SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES

House committee to hold hearings on Taliban prisoner swap

Rep. Randy Forbes on investigation into Bowe Bergdahl deal

 

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," June 8, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: Good morning. What was Congress told about the Bergdahl Taliban deal and when?

Good morning, everyone. I'm Maria Bartiromo. Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures." The White House under fire today for not informing Congress of a five-for-one swap of Gitmo detainees for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

Now lawmakers want to hold hearings on the matter. A member of the House Armed Services Committee joins us today.

A great jobs report for the month of May, so why isn't the economy feeling it? One reason: the "M" word, "manufacturing." The CEO of one the biggest manufacturing employers in the world is with me today to talk jobs, the economy and a lot more.

Plus, wouldn't you love to make sense of Obamacare? We'll talk with someone who says he has a way to put the power of health care pricing in your hands, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."

BARTIROMO: Good morning, everyone. A senior U.S. official says that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is telling the military that he was tortured, beaten and held in a cage after he tried to escape.

All this will no doubt become part of any investigation into the deal between the Obama administration and Bergdahl's Taliban captors in Afghanistan, the White House trading Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders who were held at Gitmo.

But congressional leaders are blasting this deal, saying, for one, they were never given the 30 days notice of it, as is required by law. Now the House Armed Services Committee wants to hold hearings on the matter. My first guest is a member of that committee, Randy Forbes, congressman from Virginia.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

REP. RANDY FORBES, R-VA.: Thank you, Maria. It's great to be with you.

BARTIROMO: First off, what is your timing on this? When would you like to see these hearings happen?

FORBES: Well, we're actually going to have one this Wednesday beginning at 10 a.m. for the House Armed Services Committee. So we'll start getting to the bottom of this very quickly, Maria.

BARTIROMO: What do you want to find out, specifically?

FORBES: Well, we want to find out the answers that American families are asking. You know, a lot of these stories, Maria, they begin with talking points in Washington and they filter out through the country. This one's different. This one really sprang up from American families, business, civic organizations who were just saying, what in the world is happening here when, basically, they feel the administration lied to them, broke the law, and then they just look at magnitude of the deal and they just don't see the big victory the president is talking about.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, I guess I just really want to get to the bottom of why. Why would the president not tell Congress in advance the way the law stipulates?

Plenty more to talk about with you, sir, Virginia congressman.

FORBES: Thanks, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Let's get a look, though, at Bergdahl prisoner swap -- the swap -- through the eyes of Congress, what they knew and when they knew it.

Fox News senior correspondent Eric Shawn with that angle.

Good morning, Eric.

SHAWN: Good morning, Maria. And good morning, everyone.

You know, the president claims that he had to act fast and that he has the authority under the Constitution, but many in Congress don't believe him and say that the president did break the law.

The National Defense Authorization Act requires at least a 30-day notice to Congress before any Gitmo detainees are released. The administration says it did not do that in this case because of concerns over Bergdahl's health and claims the Taliban could have killed him if word of the secret negotiations got out.

But, you know, when you look at that video of his handover, it appears to show Bergdahl in apparently good health, which is what the Pentagon says he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We had discussed with Congress the possibility that something like this might occur, but because of the nature of the folks that we were dealing with and the fragile nature of these negotiations, we felt it was important to go ahead and do what we did. And we're now explaining to Congress the details of how we move forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAWN: Well, the administration last fully detailed the details to Congress, it turns out, three years ago, back in 2011. While officials say the issue was raised a few days before the swap, it turns out that some key members of Congress were reportedly only told the day before the president appeared here in the Rose Garden with Bergdahl's parents, if at all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: I think that the president did go around the law, but my major concern is the terms of this release and what happens to these five hardest of the hard-liners.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-CALIF.: It comes with some surprise and dismay that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAWN: Bergdahl now remains at the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, and is expected to at some point be transferred back here to the United States to the Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. But the accusations that he deserted and the new details of the deal that have now tainted his freedom may eventually only be answered if Bergdahl is courtmartialed, as some now demand. Maria?

BARTIROMO: All right, Eric. Thanks very much.

More now with House Armed Services member Randy Forbes.

Congressman, what do you think? Why would the president go around Congress and not discuss this in advance as the law stipulates?

FORBES: Well, Maria, it's more than just this time. As you know, this is a president that always believes that the end justifies the means. We had a Judiciary hearing just a week or so ago where we found out they were actually releasing individuals, some of them who could be members of violent criminal gangs across the country. We believe they were doing that against the law, and they didn't even know which members they were releasing when we asked the questions on the hearing.

