This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," November 8, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: I’m Chris Wallace.
Security changes for commercial flights bound for the U.S., as the consensus grows a bomb may have taken down that Russian jet over Egypt.
REP. MIKE MCCAUL, R-TEXAS, CHAIR, HOMELAND SECURITY CMTE: I think we need to step up this war on terror against ISIS because if it's a Russian airline today, it could be an American airline tomorrow.
WALLACE: We'll sit down with Michael McCaul, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, to get the latest on the investigation and the growing terror threat.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will be on a stage debating wherever they put me. You will put one in the middle of the square in Manchester, I'll do it there.
WALLACE: We'll talk with New Jersey Governor Christie about how getting bumped from the big debate on Tuesday will affect his campaign. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.
Plus, Donald Trump returns to NBC despite protests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I’ve got to say you're doing a great job. In fact I think this show got better by about 2 billion percent.
WALLACE: Our Sunday panel discusses his appearance, questions about Ben Carson as past and Jeb Bush's future.
And our power player of the week, helping wounded veterans heal through the sound of music.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We went and served and were injured, and now we're playing these songs together.
WALLACE: All right now on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
We begin with growing concerns about that Russian jet down over Egypt, still more signs point to a bomb, causing the crash that killed the 224 people on board. Russia reportedly asking the FBI to help with forensic analysis and suspending all flights to Egypt.
Conor Powell e is live in our Mideast newsroom with the latest -- Conor.
CONOR POWELL, FOX NEWS CORRESPODNENT: Chris, the evidence continues to mount supporting both the British and American theory that there was a bomb aboard this Russian MetroJet plane. Now, a top Egyptian investigator this weekend said a noise from a, quote, "undetermined" source was heard on the black box recording immediately before the aircraft went down. That sound likely a bomb according to most aviation analysts.
Earlier in the week, the Pentagon also said they detected a sudden and unexpected heat blast seconds before the plane crashed. However, both Egyptian and Russian authorities say it's way too early to draw any concrete conclusions, and even American officials are hedging their by this saying it’s about 90 percent with certainly it was a bomb.
Now, this is a joint Russian and Egyptian investigation. The New York Times, they’re reporting the FBI is also helping with forensic analysis.
And given the increased tensions between Washington and the Kremlin, this is a rare cooperation between the two.
Now, ISIS or an ISIS-affiliated group seems to be the most likely suspect, but, Chris, given the lack of information about what type of bomb it was or how it got on board and through airport security, it makes it a real mystery about who exactly the people who carried out this attack were -- Chris.
WALLACE: Conor Powell, reporting from the region -- Conor, thanks for that.
We want to discuss the growing possibility of a terror attack with Michael McCaul, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee. He joins us from the Reagan Library in California where he's attending a Reagan National Defense Forum.
Chairman, what's the latest intel on the downing of that Russian airliner?
MCCAUL: Well, I think the latest evidence we have is the black box recording itself, which indicates that there was an explosion on the aircraft. When you couple that with the satellite technology, this flash of heat on the airplane, the fact that ISIS has declared war on Russia, this was a Russian plane headed for Russia, in addition to the U.S. and U.K. intelligence that we have received, I think all indicators are pointing to the fact that this was ISIS putting a bomb on an airplane.
WALLACE: So, one week after this terrible incident, what do you think of the likelihood that it was a bomb, that it was a terror attack.
MCCAUL: Well, I’ve a high degree of confidence it was. It's been my gut all along as we looked at the facts, the region itself, the fact that they want to hit the Russians, I must say, Chris, this is a new chapter to ISIS.
Typically, we looked at al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as the sort of premier bomb maker, if you will, hitting the aviation sector, their crown jewel, but now you're looking at ISIS now putting bombs on airplanes, which concerns me greatly, not just for Russian airlines, but quite frankly American-bound flights into the United States.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on that in a second. But you use a term of art there, in fact, "a high degree of confidence". What does that mean when you say that?
MCCAUL: Well, that's based upon the intelligence reports out there. It’s based on the black box reporting. It’s based on the satellite imagery. And it’s based upon the fact that ISIS has declared war against Russia.
Now, that Russia has set foot in Syria, now, Russia has its own homeland security problems in and of themselves, and this is comparable, I would think, to a 9/11 for them that they have to deal with.
And so, I think you put all these factors together, in every -- all the officials I have talked to, I think everybody is very much pointing towards the fact this was an ISIS-related attack. That with the bomb put on the airplane, the question is, how did the bomb get on the airplane? There's a lot of theory that this possibly could have been an inside job at the airport to put the luggage in the hull of the aircraft.
WALLACE: Well, let me pick occupy that aspect right away. The Department of Homeland Security has announced increased security, especially at foreign airplanes, especially at Mideast airports and unnamed tightening of securities at some domestic airports.
Thanksgiving is only a couple weeks away, 25 million Americans will be flying over the holidays. Do you think DHS is doing enough?
MCCAUL: Well, I talked to the secretary at the forum yesterday, and Admiral Neffenger of the TSA, new administrator, I think they are being proactive. They are the last points of departure airports, flights coming into the United States, ramping up security, both screening, but also vetting employees for the insider threat, and also looking at high-threat risk airports in addition to those where we can coordinate with host countries to better upgrade their security.
