This is a rush transcript from "The Story," June 1, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Hey there Bret, thank you so much. Well, it is back on as the president does diplomacy in the West Wing at a remarkable eight-day 180. In just over a week we have gone from this letter from the President, "sadly based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it as inappropriate at the time to have this long-planned meeting." Which led to this mocking from Nancy Pelosi and others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIFORNIA, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: When he got this letter from the President saying OK, never mind, he must be having a giggle fit right there now in North Korea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So who's giggling now? Stunning development this afternoon on the lawn at the White House after the president walked to the North Korean Vice Chairman back to his car. You don't see that every day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're going to be June 12th. We'll be in Singapore. I never said it goes in one meeting. I think it's going to be a process but the relationships are building. I look forward to the day when I can take the sanctions off of North Korea. I didn't want to use the term maximum pressure anymore because I don't want to use that term because we're getting along. You see the relationship. We did discuss that, the ending of the Korean War. Can you believe that we're talking about the ending of the Korean War.? A letter was given to me by Kim Jong-un and that letter was very nice letter. Oh, would you like to see what was in that letter? I haven't opened it. I didn't open it in front of the Director. I said, would you want me to open it? He said you can read it later. I may be in for a big surprise folks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: OK. Let's get reaction from Guy Benson, Townhall.com Political Editor, and Fox News Contributor, Howie Kurtz is here tonight, Fox News Media Analyst and Zac Petkanas, former Senior Democratic National Committee Adviser and former Senior Campaign Aide to Hillary Clinton. There was a lot in that sound bite that we just put together from today, the potential end of the Korean War, the potential for denuclearization, a thaw between these two countries, a lot happened Guy, in that meeting this afternoon.
GUY BENSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It did and it seems like that cancellation that you referenced where it was off for a couple days was maybe a good healthy reality check for everyone involved including at the White House because I think they were some triumphalism and a bit too much excitement and optimism flying around and then there was a reminder that this is actually a very difficult process with a really terrible regime with a horrible history. And the tone that we've seen from the president and the White House ever since has been more measured in my view, more realistic and it seems like some of the actual diplomatic groundwork is starting to happen for this June the 12th meeting. So that may have been a pivot point in this process and one that turns out to be good.
MACCALLUM: We will see as the president likes to say. Zac, lot of tittering and snickering, that Nancy Pelosi sound bite was just one of the examples so what are folks on the Democratic side is saying about it now.
ZAC PETKANAS, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Look, I mean, I think this is great. I think that diplomacy is far superior to war. But I think that they -- everyone should be sounding the note of caution that was expressed by the Republican leader today, you know. Donald Trump seems very eager to get a deal and so we want to make sure that in his eagerness he is not accepting something that does not meet standard that he himself and his administration have laid out which is verifiable, complete irreversible denuclearization along with a verification regime that is stronger than the Iran deal and that goes long into the future. If he comes back from this June 12th summit and does not have an agreement like that if he just comes back with more excuses or a symbolic end to the Korean or --
MACCALLUM: What you said today though, Zack, to be fair, that he expects there will be several meetings. Now, we remember Reagan and Gorbachev in Glasnost, you know, it took several meetings.
PETKANAS: No, he's already making excuses. He's already making excuses and I think that's something we need to --
MACCALLUM: Do you think that's fair? Do you think that's fair, Zac?
PETKANAS: No, absolutely -- look, we're talking about somebody who has said that he is the great deal maker.
MACCALLUM: So do you hope -- Zac, hold on. Do hope that he comes home with a deal that promises the things that you just told.
PETKANAS: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. And I think that he --
MACCALLUM: So why is it so difficult for both sides to be positive and sort of cheering this process on in the hopes that it's a very good thing for the people of North Korea and South Korea and Japan rather than knocking it down at every chance you got.
PETKANAS: No, no, we are we are thrilled about it but people are saying that the meeting itself is in some sort of accomplishment when the regime has been asking for a meeting at this level --
MACCALLUM: I don't know what you're talking about. The president just said --
PETKANAS: The meeting at this level has been asked for by the regime for years. Accepting this meeting is not a center of achievement, it's a concession to the Kim regime.
BENSON: Yes, but look there's also a difference between what you just said which is excuse making and expectations management. I think this is more the latter and that's appropriate.
