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Fox News Sunday

Secretary Jeh Johnson on EgyptAir crash, TSA concerns

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," May 22, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  I’m John Roberts, in for Chris Wallace.

The Egypt air crash raises new questions about the terror threat and U.S. airport security.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Individuals and groups do remain intent on attacking the aviation system.  

ROBERTS:  With the TSA under the microscope, how will this impact the already long lines at airports across the country?  

We'll discuss that with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.  And get reaction from Congressman Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.  Both only on "Fox News Sunday."

Then, the crash becomes a focal point in the Trump/Clinton clash on terror.  

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You know, she won't use the term radical Islamic terrorism.  You understand that.  She won't use it.  

ROBERTS:  We'll speak with the head of Donald Trump's national security advisory committee, Senator Jeff Sessions.  It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.  

Plus, we'll ask our Sunday panel about the impact of the NRA's endorsement.  

WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA:  We will elect our next president and America truly will be great again.  

ROBERTS:  And Facebook's meeting with conservatives.  

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST:  They admitted they have problems, that they know they need to fix.  

ROBERTS:  All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS:  And hello again from Fox News in Washington.  

We begin with new clues into the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 that killed all 66 people on board as it flew from Paris to Cairo.  We will discuss the impact on safety at American airports with the secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson, and House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul.  

But, first, senior foreign affairs correspondent Greg Palkot he is at Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris.  

What's the latest from there, Greg?  

GREG PALKOT, FOX NEWS SENIOR AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT:  Hi, John.

And nearly four days after EgyptAir Flight 804 took off from this airport, the question remains, what caused the crash?  Was it mechanical problems or was it terror?  Right now, there is a massive multi-national air and sea search in the Mediterranean off Egypt where the plane went down, a submarine is being sent to comb the sea floor.  U.S. surveillance planes are involved.  

Debris, including parts of the plane, personal belongings, even human remains have been recovered.  They're being brought back to Egypt for analysis, but there is no sign yet of the black box voice and data recorders.  They, of course, could tell a lot.  

Now, data was sent from the plane minutes before the crash and it does indicate smoke, probably fire, on board, apparently starting in the cockpit and then spreading to the electronics, knocking out the aircraft's controls.  But the data does not indicate what caused the fire.  

Officials here in France and Egypt continue to say they are keeping all options open regarding the cause.  Still, there has been no claim of responsibility -- for example, from ISIS.  If it was terror, some analysts say there could have been a claim by now.  

Finally, in Cairo this weekend, there was a memorial to one of the flight attendants on the plane.  Families of the victims are mourning their lost loved ones wherever they are.  Those on board came from 12 different countries.  There were no Americans.  

Terror or not, officials here at this airport are taking no chances.  We were just watching passengers check in at the latest EgyptAir flight, massive security -- John.  

ROBERTS:  Greg, at Charles de Gaulle Airport, thanks so much.  We’ll check back with you later on in the day.  

Joining me here in Washington, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson.  

Mr. Secretary, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

JEH JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY:  John, thanks for having me on.  

ROBERTS:  Good to see you here.

Talk about EgyptAir Flight 804 in just a second.  But, first of all, some other news to report on.  Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the head of the Taliban in Afghanistan, reports that he was taken out by an airstrike in northern Pakistan.  Did we get him?  

JOHNSON:  U.S. military took a strike, he was the target and at this point, we are not prepared to confirm that he was killed, thought it appears likely.  If that's true, that's a positive development.  

ROBERTS:  How confident are you?  

JOHNSON:  We're looking into it.  At this point it's still a somewhat unfolding situation.  We are not prepared to positively confirm that he's been killed.  

ROBERTS:  If he has been taken out, what is the effect on Afghanistan because it seems like terrorist leaders, Taliban leaders are like weeds.  You pull one, another one grows up right in its place.  

JOHNSON:  We think it's significant because Mullah Mansour was actively trying to undermine efforts at reconciliation.  He was targeting afghan facilities, Afghan interests and U.S. interests.  So if he was, in fact, killed this would be a major development.  

ROBERTS:  When do you think we'll know?  

JOHNSON:  I think we'll know pretty soon.  

ROBERTS:  Get back to us on that?  

JOHNSON:  Someone will, I’m quite sure.  

ROBERTS:  Let's move on to EgyptAir Flight 804, reports of smoke alarms in the aircraft, one of them in the -- in the lavatory right behind the cockpit, another one in the avionics compartment beneath the cockpit.  Do we have any idea at this point, Mr. Secretary, whether there was mechanical failure or whether it was an act of terrorism?  

JOHNSON:  The investigation still early.  The crash was just a few days ago.  Debris is being found.  The U.S. Navy is participating in the search.  We've offered all manner of assistance in regard to this tragedy.  

At this point, we cannot rule out some type of terrorist act, but it's still very early, and the black box, as was noted, has not been found yet, and I suspect we'll know a lot more in the coming days.  

ROBERTS:  The black box obviously will tell a story but were you picking up any chatter, any intelligence that suggested that this flight was a target?  

JOHNSON:  Like I said, it's still early in the investigation.  I think we will know more in a few days.  At this point, we are not ruling out something nefarious.  

ROBERTS:  The president has said it's too early to tell whether or not this was terrorism.  Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are taking a different tack, both of them pointing towards terrorism.  Here’s what they said about it earlier in the week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  It does appear that it was an act of terrorism.  Exactly how, of course, the investigation will have to determine.  

TRUMP:  A plane got blown out of the sky.  If anybody thinks it wasn't blown out of the sky you're 100 percent wrong, folks.  OK?  You're 100 percent wrong.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS:  Donald Trump a little more forceful on this, but both of them suggesting terrorism is behind this.  Are they both a little far out over their skis on this, given what we know?  

