WH emphatically denies report Trump shared intel; Family of Penn State hazing victim speaks out
This is a rush transcript from "The Story," May 15, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Breaking tonight, we've got a brand-new reaction to this very fast-moving story this evening. The Washington Post reported earlier that the President revealed the "highly classified information" to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and the Ambassador Kislyak, all names you are familiar with, during this meeting that was photographed by Russian photographers during the course of that oval office meeting. So, now, you have the White House beginning to push back forcefully on all of this. Good evening, everybody. I am Martha MacCallum, and this is the top story tonight on Monday, May 15th.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has issued a statement moments ago. This is what he said: "The natures of specific threats were discussed but they did not discuss sources, methods, or military operations." Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell added this: "This story is false," she says, "the President only discussed the common threats that both countries face." They were both in the room. So, in moments, we're going to be joined by Chris Stirewalt, with political reaction; Judge Andrew Napolitano is here to take a look at the legal side. I should mention that we're waiting at any moment at the microphones, which you see in the upper corner of your screen; H.R. McMaster, the National Security Advisor, who's going to come out when he does that. We'll take you there live. So, let's go to Catherine Herridge, our Chief Intelligence Correspondent with the very latest on the story tonight. Catherine.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Martha. Based on anonymous sources, the Washington Post is reporting that during that meeting last week between the President and those Senior Russian Officials, they were talking about the current threat picture involving ISIS, and the severity of that threat, and the specificity of that threat, and how it impacted aviation into the United States as well as globally. And that threat involved laptop computers being used as bombs with explosives packed inside and that is what has been one of the recent reasons that we've had these changes to aviation security overseas, coming on flights in the United States.
The Washington Post says that the President alleges - that the President discussed where this information came from; in one of the cities held by ISIS in Syria, and also that it related to this computer or laptop threat. We have, just within the last hour, reached out to the leadership of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee, to see whether they have been notified of a significant breach to a source, which would be part of an ongoing threat to the United States that would not be out of the norm to have happened, but they have confirmed that they have not been contacted by the Intelligence Community.
The reason this is such a big deal according to the Washington Post is that if it happened, this was not information that was really owned by the United States and for the President to share; this information had come from one of our partners based on the reporting in the region. And also based on the reporting, it was highly sensitive information that came from an espionage operation. Based on my decade of covering this area, that's really code for a human source or human spying and those were among the most delicate and likely to be compromised, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Catherine, thank you very much. We will go back to Catherine. Also, watching this microphone outside the White House where H.R. McMaster is expected any moment. Let's bring in Chris Stirewalt, Fox News Political Editor; and Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst. The way that this piece is written, Chris Stirewalt, let me start with you, it all is kind of shocking. This is a quote from a senior official - former U.S. official, excuse men, to current administration officials: "Trump seems to be very reckless, doesn't grasp the gravity of the things that he is dealing with. There is definitely an effort in this piece to paint him as bumbling with this information," Chris.
CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL POLITICAL EDITOR: Well - and the way it reads, and again, I don't know. But the way it reads is that because the administration notified or was obliged to notify the Senate Intelligence that this was a piece of raw steak that was thrown out right in front of senators who were already gunning for the President, who look at him and his handling of the Russian investigation and other things. And they hear: you did what? And that immediately results in the leak, the allegation, that stuff. That's how this reads to me, is that once you enforce inform the senate about this, and from the reaction of both parties, you'd guess that there's some bipartisan spirit behind that this is them saying, whoa!
MACCALLUM: But Chris, somebody in that room had to have leaked this information. You know, so far, three of them have made statements. H.R. McMaster, Tillerson, Dina Powell, we know that the Russian officials were in that room. I mean, who else was in that room because it had to have come from in there, correct?
STIREWALT: Unless the White House felt obliged to inform the senate, to inform somebody else: hey, by the way, things were said and we're putting you on notice that this occurred because they had of due diligence, had to notify the other parts of the intelligence apparatus. Then you open up the universe of all of the different people who are going to pick up their phone, they're going to call their favorite reporter, and they're going to say, you are not going to believe this.
MACCALLUM: Yes, exactly! Judge, your thoughts?
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: Well, under the law, the Intelligence Community is obliged to inform a breach of this nature to the leadership of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee, which apparently has not been done. Under the law of the White House, it's required either directly or thru the Intelligence Committee to make the same kind of report. Politically, this feeds the narrative that the President, that some people in the Intelligence Committee want to make, for better or for worse, that the President of the United States of America is not competent to handle the nation's most secure secrets.
