This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," April 3, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Chris Wallace.
Facing more fire than ever before, Donald Trump sits down with "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: Are you in the process of blowing your campaign for president?
We discuss the fallout from his statements on abortion.
You offended both the pro-life and pro-choice movement with one statement.
His comments on Heidi Cruz and his defiant support for his campaign manager.
And those controversial remarks about letting more countries develop nukes.
The growing knock on you is that you haven't thought these things through. You haven’t studied. That you wing it too often.
Donald Trump face-to-face on "Fox News Sunday."
Then, convention chaos. The other GOP candidates back out of their loyalty pledges.
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nominating Donald Trump is a train wreck. That's actually not fair to train wrecks.
GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let’s see what happens at the convention.
WALLACE: RNC Chairman Reince Priebus joins us live on the possibility of a contested convention.
Plus, we'll ask our Sunday panel whether the "stop Trump movement" is gaining momentum, as Ted Cruz surges in Wisconsin.
And our power player of the week: one family's decade's long service at the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only in America can something like this happen.
WALLACE: All right now on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
Donald Trump has seemed bullet-proof in this campaign, surviving and even thriving on one controversy after another. But this week, it started to catch up with him and Trump now trails in polling for Tuesday's primary in Wisconsin.
On Friday, we sat down with Trump for a candid and sometimes contentious interview at Trump Tower in New York.
WALLACE: Mr. Trump, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
WALLACE: This may sound harsh, but are you in the process of blowing your campaign for president?
TRUMP: I don't think so. I just got great polls from NBC nationwide. I think that we're doing very well.
Don't forget, you have been thinking about that or given me that question numerous times over the last, since June 16th.
I've had that statement made many times; he just blew his campaign, only to end up having higher poll numbers.
WALLACE: But you like to talk about polls, let's talk about some. In a Wisconsin poll a month ago, you were leading Cruz by 10 points. In the same poll, the Marquette poll, out this week, you're now trailing Cruz by 10 points.
In the latest Fox poll, 67 percent of women nationally now have an unfavorable view of you.
If you had purposely set out to turn off voters, especially women voters over the last two weeks, I'm not sure you could have done a better job.
TRUMP: Well, you know, all I can do is do what I do. I'm self-funding my campaign. I'm not one of these politicians that's being controlled by the people that give them money. Believe me, they are totally controlled.
I think I'm doing very well. Was this my best week? I guess not. I could have done without the retweet, et cetera, et cetera, but I think I'm doing OK.
WALLACE: I want to talk to you about -- I want to talk to you about that. First of all, Wisconsin. How important is Wisconsin? How big a setback if you don't win there?
TRUMP: Well, I'd like to win it. Is it a big setback? I would like to win it.
WALLACE: Do you think it would jeopardize your ability to get to 1,237?
TRUMP: It would always be better to win. I think I get there anyway, but I like Wisconsin, I like the people of Wisconsin, I think they like me, I've had tremendous crowds. We've had a tremendous response, and I think I'm going to do very well in Wisconsin.
WALLACE: You say you've had better weeks. Let's talk about your comments this week, about what you would like to see if abortions became illegal. Here you are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?
TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some sort of punishment.
MATTHEWS: For the woman?
TRUMP: Yes. There has to be some form.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: It took you two written statements to clean that up.
TRUMP: Well, it took me really two statements because they were sort of different statements and they were on different subjects.
WALLACE: But then the president of National Right to Life tweeted this, "The inept thing Donald Trump said about women who have abortions is making pro-lifers cringe."
You did something pretty remarkable. You offended both the pro-life and the pro-choice movements with one statement.
TRUMP: Well, look, it was asked as a hypothetical, and talked about if it's illegal, and it was hypothetically asked.
WALLACE: But you gave that answer.
TRUMP: There would have been -- there would have been a very strong conservative, a very conservative group that would have said that was the appropriate answer. I'm not saying it was the appropriate answer. I'd say it's the doctor's fault or whoever performs the act, it's their fault.
But there was a time when that would have been, and maybe today that would have been, but that was asked as a hypothetical question.
WALLACE: But why did you say the woman?
TRUMP: Because it was asked hypothetically. I said the woman because it was asked hypothetically. I also corrected it and I made it very much so that I think everybody, it's acceptable now for everybody. But --
WALLACE: Do you agree it was a mistake?
TRUMP: Well, I -- as a hypothetical question, I would have rather asked it -- you know, answered it in a different manner, yes. I would have rather answered it in a different manner.
WALLACE: The growing knock on you, and you read everything, so you know this is what people are saying, is that you haven't thought these things through. You haven't studied, that you wing it too often.
Do you think that's fair?
TRUMP: Well, let me just tell you. I've been a really successful businessman for a long time. I was never asked many questions.
Like I was asked a question about NATO the other day by Wolf Blitzer. I think I gave a great answer. I said, it's obsolete, we spend too much money, we're not getting the benefits that we should be getting for the money. We're carrying a lot of countries, you have 28 countries, 68 years old. We are not being treated fairly by the world and I mean that.
I've been a politician now for eight months.
WALLACE: I understand.
TRUMP: I'm going to straighten out the country. We're going to make America great again. Politicians can't do that. I've been a politician for a very short period of time.
I announced --
WALLACE: So, what are you saying, you've still got a learning curve?