So I think this is a bigger picture, though, Maria, because here is what you have. It wasn't just that the president went around the law. The administration told Congress that they would not do this before they consulted with Congress, and they just lied.

Secondly, they then violated the law.

And the third thing, Maria, if you put this in perspective, this is the equivalent of releasing a deputy secretary of defense, a deputy secretary of the interior, a deputy secretary of intelligence, a governor, and a commander of troops, all in this one deal. And that's what has infuriated many members of Congress. They never had a chance to even ask those questions.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, you know, we had Bob Hormats on last week on this program. Of course he was the undersecretary in Hillary Clinton's State Department. And he said right out -- he said, "Maria, at least three of these five guys are really, really, really bad guys." That's what he said on the air live.

Do you expect them to go back to terrorism and -- and attacks against our country?

FORBES: Well, Maria, they have never repented; they've never said they were sorry for anything. They have never backed off of their passion.

I think the statistics are overwhelming that we will see them back doing these kinds of things.

And, Maria, one of the things that infuriates so many Americans -- can you imagine how many American lives were given, the amount of money and cost that went into capturing these individuals in the first place?

Because some of these individuals have been responsible for hundreds and hundreds of killings of innocent individuals. And now we have released them back on the streets.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, I mean...

FORBES: And, Maria, it's another...

BARTIROMO: Yeah -- please go ahead...

FORBES: No, please...

BARTIROMO: ... finish.

FORBES: No, I was just going to say, it's another thing to look at the fact that you have just increased the price of hostages. And we have other hostages around the world that are being held by different groups.

You've increased the price tag of those hostages now on any transfer that would take place and actually encourage some of these groups perhaps to go out and take other hostages and do this again.

BARTIROMO: Yeah.

FORBES: That's why so many people are furious about this deal.

BARTIROMO: Well, that's right. I mean, you know, I think we all would agree that, you know, as a country we don't want to leave any soldier behind. We don't want to leave anybody behind.

But I guess, you know, in looking at the terms of this arrangement, you have to question was one soldier in exchange for five detainees at Guantanamo Bay the right deal to make? You just put a price tag out there.

FORBES: Well, Maria, that may be fair, but I think it's a different question. When I talked to many members of the armed forces, what they say when they talk about coming back to get somebody, they talk about us coming back to get them on our terms, militarily not leaving them behind. They don't talk about making these kinds of swaps.

BARTIROMO: Let me ask you this, because I had a conversation with an insider in Washington last week and he said to me, "Maria, this is all about the president leaving a legacy of 'I said I would close Guantanamo Bay and I'm going to close Guantanamo Bay.'"

And so, I mean, is getting rid of, exchanging, you know, releasing the five worst guys at Guantanamo Bay the beginning of closing Guantanamo Bay on his terms and having that as President Obama's legacy; he did what he said, he closed Gitmo?

FORBES: Well, Maria, it's more than just closing Gitmo. It's actually releasing these individuals who are the worst of the worst. And we've had to fight this president tooth and nail from the time he came into office because that's exactly what he has been trying to do. And we're going to continue to have to fight to make sure he's not successful.

BARTIROMO: Congressman, we'll be watching your hearing on Wednesday, as this all begins in Washington. Thanks very much for joining us.

FORBES: Thank you, Maria. Have a great day.

BARTIROMO: We'll see you soon, Representative Randy Forbes.

So how is the release of those five Taliban leaders being perceived on the world stage? What does it mean for U.S. foreign policy going forward?

We'll tackle that with former NATO ambassador to the U.S. as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back. The White House facing some strong criticism from Capitol Hill this morning following the prisoner swap of five Taliban leaders for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

But what message is it sending to both our allies and enemies across the world?

Nicholas Burns is former NATO ambassador, former undersecretary of state for political affairs during the George W. Bush administration, and now a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Ambassador, good to have you on the program. Thanks so much for joining us.

BURNS: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: What's your take on this swap?

BURNS: Thank you very much. I think, you know, this defies easy caricature. I think it's a very difficult decision. If you were President Obama, put yourself in his shoes, you have a chance to get back the lone American prisoner of the Afghan war, and you can understand why there would be an impulse to do that.

There are some risks, however. There's been longstanding U.S. policy that we don't negotiate for hostages because you don't want to encourage further hostage-taking. So I think this was an extremely difficult decision.

I guess I've reacted saying we have to have sympathy for this young man who went through five years of captivity. The New York Times reports this morning that he was treated brutally in captivity. And he's obviously innocent until proven guilty.