And I don't know where it's going to come from there. But think about it, there's a finite number of a people in the room; it is a given and a known fact, not to the public, but to the President and his people who is in that room. Unless the story is entirely made up, somebody in the room gave quotations from out of the President's mouth to the Washington Post. So, the President who chided Jim Comey for not investigating leaks now has the most potentially catastrophic leak on his hands from within his inner circle coming from in his office.
MACCALLUM: I mean, we've heard the President push back on these kinds of stories that, "what happened in the room," and John Roberts, I believe, is with us as well. You know, in this story, it says that the President said "I get great intel every day," suggesting that he was to an extent sort of showing off, you know, how great our information is and all of that. But as we keep talking about here, either someone in the room decided, as Chris Stirewalt says, and I'm going to bring in John Roberts here, our Chief White House Correspondent, either somebody felt they had to let the Intel Community know based on what they heard in the room or, you know, some other method: just leaked it right to the Washington Post. John, you're covering this.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we do know that there were a number of people in the room but the circle was still very small. It was the President; it was his National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy Dina Powell, which is why you see the statements from those two people. And again, to reiterate Dina Powell saying in a statement, "This story is false. The President only discussed common threats that both countries face."
Now, it's not to say that classified information was not discussed but it sounds like, Dina Powell, who is an old hand here at the White House, and she knows about the handling of classified information, that they are downplaying this saying, "no, this is not what the Washington Post is making it out to be, but in terms of who leaked this, there would've been a readout of that meeting to a number of people outside of that close circle, and that's where we suspect that the information came from. H.R. McMaster also saying that they only discussed threats that were common to both countries, including-
MACCALLUM: In fact, he is walking out right now. I'm going to jump in. Thank you very much. H.R. McMaster, the National Security Advisor, welcome to the microphone. Let's listen.
H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I just have a brief statement for the record. There's nothing that the President takes more seriously than the security of the American people. The story that came out tonight as reported is false. The President of the Foreign Minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation.
At no time, at no time, where intelligent sources or methods discussed, and the President did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials, who were present, including the Secretary of the State, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. That on the record account should outweigh the anonymous sources. I was in the room. It didn't happen. Thanks, everybody.
MACCALLUM: And the shouting of questions as H.R. McMaster says "that is it." That is his statement. Good evening, everybody. And he went back in. But still, forcefully, putting down for the record the vantage point of the White House is that there was absolutely no breach here. That there was nothing discussed that was improper. But you know, as John Roberts points out, perhaps in the readout of that meeting, it was interpreted that that is absolutely what happened and then you have this outrage expressed in the story by former security - National Intelligence Officials saying that they believe that there was a problem here and part of it comes from the fact that - the story says he went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States only learned through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. So, it's possible, Judge, that this key partner is also has ruffled feathers at the very least over this tonight.
NAPOLITANO: Look, this is either - the Washington Post story is either entirely false and is made up by the President's enemies to feed the narrative and continue the efforts to undermine his presidency. Or, this was a very serious blunder by the President of the United States and potentially damaging to the Intelligence Community of one of our allies that provided this information to the President. And perhaps, perhaps, as Katherine pointed out, potentially damaging to the human intelligence on the ground. Because if this information is accurate, as it came from the Washington Post, ISIS knows where it came from and they probably know the source.
MACCALLUM: Chris Stirewalt, joining us once again. Chris, this has been a very rough period for this White House. I mean, there's no other way to look at this since the firing of Jim Comey, it has been a rather chaotic period. There've been stories about the President wanting to sort of overturning the apple cart with his staff inside the White House. And now, you have this leak that happened in a small room, very top officials, here they are, you know, trying to start a quick response once again.
STIREWALT: And you have McMaster offering a statement that would not exclude what you and the judge were just talking about, that would still leave that possibility. Because remember, the President can declassify anything he wants to declassify, he is the ultimate authority. So, it's not like there's a crime here, it's not like he did something that was illegal. But remember, he did this - let's think about the context. He did this in a meeting with very - this was the day after he canned Comey, under huge turmoil, all these two moles surrounding what's going on with the Russians.
They did not allow the U.S. President, they did not allow Americans to come in, but they let a reporter for what is basically one of the Kremlin outlets to come in there; photograph, and the pictures that we have come from basically a Kremlin outlet. And all of the handling of that then leads to this. And this is how it happens when you are snake bit and you can't seem to catch a break, the small or smaller mistakes that you made in the past; there is this pebble turns into a rock that hits a boulder that starts rolling downhill.
MACCALLUM: So true. I mean, you know, this is sort of the next narrative that you would want to employ, right? If you are, you know, trying to take this President down or make him look bad, it's bad enough that the pictures, that the only pictures from this meeting were taken from Russian media. Now, the story is that he was in there revealing, you know, intelligence that he should not have been revealing. And John Roberts is back with us as well. John, you know, one thing we know for sure is that this is not the narrative that the White House wants to be on. And this is not a page that has turned from a very ugly week last week. They're still spinning in this.