TRUMP: There's always a learning curve. I don't care if you've been doing it all your life, there's a learning curve, especially with something like you're talking about NATO, when you're talking about -- because it is a very movable subject.
I will say this: NATO is obsolete. NATO doesn't cover terrorism. NATO was based around the Soviet Union.
WALLACE: Wait, wait, OK, I was --
TRUMP: No, no, but it's important to know, because when I talk about --
WALLACE: OK, fine. Do you know how many NATO soldiers have died in Afghanistan helping us after the 9/11 attack on the U.S.? Do you know how many NATO soldiers have died?
TRUMP: I'm not saying -- I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I'm saying it's unfair --
WALLACE: A thousand is the answer.
TRUMP: Fine, I’m saying -- and it's a lot of soldiers. I'm saying it’s a -- I’m saying it's unfair to us. It's unfair to us as a country.
WALLACE: But they've been defending us against terrorism.
TRUMP: Excuse me. We are paying so much money, disproportionately. We have countries that are being carried along.
It's not fair to the United States, not fair to the citizens, and not fair to the taxpayers. And what I said was exactly right.
Now when they cover it, they say, Donald Trump doesn't like NATO. I think NATO's fine. I think NATO has to be readjusted. I think we have to cover terrorism, because we're really not covering terrorism.
WALLACE: Well, in Afghanistan we are.
TRUMP: Sure. But, we --
WALLACE: Well, that counts, sir.
TRUMP: We have to -- excuse me. I'm sure it counts.
But I'm saying, we have to be very specific on terrorism. NATO is no specific to terrorism.
Why are we taking the burden of the cost when big beneficiaries are paying very little? And the reason is because they're ripping off the United States, just like everybody else that does business with us. They're ripping off our country, and that's why we owe $19 trillion.
WALLACE: You talk about the fact that you've only been a politician for eight months, but there are other issues that you've gotten in trouble on in the last week or so that have more to do with just judgment and temperament. For instance, the fact that you spent days going after Ted Cruz's wife and her looks --
TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me. Ted Cruz --
WALLACE: Let me just ask --
TRUMP: Ted Cruz came after me --
WALLACE: No, he didn't.
TRUMP: Well, he did through my wife.
WALLACE: No, he didn't.
TRUMP: He took a picture --
WALLACE: No, he didn't.
TRUMP: Oh, of course he did, of course he did.
WALLACE: Do you have any evidence that he knew about the attack by the independent super PAC?
TRUMP: My evidence is total common sense. He knew those people, those people are 100 percent for them, they coordinated together. I have no doubt about it in a million years. He did that attack -- and this was just --
WALLACE: Even if it he did it, was it worth you spending --
TRUMP: No, I would say probably not. If I had it to do again, I probably wouldn't have sent it. I didn't think it was particularly bad, but I probably wouldn't have sent it.
But this was a response. This wasn't me starting something, this was a response.
WALLACE: The Michelle Fields battery case, your campaign manager said he never touched her, you said she made it up. Then, one of your surveillance videos, I've got to say, you've got your places covered showed --
TRUMP: I am very well covered.
TRUMP: And I was very happy to give them that tape.
WALLACE: To show the fact that he didn't touch her, and then you said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think it's something that's disgraceful. I think that you, as a reporter, and all of you as a reporter, probably get treated a lot rougher than that on a daily basis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I agree with it.
WALLACE: Question: why not just apologize to her?
TRUMP: Because --
WALLACE: I mean, he did grab her.
TRUMP: Because let me tell you why: loyal person, number one.
WALLACE: I'm not saying you fire him.
TRUMP: And when she wrote out, early on, before she knew she was on tape, that it was that she was practically thrown to the ground, I mean, I wish I had it here, I'd read her statement --
WALLACE: I know what she said.
TRUMP: That didn't happen. OK? Do you agree with that?
WALLACE: I agree with you. But why not just apologize --
TRUMP: Excuse me, Chris, no, but she lied. Do you agree that she lied?
WALLACE: I think she completely misrepresented it early on. I do.
TRUMP: Early on is all that matters.
WALLACE: But why turn one day into two weeks?
TRUMP: Chris -- well, at least it shows I'm loyal, because the easiest thing for me to do would have been to destroy that man's life. And I would have fired him immediately. Had she fallen to the ground, or almost fallen to the ground like she said -- she didn't even change the expression on her face. She kept walking.
WALLACE: So, you have no regrets about letting this thing go on for two weeks?
TRUMP: Chris, I think, frankly, I don't think she would have accepted that. I think she would have used that as ammunition against.
A lot of times, when you apologize, they use it as ammunition against.
The easier thing would have been, Corey, you're fired. You're not very good at that, OK? But I don't want to ruin him.
The man has a wife and four beautiful children. He lives in New Hampshire, he's a good person. I don't want to destroy him.
WALLACE: You weighed in this week on foreign policy national security. Here is what you said about Japan and South Korea defending themselves against North Korea. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So you have no problem Japan and South Korea having nuclear weapons?
TRUMP: At some point, we have to say, you know what, we're better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea. We're better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: What do they have to pay us? We're defending Japan. We can't afford it. We're a better nation.
WALLACE: I understand that. But that’s the question -- that's not the question. The question is, letting them develop their own nuclear program.
