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Sunday Morning Futures

Sen. McCain talks Iran bill, GOP infighting over amendments

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," May 10, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST:  Good morning, Congress, one step closer to having a say on any final nuclear deal with Iran.  

Happy Mother's Day, everyone.

I'm Maria Bartiromo.  Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures."

A bill giving Congress a chance to review a deal now in the hands of the House.  Senator John McCain moments away, live, on ongoing talks with the Iranians.    

Plus, threats by ISIS prompting a heightened alert in the United States as the Pentagon says the terror group is now on the defensive in a key Middle Eastern country.  General David Petraeus on that and his sentencing for leaking classified information.  

Plus, a former president, Bill Clinton, on the defensive about foreign contributions to his family's foundation.  Will his words help or hurt Hillary in her run for the White House?

Our panel on that and the new entrants in the 2016 race as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures" today.  

Well, it was a rare bipartisan moment, the Senate voting overwhelmingly to give it a voice over any nuclear deal with Iran.  The House could pass it by early next week.  

The talks have been hugely controversial.  Iran is negotiating with the United States and five other world powers right now to remove crippling sanctions off of Iran in return for restrictions on its nuclear program.  

With me now, Republican Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  He has had strong words for the talks, going so far as to call Secretary of State John Kerry "delusional."  

Good to see you, Senator.  Thanks so much for joining us.  

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.:  Thank you.  

BARTIROMO:  Let me get your response to this passage of the bill in the Senate.  What exactly does this enable Congress to do?  

MCCAIN:  Actually, what we would have liked but were unable to achieve is to treat it -- for it to be considered as a treaty which would have meant an up-or-down vote by the United States Senate and the Congress, but that's not the case.  

This was a negotiated compromise between Democrats and Republicans, Corker and Cardin.  And it does give us the opportunity to judge whether the congressionally imposed sanctions, which are strong, will be removed or not.  And that, of course, could be vetoed by the president if we decide to keep those sanctions in place.  

But there will be extensive debate and discussion on the floor of the Senate, believe me, Maria.  And that's one of the major steps forward because this agreement, so far as I read it, is a piece of Swiss cheese and that will be revealed in debate and discussion of it on the floor of the Senate.  

BARTIROMO:  And, of course, this was a real test bringing people together to actually make this move -- this bill move forward.  It was either this or nothing.  

MCCAIN:  That's exactly, excuse me, but that's exactly right.  We either had a choice of this deal, which was carefully crafted, or we weren't going to have a chance to review it at all, because it requires 60 votes and there's only 54 Republicans.  You can do the math.  

BARTIROMO:  Yeah.  Senator, stay with us.  I want to ask you more about this, and really what your thoughts are in terms of these talks with a country we know is a sponsor of terrorism.  We'll be right back on that, Senator McCain.  Plenty more to talk about with you.  

But, first, the Senate may have passed that bill on giving lawmakers a final say on any nuclear deal with Iran, but how do we see their counterparts in the House reacting next week, as well as President Obama?  
Fox News' Senior Correspondent Eric Shawn now, with that angle.  

Good morning, Eric.

ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT:  Good morning, Maria.

And, good morning, everyone.  

Well, it passed the Senate, now on to the House and an eventual signature in the Oval Office.  This is the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.  But, do you really think these 24 pages can stop Iran from building a possible nuclear bomb?  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  It continues to be the view of the president that by far the best way for us to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is engaging in diplomacy.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAWN:  But, now, Congress will have a say.  The Senate bill passed 98-to- 1, giving Capitol Hill some oversight, but not control over an agreement with Iran.  The bill delays lifting sanctions on Iran for 30 days pending congressional approval.  

And while lawmakers can try to scuttle the agreement, President Obama could still veto the congressional, thumbs down, for some making the Senate and House action basically irrelevant.  

The lone dissenter was Arkansas freshman Republican senator, Tom Cotton, an Iraq and Afghanistan war vet who has been highly outspoken, warning against the deal.  

Like Senator McCain just said, Senator Cotton thinks it should be a treaty approved by two-thirds of the Senate.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COTTON, R-ARK.:  We have the inherent constitutional authority to pass any legislation that would stop a dangerous deal with Iran from going forward, and that's, in the end, going to be my priority, is stopping a agreement with Iran that would let them get a nuclear weapon and threaten the United States and our allies, not just today and tomorrow, but 10 and 15 years from now.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAWN:  Well, (INAUDIBLE) a senator, the only Jewish Republican member of Congress, Lee Zeldin, of Long Island, New York, like Cotton, an Iraq war vet.  Congressman Zeldin predicts the deal will unintentionally spark a Middle East nuclear arms race.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LEE ZELDIN, R-N.Y.:  This president is on pace to trigger a nuclear arms race.  And, if he's worried about his legacy, it's not going to be pretty 10, 20 years from now, when we're looking back to see the
consequences of this deal.    