JOHNSON:  Still early in the investigation.  At this point, we do not rule out an act of terrorism, but it's still early and there's a lot still unfolding.  

ROBERTS:  But these are two presidential candidates who have both made the declaration they believe it's terrorism.  Should they wait if they're looking for a job like this?  

JOHNSON:  I have no comment about that except to say that I think we will know a lot more at some point in the next couple days.  

ROBERTS:  Of course, the last bomb to bring down an aircraft was the Russian airline.  It's one thing to get a bomb on a plane in Sharm el-Sheikh, I have flown out of that airport, security isn't exactly what I would call tight.  But to get a bomb or an incendiary or an aircraft at Charles de Gaulle is completely different.  What are the implications of that?  

JOHNSON:  John, we’ve been -- we've been focused on last point of departure airports now for about two years.  Overseas airports with flights directly to the United States, we've enhanced security at last point of departure airports and it's important for the public to know that every flight the plane, the cargo, passengers on a flight bound to the United States has to be screened to U.S. standards.  That includes flights on layover.  So, if there's a flight from Paris or any other place in the Middle East that's coming to the U.S., it has to be screened to U.S. standards.  That includes cargo and passengers.  

ROBERTS:  So, are you confident that the current screening measures at Charles de Gaulle are adequate for flights bound for the U.S. and U.S. carriers going elsewhere around the world?  

JOHNSON:  I’m confident that we have enhanced security at de Gaulle and other last point of departure airports and we always evaluate whether more are necessary based on world events.  

ROBERTS:  We’ll talk about TSA in just one second.  But one other point, Hillary Clinton makes this point a lot, made it again yesterday.  She says that Donald Trump's rhetoric is divisive and dangerous, suggesting that his proposal for a temporary ban on Muslims would only increase terrorist activity around the world.  

But when you look at what's going on around the world and in this country, does it not speak to the idea that we need to more stringently vet people who are coming into this country, particularly from certain parts of the world, and in areas where we have a visa waiver program, places like Brussels and Greece which are both places -- or Belgium and Greece, both of which are places a lot of refugees are going.  Do we not need more stringent controls coming into this country?  

JOHNSON:  John, in this environment which includes the prospect of terrorist-directed attacks and terrorist-inspired attacks, it requirements a whole government approach centered around monitoring the travel of suspicious individuals and the prospect of self-radicalization by actors here in the homeland.  

ROBERTS:  Is a ban going too far?  

JOHNSON:  I believe that a ban immigration policy based on religion is unwise and counterproductive frankly.  We need to build bridges to Muslim communities.  We need to build bridges to American and Muslim communities, and I’ve been out there personally trying to do that, as a matter of building homeland security.  

ROBERTS:  Let's talk about TSA now.  Let me preface this by saying that the TSA Administrator, Admiral Peter Neffenger, is a friend.  But let me ask you this question: how did we get into the mess that we are in now with three-hour wait periods at places like Midway Airport in Chicago where hundreds of people are missing flights because they can't get through security?  

JOHNSON:  Well, first of all, in this general environment we are in, we are not going to shortcut aviation security.  We are not going to shortcut aviation security for public safety.  

And so, beginning last year when Pete took office, I gave him a ten-point plan for focusing and refocusing on aviation security in response to that I.G. report.  

Administrator Neffenger has implemented that plan.  I said last summer that what we were doing would lead to added wait times at airports.  That plus the increased --

ROBERTS:  -- in a letter to you.  

JOHNSON:  That plus the increased travel, which is good for the economy, has led to longer wait times at some of the busiest airports.  

What happened at Chicago on Monday frankly should not have happened.  There was a surge.  But it turns out this past Friday, we actually had more but we got them through on an average of 30 minutes, but we're working aggressively to build up the TSA workforce, to get more of them overtime, to convert part-time to full-time, bring on more K-9s, we're working with Congress for more funding, Congress has approved more funding, and we're working with the airlines, too.  

ROBERTS:  How quickly can you dig yourself out of this hole?  

JOHNSON:  Well, right now, on average, at the busiest airports at the 20 busiest airports, the wait time is generally around 30 minutes, but we do have spikes and right now, we have authorized more overtime for TSOs, we're expediting the hiring of some 800, they should be on by mid-June.  And we're looking at a lot more we need to do with the airlines.  The airlines can help us with this.

ROBERTS:  We are just about out of time.  I do want to bring up one other point, you were recently in Honduras and El Salvador.  

JOHNSON:  Yes.

ROBERTS:  Watching some repatriation flights come in.

JOHNSON:  Just got back Friday, yes.  

ROBERTS:  There has been a surge of other than Mexican migrants coming across the border.  You gave the commencement address at Georgetown University.

JOHNSON:  I did.

ROBERTS:  And there are a couple people not too happy with your immigration policies.  Let’s just show a little bit of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON:  Mr. President --

(PROTESTS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS:  So that was a vocal group.  But prior to your appearance there, a group of 30 undocumented students had written the university president school of Foreign Service to say they didn't want you to come.  They didn’t want you giving the commencement address.  These are people who are protected under DACA, the act that your president signed or order that your president signed, and yet they're sticking their finger in your eye.  What's that all about?  

JOHNSON:  First of all, I was in El Salvador and Honduras to inspect the resettlement centers we have there and to convey the message that our borders are not open to illegal migration.  If you come here and you are ordered removed we will send you back.  

You are correct that there were a few people at last night's graduation who made a little noise.  We live in a noisy democracy and they disrupted the event for a few minutes and then I went on with my commencement address.  It was fine.  