For more than half a century, U.S. policy has been that we protect those countries with our nuclear umbrella so they don't --
TRUMP: And lose a fortune.
WALLACE: I understand, but the idea is not to have a nuclear arms race in the Northern Pacific, on the Korean peninsula.
TRUMP: Are you ready?
WALLACE: You want to throw that all away.
TRUMP: Are you ready? No, no, I'm not throwing anything away. This is common sense. This is like trade. We lose on every trade deal.
Sometimes you're better off saying, hey, wait a minute. We're defending Japan, we're -- I mean, what we're doing is costing us a fortune, and not only Japan, South Korea. We have 28,000 soldiers on the line. And part of that defense is nukes, right?
At some point, they have to pay us, because we cannot continue --
WALLACE: But they do pay us.
TRUMP: They pay us peanuts.
WALLACE: They pay us almost $1 billion, South Korea. I think $2 billion in Japan.
TRUMP: That's peanuts compared to what we're talking about and compared to the real threat.
WALLACE: You want to have a nuclear arms race on the Korean peninsula?
TRUMP: In many ways, and I say this, in many ways, the world is changing. Right now, you have Pakistan and you have North Korea and you have China and you have Russia and you have India and you have the United States and many other countries have nukes.
TRUMP: It's not like, gee whiz, nobody has them.
So, North Korea has nukes. Japan has a problem with that. I mean, they have a big problem with that. Maybe they would in fact be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea.
WALLACE: With nukes?
TRUMP: Maybe they would be better off -- including with nukes, yes, including with nukes.
WALLACE: In South Korea, with nukes?
TRUMP: South Korea is right next door, just so you understand.
WALLACE: But that means you can have a nuclear arms race on the Korean Peninsula.
TRUMP: You already have it, Chris. You already have a nuclear arms race.
When a guy like Kasich gets up and talks about, Trump wants to give everybody missiles -- I don't want to give missiles. And by the way, I'd leave it the way it is, ideally.
My number one choice is, leave it the way it is, but they have to pay us because we cannot afford to continue to lose the billions and billions of dollars that we're losing in order to defend Japan and Germany and South Korea and Saudi Arabia.
WALLACE: This week, you said you no longer continue to pledge that you will support the Republican nominee for president. Then on Thursday, you had a meeting with the RNC that you said was very nice and they treated you well.
So, are you pledging to support the nominee or not?
TRUMP: I will be looking at who the nominee is and I think people will be very happy with my decision.
WALLACE: But here's the point. In South Carolina, it turns out, you took a pledge to support the nominee. If you break that pledge, then you lose all those delegates.
So, are you going to keep the pledge or not?
TRUMP: What the real point I made, and that whole transaction or, you know, talking point that you're talking about, was that I release Ted Cruz. He does not have to endorse me if I win. I think I'm going to win, but he doesn't have to endorse me. I don't need his support.
I have the support of the people.
WALLACE: But you still need their support if you’re going to beat the Democrats.
TRUMP: Look, I was very popular in North Carolina.
WALLACE: Don’t you want a united party?
TRUMP: I'd like to see a united party, but I also watched the turmoil in his brain when they were talking about Trump and support and, well, I don't, oh, you know, he's going crazy.
All I want to do is relieve the pressure. This man does not react well under pressure. I've watched him. He's a basket case.
So, in order to relieve the pressure, I'm telling you, Ted, don't worry about it, you don't have to endorse me.
WALLACE: Are you ruling out running as an independent third party candidate? Are you ruling that out?
TRUMP: Look, I'm by far the frontrunner as a Republican. I want to run as a Republican. I will beat Hillary Clinton.
WALLACE: But if you don't get the nomination?
TRUMP: We're going to have to see how I was treated. I'm going to have to see how I was treated. Very simple.
WALLACE: So you're not ruling it out?
TRUMP: I just want to be treated -- it's not a question of win or lose. It's a question of treatment. I want to be treated fair.
WALLACE: After the last two weeks, after all of these controversies, and plans to change your campaign? Any plans to lay off the personal attacks? Any plans, maybe, to study some of these issues more?
TRUMP: Originally when I went out with 17 people, we're down now to three. I have two leftovers, OK? I call them leftovers. They haven't been nice to me.
I will beat them. After I beat them, I'm going to be so presidential, you're going to be so bored, you're going to say, this is the most boring human being I've ever interviewed.
WALLACE: Mr. Trump --
TRUMP: Thank you.
WALLACE: It's always interesting. I don't think you could be dull even if you wanted to be.
TRUMP: Well, I think I may act very presidential, I’ll be dull. But that will be fine.
WALLACE: And you can watch more of our interview with Donald Trump at foxnewssunday.com.
When we come back, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus joins us live. We'll ask him about Trump's refusal to rule out an independent campaign if he doesn't win the nomination.
WALLACE: A look outside at the beltway at the Milwaukee Public Market, ahead of Tuesday's Wisconsin primary.
Well, as you just saw, Republican front-runner Donald Trump says he doesn’t necessarily stand by his pledge to support the GOP nominee and he won't rule out an independent run.
Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus watched our interview, along with al of you and he joins us now from RNC headquarters here in Washington.
Chairman Priebus, you just heard Donald Trump. He is keeping open the possibility that he may not support the Republican nominee if it's not him, keeping open the possibility that he might run as an independent candidate. Does that worry you?
REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, not really. I mean, I think some of the stuff is leverage and candidates that are posturing for a potentially open convention.
But, look, one of the things that I think people are missing is that this pledge, this pledge to support the eventual nominee comes from really a data agreement that the candidate sign. So, without boring everyone to tears, spent hundreds of millions of dollars on data and information over the last several years at the RNC. These candidates have access to that data.
And in exchange for getting stuffed from the national party, we say, well, are you willing to support the nominee? And they say, yes, we are. And they sign a document.
My point would be if a candidate isn't willing to commit to the principles and values of our party, then they ought to just tell us. But if they commit to it, then they should do it. And these candidates are running to be the nominee of our party. We're not running for their loyalty. They're running so that one of them will be chosen by us.
And so, I can't imagine a candidate for any position anywhere in America running in front of a group and saying, well, we don't know if we want to be part of this group but we want to be the chairman or president of that group anyway.
WALLACE: But, respectfully, sir, I feel like you're missing the point, which is obviously they're running to win. But what Trump is saying, and actually to a certain degree Cruz and Kasich as well is, if they don't win and if the other guy wins, then they may not support the candidate. I mean, the result of that would be that the GOP would be split and have a harder time winning in November.
PRIEBUS: Well, certainly. And you can't win by subtracting and dividing. I understand that. I mean, we're the party of the open door which means you got to let people in. We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to unify. And with unity, anything is possible.
So, certainly, there will be work to do in Cleveland, especially if it's an open convention and bringing the party together. I think we're going to have a lot of time to do that. But, yes, is it going to be a challenge with rhetoric like this on all sides? Sure.
But that's what we have to do in putting on a convention that unifies and is open and transparent, and people feel that they had a fair shake and we have to respect the voice and vote of all of the folks out there and the delegates and voters.
WALLACE: I want to, I want to --
PRIEBUS: So, I get the challenge.
WALLACE: I want to get to -- back to this question. You say that when Trump and the other candidates got the voter data from the RNC, they signed an agreement. Did they, in that agreement, did they pledge in return for getting the data, did they pledge to support the nominee and are you prepared to enforce that agreement?
PRIEBUS: Well, I mean, listen, I’m not going to get into every detail of the agreement. But it's a data exchange agreement with the RNC and among the things that they can use at the RNC.
One of the things that we say is, look, we'll give you these things. But you have to agree that you're going to support the party and the eventual nominee. They’ve all agreed to that. And we'll see what happens.
I would just say this, I really do believe, though, that this is posturing and I know posturing can have an effect. And that means that challenges could be greater. So I’m not dispelling your point and these questions.
But I personally think that these folks are posturing and I think that they want to be loyal to the party. I think they will be loyal to the party. But really, it's about the people out there and respecting the voices of the folks both in the states and on the floor of the convention.
WALLACE: I just want to button this down briefly if I can, because you say that there's an agreement. You gave them something of value which was that this voter data, access to your files. So, are you prepared, if they break the agreement, to enforce it? In effect, what I’m saying is are you prepared to sue Donald Trump or one of the other candidates if they don't support the nominee as they pledge to do to get the data?
PRIEBUS: Well, look, I mean, no one has broken the pledge. I mean talking about what might be hypothetical is one thing. It is certainly not any standing -- it doesn't provide standing to do anything. It's just a bunch of talk at this point.
But certainly, we expect that when candidates make commitments, that they keep them. And that’s about what I’m going to say about it.
WALLACE: OK, after Mitt Romney's defeat in 2012, you commissioned what has been called an autopsy of what went wrong and what the party needed to do differently going forward in 2014 and 2016. And the report concluded that the GOP had to do a much better job reaching out to Hispanics and African-Americans, women and young people.
But "The Washington Post" has a new poll out this month, 85 percent of Hispanics view Trump unfavorably, 80 percent of African-Americans view him unfavorably, 80 percent of young people, 75 percent of women.
Chairman Priebus, The Post concluded that Trump at this point would be the most unpopular candidate for president in modern times in either major party.
PRIEBUS: Well, look, I mean, obviously we're having a conversation within a small circle of people. And, you know, tone and tenor have consequences. And it means that the challenge is in the general election will be -- will be there for us to make the message to every American no matter who they are, that our party is a door that we want them to walk through.
But, look, if you look at what’s happening on the Democrat side of the aisle --
WALLACE: Haven't you done a pretty good job?
PRIEBUS: You look at Hillary Clinton --
WALLACE: If I may, just briefly though --
PRIEBUS: Go ahead.
WALLACE: -- but hasn't Donald Trump, hasn't Ted Cruz closed that door for a lot of the groups that you want to reach out to?
PRIEBUS: No, I don't think so. I think there's a lot of time, Chris, in the general election. We're going to be having ten people every ten blocks in these communities and you saw the difference that we made with what we learned from that growth and opportunity to report in 2014 when we won 46 percent of the Hispanic vote in Colorado. We spent about $8 million on the ground doing it. We won 28 percent of the black vote in Ohio.
That didn't just happen because of just coincidence. It happened because we reached out to tell people of the values of equality and freedom and opportunity that our party provides. We're going to do the same thing.
