As the incoming Trump administration continues to battle with the media ahead of next week’s inauguration, its nominees face contentious Congressional Confirmation hearings. We'll have the latest from Vice President-elect Mike Pence—live here in Washington.
Gov. Rick Perry talks indictment, immigration; Sen. Ron Johnson, Rep. Eliot Engel on US reengagement in Iraq
Written by Shannon Bream / Published August 17, 2014 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Gov. Rick Perry, Rod Wheeler, Sen. Ron Johnson , Rep. Eliot Engel
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," August 17, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Shannon Bream in for Chris Wallace.
A state of emergency is declared and a curfew enforced in Ferguson, Missouri, as protests over the police shooting of that unarmed teenager continue.
GOV. JAY NIXON, D-MO.: We're going to achieve justice. We must first have and maintain peace.
CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI HIGHWAY PATROL: We're all talking about the same concerns and the same passion. The frustration that's in your home is in my home.
BREAM: We'll have a live report and analysis from Ferguson.
Then, Texas Governor Rick Perry hits the campaign trail in Iowa, ramping up speculation about another presidential run.
We'll talk with Governor Perry about 2016, his battle with President Obama over immigration, and that new indictment. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.
Plus, Iraq's prime minister steps down as the U.S. retaliates against violent ISIS attacks.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We will continue airstrikes to protect our people and facilities in Iraq. Perhaps most importantly, we're urging Iraqis to come together.
BREAM: What does the formation of a new government mean for U.S. engagement in Iraq? We'll discuss with two members of Congress, Senator Ron Johnson and Congressman Eliot Engel?
And, Hillary Clinton sparks a political firestorm after criticizing President Obama 's foreign policy. Our Sunday panel weighs in on Clinton's efforts to distance herself from the president.
All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
BREAM: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
Texas Governor Rick Perry has made a number of headlines in recent weeks. First, it was his center stage clash with President Obama over the crisis on our border. Then, his campaign stop in Iowa during speculation about a 2016 presidential run. But late this week, news broke that the governor had been indicted on felony charges over alleged abuse of power.
Joining us now from Austin, Governor Rick Perry.
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: Good morning, Shannon.
BREAM: All right. We want to explain to folks what you're facing here. You have been indicted on two felony accounts, abuse of power. The grand jury indictment alleges this, that you, quote, "With the intent to harm another, intentionally or knowingly misused government property, and by means of coercion, intentionally or knowingly influenced or attempted to influence Rosemary Lehmberg, a public servant." She is the D.A. in Travis County.
The head of the Texas Democratic Party said this, quote, "Governor Rick Perry has brought dishonor to his office, his family, and the state of Texas." They're calling for you to step down.
How do you respond?
PERRY: Well, I think it's important for people to understand the details of this. And the D.A., the highest ranking prosecutor in Travis County, who also has oversight for state officials -- this individual was stopped driving while drunk. She had almost three times the legal limit of alcohol, .238 I believe is what it was.
When you look at the video, not only of the stop, if you look at the video of Ms. Lehmberg when she was being booked into the county jail, the abusiveness, she was kicking on the door. She was abusing the law officials. She had to be restrained.
And when you look at that and you have to make a decision on whether or not $7.5 million of Texas taxpayer money is going to go to the unit that she oversees, I very clearly, I very publicly said as long as that individual is going to be running that agency, I had lost confidence in her. The public had lost confidence in her, and I did what every governor has done for decades, which is make a decision on whether or not it was in the proper use of state money to go to that agency, and I vetoed it.
That's what the rule of law is really about, Shannon. And I stood up for the rule of law in the state of Texas, and if I had to do it again, I would make exactly the same decision.
BREAM: Well, a special prosecutor in this case says he thinks you should take this seriously. He's looked at the law, he's looked at the facts, interviewed more than 40 people. You know these charges on conviction could result in more than 100 years in prison. He's convinced a grand jury, it is a different game with a jury.
But is there any small part of you that's worried at all that that will happen?
PERRY: Well, I certainly take everything I do seriously. The rule of law in particularly I take seriously.
But let me just -- let me just share with you, David Axelrod said this was a very sketchy indictment. Professor Dershowitz, who is not exactly my cheerleader, said that it was outrageous. So I think across the board, you're seeing people weigh in and reflecting that this is way outside of the norm. This is not the way that we settle differences, political differences, in this country. You don't do it with indictments. We settle our political differences at the ballot box.
And I think, you know, across the board, when you got David Axelrod and Harvard law professor Dershowitz saying the things that they said, I think it's really reflective of what we're looking at here.
And I also want to say thanks to people like Rick Scott and Jeb Bush and Bobby Jindal and Senator Ted Cruz, that have very publicly stated that they, too, that think this is way outside the realm of any type of thoughtful look at the laws in the state of Texas.
BREAM: You mentioned the David Axelrod tweet. He said the indictment seems to him, quote, "pretty sketchy." So, you do have support from an unlikely source there.
Now, something that you and Mr. Axelrod probably don't agree on is the issue of immigration. You have been very vocal about what's going on in Texas and have called the administration to task. They say now the number show that the influx of those unaccompanied children who are coming across the border illegally has dropped significantly.
