Published June 01, 2018
This is a rush transcript from "The Story," May 31, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST: Thank you very much, Bret. Breaking tonight, Rod Blagojevich, the impeached and former governor of Illinois, may soon get to go home to his wife and two daughters after having serve for half -- only half of his sentence. He was convicted for corruption related to what the jury said was the selling of the U.S. Senate seat of, then president-elect Obama.
ROD BLAGOJEVICH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS (via telephone): I got this thing, and it is -- golden. And I'm just not giving it up for -- nothing.
MACCALLUM: His wife, Patti Blagojevich breaking her silence exclusively tonight, bringing us her husband's first reaction to this news from a federal prison where he has been for seven years of a 14-year sentence.
And Blagojevich was not the only person that the president was considering cutting lose today. Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza got a pardon moving afternoon today. Shortly after, the president told reporters that there could be more coming, perhaps, Martha Stewart, who served five months for lying to the FBI.
So what do all of these convicted high-profile criminals have in common? They were all prosecuted by some combination of this team. Mueller, Comey, or their close friend Patrick Fitzgerald. And the charges that they went to jail for are familiar to the cases that we are following now. Stewart, like General Michael Flynn, was convicted of lying to the federation, but not for the underlying crime.
And the campaign finance issues that were raised and are raised in the Michael Cohen situation, sound a quite a bit like what Dinesh D'Souza went through, and what sent him to jail, so is the president trying to send a message with any of these moves? We start with a look back at the famous case of the phoned tapped governor whose calls were heard across the country. Jonathan Hunt covered it then, and with us tonight now. Good evening, Jonathan.
JONATHAN HUNT, FOX NEWS CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. Rod Blagojevich began serving his 14 years sentence in 2012. He was arrested in December 2008, while still serving as governor of Illinois, and was impeached and removed from office in 2009.
Then, convicted in 2011 on a total of 17 counts of corruption. Including trying to sell President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat. A central piece of evidence was this, secretly recorded clip of a Blagojevich phone call.
BLAGOJEVICH (via telephone): I got this thing, and it's golden. And I'm just not giving it up for nothing.
HUNT: President Trump, referenced that phone call today discussing a potential commutation. Saying aboard Air Force One, "It was a foolish statement. There was a lot of bravado, plenty of other politicians have said a lot worse."
President Trump also said he doesn't know Blagojevich, other than through his appearance on the Celebrity Apprentice in 2010 as he awaited trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So governor, you have a hell of a lot of guts, I have to tell you that. I have friends where things have happened to him, they crawl into a corner they die, you're out there punching. So I respect that.
BLAGOJEVICH: I appreciate that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: President Trump's comments today that Blagojevich was in jail for simply saying things that many other politicians say, seemed to echo Blagojevich, his own argument layout this week in an opinion piece he wrote for a corporate cousin, The Wall Street Journal. It was headlined, "I'm in prison for practicing politics." And Blagojevich wrote he was serving his sixth year, "For the routine practice of attempting to raise campaign funds while governor."
Now, the Supreme Court has twice turned down appeals by the former governor most recently in April. A decision, Blagojevich, described as "calamitous" for him as it was his last option to overturn the sentence through the courts. At a previous appeal hearing, Blagojevich himself admitted mistakes and a knowledge that "It was my actions and my words that led me here." And admission that he now seems to have contradicted with Monday's Wall Street Journal piece.
His lawyers, by the way, Martha, have argued that Blagojevich has been rehabilitated in prison. They say he teaches history, counsels fellow inmates, and for a time, apparently, he was the lead singer for a prison band called the Jailhouse Rockers. As ever with this man, you can't make this stuff up mother.
MACCALLUM: Jonathan, thank you very much. So, here now for an exclusive interview on 'The Story,' Patricia Blagojevich. Rob Blagojevich, his wife, Patti. Good to see you tonight.
I know that you spoke with your husband today from his prison. What did he say when he heard this news?
PATRICIA BLAGOJEVICH, WIFE OF ROD BLAGOJEVICH: Well, you know, he was -- he was and we are all so grateful that the president is thinking of us in this way. But it's been such a long road for us, and we have been so disappointed so many times before, you know, by the court twice, by our -- the president of our own party, we were disappointed by him.
So, it's hard to even hope that our deal might be ending soon, but, you know we know that President Trump is a kind man, and he's compassionate. He's always been kind to my family, he knows how important it is that my husband gets home to be a father to our daughters, that we can't help, but you know, to be hopeful.