ROBERTS:  But this -- again, the people who are protesting your appearance there are people who are protected under DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  

JOHNSON:  Well, I don't know about the particular individuals who disrupted --

ROBERTS:  No, not the ones who disruption, but the ones who tried to keep you out.  These are people that your administration protected in --

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNSON:  It is true.  It is absolutely true that this administration, we enacted DACA in 2012, and we are working to expand the possibilities of deferred action through the DAPA program for adults.  That's in the Supreme Court right now.  We are fighting to defend that policy.  

ROBERTS:  This is puzzling to me that people that you've protected would actually try to --

JOHNSON:  We live in a wonderful democracy, John.  

ROBERTS:  Right.  Mr. Secretary, thanks for coming in.  Stay around for a couple of minutes just in case Chairman McCaul says something that you want to respond to.

We’re bringing the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Mike McCaul.

Mr. Chairman, good to see you back.  

What do you know, if anything, about EgyptAir Flight 804?  

REP. MIKE MCCAUL, R-TEXAS, HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:  Well, clearly something catastrophic occurred in a very short period of time, three seconds, to cause a plane into a downward spiral and to crash into the ocean.  I think many signs do point to terrorism or explosive device on the aircraft.  Sensors went off, smoke detectors in the lavatory, the window in the cockpit was breached, indicating it may have been blown out.  

We won't know until we get the black box and all the confirmation from that, but I am very concerned, particularly given the high threat environment of where this plane was traveling, both Cairo where I just recently visited, Tunisia, and then into Paris, where they just weed out 70 extremists out of the airport.  It worries me about the safety of these flights, last point of departure coming into the United States.  

ROBERTS:  No one has yet claimed responsibility, Mr. Chairman.  Could this have been something other than terrorism?  

MCCAUL:  It could be.  It could have been a mechanical problem, but it happened so quickly, I question that.  Remember after Sharm el-Sheikh, it took ISIS about two and a half weeks to come out in Dabiq magazine and to take credit for that.

So, these last departure airports like Cairo, when I visited it, I was a little concerned about the state of security, they only have magnetometers.  They are not vetting their employees I think properly.  I think the bigger threat, John, is the idea that you can have insider threats, you can have the best technology but if you have an inside job of a worker that has access to the plane that's corrupted or bribed or radicalized, they can get a bomb on that aircraft and blow it up.  And I’m concerned that may have been what happened in this case.  

ROBERTS:  The secretary, you probably heard him just a short time ago, said that we have stringent screening processes for planes that are bound for the United States.  Do you believe that those screening processes are adequate given the potential for what might have happened here to EgyptAir 804?  

MCCAUL:  I think they're better.  I applaud the secretary for ramping those up.  However, you know, we passed two bills in the House that are just sitting in the Senate that would allow the secretary more authorities to go into these last point of departure airports and assist with the screening and technology and equipment for that matter, like the Cairo airport which I think is very vulnerable to not only an insider type attack but also these nonmetallic IEDs that we know al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is developing that can get past the magnetometer. They don't have these full body scanners at those airports.  

ROBERTS:  Chairman, the president has said several times in the past that terrorists are on the run.  You said at George Washington University the other day that they are not on the run, they are on the march.  Is the White House not getting it?  

MCCAUL:  I don't think the president has got it from the beginning of ISIS.  I mean, he wants to deny that it's going on.  They are the jayvee team, you know, the caliphate -- the day that al Baghdadi declares a caliphate, he declares a war on terror over.  The president did.  

It's been expanding not contracting.  We are making some limited success in Iraq and Syria, but as in Tunisia, right next to Libya with our team in exile or ambassador in exile, they talked about the 6,000 is in Libya.  Libya is a failed state and becoming a launching pad for external operations, as is Sinai in Egypt where we see ISIS that pulled off the Sharm el-Sheikh.  

I’m worried mostly as homeland security chairman about external operations conducted by the safe havens that are now being created in the Middle East and Northern Africa from which they can launch external operations in the U.S.  And aviation security is the biggest threat.  

ROBERTS:  You said of Syria and Iraq it is the largest convergence of terrorists in modern history.  The last big terrorist stronghold, of course, was Afghanistan.  Compare what's going on in Syria and Iraq to what was going on in Afghanistan pre-9/11.  

MCCAUL:  Well, pre-9/11, bin Laden operated in caves and couriers, primitive communications.  Now, we have a new generation of terrorists that know how to use the Internet, know how to exploit it, used it to recruit.  They've recruited 40,000 foreign fighters, largest convergence that we've seen of jihadists in what is now called the caliphate, and that's due to the Internet.

And so they are expanding their bandwidth in a global sort of jihad movement.  That's what really concerns me about the modern day terrorists that we face is this global expansion.  

ROBERTS:  Let me ask you a question that I posited to the secretary a short time ago.  Donald Trump continues to be criticized for proposing a temporary ban on Muslims until we figure out what is going on and who comes into this country.  

Is that proposal in your estimation right or wrong?  

MCCAUL:  You know, I introduced the Safe Act which looks at the Syrian refugee problem to make sure that we properly vet and screen these individuals before we bring them in, have them certified at the highest levels and, unfortunately, the president issued a veto on my bill.  I do think that we need to look at vetting from countries of interest that provide a greater terrorist threat to the United States.  

I’ve had some very good discussions with Mayor Guiliani about this issue --

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS:  Would you go as far as a ban, temporary ban at least?  

MCCAUL:  I don't think you could ban an entire population, say, you can't come into the United States of America.  What I think you can do is look at specific threats and properly vet those individuals from coming into the United States.  

ROBERTS:  Do you think that banning Muslims at least on a temporary basis would foster more terrorism?  

MCCAUL:  I think it would cause -- it would cause in the Muslim community a bit of a backlash, it could help their recruiting efforts, certainly in Iraq and Syria.  But, again, I’m talking about more of a vetting process in areas that are high threat areas.  