MACCALLUM: Yes, Howie?
HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS MEDIA ANALYST: Yes, we can't criticize the President for making excuses for a meeting that hasn't even begun. And by the way, Donald Trump is a master showman so you had cameras trained on the White House for hours today, the letter being delivered, what was in the letter. And when he did cancel the meeting, there was all this criticism about, oh, he's just throwing a temper tantrum, this was impulsive. What he did was he got Kim back to the negotiating table. And even in that breakup letter, he did say you know, call me right --
MACCALLUM: In less than 24 hours, we should point out. I mean, in less than 24 hours, they were saying, actually, we would like to come talk, we do want to have a meeting.
KURTZ: Yes, and all the criticism about the President wanted this summit so badly that he was going to make sweeping concessions, actually what we learned through these negotiating tactics and even the cancellation is that Kim really needs the meeting more. He's the one who seemed to come back forcefully.
PETKANAS: I look forward to the deal.
MACCALLUM: Yes. It is it's going to be fascinating to watch this play out. I also -- the president was enjoying the back-and-forth today with the press as he often does and as he was walking away, he got asked about NAFTA. And here's what he said about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: All of these countries including the European Union, they charge five times the tariff. We don't charge tariffs essentially, they charge five times what we charge, the tariffs. And I believe in the word reciprocal. You're going to charge five times, we're going to charge five times. That hasn't been done. No other president ever brought it up and it's going done now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So this is fascinating and it got a lot of response from our partners. This from Emmanuel Macron who we just saw that you know great buddy meeting at the White House with, his response was a little bit frosty and in fact, he said economic nationalism leads to war. That is exactly what happened in the 1930s. And then this from our northern neighbor Justin Trudeau. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER, CANADA: The idea that you know, our soldiers who had fought and died together on the beaches in World War II and the mountains of Afghanistan and had stood shoulder-to-shoulder in some of the most difficult places in the world that are always there for each other, somehow this is insulting to them. The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Guy, what do you think?
BENSON: Yes, because the excuse of the Trump administration is making is using this national security exception to justify the tariffs that they're slapping on the Canadians. Look, this is a terrible, terrible idea. Trade wars are bad for everyone involved. They are lose-lose propositions as I've said on this show before because it happens to be true. I hope people go home and go on YouTube and watch Milton Friedman on this because he's really smart. The thing that's also to me so frustrating about this, Martha, is we had such an amazing jobs report today. The economy is booming under Trump policies --
MACCALLUM: But guy, the market didn't even blink, you know.
BENSON: The market is different than the broader economy. And when you cost American jobs through retaliation because we're going to see retaliation, our allies have promised it, even if you want to grant that let's say China is the currency manipulator and bad trade partner, we're in the process of negotiating with the Chinese, why would you target our allies in the E.U. and Canada and Mexico --
MACCALLUM: Well, I mean, President Trump would say because these countries you know charge five times to us, what they -- what we charged to bring their goods into our country. And I think, you know, let me just -- I think when you look at this Zac, and let me get your thought on this, what he's trying to do is push the ball a little bit -- you know, just a little bit down, down the lane to -- if he gets a little bit back, a little bit better deal, I think that's probably a starting point that he might be interested in.
PETKANAS: Look, they started this segment talking about this may start a war. I think the war that Donald Trump needs to worry about is the war within his own party. We have Republicans that are screaming about this like Paul Ryan, Kevin Brady, Senator Alexander, Senator Toomey, Senator Ben Sasse, these are all that have come out and said this is a terrible idea. And the reason is that these policies are going to hurt Trump voters. We're talking about auto jobs, farm jobs, textile jobs, these are the people that are going to get hurt by the policies that Donald Trump is pushing through.
MACCALLUM: So Howie, what do you think, wise move or a big mistake for President Trump?
KURTZ: What the Washington establishment fails to understand about this unconventional president is that when he makes these very aggressive moves even against our allies, it is part of his negotiating style, it's like an opening bid. He did this in real estate. Granted it's much harder to do it on the world stage. In the end, I predict he will back off to some degree, he'll declare victory. There won't be a trade war, but meanwhile, as you say he's moving the ball because if you take a very rough position even with your friends, that gives you room to ultimately make a deal.