MACCALLUM: Yes, your little girls were younger, obviously. As kids are, and they're now, seven years older, and 20, and 13, I think their ages are now?
P. BLAGOJEVICH: Well my old -- my older daughter is good to be graduating from college this month from Northwestern University.
MACCALLUM: Congratulations to her.
P. BLAGOJEVICH: And my younger was 15.
MACCALLUM: I know your husband -- he has missed a lot of that. And you know, you wonder if why the president has become interested in this case now. And you think back to your husband being hauled out of your house in handcuffs. The involvement of Mueller and Comey in this case, as well. Do you think that he's sensitive to this situation because of what he's going through?
P. BLAGOJEVICH: I see that -- I see that the same people that did this to my family, these same people that, you know, secretly taped us, and twisted the facts and perverted the law that ended up my husband in jail. You know, these same people are trying to do the same thing that they did to my husband just on a much larger scale.
You know, they were emboldened, they took doubt of governor, and now they're trying -- they've got their sights much higher.
MACCALLUM: You know, I mean, we played the recording that was so famous and heard. I'm sure you've heard it more than you then you want to hear it. People listen to that and they say, "Look, you know, he was trying to sell the Senate seat." President Obama was elected and he had a seat as governor that he could appoint to whoever he wanted, and he says, you know, I'm not going give this thing away, I want something for it.
And they say, his critics it -- that's pretty clear. And the judge seemed to agree when he passed up on the opportunity to let him go in 2016.
P. BLAGOJEVICH: Well, I'm really glad you asked me about that because you know, the interesting thing is, is that there were probably about 70 different audio tapes that we wanted to play a trial, but they were suppressed by the government. And if you heard exactly, what he wanted for it, it would be a totally different story.
I mean, all these conversations my husband had this staff about wanting to get a Rhodes Bill passed in Illinois to put more people to work or more health care for families in Illinois, all these things that he had lined up that he'd wanted for the Senate seat, nobody ever heard.
And so, it's this kind of frustrating when people hear that. You know, this whole selling of the Senate seat, those charges were thrown out by the appellate court over five years ago. That centerpiece of their case was dismissed as political log-rolling. You know, you -- I'll make your appointment if you appoint me to this that was deemed perfectly legal politics.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I listened to a lot of those tapes today and I -- and I will say that a lot of the things that you mentioned were absolutely mentioned in those tapes. You know, in terms of the punishment fitting the crime, I think that's one of the biggest issues here. Your husband got 14 years for this. You know, what about fair sentencing? Is that a claim that you tried to make with the judge the last time around in 2016, and why was there no open ear for that, do you think?
P. BLAGOJEVICH: Right. I think that you know, the -- certainly, my husband is serving more time than any other governor it's ever served. But he's also serving more time than any other politician for charges that have to do with simply fundraising. You know, you have to remember, there was no kickbacks to us no fancy cars or trips, or you know, no use in misusing of our campaign funds, no personal enrichment of any kindness, and simply campaign contributions for his campaign fund.
And so, it is stark how unjust the sentence is, given especially that -- you know, nothing ever happened. These were all actually all attempts, nothing was ever even concluded. There were no contributions made or anything like that. You know, they had stepped in and stop my husband before anything happen.
MACCALLUM: And I know that -- I mean, the judge and the jury would -- the judge basically told the jury that they had to look at that attempt as basically as a done deal. And it seemed like that was what the jury was convinced to do in the case. I hope you'll come back and talk to us, and we're going file this obviously. We'll see what the president decides to do, but very obviously, an optimistic day for you and your family, what you've been fighting for. So Patti, thank you. Good to see you tonight.
P. BLAGOJEVICH: Oh, thank you so much. You, too.
MACCALLUM: So here now with more Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Institute scholar and Fox News contributor. And Austan Goolsbee, Economics professor at the University of Chicago and President Obama's former chief economist.
Austin, let me go to you first you know Chicago well, you remember this story well. What goes through your mind when you listen to Patti Blagojevich?
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Well, you know, I think two things. First of all, well, I think we got four of our last seven governors went to prison. So, this was -- this one was other piece for us.
MACCALLUM: Welcome to the club, we have a few for New Jersey too.
GOOLSBEE: Yes. So, the only thing I will say, you know, I don't know about the sentencing guidelines, you may be right about that. There was more to the case than just what was described thereby Governor Blagojevich, his wife. At one point, he threatened to pull $8 million from the state for the children hospital, that was trying to -- they were trying to build the Children's Hospital, and he said he was caught up that money and less they gave him like a campaign (INAUDIBLE).