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAWN:  Well, House Speaker John Boehner predicts the bill will pass. And, even if it does, some predict Iran will repeat its response to the United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding it suspend uranium enrichment.  Their answer, brazen defiance no matter what Tehran is told.  

Maria?

BARTIROMO:  Amazing.  Thanks very much.

Eric Shawn with the latest there.  

And we are back now with Senator John McCain.

And, Senator, let me get your thoughts on this negotiation, broadly speaking.  We know that Iran is sponsoring terrorism.  We know that they have been the big disrupter in the Middle East.  Why are we even having these negotiations?  

MCCAIN:  Well, I'm not against the negotiations, but, as George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, probably the two most respected men in America, wrote in a Wall Street Journal editorial, Maria, said that we went from negotiations the objective was to remove Iran's capability of ever acquiring nuclear to
delaying it.   

So, already, you've got a terribly flawed process going on where you have to view it in the context of what this is all about, and that is delusion, that I talked about before, that somehow there will be this great nuclear agreement and then there'll be a partnership between the United States and Iran, and everything will change in the Middle East.  

That is delusion.  And that's what the Arab states think.  And that's why they're going on their own and proceeding in their own -- making their own decisions, including in Syria, including the fact that the Saudis then decided to initiate military action in Yemen, because they did not -- could not stand to have Iranian-sponsored Houthis in control of Yemen.  

BARTIROMO:  Yeah, let me ask you a little more about that, because I know that now the U.S. says that the Syrian rebel training has begun in Jordan, and this is going to be the first of four training sites to begin the instruction.  Others in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

You were just in Syria.  What can you tell us about this training going on right now?  

MCCAIN:  I can tell you it's minimal.  They're starting with 50.  But the real problem here is, and it's really disgraceful, is if you're going to train these young men, and so far the plans could certainly not have decisive effect on the battlefield, when you look at the 5,000 Hezbollah and others.

But the important thing here is that they are training them only to fight against ISIS.  And my question to them has been, suppose these young men they're training go into Syria, are we going to protect them from being barrel bombed by Bashar Assad?  

Do you know what the answer to that is?  We don't have a policy on that yet.  

It's immoral to send young men in to fight against and not protect them against Bashar Assad's barrel bombing, who by the way there's now evidence of him as renewed use of chemical weapons in the form of chlorine gas.  

BARTIROMO:  Yeah.  And all of this, whether it is what we're talking about in Yemen or other hot spots within the Middle East, or the negotiations on Iran, this will likely be dealt with by the next person in the White House.  

MCCAIN:  It will be, but it depends on how big of wreckage he's going to have to -- he or she is going to have to sort out, because we have seen the results of an absence of American leadership.  And these Arab countries are going on their -- going on their own.  

Meanwhile, meanwhile, Iran is in four countries, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and -- Iraq, Syria, Yemen -- Iraq, Syria -- can you -- Iraq, Syria, Yemen...

BARTIROMO:  And Saudi Arabia.  

MCCAIN:  And Saudi Arabia.  No, it's not Saudi Arabia.  

BARTIROMO:  Right, Saudi Arabia.

MCCAIN:  No, it's not Saudi Arabia.  It's Iraq, Yemen, Syria and -- yeah, there's a fourth country.  We don't want to stumble on that.

BARTIROMO:  What do you want to see -- what do you want to see happen, Senator?  

MCCAIN:  That's just crazy.

BARTIROMO:  Let's talk about the foreign policy.  I mean, you mentioned, you know, this leading from behind.  What kind of a comprehensive strategy would you like to see take place?  

MCCAIN:  The other country is Lebanon, by the way.  

And what I would like to see is the -- is the United States establish a no- fly zone in Syria, train and equip people, work with other countries in the region in order to roll back the Iranian influence.  

Syria has become a client state of Iran.  And the only way that we're going to reverse that is to have American leadership.  

Right now, there is a group of Arab countries that are training some Syrians, but also are backing Al-Nusra, which an Al Qaeda-affiliated group, and they are the ones that are having success against Bashar Assad, who is being significantly weakened.  

BARTIROMO:  Yeah.  And it's certainly hitting many of our friends around the world who are wondering where the leadership is.  

Senator, good to have you on the program today, thanks so much.  

MCCAIN:  Thank you.  

BARTIROMO:  Senator John McCain joining us there.

With ISIS threatening the Middle East and Americans here at home, we will ask one man who has commanded our troops in the Middle East and run our country's spy agency.  

I'll ask General David Petraeus what he believes the U.S. must do to stop them.  Back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO:  Welcome back.

