The following is a rush transcript of the June
27, 2010, edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy
may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: Now, on to the other big stories we're following, Monday's Supreme
Court hearings for Elena Kagan and the firing of the top U.S. commander
Joining us are two senators leading the debate on both issues, Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Republican Lindsey Graham.
And, Senators, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Thank you for having me.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-CALIF.: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Let's start with Afghanistan. At the end of this tumultuous week, with
McChrystal out and Petraeus in, Senator Feinstein, what do we need to
do differently to win the war?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't pretend to be a general. I would say this. Forty percent
of the territory is either Taliban-controlled or contested. In
Kandahar, it's probably 50 percent of the area. The Taliban, in my
view, is one part terrorist group, one part narco cartel today.
Afghanistan is still producing 90 percent of the opium/heroin in the
world. It is a big problem.
I think that the surge really has to be brought to southern Afghanistan
and that's where the battle is going to be against the Taliban. That's
my view. You have a weak central government. It has to be buttressed.
It has to become stable. It has to be willing to pick up.
training of the military forces is on target and now I understand as of
yesterday that the training of the military police will be on target.
So those are two good signs and some difficulties.
WALLACE: Senator Graham, do you expect General Petraeus to make big changes once
he takes over in Afghanistan from relaxing or expanding the rules of
engagement to maybe bigger changes in strategy?
GRAHAM: Well, I think he'll look at the rules of engagement there as sort of a
common view that the rules of engagement hamper military operations,
that we're going too far the other way. But I'll leave that up to the
general. He's certainly a master at that kind of stuff.
Counterinsurgency will continue. My big concern as we move
forward — is the civilian side going to change? We've got a
dysfunctional relationship between the military-civilian components
that's essential to winning a counterinsurgency.
ambassador's a fine man, has a poor working relationship with President
Karzai. That's true of Ambassador Holbrooke. Can they function together
with General Petraeus? That's one thing I'd like to know. But the main
problem I have going forward is that we've got to clarify this
withdrawal date of July 2011. If it is a goal where we'll all try to
start transferring power over to the Afghans, I'm OK with that. If it's
a date where people are going to begin to leave no matter what, a
predetermined withdrawal date, that, in my view, will doom this
WALLACE: But let me —
there are a couple of points you made and let me — let me drill back on
them. On the question of replacing the civilian side — we're talking
about Ambassador Eikenberry and Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke...
WALLACE: ... do you expect the president to get rid of them? Was Petraeus given
any assurances that he would get his own civilian team when he takes
GRAHAM: I don't know, but I
know that the team they had were not working well — the releasing of
the memo from the embassy that, you know, the surge wouldn't work
because Karzai is so corrupt.
This is a
chance to start over completely, and the military- civilian
relationship is important. I'll leave that up to the president, but I'm
very concerned if nothing changes on the civilian side.
let me just say again, as — I'm not a general either, but I know this.
If you're sitting down with a tribal leader and everybody in
Afghanistan believes that we're going to begin to leave in July 2011 no
matter what, it's going to be hard to win over people on the fence, and
that's got to change or we're going to lose.
WALLACE: Now, let me just ask one more question and then I'll bring you into this, Senator Feinstein.
say that you're going to leave that to the president. One thing you
haven't left to the president is you say he should tell Vice President
Biden to shut up in terms of saying that come July 2011 a lot of people
are going to — are going to be leaving the country.
GRAHAM: Well, I said it tongue in cheek. There's two things here. If it's the
policy and he's echoing the policy, the policy needs to change. Is he
saying what the policy is — we're going to leave in large numbers July
of 2011, you can bet on it? If that's the policy, that will doom this
operation. If it's not the policy, he shouldn't be saying it.
belief is that he thinks it's the policy. Rahm Emanuel said last week
it's the policy. I really don't know. If General Petraeus is given the
challenge of turning Afghanistan around, and the enemy believes we're
going to leave next summer no matter what, or start to leave, it's
going to be very hard for him or anyone else to win.
WALLACE: Senator Feinstein?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I have great respect for General Petraeus. I think he really
should be a command presence of all of it. I think 10 years into it...
WALLACE: Over the civilians?
FEINSTEIN: Over the team. If the team isn't right, I think Petraeus' views should
be taken into consideration and observed by the administration.
is kind of, if you will, not a last ditch stand, but it is a major
change in the middle of the surge, and I think you put the general in,
he should make the call. If he can't work with the ambassador, the
ambassador should be changed. If he can't work with Holbrooke, that
I mean, I think we put all of our eggs in the Petraeus basket at this stage.
WALLACE: And let me just quickly follow up on that. If Petraeus comes to the
president in the spring of 2011 and says, "You know, this July deadline
— I need six more months," should that...