MACCALLUM: But you say, he say, now, it's political -- you know, public -- that's politics, but that's the way it works, you know.
GOOLSBEE: I don't know.
MACCALLUM: People say, "Look, I'll do this for you, you do that for me." I don't know that, that's what their claim is.
GOOLSBEE: It -- if the jury didn't find that, I think -- it to take a step back, I'm trying to -- I was still racking my brain to figure out, is this some strategic signal -- you know, that you described that the president is trying to send because the FBI was involved in all of these cases, or is this just the president likes pardoning famous people that he's heard of or that he knows.
Rod Blagojevich was on his reality show, and you know, when Martha Stewart is somebody he knows, I can't figure out which it is. I don't know what they -- what he's doing. Well, President Clinton's your new Marc Rich. You know, and sometimes that's the way it works, I guess.
Marc Thiessen, the president can pardon whoever he want. Do you think there's anything to this theory that he's trying to say something about what these people were convicted of and whether or not there's fairness in it?
MARC THIESSEN, RESIDENT FELLOW, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Yes, there's -- it's an interesting observation because you can draw a little bit of a -- of a line. I mean, both Blagojevich and Dinesh D'Souza were convicted of campaign finance violations which is exactly what's at play in the -- in the Stormy Daniel's pay off. And Martha Stewart, everyone thinks that she was convicted for some court of illegal trading, it was actually lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice which is what's at play in the Mueller investigation.
On the other hand, there's a lot of Trump pardons that don't fit into the - - into the matrix. I mean, he pardoned Jack Johnson, black boxer who was convicted in a racist prosecution of taking a white woman over state lines. He has no way of benefiting from that. And Sheriff Joe Arpaio, I don't think that was a great pardon but he did it because he likes Sheriff Joe and he likes his immigration policy, and he took care of him.
And in the case of Scooter Libby, some people have pointed out is like this is sending a signal about loyalty. Scooter Libby, there was new evidence that came out. The Judith Miller, who was the person who originally testified that he had told her about Valerie Plame, now says that she -- that it was -- that she was mistaken.
So, a lot of us think that President Bush should have pardoned Scooter Libby, and he did the right thing there. So, it seems like Trump's uses, and a lots of presidents used the party, are very rigorous about the pardon process. Trump treats it a little bit more like his Twitter feed, like he -- when he feels so, he wants to express himself in some way, he uses the pardon power and that's his right as president.
MACCALLUM: Off, his chuckling, and chuckling off a storm over there. Well, what are laughing about?
GOOLSBEE: I really -- I think that's right. I think Marc is right. And look, I think, Marc is right. There is a whole pardon process that goes through the Department of Justice where they make recommendations. My understanding is that Donald Trump is not listening to that, he's not even getting the names from that pardon process. That's why I say, I -- it feels to me like it's more based on celebrity and famous people that he knew, and I just that's weird.
THIESSEN: Or people he think that were done through.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, you know, he's definitely a person who sort of -- you know, operates that way to a certain extent by gut. And clearly, that's what he's doing here, but you know, he must have seen this Wall Street Journal piece where rod Blagojevich said -- you know, when an investigation comes up empty after the government has invested time, resources and manpower and they can't prove a crime, they create one.
And perhaps, that's what happened to some extent here. We'll see what happens with these individuals. Thank you guys. Great to see you tonight.
THIESSEN: Thank you, Martha.
GOOLSBEE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, coming up, it has been just two days since Roseanne lost her show over a racist tweet. Have you been following this today? Comedian, supposedly, Samantha Bee may be the next to go. Crass, crude vindictive remarks against Ivanka Trump, now. So, how does that measure up for these two situations?
Also today, big developments in the North Korea story. North Korea came to New York, you could say, and tomorrow the summit drama moves to the White House. Will a decision be made after the president receives a hand-delivered letter from the dear leader tomorrow?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
It will take bold leadership from Chairman Kim Jong Un, if we are able to seize this once in a lifetime opportunity to change the course for the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: We had all time we needed today to make the progress that was achievable during our time here in New York City.
I know everyone is following this minute by minute and hour by hour. This is going to be a process that will take days and weeks to work our way through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Busy man. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assuring the public that the meeting with a top North Korean official in New York today was successful despite the fact that we got word mid-day that it appeared to be ending about two hours earlier than they had expected. And now Kim Yong Chol goes to Washington where he will head to the White House and apparently hand-deliver a letter from the dear leader written to President Trump. So what's in there, we don't know yet but we'll get some more details on it no doubt tomorrow. So do the North Koreans have any intention of meeting the demands that have been laid out by the Secretary of State and by the president?