More than 3,200 U.S. military installations put on high alert over an unspecified ISIS threat, as our military works to prevent an attack on American soil.  Also, ISIS calling for more attacks like those in Paris, Canada and Australia.  

Now the U.S. is training forces in the Middle East to fight the terror army on its own turf.  I spoke with General and former CIA Director David Petraeus, who knows the terrain very well, when I was at the SALT conference earlier this week in Las Vegas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)  

DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR:  There's no question about it.  They have lost ground steadily over the course of a number of months now.  They certainly still have the capacity to carry out terrorist attacks in Baghdad, as they've done this week, to carry out limited offensive operations in areas that are still contested or under their control.

But they have been steadily pushed back, pushed back from Baghdad, pushed back all the way up to Tikrit.  Eventually, Mosul will be cleared once again.  And their lines of communication have been cut in the north.  

So, again, in Iraq, this is progressing.  And it's really more about, again, the political dynamics and about essentially, you know, the deals, the bargains, if you will, that have to be struck to ensure that everyone has an incentive to support Iraq.  

BARTIROMO:  What do you think is most important for the U.S.'s role in that regard, to, in fact, keep ISIS on the run and degrade and destroy them?  

PETRAEUS:  Well, getting them on the run is the first step towards the ultimate defeat of ISIS.  The main effort right now, the focus, is in Iraq, although there's certainly attacks taking place every day against ISIS forces in places like Kobani and elsewhere, Araka (ph), in Syria.  And over time as the force there is developed and we can start to support it against ISIS, against the Al Qaeda affiliate, Japhat al-Nusra, again, that will begin to unfold as well.  

BARTIROMO:  Why has it been so difficult to gain that kind of traction in Syria?  

PETRAEUS:  Well, Syria has just a number of different issues.  It has -- it is, in one respect, actually a -- really a religious war.  It is a war between Sunni and Shia.  

And, it's a proxy war, in some respects.  The various Sunni states and the United States in a coalition are supporting one side.  Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah are actually fighting on the ground and supporting the side of Bashar al Assad.  

It's a terrible, terrible situation.  Well over 220,000 Syrians have been killed to this date.  Millions of them have been displaced outside the country; millions more displaced inside the country.  And the damage to the infrastructure is horrific.  

It -- really now, I think, you have to wonder if Humpty Dumpty can be put back together again, and that's I think going to unfold in the months and years that lie ahead.  

BARTIROMO:  How important is U.S. leadership at this point in that region of the world?  

I was with the former prime minister recently of one of the Middle Eastern countries, small country.  And he said to me, so many of my friends around the Middle East are wondering where is America.  

This "leading from behind."  What's your sense of where America should be today?  

PETRAEUS:  Well, I -- clearly American leadership is needed.  It's vital.  
It's wanted.  And actually I think it is being provided.  I think there has been an understandable reluctance in the wake of these very frustrating, very costly wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan and in some other engagements that we have had.  And the pendulum perhaps swung a bit.

But I think that pendulum has swung back, and I think there's very clear recognition that American leadership is not only needed, but that it has to be provided.  

And we are leading the coalition against ISIS in Iraq and in Syria.  We are leading the effort to help establish the moderate ground force in Syria that we could then use to help in that fight against ISIS that's so very important.  

In fact, really, regardless of what outcome you want in Syria, one of those having to be, of course, defeating ISIS and presumably the Al Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al Nusra, regardless of what outcome you want there, whether it's a negotiated settlement or whatever, you have to change the battlefield, the momentum on the battlefield, because people aren't going to go to the table if that's not done.  And that requires the ground force.  
And it's good to see this finally beginning to get under way.  

BARTIROMO:  You're a national hero for all of us.  What are your  thoughts on the sentencing last week in terms of leaking classified information, General?  

PETRAEUS:  Well, I made a statement at the end of that.  I apologized for letting people down, for causing pain.  And I noted that I look forward to getting on with life in the private sector.  

BARTIROMO:  And, let me get your take in terms of what's next for you.  
Last week, you said you look forward to moving on now.  What are your plans for the future?  

PETRAEUS:  Well, I've got a wonderful portfolio of activities.  I'm a partner at the global investment firm, KKR, where I chair the KKR Global Institute.  We look at macroeconomic analysis, environmental, social and governance issues, and then geopolitical risk.  

I have three academic appointments at the Honors College of the City University of New York, where I teach each week, a course, by the way, called, "The Coming North American Decades."  I have a chair at USC, at Southern California, where I spend a week per semester.  And I'm a fellow at Harvard.  I do some speaking.  And then I support a number of veterans groups.  

So, it's a very busy, and I'm delighted to focus on it and, indeed, to focus forward.  

BARTIROMO:  And thank you so much, General Petraeus.  

