This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," July 3, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Shannon Bream, in for Chris Wallace.
Hillary Clinton faces the FBI, as a private meeting between her husband and attorney General Loretta Lynch causes a political firestorm.
DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hillary is so guilty, and how that's not being pursued properly. He opened up a Pandora's Box.
BREAM: Now, Lynch is making assurances the meeting won't influence the investigation into Clinton's private e-mail server.
LORETTA LYNCH, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I certainly wouldn't do it again. Because I think it has cast a shadow over what it should not.
BREAM: Today, Congressman Xavier Becerra, a Clinton supporter and possible running mate, on criticism the case is politically tainted, as well as the impact of the Benghazi report on the 2016 race. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: If anybody here believes that the U.S. homeland is hermetically sealed, I would guard against that.
BREAM: A warning from the CIA chief in the wake of the massacres in Turkey and Bangladesh. We'll discuss the latest fronts in the war on terror with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Devin Nunes.
Plus, we'll ask the Sunday panel about the 2016 veepstakes, as the current V.P. weighs in on a potential Trump running mate.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are you going to do it?
It's a hell of a job. Get a big pay raise. It's all worth it.
BREAM: All right now on "Fox News Sunday."
BREAM: Hello again from Fox News in Washington.
This week from the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton sat down with officials at FBI headquarters here in Washington for 3 1/2 hours this holiday weekend, about the private e-mail system she used while secretary of state.
In a telephone interview with NBC News yesterday, Clinton said this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I never received nor sent any material that was marked classified, and there is a process for the review of material before it is released to the public, and there were decisions made that material should be classified. I do call that retroactively classified.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BREAM: That meeting comes a day after Attorney General Loretta Lynch pledged to accept whatever course of action is recommended by the bureau. Lynch has come to intensifying pressure over a 30-minute talk with former President Bill Clinton at the Phoenix airport on Monday. That's where criticism from both parties for creating an apparent conflict of interest.
Joining me now here in Washington, Congressman Xavier Becerra, a Clinton supporter and possible V.P. pick.
Congressman, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
REP. XAVIER BECERRA, D-CALIFORNIA: Thanks. Happy to be with you, Shannon. Thank you.
BREAM: It’s great to have you here today.
All right. Mrs. Clinton's meeting with the FBI comes just after a few days earlier, a meeting between former President Bill Clinton and the Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Here's what she said about the appearances from that meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNCH: The issue is, how does it impact the work that I do and the work of the department of justice does? And I certainly wouldn't do it again. And you know because I think it has cast a shadow over what it should not, over what it will not touch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: The FBI is conducting multiple probes involving the Clintons. You and I are both lawyers. This could go beyond PR. Is this an ethical issue potentially?
BECERRA: The fact that the attorney general whose integrity is not even in question has said that she's going to rely on the recommendations of the FBI investigators, and the career prosecutors at justice is a clear sign that it won't be an issue here, because those who are doing the investigation, those who know the facts, are going to make the final call.
BREAM: But do you think that the fact that the reporter who broke this story locally there in Arizona said that Mr. Clinton got word that her plane was coming in, he delayed, he was running late, he stopped and waited for her to come onto the tarmac, then privately met with her for 30 minutes. You understand how that raises questions.
BECERRA: I think the attorney general recognizes how that raises questions and she said she wouldn't do it again. And, that quickly followed -- what followed by her statement where she said, let's be clear, the investigators at the FBI, the career prosecutors at justice, are the ones that are going to make a recommendation and I’m going to accept that recommendation.
So this way that chance encounter doesn't seem to influence what's going on with this investigation.
BREAM: Yes, let's play a little bit of what she said. She was speaking in Aspen on Friday. Here are some of her remarks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNCH: The recommendations will be reviewed by career supervisors in the Department of Justice, and in the FBI, and by the FBI director. And then as is the common process, they present it to me, and I fully expect to accept their recommendations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Later that day, a senior DOJ official told us that she is reserving the right to make an ultimate decision about this. It was confusing to us. We've been back and forth with them several times.
With all this confusion, with all the potential cloud of conflict of interest, why not just let a special prosecutor, why not get an independent person looking at this?
BECERRA: Because if you're going to let those who are doing the investigation, the FBI, and those who understand the law, and can take the facts of the investigation to make a good decision and recommendation, why stop that process?
This has been going on for a while. The secretary herself was prepared and volunteered to provide testimony to the FBI. She just did that this week.
And so, this has gone a long ways. And just because there was a chance encounter with President Bill Clinton, who has no part in this investigation, doesn't mean that you have to throw the investigation away.
I think the attorney general did the right thing, though. She recognized that people were beginning to question how it is that she met with the spouse of the secretary who's the subject of the investigation, and she said, let's make it very clear, at the end of the day, I’m accepting the recommendation of those who are doing the investigation at the FBI, the professionals and those who are career prosecutors at justice.