We didn't do that in 2012. We just atrophied in 2012. And so, certainly, yes, tone matters and when you say things that people don’t agree with, it can have an effect, but we can overcome it.
WALLACE: But do you really think that the Hispanic voters, sir, are going to forget what Donald Trump has said about illegal immigrants, what Ted Cruz has said about illegal immigrants? I mean, they're not going to forget it.
PRIEBUS: I don’t -- I don’t -- listen, but I don't know what the outcome is going to be over the next several months. And certainly, if you're on the ground making the presentation to Hispanic voters across this country with a real operation, with real people, talking about the values of our party, I think that you can improve over 2012. We have to improve over 2012.
But it's my job at the RNC to make sure that we're providing an infrastructure in place so that can you go door to door. You can go to the church festival on Sunday. You can go to the black chamber meetings and talk about the economy.
I think that's how you move voters across this country.
WALLACE: One last question I want to get into with you, chairman. The RNC set up a website this week to explain how an open contested convention would work.
And I want to focus in on one specific issue that could become a big deal in July and that's Rule 40B of the Republican convention. It says, "Each candidate for nomination for president of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight or more states." They’ve got to have a majority from eight or more states before they can even place their name in nomination.
Now, that’s pretty clear in the first ballot. The question is, what happens on the second ballot? If -- and a lot of these delegates then become unbound, if a number of them then decide to go for somebody else, can that person become a candidate for nomination?
And I guess the real question is, do you have to be a candidate for nomination? Can somebody completely outside the 1,237 delegates vote for that person, does that become the nominee?
PRIEBUS: OK. First of all, that rule is a rule that was drafted by the Romney delegates of 2012. And that rule, obviously, will be reviewed by the 2016 rules committee, which will be made up mostly of Trump and Cruz delegates. And, you know, they will likely have an incentive to probably not change that rule.
But let's just play out your hypothetical. If, in fact, that rule stays in place, you're asking, number one, can someone on a later ballot when most of the delegates are unbound be nominated? I think they can be. But that would be an extreme hypothetical, I think, and highly unlikely.
But you asked the question. I think it's possible. And at that point, if you get into a multi-ballot convention where you’ve got five or six or seven rounds, it's possible that a person can be nominated that’s not one of the three.
But my position is, and I think I’m -- I think it's absolutely correct, our nominee is likely to be the one of the three people running. So, I mean, I think it's interesting how far out we can play this out, but it's possible as you lay out.
WALLACE: Chairman Priebus, to be continued. Thank you. Thanks for talking with us today, sir.
PRIEBUS: You bet.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss Trump's troubles and what a loss in Wisconsin would mean for the Republican race.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about Trump's statements on abortion? How damaging are they? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.
WALLACE: As Donald Trump met with his new foreign policy team, President Obama questioned his credential on national security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've been able to avoid catastrophe. And we don't want somebody in the Oval Office who doesn't recognize how important that is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Our Sunday group discusses Trump’s tough week, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: There's no doubt that Donald Trump is the Kim Kardashian presidential candidate. He sits on Twitter and makes a lot of noise, but he has no solution to fixing the problem.
KASICH: He's really not prepared to be president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Well, Ted Cruz and John Kasich piling on Donald Trump after all his recent problems. And it’s time now for our Sunday group. Syndicated columnist George Will, Julie Pace, who covers the White House and the campaign for the Associated Press, Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times and Charles Lane from The Washington Post.
Julie, you were covering the Trump campaign this week and -- and I guess the question I have is, are we making too much of his troubles? You look at the delegate count. He’s still 273 delegates ahead of Ted Cruz. After Wisconsin, the primaries head to the northeast where he should do well. So, big picture, how much trouble is he in?
JULIE PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: I think that Trump is still in the strongest position of any of these candidates that are left. He’s, according to the AP delicate count, he's the only one that can clinch the nomination through the regular voting process. At the same time, he has to do much better than he's been doing in order for that to happen.
There is still room for Ted Cruz in particular to go on a good run in the remaining contacts and get close to him in the delegate count, which would put us in a contested convention fight. And I think the problem for Trump with what's happened over the last week or so is that while he's been Teflon on a lot of these comments that he's made, politicians tend to get in trouble when they do things that reinforce a negative perception of them.
And he did that on two fronts this week. One was highlighting what seems to be a lack of depth on policy with his comments on abortion. And, two, is highlighting problems that he has with women. And so I think reinforcing both of those negatives could have problems going forward, but it is important, when you look at the math, to note that he is the only one who can clinch through this regular process.
WALLACE: We asked you for questions for the panel and we got a bunch on this topic. Al Blair tweeted, "the issue hurting Trump is really not abortion or women, it's his failure to properly prepare on most substantive matters." And there was this from Barbara Sither on Facebook, "if Trump spent his time thoroughly researching the pro-life principles as well as any topic instead of tweeting for hours each day, he may not have made these small but cumulative mistakes."
George, how do you answer Al and Barbara?
GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, there’s a policy dimension and a process dimension to running for president. On the policy side, on abortion, he was asked a question that every novice Republican candidate knows he's going to be asked. And he didn't have an answer. Now, that’s partly because he's only been pro-life for about 15 minutes. He's at the end of his seventh decade and he's just beginning to think about these things. We -- the world needs more nuclear weapons nations. There are sophisticated game theorists who can tell you why there’s an argument to be made for that. No one thinks that Donald Trump arrived at that conclusion via game theory.