So I -- I've been dismayed to see the attacks on him when we haven't been able to hear from him.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, what about the perception of this from our friends across the world, allies as well as enemies? I mean, what do you think this swap tells them, one American prisoner for five Taliban leaders?

BURNS: I think it depends where you are in the world. David Brooks, the conservative columnist, pointed out in the New York Times Friday that Israel has traded several times in the past, in one case one Israeli for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

It -- it depends on the traditions of each of those countries.

Israel's a hard, very tough country, obviously, and deals with terrorists in a very effective way, and yet it does negotiate for release of its hostages.

In Europe, some countries have tradition of -- of doing this as well.

So I really think it depends on what country you're talking about.

Obviously, I think -- I would think that most fair-minded people would look at this and say it was a very complex, very difficult decision, President Obama obviously trying to do his best as commander in chief.

BARTIROMO: How do you think the Taliban follows up on this now? I mean, what's their next move?

BURNS: The risk here -- and there's two sides to this. I find the argument against exchanging Bowe Bergdahl, Sergeant Bergdahl, for the five Taliban is that will this now encourage the Taliban to try to take more American hostages?

We're going to have American troops in Afghanistan for the next two years. And so that, I think, is the risk that the administration has taken here. You have to balance that risk against obviously the good aspect of getting this young man back to his hometown and his family.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, I think that's a really good point. So what do you -

- what do you think the perception, then, of the war in Afghanistan is?

I mean, do you -- do outsiders see this as the first step in winding this war down?

And how do you think this plays out after we're out of Afghanistan?

BURNS: Well, the president has said that we'll keep at least 9,000,

10,000 troops in Afghanistan until 2016. I don't think we ought to announce our departure date. We're right to -- I think the president's right to withdraw the bulk of the combat forces, but the new Afghan government is going to be very fragile. And they're going to need our protection and our help from a resurgent Taliban.

And so it seems to me, after so many years of American commitment and American sacrifice, it makes sense to keep those 9,000 to 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan. I wouldn't want us to announce ahead of time the departure date. We ought to keep as much pressure on the Taliban and the other terrorist groups in the Afghan-Pakistan border as is possible.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, particularly now, given the fact that you, as you just suggested, and others have said that this may very well mean that the Taliban goes after more Americans on the ground in Afghanistan.

BURNS: Let's hope that's not the case. It's a risk the administration has obviously taken. Obviously, the president had to weigh that risk with the other factors in the case of bringing this young man home.

And a lot also depends on the government of Qatar here, because they have taken these five Taliban terrorists into their custody. They're under house arrest. They are supposed not to be able to make even a phone call back to anybody in the Taliban in Afghanistan. I think it's going to be difficult for the Qatar government, or I am a little bit skeptical they can honor the terms of that. So we ought to keep the pressure on the government of Qatar to honor those terms. That was part of this arrangement.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, and the Qataris were our friends, certainly, and have been our allies over these last several war years. So we'll have to just wait and see.

BURNS: Well, we will. That's part of this arrangement. I think, most of all, I would hope that there could still be unity in the United States that we have to support our troops. Those troops will be there fighting for the next two years, at least.

And so the war in Afghanistan is not over. We need to redeem the sacrifices of our young men and women, sacrifices made thousands of times, as you know, the number of killed, the number of wounded.

And we need to try to, when we do leave with Afghanistan, leave with a degree of honor and effectiveness...

BARTIROMO: Right.

BURNS: ... that we've tried to protect that government there, and keep the Taliban from coming back into power.

BARTIROMO: Ambassador, good to have you on the program. Thanks so much for weighing in.

BURNS: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: We'll see you soon.

BURNS: The latest employment numbers officially back to pre-recession figures, meanwhile, so why do we still feel low down? One reason is that a key industry, manufacturing, is still a long way from recovery.

We'll talk with the CEO of International Paper next on jobs, the economy and a lot more, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: A solid 217,000 new jobs were created in the month of May, bringing us back to our previous employment peak in January of 2008.

But the economy is still slogging along. One reason, the critical manufacturing industry is still in a downturn, with only 12 million employed today as opposed to 17 million Americans back in -- in manufacturing back in the year 2000.

So how do we move the needle on manufacturing and the overall jobs picture?

John Faraci is with me.

He's the CEO of International Paper Company.

John, it's good to have you on the program.

JOHN FARACI, CEO, INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY: It's nice to be here, Maria.

BARTIROMO: You have been moving your company more and more toward industrial packaging.

FARACI: Right.

BARTIROMO: Is that right?

So 95 percent of all of the shipping and...

FARACI: Right.