BREAM: OK, but it's not just about her. Because we know that the FBI is looking into potential conflicts involving the Clinton Foundation. I mean, that's something that the president would be directly involved with. He could be a witness. He could be somebody who was under investigation.
BECERRA: And to the degree that there's any sense of the conversation that the president, Bill Clinton, had with the attorney general, I think she's made it very clear, if you don't believe what I’m telling you that it was just a chance encounter, it was a social conversation, then let me make it clear -- the folks who are doing the investigation, the professionals at the FBI, the prosecutors who understand the law and how these facts work to relate to the law, they're the ones that are going to make that recommendation and I’m prepared to accept that recommendation.
BREAM: OK. Let's talk about a little bit of what we do know, thus far, in the email investigation. We know that there are more than 2,000 e-mails in question that do contain some classified information, 22 of them so top secret they won't release any of them to us, not a single portion.
Inspectors general from both the intelligence community and State Department have criticized Mrs. Clinton, said she likely violated the Federal Records Act. She failed to comply with department policy.
Also in January of 2011, there was a technical adviser to the Clinton's e-mail system who said he had to shut it down twice because he thought it was being hacked. The Romanian hacker "Guccifer" said he did hack the system multiple times and it wasn't that hard.
Now, Mrs. Clinton is asking the American people to trust her, that she can lead us, and it looks as if she's put together a situation with her e-mail that was very complicated. It could have exposed classified information. So, why should we trust here?
BECERRA: So let's break that down, Shannon. First, there were no classified e-mails released by the secretary. The fact that they -- those investigators may have gone back and after time, months, years, gone back and said, oh, maybe we should classify some of these e-mails is nothing that she was aware of. So, she never did herself disclose any -- through her e-mails, any classified information.
BREAM: But 22 of them so classified that we can't even see a single word of them.
BECERRA: As I said, at the time that she was having those e-mail conversations, none of those e-mails were classified.
Something may have happened in between. Let's say in the last two years, in the intervening years, somebody we didn't know too much about has become a real terror suspect. Now you may want to classify any e-mail that dealt with that particular individual. But two or three years ago, there was no sense that that was -- it was necessary to classify that as top secret.
And so, the secretary herself has said, look, I’ve done what other secretaries of state have done, what others in the administration and in government have done, communicated through e-mail. Subsequently, classification comes out at top secret for some of those communications, but not at the time.
And then you go to the issue of whether folks can trust. I think the secretary made it very clear. She understands that she's got to earn people's trust. She's going to work very, very hard to do that.
And I give her credit for saying that she's made some mistakes and she's going to try to show the American people that she's going to work hard especially for working families in America to earn their trust.
BREAM: OK. You know that there are also private lawsuits regarding some of these e-mails, and they are -- the State Department is turning them over under court order and according to some of these, not only Mrs. Clinton but some of her key staffers. They had a deadline in July for the next batch. They went to court this week, the State Department did, through the Justice Department and said we need to delay until October 20th, 2018.
So, how do you answer critics who say that sounds like the mother of all stall tactics?
BECERRA: Well, let's get put everything in perspective. People from the outside are making requests for information, which, as we just learned, sometimes it's classified or reclassified as top secret. And so, therefore, I think that each agency is saying wait a minute we have to be very careful what we disclose to you, because even though right now it doesn't have a classification as being top secret what we're finding is that subsequently it might.
So, I think they're being very cautious. They want to make sure that they give out this information for the right reasons and there are a whole bunch of folks who are trying to sue to get information. What we have to make sure is that we don't release information that should be kept classified, because it may ultimately divulge information that could harm the U.S.
And so, I don't know the inner workings of the agency, but I certainly would want to make sure that we're not releasing to some private entity information that really doesn't deserve to be out in the public.
BREAM:, of course, all of the e-mail information, the server, the private server, came to light because of the Benghazi investigation. This week we got the report from the Benghazi committee, out of the House.
We did learn some new things we didn't know before. There is a story about an account about military assets that were waiting in Spain. They were on a plane for three hours there, they were told four times to change in and out of their uniforms because the State Department was worried about the optics of having Americans in uniform on the streets of Libya.
In the meantime, no military assets were ever sent directly to Benghazi while the attack was unfolding. Four Americans died in the process.
Who's to blame?
BECERRA: Actually, Shannon, that's not new information. That was disclosed back in 2013. It was --
BREAM: About the uniform changes?
BREAM: That's not something I’ve heard before this week.
BECERRA: That was out there --
BREAM: Four times.
BECERRA: 2013. We knew that information.
The military testified to that and talked about the fact that while there was some sense of disagreement about how to make sure you send out the assets, those assets were going to be sent to Tripoli. Not to Benghazi.
BECERRA: And the military subsequently made clear that even if they had been sent out, they wouldn't have made it in time, because they were being directed to Tripoli not to Benghazi.