PETRAEUS:  My pleasure.  OK.

BARTIROMO:  Honor to talk with you.  

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BARTIROMO:  Well, the United States waging tough nuclear negotiations with Iran, but are our leaders doing enough to get the best deal possible?  I'll ask one of the top negotiators of our time.  Former senator, George Mitchell, is with me this morning as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO:  Saudi Arabia launching new airstrikes in Yemen.  this, as the country's Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, say they have now agreed to a five-day humanitarian cease-fire, which expected to begin on Tuesday.  The U.S.-backed agreement is set to go into effect next week bringing a temporary stop to a Saudi-led air campaign that has now killed more than
1,400 people.  

Joining me now is former Democratic Senator George Mitchell of Maine.  He is a former Senate majority leader and former chairman of the Mitchell Commission.  He also served as the U.S. special envoy for  Middle East peace from January 2009 to May 2011.  

He is the author of a new book, "The Negotiator:  Reflections on an American Life."  

Senator, it's great to have you on the program.  

FMR. SEN. GEORGE MITCHELL, D-MAINE:  Thank you for having me here, Maria.  

BARTIROMO:  Congratulations on the book.  

First, let's talk about Yemen.  We were expecting a cease-fire today and obviously that didn't happen, the fighting continued.  And now, they're putting it in place on Tuesday.  Your observations of what's going on there?

MITCHELL:  Well, Yemen is a microcosm of the region.  Deep tribal ties, not the sense of nationhood that we've come to expect and take for granted in our country.  A country that has been divided in the past between North and South Yemen, in which conflict has gone on for many, many decades.  

And it is an illustration of the complexity, the conflicting, overlapping, sometimes contradictory conflicts in those countries.  Very difficult to resolve.  Plagued by poor governance, epidemic poverty, not an easy solution.  

I think that our support for the Saudis is the right position opposing Iran's support for the Houthi rebels who are Shia and the dominant government before the previous government, it wasn't dominant, was Sunni- backed.  

But in Iraq, in Syria, to some extent in Pakistan, in Bahrain, and now in Yemen, you see the Sunni-Shia conflict exploding in a devastating way.  

BARTIROMO:  Can we walk that balance of supporting the Saudis on one side, who are against the Iranians, while we talk with the Iranians about this nuclear agreement?  

MITCHELL:  Oh, yes, of course.  The fact is that what we're doing in trying to reach an agreement to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon will benefit the Saudis and the Israelis and all of the countries in the region who are part of the Arab coalitions that oppose Persian attempts to dominate the region.  

BARTIROMO:  We just heard from John McCain who basically made the point that we need to see regular checkups in terms of what their progress is on their uranium enrichment.  That doesn't look like the Iranians want to agree with that.  And we don't want to be lifting the sanctions right away until we have a real deal, and the Iranians want those sanctions lifted as soon as the ink is dry or even earlier than that.  

MITCHELL:  Yes.

BARTIROMO:  Your observations on what Senator McCain just said?  

MITCHELL:  Well, Senator McCain's a good friend, and I respect him.  But I disagree with him on this issue.  

First is, the critics of the president and the Congress, while harshly critical of the interim agreement, they said that Iran would not keep its commitments but the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified that Iran has kept all of the agreements in the interim agreement.  

Now the president of Iran and the supreme leader have said that Iran doesn't want nuclear weapons, but their words are contradicted by the actions of their government.  And so, an agreement based on trust is out of the question.  The question is will it have sufficient verification procedures to guarantee that Iran does what it commits to do in the agreement, and if not the sanctions will snap back into place.  That's the key.  

BARTIROMO:  And also critical is the point that you've made on this program before, it's not just about America.  These are five other superpowers that need to agree to this.  

MITCHELL:  Yes, right.  There are five countries besides the United States on our side of the table, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.  They are joining in the sanctions which is why the sanctions are effective.  
Unilateral sanctions will not be as effective anywhere near as universal sanctions.  

The president's critics and the Congress say let's up the sanctions, walk away, and Iran will come crawling back.  That won't happen because the other countries won't continue in the sanctions.  It's a fantasy to think that we can unilaterally raise the sanctions and somehow maintain their effectiveness.  

So the alternative to what the president is doing would leave this country facing two choices:  A nuclear-armed Iran or a war to prevent a nuclear- armed Iran.  And it's best to try to do it through negotiation, if it can be adequately verified.  

BARTIROMO:  The president is meeting with the leaders of the Gulf states this upcoming week at Camp David.  

What do you want to hear from this meeting in terms of these leaders from the Gulf states in the Middle East working with the president, whether it be in Yemen or whether it be on these Iran negotiations?  

MITCHELL:  Well, first, let's be clear.  Every foreign leader with whom I met would like an American foreign policy that supports his country.  We have to make our decisions based on our interests just as they make their decisions based on their interests.  So that's the first point.  

