Published May 22, 2018
This is a rush transcript from "The Story," May 21, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Great stuff, thank you so much, Brett. And breaking tonight, will North Korea summit actually happen? And the president demanding answers from the intel community and the Obama administration now, amid stunning reports about an FBI informant's leading questions and odd outreach to some members of the Trump campaign. I'm Martha MacCallum and this is 'The Story' tonight. Live from our nation's capital. Earlier today, I sat down with the vice president, got his take on all of these big developments here in D.C. today in our exclusive interview.
And right as we sat down and actually, we learned that both the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the FBI Director Christopher Wray were both on their way to the White House to sit down and speak with the president, just a day after the president tweeted this morning: "I hereby demand and will do so officially tomorrow that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump campaign for political purposes, and of any such demands or requests were made by within the Obama administration." So, what happened in there this afternoon? Fox News Chief National Correspondent Ed Henry joins me.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Martha, great to see you in Washington. Sally Yates today charged that President Trump is waging an all-out assault on democracy with this pressure on the Justice Department. But Devin Nunes and other Republicans fired back that Yates and John Brennan, and other Obama officials are just trying to divert attention from the real story, which is that the FBI may have infiltrated the Trump campaign and basically spied on it.
You mentioned that meeting at the White House -- the president raising more doubts about the Mueller probe, which was launched after this highly unusual surveillance as well as a highly questionable dossier. And as he met with the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, he demanded a new investigation into how this Russian collusion probe started. Well, it appears the president got some action. Sarah Huckabee Sanders telling us a short time ago: "based on the meeting with the president, the Department of Justice is asking the inspector general to expand its current investigation to include any irregularities with the FBI's or the Department of Justice's tactics concerning the Trump campaign.
It was also agreed that White House Chief of Staff Kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the FBI, DOJ, and the director of national intelligence with congressional leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested. That means Kelly, John Kelly, the chief of staff, will be working with Devin Nunes to get the documents he's demanding about this confidential informant that had multiple contact with Trump officials. And the heat is now being turned up on former President Barack Obama as well as the CIA director John Brennan who allegedly helped approved this surveillance.
Brennan has been attacking the president for weeks declaring over the weekend: "Senator McConnell, Speaker Ryan, if Mr. Trump continues on this disastrous path, you will bear major responsibility for the harm done to our democracy. You do a great disservice to our nation, the Republican Party. You continue to enable Mr. Trump's self-serving actions." Well, the president used a series of tweets to say quote Obama critic, Dan Bongino is saying: "John Brennan is panicking. He's disgraced himself, he has disgraced the country, he has disgraced the entire intelligence committee by denying he knew much about the dossier but basically then allegedly using that plus the spying to start the whole collusion investigation." Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The president's behavior is the kind of grossly autocratic behavior we'd expect in a banana republic, not a mature democracy.
SEBASTIAN GORKA, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: This will be the first time ever in American history, that one administration put covert assets for political purposes into the other party's campaign to undermine and to potentially frame the candidate of that party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Meanwhile, former FBI officials James Comey as well as Andrew McCabe are about to get hit with that long-awaited Justice Department inspector general report. We're expecting it as early as this week, and we're told that among other things, they'll get hit for waiting too long to jump on those newly discovered Hillary Clinton e-mails that were found, of course, late in the 2016 campaign. The bottom line is: this shows, Martha, that the FBI and the Justice Department, they're under fire for how they handle not just the Trump investigation but the Clinton investigation as well. It's all coming out.
MACCALLUM: It's all coming out, as you say, maybe just a few days away. Ed, thank you so much. Great to see you tonight. So now, to my exclusive interview with the vice president starting with that meeting at the White House.
MACCALLUM: I know you just came from lunch with the president at the White House and he has another meeting coming up this afternoon with Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray. What do you expect will happen there, do you have any insight to that?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, with the revelations that our campaign may have been the subject of surveillance by the FBI, the president I think is grateful that the Department of Justice is going to have the inspector general look into it and determine and ensure that there was no surveillance done for political purposes against our campaign. I think it would be very troubling to millions of Americans if that took place, but we are very confident that as the inspector general has been doing their work, looking at the conduct of the FBI during that period, by adding their focus to this that we'll get to the bottom of it because the American people have a right to know.
MACCALLUM: So, is there any suggestion that there'll be a second special counsel that would be dedicated to that endeavor?
PENCE: I think at this point, the Department of Justice has made it clear that they'll be expanding inspector general's current investigation to include these allegations and, you know, we don't know what happened. We read the press reports but it's all very troubling. It's all very troubling to those of us that hold the FBI in such high regard that there even allegations that people were assigned to surveilled or even spy on our campaign. But look, the inspector general has the resources to get to the bottom of it. He's been working on a major report about the FBI's conduct and by expanding into this role, we're very confident that we'll get to the bottom of it, we'll find out what happened and the American people and all of us will have the facts.
MACCALLUM: Obviously, on the hill they've been very frustrated with the information that they've been getting from the Department of Justice. The president has the ability to declassify those reports so that they come through unredacted, so that there's better transparency. Will he do that?