MACCALLUM: And then Larry Kudlow saying it's not a trade war, it's a trade discussion, it's an argument among family members, so we'll see. Thanks to you guys, great conversation. Good to see all of you tonight. Thanks for being here. So still ahead two days before the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are set to graduate. We talked to two seniors about how they plan to honor their friends.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLEY OGOZALY, SENIOR, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: I will be putting on my cap like a picture of her to make sure that she is walking that stage with him because this is her big day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Plus James Comey gets grilled by prosecutors over his former deputy at the FBI who could soon face criminal charges for lying to federal agents. The Washington Examiner's Byron you're next on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When was the last time you talked to Andrew McCabe?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, FBI: Probably a month ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think of what happened to him?
COMEY: I'm conflicted. I think he is a great person and public servant. I feel pain for him and his family. At the same time though, I think the Inspector General's report and that process shows people -- I hope it shows people this is what an organization committed to the truth and accountability looks like.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Tonight, James Comey back on the hot seat because federal prosecutors are now interviewing the former FBI Director today as part of the investigation into his former Deputy Andrew McCabe. They appear to be considering criminal charges against McCabe for misleading federal agents when he answered questions to them about whether or not he had leaked sensitive information three or four times to the media. Here now Byron York, Chief Political Correspondent for the Washington Examiner and a Fox News Contributor. Byron, good evening. Good to see you tonight. Thanks for being with us. The significance of the questions that they are likely asking James Comey about this?
BYRON YORK, FOX NEW CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's kind of a he-said, he- said situation here. Basically, what it appears to be is Andrew McCabe is saying to Comey you knew I was going to leak. I told you, you said it was OK. And Comey is saying no, I didn't. Now, the one thing we don't really know is what kind of evidence might support this one way or the other. We're waiting for this Inspector General report and waiting and waiting, though it might have been released yesterday or today. It's not. Now, I think it might be next week.
MACCALLUM: Now, the story is that they're redacting in the committee, in the House committee, right, and that -- so that looks like potentially next week.
YORK: Well, what had happened I mean, after this is released, the Inspector General Michael Horowitz is going to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee had scheduled a hearing for next Tuesday, June 5th because they thought it was going to come out. And now they've had to reschedule that for June 11th because they think it will come out then. But it is clearly being held up by redactions, by privacy concerns and by frankly, I think by feet being dragged at various places in the bureaucracy.
MACCALLUM: You know, I guess when they're questioning James Comey about whether or not Andrew McCabe felt that he had to be OK from higher-ups to get some of this information out to the press, I would imagine that this sound bite from James Comey's testimony himself is going to come up. Let's play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. I didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. Because I was worried the media was camping at the end of my driveway at that point and I was actually going out of town with my wife to hide and I worried it would be like feeding seagulls at the beach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YORK: It's pretty hard to condemn leaks when you've done that as a matter of fact. That was -- that was Comey saying that at least one or more of these so-called Comey memos, those seven memos that he wrote about his interactions with President Trump, that he gave some of them to a friend, a Columbia University Law Professor named Daniel Richman for the express purpose of Richman leaking that to the New York Times.
MACCALLUM: All right, Kimberly Strassel wrote a piece today, and you know all of this gets -- it gets very tangled, all these stories right? But the point of this is that the FBI -- the investigators have said that George Papadopoulos' discussion in Australia was one of the reasons that they started the investigation, right? And they said it wasn't just the dossier, it was also this you know, conversation that George Papadopoulos had. So that's why she's breaking this down. Let's put this up on screen. She writes for months we've been told that the FBI acted because it was alarmed that Mr. Papadopoulos knew about the hacked Democratic e-mails in May before they became public in June which everyone remembers. But according to the tipster himself that her reporting revealed, Mr. Papadopoulos when he spoke about this never said anything about e-mails. He talked about well, they might have some dirt on Hillary Clinton, but he was not talking specifically about e-mails or thousands of e-mails that had been found. That's a pretty big difference, is it?
YORK: Yes. This is really fascinating. The scenario was that a man named a Downer who was the top Australian diplomat in London had reached out to George Papadopoulos as Papadopoulos a low-ranking sort of volunteer member of the Trump foreign policy advisory team reaches out. They meet and you know the story is Papadopoulos is drunk and he tells Downer about the Russians have all these e-mails from Hillary Clinton, they might drop them in the campaign.