Sharm el-Sheikh does not have really the best screening process in place. And we think that’s probably how this happened.
WALLACE: Yes, I want to get into that. I think it's fair to say we focus as a nation overwhelmingly on passengers and their bags, what happens out front, but people are now talking increasingly about the threat and especially at foreign airports through the back door, whether it's baggage handlers or other personnel, caterers, that they are able to have access to the plane and could plant a bomb on board a plane, having nothing to do with the passengers.
How big a threat is that? How big a security lapse is that both overseas and domestically?
MCCAUL: It's a huge threat and we think that’s likely how it got on to this airplane. They can be compromised. They can be is bribed with cash. Or they could be radicalized enough to put a piece of luggage on the aircraft.
You know, in Puerto Rico, we have many cases of prosecution of corruption, of putting drugs and weapons on airplanes inbound to the United States. It wouldn't take a whole lot to put a bomb on one of those airplanes as well. And I think that's a main thing from the homeland security standpoint, we're really worried about these planes coming into the United States.
I will say this, if I could add, being at the Reagan Library, peace through strength is what he -- what Reagan talked about. When you project weakness throughout the world in a failed foreign policy, this is what you get. And now, we have chaos in the Middle East, we have ISIS taking over Iraq, Syria and Northern Africa, Egypt, now, we have the Russians in there.
And it's presented a very complicated strategy moving forward in terms of protecting the American people.
WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about that, because I think it's fair to say that President Obama has primarily dealt with ISIS up until now as a regional threat, as a group that was primarily interested in creating a caliphate across the Middle East and North Africa. If they're responsible for what would in effect by the worst act of air terrorism since 9/11, doesn't that really change the nature of the threat from ISIS?
MCCAUL: Well, you know, again he called it the jayvee team, but now, we're seeing ISIS bring down airplanes with bombs, which is what al Qaeda did. As you said, the greatest aviation disaster since -- terrorist event since 9/11.
And what I want to see, what's interesting is to see what the Russian response is going to be. Their target packages have been primarily to prop up Assad and his regime in the region, not to go after ISIS. We've seen in the last couple days, though, attacks now, air strikes in Raqqa going against ISIS.
The sad fact is, because of we've had a failed policy and failed leadership, now, we're having to rely on Russians and the Iranians to go into Syria to fight and destroy ISIS. And that's kind of where we are today.
I think, again, it's this -- weakness invites aggression. We have not handled this right. We haven't done anything. We haven't made decisions in the region in terms of a strategy.
And when you don't have a strategy, you fail. I think we're seeing this unfold before our very eyes.
WALLACE: Well, we have seen how Putin has responded in the past in Chechnya to Islamic radicals, brutally taking down opposition in that country twice during his time as president of Russia. How forcefully, if this does out to have been a revenge attack by ISIS, because Russia has now launched a higher profile, how forcefully do you expect Putin to respond? And is there a possibility -- if Putin instead of propping up Assad is going after ISIS -- is there a possibility of the U.S. and Russia acting in concert against ISIS?
MCCAUL: I think there's the possibility. We have to be very careful with Russia. We're deconflicting our mission right now to make sure we're not killing each other.
But the fact of the matter is, the one thing we have in common is our disdain for the jihadists. They have their Chechen rebels, the Boston bomber was a Chechen rebel. The Russians warned us about him.
So, there is a common desire there to eliminate the jihadists. They haven't really done so thus far in their airstrikes, but I do think after this event, they're going to realize once they touch foot in the region, that they have their own homeland security problems also, and it's to their advantage to turn their sights to ISIS. And it's my hope that we can draw the Arab nations and NATO and the coalition forces in a joint effort against ISIS. That would be the only positive thing out of this entire tragedy.
WALLACE: Finally, Chairman, I want to switch subjects on you. President Obama is apparently launching a new push to close the U.S. prison facility at Guantanamo. He’s apparently going to try to go first through Congress, but if Congress refuses, there's talk about more executive action.
Your response to that?
MCCAUL: Well, there’s a narrative launched (ph) in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we've seen how well that’s worked. He didn't leave a residual force in Iraq and now, we have ISIS in Iraq. And I think the last piece is to close down Guantanamo.
He tried this before unsuccessfully, but I do think you're going to see an executive action to close down Guantanamo. Where are these -- the worst of the worse terrorists from 9/11, where are they going to go? If they set foot on American soil, at a military prison, I predict the American people will stand up in outrage over this decision for many reasons.
I’ve been done there, I’ve seen Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the evil incarnate, and the fact that we're bring him into United States to provide a Mecca for the jihadists -- you know, we're already having radicalized individuals hitting military installations in the United States. If we bring these guys into the U.S., to these facilities, you're going to see a heightened terror alert threat in the United States. It would be highly reckless and irresponsible.
WALLACE: And very briefly, if the president were to go ahead as you predict with executive action, is there anything you and Congress can do about it?
MCCAUL: Well, he's done this before, and it's hard to stop this kind of action. I would hope the American people would rise up in numbers so strongly that as he tried to do this last time, that he'll decide to back down from that decision.