To what do you attribute that? Do you give the administration any credit for the numbers going down?
PERRY: Well, here's what I know is happening. Almost six weeks ago, we surged into that area of operation with our Department of Public Safety, our Texas Ranger Recon Teams, our Parks and Wildlife.
We brought real attention to the issue. We're sending messages back to Central America that you should not send your children hereby. They're not going to be able to walk across the border. We talked powerfully about surging the National Guard into that area as well.
So, I would suggest to you that the issue here really goes back to that rule of law, if you will. We're not securing the border as the Constitution calls for us to.
When you add the IRS scandal that's going on and the outside of the rule of law there, and then you look at what's happened in Austin, Texas, with this grand jury, I think there is some extraordinary concern in this country about the rule of law not being followed and too many things are being decided in arenas that shouldn't be decided from the standpoint of a government that's out of control.
People want to get back to the rule of law and knowing with certainty that our border is going to be secure, that the IRS is not going to come knocking down their door looking for things, and that the NSA is not listening in on our phone conversations. BREAM: Well, longer term on this particular issue, the administration has signaled that the president is considering executive action, with respect to immigration. He said he's basically been left no choice because of lawmakers.
Here's what he said just before the folks on Capitol Hill left for their August recess.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If, in fact, House Republicans are concerned about me acting independently of Congress, despite the fact that I have taken fewer executive actions than my Republican predecessor or my Democratic predecessor before that or the Republican predecessor before that, then the easiest way to solve it is pass some legislation. Get things done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: And the administration's publicly called on you to get behind that. I think a letter back in July than Valerie Jarrett sent specifically and publicly asking you to influence lawmakers to get something done on Capitol Hill. So, is that the solution? And absent that, does the president have no choice left but to act, as he says?
PERRY: Well, here's what I think is very important for the president to understand, and for Washington to understand as well. You're not going to have comprehensive immigration reform until the border is secure.
The American people do not trust this president, and they do not trust Washington to do these two things at the same time. They expect the border to be safe.
When a border patrol agent was killed in Willacy County this last week by an individual who had been deported multiple times, the people of the state of Texas -- and I will suggest to you, all across the country -- are fed up with that. They want this border to be secured. They want to be able to live in their communities and feel like they're safe.
And if this president does not do what's required to secure the border first, I will suggest to you: whatever he does is going to be a failure.
BREAM: Well, to that end, the first wave of National Guard troops that you called up are now positioned there. Estimates it's going to cost anywhere from $12 million to maybe up to $18 million a month to have them there.
One of your frequent critics, Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro says there's no defined mission for these troops. He says, "Essentially, it appears to be a feel-good show of force without clear purpose."
There had been questions about whether you would grant these individuals the ability to apprehend, to arrest. What is there role, and how do you respond to critics who say you're using the border to fuel your 2016 ambition?
PERRY: Well, I think that anyone who wants to make this be about politics needs to go to Willacy County and to Mrs. Vega, Ms. Marie Vega, whose son, that border patrol agent, former marine, great American patriot, who was killed -- shot down in cold blood by an individual who had been deported multiple times.
I hope Mr. Castro or anybody else who's being critical of this thinks that that's political.
It's not. The citizens of this country and the citizens of Texas expect to be able to live in safety in their communities. That's what the rule of law is truly all about.
Washington has failed at that. This president has failed. He has had almost six years to address this issue. He refuses to.
That is what must be addressed, and I'm going to do it, and Texas is going to do it. We're going to secure the border of this country and do everything in our power to make sure our citizens are safe.
BREAM: All right, Governor, let's talk beyond Texas. How about we talk about Iowa? Because by our count, you've been there four times since the last election.
You were there last week where conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats said this, quote, "It was the best I've ever heard Perry. I thought he's raised his game substantially."
So, what can you tell us about running in 2016?
PERRY: Well, I hope that I can be very helpful between now and the 4th of November so that Joni Ernst will go to the United States Senate representing Iowa. Obviously, Terry Branstad is going to be a fabulous job and win (ph) going our way up there, but there are some other races that we worked with.
Their State Senate is just a couple seats away from having control, Republican control, so that they have both the House, the Senate, the governor, the lieutenant governor, and they can then become an incredibly influential state from the standpoint of economic development.
Between now to November 4th is what I'm focused on. 2016 will take care of itself.
BREAM: All right. November 5th, if you want to come talk to us about 2016, Governor, please do.
BREAM: Good to see you this morning. Governor Perry, thank you for joining us.
PERRY: Thanks, Shannon. Yes, ma'am.
BREAM: Well, tensions remain high in Ferguson, Missouri, after the police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old sparks outrage across the country. We will have a live report and analysis, next.
BREAM: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson yesterday and put a curfew in place for citizens there, midnight to 5 a.m. Clashes between police and protesters have plagued the city ever since the August 9th shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer.
We'll discuss the facts of the case with a former homicide detective in a moment. But first, Fox News correspondent Mike Tobin is live in Ferguson on a very rainy morning.