ROBERTS: Take it as a peace that this was the only thing that you'd say, while the President had his reasons for discussing this information with Russia. We do share a common thread, and he's trying to get them on board to fight against ISIS. But when you take it as part of a larger puzzle that keeps coming out and keeps reflecting back to Russia, it has the perception of being another, oh-my-goodness-what's-going-on-at-the-White- House sort of thing. But the National Security guys are coming out, and while he did not say that they did not discuss classified information, he said the story as reported is false. He also went on to say at no time or any intelligent sources or methods discussed, nor military operations were disclosed, that were not already known publicly, they did - the President did share some information.
And the fact that he did not expand on that at all, the fact that he did not take questions, clearly is an indication that the material that they were discussing was very sensitive because the National Security Advisor - and he's come out and briefed us before. And he has a broad command of all of the issues that he's dealing with, and he's quite eloquent in speaking about it, clearly did not want to have to get into areas that he could not discuss in front of the cameras there with every network in the country live on him, which is why he just gave that brief statement and then walked away. But it still doesn't answer all of the questions here as to exactly what was the nature of the information and maybe we can never know that because it is classified.
And whether or not the material was actually classified, was it top secret, was it code worded, or was of the sort of intelligence that we could share with people who are involved in a common fight against a common enemy? We don't know the answer to those questions, Martha, nor may we ever unless we get them from third-party sources. And then, because those sources were outside the room, we don't know how reliable the information was. And it's interesting that he did say a handful of people in the room, four: that would have been the President, the Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor, and we believe the fourth was Dina Powell, who's the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy. And between McMaster and Dina Powell, they know how to handle classified information, and I assume that if they thought what the President was doing was a really, really bad idea, they probably would have spoken up.
MACCALLUM: John, thanks. Catherine Herridge wants to get back in here with some more information on this. Catherine?
HERRIDGE: Well, Martha, earlier this evening when I was talking to a congressional contact, they pointed out what I think is now pretty obvious from General McMaster's statement which is that when you're dealing with such classified information, the White House is somewhat in a box in terms of what they're able to discuss or confirm or deny. What jumped out at me from his statement is that he says everyone on the administration team that was in that room are on the same page about exactly what was said.
But based on my experience, you know, intelligence by its very nature is about to blurred lines and the gray zone, it's not black-and-white. And what may seem like a real compromise of a source to one analyst is not such a serious statement or infraction based on the analysis of another. And if you look at the Washington Post story, more closely, you see that they asked for comment from the CIA as well as the NSA. That suggests to me that they believed that human intelligence or humans spying was part of that intelligence that was shared by the President, as well as electronic intercepts, or picking up phone calls or emails or text messages because that is the bread and butter for the NSA.
Neither of those agencies were discussed, and just to follow on what John was saying, the Post says that this was highly compartmented information or code word information, this would be special access program information. We talked a lot about that with viewers at home last year during the Clinton e-mail investigation. Special access program information means that people are read into these programs, you physically sign a sheet saying that you're being briefed in, and you understand how highly classified it is, and then you are also read out of the program, which means you sign out and you basically cut the information flow that you're receiving about that operation.
So, a code worded program is really one of the highest levels of classification. And also based on the CIA, NSA, and Washington Post, that would suggest believes that human spying, as well as electronic intercepts may have been involved. But let's just kind of get back to what is on the record. The White House, National Security Advisor has come out and that is not a usual development. I think we can all agree on that. And he's flatly denied that anything of considerable sensitivity was shared with the Russians, calling this report flatly wrong and that is the recollection of others in the room.
MACCALLUM: And that has Dina Powell, the Deputy of NSA; and it has the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. Let me bring John Roberts back in for one more question, John. Because, you know, the backdrop, the political backdrop of this, is that this is a President, who from the early days of his presidency, has on different occasions been at odds with the Intel Community. And so, there are - and as Catherine points out, there are nuances and interpretations of these moments in many cases. So - I mean, the question becomes, you know, is this Washington Post story driving an agenda against this President and using information to push that agenda against him, or is it founded in facts that create a real issue that intelligence officials feel has to be spoken about to some extent in order to make sure that this doesn't happen going forward?
ROBERTS: Well, there is a real issue if the intelligence compromised one of our partners' sources and methods, simply by giving away the location of where this information came from, and what the nature of the information was. So, there's a potential problem there. But again, McMaster and Dina Powell know their stuff. They know it backwards and forwards, and they know it well, and they know what to give up and what not to give up. And if they were in the room and they acknowledged that it would be a good idea to share this with a partner in the fight against ISIS, and a partner that the President it's fervently trying to develop, well then they probably gave him at least a tacit green light to go ahead and do this.