PENCE: Well, President Trump really believes that it's important that we provide the accountable committees on Capitol Hill with all the information that is necessary to do their work. And I know that the Department of Justice has assigned additional personnel to focus on that, to work through those documents and that information and we'll continue to look forward to the Department of Justice providing them information.
MACCALLUM: Matt Gaetz saying, the president must declassify those documents. He has the authority to do so. Do you believe he will?
PENCE: Well, the president's decision to determine what he classifies and what he doesn't, but the principle here that the American people have a right to know what happened, the people's congress ought to have the ability to review those materials in a timely way is a principle that we adhere to in this White House.
MACCALLUM: One of the pundits on the Sunday shows said, you know, this is becoming a blue-red fight and that the president likes it that way. Do you think that's true?
PENCE: Well, no, I think the American people, the American people understand that when it comes to the Department of Justice, when it comes to the FBI, that we have thousands of men and women who each and every day are dedicated to enforcing the laws and protecting our families and protecting our country. But the American people also have a sense that we all do that things went awry in 2016 and we need to know what happened. We need to get to the bottom of the facts.
MACCALLUM: You got some heat when you went on some of the Sunday shows for saying that this needs to be wrapped up. They compared your comments to Richard Nixon talking about Watergate and saying that all the documents had been given and that it needs to be wrapped up. What do you say to that? And also now, Rudy Giuliani is saying that he believes it will be wrapped up on September 1?
PENCE: Well, I was asked what I thought of the investigation. I said that we have fully cooperated in this investigation. And as I said, over a million documents have been provided, and I just said for the sake of the country, and I think it's time that the special counsel wrap it up. And I think that's probably an opinion widely shared by people all across America, that the truth is it's been now more than a year. The special counsel has a team around them that's been looking into all of the allegations here and with the full cooperation of the White House, they've been able to assemble the facts and I continue to hope and to say very respectfully that the special counsel ought to, with all deliberate means, complete their work and provide the information to their leadership with the Department of Justice that will come from this investigation so that we can just simply move on as a country.
MACCALLUM: All right. Let's turn to some of that progress. North Korea, a meeting tomorrow with the leader of South Korea, President Moon, will happen. Is this summit with North Korea on June 12th going to happen?
PENCE: Well, as the president often says, Martha, we'll see. And what I can tell you is that from the early days of this administration, President Trump made it clear that this time, in this administration, it would be different from prior administrations, where North Korea found a way to get concessions from the United States and from countries in the west in exchange for illusory promises about abandoning their nuclear weapons program. President Trump from early on initiated what we call the extreme pressure campaign. He marshaled the resources of the world community to bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear while keeping all options on the table to achieve the objective of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
We've stayed on that present course in heading, we've never wavered from it. But when Kim Jong Un threw the South Koreans reached out and said he would suspend his nuclear testing, suspend his ballistic testing, and be willing to achieve complete denuclearization through talks in exchange for a meeting with President Trump, this president readily said yes. They asked for the meeting and we continue to be open to it but rest assured that the United States will continue on the path that we are on because this president has made it clear that we will not tolerate North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten the United States and our allies.
MACCALLUM: Is that process of denuclearization something that could happen over time in stages?
PENCE: Well, what the president has made clear is that we need complete and verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, and there's opportunities and benefits for North Korea once we reach that point of no return. Once we reach the point where as they dismantle their nuclear weapons program with proper verification and full transparency that then President Trump has already organized support from Japan, from South Korea, from other nations in the region including China to organize the resources that would create a brighter future for the Kim regime, a brighter future more importantly for the people of North Korea, but it all begins with North Korea committing to complete denuclearization -- taking concrete steps to achieve that.
MACCALLUM: All right. So, you know, when you came out of lunch today with the president, was it your feeling, I think the summit is going to happen in June?
PENCE: Well, like I said, I think that in our discussions with leaders in the Congress, and the president spoke with President Moon this weekend whom we welcome to the White House tomorrow. Our posture is we continue to be open. We continue to be open to achieving denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula by peaceable means.
MACCALLUM: There are some reports that the president is concerned that if it fails or it doesn't go well, it could be very embarrassing to have gone this far down the road and that he's seeking input as to whether or not he should maybe rethink this whole thing.
PENCE: Well, I don't think President Trump is thinking about public relations. He's thinking about peace. He's thinking about how we achieve what has eluded successive American administrations. I mean, truthfully, the Clinton administration, even the bush administration got played in the past. We offered concessions to the North Korean regime in exchange for promises to end their nuclear weapons programs only to see them break those promises and abandon them. It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong Un to think he could play Donald Trump.
MACCALLUM: So, clearly the president is still willing to walk away.
PENCE: Well, there's no question, but look it's -- we hope for better. We really hope that Kim Jong-un will seize the opportunity to dismantle his nuclear weapons program and do so by peaceable means. You know, there were some talk about the Libya model last week. And you know, as the president made clear, you know, this will only end like the Libya Model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal.
MACCALLUM: Some people saw that as a threat.