ROBERTS:  Chairman McCaul thanks so much for being with us.  We really appreciate it keeping an eye out for developments.  

Mr. Secretary, anything you want to respond to?  He said the president doesn't get it on ISIS.  

JOHNSON: Well, first of all, Chairman McCaul is a huge supporter of Homeland Security and we have an excellent working relationship.  In fact, we've taken back with the global coalition a lot of territory that ISIL used to occupy in Iraq and Syria and we've taken out a number of their leaders including those focused on external attacks but we've got to keep at this, we've got to stay vigilant.  

I think Mike is right to be concerned about the security of airports in the region which is why after Sharm el-Sheikh we enhanced the security at the airports there in the region.  

ROBERTS:  Mr. Secretary, good to see you.  Thanks so much for coming in.

JOHNSON:  Thank you.

ROBERTS:  We really appreciate it.  

Coming up next, as we mentioned, Donald Trump wasted no time calling the EgyptAir crash terrorism.  We will talk to the head of Trump's national security advisory committee about that, his Supreme Court picks and big endorsement Friday from the NRA.  

Stay with us.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS:  Donald Trump had a busy week releasing his Supreme Court picks, meeting with elder statesman Henry Kissinger, going after Hillary Clinton on guns and drawing a distinction with her on terror.  

Joining me now from Birmingham, Alabama, to discuss all of this and more is Jeff Sessions.  He’s the first senator to endorse Donald Trump and now is the chairman of his national security advisory committee.  

Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."  We spent a little time in the Louisville airport the other night.  Good to see you for a more lengthy period of time.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, R-ALABAMA:  Good to be with you.

ROBERTS:  So, Donald Trump wasted no time labeling what happened to EgyptAir Flight 804 as an act of terror.  There is yet no evidence to suggest that that is -- perhaps to suggest it is the case, but certainly there's no evidence to definitively say that.  

Did he get out there a little too far ahead of himself on this?  

SESSIONS:  Well, it certainly appears to be a terrorist act and it was one of those critical flights from Paris to Egypt where you have a lot of people in Paris that are part of this international terrorist movement.  So, it has every indication that that's what it is and I think it probably will be -- that will probably be found out to be true.  

ROBERTS:  But if it isn't, let's say, for instance, that it was a mechanical problem and I think the jury is out right now as to exactly what caused this, is it problematic for somebody who wants to be president to come out with that declaratory statement to say that this, in fact, was terrorism and if you think it's anything else you're fooling yourself?  Because he may have to walk it back.  

SESSIONS:  Well, you -- look, one of the things that I think undermining our ability to be effective, John, is that we're so politically correct.  If it's not a terrorist attack, that's great news, but it probably is and we should be able to talk about it and actually take action as soon as possible to deal with those kind of threats.  And we can't be in denial.  

ROBERTS:  Mr. Trump is meeting tomorrow with Senator Bob Corker who is the head of the foreign relations committee.  He has also met with Henry Kissinger.  He met with James Baker.

Is he learning about foreign policy from these meetings?  Or are these just maybe more of a box check on your route to becoming the president?  What's happening in these meetings, Senator?  

SESSIONS:  I don't think there's any doubt that he's enjoining these meetings and there will be more of them.  He's focused on being even more prepared, but his basic philosophy and approach to national defense and foreign policy is close to the Kissinger type model.  It's realism, it's caution, it's being more cautious about how we deploy our men and women in harm's way, not to be involved in excessive efforts to alter -- create democracies in countries that are not ready for it.  

I believe that's a legitimate criticism of a recent foreign policy.  I think he's on the right track in that regard.  I’ve supported President Bush and a lot of these activities, but I think most Americans believe correctly that we need to be more cautious in the future about our engagement around the world.  

ROBERTS:  Does he still have more to learn about foreign policy?  

SESSIONS:  Well, of course, we all do.  I’ve been on the Armed Services Committee for 20 years and the details are so complex in some of these countries.  You have to have the best intelligence you can possibly get and to decide whether to commit even a small number of troops really is a serious decision and has long range implications and you have to have the best advice you can get.  

I think you don't have to know everything the day you hit the office, but you do have to seek your advice from your best people before action is taken.  

ROBERTS:  Does Mr. Trump know what he doesn't know?  

SESSIONS:  Oh, I think he does.  I think his instincts are really correct.  I like -- he believes in peace through strength.  He believes in identifying threats that are threats to us.  What does it do to America?  

And we respond aggressively to protect America.  But at the same time, we recognize there are limits and we need to have more support from our allies.  I mean, they can't just ride us forever.  We've got a serious financial challenge in America and we need more support from our allies.  

All of that I think is sound, he's gaining support from the best minds on some of these issues.  

ROBERTS:  There are some notable Republicans who are at odds with Mr. Trump's foreign policy, Secretary James Baker at a Senate hearing a little while ago said that he believed that his foreign policy was based on, quote, "ill-informed bluster and threats," even in particular didn't like what he was saying about NATO or the potential for nuclear weapons in Japan and South Korea.

And then the former secretary of defense, Bob Gates, came out and said he is not comfortable at the moment at least with Donald Trump's finger on the nuclear trigger.  Here is what he said.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GATES, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY:  Right now, no, but the question is does he moderate his views on national security issues going forward?  Does he begin to have some more informed views about the complexities of some of these issues, some of the challenges that we face and who does he choose as his advisors?  If all of those things turned out in a positive way, then -- then my concerns would be significantly reduced.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS:  Senator Sessions, is Secretary Gates correct?  Does Donald Trump need to moderate his views on foreign policy and become more informed on the complexities of foreign policy?  

