Fox News "the Story" - Trascript: Interview with Senator Trey Gowdy



MACCALLUM: So, when we come back, Congressman Trey Gowdy will be with us to weigh in. And let us talk about chaos. And also a bit of chaos coming on at these confirmation hearings unfolding on The Hill. And does he have a theory perhaps on who the senior White House official might be? Not White House, administration official might be, when we come back.


MACCALLUM: So there's a live look at Capitol Hill right now where it is still going on. It is an absolute marathon of questioning for Brett Kavanaugh who wants to be the next Supreme Court Justice. Aside from a few short breaks, he's basically been in the chair since 9:30 this morning when all of this started off with yet another bang. Democratic senator Cory Booker believed to be a front-runner potentially to challenge President Trump in 2020 releasing what he termed were confidential documents to the public.


MACCALLUM: So just in case you don't know what he's referring to. This is the moment from the classic movie with Kirk Douglas. Watch.


MACCALLUM: So that's what it is. So there's one problem here. According to a lawyer in charge of those documents, the lawyer in charge of them, they were already made public. In a statement to Fox News, Bill Burck says we were surprised to learn about Senator Booker's histrionics, as he puts it, this morning because he had already -- we had already told him he could use those documents publicly. Congressman Trey Gowdy, no stranger to wild hearings on the Hill joins us now. Congressman, good to see you tonight. Thank you very much for joining us.

REP. TREY GOWDY, R--S.C.: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Obviously, this is going on, on the Senate side but I'm curious about your thoughts about what Senator Booker did today and whether or not there was any reason for the drama surrounding it.

GOWDY: Only 20-20 presidential politics, Martha. They missed a wonderful opportunity -- the Senate did to have a robust interesting hearing about judicial philosophy and whether you're a strict constructionist or whether you're a minimalist. I mean, these are legitimate questions and reasonable minds can differ. What I've watched over the last couple of days was a bunch of people who want to be the nominee in 2020 and it's sad. I grew up watching confirmation hearings. I'm a little bit of a nerd. I think they're -- it's incredible to watch smart people question other smart people about important matters.

So you're seeing 20-20 presidential politics but you're also seeing at its core this division upon about what the role of the court is. Is it a super-legislature by which you can obtain the -- your objective if you can't get it at the ballot box or do you want people to simply interpret the law.

MACCALLUM: I mean, that that is ultimately the question in terms of how a justice would rule, what goes into those decisions, and how -- what their process is, and how closely adhered they are to the Constitution. But it didn't prevent people from trying obviously to try to read some tea leaves, to try to look at some of the e-mails and statements that he has made in the past, Brett Kavanaugh, that might shed some light on how he might rule in the future.

Here's Kamala Harris asking an interesting you know, question which doesn't really have a whole lot to do with you know, basic Constitutional questions but she wanted to know if he had ever communicated with one of the attorneys who at one point was involved in the Mueller probe. Watch this.


MACCALLUM: She went on to say something like I think you may be thinking of someone and pressing him further on that. What did you make of that exchange? Is it -- is it useful?

GOWDY: When I'm sitting here thinking is every time we asked a question about Mueller, we're accused of undermining the Mueller probe so she's asking, of course, you know. But is it useful? It depends on what the factual predicate is. If she has evidence that Brett Kavanaugh has already made up his mind about some essential role, some essential issue that's going to come before the court, then she needs to lay out that factual predicate and get him to respond to it.

But do you know anyone who works at the following D.C. law firm is an absurd, ridiculous question that you would only ask if you wanted to appeal to the base and position yourself as a front-runner ahead of Cory, and Elizabeth Warren, and everyone else for the pole position in 2020. Then it's a really good question.

MACCALLUM: In your mind, did anybody -- you know, we're there any moments where you thought, I don't think that was a great answer on his part?

GOWDY: I didn't watch -- the House didn't work too hard today but we did work today so I didn't get to watch as much of it today. I watched all of the opening statements. I thought Ben Sasse did a phenomenal job of framing the issue of how you view the court. I did watch -- I've known Cory since I've since I got to Washington. That's not the Cory Booker that I know that I watched on television.

And the shame of it all to me is that is what ambition and presidential politics can do to otherwise reasonable people. That was the shame of it to me. That is not the Cory Booker that I discussed criminal justice reform with. That is someone trying to position himself as the frontrunner so he can take on Donald Trump. And I think, Martha, people are sick of four year-long presidential election cycles. I mean, they were positioning themselves from the moment he finished his inaugural address and I think people were sick of that.

MACCALLUM: All right, I want to play -- just to get to one other topic because The Daily Beast tonight is just putting out a news story which suggests that there are other people in the larger Trump administration who were cheering on and fist-bumping each other at the release of this anonymous editorial that came out last night and that there are you know, folks who are sort of lying in wait to make sort of the same kind of statements out there. What do you think about that?

GOWDY: Well, why do we have the right to cross-examine witnesses? Why do we have the right to confront our accusers? Why do we make children testify in a courtroom feet away from the people that they allege abuse them? That's how much we value the power to cross-examine and confront people who make accusations. You can't do that with an anonymous source. So if you really think this president is unfit, if you really are contemplating the 25th Amendment, then resign your job or go public.

If you think the fate of our republic hangs in the balance of what you're going to tell the New York Times editorial board, then show your face and deal with the consequences of it. But this anonymity and fist-bumping behind closed doors, how does that help us? If you have information and evidence, bring it forward, let people cross-examine, and test and probe the efficacy and accuracy of your information. But to hide behind anonymity, it doesn't happen in any courtroom. I'm not saying that journalists shouldn't rely on anonymous sources. You're welcome to do that. But when you're calling in the into question the fitness of the leader of the free world, it is not too much to ask that you step forward.

MACCALLUM: Trey Gowdy, thank you very much, Congressman.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am.

MACCALLUM: Always good to see you.

GOWDY: You too.

MACCALLUM: Thanks for coming tonight.

GOWDY: Thank you.