Mickey Bergman is Executive Director of the Richardson Center for Global Engagement. He also worked on hostage negotiations to secure Otto Warmbier's release from North Korea and he knows the country well. Mickey, good to see you. Thanks for being here tonight. I'd like to start by playing one more sound bite from Secretary of State Pompeo because I'd like to you to kind of unpack this language and tell me what you're -- what you're reading here. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: I believe they are contemplating a path for where they can make a strategic shift, one that their country has not been prepared to make before. This will obviously be their decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So that kind of sounds like there's no -- they're not agreeing to give up their nuclear weapons at this point is what I see there. Do you agree?
MICKEY BERGMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RICHARDSON CENTER FOR GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT: So I think it's -- I think it's -- to me it's clear that the North Koreans will -- it will not disarm all of their nuclear weapons. And that's a matter of mismatched expectations. But I think that what we saw today with Pompeo in the meeting and the way he's actually articulating it is very smart. I think it was one new additional step forward in the building of personal relations and those interactions. Look it looks like a rollercoaster. We've been writing this for a little while and as Secretary Pompeo said, we're going to ride it for a while longer.
But the fundamentals are really not changing much. So I'll say four quick things about it. Number one, I believe that the President was absolutely right in taking this summit. Former presidents declined similar propositions and they were wrong. Number two the President was right at deploying Secretary Pompeo, wearing his hats at the CIA director using the intelligence that was the right path to the evidence. We saw today in New York, the evidence we saw when we managed to get the three detainees back ahead of the summit.
Number three, I worry and that's to your point Martha, I worry about the mismatch in expectations between what the North Koreans are willing to put on the table and what the president has conveyed publicly to the American people, both from denuclearization what are the details and second about the military presence -- American military presence in the Peninsula.
And last, I hope, I really hope that the president and Secretary Pompeo will use this summit, these negotiations in order to bring up the issue of remains of U.S. soldiers. You know there's 5,300 -- 5,300 Americans soldiers that died in that war and are still in North Korea. Governor Richardson and myself have been working with the North Koreans on this for a while. We believe there is historic opportunity to bring them and I believe and I hope that the president and Secretary Pompeo will do that.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I completely understand. That desire and I think we all hope that that is part of the discussion. You know, I thought it was very interesting. Sergey Lavrov had a meeting, the foreign minister from Russia had a meeting with Kim Jong Un and he was praising Pyongyang. He said the city looks wonderful. There's so many more theaters now than there were last time I was here. And I thought, you know, I don't think that's something that we all picture. And it made me wonder about the desires on the parts of the North Korean and what they want -- you know do they want to sort of get into the real world for lack of a better term and is that what's really driving this? And are they willing to give up their nukes to do that?
BERGMAN: So I would say two things of this, and I'm laughing, excuse for laughing on this. When I was in Pyongyang, my last time was a year and a half ago and as you mentioned I was there to try and negotiate the release of Otto Warmbier and the remains and a lot of the negotiations. And that's true about the North Koreans. They don't happen in the official formal meetings, they happen on the side. I was negotiating over the terms of Otto Warmbier during the dolphinarium, a show which they took me to. There were thousands of North Korean kids there. They go take you to the monuments, they take you to the restaurants, and that's a key in that personal relations that happen. So I do have to admit Pyongyang surprised me. It's building up by you know, high-rises.
They are trying -- it's the elite in North Korea that benefits from that which is the military and political. Now to the point on the -- on the Russians and the fact that they -- that the prime minister -- the Russian prime minister was there and in both that and the Chinese presence and meetings is it's basically them saying hey, we are players in these too. Because they want to stake their role in the -- in the area and not just give it up to this to the Americans.
MACCALLUM: Yes, absolutely. Yes, the Russians help them build that nuclear program back in the late '60s. So Mickey Bergman, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.
BERGMAN: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Thank you. So another new leak claims that Robert Mueller now has memos that could prove that President Trump obstructed justice. Constitutional Attorney Jonathan Turley weighs in on whether or not he thinks that's the case and what it might mean. Plus, President Trump showing no mercy for Jeff Sessions, is it time to show the embattled attorney general the door and would he do that? Former Trump deputy campaign manager David Bossie is coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself. So he made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for the country but you'll figure that out.