PENCE: Well, I think it's more of a fact. President Trump made it clear the United States of America under his leadership is not going to tolerate the regime in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten the United States and our allies. We've made it clear that we are continuing to bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on North Korea that all options are on the table to achieve that end. But that being said, we've seen great progress in recent months. Last month's inter-Korean summit where you saw the leaders of north and south meet at the Blue House, have that discussion. The reality is that we hope for a peaceable solution. The president remains open to a summit taking place and will continue to pursue that path even while we stand strong on the objective of denuclearization in the extreme pressure campaign that's underway today.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, if it doesn't happen, the military option is basically back on the table.
PENCE: Well, it never came off, Martha. The truth is that President Trump has made it clear that this administration will not tolerate the regime in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten our people, that threaten the United States of America, that threaten our allies in the region. But we'll continue -- we'll continue to be open to the diplomatic path and that will be much of the discussion tomorrow with President Moon.
MACCALLUM: So, it is wait and see. And tomorrow, a very important day in whether or not that North Korean summit in June on the 12th actually takes place. Watch for that to play out. In the meantime, this evening, a meeting that the president has been in at dinner tonight with governors on border security and safe communities, that's happening in the Blue Room. Here are some of the play out.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you for being here. I'm delighted to welcome five of our nation's great governors to the White House: Governor Hutchinson, Governor Ducey, Governor Bryant, Governor Martinez, and Governor McMaster, they are doing a fantastic job. And we're going to be talking about numerous things but one of the elements so important to us is to discuss the border and border security, crime and other things, but that's what we will be focusing on tonight. We're grateful also to be joined by Secretary Nielsen, who is really working very hard at the border with some very bad laws.
We have laws that are the worst anywhere in the world as far as stopping people from coming in, but with that being said, we're down over 40 percent border crossings. We've been able to do what I think nobody else has been able to do, we're down over 40 percent. Tonight, we will be discussing joint efforts to stop illegal immigration and secure the borders also. We're going to be discussing the deadly ravages of drugs, gangs, and crime that's pouring across our border. We are stopping it and getting them out when they're able to get through, and the only reason they do get through is because of our weak laws that really have been given to us by week people in congress, the Democrats have been horrible on border security.
Frankly, it shouldn't be allowed and many of them are standing there and sitting there and agreeing with me 100 percent. As you know, I recently deployed the National Guard to the southern border. And I want to thank each of the governors here tonight. They've all been extremely helpful. They've sent a lot of people to those borders and we appreciate it very much. We're also working with congress to close the crippling loopholes in federal laws, especially the disgraceful practice of catch and release. That's where you catch somebody come and talk to them, sign them, and then you have to release them. And it's a horrible situation.
They are supposed to then show up to court, a very small percentage show up to court and what happens is they get lost in our country and in some cases, these are not people that you want in the country. So, we're talking about catch and release. We have to end it. We're working with Congress on that. These laws have been there a long time and they are horrible. At the same time, we'll use every relevant legal authority to immediately protect our national security and to dismantle the violent criminal organizations plaguing our nation and poisoning our children. What's happening with drugs is a disgrace.
We started the wall. We have $1.6 billion for the wall. We started new sections and we started fixing large sections of wall. We have areas in San Diego that are going up very rapidly. We could have waited and we would've had tremendous support to build the wall because they wanted it very badly in San Diego. We decided to go forward instead. We've made a lot of progress on the wall, but now we're going for additional funding and we need the wall for protection of our country, also for keeping the drugs out. Very effective, probably the most effective thing. So, with that, I think maybe, what I'll do is we'll go around the room and each of the governors can say a few words, talk about the border, talk about crime or any other subject he'd like. Mr. Governor?
GOV. DOUG DUCEY, R—ARIZONA: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for having me to the White House tonight. I want to say thank you to Secretary Nielsen for coming to visit our border. I think Secretary Nielsen was able to see how wide open and unprotected our border is in Southern Arizona, and the flow of not only illegal drugs, but human trafficking that comes over that border and I'm hopeful we can have some productive discussion tonight as to how to address this.
TRUMP: You've done a great job. We appreciate it very much and we appreciate your support. You've had it all the way.
DUCEY: Thank you.
TRUMP: General, would you like to say a few words? You know more about borders, I think, than anybody, right?
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I would only say that when I was at DHS, your promises to the American public made a great deal of difference as we began to close that border. We pass it off to a great woman was now the secretary of homeland security. So, with that --
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you.
GOV. HENRY MCMASTER, R—SOUTH CAROLINA: On behalf of the people of South Carolina, I'm honored to be here with you and these people. And I must say that you have kept every promise that you've made. You're delivering and you're delivering and doing the things that the people of this country want, that they've been waiting for and in South Carolina your popularity is soaring. I don't believe anyone has ever been so high and people are investing money. People are going to work. They are hiring new people, they're giving bonuses and everyone of them says it's because Donald Trump is the president. He means what he says, he does what he says and we're thrilled that you and your team are here -- leading this country. We're standing strong again and you are making America great again. We appreciate it.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. That's very nice. The country is doing well from the standpoint of economics and finance, and what we're doing I think is unparalleled and I appreciate your statement. Thank you very much.
GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON, R—ARKANSAS: Mr. President, I probably have a little bit of a unique perspective because I was undersecretary of Homeland Security back there in the Bush administration. So, I've been at the Arizona border, I've been at the Texas border, and what you've done is remarkable in the sense of really drawing attention to the problems in our system and focusing on improved border security efforts. And so, your leadership in terms of being a spokesperson and identifying the problems, challenging congress to act is very, very significant and I want to thank General Kelly, that Secretary Nielsen, known her a long time, really proud of the job she's doing. In terms of Arkansas, you know, we value our immigrant population. They add a great deal to us that has to be legal as to their entrance into our country. And it's that rule of law that's important that you have drawn attention to. We were delighted to support you. Arkansas was delighted to support our national guard, your efforts, we'll continue to support you.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. How about Rick Perry, you know a lot about borders, you're the governor of Texas for a long time and what do you think?
SECRETARY RICK PERRY, ENERGY SECRETARY, TEXAS: I think you've got a good group of people sitting around the table right here partnering with the states and the federal government is the key to this. Nobody can do it by themselves. Federal government can't do it by themselves, and the states can do it by themselves in finding those places. And actually, Kirstjen and I have talked a number of times about sometimes we are in conflict, one agency of government against another agency of government in trying to find the places that we can streamline those regulations. Like you -- you gave me some pretty good instructions about getting rid of regulations that cost more than they benefit. So, this is one of those that we can work together and find some places, whether it's flying the drones into certain areas for some of the other things that we can do together. But I think it's important for the American people. You talked about this during the campaign and you have talked about it on a regular basis every day and it's like everything else you talk about in the campaign. You're going to get this done too.
TRUMP: A lot of progress. A lot of progress. We do need changes in the law, right, secretary? When need changes in the law to make it really, really good, but we have done a heck of a job considering the fact that we do. And I say all the time, we have the worst immigration laws in the entire world. There's nobody close and it could be changed so easily and we're going to get it changed. Susana?
GOV. SUSANA MARTINEZ, R—NEW MEXICO: Thank you, Mr. President and thank you for the invitation. I thank you before and I will thank you again for always including us to be at the table, to be able to discuss our issues. I've lived on the border for over 50 years and I have seen the changes in reference to the border and as a nation of laws and our ability to speak to the secretary, Secretary Nielsen, and have those conversation of how it changed over those decades. It is a security of our state and at the end of the day, the security of our nation. Because they don't just enter our state, they move on to the rest of the country. And states that may not be a border state are being impacted in the same way. But I also admire the compassion that you have for the DACA and the passion that you've expressed in reference to children that had no choice to come here. And you have expressed it in a way that no other president has had before. And so, I do believe people as a nation of immigrants, that's what we are and we embrace it and we honor that. However, we also have to respect that we are a nation of law.
TRUMP: Right. Beautifully stated, thank you very much, appreciate it.
MCMASTER: Mr. President, I just want to thank you for the lives you're saving. I'm a former law enforcement officer, former drug enforcement agent. If you see the drugs that are coming across the border, we've known it for 30 years now when I was in law enforcement. And Mississippi's I-20, I-55 code for drugs that are killing our children that are destroying our culture in many places, particularly inner cities. The trafficking of young girls primarily from South America into the United States, we're trying to stop that. This is stopping that, reducing it at this level will save their lives, will make America great again, will bring back the jobs that people have been -- the thought were forever lost to illegal immigrants coming here for less than the wages the American should work. (INAUDIBLE) any type of help here or support or -- and do so illegally, violating our laws. So, thank you again for making us a nation of laws rather than --
TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.
MACCALLUM: All right. So, that is it. Just a short time ago at the White House tonight, obviously, an issue that is very near and dear to the president's heart. The border security, the DHS secretary was there, Chief of Staff John Kelly who used to have that job was also there. The president said that the secretary of DHS is doing an excellent job. Last week or so, they had, you know, perhaps a little dust up that appears to have been repaired and he was complimenting her work. So, in terms of the border, talking about cracking down on drugs, talking about cracking down on trafficking, human trafficking going across that border and, of course, all of that would go to the issue of a border wall and something that the president promised during the campaign that he's working for some momentum on in congress. So, keeping a close eye on the activity over at the White House this evening. In the meantime, Vice President Mike Pence agreeing with the president telling me earlier that it's time for Robert Mueller to wrap up this probe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: I just said for the sake of the country, and I think it's time that the special counsel wrap it up. And I think that's probably an opinion widely shared by people all across America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: And Hillary Clinton's former top adviser agrees. He wrote a very forceful piece on this today. Joining me now Mark Penn, former presidential pollster and adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton; and Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, very involved in this investigation as well. Gentlemen, good to see you tonight. Thanks for being appear on the rooftop with us. Mark, you wrote today that the deep state is in a deep state of desperation, what did you mean?