And in terms of agendas, I mean, if you read that article, it says a current and former U.S. officials. At any time that we have seen former U.S. officials quoted, they're not anytime, but many times, when we have seen former U.S. officials quoted in stories that are critical of the Trump administration they tend to be people who were in the past administration, who don't think of this President has the seriousness to deal with information that they believe needs to be dealt within in a certain way. And they're only too happy to get it out there to make this White House and this President look bad.
MACCALLUM: John, thank you very much. Let's bring in the judge for one more comment on this. You're listening to all this-
NAPOLITANO: Yes. I want to build on the reporting of our colleagues. As Catherine reports, special access privilege is the highest categorization of a state secret. In the hundreds of thousands of e-mails Hillary Clinton sent, there were only three or four in her four years as Secretary of State that were in this category. Secondly, Chris Stirewalt is quite correct, the President can declassify whatever he wants. The President doesn't ordinarily declassify something in the presence of Russian Ambassador, and the Russian Foreign Minister, but he could do it. Thirdly, the Washington Post, if you read the story says, they were given specific that they chose not to publish. They would be free, under Supreme Court jurisprudence to publish those specifics, even though they shouldn't have gotten them. Once they are in their hands, there's a burning desire on the part of the public to know what did or did not the President giveaway. They could not publish it with impunity.
MACCALLUM: Chris Stirewalt, where does this go from here politically for the President?
STIREWALT: Well - unfortunately for the White House, congress is back. And there will be lots of barking dogs in both parties tomorrow as they demand more knowledge, more answers, and more information. Remember, with the FBI Director not announced, with all of those questions hanging, this will compound fad and that will increase basically the blood price that they would demand from the administration. This weakens their hand as they go into this. Now, they've got to get the Republicans lined up so that they don't have a bunch of backstabbing and backbiting tomorrow. They've to call me spokes down on the key committees and say this is exactly what happened, this is why it's OK, it was a slip but not a disaster. It's OK.
MACCALLUM: But - I mean, even that, having to have a conversation, Chris, takes them away from where they want to be. It puts them right back into the Russia story that they want to move off of. He's about to take this big trip overseas. You know, it goes back to the sort of management issue at the White House. Does it not?
STIREWALT: Discipline is the word. Discipline is the word. This has so far been undisciplined administration, whether if the - rightly or wrongly accused, if they do not develop more discipline, they will continue to have these problems.
MACCALLUM: Absolutely. Thank you very much, Chris Stirewalt, Judge Napolitano, good to have you brought with us tonight. Just as a short while ago, the National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster offered a brief statement emphatically denying the story by the Washington Post, which reported that Mr. Trump supposedly revealed classified information about the internal plotting of the Islamic state to those Russian officials who were in the oval office. Obviously, this would be problematic if it is true. However, those in the room say that that is absolutely not what happened. We'll be back.
Here now, Senator Ben Sasse, author of the new book "The Vanishing American Adults: Our Coming-of-Age-Crisis - and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self- Reliance." Senator, good to have you here this evening. So, first, just some of this news and then some questions about your very interesting book that's getting a lot of attention. Are you concerned about this meeting and this report from the Washington Post?
SEN. BEN SASSE, R-NEB.: So, lots we don't know. I've been on the phone with the National Security team but I haven't been in a bunker, I haven't gotten a classified briefing in the skips. So, lots to qualify about that I can't validate about this report. But I think three topline things:
One, sources and methods are the lifeblood of the Intelligence Community and we need our spies. The world is broken and there's a lot of Americans who serve in harm's away trying to protect us, sources and methods need to be guarded.
Number two, a lot of the media will probably hyperventilate really quickly and lose a distinction that we should always bear in mind between illegality and imprudence. Really difficult for a President to do something illegal in a space like this because he, as commander of chief in the military, is the ultimate declassifier. That's a different question that whether or not something is imprudent.
And number three, really problematic that it's the Russians because they don't have our interest at heart and they can't be trusted.
MACCALLUM: Are you at all concerned, because these are unnamed sources in this piece? That some of this may be revealing the sort of inner battle that has been going on for some time between some members of the Intelligence Community and this White House?
SASSE: Yes. I do have concerns about that, but don't know enough to rank order among our different concerns. But there is too much leaking in the world, there's no doubt about that.
MACCALLUM: In terms of the Comey firing, you said over the weekend that you didn't like the timing of it. The President has raised a question, if he felt he had to go, what timing was going to be good? What do you say to that?