What has happened is Downer has returned to Australia and gave a long interview to the Australian, the publication down there and basically said, well, nobody was drunk. There was one drink consumed, that wasn't a drunk thing and he never talked, he Papadopoulos didn't talk about e-mails. So this has really raised a bunch of questions about the story of how this investigation has started. And by way -- by the way, no person an official position has come out and just told this story. This was leaked to The Washington Post and The New York Times earlier and now we're getting new information about what those leaks were about.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean if they lose the Papadopoulos part of the story, that's problematic. I mean, that you know, the underpinning kind of starts to fall out because then you're left with the dossier and potentially you know, some concerns that they had about Carter Page, right?
YORK: Yes. The Papadopoulos story basically was leaked as a way to knock down the dossier story because there were a lot of people writing, wow, did the FBI start this investigation because of the dossier which hasn't been confirmed, and then the leak was no, no, no, they did not. It was because of Papadopoulos.
MACCALLUM: I mean, you've done such brilliant reporting on all of this Byron and Kim Strassel has to. Thanks for all your hard work. Good to see you tonight.
YORK: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: All right, so coming up, the State Department told David Bossie don't worry, the Freedom of Information request that you put in it's going to be ready in 45 to 65 years, seriously? Plus, this evening this. Sunday, Parkland seniors will graduate from Stoneman Douglas High School. Meadow Pollack should be with them. Her dad joins me after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLEY OGOZALY, SENIOR, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: This is where Meadows place was last. Like where I saw her last. So being here feels like she's still kind of here with me. So when I'm leaving evening I'm going to feel like there's nowhere I can go back to where we were together that last time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: The failures of the government at every level continue to come to light when it comes to the killings at Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida. Paramedics revealing that they tried to get into building six -- to the building six times rather but they were held back by the Broward Sheriff's Office during the crucial minutes when students lives may have been saved. This comes days before the seniors there will receive their diplomas and they all have stories to tell. We went down to Stoneman Douglas and talked to two young women who lost their best friend Meadow Pollock.
NIKKI MICIOTTA, SENIOR, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: February 14th, I actually was on the opposite side of school. I was in my law class and we were actually studying a case like this and all this stuff. So the fire alarm went off and we actually evacuated school.
OGOZALY: I was in math class and then I ran outside the building and they told us to keep on going straight out of to go towards like the street.
MICIOTTA: I have texted my mom. I look back, I did and it's mom I think something's wrong, fire alarm and it just gets worse and worse and worse and just -- it was so unreal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Forensic scene outside of a Florida High School right now. A major police responds outside Stoneman Douglas High in the town of Parkland.
MICIOTTA: It's like a bad dream you want to wake up from.
OGOZALY: Then I heard like very loud gunshots but I didn't think -- I thought it was a drill. Like no one ever thought that this would ever happen to Douglas.
MICIOTTA: I had to go and talk to the FBI for reason I walked out with Nikolas Cruz. I was actually on the phone with my mom trying to find Meadow and he was right behind me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stoneman Douglas High School has been under lockdown after reports of an -- of an active shooter situation.
OGOZALY: I actually wasn't getting Meadow to answer my calls. I was freaking out. She wasn't answering but I knew Meadow. She's one of the strongest people I know, that nothing would ever happen to her. Like no way ever would it be heard.
MICIOTTA: I tracked her phone (INAUDIBLE) Douglas. I just expected the worst. I called every single person I knew, the only person I didn't heard from was Meadow. She always will be the strongest person I know so I knew that there was no way she would have gone without a fight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inside a Florida high school as an expelled former student unleashed a killing spree. At least 17 people are dead.
OGOZALY: I don't even know how to move forward from it. I'm just thinking that Meadow would be the one to say, Carley, keep going, keep going and don't give up.
MICIOTTA: Seeing all the people even if it was people I didn't like or people I like in the same situation as me, having to do that and sit there and all of that, like just really -- I looked at them and we hugged. There was no hate anymore. There was nothing -- we cried together we sat there together and it just really showed me like wow, like we're finally coming together. Like it's so sad it had to be over this but it's really helped us out all of us a lot getting through it because we have each other. So now we're here for each other like no tomorrow.