FEINSTEIN: I would say give it to him, absolutely. Now, let's talk about the
deadline. This is a transition point toward the beginning of a
withdrawal or a draw down, as Petraeus said in his transcript before
the armed services.
And I think he has
flexibility, realistically. Ten years is a long time to fight a war,
particularly with what happened before the 10 years. And so we need to
understand that to get the military trained, get the government online,
secure and stabilize and, I think, do away with the drugs to a great
extent — because the drugs are now fueling the Taliban.
WALLACE: All right.
are also both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee which tomorrow
begins confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
Graham, what is your single biggest concern about Kagan? What do you
need to clear up before you can decide whether or not to vote for her?
GRAHAM: I can accept that she's liberal. She has a liberal activist background
politically. She's embraced liberal causes. She has a liberal
philosophy when it comes to the law. She's a very qualified person,
academically well grounded.
Her hero in
the law, the judge that she admires the most, is Judge Barak from
Israel who personifies liberal activism, not just accepting of
left-of-center, mainstream liberal judicial philosophy. I need to be
sure that her activist background will not be taken to the court and
that when she puts on the robe that she will try to enact through being
a judge the liberal... (CROSSTALK)
WALLACE: But you know what she's going to say. She's going to say...
WALLACE: ... "We'll apply the law."
GRAHAM: Yeah, but I want to hear why she picked this guy in Israel to be her
judicial hero, because he said some things way out of the American
So she'll have to convince me
that all of this liberalism that she's lived with all her life can be
put in a proper place and when she gets to be a judge she'll be left of
center but within the mainstream of judging.
WALLACE: Senator Feinstein, ironically, there are some liberal groups who are
worried about Kagan and her record, and let's put some of it on the
They note she supported a ban on
partial birth abortions. She argued for strong executive powers. She
says enemy combatants can be held indefinitely. Are you convinced that
if confirmed she will vote with the liberal wing of the court?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I'm not going to get into whether she votes with the liberal wing
of the court. I am going to get into that I believe she's in the
mainstream of thinking, of legal thinking, in the United States.
believe she is superbly qualified. I believe the drift net has been out
to find some disqualifying factor and it hasn't been found.
I admire Lindsey Graham. I think Lindsey Graham is a very good senator.
That doesn't mean anything should be taken from it by my party. I
wouldn't expect to be criticized because I admire Lindsey Graham. So I
think because she...
WALLACE: I think there's a compliment in there somewhere, Senator.
GRAHAM: Yeah. Yeah.
FEINSTEIN: Yeah, right? So...
GRAHAM: (Inaudible) yourself (inaudible).
FEINSTEIN: Well, no.
GRAHAM: No, I'm joking.
FEINSTEIN: I wouldn't.
GRAHAM: I'm joking.
FEINSTEIN: I wouldn't. Thank you very much. I wouldn't.
GRAHAM: Thank you for admiring me.
FEINSTEIN: But I think this woman as solicitor general — true, she's not an
appellate court judge. Every other justice is an appellate court judge.
This is refreshing to bring in someone I think with her background,
which is the background of regular people, a young woman who has
exceeded herself, magna cum laude, summa cum laude, associate domestic
policy advisor in the White House, solicitor general of the United
This is a very impressive record, and that's what we judge people on, not that she said this one time or that one time.
WALLACE: Well, and let me ask you about another aspect of this, Senator
Feinstein, because in 1995, as you well know, Kagan wrote a law review
article in which she said this, "Subsequent hearings have presented to
the public a vapid and hollow charade in which repetition of platitudes
has replaced discussion of viewpoints."
I know there's going to be a lot of joking on the committee — "Well,
you know, she said that when she wasn't a nominee," and stuff. Why not
hold her to accounts and say — and press her to be more forthcoming in
FEINSTEIN: Oh, I believe this is going to come up at the hearing, and she is very likely to be pressed for her views.
WALLACE: But what when she says, "Well, I wrote that back in..."
FEINSTEIN: I — it doesn't matter. We all read it. It was very precise. She
expressed her very strong view that nominees should be more
forthcoming, we should be more pressing in our questions, and I
WALLACE: So you're going to hold her to that?
FEINSTEIN: Oh, I suspect members will hold her to this.
WALLACE: Senator Graham?
GRAHAM: Well, I expect that she will have a reevaluation of that statement when she's on the hot seat. But I will...
WALLACE: A confirmation conversion.
GRAHAM: But let me tell you about the war. She said some things that are
encouraging to me. She certainly has taken some positions that I expect
a liberal judge to take. She's replacing Judge Stevens. I don't think
there's going to be a great ideological change. But on the war front,
she's said some things and done some things as solicitor general that
give me some great comfort. You know, Dianne said some nice things
about me. I appreciate it. But the one thing that I think we've made
news here this morning — she has suggested that Afghanistan — this is
our last best chance to get it right, and General Petraeus represents
our best chance.