SESSIONS:  I think Secretary Gates will find and Donald Trump will find as time goes by they're closer to agreement than many would think.

Secretary Gates opposed the Libyan action.  He was correct to do so.  But Secretary Clinton, Secretary of State Clinton got President Obama to participate in the collapse of that government, now we have chaos there.  

Gates was correct.  Clinton was wrong.  Donald Trump believes that was a mistake.  

There are other areas of agreement.  Donald Trump has said he would have early on a meeting of NATO to discuss our common aims and goals and to talk with them about giving more money and sharing more of the cost.  As Secretary Gates has firmly said, they must share more of the cost.  So, I think they are in agreement there.  

He also said he would meet with our Asian allies and discuss the common interest there and call on them to be more participating in the cost.  

ROBERTS:  We saw each other in Louisville, that was because we were there for the NRA's annual meeting.  Donald Trump got the endorsement of the NRA. It's the first time, at least since 1992, although they didn't endorse in '92 and '96, the earliest that a presidential candidate has gotten the endorsement. It would seem to indicate, senator, the depth of concern that the National Rifle Association has about what may happen in November. Am I correct?

SESSIONS: That is correct and they are correct. Hillary Clinton is the most anti-Second Amendment president perhaps we have ever had. She said again recently that the Heller (ph) decision that protects the right of individuals to keep and bear arms was wrong. Right now with the death of Justice Scalia and the vacancy on the court, it's four to four, four for -- support the Heller decision, four against. If she gets in, she will appoint somebody who changes it. And what that means is, it's no longer a personal right to have a gun, but every city, county and state can completely ban firearms in America. This would be the greatest reduction of Second Amendment rights since the founding of the republic. It's a tremendous issue and Americans need to understand the extent of her radical position on it.

ROBERTS: Of course -- of course Donald Trump came out with a list of people that he would consider for the Supreme Court earlier in the week. Does he have that much of a problem with conservatives, senator, that he has to five -- six months before the election say, here’s whom I would appoint to the Supreme Court should I become president?

SESSIONS: He’s -- he’s said he was going to do that early on. I think it's his own decision to do so because he wants to establish that his goal for the Supreme Court is a professional, thoughtful jurist who believe in the classical role of a judge as a neutral umpire, not as an advocate for various social policies that they may favor.

ROBERTS: But -- but -- but it --

SESSIONS: And I think this was a great decision. It’s been well received throughout the country.

ROBERTS: Be that as it -- as it -- as it may, senator, it seems that he does have to take steps that most presidential candidates don't to mollify conservatives. Am I correct in assuming that?

SESSIONS: Well, it certainly has confirmed and -- their -- their belief that he will nominate good judges because these are really fine list, all of them are accomplished, good scholarly backgrounds, proven records. I think that was -- it did reassure some people that were attacking and saying he would not nominate conservative judges.

ROBERTS: You've -- you’ve heard that from those people?

SESSIONS: We heard that a lot. It was part of the themes in the campaign that Donald Trump would nominate liberal judges. I think he’s demolished that argument.

ROBERTS: Senator Sessions, good to visit with you this morning. Thanks so much for joining us.

SESSIONS: Thank you.

ROBERTS: All right, we'll see you in an airport somewhere in America in the near future. Thanks.

Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the growing Republican support behind Donald Trump.

Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about his Supreme Court picks? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @foxnewssunday and we may use your question on the air.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Coming up, Trump and Clinton face off over guns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the second Amendment. Just remember that.

CLINTON: Unlike Donald Trump, I will not pander to the gun lobby.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: We'll ask our Sunday panel how it plays into the presidential race, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The Second Amendment is on the ballot in November. The only way so save our Second Amendment is to vote for a person that you all know named Donald Trump, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Donald Trump at the National Rifle Association making the case that if Hillary Clinton is elected president, she will not only push for new gun laws, but nominate Supreme Court justices who will uphold those laws.

It’s time now for our Sunday group. Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume is here, "USA Today" columnist Kirsten Powers, head of Heritage Action for America, Michael Needham, and Fox News political analyst and author of "We the People," Juan Williams.

I was there at the NRA meeting, Brit, and there was a crowd. It was supposed to be 7,000. That's how many tickets they sold. But they let another thousand people at least in. Very enthusiast crowd for Trump there. So you’ve got a couple of things. You’ve got the NRA, very enthusiastic about him and the NRA endorsing five months before they’ve endorsed anybody else. What's going on?

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's one of a number of signs that Donald Trump is well on his way to pulling nearly all of the Republican Party behind him. There will be holdouts and there will be conservatives who were conservatives first and Republicans second that will not be reconciled to him, but the Supreme Court list that he put out, the meeting with Paul Ryan, all these things are pointing in the same direction, that -- that -- that Republicans and most conservatives are increasingly ready, particularly because they so fear the alternative, to back him and I think that's -- that’s where we're going.

ROBERTS: At the same time, though, you’ve got a lead piece in The New York Times, Kirsten, that says all these big donors from the Republican Party --

KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: Right.

ROBERTS: Say they're not going to raise money for Trump. And I kind of liken it to back in 2000 when bill Clinton bought a $1.8 million house and everybody is saying, how is he going to afford that?

POWERS: Yes. I mean I think that the NRA has -- has pretty much said the reason they did that I think is to your point, they're trying to take the lead on being -- bringing the party together. So they're doing it much earlier than they’ve done it in the past because -- because they’re feeling --

ROBERTS: But what about these donors who are saying they’re sitting on the sidelines? Does -- does that matter?

POWERS: I think -- well, I mean there are going to be some people who just aren't going to come around who --

ROBERTS: But will it matter?