BARTIROMO: -- and packaging in the world -- in the United States comes in a corrugated package, in -- in a box.

FARACI: You're right. You know, at some time in the supply chain, it travels in a box. And we're the ultimate short cycle, I think, barometer on the economy for that reason.

BARTIROMO: So what are you seeing right now in the economy?

How do you characterize things?

FARACI: Well, a big difference between the first quarter, which obviously had a big impact, the weather, in GDP, it was negative. And our box shipments -- the industry box shipments -- the industry box shipments are down 1.5 percent. We won't see the industry until the end of June.

But looking at International Paper, April and May, we're probably up 1.5 percent. And that -- that reflects an economy that's doing a whole lot better than it did in the first quarter.

BARTIROMO: It's doing a whole lot better and yet still debate on what it's going to take to move things forward faster.

What do you think it's going to take?

FARACI: I think it's going to take the consumer. I mean, 70 percent of the U.S. economy is consumer spending driven. And I kind of look at it this way. Balance sheets are in much better shape. Housing prices are getting better. 401(k)s are up. But income statements are still weak. I mean you saw the article, I think it was in one of the newspapers over the weekend, you know, real wages are -- are basically where they were at the recession.

BARTIROMO: A very slow crawl.

FARACI: Yes. And so until more money gets into consumers' pockets and the quality of the job growth -- you've seen this -- has been, you know, not nearly as -- as good as we expected, lots of part-time jobs, lots of service jobs. And you pointed out manufacturing. Manufacturing was down, I think, 1.5 -- 1.6 million jobs from the recession level.

BARTIROMO: Now some manufacturing will not come back.

FARACI: Right.

BARTIROMO: Because they're sending jobs overseas because it's cheaper. And then you've got the technology component there.

But how do you move, you know, really get manufacturing jobs back here with higher skill set workers?

FARACI: Well, a great example at International Paper, we respond to demand. We're expanding our food service cup plant in Ohio. We'll be adding, you know, not a lot, but over 100 jobs there. We're going to start construction in August. It's one of the first organic for U.S. -- for the U.S. consumer investments we have made in several -- since the recession.

And that's what it's going to take. It's going to take a demand signal, because, you know, we also export 20 percent of what we make -- what we make in the U.S. elsewhere and we -- in 2010, we spent $100 million to build a plant in Virginia that's 100 percent for export.

BARTIROMO: (INAUDIBLE).

FARACI: So we can do it.

BARTIROMO: Yes. You can do it. We just -- we've got to see that -- that consumer demand.

Let me ask you this. You've got a big catalyst coming up for your company July 1st.

FARACI: Right.

BARTIROMO: You're expected to complete a spin-off of one of your important businesses.

What does that do for the company in terms of shifting you more toward packaging and shipping as opposed to just paper products?

FARACI: Well, it makes us a more focused manufacturing company. The business we're spinning off and then combining with another like business is in distribution. So it distributes paper and packaging, but it's really a distribution business.

So as a result, our revenues will go down, but our margins will go up.

And it's good for our shoos because these two businesses together can do more to improve that -- their value than they can do on their own.

BARTIROMO: All right, let me switch gears and ask you about Russia.

FARACI: Sure.

BARTIROMO: You've got a big business in Russia.

How has the Ukraine-Russia conflict impacted things?

FARACI: You know, not as much as you might assume by reading the newspapers. I mean trey has been slowing since, really, over the last couple of quarters. I mean this hasn't helped. And, you know, it's a bit contrarian, actually, as the Russian currency has gotten weaker, it's helped us export, because a -- a big portion of what we produce is exported into China.

But, you know, that's a weaker currency for the wrong reasons.

BARTIROMO: Are you expecting to make any changes to your joint venture in Russia given these sanctions?

FARACI: No, it's a -- it's, you know, business as usual. We've got a great joint venture. It's good governance. It's a solid business that's generating a lot of cash. We just completed a $1.5 billion investment program, so we like Russia and we're there for the long-term.

BARTIROMO: I guess that's the question. I mean you're one of many companies, American companies, that do business with Russia and have been making a lot of money on it. And yet the government is putting these sanctions.

I mean how deep is deep that is going to impact what you're doing there?

FARACI: Sure. Well, we're obviously watching it closely and it just

-- it, you know, would like to see this, you know, issue, if you want to call it that, resolved. And I think, you know, the Europeans need to be at the table, the Americans, the Ukrainians and the Russians to solve a foreign policy issue that hasn't yet spilled over into business in a big way.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

FARACI: The Russian economy has slowed.