SASSE: Yes. Well, first of all, the FBI Director has a 10-year term for a reason. Because whoever leads the bureau, and the bureau is a really special institution in American life, that person needs to be disconnected from the chain of command that leads back to political decision-making in the White House. Our founders gave us three branches, the legislative, executive, and the judiciary; not 37, not one. And so, prosecutorial functions at DOJ, and investigative functions at the FBI; those have to be in article two, they have to be in executive branch, but we want them far removed from politics.
MACCALLUM: That's all on a perfect world. Some people believe that this director had become politicized.
SASSE: Yes. There are lots of reasonable arguments to be made about ways that the FBI messed up in the 2016 cycle. I don't disagree with that. But at a time when we have such little public trust in our institutions, we need to be restoring that kind of public trust; not further eroding it. And the timing of this in the midst of an investigation is troubling.
MACCALLUM: Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General; you're going to be in a meeting with him, what do you want to ask him?
SASSE: So, I'm the chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, so I've been in contact with the Deputy Attorney General since last week. He's going to testify before all Senators in a classified setting on Thursday. I think we need to understand more about why he wrote the memo he wrote, when was he asked to write it, how did that come about, how did it connect to the larger decision-making process, and then obviously complicated stories about the White House that shifted quite a bit last week. I think we need the Deputy Attorney General to whom the FBI reports, to explain why he took what steps he did when he took them.
MACCALLUM: Yes, a lot of questions. Ben, we'll talk more about that afterwards. But I want to bring up this book, "The Vanishing American Adult." As someone who has three children, who are on the verge of adulthood, I wonder if it's too late for my kids, who are great, but you know, it's tough to raise kids to be resilient and independent in this world.
SASSE: It is. We live at the richest time, and the richest place in the history of the world, and that's great in so many ways. But unfortunately, one of the downsides of that is our kids are really insulated from necessity and from developing a work ethic. And right now, too many of our kids are stranded in perpetual adolescence and that's really more of our fault than theirs. We're not helping them learn that we should celebrate scar tissue: it's the foundation of future character.
MACCALLUM: Yes. The weird thing is that you almost have to, you know, allow them to get at it, or let them fail. I mean, you know, I think about the World War II generation, who had to grow very quickly based on what was happening in the world. And we don't wish that on our children; we want them to live in a world that doesn't have that. However, I don't know how you create that sometimes.
SASSE: Yes. That's a huge part of what this book's about. It is two- thirds constructive, it's not blaming anybody, it's one-third situation setting that recognizing that right now our kids are so insulated from work that parents have to do the hard work of figuring out how to plan to get them work. And our kids don't know a distinction between production and consumption like their grandparents did and we have to do that work. And I think a lot of parents want to be having this conversation. We're hollowing out local community and so much of our national conversations are so politicized, there are a lot of parents who say, "I know my kids are a little too addicted to their digital devices and I want to nudge them out of the nest and help them learn to work. How do I do that?" And this book is trying to accelerate that conversation.
MACCALLUM: The longer you can keep them away from the digital stuff, the better. The further you can push that off; middle school, high school. Good luck to all of you at home. Senator, best of luck with the book. Thank you very much for being with us here tonight on this breaking news. Good to see you. So, coming up tonight, tensions in North Korea are also running high in the aftermath of yet another missile test there. Michael Malice, the author of the book "Dear, Dear Leader," the unauthorized autobiography of Kim Jong-un, coming up next.
Plus, we have with us the parents of Timothy Piazza. 18 fraternity members face charges in his death. The Piazza's have a message for all of us and they're here to share it live, coming up.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what happened throughout the night was just careless disregard for human life. They basically treated our son as road kill and a rag doll.
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MCCALLUM: Another very big story tonight, North Korea's newest missile launch, the KN-17 missile flew 1,245 miles above the surface of the earth this weekend. That is 1,000 miles higher than our international space station. And this missile showed capability that would put American troops and U.S. Air force bombers based in Guam within the strike range if it was launched on a normal trajectory.
Here now is Michael Malice, author of the book "Dear, Reader," the unauthorized autobiography of Kim Jong-il, who is the father of Kim Jong- un. Welcome, good to have you here today.
MICHAEL MALICE, "DEAR READER" AUTHOR: Thank you, Martha.
MCCALLUM: This is the tenth test that we have seen of this kind in a very short period of time. What do you think he's up to, what message is he sending?
MALICE: He wants ransom. Whenever you deal with any kind of gangsters even they are going to go and they are going to show their guns, they are going to shield them at the ceiling instead of shooting at people because if they shoot up people they are going to get retribution.