And every time a foreign leader criticizes the United States, they know there's a political echo chamber here, that the opposition says, well, let's see, this guy is not supporting our country, so the president must be weak.  That happens whichever side is in power.  

So let's concentrate on what is the American national interest.  We want peace, stability in the region.  We're committed to Israel's security.  But we have to recognize the limits of our ability, particularly through military means to solve conflicts that have been going on for hundreds, in some cases, thousands of years.  

BARTIROMO:  Having said that, has our leadership been weak?  

MITCHELL:  I don't think so.  No.  The president ran for office saying he would end two wars.  

Let me just close with one statistic, Maria.

BARTIROMO:  Yeah.

MITCHELL:  There are a billion and a half Muslims in the world now, one out of five.  In 2060, there will be 3.5 billion, one out of three. Those who advocate the use of American military force to resolve internal conflicts in the Muslim world are going to have a field day over the next 30 or 40 years, because they're going through a very difficult, turbulent period of upheaval and consolidation, and we can't bomb our way to success in the Middle East.

BARTIROMO:  All right, Senator, good to have you on the show today.

MITCHELL:  Thank you.

BARTIROMO:  Thank you so much, Senator George Mitchell.

Former president, meanwhile, Bill Clinton going on defense this week over his family's foundation funds at an event hosted by a controversial mining company.  Our panel will begin there as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."  Back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAWN:  From "American's News Headquarters," I'm Eric Shawn.  Here are some of the stories that are following at this hour.

Two brothers and one woman now in custody this morning after two Mississippi police officers were shot and killed during a routine traffic stop in Hattiesburg.  Police say the officers were left to die in the street.

The officers are 34-year-old Benjamin Deen and 25-year-old Liquori Tate.

A witness giving heartbreaking testimony after finding one of the officers, saying, quote, "He wasn't all the way alert," but he asked her, "Am I dying?  I know I'm dying.  Just hand me my walky talky."

The suspects are Marvin Banks, his younger brother, Curtis Banks, and Joanie Calloway.  They're in custody after an overnight manhunt.

Reports say the two brothers do have multiple arrests for weapons and gun charges as well as past felony convictions, and they are now charged with capital murder and after-the-fact capital murder.

The shootings mark the first time in 30 years a Hattiesburg police officer has been killed in the line of duty.

Tropical Storm Ana making landfall just north of Myrtle Beach this morning, the first tropical storm of the year weakening as it came ashore with 40- mile-per-hour winds.

Ana is expected to pack less of a punch as it moves over land.  It will still drop heavy rain over the eastern Carolinas.  Authorities telling residents to stay safe because the winds are strong enough to send tree limbs flying and, of course, cause widespread power outages.

I'm Eric Shawn.  Now back to "Sunday Morning Futures" and Maria.

BARTIROMO:  Thank you, Eric.

Former President Bill Clinton going on the offensive over new allegations in the new book, "Clinton Cash," the book's author claiming that foreign donors gained influence when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state by giving money to the Clinton's foundation.

But in a TV interview, the former president pushes back, accusing the author of making baseless accusations that he says will not fly.

Ed Rollins is former principal White House advisor to President Reagan.  He has been a long-time strategist to business and political leaders.  He's a Fox News political analyst.

Judith Miller is adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute for policy research.  She's a Pulitzer prize-winning author and journalist and a Fox News contributor.

And Lanhee Chen is a Hoover Institution research fellow, former policy director for Mitt Romney.

Good to see everybody.  Thanks very much for joining us.

LANHEE CHEN, HOOVER INSTITUTION RESEARCH FELLOW:  Good morning.

BARTIROMO:  Your observation from -- to Bill Clinton's comments?  "It won't fly."

ED ROLLINS, FMR. WHITE HOUSE ADVISER TO PRES. REAGAN:  Well, he's made comments before, like, you know -- they always deny, deny, deny.  This is -
- this is the Clinton mantra.

At the end of the day, this is going to be picked up by mainstream media, and obviously, there's a lot of questions they have to answer.

Mrs. Clinton has had the worst 30 days I've ever seen of a campaign start in my 50 years around the game, and she has not, basically, articulated or answered any of these questions, and she's going to have to.

BARTIROMO:  And she has not, and she says she will not.  She says she'll only testify once.

Worst 30 days, and yet it's not impacting the polls.

ROLLINS:  It's impacting -- in this case, it's not affecting Democrats, because they don't have any alternative.  But independents that are very, very critical are starting to not trust her, and if you don't trust someone, you're not going to vote for them.

Equally as important in New Hampshire, polls out this week.  We have three
candidates:  We have Walker, Rubio and -- and Jeb all -- all ahead of her.