Good morning, Mike.
MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Shannon.
And we did not make it through the first night of the curfew without clashes. You can't really call a widespread, seven arrests total. Most of them centering around this barbecue restaurant that's physically located at the heart of the demonstrations.
Now, Captain Ron Johnson of the state police made a point of clarifying that the heavier tactics that were used were not directly related to enforcement of the curfew. Rather, a gun was spotted, shots were fired, one person was shot and taken to the hospital in critical condition. Also, a police cruiser was fired upon. Beyond that, police had information that people had broken into a restaurant and were up on the roof.
So, they moved in with smoke canisters, as well as one tear gas canister.
Captain Johnson explained.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: The operation tonight, because of our initial response, is to -- was going in Red's Barbecue in the shooting, were operational responses, and the response was not related to the enforcement of the curfew.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TOBIN: As much as Captain Johnson entered this process, a hero embraced by the community, and he embraced it, we're seeing a community that's growing impatient with him, in part because he didn't use enough force to stop the looting, on the other hand, for using too much force and repeating the scenes of the near nightly clashes with police. At a press conference yesterday, he was heckled by people who want punishment for Officer Darren Wilson and aren't taking the time to understand the process. It can really be summed up by one heckler who shouted out over the crowd: Let me get this straight, you have the authority to suppress the people, but you don't have the authority to arrest a killer cop -- Shannon.
BREAM: Mike, thank you very much.
Joining us now with his analysis of the Michael Brown case, former homicide detective and Fox News contributor, Rod Wheeler. He's also there in Ferguson. Detective, thank you so much for your time today.
I want to start out by playing a little of what Governor Nixon had to say about the situation and trying to restore order in Ferguson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIXON: If we're going to achieve justice, we must first have and maintain peace. This is a test. The eyes of the world are watching.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: All right. You've been there for a couple days now, seen it firsthand through the day and night. How would you grade this test? How are things going in Ferguson?
ROD WHEELER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think things are a lot better tonight or today, Shannon, than they have been the past two nights. Now, you know, I was here Friday night and I was actually right in the midst, right in the heart of all of the rioting, and it was really total chaos out here that night. There was no police out here. And then, right around 1:30 a.m., that's when police eventually moved in.
Last night, again, the same thing -- I was right in the middle of the curfew, and there was a lot of rioting then.
The good news, though, Shannon, is yesterday, during the day, there was a lot of demonstrations, a lot of protests, and they were all peaceful. As a matter of fact, Reverend Jesse Jackson was here, I was walking with him, and he was preaching nonviolence, and no one was violent yesterday.
Now, the challenge for the police department, the governor, and everyone else is going to be: what's going to happen tonight? And I can tell you that the police are strategically trying to gather intelligence so that they can be prepared for whatever happens.
The community, though -- most people in this community -- want peace, Shannon. BREAM: Well, let me ask you this because you have a great deal of experience in dealing with these kinds of cases and situations. The police chief there in Ferguson, Thomas Jackson, has taken a lot of heat for releasing a video that seems to show the victim in this case, Michael Brown, involved with a robbery prior to him then later being shots and killed.
We understand that federal authorities, Department of Justice, did not want that video released. It was done by local authorities on Friday.
How do you think that's impacted the situation?
WHEELER: Well, that has impacted the situation tremendously. Let me tell you why real quickly.
You know, there's a serious disconnect, Shannon, between the state police and the city police here in Ferguson. They don't even communicate with each other, and a lot of it has to do with the release of that video.
Now, in my opinion as a homicide investigator, I don't see the significance of releasing that video right now because according to the police chief, it has nothing to do with the arrest or the shooting of Michael Brown. If that's the case, then why release it? And that's what the people in this community are saying.
So, I think they're going to have to go back, Shannon, take a look at how this was handled and hopefully not make those serious mistakes again.
BREAM: Quickly, how tough is it for police in this situation? You mentioned trying to protect local businesses, trying to protect local people who want no part of this. They want to peacefully protest against those who are there to do real harm, and the police risk looking like they have too heavy a hand.
WHEELER: Right, and they have been somewhat heavy-handed. But I think right now they have things under control. Again, it's going to have to be working with the community. They're going to have to bridge that gap, because right now, it's a serious gap, a fracture between the community and the police department.
So, they're going to have to clearly work on that going forward, if they're going to be effective in this community.
BREAM: Rod, thank you so much for your time today.
WHEELER: Sure. Thank you, Shannon.
BREAM: And, by the way, we extended an invitation to Missouri Governor Nixon to join this program. He is doing four other Sunday shows today, but he declined our request.
What are your thoughts on the situation in Ferguson? We want to hear from you. Join the conversation on Facebook with other FNS viewers.
Up next, ISIS continues to terrorize Iraq, and Ukraine targets a convoy of Russian military vehicles. Two top members of Congress join us to discuss the U.S. role in escalating situations all across the globe, next.
BREAM: U.S. airstrikes in Iraq are ongoing. The current operation said to be a joint Kurdish Iraqi and U.S. campaign, aimed at bringing the Mosul dam from ISIS control.