Now take the process side. He has been surfing on this wave of free publicity, coming in, holding a big rally, flying away again. Other candidates, particularly Cruz, have a very granular on the ground approach to this. I spent some time in Houston with Jeff Roe and the others this week.
WALLACE: The campaign manager for Ted Cruz.
WILL: Campaign manager, where they -- they knew that this weekend the center of the political universe was Fargo, North Dakota, where they're selecting 25 uncommitted delegates. But it goes beyond that. They’re preparing for the second battle. They say, OK, you're a Trump ballot -- a Trump delegate bound on the first, maybe second ballot. Afterward, we want you to have good feelings about this. They know that they want to put in place all the party regulars, people who are delegates who are county commissioners, sheriffs, all these people who will respond to someone who wants to be a party headed by someone who's been in the party for a while.
And then, finally, they're stacking the rules committee because rule 40-B is going to come up and when the -- the vote comes to perhaps repeal that, they're going to run into a wall of people sympathetic to Ted Cruz because they're working politics (INAUDIBLE).
WALLACE: And -- and -- and that, of course, is the point, and that’s what I was talking about with Reince Priebus because, yes, they may be legally bound to vote for Trump for the first ballot, some maybe for two or three, but most of them just for the first ballot. And after that, they can vote for whomever they want. And if they're basically a Cruz partisan, once they're released legally in the second or third ballot, they're going to go for the person they like, not Donald Trump, whom they were supposedly selected, at least in the first ballot, to support.
It's not, of course, just Trump. A pro-Kasich super PAC has started running this ad portraying Ted Cruz as Pinocchio being strangled by his growing nose wrapping around his neck. And while Kasich disavowed that, he went after Cruz himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASICH: The problem with Senator Cruz is he has no record. His record is shutting down the government and making everybody he works with upset.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Stephen, you know, and this goes back to what I was discussing with Reince Priebus, is the Republican Party, is the GOP headed for a train wreck in Cleveland?
STEPHEN DINAN, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Well, they could be. You know, these -- these conventions, you really, as you said, there are a lot of options, a lot of hypotheticals and really everything does get on the table because they write the rules for themselves.
Having said that, the most important thing going into this is that those areas where Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have common cause, say that rule 40-B to block out another candidate from being entered into the nomination, those are the areas where it's least likely you're going to see changes. So Kasich may be on the outside looking in when it comes to something like rule 40-B and --
WALLACE: Because that means he couldn't have his name even placed in nomination for the first ballot?
DINAN: Entered for the nomination. Correct. That's correct. And then, you know, beyond that, you also -- it's not just -- depending on how they write the rules, what they do with the rules, it could go beyond the first ballot as well.
Look, the main issue here is that Ted Cruz, he desperately wants us to be a two man fight, him versus Donald Trump. His numbers absolutely -- he has gained support from those other people when the other candidates drop out. The problem right now is that with these three candidates -- I mean you look at the -- the first four contests we had, you know, Iowa through Nevada, you had Donald Trump got about 33 percent of the vote there. Ted Cruz got about 21 percent of vote. John Kasich got 8 percent of the vote. Except for the day that you had Ohio voting, John Kasich has never really gotten much beyond that. The other support has actually gone between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. But, still, as long as he's getting that 15 percent or so, you're going to have a three man race. The nomination won't be settled before then.
WALLACE: I want to go back to that autopsy that I was talking about with Chairman Priebus, the autopsy after 2012 in which the party studied the problems, why Mitt Romney lost, and said we’ve got to reach out to minorities, we’ve got to reach out to -- to women. We’ve got to reach out to young people. And then you see the -- the trouble they're in, especially that Trump is in. And Ted Cruz also certainly the fastest voting bloc in America is Hispanics. And he, I would think, is going to have a tough sell with them as well.
CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, the obvious Achilles heel of that new rebranding strategy has turned out to be the GOP primary electorate, which is dominated by the traditional GOP base of older white voters. And it's gotten even worse for them from the point of view of Trump because what he excites are the most, if you want to say, nationalistic of -- of that segment, the people who are most hostile to all these new voter demographics that they were trying to reach out. So they, from the point of view that post-2012 autopsy, they’ve gone in reverse and they are facing a tremendous problem of -- of rebranding, not just from 2012, but rebranding now from their own primary race in 2016.
WALLACE: Briefly, George, I asked Priebus about this. He says, well, you know, there's a long time between the convention and November. You really think so?
WILL: It’s a -- I have to set a land speed record for healing to get well with all the people that have been offended by this campaign.
WALLACE: All right, we have to take a break here.
Up next, despite trailing in the delegate count, Bernie Sanders seems to be getting under Hillary Clinton's skin.
Plus, what do you think? Is a string of losses starting to bother the Democratic frontrunners? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter @foxnewssunday and use the #fns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am so sick, I am so sick of the Sanders’ campaign lying about me. I’m sick of it.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT., DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are not just workers in the fossil fuel industry; these are paid, registered lobbyists. Secretary Clinton, you owe our campaign an apology. We were telling the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Hillary Clinton feeling the heat from Bernie Sanders over his charges that she’s getting big dollars from the fossil fuel industry. And we’re back now with the panel.