And so, the conclusions of the report that first discovered that particular fact were that there was no way that our military assets could have made it in time. And so, the conclusions can of our military were that there was no way to change what happened on the ground because it happened so quickly, was confusing information and there weren't enough assets close enough to make a difference.
BREAM: What do you say to those within the military or the intelligence community who take -- not committee, community, who take umbrage with that. They say that's not the fact. That they were sent to staging locations in Sigonella, in Spain and other places and they waited for hours.
BECERRA: Yes, we've had nine investigations now of this. And not a one, including this last one which was a partisan investigation, found that what the military told us was not true. I think it's unfair to blame our military, our troops, and our officers, who did the best they could to say now that we could have done more.
I think it's really unfair and doesn't recognize what our military has to confront. There are any number of theaters of action and they have to be ready to go wherever necessary. But we don't have so many troops that we can be everywhere at one time.
And I think it's unfair to those men and women in uniform who work very hard, sometimes give their lives, to say that it's their fault they didn't get there on time. Believe me, from nine investigations, we know that our men and women in uniform tried.
BREAM: Yes. And apparently some of them are saying that they weren't allowed to proceed because of the State Department, that's who they were waiting on.
BECERRA: OK, that's asked and answered, as well. Two, three years ago all that information came forward. It was clear that State Department did not get in the way of the military. As General Ham said at the time, there is no way that our men, our troops, our assets, could have gotten to Benghazi on time.
And so, again, as I said, we could try to continue to make conspiracy theories out of all of this. But the reality is, what we know after nine investigations, that our assets on the ground were not sufficient and close enough given the short time frame, and the confusion that existed at that time in Benghazi.
BREAM: All right. Let's talk about after the fact which obviously is a big part of what the Benghazi committee investigated, as well. Publicly, the administration was saying that the YouTube that was offensive to the Muslim faith was to blame.
But we know within 24 hours, there was a different story going on privately. I want to read a bit of what Mrs. Clinton said to the Egyptian prime minister. Quote, "We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest."
Two days later, she was speaking as the bodies of the four Americans were brought back here to the U.S. She mentioned the video. The family, several of them, say privately she told them as well, it was about the video.
We know the run-up to the Sunday shows, where Ambassador Susan Rice spoke there was e-mail traffic and guidance that said make sure this isn't about a broader failure of policy in Libya.
So, was the story crafted in order to deceive Americans and preserve Mrs. Clinton's legacy?
BECERRA: Again, Shannon, nothing new here. Nine investigations, including this last one which is very partisan, cost us, $7 million, took two years.
By the way, this last partisan investigation took longer than the Watergate investigation. It took longer than the 9/11 investigation. It took longer than the Kennedy assassination investigation to complete. All the taxpayers --
BREAM: And you know, Republicans say, they say it's because they were stonewalled by the administration, the Pentagon, the CIA --
BECERRA: I would say after eight investigations, there wasn't that much more to uncover and I think the -- those partisans were part of that investigation, hunted as deep as they could to find something because they were finding nothing after eight other investigations.
But to the point, again, that was -- those claims were investigated about the picture that was set forth by the administration at the time of the events unfolding in Benghazi. And what we're finding is that the intelligence, the military intelligence we were receiving at the time was telling us, it -- this attack could have been inspired, these activities could have been inspired by that video. Subsequently, we learned differently.
But at the time, and as I said, because of all the confusion, what was being said on the ground by our assets on the ground, not by State Department, not by the White House, was it looks like these attacks may have been inspired by this video. We've learned since what -- more of what transpired. But again to blame our military for providing this information as best they could given the facts on the ground, I think it's just unfair to the men and women in uniform to do that to them.
BREAM: What do we do with these phone call, to the Egyptian prime minister within 24 hours?
BECERRA: Again, we're learning facts as we go. What you're finding is that we're trying to give our allies as much information as we can.
But we want to make sure that what we say to the public is based on the information we know on the ground. It could change and often does. But you want to make sure that you're giving the public as best a read as possible given that you're not yet sure of what exactly went down as well.
It's a tough situation. You or I probably would be hard-pressed to make better decisions than our men and women in uniform that were there on the ground. But again, it's Monday morning quarterbacking to say we could have done better than the men and women who are serving in the uniform.
BREAM: Are you being vetted for V.P.? Do you want to be?
BECERRA: That's a question that has to be asked of Secretary Clinton. And I have full faith that total confidence that she's going to make a great decision. She's got great core of people to choose from. And we'll see. And we'll see.
BREAM: Keep us updated.
BECERRA: I will.
BREAM: Great to see you, Congressman. Thanks for coming in.
BECERRA: Thanks, Shannon.
BREAM: All right. Up next, we’re going to bring in our Sunday group to discuss Hillary Clinton's meeting with FBI officials.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about that criticism over Bill Clinton's private meeting with the attorney general? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday. We could use your question on the air. Stick around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. CHRIS COONS, D-DELAWARE: I don't think it sends the right signal. I think she should have steered clear even of a brief, casual social meeting with the former president.