We will talk with two members of Congress in just a moment.
But first, FOX News senior foreign affairs correspondent Greg Palkot from the city of Irbil with the very latest on the operation -- Greg.
GREG PALKOT, FOX NEWS SENIOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Shannon, Fox News has learned the U.S. jet fighters and unmanned drones continue to hit ISIS positions around that dam today, and what is clearly the opening up of a new front in the war against militants.
PALKOT (voice-over): Peshmerga Kurdish fighters are on the move, advancing with Iraqi forces on ISIS militants in an attempt to retake the strategic Mosul dam, held by ISIS, there are fears they could let it burst or blow it up with devastating effect. In coordinated action, the U.S. launched nine airstrikes Saturday against ISIS positions at the dam.
A local Peshmerga commander told us the terrorists can be beaten.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
PALKOT (on camera): Absolutely?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
PALKOT: That's the note.
(voice-over): This, as the humanitarian crisis builds, 400,000 refugees fleeing the militants crowding into one Northern Iraqi province alone, 1.5 million are across the region.
Relief workers are coping to keep up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're very needy. They need food, (INAUDIBLE). They need shelter. They need medical support, like medical supplies. They need -- and then, psychologically, they need help because they're traumatized.
PALKOT: Indeed, ethnic minorities, Yazidi refugees, are still reeling from details of Friday's massacre of Yazidis in a village near Mt. Sinjar. Some 80 men and teenagers were killed by militants, some at close range. At least 100 women and children were kidnapped.
"You cannot even say they're animals," this refugee says of ISIS. "Even in the jungle, animals have laws. They don't abide by any laws. They are really monsters."
PALKOT: He called them monsters. There are, in fact, new reports of ISIS militants killing men and kidnapping women. U.S. officials tell us that they are investigating those reports.
Back to you, Shannon.
BREAM: Greg, thank you very much.
Now, let's bring in two key members of Congress. Senator Ron Johnson, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. And Congressman Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Welcome to you both.
REP. ELIOT ENGEL, D-N.Y., RANKING MEMBER, FOREIGN AFFAIRS CMTE: Thank you. Good to be here.
SEN. RON JOHNSON, R-WIS., FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Good morning, Shannon.
BREAM: I want to start with a question for both of you, and I'll address it to you first, Senator Johnson.
You've heard about the ongoing activity that we have continuing in Iraq. At what point do you feel like the administration needs to come to Congress for any type of authorization?
JOHNSON: Well, first of all, it's a very good sign that President Obama is beginning to act. And, you know, honestly, couple weeks ago, President Obama did invite about eight or nine members of the foreign relations and armed services committee into the White House to speak with his council about a new authorization for the use of military force, which I think is pretty long overdue. They're finding out that trying to act militarily with the current authorization in place is becoming pretty tenuous.
So, that's a good sign that President Obama is recognizing the fact that he's going to need authority to deal with this new asymmetric threat. And we just heard from Greg Palkot. I mean, ISIS method of diplomacy are beheadings, crucifixions, mass executions or live burials, and enslavement of women and forced marriages. These are evil people that need to be defeated. I'm glad that President Obama is finally beginning to act.
BREAM: Congressman Engel, same question to you about getting Congress onboard.
ENGEL: I think Congress has to play an important role in this. This is the way our Constitution works and I think Congress is really tired of presidents just going in by themselves. So, I think there has to be consultation and an assent from Congress.
But I do agree with the senator. I think that what's going on in Iraq is horrific and it warrants a response. We cannot just put our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn't exist, because if we allow ISIS to get bigger and bigger, they're going to plot homeland attacks on us.
BREAM: Well, and here's what deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, said when I asked him earlier this week about what the long term strategy is for the administration regarding ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN RHODES, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Provide assistance to -- and equipment to those Iraqi forces who are taking the fight to ISIL so that we can squeeze them in the space that they're operating in and ultimately address that threat that they're posing not just to Iraq but to the region and to the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Senator Johnson, you heard him there specifically mention a threat to the U.S. What do you think needs to be our long term strategy here?
JOHNSON: We need to defeat them.
You know, we had deputy assistant secretary of the state, Brent McGurk, in front of our committee on July 24th. He said that ISIL or ISIS is far more capable of both manpower, and resources, and fighting effectiveness than what we faced in 2007. They're funneling 30 to 50 suicide bombers into Iraq every month. He said they could easily funnel those suicide bombers into Western nations.
We need to be highly concerned about this. This threat is a gathering storm. It's not going away. And like Congressman Engel said, we can't bury our heads in the sand in this one.
We may be war-weary. But I'll tell you, ISIS, ISIL is not war- weary. They've been -- they're highly trained, they are highly organized. They have been very patient setting up this caliphate, and that they're long term aim really is to use that base of operation against the West.
BREAM: And Congressman, we have seen them break through the Lebanon border. There has been great operation, we know, in Syria. I mean there are very big concerns now about Aleppo. What is your concern about that immediate situation in Syria with regard to ISIS?