And both of us agree he
ought to have his best chance, and that means he needs a team he can
work with. And when it comes to deadlines, we need to take that off his
back. So I stand with Dianne Feinstein to give this general the best
chance he can to win, and that means change on the civilian side and
taking the July date and changing it so he's not hampered.
it comes to the Supreme Court, we're going to have a challenging
hearing, and I think she'll do well, but she's going to have to earn
her way onto the court.
WALLACE: Let's talk about that, because I think the conventional wisdom is that
unless she really messes up in these hearings, she's going to get
GRAHAM: Well, I was in
the Gang of 14 — extraordinary circumstances, the new test of whether a
filibuster should be had. I haven't seen any extraordinary
circumstances that would justify a filibuster yet.
the one thing that bugs me about her is that when she embraces Judge
Barak from Israel and the way he thinks and the way he writes as her
hero, that to me is embracing liberal activism, not mainstream
liberalism, and she's going to have to explain that to me and other
members of the committee.
WALLACE: And if she does not explain that sufficiently, that would be an extraordinary circumstance?
GRAHAM: I think she — I don't know if it rises to that. It will be a problem
for her getting my vote and it would be a problem for a lot of moderate
And this policy at Harvard
about not allowing military recruiters to come to the law school is
going to be problematic for most Americans. She's going to have to
But given everything I know
today, she is well qualified but she has a lot to answer for. And the
president won the election. To my conservative friends, you should
expect liberals to be picked by Obama. But you should expect us to do
our job, and that's not replace our judgment for his to make sure she's
qualified and not an activist, and that's what we'll both do.
WALLACE: Would you agree, Senator Feinstein, that it's her nomination to lose at this point, or her seat to lose?
FEINSTEIN: I think that's accurate. I think most members see nothing that's
disqualifying in her background, in her actions, in her service. And
she has served, and I think she's served with distinction. She's been
found well qualified by the American Bar Association.
will bring, I think, a new breath into the court. It will be a
mainstream breath. It will not be far right. It will not be far left.
It will be in the middle.
WALLACE: OK. We've got about two minutes left and I want to ask you each a question on a separate subject.
Senator Graham, you were talking to the White House about a compromise that would allow the closing of the prison at Guantanamo.
WALLACE: Is that compromise — are those negotiations dead?
GRAHAM: They're on life support. I've said if we changed our habeas laws, if we
changed our statutes to be more national security-centric to convince
the American people you could close Guantanamo Bay, open up a jail in
America and be safe, that would be good policy.
agree with the president that keeping the jail open hurts our efforts
overseas. It is used against us by our enemies and our allies to...
WALLACE: But that compromise is...
GRAHAM: Is stuck. And I would like the White House to act on the proposals I've
given them about changing our laws. I think all things being equal, if
you could close Guantanamo Bay safely, it would help the overall war
But there's not a whole lot of energy coming out of the White House to do that, and I'd like to meet them in the middle.
WALLACE: And with the final minute we've got left, Senator Feinstein, one of
your other hats that you wear is chairman of the Senate Intelligence
Committee. Director of National Intelligence Blair has been fired.
Acting Director Gompert is resigning.
House and Senate Democrats are deadlocked over the intel reform bill
and the whole question of congressional oversight of spy agencies.
quickly are you going to get this resolved? And how quickly are you
going to confirm so that we have a director of national intelligence?
FEINSTEIN: Well, the process has begun. He has received the questions. Friday...
WALLACE: This is General Clapper.
FEINSTEIN: Yeah, General Clapper. Friday I learned the questions have been
answered. They were at the White House. We would expect to receive them
this week. We can move.
I have requested
that the president call the speaker and try to move our intelligence
bill. The reason the speaker has a problem with it is because we
removed two things which the White House found to be veto-able.
was an extension of notification on certain very sensitive matters to
all members rather than the Gang of Eight. The second was Government
Accountability Office — we call it the GAO — oversight which was
anathema to the White House. Now, we took that out. The bill passed the
Senate — our committee and the Senate unanimously.
conferenced it with — pre-conferenced it with the House committee. We
believe we're in agreement. We're ready to move. If the speaker will
allow them to go to conference, then we can move the bill.
WALLACE: But real quickly, will you hold up confirmation hearings for Clapper until you get resolution on the intel reform?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I've asked that the president would please talk to the speaker. If he does that, I will move ahead.
WALLACE: All right.
Senator Feinstein, Senator Graham, thank you both.
Thank you, Senator Graham, for telling all the headline writers out there what the news was today.
GRAHAM: Well, some of them are slow this time of morning.
GRAHAM: You have to — have to wake them up.
WALLACE: Well, we all need some help.
Thank you both. And we'll all be watching.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
FEINSTEIN: Thank you.