TRUMP: You know when I first heard the story, I said, no, no, you're kidding. I don't believe it. I thought somebody was joking.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BREAM: Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, part of the bipartisan chorus criticizing Bill Clinton's meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch just days after Hillary Clinton spoke with the FBI.
Time now for our Sunday group. Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume. Heidi Przybyla of USA Today, Charles Lane from The Washington Post, and former Republican Senator Scott Brown.
Welcome to all of you.
SCOTT BROWN, R-FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Thank you.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.
BREAM: All right. So, we know that Hillary Clinton had her meeting with the FBI yesterday, three and a half hours. Here’s what the RNC said, "That the FBI wanted her for questioning reinforces her central role in deliberately creating a culture which put her own political ambitions above State Department rules and jeopardized our national security. We must ask ourselves if this is the kind of leadership we want in the White House."
Brit, will it move the polls at all for or against her?
HUME: I doubt that that statement will. And I’m not sure the meeting with the FBI will. But it does confirm that something serious is going on here and that this is not as she keeps repeating some kind of security review. As the FBI director himself said not long ago, they don't do security reviews, they do criminal investigations, and that unmistakably is what this is.
But the ultimate question is, whether anything will come of it and formal charges against her, and if that were to happen, that would be -- that would be -- that would be a big deal.
BREAM: It would be a game changer.
HUME: It would throw the presidential contest into a hat and who knows what would become of that. But this year, with all that's happened so far, you certainly can't rule it out.
BREAM: Anything can happen.
OK, we asked folks at home on Facebook and Twitter to reach out to us. What questions they have about this meeting between the former President Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch on a tarmac in Phoenix.
Barb Near writes on Facebook, "Is this a manufactured scheme so the entire investigation will be delayed until after the election?" She's thinking the long game.
And Chuck on Twitter says, "Why didn't she appoint a special prosecutor versus a fake recusal?"
And, Heidi, we -- there's this sliver of daylight there from her saying that she's going to accept the recommendation but then a senior DOJ official also telling us that she's still going to make the ultimate decision as if she's still possibly going to exercise some discretion.
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, USA TODAY: That is what I think went out the door with this, is that before Bill Clinton had this impromptu meeting there was some potentially small, minute chance that Loretta Lynch could use her powers to overrule Comey, Comey said it's a close call, but I recommend indict, there's a small chance that she could have overruled him. Now, that's pretty much out the door.
And I also think that put this in the shoes of the investigators who are working on this. They must be really angry, too, that they feel like the hard work that they're doing is tainted regardless of what think come up with. So, in some ways, I think they're going to feel pressured as well to show no leniency.
So if Bill Clinton was even in any sense trying to subtly influence this investigation, it has backfired spectacularly.
BREAM: And, of course, there's a lot of speculation, Chuck, now that, close sources say, including on Donald Trump's Twitter feed, for what that sourcing is worth, in the conventional wisdom has been that she probably won't be charged with anything.
CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, it's now become, for many of the same reasons that Heidi has said, it's become a perfect lose-lose situation for Hillary, because there's two alternatives. She could be indicted, which is a catastrophe and probably would lead to her withdrawal from the race. Or she could not be indicted, and everybody's going to look at this process now as somehow tainted by the meeting between her husband and the attorney general.
You know, everybody keeps talking about what an asset Bill Clinton is to her campaign. But, boy, this is not the behavior of somebody who is an asset. It has absolutely undermined the whole process.
And again, it -- you know, it puts the attorney general in this box where she really can't, you know, even appear to have any discretion over this process, especially now that she's had this meeting. But to do that removes any, you know, essentially neuters herself, and won't be enough to satisfy the critics.
It's a complete mess -- a totally self-inflicted wound by the candidate's husband himself.
BREAM: We’ll wait on the timing of, you know, conclusion to that. In the meantime, we did have a final conclusion to the Benghazi panel, the House Select Committee this week, and basically the Clinton camp and supporters are celebrating a victory saying there's nothing new here.
Let's get a little bit of her reaction. This is her in Denver on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: It had to today report it had found nothing, nothing to contradict the conclusions of the independent accountability board, or the conclusions of the prior multiple earlier investigations carried out on a bipartisan basis in the Congress. I'll leave it to others to characterize this report. But I think it's pretty clear it's time to move on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Well, and there was criticism, actually, from the far right on this as well. Brent Bozell, the president of the Media Research Center, said this, "I’m stunned by the GOP's unwillingness to accomplish anything in Congress, which now extends to resolving investigations. It was up to Trey Gowdy to get to the truth and he punted. Everyone involved in this charade disgraced himself."
BROWN: Well, first of all, two things Loretta Lynch, rookie mistake, she should be ashamed of herself. I agree with Chuck Schumer and she should recuse herself as he requested back in 2006 with regard to this.