Well, this became a hot issue in the Democratic campaign this week when Hillary Clinton respond so vigorously to that Greenpeace protester. The campaign maintains that they have gotten no money from either oil or gas political action committees, PACs. But the Sanders camp says that industry employees, and that's what you heard there, including lobbyists, have given $300,000 to her campaign, have raised another $1.5 million for her campaign and have given more than $3 million to super PACs that are supporting Clinton.
So, Julie, what does this argument say about where this race stands now?
PACE: It’s really interesting when you look at those numbers because actually when you look at the whole of the fundraising on the Democratic side, that’s a pretty miniscule portion of this. This is more about Sander knowing that he has an argument that really irks the Clinton campaign. And that is this idea that she is influenced and bought by her donors, whether it’s the fossil fuel industry, whether it’s Wall Street, that argument bother hers because her campaign feels like he's not making the connection. He's implying this but he’s never showing an example of how she has been bought or influenced. You saw her frustration start to really boil over there.
And I don't necessarily think that this will change the dynamic in the Democratic Race substantially, but the overall point that Sanders is making is one that really motivates his supporters and Democrats broadly, this idea that there’s too much money in politics and that he’s the only one that is willing to completely upend the system. That she is still part of the system. She may want to tweak around the edges, but that he is the only one who will really push for a complete overhaul.
WALLACE: And we should point out that the reason they're talking about the fossil fuel industry and not Wall Street is because there’s a big debate in New York, that primary on April 19th, about fracking. So that has become an industry that’s being targeted right now.
George, Bernie Sanders has won five of the last six contests. He’s leading in the polls in Wisconsin. He’s closing the gap, not all the way there, but closing the gap in New York. What is going on?
WILL: We have all these complicated algorithms and other metrics for deciphering what’s going on. Use your eyes. Look at a group of Clinton supporters. Look at a group of Sanders' supporters. Who’s having the most fun? Bernie Sanders is fun. Hers is the joyless pursuit of joy kind of enshrouded in entitlement and all the rest. He just goes out, he’s having -- he's energized people, who I think are having the fun of being naughty. They think being a socialist is kind of out there. Nothing much to the content of social -- he wants to redistribute a lot of wealth. That's all the federal government does anyway is redistribute wealth. I don’t know what the excitement is. But this -- this -- this fun registers itself in one great number.
In March he raised $44 million. That's an astonishing, particularly for a campaign that says the whole -- America is dominated by millionaires and billionaires. He’s finding plenty of money in the energy, probably more energy than shown in small donors in any campaign --
WALLACE: Yes, we should point out, smallly (ph) energy, not energy industry, right?
WILL: Yes. Small -- small donors. Probably a larger percentage than anyone since Barry Goldwater in 1964.
WALLACE: Meanwhile, as if that wasn't enough, four of Clinton’s top former advisors at the State Department have all hired the same lawyer to handle possible investigation by the FBI of her private e-mails and her private e-mail server and there are reports that the FBI is going to interview Clinton herself sooner rather than later.
Chuck is our legal expert. What does all that tell you?
LANE: It tells me that fortunately for America this may be coming to a head and that a recommendation about whether or not to indict Hillary Clinton may soon be forthcoming from the FBI. And I say fortunately because whatever you think about the merits of these charges, she is running for president. She is likely to be the Democratic nominee. And we need some information about whether or not she’s criminally liable or not before this, you know, gets to October or something like that. The fairest situation is one in which we find out sooner rather than later. And --
WALLACE: Give us your time line. When you -- you know, when you hear that -- that the aides are lawyering up, that there’s talk about her having -- I mean are we talking weeks? Are we still talking months?
LANE: Look, it -- you know, how long is a piece of string? But it looks to me like May or June this thing would have to come to a head. And certainly, you know, I have a lot of respect for Jim Comey. I think most people do.
WALLACE: We should point out, the FBI director.
LANE: The FBI director. He is a fundamentally -- has a -- has a reputation as a fundamentally fair person. He must understand how political this is. And he's got a dilemma. And I think the -- the sensible thing to do in that situation is to move this thing forward, you know, between May and June and -- and, you know, lay it out there for the -- for --
WALLACE: If he doesn't make -- if they don't make a criminal referral, there’s also the question of an indictment. But the first thing the FBI has to decide is if they're going to --
WALLACE: Refer criminal charges to the attorney general to decide. Is there the possibility of a report?
LANE: Of course there’s a possibility of a report. And not only a possibility, but I would think probably a likelihood. Given how high profile this thing has been, they’re -- going to have to lay out some kind of findings to back up whatever decision it is that they announce. They can't just say, well, we’ve decided not to indict her, end -- end of story. They’re going to have to provide more information.
WALLACE: And would that be the FBI or would that be the attorney general?
LANE: That would -- I mean the FBI would provide the -- as I understand it, the raw data to the Justice Department, which would then authorize such a report.
WALLACE: So -- so, Stephen, I mean, just wrap your head around this, indictment, criminal referral, report. None of those, obviously indictment by far the worst, but none of those would be good for Hillary Clinton headed into her convention.
DINAN: No, absolutely not.
WALLACE: Unless -- unless the report is a complete exoneration.
DINAN: Well, even then when you're -- the possibility you're left with is that FBI agents, who would have wanted to have gone the other direction, do start leaking their own interpretation of the facts they came across. So this gets messy at best and very bad at worst.