WALLACE: Chairman McCaul, thank you. Thanks for talking with us, and we will, of course, stay on top of the crash investigation. Thank you, sir.
MCCAUL: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on his viral video, his rise in New Hampshire, and getting bumped from the main debate stage this Tuesday.
WALLACE: Well, it's been an eventful week for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a video of him talking about addiction went viral on the Internet and polls show him gaining traction in New Hampshire, where he's been campaigning intensely. But he’s been bumped from the primetime debate on FOX Business Network Tuesday night for failing to average 2.5 percent in recent national polls.
Governor Christie joins us here in Washington to discuss all of this.
Governor, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
CHRISTIE: Good to be back, Chris.
WALLACE: You have reacted to your demotion in the debate as positively as you can. You say, put up a podium, I'll talk about the issues wherever it is.
But for a candidate whose slogan is "tell it like it is", how big a setback, honestly?
CHRISTIE: It’s really not a big setback. I obviously don't prefer it. I’d rather by on the stage, where I was for the first three.
But here's the thing -- this is the problem with Washington all along, Chris, right? Everybody is looking at polls rather than talking about principles. And our campaign is talking about the principles we believe in. If we have less of that in Washington, D.C., we'll have a much more effective government.
And I’m just going to keep being who I am. The "telling it like it is" part is me being myself, saying what I mean and meaning what I say. That's what I'll do on the stage Tuesday night in Milwaukee, and next day, I'll go to Iowa and just keep doing it. Keep working.
WALLACE: But there are some practicalities. At the end of September, your cash on hand for the third quarter was $1.4 million, which is not a lot of money. Doesn’t this hurt with donations when you get bumped from the main event to the undercard?
CHRISTIE: It actually it hasn't. In fact, it's gone the opposite direction. There are a lot of people out there who disagree with what Fox did, and we've been getting more donations in the last week than we got in the week before, because people feel like we're getting a raw deal.
So, it hasn't hurt the donations at all. In fact, incredibly, because I thought what you did. It's actually worked the opposite. A lot of people out there who are looking to level the playing field.
So, keep doing it. Send it in. Keep doing it.
WALLACE: Well, we can bump you from all the debates, and it will be a windfall.
CHRISTIE: No, thank you.
WALLACE: Let's look at your ride in the polls this year, because it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. Put it up on the screen.
In January, in the Real Clear Politics average, you were second behind Jeb Bush with more than 11 percent, now you're tied for ninth at 2.3 percent.
Question: what happened?
CHRISTIE: You know, it's hard to tell. I mean, campaigns are something that really change from week to week to week, as we've seen. In that poll, there was no Donald Trump at that point. That makes a big difference since he's been in first place in the national polls.
But what really matters is what's happening in New Hampshire and Iowa. And that’s what you know from covering campaigns for a long time, national polls at this time had Rudy Giuliani ahead in 2007, had Herman Cain ahead in 2011. That doesn't really matter. What matters is what’s going to happen in New Hampshire and Iowa.
We feel great momentum in New Hampshire and Iowa, both. Our numbers tripled in Iowa. Our numbers have quadrupled in New Hampshire. And so, we're just going to go to work and let people hear about the things we care about.
WALLACE: I’m going to talk about New Hampshire in a second, but you brought up Trump. You know, there's an armchair idea, analysis, well, you were going to be the larger than life, forgive me, bombastic guy out on the stage, tell it like it is, and that Trump has kind of filled that space and that has diminished you.
Do you think there’s some truth to that?
CHRISTIE: I don’t know. I think we'll only know that after we read, you know, the books afterwards, you know? And then we'll know exactly what that was. But now, we don’t know.
I'll tell you what we do know is that the American people are really concerned about where this government is headed. They hate the fact that we’re getting walked on around the world, and they want a strong, decisive president who will tell it like it is and mean what he say and says what he means. And that’s the kind of president they’re going to get in me.
WALLACE: OK, last poll question. The one place where you are showing some real life is, as you said, in New Hampshire, where in a recent poll, you're now in fifth place with 8 percent. As you say that's a big increase.
Is it fair to say it's New Hampshire or bust for you?
CHRISTIE: No, because you think we're going to compete in Iowa as well, Chris.
But I think for any of the candidates, if you don't do well in Iowa and New Hampshire, your campaign is going to be in trouble, so you’ve got to do well. And that's what we're going to do.
WALLACE: A video, talk about things that we were just saying beforehand that you didn’t expect -- a video went viral this week, millions of people have watched it, of you talking about criminal justice, more treatment than imprisonment for people that suffer from drug addiction, and you talked especially about a friend of yours who suffered from this.
Here's a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: When I sat there as the governor of New Jersey at his funeral and looked across the pew at his three daughters sobbing, because their dad is gone, there but for the grace of God go I. It can happen to anyone. And so, we need to start treating people in this country, not jailing them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: What's your larger point?
CHRISTIE: My larger point, Chris, is that this is a disease.
And for people who are committing violent acts who are dealing drugs, they need to go to prison, because they’re putting this poison into our -- in our neighborhoods and they’re committing violent acts to do it.