OGOZALY: Graduation, I think is going to be the hardest. Prom was hard but graduation was Meadows thing. It was walking that stage and so now I will be putting on my cap like a picture of her to make sure that she is walking that stage with me because this is her big day. So it's both our big day. She will still be there with us.
MICIOTTA: I'm doing my cap for Meadow with a picture of her and I'm -- the quote is going to be when I look up I see him. We actually have a tattoo together that me and Carley got together. We s swore we'd never get a tattoo but it is on our left ankle so she can walk that stage with us.
OGOZALY: Nothing will ever be normal in these high schools but everyone's got to keep on going and the sports, like everyone being together as a team is completely -- it's needed. Everyone needs to be together. If we don't have each other, then we're never get through it and we'll never going to fix it.
MICIOTTA: I'm really happy with how the school has come together, we've been there for each other when we need each other the most.
OGOZALY: There's no stopping. Life keeps going on. Live it for her.
MACCALLUM: I'm joined now by Meadow Pollock's dad Andrew Pollack. I can't-- I'm so emotional watching your daughter's friends. I can only imagine what it's like for you Andrew.
ANDREW POLLACK, FATHER OF MEADOW POLLACK: I can't tell you how angry and upset I am today. I'm having a rough day with this graduation that's going to go on tomorrow. I wasn't prepared to hear all that stuff about my daughter.
But it's just I'm angry with all this incompetence that my daughter's not getting her diploma tomorrow. And it's my son that has to get it on that stage. So it's tough.
MACCALLUM: I can imagine. You know, we all just give you so much credit for how strong you've been. And obviously it's going to be a very hard day. You listened to her friends, who I'm sure you're all close to--
POLLACK: They're great kids.
MACCALLUM: -- and they are great kids. They are really great kids. And everybody is proud of them. But your daughter should be on that stage.
MACCALLUM: And the story that I mentioned on the way in here, about the paramedics, you know, I talked to Governor Rick Scott yesterday, or the day before, about what's being done in Florida to make sure this never happens again.
And there is legislation that you worked very hard to pass, but, you know, you have to ask yourself, what happened at the Broward Sheriff's Office when they're not letting the paramedics in, and now we know that that guy was out of the building some time before that, right?
POLLACK: Yes. Well, they couldn't let them in because they thought that -- you know, the one deputy that worked at the school didn't go in. So he hid behind the wall, and they thought that there still was an active shooter in there because he was still hiding behind the wall, the deputy that was at the building at the time.
So, you know, the paramedics, they had their work cut out for them that day because the sheriff at the school didn't do his job. And a lot of other people didn't do their jobs either, Martha. They have monitors at that school.
An article came out today about a monitor that works at that school that didn't do his job either. He saw a gentleman at 18.19.58 walk off out of a car, on to the school grounds, with a rifle bag, and didn't call a code red or call the police. He didn't call the police after he heard gunshots.
So, just another level of incompetence at that school. And that gentleman still works at the school, and has his job.
MACCALLUM: You're kidding?
POLLACK: So it was upsetting seeing we're seeing that article. Yes. He's still at the school. No accountability for not calling the police. Just getting on a radio after hearing gunshots.
POLLACK: If you read the article that came out today, it is unreal, and it's upsetting.
MACCALLUM: I know.
POLLACK: And every day there's another article coming out. There's a video game. Then there's a video on the phone. So, you know, all the families, every day they're reliving something new. This weekend it happens to be graduation.
MACCALLUM: I'm so sorry. You know, there was a moment at the White House, I know you went to that first gathering right after the shooting, and you were so strong, standing there with your sons, and talking to President Trump. Here's what happened at the White House press briefing this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing that affects mind if other student's mental health is to worry about the fact that we or our friends could get shot at school. Specifically can you tell me what the administration has done and will do to prevent these senseless tragedies?
SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that as a kid, and certainly as a parent, there is nothing that could be more terrifying for a kid to go to school and not feel safe. So, I'm sorry that you feel that way. This administration takes it seriously. And the school safety commission that the president convened is meeting this week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: You can hear her get emotional when she responded to that little child. And I'm just curious what you think about how the White House is doing on what, you know, you were promised so far?