LANE: Can I just add something that -- you know, think about the politics of this. Bernie Sanders gave this issue away. So within the Democratic Party, this is not a liability for Hillary. She's got other liabilities, but not this one. And as you look to November, if she’s running against Trump, who we’ve just been discussing how unpopular and everything he is, it's not clear to me that however bad this gets, unless of course it's an indictment, it's enough to outweigh Trump's negatives. So I think she’s broadly heading toward being in the clear on this.
WALLACE: George, do you buy that?
WILL: On the other hand, May could be a very exciting month because, as you say, the FBI investigation could come to a head and it is possible, if the judge has his way, that Donald Trump in May could be testifying in a fraud trial having to do with Trump University, which was something short of Oxford.
WALLACE: But -- but do you buy the argument that -- that because of the fact that -- that Bernie Sanders -- I'm not sure I agree that he gave it away. He just said, he's not going to press it himself. Do you really think Democratic voters are going to want to nominate somebody -- again, all speculative -- that indictment’s one thing, but there was a criminal referral that was not acted on or even a very negative report, you don’t think that would be damaging?
WILL: It would be terribly damaging. It would be damaging on top of the mountain of evidence that she is having trouble connecting with an electorate that already, by a majority, views her unfavorably.
PAGE: At the same time, Democratic voters, I think, are making their choice. If you look at Hillary Clinton's lead in pledged delegates, her lead in the overall vote, her lead in the super delegates, the party establishment that is looking toward the general election, she leads in all of those categories. So there is a choice being made, the e-mail situation has been out there, whether Bernie Sanders is racing it or not, and she is still winning.
DINAN: Two quick points on -- May could be interesting and June could be interesting for Hillary Clinton legally because she’s likely to face discovery over what the State Department and how she ran her own e-mail server. So there are other things that could come out, even outside of the actual criminal justice process with some of these open records requests. But the most important thing in the Democratic race right now is looking to those super delegates. In 2008, Obama had begun flipping super delegates who had been pledged to Clinton to -- to himself by February. Until that happens, this is Clinton's race.
WALLACE: But, obviously, those super delegates are going to take a look at what -- what develops.
All right, thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our "Power Player of the Week." One family's journey from slavery to presidential assistant in just two generations.
WALLACE: At the end of this long campaign, a new family will move into the White House. But for close to eight decades, one family saw presidents come and go while they continued to serve. Here is our "Power Player of the Week."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN FICKLIN, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: If you think about my family and the origin from my granddad being a slave and then with my career added to that, it's just remarkable.
WALLACE (voice-over): John Ficklin is talking about his family's extraordinary journey in just two generations, from slavery to special assistant to the president.
FICKLIN: Only in America could something like this happen.
WALLACE: It started in 1939, when his uncle, Charles, was hired as a White House servant. He got his brother John, Ficklin’s father, a job, which led him to share an elevator with FDR.
FICKLIN: Being speechless and nervous, you know, Mr. President, kind of thing.
WALLACE: Ficklin's father would serve nine presidents over 43 years, ending up as maitre d' of the White House, in charge of staffing and food service for the first family. Then there was the Kennedy assassination.
FICKLIN: I think it was at least four or five days that I did not see my dad because he was at the White House full time.
WALLACE: Nine members of the Ficklin family served presidents in good times and bad. At weddings and parties and daily life. In the 70s, Richard Nixon was consumed by Vietnam and Watergate. Ficklin and his brother didn't like it.
FICKLIN: We actually challenged dad. You know, dad, how can you work for this president, you know? He has -- he’s -- he’s awful. And my dad would just push us away and say, hey, he's the president of the United States.
WALLACE: When Ficklin's father retired in 1983, the Reagans invited a member of the service staff to a state dinner for the first time.
FICKLIN: It was a real treat for my dad to be seated -- seated at the table as opposed to serving the table.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, ACTRESS, "THE BUTLER": I'd like to invite you to the state dinner next week.
WALLACE: If all this sounds like the movie "The Butler," that was about another member of the White House staff, but filmmakers seemed to have taken a lot from the Ficklin story and John Ficklin refused to see the movie.
Ficklin himself went from the pantry, to currier, to file clerk for the National Security Council.
WALLACE: (on camera): Did you have a sense that that was a big transition from service staff to policy staff?
FICKLIN: I went from -- from apron, so to speak, to shirt and tie every day. It -- it was a leap.
WALLACE (voice-over): Over the years he became the NSC’s senior director for records, handling some of the nation's top secrets. In 2014, he was named special assistant to the president. And when he retired --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. John Ficklin and Mrs. John Ficklin.
WALLACE: He and his wife were invited to a state dinner.
FICKLIN: The Ficklins are -- are -- had been just such an integral part of the White House. It's been a career of service, all nine of us that worked in the White House have done exactly that by our service to the president of the United States.
WALLACE: Ficklin has two sons, one of whom is getting his Ph.D. in biology and he says he might like to work in the White House someday, in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
And now this program note. Be sure to tune in to Fox News Channel tonight at 9:00 Eastern for "Fox News Reporting: Rising Threats, Shrinking Military." Bret Baier talks with three of President Obama's former defense secretaries about cuts to our military.
And that's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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