BARTIROMO: Yes. And -- and the ruble, of course, getting impacted.

OK, broadly speaking on the economy, what kind of a 2014 are you looking for, rest of the year?

FARACI: Well, it's been frustrating. It's difficult to call. You know, we had one quarter of good growth and one quarter where it kind of falls back. And I think we're going to be closer to 3 percent GDP growth in the second quarter. But we've only averaged 2 percent since 2009 and we've had, you know, just -- it's so choppy.

So I'm a realistic optimist.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

FARACI: You know, I'm -- I'm optimistic that the U.S. economy can grow at 3 to 4 percent a year and it should be seven years -- five years now after the recession is over.

BARTIROMO: Yes, whereas -- where -- I think that's the right word, choppy.

FARACI: But we're ready.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

FARACI: We're ready.

BARTIROMO: Stand ready.

We've got to get that gut -- that demand going.

John, good to have you on the program.

FARACI: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: Thanks so much.

FARACI: Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: John Faraci is CEO at International Paper.

Figuring out the cost of health care can be downright complicated.

And in some ways Obamacare has made it even more so. But one company is offering a program that could remove some of the mystery from the process and help health care customers shop around for the best deals.

Joining me right now is the founder of that company, Dr. Giovanni Colella, CEO and co-founder of Castlight Health.

Dr. Gio, good to have you on the program.

DR. GIOVANNI COLELLA, CEO & CO-FOUNDER, CASTLIGHT HEALTH: Thank you very much. I am honored to be here.

BARTIROMO: So good to see you again.

So you started Castlight with your partner back in 2008 because you wanted to make health care more transparent. Explain that to us.

COLELLA: That is correct. I started -- we started Castlight in 2008.

Bryan Roberts, Todd Park, who is now at the White House, and myself, with the mission of making health care available and creating a platform that would allow employers to lower their cost of care by providing complete transparency on the cost and the quality of what you're buying when you're buying health care services.

BARTIROMO: So your big customers will be the big industrial companies, the GEs, the Walmarts of the world.

COLELLA: That is correct. Our big customers are the Fortune 500, self-insured, big enterprises who are now paying $620 billion in health care.

BARTIROMO: Wow, so if I am an employee of one of those companies, of Walmart, for example, I can go on the Web site and say, OK, an MRI is going to cost me this at this place, it's going to cost me this at that place, it's going to cost me this at that place. So I know where I can get the best care for the best price.

COLELLA: That is correct. That's the beginning of your journey in health care. You can get the cost, you can get the quality. If you are the benefit leader and you want to lower that cost and you want to provide good services, you can also inform your employees about what are the choices that they have.

You can design your benefits and provide them with platform and provide them with rewards for -- rewarding the best behavior in health care and lowering your costs.

BARTIROMO: This makes a lot of sense in terms of actually moving the needle on getting the price of health care down, which has just been the mystery to all of us for so many years.

COLELLA: Isn't that incredible? Yes. And health care, it's the most opaque industry in the world. It's $620 billion, 30 percent waste spent by the enterprise every year. And you have no visibility on price, quality, and outcomes.

BARTIROMO: You have a big summit this upcoming week that you will be releasing news and it's a big event coming up. Tell us about it.

COLELLA: Thank you so much. Yes, it's going be a big event in New York. We pioneered the concept of the enterprise health care cloud. And we will be launching new applications on our platform.

We have CEOs of Fortune 500 companies coming and we are going to show them what we can do for them. What's the ROI and what's in it for their employees, which is better care and optimization of their health care (INAUDIBLE).

BARTIROMO: How important is technology in all of this?

COLELLA: Paramount importance. This is probably one of the best moments for health care because technology now is finally being applied where it wasn't applied before. Think about it, in every other area of the American enterprises, you could control expenses, you control your sales force, you can control your finance, your human resources.

Finally, cloud applications like ours, cloud platforms likes are being brought to the American enterprise for controlling the cost of health care.

BARTIROMO: Tell me about the health care legislation and what that has done? I mean, has this been -- Obamacare, has that opened up an opportunity for you to, you know, go to companies and say, look, I can make this more transparent for you? What has been the impact on the industry of Obamacare?

COLELLA: Well, Obamacare had two impacts on us. First of all, it created visibility on the fact that there's this complete asymmetry of information. People now need to know what they're buying, because they're buying with their own money.

The second thing, he created the so-called "Cadillac tax," and that creates a dramatic need now for the American enterprise to keep the cost of their premiums low.

BARTIROMO: Because it's getting more expensive.