But for the addicts, the people who are small-time users, we need to give them treatment. This is a disease. I talked in the video about my mom. My mom was addicted to cigarettes. She smoked for 55 years and died of lung cancer.
When she got diagnosed with lung cancer, Chris, no one said don't treat her, she’s getting what she deserves. We need to think differently about this. But it’s also -- I’m opposed to drug legalization. We can’t have more of this, we have to have less of it, and we can’t be sending mixed signals.
I tell you one thing quickly -- I was outside a town hall meeting in Hanover that I was having this past Friday night. There was a couple standing out there with their dog.
I went up and said hello to them, and they said, Governor, we wanted to come here and say we saw your video. We want to thank you for talking about this. We lost our son a week ago today, 23 years old from a heroin overdose. His sister goes up here to school. We're grieving together, but I wanted to say thank you. We need someone to talk about this. We don't want our son to have died in vain.
This is happening in families all over America, Chris, and we need to get a hold of it. If we don't, it’s going to ruin the fabric of our society.
WALLACE: All right. But critics note that you have opposed building more state drug treatment centers in New Jersey and they note that in 2013, only 10 percent of people seeking drug treatment in New Jersey could be accommodated, that there were beds for them, and they also note, critics do, that you want to repeal Obamacare, which has expanded insurance coverage for people with mental health problems or with substance abuse problems.
Isn't there a contradiction there?
CHRISTIE: No, a few things. First off, more people are getting drug treatment today in New Hampshire than ever before. We have 21 drug courts in all 21 of our counties. Second, I want to see the private --
WALLACE: In fairness, that started before you were governor.
CHRISTIE: No, excuse me. There were only three drug courts in New Jersey when I started as governor. They’re now 21. OK, so, it started, but it started at a level of three. I changed the law to expand it to have drug courts in every county in my state.
Secondly, Chris, I don't want this to be purely a government solution. And by putting more money into this, and we've put money into our treatment budget to allow the private sector to come in to be able to provide this kind of treatment. I don't want to build government facilities, you're absolutely right. I don’t want to make the government bigger. The private sector will fill this void and will continue to --
WALLACE: Isn’t there a problem? You say you don’t want to do state drug treatment centers. But if only 10 percent of the people can be accommodated, what happens to the other 90 percent?
CHRISTIE: By the way, that's much more than were accommodated before.
WALLACE: But it can't be good, now (ph) 10 percent.
CHRISTIE: Well, no, no, listen, by the way, first of all, I don't think that number is accurate, but I’m not going to quibble with you on the number. The fact is that we're doing much more than ever before. So, there is no contradiction.
And if anybody -- you talk to anybody in New Jersey about who's been more committed -- go to former Democratic Governor Jim McGreevy and talk to him, hardly a partisan in my favor, who has said I have turned it around in the state in terms of the way we look at drugs and incarceration. And so, the bottom line is that we need to talk about those things that really will make a long-term difference without growing the size of government to even bigger in New Jersey than is already.
WALLACE: Let's do a lightning round. Quick questions, quick answers. I know that was something that would be out of the other debates but you --
CHRISTIE: This isn't a debate. It's "Fox News Sunday." Let's go.
WALLACE: All right. Here we go.
You've been going over -- going after Marco Rubio lately on immigration. Why?
CHRISTIE: Well, I just want people to be consistent. You know, the president of the United States has signed what I consider to be illegal executive orders. Whether you agree with underlying nature of the order or not, I don't think we should be allowing presidents to have illegal presidential orders.
That’s why I said we should get rid of both of the ones that I was asked this week on the Laura Ingraham program, and I understand now Marco has changed his answer to say he agrees with me. So that's good.
WALLACE: But he was originally saying, and this is particularly the one about the DREAM Act, DACA, as to whether or not people should be deported who were brought in to this country as DREAMers. He was saying, well, I might change it, but certainly not for a while. And you were upset with that?
CHRISTIE: I wasn’t upset with that. I was upset with the idea that he doesn’t want to overturn illegal executive orders.
But here's the good news, Chris, in the lightning round, he changed his answer to agree with me.
WALLACE: But having said that, because one of the things you also said --
CHRISTIE: What happened to the lightning round? Where is lightning? We're on the same subject. C'mon, baby. Where’s lightning round?
WALLACE: But in 2010, quick answers --
CHRISTIE: Long answers -- long questions, quick answers.
WALLACE: No, no, I’m saying quick questions. They can all be on the same subject.
WALLACE: Back in 2010, you supported a path to citizenship. So, if he has flipped on it and you criticized him for flipping, haven't you flipped also?
CHRISTIE: I didn't criticize him for flipping. What I criticized him for was being supportive of illegal executive orders.
WALLACE: No, in fairness, you said --
CHRISTIE: No --
WALLACE: In fairness, you said, I can't keep up with where he is on immigration.
CHRISTIE: Well, I can't keep up with where he is on immigration, because he said he's again illegal executive orders, then he says, but with this one, I wouldn't change it.
The point is the president has engaged in illegal executive orders. I’m a law and order guy. I believe you’ve got to follow the law and you should follow the law, and I’m glad that Marco has changed his position to agree with the fact that as president, we should enforce the law.
WALLACE: And what about your flip on path to citizenship?