MARK PENN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL POLLSTER AND ADVISER: Well, I think that the inspector general's report is coming out. I think Nunes is finding out what were the origins of the investigation, and there doesn't seem to be a real concrete intelligence origin for this investigation. And without a foundation, one wonders what did we spend an entire year on? What did we disrupt everyone who was in the campaign, everyone who's in the administration, and I've seen in 1998 -- I spent a year fighting this thing with Ken Starr and I think this thing is just plain wrong and has got to be ended and stopped?
MACCALLUM: The reaction this morning on a lot of channels to the report that the president wants an investigation into what happened during his campaign and who may have been infiltrating his campaign, perhaps, to ensnare people involved in the campaign. The words that were used this morning, an abuse of power, Eric Holder says this inquiry is dangerous and threatening.
PENN: Well, I don't see it as dangerous and threatening. I think it appears that the FBI ran some sting operations. Look, we've really seen here people indicted for unrelated charges in order to flip on the president. So, we found people's lives being totally disrupted and ruined in order to get the objective of get the president. Look, we get the president through elections. And if we don't get back to winning our battles on issues and elections whether you're a Democrat or Republican, it's 1998 all over again and that's the pattern we've seen. We've seen the less they come up with, the more they investigate instead of the opposite.
MACCALLUM: These folks are very unsettled by this whole thing. John Brennan, tweeted this today. Let's put it up on the screen and show everybody at home. He thinks that this is an outrage, what President Trump has done. There it is. Senator McConnell, Speaker Ryan, if Mr. Trump continues along this disastrous path you will bear major responsibility for the harm done to our democracy. You do a great disservice to our nation and the Republican Party if you continue to enable Mr. Trump's self-serving actions. John Brennan has been on a tear on for some time. Here's James Clapper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: So, if there was someone that was observing that sort of thing, that's a good thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: He's talking about the people in the campaign.
JOHN RATCLIFFE, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, Brennan and Clapper and Comey, they all have a lot at stake here. Their decisions are the ones that are being looked at. The actions that they took are really at the basis of what Chairman Nunez and Chairman Gowdy are trying to get these documents relating to, how did this infiltration of the Trump campaign or folks associated with the campaign began? Again, not the identity of the informant, but the predicate documents, the FBI's 302's and the 1023's that will answer the question of whether or not there was an appropriate purpose behind this as opposed to an inappropriate political purpose.
MACCALLUM: I mean, the big question is whether -- is how circular this whole thing was, right? I mean, did they have someone, an informant, because they had evidence that there was something going on? Or did they have the informant because they were trying to bait people into doing something wrong?
RATCLIFFE: Right. That's ultimately the question -- these are fair questions we have to get the answer to that, because right now those answers are in classified documents the members of congress haven't seen. Apparently, some members of the media had seen them and that raises question in and of itself. But we got to keep pressing on this. Mark raises fair points. We've seen unprecedented actions taken in connection with a political candidates and campaigns, and the involvement of our intelligence community and our law enforcement community. These are fair questions that the American people are really concerned about.
MACCALLUM: This is a 400 page document, Mark. I mean, there's a lot in there, and a lot of folks are sweating it out.
PENN: Well, that's why I said the deep state is in a deep state of desperation. If this report is really critical of Comey and others in the intelligence community it will open a floodgate against them. And if you go back and read the McCabe report, you have never seen anyone document, tick tock, minute-by-minute, as this guy Horwitz does. So, either that's going to come out, and I think Comey will be knocked out as a witness, and gone with be obstruction of justice, and a lot of other questions will get asked.
MACCALLUM: Four hundred pages, you think it's about a week out?
RATCLIFFE: I think a week out from us seeing if the Department of Justice and the FBI have a draft copy of it. It's being reviewed for classified material and other information may be incorrect, I assume members of congress, we'll see it in about a week. And, you know, as Mark said, 400 pages, it doesn't take 400 pages to document if everything went just right
MACCALLUM: Nothing burger. Good to see you, Congressman Ratcliffe, Mark Penn, thank you very much.
RATCLIFFE: Good to be with you. Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, more now on my exclusive sit down this afternoon with Vice President Mike Pence, and fascinating look at our future relationship with Iran. A new questions tonight, if this White House is urging the people of Iran to push out the Ayatollah, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now threatening Iran with North Korea-style sanctions. I asked Vice President Pence about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: With regard to Iran, Secretary of State Pompeo today tweeted to the Iranian people, really, do you want your country to be known as conspirator with Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban. The president, a couple weeks ago, said reclaim your heritage. Is this administration encouraging rebellion on the part of the Iranian people to push back against that regime and that leadership?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think what President Trump has made clear, you heard the secretary make clear today is that we're with the people of Iran. You actually saw demonstrations all over Iran during the last years. You remember the green revolution of just a few short years ago that was put down by the Ayatollahs. Look, the people of Iran deserve better than a regime that sponsors terrorism across the region. The people of Iran deserve better than a regime that continues to focus.
MACCALLUM: So, in what way would we aid that, or help that, or encourage that? What would we do?