MACCALLUM: Breaking tonight. President Trump on offense about reports that he told the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein what to say in a crucial memo that played a role in the firing of James Comey. Sources telling Fox News that President Trump asked Rosenstein to make it clear in the memo that he was not under investigation in the Russia probe.
The president had back at that today tweeting that Russia had nothing to do with the Comey firing. Fired FBI director Andrew McCabe reportedly wrote a memo about all of this as it was happening, and now that memo is in the hands of Robert Mueller. Here now Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor to react to that and some other news today. Jonathan, good to see you this evening. So what is the significance of the McCabe memo that he wrote and turned over according to this?
JONATHAN TURLEY, LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well, it's hard to say. I think ultimately it may say more about McCabe's mindset than the president's. But the president was perfectly clear. He told everyone from the FBI director to his barber that he wanted it to be made public that he was not a target or subject of the investigation. He's been very consistent about that. All the witnesses have said that.
And so, it's not too surprising that he suggested the same mantra. Now it might be an obsession to be sure but it's not a cover story at least for people looking at it objectively. If McCabe wrote the memo because he felt the president was trying to create a cover story, it really does raise this question of how McCabe viewed the president and his motivations. So the memo may say a lot about both men.
MACCALLUM: So in terms of -- here's one of the tweets that the president put out today, it -- sorry, "now that it mattered -- not that it matters but I never fire James Comey because of Russia. The corrupt mainstream media keeps loving to push that narrative but they know it's not true. Now what everybody took off on today was this sound bite that everyone remembers from NBC back in 2017.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So Jonathan Turley, I mean, you know, the question is, if that was in his mind that he wanted Rosenstein to say that he was not under investigation, we know that was, you know, stuck in his claw that he wanted Mueller, Comey, rather to say that as well. Is there anything illegal about that? Or is that obstruction in any way in of itself?
TURLEY: Well, I think two-point should be made, first of all, obviously this was self-immolation. I don't understand why the president would say that. But in fairness to him, he went on in the same interview and he said, I understand by firing Comey, I'm likely to prolong this investigation.
He also indicated that he understood the investigation had to run its course. Comey, himself, said that the president agreed with him that the investigation should run its course.
And so the rhetoric is not quite as clear as people make it out to be. But in terms of obstruction, I think that there is no credible evidence based on the Comey firing to make out a criminal charge. There were plenty of reasons for Trump to fire Comey.
The Rosenstein letter reveals what everyone already knows, and that is that Republicans and Democrats alike, former justice official felt that he should be fired. Now he had a perfectly valid reason to do so. The statement obviously has cost him a great deal, but I don't think that it makes out a case for obstruction.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, it really all depends in the end, we're all waiting for this report from Robert Mueller and how he interprets it. But according to the stories, and there is a breathless story every single day basically that pushes forward this narrative and tries to get into the mind of Robert Mueller about how he is interpreting all of this.
But the bottom line is, Jonathan, that we really don't know how he is interpreting all of this.
TURLEY: I think that that is absolutely right. I can tell you that from a criminal defense standpoint, people are fooling themselves when they say, believe that the Comey firing alone would be the basis of an obstruction case.
Moreover, the president has a good basis to argue, even his problems with Sessions did not amount to obstruction. I think he is wrong about Sessions. I think Sessions took the right step. I think that that was the ethical course to take.
But the president can say that he felt that the FBI was hostile territory. And that's when he came into office and found out that the FBI was investigating him, he wanted to have one of his own people at the top of that investigation. Now, that doesn't make for obstruction. It may be bad judgment on his part, but it falls short of the criminal code.
MACCALLUM: Jonathan, always good to see you, thank you very much.
TURLEY: Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: David Bossie, former deputy campaign manager for President Trump, president of Citizens United, and a Fox News contributor. David, you listen to all this. And as I said, you know, pretty much every day, everyone is, you know, doing their reporting, finding stories.
This is Andrew McCabe's memo that he, you know, somehow, the story got out today that he wrote about this while he was in there and submitted it. And it's in Mueller's hands. But you know, what I go back to is Rod Rosenstein, he ultimately, he wrote the memo, right?
I would assume that if he didn't believe what was in the memo or he was against what was in the memo, arguing for the firing of James Comey, that he would have quit or walked out the door?
DAVID BOSSIE, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS: I believe exactly that, that Rod Rosenstein would have never put his name on a memo that he didn't believe in 100 percent.
MACCALLUM: I hope not.