ENGEL: Well, the Syrian opposition, the Free Syria Army, whom we should have armed two years ago, is facing defeat, and they have called on us to bomb ISIS outside of Aleppo. I think we should consider doing it because this is one war. It's building from Syria into Iraq. The border is obliterated. There's no border anymore, and I think we need to fight ISIS wherever they rear their ugly heads. You know, when we, years ago, when the Russians were thrown out of Afghanistan, and we just sort of looked the other way and didn't really focus, al Qaeda, the Taliban, allowed al Qaeda to plot against the United States and that culminated in September 11th, 2001. If we allow ISIS to get stronger, and stronger, if they take Aleppo, it's the end of the Free Syria Army and also would mean that ISIS would have essentially a no man's land in Syria through Iraq to plot and plan attacks on our homeland. And frankly, our European allies should step up to the fight. They are geographically much closer to Iraq and Syria than we are and I don't hear many good things frankly coming from our NATO allies with the European Union. They need to step up also. We're all in this fight together.
BREAM: And what I'm hearing from both of you is that you do feel that there is a significant threat to the U.S. long term if ISIS isn't stamped out. Now, they do seem very motivated. They don't seem that they're slowing down in any respect. So, can either of you, and I'll start with you, congressman, envision a point where we are, despite as war weary as this country is, that we are putting boots on the ground or we are getting more heavily involved there so we don't have to confront them here?
ENGEL: Well, I don't think we're going to put boots on the ground the way we we did before in Iraq. I don't think anybody really wants to do that. But we do have some boots on the ground right now, and frankly, we need to do everything we can to repel ISIS. I don't think we have the luxury of putting our heads in the sand and saying, well, it's over there and we're not going to do it. I think what we're doing now is effective and we are going to do more of it and ultimately we may have some boots on the ground there. Not something I want, but you know what, we have that choices and the worse choice is to do nothing.
BREAM: Well, Senator, the president clearly campaigned and was elected, in part, on his promises to get us out of that part of the world. A lot of lives were invested, a lot of treasure invested, so what is your take on where we go from here?
JOHNSON: Unfortunately, President Obama bugged out of Iraq, and that was a strategic and historic blunder and we're seeing the results of that. So, right now, what the president has to do is he has to assemble a coalition of the willing. We have to realize there was a German and an Australian suicide bomber the week of July 24Tth. That's what Brett McGurk reported to us. We have seen the first American suicide bomber set himself off in Syria in May. So this is a growing threat to America. And we really do need to, like Congressman Engel said, we have got to assemble NATO, we have to strengthen NATO not only to handle what is happening in Iraq and Syria, but also what is happening in Ukraine and Eastern Europe as well.
BREAM: All right, I want to pivot to Ukraine and Russia, because that has been hitting up, conversations about Russian convoys going across the border. Ukrainian officials saying that they have taken out some of those vehicles. Reports that a Ukrainian jet has been shot down. And I want to look at some new polls that we have out this week. 74 percent of those surveyed say President Obama has not been tough enough on Russia. 77 percent say that Putin does not take President Obama seriously. Congressman, are the sanctions working there? Is our strategy with respect to Russia with the advances of President Putin, is it working?
ENGEL: Well, I think that the NATO alliance is being tested by Putin. You know, for the past 15 or 20 years, the equation for NATO was always that Russia was kind of a partner, that we sort of didn't need to look at Russia as an adversary. That's no longer the case. Putin has clearly indicated he's an adversary of the West, and therefore, the whole equation of NATO has to change or else NATO is dead. So, what it really means is that the clause in the NATO agreement that every country has to spend at least 2 percent of its budget on defense has to be enforced. Right now only three or four countries including the United States spend that much in defense. So, I think that Putin is a bully. And if you don't stand up to a bully early on, you are going to have to stand up to them later on. And, you know, we still have that. I don't like comparisons to Hitler, but in 1938, some of the people said, well, just give Hitler Czechoslovakia. Just give Sudetenland. He's worrying about protecting ethnic Germans, if we do that, everything will be all right. And we saw what happened. Now some people are saying, well, just give Putin Crimea or maybe a little bit of eastern Ukraine. He's protecting ethnic Russians. You can't allow this bully to do that. And I think the way we deal with Putin now is going to set the stage for the next 25 years because he's going to be around for a long time. And if he thinks we're paper tigers, he's going to continue to move with impunity.
BREAM: Senator, have we missed the opportunity to deal more forcefully with him? Where do we go?
JOHNSON: Let's hope we haven't missed the opportunity. But, you know, I keep hearing administration officials saying that they want to offer an off ramp to Vladimir Putin. He's not looking for off ramps. He's looking for on ramps. We should have complied with the Prime Minister Yatsenyuk request for small arms ammunition immediately. We should be very avertly, very vocally, very visibly showing support for Poroshenko right now, saying that we're going to actually honor the Budapest Memorandum, we're going to help Poroshenko assure his -- his territorial integrity and certainly his governing independence, and as Congressman Engel said, that's the way you have to treat a bully. You really do have to achieve peace through strength, and we've got to beef up NATO. You know, defense or foreign minister Sikorski in Poland said that the Polish-American Alliance is useless and it could actually be a counterproductive because it creates a false sense of security. That's the wrong way for our allies to be thinking of America, but, you know, because of the lack of result, the lack of -- the weakness we have shown, that's the how our allies are starting to view us. We have to turn that situation around, we are going to show far greater strength of resolve, we have to make sure that Poroshenko has fully support in his efforts to really secure eastern Ukraine and really defeat the Russian aggression into eastern Ukraine.