And what they do, and they both talk about this in their literature and I talk about this in my book, is they are going to, you know, have with the sound in the theory, but then they are going to say on the other hand, if you want to come down, if you want to give us some oil we'll be more happy to accept it.
MCCALLUM: So this has been going on for decades.
MALICE: This is.
MCCALLUM: And every time this happens, we give them concessions, we send aid to North Korea, find ways to settle them down a little bit, and then they start up again. Is there any reason to think that this time they are interested in actually launching a nuclear warhead on one of these missiles when they have that capability?
MALICE: I wouldn't worry so much about the nuclear warhead. I worry about look at how close Seoul and Tokyo. Now if they're firing regular missiles and you can -- you can't even imagine what that would look like if missile start to hitting Seoul, a city of 10 million people at Tokyo and hitting those sky scrapers would be so horrific.
And yet, they haven't done it. If they are going to fire the nukes, they are going to have one shot, and they are going to waste that shot of something like Guam, they are going to go someplace big. And the sense that American lives that's not something that we have to worry about for a long time. However, the saber rattling is escalating and I think that's a function effect that China is having for these shenanigans.
MCCALLUM: So Vladimir Putin weighing in on this.
MCCALLUM: Saying, you know, back off a little bit.
MCCALLUM: You don't want to intimidate North Korea. What's that about?
MALICE: Notice that Putin is saying this publicly as oppose to calling President Trump is saying it privately. Because China for a long time has been their only backer in any sense.
Now, that China is publicly backing away a little from them Vladimir Putin is seeing a power vacuum. And you know, just using the Soviet Union and the Russian mentality if see your enemy digging his own grave you hand him a shovel.
So, of course, Putin will publicly come out and be like, hey, North Korea, I'm the one who has your back, and that's going to make him and their alliance a little bit stronger.
MCCALLUM: Interesting. Now if you throw open the doors of the dark nation.
MCCALLUM: What would people see inside North Korea that you think would surprise them the most?
MALICE: Well, the reason I wrote the book was to throw up in these doors and to show that these people are smart, rational, and calculating. They boast about their strategies and the strategies have worked. So they are not crazy at all. They know what they are doing. They've been playing us like a photo for decades.
MCCALLUM: Michael Malice, thank you very much. Great to have you here tonight.
MALICE: Thanks, Martha.
MCCALLUM: So still ahead, you have seen the violent protests and riots at U.C. Berkeley aimed at silencing conservative voices. Tonight, you are going to hear why one group refuses to condemn the acts that you see here.
Plus, the tragic death of 19-year-old Timothy Piazza at Penn State University has gripped the attention and the love for this family, for this nation. Timothy's family is here. They have strong words for you about what happened to their son and for that fraternity brothers, as well. When we come back.
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JAMES PIAZZA, TIMOTHY PIAZZA'S FATHER: This wasn't boys being boys. This was murder of our son. They tortured him for 12 hours. They let him suffer for 12 hours.
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MCCALLUM: Timothy Piazza was 19 years old when he died on February 4th. A night that should have been the beginning of a fun new time for him as a member of a fraternity.
But instead, his so-called brothers reportedly forced them to drink so much alcohol that he fell down a flight of stairs and they then proceed to slam him onto a couch, douse them with water, punch him, no one called for help, so, they had seen him fall several times.
Even after one pledge begged them to call an ambulance, they didn't do that. So here is part of the 911 call that that happened 12 hours later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what's going on today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have -- we have a friend here who is unconscious. He's -- hasn't moved. He's probably going to need an ambulance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCCALLUM: At one point in the text messages, one of the fraternity brothers response to a question about whether the Piazza family is likely to sue. He says, quote, "they could get us for giving him alcohol that contributed to his death, also, the guys taking care of him didn't call an ambulance right away, so, they could get in trouble for negligence. I just don't know what I am liable for as president." Said the president of this fraternity.
So joining me now is Timothy's father, Jim, his mother, Evelyn, and his older brother, Mike, also a student at Penn State.
Welcome to all of you. I know this is hard for you and I give you so much credit for having the strength to come talk about this. Because we all know what's going on college campuses and your son is a tragic victim of this.
So when you hear that, you know, when you hear that 911 call, and you read the text messages, Jim, what goes through your mind?
PIAZZA: It's just heartbreaking that no one reacted earlier in the evening. They had many opportunities to call for help throughout the night. Instead, they got treated him inhumanely and when we finally heard all of the details of what happened, it was just very disturbing as a parent and it's something that I think about throughout the day every day since then.
MCCALLUM: Of course you do. It's only been three short months. And I can't imagine how raw this is for all of you. Mike, you had to call your parents because you got the word first, right?