We did learn a lot, and with respect to the congressman and to the statements by the secretary, we learned and we confirmed that she lied. And as a result of that lying and failure to act, knowing that there were problems, knowing there were security breaches and people died.
And as a result of that, she came back and she lied, saying it was a video. It was terrorism and everybody knows it's terrorism. Had she come back and said, listen, we made mistakes, this is what we need to do in the future so it's never done before -- again, it would have maybe been a little bit different.
But we see over and over, her lack of accomplishments when it comes to our national and foreign security. ISIS, it's grown and developed during her watch. Libya, the reset. Syria, the reset with Russia, Syria, where Assad's a reformer.
We could go on and on and on. And if it's going to be a debate about foreign policy she's going to have some very, very real problems.
BREAM: But, Brit, she basically comes out relatively unscathed in this Benghazi report.
HUME: Yes, I would agree with that essentially because the one thing missing in this whole case is the kind of relentless pursuit of the story that used to characterize these scandals. I’m talking about by the media. That has never been present here. There's been a couple of news organizations, this one being one of them, that has pursued this story with some vigor.
It is an enormous force multiplier in these kinds of cases when the media are on the loose and after the story. They never have been. They aren't now.
There was in this case, in my opinion, unmistakably a cover-up from the jump. And that became pretty evident early on and it's even more clear today. There's an old axiom, used to be in Washington, that it isn't the misdeed that will cause you trouble, it’s the cover-up. That seems no longer to be true at least as it relates to this case.
That cover-up should have been a big deal from the start. It never really has been. The result is what you see. She participated in it, as Senator Brown has suggested. Others did, as well. Susan Rice, most conspicuously.
And it all seemed rather ho-hum to many of our colleagues in the media and the amplification that these things normally get hasn't been as well.
BREAM: We want to make sure, while we have you, that we talk about the veepstakes as well. We're waiting on picks for both sides of the ticket for the fall.
But an interesting comment by the current vice president yesterday on a potential GOP nominee. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Newt and I disagreed; he's one of the brightest guys I know. He knows -- he knows the government. He knows the issues. And I would feel better, even though we disagree philosophically, I’m not being facetious, I feel better knowing that there was somebody there with the depth and gravitas on the issues that Newt possesses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Newt Gingrich. He did go on to say he's not endorsing him. And they do disagree.
But, Heidi, of course, Gingrich is one of the top names we're hearing about, Governor Pence, Governor Christie among the others for the GOP side.
PRZYBYLA: These are all the names that we've confirmed, that are now submitting materials and are definitely in the top. Look at, you know, the calendar's really kind of caught up on us here. We're a couple weeks from the convention. So, we may get an announcement within the next week.
But in terms of Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie -- Newt Gingrich is now kind of at the top of the speculation charts, just because he brings that deep knowledge of Washington and the connections to the establishment, that the Trump campaign is looking for.
But at the same time, some of the Democrats I’m talking to, and I’m not suggesting anything nefarious about what the vice president just said, said that they'd look forward to it because they have a long history with Newt Gingrich as well and a pretty deep opposition file that they'd be able to immediately dust off.
BREAM: Well, we will wait, as he could there's been a lot of speculation this week, potentially get a pick on the GOP side, we’ll see, ahead of the convention.
All right. Panel, we’ve got to take a break. But stick around, we'll see you a little bit later.
Security is tight across the U.S. as travelers head to the Fourth of July festivities all across the country after this week's attacks in Turkey and Bangladesh. We'll discuss the safety concerns and what’s being done to combat the threat with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He’s next.
BREAM: Coming up, Ted Cruz grills Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on whether references to radical Islam were scrubbed from terror reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: Is it accurate that the records were changed?
JEH JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Same answer I gave you before, I have no idea, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: We’ll discuss with the House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They are going to be defeated in Syria. They're going to be defeated in Iraq. They are going to be on the run wherever they hide.
BRENNAN: I think we still have a ways to go before we're able to say that we have made some significant progress against them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: CIA Director John Brennan with a more sobering assessment on the war on ISIS than his boss, President Obama.
Joining me now from California to discuss the throwing threat from the terror group and the aftermath of this week's terror attacks in Turkey and Bangladesh and last month's massacre in Orlando is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Devin Nunes.
Mr. Chairman, welcome back to FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
REP. DEVIN NUNES, R-CALI., CHAIR, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It's great to be here with you, Shannon. Thank you.
BREAM: I want to get your reaction, what you can tell us about the intelligence that's being gathered both on Bangladesh and on Istanbul. And this morning we're getting reports as well of two bombings in Baghdad. ISIS claiming responsibility there. Ninety or more believed dead at this point. What can you tell us?