BOSSIE: He would never have done that. I don't believe for one minute that he would've done that. But leaking Andy McCabe here, this is an interesting thing, we're reading about this memo that he produced.
I don't know how these reporters got it, but we do know that the FBI, the former FBI acting director Andy McCabe has a big problem ahead of him for leaking. And so now we see another leak. And so leaking Andy is, he is going to be facing prosecution, because Horowitz, the independent--
MACCALLUM: And that's why he is fired.
BOSSIE: That's right.
MACCALLUM: Just to remind everybody, for two different instances of leaking things that he should not have leaks from the FBI. The inspector general turned that information over to Christopher Wray, and Christopher Wray said, you're gone.
BOSSIE: And he also turned it over to the United States attorney for prosecution. The FBI, look, the president, we all believe that the men and women of the FBI do an unbelievable job, an admirable job every day. But there were some rotten apples, and whether it was James Comey, and McCabe, Strzok, Page, you name it.
There's a bunch of folks in there that need to answer for their actions. And I think that McCabe in what he is doing, you have to think about his mind-set, he understands his wife got $700,000 from Terry McAuliffe and the president is pointing that out.
He is under a lot of scrutiny at that time. I think he is writing a CYA memo that now just mysteriously has leaked out to the fake news divisions of the New York Times.
MACCALLUM: All right. I want to talk to you also about this new book that Ben Rhodes has put out, because you were inside the Trump campaign. And I'm sure that when you all or, you know, everyone is in a bubble in their own campaign, you are watching it from your perspective and it's all playing out.
MACCALLUM: He was see in the White House bubble at that time and shock, shock, shock all of them that president, now President Trump could have won this election, so there is a retrospective look in this book by Ben Rhodes where he looks back, you know what could we have done differently.
You know, at one point the president, President Obama according to this Ben Rhodes piece says, you know, maybe my presidency came 20 years too early. Perhaps the American people were not ready for this. What do you think about that?
BOSSIE: I think their egos are just out of control. I think they still believe a little too much of their own hype. Ben Rhodes, you know, he was part of the problem, not part of the solution. The Obama presidency is going to go down as one of the worst presidency is next to Jimmy Carter's in American history.
This president, President Trump has virtually taken every step of the last 17 months to erase the Obama presidency from a legislative and policy standpoint, because it was so wrong. We were stagnant, our economy was stagnant, now we have a booming economy. Our unemployment rates are down, GDP is up.
You know all of the numbers. We hear them all the time. Consumer confidence is up in an incredible way. Our foreign policy is back to peace through strength not leading from behind. Barack Obama was the disaster we all said it was going to be.
MACCALLUM: All right. I'm going to switch gears with you for the last minute that we have together, because I'm curious, because you know the president very well.
Is he considering these pardons for Martha Stewart, for Rod Blagojevich, and the one put out for Dinesh D'Souza today because he wants to stick it to Mueller and Comey, and Patrick Fitzgerald who were all involved in all of these cases and the similarity is that he sees and what he is going through now?
BOSSIE: Well, you know, these are all just coming out, and some of these are just pardons that are being discussed or commutations that are being discussed.
BOSSIE: I don't know what actions the president is going to take on any of these, but he is a man who wants to right wrongs. And if you look at the Jack Johnson, right, the African-American boxer who 40 or 50 years ago was besmirched by a prosecution that was outrageous.
He is just, he righted that wrong. And that's what he is looking at whether it's Martha Stewart or any of these others. Dinesh D'Souza was set up. I mean, that is an unbelievable case in an unbelievable prosecution. It was political from the first moment, and I'm so happy for Dinesh tonight.
MACCALLUM: I'm out of time, but thanks, David. Good to see you as always.
BOSSIE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So comedian Samantha Bee lashing out at Ivanka Trump in a vicious attack. TBS and Samantha Bee have since issued apologies. But is that enough? Will she lose her job as Roseanne Barr did hers?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA BEE, HOST, TBS: Put on something tight and low cut and tell your father to (muted) it!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So at this hour, President Trump making his way back to Washington after visiting with survivors of the Santa Fe, Texas school shooting. Tough duty today in a place that is still in mourning.
Noticeably absent today was his wife Melania Trump who as we know has been recuperating at the White House, but when she's been out of the public eye it has sparked some rumors.
And this is the response that she gave this week. "I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am and what I'm doing. Rest assured I'm here at the White House with my family feeling great and working hard on behalf of children and the American people."