MICHAEL PIAZZA, TIMOTHY PIAZZA'S BROTHER: Yes, I had to find out where he was and then that involved me taking a guest and calling the local hospital and that's where I found out he was and I got there. I was the first person to get there.
And when I got there, I found out that he was in really bad shape, which I didn't expect. So that was a lot to process and I had to.
MCCALLUM: Had he talked to you about this? You know, was he nervous about this? Because I think these young men, they hear, you know, what might happen, and they are going to force you to drink, was he nervous about it?
M. PIAZZA: He didn't talk to me too much about it. I know he, like most kids who are Russian fraternity I think he was just nervous about the process of whether or not he would get a bid because it's so, so competitive at Penn State and elsewhere, it's such a large scale.
For a month, the rush process drags on. He was just nervous whether or not he would -- whether it was worth it at all for him to have through all of the rushing.
MCCALLUM: Yes, now I get it. We all hear these messages, you know, coming from the kids at college. So what do you say, Evelyn, to those who look at the boys who have been charged with 200 counts of all kinds -- basically involuntary manslaughter, all the way on down. They say we know they were boys, they didn't know what they were doing. What do you say?
EVELYN PIAZZA, TIMOTHY PIAZZA'S MOTHER: They knew what they were doing. They weren't boys. They were men. There was a history, there was videotaped going back three semesters. There was text messages going back. They knew what they were doing was wrong. They even identified it as hazing. They had the intent to make them drink a lot of alcohol and then, they had no conscience.
MCCALLUM: What do you think should happen to these young men mean?
E. PIAZZA: They need to be held accountable. Right now, that's for a jury to decide.
MCCALLUM: Jim, I know you have not -- none of you have seen the video, right? Because there so much video inside this house. And that is likely going to make it very difficult for these young men. I know you want to see justice done in this. Do you have any idea desire to see this video at any point?
J. PIAZZA: No, I really don't want to see the video. I'm very concerned about what we'll see and that being the last visual of my son being alive. But what I have said, is that if the president of the university and the board of trustees watch the video with me, I'll do it, because they are capable of making significant change and that's really what we want to see.
MCCALLUM: Have you ask them to sit down and watch it with you?
J. PIAZZA: I think after today I have.
MCCALLUM: Do you think he will do that?
J. PIAZZA: I don't know.
MCCALLUM: Evelyn, he said, you know, this is Eric Barron the president of Penn State. He said, you know, if they are so secretive, we've tried so hard to get inside the doors of these fraternities. But if they are going to be so secretive about what's going on in there, how can we possibly do anything?
E. PIAZZA: They've known that there are things going on. They have put together a task force and nothing ever became of it. They dropped the ball with making any sort of change. They have been sued before for hazing, so they know that there is a problem.
They say that they can't do anything because it's not their property. But they can expel a student if they don't follow the code of conduct and this is against the code of conduct.
MCCALLUM: And they can't say that they don't have any control because they shut the whole place down. So they have the control to do that.
J. PIAZZA: Right.
E. PIAZZA: Right.
J. PIAZZA: They can take away the fraternity privileges, they can expel any student they want, they have a lot of abilities to take action. It seems like they've chosen not to.
MCCALLUM: Mike, you are at Penn State. How did you feel about the fact that nobody in the administration, none of the young man in this fraternity, showed up at your brother's funeral?
M. PIAZZA: It is just startling and painful to know that this is what some of my peers are capable of. It's just tough.
MCCALLUM: How do you feel about going back?
M. PIAZZA: The Penn State community is my home. Going back, I mean, I'm going to finish what I am there to do, and get my degree. And that's where my friends are. I...
MCCALLUM: Understood. I understand. What's your message for parents who have kids going through this process? Because you could be saving lives by taking this very tough step of talking, which I know cannot be easy.
J. PIAZZA: That's what we are here to do. We want to educate students and parents. I mean, Tim is representative of every son and daughter that is going to college, thinking about pre-pledge at this point.
MCCALLUM: Would you tell them not to do it?
J. PIAZZA: No of course not. There's a lot of good in Greek life. You know, it's not something that was ever for me or for my other son. Tim had an interest in it. I know a lot of people that have been in fraternities. I hired a young man from a Penn State fraternity and he's an awesome individual, we are lucky to have him. But they got to do the right thing for the fraternities need to do the right things.
MCCALLUM: Show me your bracelet.
J. PIAZZA: We have a bracelet here that says "to live like him, never stop laughing." It's a bracelet that we put together based upon some thoughts from his friends as to what we should put on and the other bracelet says "Piazza strong." It was the committees that my contempt serve as part of their fund, the fund groups.
We've gotten a lot of support from throughout the country. People that we know have obviously been super supportive of us. But there are hundreds, hundreds of people that have reached out to us, even over the past day that have thanked us for being out and talking about it and trying to make a difference.