COLELLA: Because it's getting more expensive and they can't tax deduct it above a certain amount. And with a platform like ours, we can show them that they can get engagement of their employees up to 80 to 90 percent. And they can lower the cost of care within the first year of the use of the application.

BARTIROMO: What kind of growth rate are you expecting over the coming years at Castlight?

COLELLA: We are growing incredibly fast. And you can listen to our past earning reports, you see how much we have grown. And we are -- like, I have been at the company now six years and have never seen such an interesting and rich pipeline in our company.

BARTIROMO: Well, that's terrific. We'll be watching. Dr. Colella, good to have you on the program.

COLELLA: Thank you, I'm honored to be here.

BARTIROMO: So good to see you, Gio Colella joining us, Castlight.

And now, with a look at what's coming up on "Media Buzz," let's check in with Howie Kurtz, see what's happening at the top of the hour.

Good morning, Howie.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, "MEDIA BUZZ": Hi, Maria.

We're going to focus on how aggressive reporting completely changed the president's narrative on this Bowe Bergdahl controversy, particularly all of these news organizations interviewing the soldiers in his platoon who said this guy was no hero, he was a deserter.

BARTIROMO: Yes, you know, it's sad to talk that way about someone who we know has fought for our country, but this whole experiment in finding out why the swap was done when no one knew has uncovered all sorts of new ideas and new themes around Bowe Bergdahl, hasn't it?

KURTZ: It really has. And, of course, I am reluctant, like everyone else, to be too harsh about criticism of a guy who has been in captivity for five years. We are finding out more details, how harsh those conditions were.

But also we want to respond to a few liberal pundits who are saying that Bergdahl is being "swiftboated" by the press, because that suggests that it's some kind of unfair smear. And I think because the administration didn't put out all the details of what happened, that left it to the press to accurately report, in my view, filling in some of the pieces here.

I mean, there's a lot of angles to this story. And you spent a lot of time on it, we're going to do that as well at the top of the hour.

BARTIROMO: Yes, well, we'll be there, because people want to know why, you know, we see backdoor deals and why we're not going by the letter of the law, bottom line, and telling Congress 30 days in advance.

Howie, we will be watching. We will see you in about 20 minutes.

KURTZ: Thanks, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much.

Hillary Clinton speaking out on the deal to swap one U.S. soldier for five Gitmo detainees. Will this exchange come back to haunt her if she runs for president in 2016? Our panel will weigh in on that, and the economy, and a lot more as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

Negotiations for releasing Sergeant Bergdahl began back when Hillary Clinton was still secretary of State. She writes about them in her new memoir, "Hard Choices," saying, "I acknowledge that opening the door to negotiations with the Taliban would be hard to swallow for many Americans."

We want to bring in our panel right now.

Ed Rollins was principal White House adviser to President Reagan in both his terms and has been a long-time strategist to business and political leaders. He's also a Fox News political analyst.

Judith Miller, adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. She's a Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist and a Fox News contributor.

And Jon Hilsenrath is chief economics correspondent with "The Wall Street Journal" and a contributor to the Fox Business Network.

Good to see you all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much for joining us.

Ed, what do you think about Hillary's memoir and the comment that she makes that it's hard to swallow to negotiate with terrorists and here we just did it?

ED ROLLINS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, hour you took three of the most -- or five of the most severe terrorists, it's not -- and -- and my sense is this is -- the president's on his way to closing GITMO and about letting them all go sooner or later and these are sort of the hard core.

I just think it's a bad policy. I think we're going to -- we're going to pay a price for it. Put aside the soldier at this point in time and whether he was good, bad or indifferent. It's not what's relevant. What's relevant is we took five terrorists and we let them go.

BARTIROMO: Do you feel like we've put a price on -- on the head of an American?

I mean one...

ROLLINS: Well, I...

BARTIROMO: -- one American for five...

ROLLINS: -- I think -- I think there's no question we did. And I think, to a certain extent, we still have 10,000 troops that are going to be there for at least two more years, maybe longer. They certainly are all more potential targets at this point in time.

BARTIROMO: So, you know, Judy, I mean what happens now?

You know, last week, Bob Hormats on the show, saying these are really, really, really bad guys.

Do they go back after a year in Qatar and come back and -- and plan more terrorist attacks against America?

JUDITH MILLER, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the statistics would seem to indicate that there is a great risk that exactly that is going to happen. As of January, 2014, we had 29 percent of the 614 GITMO detainees who had been released who went back to the fight. So that's not very good.

And many of them were taken by countries that had promised, as has Qatar, that they will look after them and make sure they don't return to the fight.