POLLACK: Well, I can tell you this, the president did listen, and he put a commission together. But talk is cheap right now in this country. I'm tired of hearing talk. I'm tired of roundtables. We need metal detectors and armed guards at the school.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that any kid could walk into a school any day of the week with a weapon, a knife, a hatchet, a gun how, so are our kids safe without metal detectors and single entry points?
POLLACK: So that's what we need, Martha. And I laid it out on my plan, Americansforclass.org.
MACCALLUM: Americansforclass.org. We urge everybody to go there. And we want to continue to be helpful in any way we can. Andrew, thank you. We'll be thinking you about this weekend.
POLLACK: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Everybody at home, we'll be right back.
MACCALLUM: The State Department bureaucracy has been notoriously slow in fulfilling Freedom of Information Act requests, also known as FOIA request. It's a way for citizens to know more about what the government is doing and it's their right to know as they pay for all the people who produce all that stuff.
The current backlog at state, get ready for this, is 11,000 requests. And the average response time for those complex requests was just 650 days in 2017, which would put you deep into another year.
So, when David Bossie, president of Citizens United, filed a FOIA request regarding the Obama State Department potential relationship with Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS here's what he got in return. Quote from his editorial today. "State Department says it will take 45 to 65 years to get me the info on its role in the 2016 election. So what is the rush?"
Here now is Tammy Bruce, president of the Independent Women's Voice and Fox News contributor, Philippe Reines who is former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. Philippe, let me start with you. Forty-five to sixty-five years. In other words, don't call us. We'll call you.
PHILIPPE REINES, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO HILLARY CLINTON: You got to give them point for honesty. I mean, if they were trying to be deceptive they would be a little less stupid. You know, I worked in the State Department for four years, and I can tell you that there's no one, or maybe second to David Bossie, there's no one more appalled by that by people who work at state for a couple of reasons.
One is, it takes a lot of manpower away from other things. I think that's what Rex Tillerson found last year. And you know, it's been 15 months under the Republican secretary of state. They're realizing that this is a bureaucratic issue, not a political issue.
MACCALLUM: A bureaucratic issue?
REINES: Well, I mean--
MACCALLUM: That it's going to take 45 to 65 years?
REINES: But what you said--
MACCALLUM: I would say that that's bureaucratic paralysis.
REINES: Well, that defines a government. I mean, I think Tammy can speak to that. That's your government unfortunately. But it's, you know, it's possible that our federal government is large and slow and inept, but not necessarily evil.
You know, the problem is also the reason that David had to take his stuff to court is because if you send something now, if you send in a FOIA request, you're number 11,001. When he goes to the court, it's to move him to the front of the line. And some of these FOIA requests are crazy. And to the State Department's credit you can go online and see every single one of them.
MACCALLUM: I hear you, but what's crazy is that, you know, an American citizen basically has to work, it has to be to go to court. If you want your FOIA request to get heard from the bureaucratic institutions that you pay for, you pay all of those salaries, you pay for the building, you pay for the lights, but you're going to have to also pay for a lawyer if you want to get this information out of the institution that is supposed to serve you, Tammy.
TAMMY BRUCE, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS: Yes. And look, it's one thing if it really was a backlog. I know it's a lot of materials it's a lot of requests, but we recall back in 2016 when Hillary sent in all of those printed out e-mails and the argument was from the State Department, well, you know, look, we've got to look through all of these, it's going to take years before we're going to be able to get them to you.
Yes. Then they went to court, and a judge ordered them to do it immediately, and to release them in batches. And strangely somehow they were able to move it more quickly with the manpower that they had. And it was clearly a priority.
REINES: That's not true.
BRUCE: They weren't putting it at the back of the line. It was a serious request. And so when a court does intervene, suddenly there's some magical framework.
This is about I think a government. I think we can all agree that isn't interested in being transparent, no matter who the president is. And so this is the argument about what the swamp is, what the priorities are.
And I remember when Barack Obama ran in 2008, a big issue was transparency and about being responsive to the citizens. Americans care about that across the board, and this is -- you're right, it's 45 to 65 years it's like poking you in the eye with a finger. They mean to mock us with these requests.
MACCALLUM: I just want to point out what he was asking for, because I think it's relevant to the story. They're asking for I think three to four months of Victoria Nuland, she was a high level State Department official in the Obama administration, they're asking for four -- three or four months of her e-mails.