And so I think it's going to be a very close race, and she's got to basically get on track here, or she's not going to be a viable candidate.

BARTIROMO:  Judy, what do you think?

JUDITH MILLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, look, I think that Bill finally came out to defend his wife, but where was "Slick Willie" when we needed him?  It was not a really strong performance.  He seems to be a little rusty.

There are now calls for a DOJ -- Department of Justice investigation of the foundation, which Peggy Noonan, in a column for the Wall Street Journal, called a "political slush fund," whether or not there's smoking-gun evidence.

And I think we're going to hear more and more of that, you know, Bill and Hillary Clinton as the Bonnie and Clyde of American politics, enriching themselves.  This is a theme that's going to carry on through the election.

BARTIROMO:  It's not going away.

MILLER:  It's not going away.

CHEN:  No, no.  It's definitely not going away.  And I think the -- the bigger problem for her is that it's starting to affect people's impression of her trustworthiness.

Now, you're right.  In the polling, she's still got a sizable lead.  But the issue she's going to have is people just don't trust her.

And we still don't know why she's running, by the way.  Why is she running for president?  What's the rationale?  What's the policy?  How are you going to differentiate yourself from President Obama?  No clue.

BARTIROMO:  She hasn't articulated that.

CHEN:  No.  No.  Not in...

MILLER:  No.  She just says she's the champion of the common man.  That's hard -- that's a hard act to pull off when you're going to raise $2.5 billion for your campaign and you're now going to take PAC money, a reverse of her previous...

ROLLINS:  Well, even -- there's a total hypocrisy.  I mean, she basically said she didn't want the big donors.  She's attacking the Republicans for getting the big donors, and now she's creating her super PAC, going to go after the big donors.

First words out of her mouth, she's going to raise $2.5 billion.  That's way more than either Mitt Romney or Obama did last time.  So...

BARTIROMO:  Can that be effective enough in just pushing her to -- to the top, because she's got all of this money...

ROLLINS:  No, no, no...

BARTIROMO:  ... and no one is going to be able to come close to that?

ROLLINS:  No.  I promise you that whoever our nominee is will have every bit as much money.  It's not just money that makes a good campaign.

What we have to do is we have to start talking about the issues.  We can't just be talking about her.  We have to talk about how we're going to direct this country, lead this country in the future.

BARTIROMO:  All right, I want to talk about the issues next with all of you.  This is important.

Let's get a look at what's coming up on "MediaBuzz" top of the hour and get Howard Kurtz in here first, though.

Howard, good morning to you.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, "MEDIABUZZ":  Good morning, Maria.

We're going to look at the coverage of both Clintons and especially with Bill saying in that NBC interview he's going to continue to give $500,000 speeches.

We've got a look at Jeb Bush's first interview in two months with our Megyn Kelly.

And I know you've been waiting for this, Maria.  The media roughing up Tom Brady after that NFL report said he kind of, probably, sort of knew the Patriots were deflating those footballs.

BARTIROMO:  Yeah.  Wow.  OK.  Cheating going on there.

Thank you so much.  We will be there in 20 minutes.

Three more Republicans threw their hat into the ring last week.  The presidential field balloons ahead, of 2016.  So how do they compare to the rest of the pack?  We will see how they made their cases as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures" and get into 2016 next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO:  Welcome back.

Wild cards, outsiders, underdogs.  Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, former Governor Mike Huckabee officially launching their presidential bids for the
2016 election.

They each have unconventional resumes compared to more traditional candidates.  But will that very lack of D.C. experience be a positive, or are they just too far outside to get inside the White House?

We bring back our panel: Ed Rollins, Judy Miller and Lanhee Chen.

And you called it, Judy, the BNC team.

MILLER:  Ouch.  I'm sorry.  But it's true.

I mean, look, Ben Carson is a brilliant, brilliant neurosurgeon, and I think we're -- you know, he's -- he's talked smoothly, but he's not ready for prime time, as you can see from some of his remarks.

Carly Fiorina, what -- why is she running?  I mean, when she was at H.P., she cut 30,000 jobs, the stock price went to half of its value...

BARTIROMO:  She's coming across very articulate, though.  I've got to give her some credit here, because when she comes out and talks about the actual issues, she -- I think she has the pulse of the American people.

MILLER:  Yes, and she's the only person there who can criticize Hillary without being accused of sexism.

BARTIROMO:  That's right.

MILLER:  But apart from that, look at the record.  She couldn't even beat Barbara Boxer, who was a very weak candidate.

BARTIROMO:  Maybe that's why she's in the race, though.  She is in the race for a reason, Lanhee, you know.

CHEN:  Yeah...

BARTIROMO:  She's a woman.  She's a business person bringing something to the table to -- that perhaps...