So that's the problem. That's the real trade-off. Even if they don't go pick up an RPG, they are there as inspirers, at motivators and as living proof that you can confront the Great Satan and win.

ROLLINS: To her point, these guys are going back as heroes. These were very significant players before they were picked up. They were not guys carrying rifles and shooting people, they were leaders. And I think they'll go back and be more significant as leader today.

MILLER: Yes, I see a...

(CROSSTALK)

BARTIROMO: Let John...

JON HILSENRATH, FOX BUSINESS NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Maria, I -- I think these are the questions that we need to be talking about. It's unfortunate, I believe, what happened in the last week, when so much attention was pointed at this one kid, so much critical attention. I was pauled -- appalled to see "Time" magazine saying -- you know, putting out a cover saying, "Was He Worth It?

The real questions are for the White House.

Now, why has their story been so inconsistent?

You know, are they -- are they putting Americans in danger by letting these other people go?

I think we have to be real careful about rushing to judgment on this American who went overseas to fight for his country.

BARTIROMO: Yes, I agree with you. I think, you know, the fact that this whole deal was -- was arranged, you know, and not including Congress in it, has to get every American to sit up and say, well, wait a second, is this the way we want our policy, whether it's foreign policy, economic policy, to be done, you know, behind closed doors?

And, you know, 30 -- you're supposed to give 30 days advanced notice to Congress. That's under the law. And, again, they were not told.

ROLLINS: That's the fundamental issue. The president, once again, has violated the law. This has not been something that happened spontaneous, this has been a long, drawn out percent. And the Congress deliberately has passed two bills, he's signed the bills. He may not have liked the bills, but he signed the bills in which you're supposed to give notice to the key players in the in in the Congress.

He tells Harry Reid the day before but he doesn't tell any of the other members of Congress.

BARTIROMO: Right.

MILLER: And when you've lost Dianne Feinstein, you've really...

ROLLINS: Absolutely.

MILLER: -- you've really lost...

ROLLINS: No -- no know about that.

MILLER: -- the Senate.

HILSENRATH: But there's a tough question here about executive power that I don't think we -- we should dismiss. A lot of commentators have said, well, it's the president's right to do something like this. So it -- it clearly wasn't an easy or straightforward decision in terms of how -- how he brings Congress into discussions.

BARTIROMO: Right.

MILLER: Yes.

ROLLINS: Yes.

MILLER: It's a difficult decision, but the issue is was -- what about the optics of the presentation...

(CROSSTALK)

ROLLINS: And...

(CROSSTALK)

ROLLINS: -- and to the troops.

(CROSSTALK)

ROLLINS: I mean I think the key thing here is to the troops and -- and I'm not condemning or anything on the young man who was -- who was captured. But to the troops, if this was a John McCain who had been captured and tortured or a Jeremiah Denton or a Medal of Honor winner, it might have been one thing.

But I think at the end of the day, there's a lot of troops that are being told to shut their mouth now, don't talk about this thing. And then I can be very happy (INAUDIBLE)...

BARTIROMO: All right, well, let's take a short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: We're back with our panel, Ed Rollins, Judy Miller, John Hilsenrath.

You've dealt with the Taliban, Judy?

MILLER: Guest -- guest of the Taliban.

(LAUGHTER)

BARTIROMO: You were the guest until they just walked you out...

MILLER: Until they decided they didn't want me there anymore.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BARTIROMO: Let's cap off this story. What's most compelling to each of you on this Sergeant Bergdahl story?

MILLER: I want to know if money was paid to the Haqqani Network, because the people who had the good sergeant were not the Taliban; they were the Haqqani Network. They don't care about the five guys; they care about money.

ROLLINS: The story that I want to see followed up here is how we threw out the CIA chief last week in Afghanistan, in which we put him on a paper, if that was part of this deal or what have you. I mean, that was just an outrageous story.

MILLER: Oh, that would...

ROLLINS: We need to look at that.

HILSENRATH: I think we need to be asking in Washington hard questions about the way the White House handled this and lay off the kid until all the facts are in.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, that's a -- that's a good point.

All right. Let's talk economics. We had the CEO of International Paper on earlier, who basically said we're looking for demand; we can't get it. I mean, sure, we get good jobs numbers out on Friday, 217,000 new jobs created.

Does this change the direction of the Federal Reserve?

John, you wrote a great story in the Journal on Friday basically saying the debate is on about when to raise interest rates and how to do it.

HILSENRATH: Right. I think we're at an important point right now, Maria, in this recovery.