CHRISTIE: By the way, I learned over the course of time in my state, in interacting with these folks, that, you know, we need to do it differently and we need to allow for a lot different than we talked about back in 2010.
WALLACE: We're back on lightning round rules.
CHRISTIE: All right.
WALLACE: President Obama rejected the Keystone pipeline on Friday, after seven years of study. He says it would undercut our global leadership on fighting climate change.
CHRISTIE: Interesting, the president is interested in global leadership, and the only thing he’s interested in global leadership on is a radical environmental liberal policy, which is what he’s doing.
Did anybody think for the last seven years he’s ever going to approve it? Despite the fact that the State Department said it won’t have a big environmental impact, and so does the EPA administrator. This president is a radical environmental liberal.
And when I’m president, we'll build the Keystone pipeline if the Canadians are still interested.
WALLACE: You say you support free trade, but you've already come out against the president’s specific trade agreement which would eliminate 18,000 tariffs on U.S. exports. Why isn't that a good thing?
CHRISTIE: I don't trust this president to negotiate any deal after I saw the Iranian deal. And that’s what my answer was, to say I don’t trust this president negotiating a deal. I wouldn't let this president buy me a car, that's how bad a negotiator he is.
So, I will not support TPP as negotiated by this president, because I’m convinced it will be just as bad as the Iranian nuclear deal.
WALLACE: Finally, on Tuesday Republicans lost at least at least more seats in the state assembly in New Jersey, which means they may have only 28 of the 80 seats in the assembly. One of the big issues that the Democrats ran on was opposing Republicans who supported you.
What does that say about your standing among the people who know you best?
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, there was a 20 percent turnout in that election in New Jersey, the lowest turnout in New Jersey history. The fact of the matter is this -- in the second midterm in a governor's term, you always lose seats. In fact, we lost less than the average governor has lost in the second term. So you can look at it that way, too, that we did better than most governors have done in serving their second term.
But in the end, guess what, Chris? I had a Democratic legislature before the election, I’ve got a Democratic legislature after the election. And if that happened in Washington, you wouldn't be able to get anything done.
Yet in New Jersey, we’ve balanced budgets, we've cut taxes, we’ve reformed teachers' tenure, we’ve reformed pension and benefits, and we've done the people's business and we'll do it again this year, despite the fact that I disagree with my Democratic legislature. I don’t hold my breath and stand in the corner. I do the people's business. That's exactly what I'll do when I come to Washington as president.
WALLACE: This lightning is going down the drain. Governor Christie, thank you.
CHRISTIE: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Thanks for coming in. Always good (AUDIO GAP) Tuesday night.
CHRISTIE: Looking forward to it.
And you can watch the next Republican debates on Fox Business Network Tuesday, first at 7:00, then at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. To find FBN in your area, go to foxbusiness.com/channelfind.
Up next, Donald Trump hosts "Saturday Night Live."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, the president of Mexico is here to see you.
DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's great. Send him in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I brought you the check for the wall.
TRUMP: Oh, that's so wonderful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Our Sunday group reviews his performance, thumbs up our thumbs down, next.
WALLACE: Coming up on "Fox News Sunday," Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson slams the media over questions about his past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN CARSON, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a smear campaign, but I'm not going to play that game with them. They can do it all they want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: The panel discusses the vetting of Ben Carson, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're going to have a lot of fun tonight.
LARRY DAVID, COMEDIAN: You're a racist.
TRUMP: Who the hell -- I knew this was going to happen.
DAVID: Trump's a racist.
TRUMP: What are you doing, Larry?
DAVID: I heard if I yelled that, they would give me $5,000.
TRUMP: As a businessman, I can fully respect that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Well, Donald Trump last night taking time off the traditional campaign trail to host "Saturday Night Live." And it's time now for our Sunday group, GOP strategist Karl Rove. Julie Pace, who covers the White House for the Associated Press. Kimberley Strassel, from the Wall Street Journal, and Fox News political analyst, Juan Williams. Karl, it's a heck of a way to run for president, do you think it helps or hurts Trump?
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: It helped. Everybody got their moment last night. He got to be marked by the Saturday Night Live crowd, and he got a chance to say he's a good sport and could take it in strike.
I think we ought to go back and blame this, however, all on Calvin Coolidge, who was after all, the first president to appear on the White House lawn in an Indian headdress. And since then presidents have felt compelled to go out and occasionally mock themselves, and now presidential candidates have gotten in the habit of mocking themselves.
It was, however, I have to say, not very funny.
WALLACE: Are you talking about Calvin Coolidge?
ROVE: No, I'm talking about last night. The opening skit was okay, mainly because Darrell Hammond did a more loose and realistic Donald Trump than Donald Trump did, but when the high moments of Donald Trump's appearance is Bernie Sanders, Larry David's impersonation of Bernie Sanders, previous to that, and then appearing on stage to smartly get rid of the chance for him to be interrupted by a taunt, and then collecting $5,000, I understand this morning, the people who were putting up the money to get somebody to say that during Trump's appearance, are actually going to pay Larry David $5,000.
WALLACE: You really are giving a review. I'm impressed you even watched.