PENCE: Well, it'd all began by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and making it clear that we're no longer going to abide an agreement that while -- the focus was ultimately to delay Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon for a period of ten years. The reality is the underlying promise was that Iran would abandon their support of terrorism, their malign activities across the region with groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, destabilizing activities in places like Syria and Yemen, and that's the exact opposite has happened. Iran is doing more today in the region to support terrorism and to support violence than they did before the JCPOA was signed. President Trump has made it clear that we're out of the Iran nuclear deal, and we're calling on our allies across Europe to join with us in a negotiation over a new agreement that will take into account permanently banning nuclear weapons that deals with Iran's influence in places like Yemen, and, of course, Syria. Deals with ballistic missiles and, ultimately, will put limitations and restrictions on Iran should they continue their malign activities and support of terrorism and violence across the region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, where we're heading here? Joining me now, exclusively, Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican who serves on both the senate judiciary and armed services committee. Senator, thank you very much.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: Thank you. What a beautiful view.
MACCALLUM: Isn't it a great place to be? Thanks for being up here on the roof with us tonight. Interesting, you know, what are we -- let's put up Mike Pompeo's tweet here today, the new secretary of state. He says to the Iranian people, do you want your country to be known as a coconspirator with Hezbollah, Hamas, Taliban and Al Qaeda? The United States says you deserve better. Where's this going?
GRAHAM: I love what they're doing. We've had eight years of weak foreign policy. John Kerry and Barack Obama would have crawled through glass to get a deal with the Iranians. It's a terrible deal. After ten years, all the restrictions on the enrichment program go away. I'm glad we withdrew. But here's what you need to ask the Europeans, why are you standing with the Ayatollah? The Arabs and Israelis are with us. I think the Iranian people want to be with us. When they went out to the streets they got shot down like dogs. What makes you think the Ayatollah wouldn't kill your kids if he'd kill his own kids?
MACCALLUM: And what do you think is going to happen with the European allies, because, clearly, the state department is discussing this with them and wants them to come around with a new deal.
GRAHAM: They're going to fold like a cheap suit. If you've got to pick between the American economy and the Iranian economy, you're going to pick the American economy. There's nothing worse than a bunch of whining Europeans when it comes to dealing with rogue nations like Iran. Again, the Europeans and the Obama administration put Iran on a pathway to a bomb. Donald Trump has given them a different choice. You can have a better life, but you're going to have to change the life you're leading. You have to stop destroying the Mid-East, building missiles with threat to Israel on top of it. Trump's been dealt a tough hand with North Korea and Iran, and I like the way he's playing the hand. Telling the European allies stand up for your values. What you have in common with the Ayatollah?
MACCALLUM: Are we encouraging revolt on the part of the Iranian people?
GRAHAM: Well, they've done it before.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. But we didn't back them up. So, I'm wondering what we're going to do this time.
GRAHAM: Remember when the young lady had a sign in the cecum are you with us or you with them, President Obama? He clearly didn't want to jeopardize his negotiations with the Iranian regime. Look what they got you. They've got you a stronger Iran. Dismembering the Mideast. They've got more capability to wreak havoc on Israel than they did before the deal.
MACCALLUM: Is this North Korean summit going to happen on June 12th?
GRAHAM: Well, in the last 30 days Trump has done two very bold things. He said I will sit down personally with Kim Jong Un to find a way to avoid a war with North Korea. I'm going to get out of a bad deal with Iran to see if I can get a better deal. He is doing the things that I would hope he would do as president. If the North Koreans stiffed him, if they sit down and meet with him and try to play him, they're going to regret it. And if they don't meet June 12th, that's probably the end of diplomacy. Plan B would be military operations to stop the threat that North Korea presents to us and the world, and I hope we don't go down that road, but Trump will have no other choice. If the summit is canceled and North Korea doesn't want to work with us in good faith to make it a win-win, then we're going to have a conflict between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, and Trump will win.
MACCALLUM: What do you think about the reports that the president became enamored of this idea that maybe he would get the Nobel Peace Prize.
GRAHAM: I started that, by the way.
MACCALLUM: That made him want -- I'm sorry. That made him want this deal enough that he was willing to sort of make it happen no matter what. And now, the stories are that he doesn't want to be embarrassed there and he's looking potentially for a way to not do it.
GRAHAM: I talked to him three days ago, and here's what he told me, he said I'm going to end this one way or the other. I don't want a war with North Korea. It would be devastating for the region, but they would lose it, not us. A lot of people will get hurt, there's a better way. I'm going to sit down with this guy and try to find a win-win. I'm going to tell China, you know, I need your help to avoid a conflict with North Korea, up your game. So, at the end of the day, does Donald Trump have the resolve to be different than any other president? Does he really mean it when he says he wants a better deal with the Iranians? And he's not going to give in until he gets one. Does he really mean that he would stop North Korea from getting a nuclear weapon that could hit America, and use military force if he had to? Here's what I think. I think he really means it. And if he misjudge or miscalculates, it will be the biggest mistake North Korea ever makes. I don't want a war, but if a war is going to happen it's going to be in their backyard, not ours.
MACCALLUM: You've been around this town a long time. You ran for president.
GRAHAM: Yeah, I finished in the top 16.