You know, we have hit a new high in terms of job creation. And, you know, I think we've moved from a recovery to an expansion. And this raises a question about how the Fed is going to proceed. Interest rates are at zero. We're starting to see some funny things going on in credit markets.

The Fed really has to start talking about at what point they start raising interest rates.

You know, it looks like it's not going to be until next year, well into next year, but the debate is going to be engaged, and that's going to affect, I think, how markets behave in the next few months.

BARTIROMO: Isn't it amazing how, all of this time of bumping along the bottom, we still haven't seen real policy? I'm talking federal policy.

It's all been about the Fed. The Fed leaving rates where they are and doing the Q.E. stimulus has helped this economy, and we haven't had...

(CROSSTALK)

ROLLINS: The Fed has been the stimulus. And I think -- I think what the chairman said was there's no consumer confidence. And if you're just one of these new people that just got re-employed, you're not going to race right out and buy a new car yet. You're going to wait and see whether the job market's going to be there in six months. Most of these people have been displaced once, and I think there's a lot of nervousness out there and a lot of unhappiness.

BARTIROMO: So is this last jobs number a bounce-back, do you think, because of weather-related issues in the first quarter, or is this truly we're seeing more than 200,000 jobs created a month?

HILSENRATH: I think it's an important point, Maria. We've had four straight months of job creation over 200,000. The unemployment rate is coming down. You know, we had a terrible first quarter, and it looks like the economy is getting back on its feet.

I think we could be heading for a moment now where we get some consistent steady growth and real job creation. And the big issue going forward is going to be how sustainable is this, what new excesses are being created in the process. But we're in a good spot right now in this recovery.

MILLER: Well, we should be, at last. I mean, we -- it's been the weakness recovery...

BARTIROMO: It's been seven years.

MILLER: Exactly. And if not now, when? And it's the question that, really, Obama has to deal with.

BARTIROMO: All right. Still to come, the one thing to watch for in the week ahead, or the weeks ahead, on "Sunday Morning Futures." Back with

our panel, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: And we're back with our panel. Before we get to the one thing to watch for in the week ahead, Judy, Tuesday Hillary Clinton during a reading on her new book?

MILLER: Right.

BARTIROMO: What are you expecting as far as this -- this book is concerned?

MILLER: Oh, the message is not a -- is not a memoir. This is a manifesto, a campaign document. She's showing she's kind; she's caring; she's capable, and she's running.

BARTIROMO: And she's...

(LAUGHTER)

Well, I don't know that we were surprised about that. We had Gio Colella on earlier on health care, and basically, he's come out with a way to make the price of stuff for health care transparent.

ROLLINS: Well, it's a very important thing since the bill did nothing to bring down costs.

There's two things that happened this week. One is many states have said they're going to cop out and go to the federal system, which will obviously add to the federal government's expense.

And secondly, the CBO basically said, "I can't -- we can no longer cost this thing. We have no idea what it's going to cost." And part of the selling point was that we're going to save money over time. They say they can't say that anymore.

BARTIROMO: The one thing to watch for the week ahead. John, what are you looking at?

HILSENRATH: Well, I'm looking at the Federal Reserve. They're having a meeting in a week and a half, actually, and we have to -- Janet Yellen is having her next press conference.

We're going to have to see the Fed's stance toward this what looks like an improving economy and also markets that are behaving a little funny. Stock markets look OK to me, but in credit markets, we're seeing interest rates get very low and signs of risk-taking that the Fed has to start getting focused on.

BARTIROMO: Two-point-five percent on the 10-year?

HILSENRATH: And they're even lower when you look at credit markets, or corporate markets.

BARTIROMO: Corporate markets, certainly, rates plummeting, as well.

Judy, your one thing?

MILLER: I'm looking at Iran. I'm looking at Deputy Secretary Burns, who's going over there to try and unglue these stalled talks.

BARTIROMO: Ed?

ROLLINS: I'm looking to see if the Congress understands this president's going to shut down Gitmo and what are they going to do to make sure that he doesn't go around them again.

BARTIROMO: All right, we'll leave it there. Ed Rollins, Judy Miller, John Hilsenrath, thank you so much for your time today.

It's "Sunday Morning Futures." Thank you so much, everybody, for watching. I'm Maria Bartiromo. I hope you'll join me tomorrow morning on "Opening Bell" on the Fox Business Network, 9 a.m. Eastern. Here's where you can find Fox Business Network on your cable network or satellite provider. Click on "Channel Finder" at foxbusiness.com. "Media Buzz" with Howard Kurtz begins now. Have a great Sunday, everybody.

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