POWERS: Who are -- it doesn’t -- no, I  mean, it seems like Trump has been able to do pretty well without having the establishment behind him. If anything, it's probably helped him. So, you know, we’re going to have to see how much he actually ends up wanting to spend in the general election. I don't think he can get through a general election the way he did with the primary, not spending as much money. But there are going to be some people -- a lot of these people are partisans and ideologues and they’re going to put that before Trump. I think ultimately most people will tend to come around once it's clarified it's between Hillary, it's between Trump. That’s why the NRA -- I mean the NRA -- look, he’s very pro-gun also. I mean you have to remember that.

ROBERTS: Now.

POWERS: Well, but the things that he has said are the kinds of things that I think the NRA dreams of people saying, like the San Bernardino shooting, saying if they had guns this wouldn’t have happened. If the other side had had guns --

ROBERTS: But that he -- but that he was also for the assault weapons ban. He was for longer waiting periods after the president made the speech about Newtown. He’s saying the president says everything I’m thinking, yes.

MICHAEL NEEDHAM, CEO, HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA: And it’s a statement of where the Democrat Party is. And so I think that's a statement of where the Democrat Party is right now. The Democrat Party is absolutely hopeless when it comes to defending Second Amendment rights. Hillary Clinton is actually running to the left of Bernie Sanders on this issue. And so think everything Brit said is true, but I think this is also just on the issue of gun control, Hillary versus Donald Trump, the NRA saying we’ll take our chances. And the challenge for Donald Trump is, what are some of those other issues on the Supreme Court with his vice presidential nominee, where he can give conservatives confidence.

ROBERTS: Well, what -- well, what about the Supreme Court. He comes out with 11 people that he says he put on the Supreme Court. I mean does this -- don't worry, conservatives, I'm with you here.

NEEDHAM: Yes.

ROBERTS: I mean it really seems like he's got to go to great lengths to keep people with him.

NEEDHAM: It was. And I think that was a great gesture. In some ways it's a microcosm of the Trump campaign. He puts out this list. It is a phenomenal list. Conservatives think, fantastic. Donald Trump is saying, where’s Hillary's list? Let’s talk about that. And then later that night he says, but maybe I’ll add to the list. And so kind of this great moment with Donald Trump and conservatives for some reason gets a question mark at the end. And I think what that causes is some people say this was really shrewd, this is how you make deals, this is how you negotiate. And other people say, well, hold on, that's a little erratic. You know, what's going on there? Does he really mean it? Is this a fraud? And so I think the challenge for Trump is to find those issues, give conservatives confidence and then convince those people in the second who look at that question mark and theoretic (ph) behavior and say, we're going to make them comfortable, we’re going to make them come over and join the coalition.

ROBERTS: So, Juan, he’s got these groups that are coalescing behind him, the NRA, conservatives now getting behind him. But you take a look at this Fox News Latino poll about Hispanics, even though Republican Hispanic leaders say they’re willing to talk to Trump, may come around. Look at this, Hillary Clinton, 62 percent. Donald Trump, 23 percent. It’s a 39 point lead for her and that’s four points less than what Mitt Romney got in 2012. Is he dead in the water because of that number?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: It hurts. It hurts badly. And we saw this in terms of what the Republican National Committee said after '12. Remember, the number you showed for Mitt Romney, it was -- you know, Mitt Romney's people said, if we had done better with Latinos, we might have had a better chance. When you look at the reality now, you have a growing Latino population, more influence in key states. I mean you could go at Colorado, Nevada --

ROBERTS: Well, does that kill him in Florida?

WILLIAMS: I think it hurts him badly in Florida. But, you know, John, the thing is, it also hurts him in states where you might not initially register the presence of Latinos. Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania. And these are states that Trump would like to flip and thinks that he can by getting more blue collar, white voters concerned with the trade issue. But right now, with these numbers, he has a major problem and it's not going away.

One final point on the coalescing of Republicans behind Trump. You’ll notice, Mitt Romney is not among them. And you’ll notice that Mitt Romney’s still saying, where are your taxes, Mr. Trump? And then you look at people like Cruz, Kasich, Rubio, I don't see them standing up yet. And, of course, Paul Ryan still has -- is yet to come.

ROBERTS: Right. Is it possible, Brit, if we look at the results in West Virginia -- now, West Virginia may not translate across the country, but it could translate in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio and Kentucky. Well, Kentucky he doesn't have to worry about. But Pennsylvania, Ohio, maybe Michigan even, where a number of Bernie Sanders’ supporters said, we're going to vote for Donald Trump. Could he make up for the deficit in Hispanic voters by pulling Democrats?

HUME: That's the question. And the -- and the -- it, in a way, it's a kind of a premise of the Trump campaign, that you can make up the shortfall you're going to have with minority and ethnic voters, and even perhaps to some extent with women, with blue collar, white voters, mostly men. I mean I think as a matter of mathematics it's tough but not impossible. The question then becomes, well, will he be able to improve his number of 62 to 23 unfavorable among -- among Hispanics?

I thought the number would be worse, frankly. You know, he’s not that far behind Romney. You know, they both did badly, but my guess is that Trump will try to find a way to reach out to Hispanics and maybe he can, you know, hold a Clinton margins or, you know, whoever ends up with it margins down there and that might be enough. I mean it looks now possible.

ROBERTS: What do you think, Kirsten, can he pull Democrats and maybe win back Hispanics?

POWERS: I -- it's going to be hard for him to pull Democrats. Right now you have a lot of the Democrats -- it's interesting, these, actually, were Hillary Clinton voters in '08 when she was running against Barack Obama, but now she's tacked to the left so much I think maybe she's losing some of these voters because of Sanders. But what does she do in the general election? Is she able to start pulling these people back?