BREAM: Senator Johnson, Congressman Engel, thank you both for joining us today.
JOHNSON: Thank you, Shannon.
ENGEL: Have a great day. BREAM: You, too.
Up next, what does Maliki's resignation mean for U.S. engagement in Iraq? Our Sunday panel weighs in, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Now, the situation on the mountain has greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts, because the skill and professionalism of our military and the generosity of our people, we broke the ISIL siege of Mt. Sinjar, we helped vulnerable people to reach safety and we helped save many innocent lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: President Obama praising the U.S. military operation in Iraq before making clear that our involvement there is not over yet. It's time now for our Sunday Group. Syndicating Columnist George Will. "USA Today" columnist Kirsten Powers. Fox News contributor Liz Cheney and Amy Walter from "The Cook Political Report." Good Sunday morning to all of you. Amy, I'll start with you. The president in that moment, in those remarks from Martha's Vineyard sounded like a teeny bit of a victory last night. We have accomplished our humanitarian mission here, but it is clear -- I mean with air strikes field (ph) going on around the most ...
AMY WALTER, THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT: It's not over.
WALTER: That it's not over. But to be able to say we have done something. I said we're going to have very strict parameters around it. It was successful, and now we can move on. It continues with a sort of whack-a-mole strategy, I think from this White House, which is confront the crisis while it's happening, but do not get much more engaged than that, trying to keep the U.S. out of anything that is more direct than that.
BREAM: Well, Liz, I mean you heard the congressman and senator that we had just before this. Both saying that we have to do something decisive with respect to ISIL and ISIS. Nobody wants to think about getting too involved, but it may require that if we don't want them to show up here.
LIZ CHENEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Right, now, absolutely, Shannon. ISIS has got to be fought, they have got to be defeated. They can't be contained. And even this limited objective the president set out for himself, we now know that you've had Yazidi slaughtered after he declared that it had been a success. The longer the president waits to take true offensive strategic action, the harder that fight is going to be ultimately, the bloodier the fight will be, the costlier it will be. The fight is coming. And secondly, the more likely it is that we're going to experience, unfortunately, potentially a mass casualty terrorist attack on the home land. It's absolutely clear ISIS is telling people in the intelligence community last week briefed reporters and said that ISIS knows that a war with the United States is inevitable, so it's coming. And for the president to be saying things like, I want a solution in Iraq that has no victor and no vanquished, which is what he said last week, you know, I think frankly you're to the point now where this is very clearly a dereliction of duty on his part. He's unwilling to take any kind of offensive action to defeat ISIS and is watching this threat, which is a grave threat potentially of historic proportions grow by the day.
BREAM: But Kirsten, how does he sell that, though, to the American people when he has been the one saying that the U.S. is too involved in too many places and we need to come home?
KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: Well, he has to sell them on the facts, which is what Liz just said. I don't think there's a lot of disagreement over the threat that ISIS poses to the United States and poses to the people of Iraq. And if he's going to come out and say I care about humanitarian issues and I have to come in to save people from a humanitarian crisis, well, there's a lot more work to be done because he's incorrect when he says that he has somehow dealt with the humanitarian crisis. There are hundreds of thousands of refugees, well, internally displaced people, there are actually refugees in their own country, right now who don't have food or water or shelter and who are under threat by ISIS. So I think that he would have to sell that, and look, I think Americans have shown that they're pretty supportive of these air strikes. Even 65 percent of Democrats in the Fox News poll supported these air strikes. So, I don't think it's correct to think that Americans won't support doing something. They don't want a full-scale ground war, but they support what he's doing so far.
BREAM: George, can we neutralize ISIS, sort of that?
WILL: From the air? I doubt it very much. Something much bigger is happening. Yugoslavia was born at 1918 and died a few years ago of internal contradictions. There is nothing compared to those in Iraq. Iraq was born in 1920. Eight years ago, the senator from Delaware, Joe Biden, suggested partitioning Iraq along sectarian grounds. Well, it's doing it to itself now, the question for Liz and Kirsten and everyone, who's going to take back the cities of Fallujah, Tikrit, and Mosul? The Iraqi army? What is the Iraqi army fighting for? The Iraqi state? The Iraqi state barely exists now. A leader of the Kurdish fighters said there's an asymmetry in the motivation. So, the ISIL people want to die and go and have lunch with Mohammed. Our people want to fight and then go home to have dinner with their families. Those are the Kurds who have actually built a nation and know what they're fighting for. What would the Iraqi army be fighting for? And absent that, who will take the cities back?
