our story. We'll be watching that one. That's our Monday night. Back here tomorrow at 7. "Tucker Carlson" is coming up next. Have a good night. Have a good night, everybody.

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