MACCALLUM: I remember. What do you think about this FBI situation, and whether or not they had an informant who was talking to people in the Trump campaign?
GRAHAM: It comes from a third world model, something that, you know, sort of small countries do. I want to find out what was that all about? You can't have one administration spying on another. Maybe it happened, maybe it didn't, but the Department of Justice and the FBI gave Clinton a pass. If he had done what she had done he would be in jail right now. So, I've seen bias at the Department of Justice and the FBI regarding the Clinton email investigation. I've seen bias against President Trump that the FBI and the Department of Justice. I've seen documents from a paid political informant, foreign agent working with the Russians paid by the Democrats to get a warrant on an American citizen. That all bothers me, so I hope somebody will look at it. Maybe Mr. Horwitz is the right guy, but I think we need a special counsel.
MACCALLUM: A second special counsel?
GRAHAM: Yeah, because -- you know, this just really stinks to high heaven. I'm all for Mueller doing his job, but there's not one Democrat who seems to care one bit about the fact that all this is happening. Can you imagine the shoe on the other foot? Somebody was investigating Trump, and the head of the FBI investigating team hated Trump and like Clinton? It'd be on the front page of every -- what if the Republican Party had hired somebody to go to Russia to get dirt on Clinton? It'd be all over the front page of every newspaper.
MACCALLUM: Lindsey Graham, thank you, sir.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you, senator.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, Hillary Clinton will be headlining a major Democratic campaign event. So, is that a good idea for Democrats as they go forward? Plus, is Vice President Pence undermining President Trump in his own 2020 shadow campaign?
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MACCALLUM: What about all these articles about your shadow campaign operation and that you're seeking to exercise expansive control over the political party that is ostensibly honed by President Trump?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So Republicans could lose control of the house if history repeats itself as the party deals with infighting and leadership uncertainty with the impending exit of Speaker Paul Ryan. And rumors that he's being pushed out by his own party to clear way for majority leader Kevin McCarthy. Plus, in issues beyond 2018, there are rumors swirling that the vice president is waging a shadow campaign of his own for 2020. I asked the vice president about both.
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MACCALLUM: A lot of discussion about whether or not Paul Ryan should leave early. One report this morning said that the president sees the merits of that plan of an earlier exit for Paul Ryan, and sooner leadership -- speakership for Kevin McCarthy. Do you agree? Do you see the merits of that?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, I know that President Trump and I hold Speaker Paul Ryan in the highest regard. He's been a great partner during this congress in passing tax cuts and deregulation, historic investment in our military. You'll see that progress again this week with the passage of V.A. choice, and banking reforms, and right to try that will help vulnerable patients all across America. We also hold leader Kevin McCarthy in the highest regard, and I know the president's focus is on continuing to work with both of these leaders in the days ahead to make progress for the American people.
MACCALLUM: So, do you think that Paul Ryan will leave before the midterm?
PENCE: Well, I think that will be a decision for Speaker Ryan.
MACCALLUM: But he said he wants to stay all the way through.
PENCE: He's articulated that, and I think he's stood by that. But, what I can tell you is the president and I are very grateful to Speaker Paul Ryan, to leader McCarthy, to the entire leadership team in the house because they've really been delivering for the American people.
MACCALLUM: That sounds like you would be OK with an earlier transition.
PENCE: Well, I think -- I personally would be OK with whatever the members of Congress chose to do because this is a team that's been delivering. But, at the end of the day, our focus is on the agenda that the president was elected to advance, and this Congress has been delivering on that agenda from day one.
MACCALLUM: OK. What about all these articles about your shadow campaign operation and that you're seeking to exercise expansive control over the political party that is ostensibly honed by President Trump?
PENCE: The president is not only president of the United States, he's the leader of my party and he's my friend, and it was my great honor to campaign shoulder to shoulder with him in 2016, and I look forward to doing everything in my power to see President Trump reelected in 2020. In the meantime, we've got some midterm elections coming up, and earlier this year we went to Camp David and we met with some of those same congressional leaders we were just talking about, and we laid out an agenda that the president and I have been executing on seamlessly. I can promise you we're going to continue to campaign hard all the way through the midterms. We're going to see these Republican majorities reelected, and we're going to lay a great foundation to reelect President Donald Trump. Look at the progress that we've made, Martha. It's incredible. It's more than 3 million new jobs.
MACCALLUM: Where do you think these stories come from that you have this shadow organization? Where is that coming from?
PENCE: Well, you know, it beats me. I don't know other than just the whisper campaign that tends to happen in Washington, D.C. from time to time. It's the greatest honor of my life to be vice president to President Donald Trump. He's not only my president, but he's my friend. We've developed a very close relationship. And.
MACCALLUM: Is he ever heard of these stories?
PENCE: I couldn't be more proud of the progress that we've made.
MACCALLUM: Does he review about these stories ever?
PENCE: The president and I talked about a lot of different things, and he ribs me about a lot of different things, but it's a close relationship, and Karen and I are just -- we're grateful. We're grateful for the partnership, we're grateful for the friendship, and we couldn't be more happy to see Melania back at the White House and making such a good recovery.