MCCALLUM: If you can save even one child from going through what your son went through, and our heart goes out to all of you. We thank you very much for being here tonight.
J. PIAZZA: Thank you. Thank you for having us.
MCCALLUM: So coming up here, you remember those violent protests that we showed you at U.C. Berkeley over conservative speakers earlier this year. One group is refusing that to condemn any of this. The details of that are straight ahead.
MCCALLUM: All right. We are back. Once again, U.C. Berkeley is raising some eyebrows for hosting a speaker, who on this very network like in President Trump to Adolf Hitler.
This speaker is Samsara Taylor, and is a member of the group refused fascism. She was recently asked if she condemns the violent protests launched by conservatives earlier this year. This was her response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you condemn unequivocally the violence that has been perpetrated against my organization for the past six months? Will you stand up on the rights of free speech?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel no responsibility to denounce something that's not being done by the state against an oppressed people aimed in the name of terrorizing humanity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCCALLUM: So there you have it. Ben Shapiro, editor in chief of Dailywire.com. Robert Zimmerman, democratic strategist and DNC committee member. So this is where we are in the dialogue at U.C. Berkeley. Ben, what do you think?
BEN SHAPIRO, DAILYWIRE.COM EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Well, again, I think there is a two-step strategy that the left seems to pursue, and it's the hard left seems to pursue here, which is, one it's OK to punch a Nazi. Two, you're a Nazi get ready to be punch.
And Unfortunately, that seems to be promulgated in more and more universities these days. And that's an insane perspective, that the state is somehow promulgating right-wing speech by not banning right wing speech. That is a full rejection of the first amendment.
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Let's be clear, Ben, obviously there is no excuse for people that do not condemn violence, it should be condemned to the highest levels. But issue also highlights the hypocrisy of the right wing and republicans.
Because where was there full throttled opposition when Donald Trump was advocating violence at his rallies to protesters, when he said that he would hold their coats, when he would say that he would pay the legal bills if the protesters got beat up by his supporters?
And where is the opposition when Donald Trump announces our free press? Now, they are concerned with free speech when they are under attack. Yet, President Trump keeps calling our free press the enemy of democracy.
MCCALLUM: Ben, go ahead.
SHAPIRO: OK. So, President Trump, number one has not actually done anything to stop the free press. And second, as far as he's talking about violence...
ZIMMERMAN: He's trying to widen the libel laws, Ben.
MCCALLUM: Let him finish.
SHAPIRO: Me, I was condemning it. I was condemning it. OK? There are a lot of people on the right who are condemning it. And I'm glad there are some people on the left who are condemning it as well. But the bottom line is, that in Berkeley, you actually have a system that is allowing violence to rage out of control actually shutting down speech.
The only speech with regard to Trump that I've seen actually actively shut down was Trump rallies actually being canceled in Chicago, thanks to Black Lives Matter protesters.
ZIMMERMAN: That's incorrect, Ben.
SHAPIRO: In San Jose, Trump people being beaten up that is going to a Trump rally.
ZIMMERMAN: Ben, let's be clear. President Trump is advocating i fact, widening our libel laws which threaten free speech and threaten the free press, and in addition to which he's also...
ZIMMERMAN: ... you don't see any members of -- any republicans in Congress or leaders in the conservative movement condemning President Trump when he advocates violence against protesters. And that is if they did...
MCCALLUM: He didn't advocate violence against protesters.
ZIMMERMAN: Yes, he did. He's threaten...
MCCALLUM: They're back. As Ben points there were many occasions were his people were the one who are being attacked.
ZIMMERMAN: Martha, he actually advocated paying the legal bills of his supporters beat up protesters. He said I'll hold their coats. That's advocating violence.
MCCALLUM: You know, you don't think any part of that was, you know, a little bit of hyperbole or a little bit of joking in the moment?
ZIMMERMAN: There is no joking when you threaten violence.
SHAPIRO: And by the way, the idea that...
ZIMMERMAN: On the campuses or at a Trump rally.
SHAPIRO: Nobody on the right was condemning this is insane. There was a full throated wing of the Republican Party that was condemning this at every single step.
ZIMMERMAN: Hang on...
MCCALLUM: Thank very much, guy.
SHAPIRO: Again, there's a government doing it in Berkeley.
MCCALLUM: We'll be right back.
ZIMMERMAN: good to be with you.
MCCALLUM: Busy night here on "The Story." Our thanks to the Piazza family for joining us evening. Lots coming up straight ahead this evening with Tucker Carlson right after this. In the meantime, send me a tweet, @marthamccallum.
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