And -- and then if you -- you have to remember also, there's different types of voters, Democratic voters. So the younger voters despise Trump. I mean he has between 70 and 80 percent disapproval among --

HUME: Despise her, too.

POWERS: And -- but -- well, they don’t like her, but they --

ROBERTS: Yes, 57 percent in the new Washington Post poll (INAUDIBLE).

POWERS: But -- but -- but there’s a feeling that their dislike of Trump is so much greater, mostly, frankly, because of the political correctness issue. This is a generation that just does not like political incorrectness and that's one of his hallmarks. So they -- they either could stay home or they could potentially vote for Hillary just out of dislike for Trump.

ROBERTS: Well, let's talk about the Democrats and what's going on, on the other side because that's a whole different kettle of fish.

We'll take a break here with the panel. When we come back, we will find out what's going on with Bernie and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. My goodness.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I am absolutely committed to doing my part, more than my part, but Senator Sanders has to do his part.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT., DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to continue to fight for every last vote until June 14th and then we're going to take our fight into the convention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Hillary Clinton calling on Bernie Sanders to help unify the Democratic Party, while Sanders says he's going to campaign aggressively in the final stretch all the way to June 7th.

We’re back now with the panel. Fox News has offered to host a Democratic debate in California. Bernie Sanders has said yes.

I go to our social media question from Facebook. We asked, wouldn't it be to her advantage to accept. Andrew Land writes, quote, "she says the nomination is already hers, why would she risk the chance that she would let any truthful statement slip out during a debate?" Robert Hernandez tells us on Twitter, "no reason for Hillary to debate, Bernie is done." Why isn't she agreeing to this debate, Juan?

WILLIAMS: Well, Robert -- especially to that second one that Bernie’s done, you’ve got a point. I don’t see how Bernie can possibly claim the nomination at this point. Hillary Clinton is like within 90 delegates of outright winning. But here’s the point, this is pay-per-view material. This is like a great match-up that would appeal to, guess what, Bernie Sanders supporters who are still kind of, you know, a little uneasy with Hillary, to independents, Republicans. So the general electorate, if she is looking toward going up against Donald Trump, what an opportunity for a large audience right before California. I think it's a winner for her.

Again, you know, you think about Donald Trump and this tremendous media presence. This is an opportunity for Hillary to take advantage of the moment before she has to go against Trump.

ROBERTS: Who do you think it plays to better, Michael, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders?

NEEDHAM: Well, I --

ROBERTS: I mean because if she trips with a week to go until California, that could be bad.

NEEDHAM: Right. And, obviously, she doesn't want to have a divisive debate with Bernie Sanders. But I agree with Juan, she should do it. And -- and sometimes it's unfortunate when the shoe’s on the other foot. In May of 2008, Hillary Clinton was saying, Barack Obama needs to agree to do a debate with me. She suggested maybe we should have a 90 minute Lincoln-Douglas style debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. That was when, obviously, Barack Obama was the frontrunner. So think maybe Fox News could host a 90 minute Lincoln-Douglas debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

ROBERTS: Wouldn’t that be fun.

Kirsten, what's going on with Bernie Sanders and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. He says he's going to support her opponent, Tim Canova --

POWERS: Yes.

ROBERTS: In the August 30th primary and says, if he becomes president, he’ll do a Donald Trump and say, you're fired.

POWERS: Yes. Well, this isn't really a surprise. He's been at odds with Debbie Wasserman Schultz pretty much since the beginning of this primary because he’s -- he and his supporters have accused the DNC of picking sides, of setting up the debates in a way to favor Hillary Clinton, having them on weekends or holiday -- holidays where nobody’s going to watch the debates to try to minimize the exposure that Bernie Sanders gets.

ROBERTS: Well, is she -- is she playing fair or not?

POWERS: And so I -- I don’t think so. I've -- I’ve written a column criticizing her and criticizing the DNC for this. And -- and the Bernie Sanders campaign has said in particular she is the problem. That they have found working with the DNC in general to be an OK experience, but she has clearly picked her horse and has been backing that horse and trying to pretend that she is sort of a -- you know, being a fair, you know, arbiter of the situation, and she's not.

ROBERTS: Van Jones, Democratic activist, former White House, green jobs czar, says that he's, quote, ashamed of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and wishes that Reince Priebus was running the DNC.

Brit.

HUME: Well, it's an interesting contrast between the two of them because there’s been a lot of criticism of Priebus for being too susceptible to Trump and -- and basically, you know, helping to pave the way for him. I think Priebus has basically been neutral. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has not been neutral. She has clearly been for Hillary, although she insists publicly that she's neutral. And I -- so Sanders, I think, has a -- has a legitimate gripe perhaps. And, of course, the delegate rules, which -- which he’s a symbol, I guess, certainly favor Hillary because of the super delegate presence, which is so important in the Democratic race. So, you know, my -- my sense about it is that it’s kind of a double standard here at work. Priebus gets criticized for doing what everybody wishes Debbie Wasserman Schultz was doing on the Democratic side.

ROBERTS: Let’s -- let's look back at what happened last Saturday in the Nevada convention, where Bernie Sanders supporters thought that they were being treated unfairly. They started throwing chairs. They were threatening the republican -- not the Republican -- sorry, they were threatening the Democratic -- they always threaten the Republican -- they were threatening the Democratic Nevada chair. If this had been Trump supporters do this, Juan, what would the narrative in the media have been?

WILLIAMS: Oh, well, it would have been, I think, even larger. But that's not to say that this was ignored. In fact, this has gotten a lot of attention.

ROBERTS: No, what -- it wasn't ignored, but I remember reading one article that says, Bernie Sanders supporters, you know, send a message to the Democratic Party.