ROVE: You ordered me to stay up until 1:00 until morning --
WALLACE: I haven't stayed up and watched "Saturday Night Live" since about 1978, so -- and I think this is the last time it was funny. But anyway.
Julie, some immigration groups, as Karl pointed out, protested. Protested outside. You could see, quite sizable crowds. And I'm curious, at the White House, do they think the controversy over Trump, about his comments, about illegal immigrants, people in this country illegally, whether or not Trump is -- let's say Trump isn't the nominee, do they still think that is still going to hurt Republicans?
JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: They do. I think they, the language coming from the White House and also coming from the Clinton campaign, they're trying to make this about more than Trump. They are trying to say that other candidates who are running for the Republican nomination are saying things that are not maybe as flamboyant and bombastic as Trump is saying, but on a policy basis, they're actually quite similar. So you're seeing this attempt to essentially come paint the entire Republican field as essentially Donald Trump on this particular issue.
WALLACE: Let's turn to Ben Carson, who is finding out that being in the lead or second in the polls comes with added scrutiny. There has been quite a controversy this week about his involvement with West Point. He had said repeatedly that he had received a full scholarship or been offered a full scholar to West Point. There were indications that there was no, in fact, that he never even applied. Here's what he originally said. And here is how he responded to the media scrutiny.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARSON: I was offered a full scholarship to go to West Point, got to meet General Westmoreland, go to Congressional Medal of Honor dinners.
I see these thousands of people, they say don't let the media get you down, don't let them disturb you. Please continue to fight for us. See, they understand that this is a witch-hunt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Kim, Carson says this will hurt him, I mean, rather help him, not hurt him. And in fact, there are a number of conservatives who have rallied around him since the West Point story came up.
KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: I think it might, but there's a difference between vetting and vendetta. And I think a lot of times when it comes to the press, when they are looking at conservative candidates, they get this treatment that just nobody else gets, and it's --
WALLACE: I'm curious, do you think that examining whether or not he was offered a scholarship to West Point, trying to find out the truth about that, is that a vendetta or vetting?
STRASSEL: That's probably something worth looking at, but you look at for instance like this CNN story that was out, where they go back 50 years, and they are looking at all of his childhood friends, and asking them, is this the sort of person you remember 55 years ago, and somehow suggesting that this is an appropriate look at his history and past and vetting?
Look, I think the problem for Carson, though, and this does get to an issue, the challenge he will have is he made a speech this week or wrote something about how he's the genuine outsider, and that people are tired of experienced politicians, but the truth is that when you have an experienced politics, they do have a sort of fifth sense about what you can say and not, they know the media is coming after you. And so they know what those lanes are, and they're careful, they don't kind of engage in loose language about scholarships and things, because they know that if they give that opening, they are going to get hit. And he's dealt with a lot of this on this campaign. And it's going to be an enduring problem.
WALLACE: In fact, your paper, the Wall Street Journal, was involved in one of these things, and that involved a course that Carson said he had taken a psychology course at Yale when he was a student there, and that he was given an honesty experiment, all the students were, and he was the only one who passed. Wall Street Journal found out, went back to the records when he was at Yale in the '60s, there was no such psychology course and to the best of their ability, there was no such honesty experiment. Question for you, Juan. Is that fair? Is that vetting or vendetta? And isn't this particularly a problem for Carson, because his biography is such a huge part of his campaign?
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS ANALYST: I think that's right. This reminds me of a lot of rappers, Chris, you know? They hype, they embellish, they exaggerate for the sake of presentation, the biography in this case. So with the high school students, his classmates, and I think Kimberley, people do remember what happens in high school, very intensely. I think it turns out he is more Urkel than Thug Life. And that's the Ben Carson I know. I know the guy, and I'm just telling you, he's a wonderful guy, but I never thought of him as any kind of thug, or attacking people, just didn't see it.
But the key point for me is he remains an inspirational man. This is a poor black kid from Detroit who becomes a world-renowned neurosurgeon. It's an incredible story. Why he needed to elaborate, OK, so because, as you said, with the biography, his books end up in evangelical book stores, home schooling book stores, that's how he's known to a lot of people, and they love him for that inspirational, boot straps up, Jesus touched life, his miracle life.
So I would say that the difficulty is the trust factor. I don't know if you've noticed this, but when it comes to asking Americans, which of these candidates do you like most? Who do you trust most? Ben Carson is No. 1.
WALLACE: He's off the charts.
WILLIAMS: And this then potentially starts to hurt him in that regard, the people might have questions. Whether or not, listening to Kimberley this morning, whether or not it's this conservative evangelical crowd that views him as an icon and says the media is the devil -- will take it seriously is another question.
WALLACE: We have got about a minute left in this segment. I want to talk about one other candidate, and that is Jeb Bush, Karl, down dramatically in the polls, and once again engaged in a reboot of his campaign. Here is a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I strive each and every day. I pray each and every day to get better as a husband, as a father, as a leader. I know I can get better. And I believe this country is going to get better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Karl, how much trouble is Jeb Bush in?
ROVE: Well, he's got a big challenge ahead, which is to demonstrate to the American people and to Republicans in particular that he's steady, that he's going to throw himself back in the fight, and that he's going to do things that will attract their support. He needs a good night in the debate night next week. But look, there come these, you know, Rudyard Kipling had that great poem "If." We've come to an if moment in this campaign. If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all others doubt you. It's that kind of a moment for him in this campaign.