It shouldn't be that hard to find that. They want to know if she had any time reached out to Christopher Steele, was there any sort of business relationship between the Obama administration and the folks that were doing this intel research, oppo research on Hillary Clinton's campaign. It shouldn't be that hard to find a few months' of e-mails from not that long ago.
REINES: Yes. But in David's op-ed he writes himself that that submitted only six months ago into the Rex Tillerson's State Department. I don't have any reach into the State Department. There's nothing holding this up except for it's just taking a long time.
David Bossie can't file something on October 1st and it suddenly go to number one in line. So, again, when they go to court, they go to skip the line. I'm fine with that, because I've seen the line and the line is a lot of people saying--
BRUCE: But he's not caring about there being a delay. It's about 45 to 65 years. That was the problem. It's not like a year--
REINES: They won't--
BRUCE: -- or 10 months. It's a half a century.
REINES: I'm not defending that.
BRUCE: It's a -- we do agree it's an insult, it's a deliberate insult to tell you to go take a hike?
REINES: It is not a deliberate insult.
MACCALLUM: If someone told you, you know what, we're going to give you, come to DMV, we're going to have your license ready in 45 to 65 years. I mean, wouldn't you kind of take it personally?
REINES: But you know what? But you know what? The DMV would tell you that, because the DMV would tell you because they don't care, because they have their job whether you get it or not.
BRUCE: But even they don't.
MACCALLUM: That's how ridiculous this whole process is. You drive up and down the street--
REINES: Something can be ridiculous and honest at the same time.
MACCALLUM: But it's bad. It's inexcusably bad and that's the problem.
REINES: I agree.
MACCALLUM: No company in America would tell you that it would tell you that it would take 650 days to get something done.
REINES: But can I give you an example?
MACCALLUM: Very quick.
REINES: My e-mail was FOIA'd by Gawker in 2012. It took three years to produce it 80,000, you know why? Because someone has to read every single page. If I e-mail Tammy and said, do you want to get lunch, she said, sure, call me on my cell, someone has to sit there and black that out.
It's a ridiculous process and it--
BRUCE: Depends if you got the staff to do it, like the government.
MACCALLUM: Yes. It's pretty amazing given all the technology that we have in our fingertips that you have to -- that there is somebody and they can't do a search and find all of this stuff that knocks like 1943.
REINES: But you want them to drop everything. You want them to drop a Tom Fitton Judicial Watch request from two months earlier than that? I mean, this is all whack-a-mole.
MACCALLUM: Whack-a-mole. Thanks to you, guys. Good to see you.
REINES: Have a good weekend.
MACCALLUM: Thanks to you guys. So Coming up next, a controversial government practice that cost one man nearly $60,000. Most of his lifesavings. This is unreal. His son is here to explain why the federal government took his cash and says it's now legally theirs, and won't give it back. You know what, it happens a lot.
MACCALLUM: An American citizen robbed blind by our own federal government. Sixty-four-year-old Rustem Kazazi had more than $58,000, his entire lifesavings, confiscated by U.S. customs at the Cleveland airport. It was the result of a controversial practice called civil asset forfeiture. He still doesn't have the money back, despite never being charged with any crime in any of this.
Trace Gallagher is live in our west coast newsroom tonight to explain. Hi, Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: Hi, Martha. Here's our prevalence civil asset forfeiture in the U.S. Last year, federal authorities seized more than $2 billion in assets, that's about the same amount that U.S. residents lose in residential burglaries each year.
But when the government takes your money, and property, you don't have to be convicted of a crime, or even charged with a crime, you simply have to be suspected of wrongdoing.
For example, in this case of Rustem Kazazi, U.S. Customs and Border Protection believes he was involved in either smuggling, drug trafficking, or money laundering, though CPB has offered no evidence to support those allegations.
The agency has released a statement saying that when Mr. Kazazi made his way through airport security in Cleveland, quoting, "TSA agents discovered artfully concealed U.S. currency. Mr. Kazazi provided inconsistent statements regarding the currency, had no verifiable source of income, and possessed evidence of structuring activity."
That's where you make deposits and withdrawals of less than $10,000 to avoid the banks from notifying the Department of Treasury. But the family says there was no artful deception. The money was wrapped in paper and placed in his carry-on, and that any inconsistent statements were because of his poor English.