WILLIAMS: Well, this is -- this is the heart and soul of the matter. I know Tad Divine, who’s running Sanders’ campaign, says he does not like the idea that people talk about the violence at the Nevada event so largely and even the threats against the Democratic Party chair in Nevada as a result. But they did happen and -- and I think there's a sense among Democrats in large -- and it's interesting to me, even on left-leaning Democrats, that Sanders, at this point, is stoking grievance and anger against the party. We heard Kirsten talking a moment ago about anger at Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Obviously if you're trying to unify the Democrats in the way that you discussed the Republicans now trying to unify behind Trump, this is a big problem and that's why at this moment you see left leaning organizations and media outlets, Mother Jones and the like, suddenly saying, hey, maybe Bernie’s taking this a little too far, and it's about Bernie and not about defeating Donald Trump.

ROBERTS: But, Michael, if -- this is being treated more like a family spat in the media at large. And if this was Donald Trump supporters who were doing it, don't you think we would see articles about Donald Trump being danger and smoking violence and whatever else in addition to --

NEEDHAM: Oh, of course. And -- and nobody’s surprised by a double standard in the media. But what I think it shows is that the anti-incumbent, anti-establishment sense that you saw in the Republican primary is every bit as much there on the Democratic side, it’s there amongst independents. And it’s why Hillary Clinton is almost the last person on the face of the planet you would want to put forth in this environment. She's somebody whose entire professional career has been about enriching herself and her friends through her public service. You look what’s going on, on the Clinton Foundation. We’re in an anti-incumbent, anti-establishment moment and you basically found the most clearly establishment. A managing detector at Goldman Sachs said that when she talks to us she sounds like she’s a managing director here at the company. You couldn't find a worse person for this movement than Hillary Clinton and she she’s the one the Democrats are likely to put up.

ROBERTS: So there’s an alternative that’s out there. Gary Johnson, former New Mexico governor, a recent Fox New poll, he polled 10 percent.

WILLIAMS: That was amazing.

ROBERTS: Yes, 42 for Donald Trump, 39 for Hillary Clinton, 10 percent. He polls evenly, Kirsten, it seems, from both parties.

POWERS: Yes.

ROBERTS: Could he potentially be a player here?

POWERS: Well, I mean, that -- that is a surprise, but also if he's polling equally, then he’s less of a threat.

ROBERTS: Less of a threat.

POWERS: It's usually these third party candidates become a problem when they start to pull from one party over the other.

WILLIAMS: You know, he would have to get 15, I think, to get into the debates. That's when he becomes the player.

POWERS: Yes. But I want to say about this Bernie Sanders stuff. Actually, some of this -- I think it's been exaggerated and, well, I guess we’re out of time, but I wanted to say --

ROBERTS: No, no, we’re not. You’ve got 30 seconds.

POWERS: Oh, oh, I was going to say, yes, I mean Snopes actually looked at it and nobody threw any chairs. And, in fact, somebody picked up a chair and put it down. And I think a lot of -- actually I think the media has been pretty hard on them and have exaggerated what has happened. I think that they were upset and they were angry, but nobody was in any danger. I mean there was no actual violence.

ROBERTS: We're going to take a break here because we’ve got something that we really want you to dig in on coming up next.

When we come back, a new documentary on Anthony Weiner's political demise. It shines a spotlight on his wife, long-time Hillary Clinton aid Huma Abedin. Could the timing impact her campaign?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the worst, doing a documentary on my scandal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just a quick optics thing. We will look happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don’t push us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anthony --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't believe I gave the press the finger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: A new film detailing Anthony Weiner's failed run for mayor of New York City three years ago after a revival of the sexting scandal that forced him to resign from Congress, but the documentary also focuses on his wife, Huma Abedin, widely known as Hillary Clinton's right hand woman.

We’re back now with the panel.

Brit, why don’t you start us off. Is this --

HUME: Oh, tempra (ph), omora (ph) is what (INAUDIBLE). Every time I hear about Anthony Weiner, who seemed to have faded from our national life, but who is apparently going to be back again, I think of the Jay Leno comment years ago when -- when this -- when Whitey Bulger, you remember him, the Boston mob guy was captured and -- on the West Coast Leno said, he thought that Whitey Bulger was Anthony Weiner's screen name.

ROBERTS: Kirsten, could this possibly come back to bite the Clinton campaign, particularly since she maintains a close relationship with Huma Abedin.

POWERS: I -- I don't think -- I don’t think so because it’s a -- it’s a personal issue. It's Huma's husband. I don't think people are holding her accountable for the behavior of her husband. And Hillary is so loyal to here. It's just impossible to see it harming her.

ROBERTS: This thing, Michael, looks like a Hollywood comedy along the lines of "Wag the Dog" or "Our Brand is Crisis." It looks like it could be a good movie.

NEEDHAM: It’s -- it's really crazy, but it -- I think it also shows a split in the Democrat Party. On the one hand you have kind of the intellectual core of the Democrat Party, Elizabeth Warren, Bill de Blasio, people who are way to the left of the center of gravity of the United States, and then you have these other people who are just cults of personality. Anthony Wiener was a cult to personality.

ROBERTS: Yes.

NEEDHAM: Hillary Clinton’s a cult of personality. Cory Booker, who’s on Twitter. The intellectual core of the party is with the progressive left.

ROBERTS: Any -- any effect on the Clinton campaign?

WILLIAMS: Well, you’ve got remember the women's issue is large in this campaign between Trump and Clinton.

ROBERTS: Yes.

WILLIAMS: Does this impact? Apparently it's a very good documentary. The question is, why did they agree to do it? But now that it's out, could it hurt Hillary Clinton with women?

ROBERTS: Juan, thanks so much. Panel, that's all the time. Thanks for joining us today. Chris will be back next Sunday. Have a great week and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."

END

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