He had a good week this week. He went and made a very good speech in Iowa. Got good coverage on it. Gave a speech in Tampa that was good, had three good days in New Hampshire, but it's overshadowed by the fact that the week before was very bad for him.
WALLACE: All right. We have to take a break here. When we come back, after seven years of study, President Obama finally rejects the Keystone pipeline. We'll discuss the policy and politics of that move.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about the decision to cut some candidates out of this week's Republican debates? Just go to Facebook or Twitter, @FoxnewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America's now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Obama announcing his decision to reject the Keystone pipeline after a seven-year review of the project. We're back now with the panel.
Karl, from the way the president described it there on Friday, this seems to be more about his legacy on environmental issues than it is the specific merits of Keystone.
ROVE: And his statement is frankly delusional. Think about this for a moment. We're going to reduce global climate emissions by denying the ability of the Canadians to build this, to send oil down a pipeline to U.S. refineries. And instead they're going to send it on a pipeline to the west coast of Canada, ship that oil all the way across the Pacific, and let China burn it in facilities that are far less efficient and far more polluting than U.S. facilities. The idea this will have anything to do with reducing global climate issues is ridiculous.
It was a political move, it is all about the legacy. He doesn't care what the consequences are to the world economy, and in this instance, he's increasing the amount of global emissions we'll have as a result of sending this oil to China rather than refining it here in the United States, where we do a heck of a lot better job of containing -- we are the only major industrialized economy in the world in the last two decades which has grown its economy and reduced the absolute level of greenhouse gas emissions. And that's because our policies have been focused on energy efficiency, not gobbledygook like the president's news conference.
WALLACE: What do you really think? Which brings me exactly to the question I wanted to ask you, Julie, because one way or another, this oil is going to get moved out of the tar sands in Canada, whether it's to China, whether it's by rail or truck here in the United States, and we'll probably end up with a larger carbon footprint than it would have through the pipeline. How do they answer that at the White House?
PACE: It's very odd, because it's not like we're making a choice between using this oil or using another alternative source of energy. What's particularly interesting I think about the language the president used when he finally made this announcement, is that for years we have heard that they don't want, that the White House doesn't want Keystone to be used as a symbol on either side of this debate, but actually, the president is saying that it's become a symbol, and that if he would have approved this pipeline, it would have been a symbol for a climate policy that's out of line with what he's trying to do over the last year of his presidency. So I think he's actually looking beyond the specifics of what the pipeline would do in either case, and looking at this more as part of a legacy.
WALLACE: When you bring up -- I hope you don't quote Karl, but when you bring up that point, it is going to end up probably having more of an impact in carbon emissions, their answer?
PACE: They don't really have a great answer on this. They go back to this basic idea that simply approving the pipeline would have been out of step with the larger message of the president on climate.
WALLACE: Let's turn to another controversy, and that is the decision by the Fox Business Network, which you may have heard is going to be having two Republican debates on Tuesday night, to start winnowing the field of candidates who are going to participate in those debates. We asked you for questions for the panel, and we got a bunch on this subject. Maureen Jennings Sullivan writes on Facebook, "Not one voter has made a decision yet. We should quit letting the media decide for whom we vote." But Theodore tweeted this, "Why didn't you cut down even more?"
Kim, how do you answer them?
STRASSEL: I agree. I -- this is a very fluid race. Nobody has made up their mind. I don't think that this is a very good time to be taking people off the stage. Especially because as we know, these debates are having an enormous impact every time you have one. It's reshuffling the race every time, too. Does it really hurt to have two more people up there on the stage? Probably not. So I'm not really sure what the idea was behind this, especially too if you look at the states that matter, Iowa and New Hampshire, the polls look very different there than they do in national things.
What I'm hoping you see out of this debate is actually a discussion about the economy and some policies, because that was one of the great disappointments of the last one, is that we were supposed to be having a serious conversation. When we've been talking about energy, when we've been talking about health care, all of these guys have amazing plans, interesting stuff, and it's time to be having a debate about that.
WALLACE: Juan, reasonable or not to start cutting the number? Remember, this will be the fourth Republican debate. Reasonable or not to start cutting the number of candidates on the stage?
WILLIAMS: Reasonable, rational and necessary, I think both for the candidates and for the viewers, because you're going to have the opportunity for more probing questions, more time for response, so if there is something substantive on their issues, they will get the chance now to say it, because they were time constrained and very time sensitive.
And I would also say this to you, Chris. Neil Cavuto, Maria Bartiromo, serious financial journalists. Right? So the opportunity for people to say -- oh, it's those egotistical, crazy journalists going after these wonderful Republican candidates -- I think there's going to be less opportunity for that at this debate, and they will therefore, the candidates will be on the spot to actually answer questions.
So do Trump and Carson, who I don't think have done very well at answering questions, now they're going to be on the spot, because they're going to have the time to be asked the question and expect their response. You can't simply just, you know, dial it in and say, I'm sorry, I forgot.