CHEN:  ... I think -- I think she's playing for V.P.  I mean, she figures, who else -- who else in this field is going to be a woman who has a record that is -- that is credible?  Politically, I think she's been a little bit of a disaster in the past.

But look, the reality is she's going to be competitive with some part of the Republican electorate.  And that's the thing about this field.  It's so big now that you don't need much more than, you know, 8, 9, 10 percent to potentially win in Iowa.

I put Huckabee in a different category, by the way.  I think he's got experience, and I think he's going to be very viable with the southern primary lining up on Super Tuesday (OFF-MIKE).

BARTIROMO:  And by the way, Dr. Ben Carson, very, very popular.  He's also very articulate.

Ed, how do you see things?

ROLLINS:  These three are not going to be the nominee of our party.

I have great affection for Mike Huckabee.  I was his chairman six years ago.  He's just not -- he's an anti-business candidate this time.  He's made statements against Big Pharma, against the chamber.

And he's running against Congress.  Congress is now controlled by Republicans.  So, you know, you can't -- you can't run against your own party and be very successful.

So Mike -- Mike, I think, will maybe get into the better -- the better field.  Fiona -- Fiona's (sic) at a 1 percent.  Carson is a little higher than that, but he'll drop out.

The big story of the week is Donald Trump's going to run for president.

(LAUGHTER)

We've heard this 1,000 times.  He was -- he was in South Carolina yesterday.  He got the biggest applause.  He's interviewing political people this week.

My fear of him is we'll never get on a serious discussion of issues as long as Donald Trump's on the race, and I think to a certain extent, he kind of becomes a Perot-type figure.  He'll attract a lot of attention, a lot of media.

Yesterday, all the media walked out on -- on a guy who's a serious candidate and -- our Florida senator, and basically to go listen to Trump.

BARTIROMO:  Marco Rubio.

(CROSSTALK)

BARTIROMO:  Let me ask you about -- about the Dem side, because really interesting when you hear what's being talked about in terms of primary.

So we have Hillary Clinton.  That's their candidate.

ROLLINS:  That's their candidate.

BARTIROMO:  And -- and now (INAUDIBLE).

ROLLINS:  You -- you now have the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman, who is a close ally of Hillary -- has now declared they're going to do six primary debates...

BARTIROMO:  Six primary debates?

ROLLINS:  ... six primary debates, which means Hillary'll have to debate Bernie Sanders, whoever else gets in this race, and she's only going to look bad.  It's not like she's going to get -- going to be a better debater.  She's not a great debater to begin.

And to be attacked from the left by Bernie Sanders is absolutely absurd and totally loses her control of her own campaign.

BARTIROMO:  Will Elizabeth Warren enter the fray?

ROLLINS:  It's wide open for her if she wants to.  She can get in any time she wants, and she'd be at 30 percent right today.

BARTIROMO:  We got to get to the issues...

(CROSSTALK)

CHEN:  ... anybody who wants to run as the Democrat should jump in.  This is a great opportunity for free airtime.  If you've got six primary debates, no one expects you to win anyway.  Why wouldn't you get in?  If you're Elizabeth Warren, Castro, whoever...

BARTIROMO:  What does that get you at the end of the day?

CHEN:  Well, it gets you some experience, and -- and maybe then you can run for real the next time around.  But why not?

ROLLINS:  Why don't we scoop half of our candidates...

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BARTIROMO:  Are you sure?  Are you Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is really a friend of Hillary?

(CROSSTALK)

ROLLINS:  And my friend -- my friend, Mike Huckabee's running like a Democrat.  He's attacking the Republicans in the business community, so...

BARTIROMO:  All right.  Stay right there.  We got a lot of issues to get to.

I want you to go through the most important issues for voters in our next block.

The unemployment rate down to a seven-year low.  Meanwhile, can the jobs market keep up the momentum now that the winter is all thought out.  And what does that stronger dollar mean for interest rates?  We'll check on all the numbers as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."  Back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO:  Welcome back.

New jobs numbers show the economy gaining momentum after a disappointing first quarter.  The Labor Department reported that the country added 223,000 jobs last month.  This as the unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent, the lowest it's been in seven years.  We're with Ed, Judy and Lanhee this morning.

Lanhee, your thoughts on budget passage and some good economic data?

CHEN:  Well, first budget we've had passed by Congress in several years.  
Republicans have to figure out now, how do they want to use the opportunity to take reconciliation -- which is a policy maneuver that allows them to get stuff through the Senate more easily -- how are they going to do that?

Are they going to use it for full repeal of ObamaCare like they said they're going to, or are they going to do something different?  Are they going to try and rip out pieces of ObamaCare, maybe do some tax reform?  
Very interest questions.