Kazazi is a retired police officer from Albania. He and his family came to the U.S. in 2005 through the visa lottery program and became U.S. citizens in 2010. Last fall, Kazazi planned a trip back to his home country to see family and potentially to buy a vacation home.
He claims he took the $58,000 in cash because he does not trust the Albanian banking system. When he got to the airport in Cleveland, Kazazi says not only was his money confiscated, he was subjected to a humiliating strip search, but under asset forfeiture laws it's incumbent upon Mr. Kazazi to prove that he's not up to something nefarious, which is why he has now filed a lawsuit to get back his 58 grand. Martha?
MACCALLUM: Trace, thank you very much. So here now with more Rustem's son, Erald Kazazi. Erald, thank you very much for being with us tonight. First of all, what was your dad doing with his entire lifesavings in his carryon luggage?
ERALD KAZAZI, RUSTEM KAZAZI'S SON: He was planning on taking care of some problems with our former home in Albania those in dire need of repairs, and him and my mother had always dreamed of purchasing a vacation home on the coast there so then can vacation there when they retire.
MACCALLUM: So he's bringing all his money over, he's got it wrapped in paper in the bag. They say that it was concealed in an odd way, that they suspected that he might be guilty of some kind of smuggling or drug trafficking or money laundering. Has he ever been involved with any crimes of those activities ever?
KAZAZI: Absolutely not. Those accusations are completely baseless. The fact that they even had to list four of them without being clear on which one they're trying to state kind of makes this all even more confusing. There's no evidence, because none of that ever happened.
MACCALLUM: So what happened when he was talking to them? Because they say that he gave inconsistent statements, and that was what sort of opened the door for them to confiscate his money under what's known as civil asset forfeiture, and as you heard Trace Gallagher say they've taken $2 billion that way recently.
KAZAZI: I think what happened with them making the claims for inconsistent statements was maybe them not being able to understand his poor English. If they had bothered to contact a translator, or even a family member, they could have tried reaching out to me or my mother, so we could translate for him, they wouldn't have had any of those issues.
MACCALLUM: Did he request a translator?
KAZAZI: Yes. He did several times.
MACCALLUM: Unbelievable that he was denied. What is your family doing now?
What's your legal recourse?
KAZAZI: Right now we filed a motion for a return of property. And since CBP has missed their deadlines for fourth action we're expecting the money back, but we haven't heard anything from them. They took the money in October 24, 2017, and it's been a painful process to deal with since then.
MACCALLUM: Yes. How frustrating has it been -- excuse me -- how frustrating has it been trying to deal with the government, trying to tell them your story, and trying to make a case?
KAZAZI: We tried reaching out to them in the beginning, and the only options they gave us were that you would receive a letter that would list four options, whether you choose to abandon the money, make an offer in compromise, where you let them keep part of it, you could go through and administer a petition, which is the process that CPB does to negotiate with them, or you can request court action.
MACCALLUM: So what's the impact on your family of the loss of this money?
KAZAZI: It's devastating. He had plans to for the home to make repairs in Albania, he had utilities and bills to pay over there. He wanted to look at a few homes on the Adriatic Coast and decide which one to get for retirement and he wasn't able to do any of that.
What makes this even worse that we have relatives that would have needed help because they were having health issues and he wasn't even able to help any of them, instead he had to ask relatives there to help him be able to afford food and healthcare while he was in Albania for six months without any of his lifesavings.
MACCALLUM: When do you expect to hear the next step on this?
KAZAZI: I'm hoping very soon. CBP has to return the money at this point. There's -- we've done nothing wrong and they can't -- yes.
MACCALLUM: Quite a story. Thank you very much for telling it to us. And we'll keep an eye to it. Let us know. Keep us updated, Erald, if you could. We'd appreciate it. Thank you very much for being here tonight.
KAZAZI: Yes. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: You bet. All right. A quick break. Quote of the night, coming up next.
MACCALLUM: Tonight's quote of the night from Helen Keller, who died on this day in 1968.
Despite becoming blind and deaf as a young child, she went on to become an author, an activist, and an educator, once writing, quote, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
Wasn't it quite an adventure for Helen Keller? We'll see you back here Monday night at seven. Have a great weekend, everybody. Tucker Carlson is up next.
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