My next guest argues that we should be rallying behind the first lady to support her anti-bullying initiative writing this. "It would not only be a shame, but it would also be hurtful to students everywhere if partisanship thwarts the first lady's admirable effort to encourage students to reject bullying and to choose their best behavior."
Here now Elayne Bennett, founder and president of the Best Friends Foundation, a nonprofit focus on providing program dedicated to the physical and emotional well-being of adolescence, which is as we all know is at the core of so many of these issues.
Elayne, thank you so much for being here tonight. It's good to have you with us.
ELAYNE BENNETT, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, BEST FRIENDS FOUNDATION: Hi, Martha.
MACCALLUM: You know, she gets a hard time from some corners, Melania Trump, and she definitely gave out a lovely speech starting this organization that she is doing called Be Best. Why do you think it's so important that people listen to her?
BENNETT: Well, it's important because this is an issue that is affecting our children nationwide. We at the Best Friends Foundation see this issue of bullying as a serious one. And one that is leading into increased youth violence in our schools, and we think the current school shootings. Also have a basis in early on bullying. And the fact that peers are treating each other badly.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, when you look across these cases and you think about the shooter in Parkland, to, you know, as the story started to come out, apparently he had been spurned by the girl that he liked.
And you think about how all of this and I know this as a parent as well, that it's so magnified in the age of social media. Where it looks like everybody else on your phone is just happier than Harry, having a great time, they've got a perfect boyfriend, and we all know that that's not true.
MACCALLUM: You know, and that put so much pressure on these situations. Doesn't it?
BENNETT: That's right. Adolescence is a tough time, and adolescence typically get their sense of self, who they are from how they are treated at school. What they are thought of at school. How others look at them.
They can have a supportive family even, and go to school and be treated badly, or be told that they're dumb, or they are a jerk or they're a nerd, and that goes to their hearts, that goes to their psyche. And in some cases, it can create intense rage that can even lead, it can lead to destruction.
BENNETT: It can lead to violence.
MACCALLUM: I know that you run a lot of programs that you hope are getting into these schools, and that you want to see these kind of programs across the board. I think that that would be extremely helpful.
MACCALLUM: What do you say to the critics of the president and of the first lady who say that bullying and social media bullying when they look at what the president is tweeting, that they think that there is some irony in that and that that diminishes her message.
BENNETT: Well, it doesn't diminish her message, her message is her message, and she is courageous. She is taking on a tough topic. In the past, other first ladies have had initiatives which have been embraced from both sides of the aisle, and we in the education community know that this is a tough topic.
And we salute Melania Trump. For the fact that she has a courage to take it on. She is a mother, and she has been cyber bullied, her son has been cyber bullied. She knows how painful that can be, and she is trying to start a program which I think has a great mission which is to encourage children to be 'Be Best.'
We have the Best Friends program that we have been working on, we have a program called Stop the Silence, Prevent the Violence. We've seen it work. We have seen changes.
MACCALLUM: Yes, absolutely.
BENNETT: And our students are telling us that in their evaluations.
MACCALLUM: I hope that we talk more about this, Elayne, it's really important. And I thank you for being here tonight.
BENNETT: Thank you Martha.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you.
BENNETT: Thank you. Good to see you.
MACCALLUM: Speaking of all of that, coming up, Roseanne Barr now out of a job, should her counterparts in the world of comedy who also perhaps be kicked off the air for some would say going perhaps further.
Lisa Boothe and Richard Fowler up next.
MACCALLUM: Wow, what a week, two days after Roseanne's firing, comedian Samantha Bee is creating a social media frenzy for a vial comments that she made about Ivanka Trump. All right we don't have the sound bite, but you probably heard it by this point.
But today, she has apologized for this comment, but will she be reprimanded for the words that she use to describe the first daughter? How far is too far for a joke? I mean, this is a question that you can just turn anywhere on TV at night basically and ask this question.
Here now is Lisa Boothe, a Fox News contributor and Richard Fowler, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, as well as a Fox News contributor.
So I cannot say some of what she said, but for anyone who may have missed this, Samantha Bee went on her TV show which is called Full Frontal last night, and here's the gist of what she said.
She said, "You know, Ivanka, that's a beautiful photo of you and your child." Because Ivanka had put up a picture of -- a beautiful picture of her and her little boy. "Let me just say one mother to another, do something about your dad's immigration practices, you feckless c-word. He listens to you. Put on something tight and low, low cut and tell your father to - blanking - stop it."
I mean, Richard, honestly, Richard, when I read this I was like, what is going on in the world? Please, somebody tell me what is going on in the world when woman to woman or human being to human being that somebody speaks like this about someone else, I just really don't get it.