CHENEY: Well, George, I mean you're right that it is a complete disaster and it is a sectarian mess, but I think that the security of the nation requires that we focus on what is the direct threat to us. And part of the problem in the president's policy to date has been, he has been saying, well, we have got to wait until we have a political solution before I'll take action. We've now had a political solution. Maliki is gone, but what we learned with the surge, for example, is that the military action, demonstrating to people that we will be there, we will be fighting with them, is critical. And at the end of the day, you know, granting everything you just said about the conditions on the ground, ISIS is a direct, immediate, grave, strategic threat to the security of the United States of America, and the president as commander in chief has an obligation to respond to that.
POWERS: And also, I don't think it is Iraqi Army. It's the Kurds and fair point about that they're not as diabolical as ISIS, but they have said that, you know, that they want to fight them. They have been deplaced (ph) where the refugees have been able to flee, they are taking care of them, and they need to be armed, they need to be given more arms than they are being given, they need -- and they have been asking for this for years, and really, in the last couple of months have been very aggressively asking for help.
WILL: It's one thing, however, to defend Kurdistan, it's another thing to do with the Marines -- terrible cost, which is a take back cities with urban warfare. And I'm not sure that Kurds have an appetite for that.
BREAM: I want to make sure that we touch on the situation in Ukraine and Russia as that continued to heat up. And, you know, there are these new polls, that we mentioned, how the president, our president, is doing on Russia. 74 percent say not tough enough. And when we were asked does Putin take Obama seriously, 77 percent said no, he doesn't take him seriously. So, Amy, where does that leave us?
WALTER: Well, I thought another interesting thing in this poll was when asked about how Americans think the president is doing on the issue of Ukraine, 20 percent didn't even have any opinion at all, which I think goes to the heart of the issue here, which is there are a lot of Americans. They see Putin, they think Cold War. It brings up a lot of those memories, but they don't exactly know what's happening in the Ukraine. So, judging him purely on if he's standing up to Putin or not, is -- that's pretty easy. Saying, what should we be doing, what should he be doing in Ukraine? How do we judge his efforts there, that's much tougher for the American public. So, I think it's just an overall sense, look, so much of what's happening right now in terms of the frustration Americans are having is also based on what is happening at home. There's a very deep frustration that politicians have been spending a whole lot of time talking about what is going on overseas, there's been a lot of talk about how we can help overseas, not enough about helping regular people. So, when people at home feel like the domestic issues haven't been solved, they get even more cocooned, and that is part of why you have this war weariness.
BREAM: And even though as we do have domestic issues raging and they may not understand the nuances of what's happening in Ukraine and Crimea and Russia and all that. It is still happening, and we do have to give it some attention, so George, where do we go from here?
WILL: Well, we go to the specific questions. As Amy (INAUDIBLE). It's one thing to say he should be stronger. It's another thing to say what should we do about it? Let's be blunt. 20 percent of Americans, you say, have no opinion on Ukraine. Not nearly 20 percent of Americans could find Ukraine on a map ...
WILL: Let alone the Crimea, which once upon a time was part of the Ukraine and is now conceded as departed. So, these polls are I think of very limited information.
BREAM: Well, we will continue our discussion, but not on international affairs. We're going to take a break here. When we come back, we're going to talk about Hillary Clinton. She's brought controversy when she criticized President Obama's foreign policy with an all part of her 2016 strategy. Plus, what would you like to ask the panel? Go to Facebook or Twitter @Foxnewssunday. We may use your question on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Absolutely. Yes, we're looking forward to it. Going to be there tonight.
ERIC SCHULTZ, DEPUTY WH PRESS SECRETARY: They continue to agree on a broad majority of issues confronting our country even if they have the occasional policy difference. The president appreciates her counsel and advice, but more importantly, he appreciates her friendship. And that's why he's looking forward to seeing her this evening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Hillary Clinton and White House spokesman Eric Schultz downplaying any rifts between President Obama and his former secretary of state after Clinton publicly criticized the president's foreign policy. We're back now with the panel. Kirsten, I'll start with you. I kind of caught your eye. It was so awkward, the position that Hillary was signing a book, she was kind of caught in the moment with that question. Trying to say everything is fine.
POWERS: Well, they apparently were at this party for Vernon Jordan's wife and were, you know, dancing on the dance floor and having a blast together, so allegedly, nothing is wrong between them. But I think pretty clearly, as much as she has said that she has reached out to the president to reassure him she didn't mean anything by it, I think she was really differentiating herself from him, very clearly. This was not a subtle statement. I think it was actually a pretty harsh statement for her to make about his foreign policy, and yes, she has already -- we all knew that she wanted to arm the Syrian rebels, but the way that she really, I think, attacked the president over his foreign policy philosophy I think is a much bigger attack than just disagreeing on maybe one particular country. BREAM: Just so people know, a little bit of what she had to say in this interview, as far as the U.S. moving faster to arm Syrian rebels fighting Assad, she said quote, "the failure left a vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled." She also said, "great nations need organizing principles and 'don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle."
We have indications that they knew how this was going to play with the administration, that her staffers had reached out to White House staffers. So clearly, she knew there was going to be some tension over these remarks.