NUNES: Well, this is really the plan of radical jihad. ISIS and al Qaeda continue to grow. You're going to continue to see these attacks around the globe. It's what the intelligence community's been warning about very clearly. As it relates to Bangladesh, this has long been on our radar for actually several years. In fact, just this past week, we had one of the subcommittee chairman from the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Frank LoBiondo from New Jersey, was there actually the day before the attack, trying to work with the Bangladesh government to increase our counterterrorism cooperation with the Bangladesh government because we knew that ISIS and al Qaeda were growing there. I think the Bangladesh government has a -- has a long way to go, a very populous country, 170 million people, kind of put into an area the size of Iowa. I think most Americans would understand how many people that would be. Iowa, I think, is around 4 million people. Bangladesh, 170 million in the same area. So that's an area that's just going to continue to -- to, I think, grow with people who are willing to blow themselves up, to kill others. This -- this attack was specifically targeted westerners. And I think if you see the 20 or so westerners that were killed, including unfortunately one American.
Istanbul, we can go into Istanbul, but that investigation’s ongoing. Clearly looks like it's tied to ISIS, but we'll know more as we continue to work with the Turkish authorities and Turkish intelligence members.
Baghdad, the bombings this morning, I think this is going to be what we'll -- what we’ll continue to see in -- in Iraq, especially as you put -- you consider that Iran continues to put its influence over Baghdad. You saw with this recent take of Fallujah, heavy Iranian involvement. I think it’s probably going to make the problem worse in the long run.
BREAM: CIA Director John Brennan also this week talked about the fact that, of course, the U.S. is leading the coalition against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. He added this as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: It would be surprising to me that ISIL is not trying to hit us, both in the region, as well as in our homeland. If anybody here believes that, you know, the U.S. homeland is -- is hermetically sealed, and that the -- the Daesh or ISIL would not consider that, I think I would -- I would, you know, guard against that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Mr. Chairman, what's your best assessment about the current threat to the U.S. homeland?
NUNES: Well, I’m glad the CIA director’s taken a sober look at this. We've -- we’ve long been saying on -- from the Intelligence Committee that it appears to us that ISIS and al Qaeda are both growing. And so when you look at the -- the potential for an attack in the United States, what I'm afraid of is that these attacks, like you saw in Orlando, like you saw in San Bernardino, are going to become the norm. And about -- I guess it was about two years ago the FBI came before us at the committee and said very clearly that they were concerned about the radicalization of jihadists over the Internet. They talked about the inability of our intelligence services to be able to track people because they were going into these chat rooms that are encrypted. And so I think it's no secret that everybody knows -- Americans know now that there's investigations going on in 50 states. Fourth of July clearly brings up -- up concerns because you have a high number of Americans that are going to get together, enjoy fireworks, and enjoy friends and family. But I think also the American people are resilient. They know now it's more important than ever that if you see something to call the local authorities and report it so it can be investigated.
BREAM: To the point of whether we're defeating ISIS, President Obama, this week, said they're going to be on the run. They're going to have to hide. They will be defeated. And he added this as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We will not rest until we have dismantled these networks of hate that have an impact on the entire civilized world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: And, of course, that comes at the same time as we played a little bit earlier from Director Brennan saying we still have a ways to go before we're able to say we've actually made significant progress against ISIS. Are you confident in the administration's current plans for handling or defeating ISIS?
NUNES: Well, I just wish that the rhetoric that the president used actually matched -- matched the actions. So there -- there continues to be no strategy to deal with Iraq and Syria, and the -- and North Africa, Bangladesh. And, you know, if you look at the spread of jihadism from Morocco to the Philippines, it continues to grow.
It's the president of the United States who said that al Qaeda was on the run. Al Qaeda then morphed into ISIS. And it's important for people to understand those -- those connections. So, to only have a plan in Iraq and Syria to try to deal with ISIS, that's not going to solve the problem. I look at this as -- and I'll just kind of outline just a very brief solution -- but, there's kind of three pillars that have to be dealt with. You've got a North Africa problem, and I think you've got to bring NATO into that, southern Europe -- Europe into that, because there’s -- that's an area where you have a lot of refugees that are crossing over in -- from North Africa into Europe. Not to mention that a lot of fighter flow and weapons flows are going from North Africa into Iraq and Syria. And, remember, this was primarily because of the destabilization of Libya.
The second pillar I would say is Iraq and Syria, got to be dealt with currently right now, having Iranian-backed militias go into Sunni areas to clear out cities like -- like Fallujah I think is a strategic mistake. And third, you've got the situation in Afghanistan where the president continues to say that he's going to -- he's going to take troops out, which is giving -- giving credibility to the Taliban and -- and other bad actors within that region to go out and do recruitment saying that, look, the Americans are leaving, you better join us now or we're going to come and get you. So those are just three simple pillars that need to be dealt with clearly, and strategically, all working together, that ultimately would begin to get us on a path toward some type of plan to actually defeat radical jihadism, which is -- which is growing, spreading and going to be a generational war.