MACCALLUM: Mr. Vice President, thank you very much for your time. It's good to see you. We appreciate it.
PENCE: Great to see you, Martha. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Very interesting. All right. So big primary election tomorrow night, can Democrats talk issues when so much seems to be about Russia? And why is Hillary Clinton not supporting a woman in a pivotal race, is she one of those women who's afraid to elect women? Meredith Kelly, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee joins us with her outlook, coming up.
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UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do the Russians have on Donald Trump, financially, politically or personally?
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UNINDENTIFIED MALE: There is no question that Russia attacked us.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: We're attacks, ladies and gentlemen, on our constitution.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Attack on the integrity of our elections.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: There was already, in my view, ample evidence in the public domain on the issue of collusion if you're willing to see it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, that's in the drumbeat for the Democrats for the last couple of years, but now as the 2018 midterms are right around the corner, party leaders say that they want to move on and get to a new message for their voters. They say they can't get any press on the real issues because reporters only want to talk about Russia. Here now, Meredith Kelly, the communications director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Meredith, good to see you tonight. You know it's everywhere. It's all you hear about. You know, flip around the channels, everything is all about Russia, so it makes it tough for you guys to get your message out.
MEREDITH KELLY, DCCC COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: Certainly -- first of all, thanks for having me, Martha. Russia is certainly a big topic in this investigation, it's one that a lot of people are focused on, but Democratic candidates all across the country are actually talking directly to voters about the issues that impact their everyday lives. And I do think they're breaking through. They're talking about affordable health care, protecting Medicare and social security, and more jobs and better wages. And I do think on the district specific level they're having those local conversations.
MACCALLUM: Do you think a lot of people care about Russia when you talk to folks who are out there in the country? Do they care?
KELLY: It's not the first, second or third thing that voters are telling us in the house battlefield in these swing districts. I think people want this investigation to go unimpeded, but they really care about those pocketbook issues and that's what Democratic candidates are trying to focus on.
MACCALLUM: Generally what we find when we go out across the country as well. So, you're looking at Arkansas, Kentucky, a couple of Texas districts. We have a map to put up at where these districts are. Tell me what are the trends, what are you looking for and how do you hope to flip those districts?
KELLY: Well, tomorrow night is a good example of the huge number of veterans, prosecutors and candidates with records of service that are running on the Democratic side, this cycle. That's certainly a trend whether they've serve their community or our country or both. You've also seen the strength of female candidates who have in previous primaries.
MACCALLUM: Leading in some of these races. We can put up the boards and the people that she's referring to. Go ahead.
KELLY: Yeah. So, I think that last week in Pennsylvania, and in Nebraska, we saw a number of women doing well, which is consistent with the enthusiasm that we've been seeing from women in terms of voting in the midterms. And, I think you're seeing candidates that fit these districts. Arkansas is different than Texas, which is different than Kentucky, and there's no one-size-fits-all, but.
MACCALLUM: Southern candidates, I was reading, say, you know, it bothers them, they feel like they don't get enough attention from the national organization of the party.
KELLY: Well, we're trying to build the largest battlefield in a decade. We're targeting more than a hundred districts, so we're doing our best to provide as much assistance to candidates running for office as possible. Of course, you know, it's a big battlefield, and certainly we're giving the best service we can. I think we're going to see some great candidates do the primary.
MACCALLUM: Tell me about the Arkansas district two-race, real quick.
KELLY: Sure. Clark Tucker is a candidate there, who's a local elected official, and he actually got into the race -- he's running against French Hill. He got into the race because he had cancer, and he saw how French Hill voted to repeal affordable health care and that motivated him to run. And I do expect him to come through the primary tomorrow night in first place, and that will be central, health care will be central to that general election.
MACCALLUM: And Pete Sessions is one that you think is vulnerable in Texas, Republican vulnerable in Texas.
KELLY: Yes, that the Dallas area. And Secretary Clinton won that district after a long string of Republicans winning in the past. Collin Allred, who the D Triple C has put on our red to blue program, which means we think it's a very -- he's the most competitive candidate. He's a Tennessee Titans, former NFL player. Went on to become a successful lawyer, and just grew up in this district and really embodies the district.
MACCALLUM: And Hillary Clinton, as we said, is headlining a big event. I think it's interesting because she, you know, she said that she thought that women who voted for Trump were just listening to their husbands, and she thinks women should not be afraid to elect a woman. And yet, in the New York race she's not backing Cynthia Nixon, she's backing Andrew Cuomo. What's that about?
KELLY: Well, I can't speak to her decision. I just know that Governor Cuomo and Secretary Clinton go way back, but I can't really speak to that. I know that our Democratic candidates feel very strongly about earning the trust of every voter, whether they voted for Trump or Secretary Clinton, and we won't be able to win back the house without their support, so we're working and earning their trust.
MACCALLUM: All right. We will see. It's going to be fascinating to watch. Meredith, thank you very much. Good to have you here tonight. I hope you come back as we move through the midterms. So, that is our story for tonight. We will see you back in New York tomorrow night.
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