WALTER: I agree with Kirsten. I don't think this was just a mistake, that this just happened to flow out of her mouth. I think it's very clear that she has been setting all along on this book tour, the guide posts or planting the flags for 2016. So that when we come back and have these interviews and say, gosh, is she just positioning herself now that it's 2016, she can say, oh, no, no, I told you in 2013, I told you in 2014, I told you on the book tour, I told you in this interview, this is where I stood. Trying to get that laid out now, and then when we go into 2016, we have the markers set.
BREAM: We have an interesting comment from Facebook. This comes in from Phil Holstead (ph). He said, "Why did she turn around and apologize to Obama for doing so after she had made these remarks?" If she is trying to differentiate herself, was it a little more explicit than she thought it was going to be? Why the apology after the fact?
CHENEY: I think it's a Washington game, the apology piece of it. She has two problems. One is substantive and one is political. And the substantive problem is that we're watching the complete and total collapse of the Obama foreign policy. And you are watching -- you have the secretary of defense basically saying the world is a disaster right now. And so Secretary Clinton is in a position where she's got to try to differentiate herself from that, but essentially that means differentiating herself from herself, since she oversaw this policy for four years. And that's very difficult, not to mention Benghazi, which she has yet to answer for.
But the political problem is she's attempting here to move right. It is going to anger those on the left. She's going to lose what support she has from those on the left of her own party, and she's not certainly going to gain support from those on the right, from those in my party, from people who will say, we have seen this before. You know, we know, for example, from Bob Gates' book, that Secretary Clinton has a history of taking political positions and overruling national security issues because of her own political gain. So it's a tough, complicated situation for her, and I think it's probably beyond her capacity to maneuver.
BREAM: We got this from Twitter. Bob Prosioso (ph) says why does Hillary behave like a whistle-blower who had no involvement in the events taking place during her tenure as secretary of state?" George, does it ring true to you?
WILL: That's surely the question. She's differentiating herself, certainly, defining herself. The question is, and I want to put this politely, how much ballast of belief does she actually have? She looks clever in what she's doing, but it's never clever in politics to look clever. Remember, in Bob Gates' memoir, he talks about how dismayed he was when she said to Obama in front of Gates that she had opposed President Bush's surge in Iraq for political reasons having to do with the competition with Obama in the Democratic primaries. You have the world, what, 18 months after she leaves secretary of state, exploding. That's the words of the president's own secretary of defense, and she can't really say everything was fine and then it suddenly exploded.
WALTER: Well, and let's also be clear. I know we're focusing on foreign policy, as we should be, but I think her bigger problem going into 2016, this is not so much about the primary but the general election, is distancing herself if the economy is not doing as well, than distancing herself from what's happening overseas.
So the bigger issue in 2016, as it is with every presidential election, is how do people feel about the economy? If there is -- that's going to be a tougher balancing act. Voters are going to attach every Democrat to what's happening with this president. And finding a way to differentiate herself, to say another four years of a Democrat in the White House is going to be a better economy because why? And having an answer for that question.
BREAM: We have another poll that may sound a little bit lighthearted, but there's some truth, probably, a nugget in here. The Fox News poll about who you would rather spend your summer vacation with. Hillary and Bill, 42 percent. Michelle and Barack Obama, 25 percent. Neither 27 percent, maybe that's the biggest number we should look at. But Hillary and Bill, way out in front on the summer vacation choices there. Is she aware -- the two of them at this point, maybe, it seems are more likable than the current president, but when you're in office, you're the one who's making all the tough decisions.
CHENEY: I think part of that summer vacation question, part of the answer to that is based on sort of like, which one is going to be more of a circus.
CHENEY: Yes, and you know, I think you know if you're hanging with the Clintons, it's going to be a circus. And I think, you know, this goes to Bill Clinton as well, also, we were talking about this before, the extent to which people look at him, look at how he's behaved, how he continues to behave, and not that that should blame Hillary for that, but more, do you really want that person living in your White House again?
WALTER: I will say this, nobody would have predicted this in 1999, but a poll recently out from NBC Wall Street Journal, Bill Clinton, related to other world leaders, he and the pope tied. The pope, tied in terms of likability -- in terms of their approval rating. OK? So nobody would have predicted that in the height of the impeachment scandal. BREAM: That's true. Who thinks he's a plus or minus for her?
POWERS: Who, Bill?
POWERS: A plus, definitely. In fact, I think -- I wish they would have just done would you rather be with Hillary or Obama. Because I think if you take Bill out of the equation, you might get a different number.
BREAM: George, what do you think?
WILL: He's a plus until people think of him wandering the corridors of the White House, footloose, fancy-free and bored.
BREAM: Bored being the key situation. All right, thank you all very much. That's it for the panel, and that's it for today. Chris Wallace will be back next week, and hope you have a great week, and of course, we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday" from right here in Washington.
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Sunday—We’ll discuss President-elect Trump’s testy relationship with the intelligence community & the report Russia obtained compromising intelligence on Trump in an exclusive sit-down with outgoing Director of the CIA, John Brennan.