BREAM: The Pentagon is touting the fact that it has taken away, the coalition has, a lot of territory from ISIS. It points to the fact that it's taken about 45 percent of the territory it controlled at its peak in Iraq, taken about 20 percent of what it occupied in Syria. This week Special Envoy Brett McGurk said before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that morale is low for ISIS fighters. They're running away from things. They're running away from other Iraqi forces. But at the same time he acknowledged that there are people who are able to be inspired, you know, whether directed or not, but inspired, as you mentioned. Here's a bit about what he said about those who don't even need direct contact to get the motivation they need.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT MCGURK, SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY: Any deranged individual that wants to commit a crime can suddenly fly the banner of ISIL and get an international headline. And they recognize this and they're trying to inspire it. So I think the risk of that is something that is very much with us, will be with us for a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: How do we get at that, chairman? How do we get at that issue of inspiration by somebody who’s alone in a chat room, as you said, miles away?
NUNES: Well, I'd also be careful of doing victory laps. There's a lot of victory laps being done because people are talking about the percentage of land in Iraq and Syria that somehow now not part of under ISIS control. Look, at this point it's -- a lot of that's not under anyone's control except for probably the Kurdish area. And like I said, this is not -- when you look at ISIS as a problem, if you're only looking at Iraq and Syria, like this administration is trying to do, you haven't even identified the problem, or the problem set. I mean ISIS is now -- ISIS just conducted a massive attack in Bangladesh. They just conducted an attack in Orlando.
So -- so, you know, to try to say that somehow we're winning this right now, I think is just -- it's just farfetched. And -- and that's why I tried to outline just kind of the basis of a plan that I hope the presidential candidates will begin to talk about, how ultimately do we go out and build a strategic plan that identifies the enemy and begins to take the fight to this enemy, because I -- I’m afraid that these attacks are going to become the norm globally. I mean if you look at the -- the -- you know, now there are just up in a year and a half, ISIS has gone from 20, 30 attacks in a -- in a -- in a month, up to about 100 attacks in a month, with suicide bombers and other improvised explosive devices. This is very destabilizing globally and -- and it's got to be -- it's got to be the United States working with our NATO allies, our Arab allies, and anyone else who wants to come to the fight. If not, we're going to just continue to see this happen, and -- and I -- I don't think any of us globally want to see that.
BREAM: You -- you talk about identifying the enemy. So I want to touch on a conversation that's been ongoing about the administration, whether they understand this motivation to build a caliphate, using very specific terminology the president sort of mocked a couple of weeks ago that if you do or don't call it radical Islam, it doesn't make it go away, it doesn't solve it. This week there was a DHS employee, former employee, who said that he was told by the administration, he was ordered by supervisors, to scrub the records of words like jihad or Muslim Brotherhood. Following that, there was an exchange between Senator Cruz, a Republican, and DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. I want to play that for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: Is it accurate that the records were changed --
JOHNSON: Same -- same answer I gave you before. I have no idea, sir.
CRUZ: Would it concern you if it was accurate?
JOHNSON: Senator, I find this whole debate to be very interesting. But I have to tell you, when I was at the Department of Defense, giving the legal sign-off on a lot of drone strikes, I didn't particularly care whether the baseball card said Islamic extremist or (INAUDIBLE) extremist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: That DHS employee said scrubbing these records made it much more difficult, he said, to connect the dots and prevent some of these domestic attacks that we've seen. Are you worried about the PC police and how it affects the ability to keep Americans safe?
BREAM: Yes. I just don't understand this whole infatuation with not calling a spade for a spade, right? I mean this is -- radical jihad is radical jihad. And why this administration and -- and other intellectuals around the globe don't want to call it radical jihad because somehow we're going to -- this is going to make the problem worse. I mean, good God, we've been fighting this war for -- for 15 years, and the last thing we should be running around doing is -- is babbling about -- about what this is or is not or what we should call it or not.
I mean, look, we know what this is. This is -- there is a war within Islam. There are people being radicalized every day. And, look, let's just let the facts speak for themselves. Al Qaeda, and ISIS, are larger than they've ever been. We have attacks being conducted by people who are being radicalized over the Internet in the United States of America and nearly every country around the globe. Europe’s being overrun with this problem. So, I just don't think it's helpful to not call it what it is. And, look, there's just this old -- old saying that, you know, let's -- at least we admit we have a problem before we can solve the problem.
BREAM: Chairman Nunes, thank you so much for joining us today. We hope you have a safe and happy Fourth.
NUNES: Thank you. Thanks, Shannon.
BREAM: Coming up, we're going to bring back the panel to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear a politically charged case on contraceptives. Why the court's conservative justices are calling it an ominous sign for religious freedom, next.
BREAM: A look outside the beltway at the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
We are back now with our panel.