I do think it's a bigger opportunity for Kasich, a bigger opportunity for Rubio. I think it's a bigger opportunity for those in the middle tier. Because they're going to have more time and more opportunity to respond, and to respond to Hillary Clinton, who said at the last debate you had ten candidates, no ideas.
WALLACE: Okay. Finally, I want to pick up on the subject I was discussing near the top of the show with Congressman McCaul, and that is these reports that are coming out that the president is going to go to Congress this week with a plan to end Guantanamo, move all of the prisoners to U.S. prisons, and talk that if Congress doesn't go along, he'll do it through executive action. Julie, what can you tell us?
PACE: It's basically a two-pronged strategy from the White House right now. The first is going to be a plan sent to Capitol Hill, probably this week. It's going to look very similar to what you've heard the White House talking about, to get more closure for years, first piece of this is transferring some of the detainees to countries overseas. The second piece will be transferring them to facilities in the U.S. You'll likely have some more detail in this report about costs and advantages, disadvantages of certain facilities, Colorado, South Carolina and Kansas, specifically. But the second prong here is really this threat of executive action, if Congress doesn't act on this plan, the president is signaling he would take this action on his own.
WALLACE: You believe they really would do that?
PACE: I do.
WALLACE: If Congress objects, and you know, there are people in those states, Senators, I remember Dick Durbin in Illinois, who don't want these people in their states, these terrorists, the worst of the worst as McCaul called them. They would just go over that?
PACE: In some ways, this has become very personal for the president. This is a pledge he made in his first couple of days in office, and I think it's very hard to imagine that he would leave office and not at least take some kind of executive action to try to fulfill that promise.
WALLACE: Kim, what kind of blowback?
STRASSEL: Huge. I'm kind of amazed you think the president cares about the law. He will just do -- look at his record so far on all of these. Look at what he just did with Keystone. The company went through the process. And that didn't help them at all in the end. These are political decisions. And he will probably now make a faint toward asking Congress for permission, and when they say no, he'll go ahead and pull the pin anyway.
There will be a big blowback from this, because this may be personal to the president, but this is very personal to a lot of Americans out there too, who don't necessarily want terrorists next door to them.
WALLACE: 30 seconds.
ROVE: Congress has consistently gone on record with large bipartisan majorities, don't bring these people here. And if the president takes executive -- if he presents a plan, he ought to give it the same amount of time he gave to Keystone, the next seven years, and leave it to the next president.
WALLACE: All right. Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday. Up next, our power player of the week, bringing music and a sense of purpose to our wounded warriors.
WALLACE: Wednesday is Veterans Day, a time for us to thank those who served our country, but one man spends every day trying to help our wounded warriors heal through the sound of music. Here's our power player of the week.
ARTHUR BLOOM, FOUNDER, MUSICORPS: It's physical, it's mental, it's emotional. It's sort of everything at once.
WALLACE: Arthur Bloom is talking about Musicorps, the program he founded and directs at Walter Reed medical center, to help severely wounded warriors rebuild their lives.
BLOOM: Mentally, and emotionally, everything, your whole life gets blown up. There's all this time to get depressed, and to stare at the ceiling, and to sort of reflect on what has become of you. So what we do is we come in and we fill that hole with music.
WALLACE: It started in 2007, when Bloom met a soldier who used to play the drums, but had lost a leg. They rigged up a drum set so he could play. That's when this Jiulliard trained pianist found a mission.
BLOOM: They were missing a limb and they need to strum a guitar or play the piano, we were able to kind of figure out that puzzle. We try to move heaven and earth to help these guys play, no matter what. And it always works. It's not a matter of if, it's just a matter of how do we get there?
WALLACE: Marine Corporal Timothy Donley stepped on an IED in Afghanistan in 2012. He lost both legs and damaged his hand.
TIMOTHY DONLEY, SINGER, MUSICORPS: Getting to rehearse, getting to perform, even just getting to hang out with these guys, it lifts a real weight off your heart.
WALLACE: John Mullen was an Army specialist when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan in 2011 and lost both legs.
JOHN MULLEN, DRUMMER, MUSICORPS: I went and served, and were injured, and now we're playing these songs together.
WALLACE: But it's more than therapy for these soldiers, many of whom never played before. They got so good, they formed a band that has performed with Sheryl Crow, and this fall with Roger Waters from Pink Floyd.
BLOOM: It's a phenomenon. I cannot believe it. They are so good.
WALLACE: Bloom and other musicians work with 50 soldiers a year, hundreds over the last eight years. But he notes there are tens of thousands of wounded warriors across the country.
BLOOM: We go to Walter Reed, and the idea that we have to say no to anybody who wants to do the program is painful. We ought to be able to offer this to everybody.
WALLACE: But funding for Musicorps is all private, from a few foundations and individual donations.
What difference does this make in their lives?
BLOOM: One of the guys told me that he sees the guys at Walter Reed doing music, and they're the ones who are happy.
WALLACE: What difference does it make in your life?
BLOOM: I've made this essentially my life's work, and I'm just devoting myself to making it happen.
WALLACE: What a great program. If you want to learn more about Musicorps, just go to our website, FoxnewsSunday.com.
And that's it for today. Have a great week, and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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