On the economy, my sense is you still got abysmal growth.  We had 0.1 percent for -- for Q1.  That may be revised down.

You know, there's a lot of moving factors here with the economic data.  I don't think the Fed's going to raise rates probably until the end of this year, but I do think it happens this year probably.

BARTIROMO:  I agree with you on the Fed not moving.  How can you when you have such...

CHEN:  That's right.

BARTIROMO:  ... an uneven economy?

And how extraordinary that this is the first budget in seven years.

CHEN:  I know.  I know.  It's crazy.

BARTIROMO:  I mean, really, guys?

You have been looking at the PATRIOT Act.

MILLER:  Right, I've been looking at the Senate committee that voted overwhelming to repeal the ability to -- for the NSA to -- to collect bulk data on Americans.  And that is, they were not looking at what we're saying and doing and whom we're calling, but you have all that data stored.  The Senate is now on its way to repealing that authority.  Plus you had a federal appeals court that said that that practice is unconstitutional.

Two incredible blows to an act which many, many people, including -- including the former head of Department of Homeland Security say is vital at a time when we're under increased threat to ISIS.

BARTIROMO:  So you've got economic issues and obviously foreign policy issues.

Ed, what other big issues for voters?

ROLLINS:  The interesting thing in my lifetime -- and I've probably looked at more polls than anybody, because I'm older.  I've been doing it for a long time -- is national security is ranked number one now.  It's like 29 percent -- I haven't seen that in any of these past decades.

So Americans are very, very concerned about what's going on in the world.  
They're very concerned about leadership.  And I think whoever wins this race has got to basically project a strong leader.  We look at two more years of Obama, and he's going to only get weak in my opinion.

So I think however you project it, and national security's a good way of doing it, the critical question on the budget -- I'm very pleased the House has passed a big budget.  They now have to make the details work.  But the defense side is really going to be the big battle.

BARTIROMO:  (INAUDIBLE) defense side in terms of sequestration and spending?

ROLLINS:  Absolutely.

BARTIROMO:  Nondisposable as well as disposable.  I mean, there's a lot of talk about spending money on infrastructure.

Well, you know, we need that eventually and you have to figure out a way to pay for it.

The critical thing -- and -- and -- and I'm -- I'm not an economist, and we have some experts here, but I think when you look at the unemployment numbers, there're still 93 million people, a record high, who are not in the workforce, highest number ever.

You have 163,000 new people coming into the job market this last month, so you create 220,000 jobs.  That's not much -- that's not much of a surplus.

So I still think the economic -- the job numbers are always kind of misleading.  The two things that everybody looks at are the stock market and the jobs numbers.  The reality is most people don't feel this economy's moving forward.

All right, quick break and then the one thing to watch for the week ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures" with our panel next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO:  Back with our panel and the one thing to watch in the week ahead.

Ed Rollins, what are you watching?

ROLLINS:  I'm going to watch -- see if John Boehner can basically control his conservatives and pass this Iran bill that the Senate passed 98 to one.  
If he can't, the whole thing will come apart.

BARTIROMO:  Judy?  Wow.

MILLER:  I'm watching the Gulf Summit at Camp David this week.  The Arab allies are now -- they say they want NATO-style protection.  If they're attacked, they want an American commitment to defend them, and they want more weapons to fight the fight in -- against ISIS.  I don't think they're going to get either out of this president.

BARTIROMO:  That's going to be an important meeting this Wednesday.

MILLER:  Mm-hmm.  Very much so.

BARTIROMO:  Lanhee?

CHEN:  I'm watching what's going to happen this week in the 2016 presidential campaign.  We've still got a long time to go before the first ballots are cast, but on the Republican side, the field is taking shape.

And I'm curious to see if Marco Rubio can continue his streak from the last couple of weeks.  Is Jeb Bush going to be able to raise money and finally make some headway with conservatives, particularly in early states?  And is Scott Walker going to still keep learning up on the issues and doing what he should be doing in this period of time?

BARTIROMO:  That's the thing.  I mean, they really need to focus on the issues at hand and not attacking each other.

ROLLINS:  (INAUDIBLE) attacking Hillary.  We've got plenty of time to attack Hillary, but right now, we gotta talk about what we are.

BARTIROMO:  That too.  And she has to talk about what she is, by the way.

Thanks, everybody, to our panel.  Thanks for joining us for "Sunday Morning Futures."  I'm Maria Bartiromo.  Happy Mother's Day.

By the way, a shoutout to Mama McCain at 103 years old.  Thanks, John McCain, for joining us.  Happy Mother's Day.

I'll see you tomorrow morning on the "Opening Bell" of the Fox Business Network.  Take a look at where to find (ph) FBN on your cable network.

Have a good Sunday.

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