RICHARD FOWLER, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: I don't get it either, Martha. And I think the sad part is that she used that language, she actually lost her message by using that language. That language is misogynistic, it was hateful, and it was disgusting, and it was downright wrong.
And it's actually I think the point you made there, woman to woman, I said, human to human.
FOWLER: And I think I've said on the show many times before that I think we're at a place in our politics where humanity has sort of left the building. I would argue that humanity is somewhere in the middle of the ocean somewhere. And I think we need to bring it back ASAP.
MACCALLUM: But then everybody jumps on the bandwagon, right. So then Kathy Griffin goes, do not apologize, right. That was the next thing I heard. Sally Field, the flying nun, you know, I mean, she said I like Samantha Bee a lot, but she's flat out wrong to call Ivanka a C, C are beautiful, powering, nurturing and honest.
I mean, these are so angry, right, and I get that they don't like President Trump's policies. But I mean, Lisa, what is going on here?
LISA BOOTHE, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS: I mean, we are at a race to the bottom, it certainly seems like whenever is trying to get there quicker than the person before them. Look, to Richard's point, I don't even know what her message was from the beginning, that Ivanka Trump, a mother can't post a picture with her 2-year-old son. That is ridiculous.
And a lot of what she was talking about was predicated on lies regarding President Trump's immigration policy. Not to mention that maybe she should talk about a report that just surfaced about treatment of illegal immigrant children under the Obama administration. So what was her message from the beginning?
And honestly, I think that's the part of the story that continues to get missed, the fact that she had an issue with Ivanka Trump holding up a picture of her beautiful 2-year-old son and somehow that was the problem? I mean, that is ridiculous. If we want to talk about where we are at society, it's ridiculous that that picture even caused an outrage.
MACCALLUM: She apologized, right, "I want to sincerely apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her, it was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line and I deeply regret it." Which really sounds a lot like what Roseanne Barr said after she said her comment the other night, right.
So she got fired. I don't like living in this world where it's like, you know, whack a mole, like you stick your head up and you know, you get fired. We live in this ridiculous environment with this.
So I'm assuming now Samantha Bee has to get fired, Richard, because she said what she said. Is that the way it's going to go?
FOWLER: Well, I don't think that you can sort of conflate the two coincidences. I think there is some distinction between the two.
FOWLER: Because I think, one was about, one was about racism, and Roseanne has a history of racism, and if you read into the Roseanne story over and what you read into Roseanne's story you see that it was multiple tweets that got them to firing her.
ABC said enough was enough. There were multiple times she was warned about her Twitter practices. She engaged into them over and over again.
MACCALLUM: So why -- but no, explain to me why is racism worse than vial gender Bee's language?
FOWLER: Well, it is beyond just racism and this indicates of Roseanne. It was that ABC warned her of about her bad practices, right. So this is like you got a warning number one, stop--
BOOTHE: Well, so has been Jemele Hill or whatever. She has been gotten in trouble with ESPN numerous times for the comment that she made.
FOWLER: But every--
BOOTHE: Look, Richard, here's the thing, I can you a litany--
FOWLER: But every case is different.
BOOTHE: No, but here's the thing, Richard, one, I think what all of these individuals have said is vile and disgusting, but I do worry about Martha's point that we are in this age of society where everyone is looking for someone to get fired, advertisers are looking to boycott. It's a scary place that we are in.
But I can give you a list of names that would get fired if they were Republicans, Joy Reid, Keith Olbermann would not have been hired for the sixth time at ESPN if he is a Republican, Snoop Dogg. I mean, you can go down the list, Madonna for saying she wanted to blow up the White House.
FOWLER: Lisa, I will give you -- I will give you--
BOOTHE: I mean, spare me, there's absolutely double standard here.
FOWLER: Lisa, I will give you that there is a conservative double standard.
BOOTHE: Thank you.
FOWLER: But I will give you that argument.
BOOTHE: Thank you.
FOWLER: But with that being said--
BOOTHE: I will take it.
FOWLER: -- you have to evaluate -- you have to evaluate every case differently.
MACCALLUM: All right.
FOWLER: This is the same thing with the Me Too movement, you can't look at every case the same. Every case is different.
MACCALLUM: OK, guys, we have to go. We'll be right back. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So that is the story on this Thursday night. We'll be back here tomorrow night at seven. I look forward to seeing you then. Tucker Carlson is up next in D.C. Have a great night.
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