All right, so this week the Supreme Court term ended. We’ll talk about some of the key cases. But making news this week is a big case they did not take with these pharmacist out of Washington state who are not allowed to say that they will not give out the plan "b" pill or emergency contraception though it violates their religious faith. They say that they had a religious freedom claim against that. The Supreme Court voted not to hear it. It takes four. So the three dissenting judges, Justices Alito wrote the descent saying this, "this case is an ominous sign. If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern."
LANE: Well, you know, it's becoming increasingly clear that the -- one of the most important or maybe even historic events of the last year was the death of Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court because everything would have been different if he were still there. On this particular case, what I hear Alito doing is, just as you say, kind of issuing a warning to his fellow conservatives of the long-term leftward potential drift of the Supreme Court. Because in truth on this particular case, there wasn't really a whole lot conservatives could have accomplished. If they'd actually taken the case, it would likely have either come out 5-3, in defense of the Washington rule, making it a national rule, or a 4-4 ruling, with the four liberals and four conservatives, a tie, which would have left the ninth circuit’s opinion allowing Washington state to impose this requirement on pharmacists in place. So I think he was more just trying to project, make a statement, about what he regards as the leftward drift of the court over the long-term.
BREAM: Yes, and part of that comes with Justice Anthony Kennedy as well because we saw him on critical decisions this term side with the left wing of the court on affirmative action and on abortion. Conservatives say they're increasingly worried about ever being able to count on his vote. Here is Carrie Severino, she’s with the Judicial Crisis Network, to that point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARRIE SEVERINO, JUDICIAL CRISIS NETWORK: I think we see that increasingly he's willing to abandon some of those -- t hose core principles of the constitutional system when it comes to achieving mostly liberal policy goals. And that's -- that’s discouraging to see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: The senator, I mean he -- he certainly is not someone they can count on, they think, on some of these big issues anymore.
BROWN: That's true. And look at Justice Scalia's death, and, obviously, it was a major blow, not only to conservatism, but I think to the balance of the Supreme Court. And it's a message I think for Republicans out there who are on the fence and Reagan Democrats and all others if they want the court to go far, far left, then vote for Hillary Clinton. If you want it to actually go to the right or be more moderate in its decisions, then you would vote for Donald Trump, because he's already put out his list of justices he wants considered. Conservatives approve of that list. And there's going to be some major decisions affecting the very fabric of this great country. And you have a choice. And this -- so that's just going to come down to the nuts and bolts of where you want to be on -- on the side of, you know, the left or the right. And that's kind of what’s -- what’s happening politically right now.
BREAM: I mean, Brit, no doubt the court is going to have a major impact, as they always do, for generations to come on these important issues. But do you think people really will go to the polls based on that?
HUM: I think it's a big -- I think it probably, as much as any issue, is helping Donald Trump because if you listen to conservatives on this -- on this question of whether they can support a man who has been for much of his life a Democrat, and who is not with them on key issues, trade being the most conspicuous at the moment, they'll say, yes, but the court. You know, we can't afford to have Hillary Clinton picking a series of new justices that will tilt the court left for, you know, as far as the eye can see. So I think in that sense that it is a factor in -- in the extent to which Trump can count on conservative support. It helps him a lot in that regard.
BREAM: Yes, and, Heidi, Senator Scott mentioned -- or Brown mentioned the list that was put out by Donald Trump and it did have a lot of suggestions it seemed like from Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society, other very conservative groups. But then he did say after the fact, well I'm not definitely sticking to this list, but these are the kind of people that I would appoint. And there are some who -- who feel that even if they're on the fence about this issue, they're not 100 percent sure they can trust him on these appointments.
PRZYBYLA: Right. Well, and, if you remember, when he put that list out, it was kind of when he felt like he was back on his knees -- back on heels with religious conservatives. I think Brit is absolutely right because if you look at also the history of the court, obviously does not want to be political. But when there are these losses, the effect can be that it -- it does help gin up the base. So the -- one of the most critical constituencies that Donald Trump is really struggling with right now are those religious conservatives. And if they view this as a shot across the bow on additional religious liberty cases, which, as you know, Shannon, covering the courts, are going to be coming through again as early as the fall, that could really play to his benefit.
But one thing that I did do in my Supreme Court research that I wanted to -- to point out, is that I -- part of this decision might also be related to the fact that there have been so many recent contraceptive cases that have come before the court, like Hobby Lobby and Sisters of the Poor --
PRZYBYLA: We also might have to just take into consideration that the court might have thought, how many contraceptive cases can we hear? And that we should kind of hold our conclusions at this point about what that means for the additional cases.
BREAM: Well, and, of course, when we had the tie on the immigration decision out of Texas a few weeks back, that was a situation in which the administration was essentially a loser in that case. The president came out and spoke, I think it was that day, when he was talking about the fact that obviously the high court is not the ideal situation. Here's a bit about what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court more than three months ago. But most Republicans so far have refuse so -- to even meet with him. They are allowing partisan politics to jeopardize something as fundamental as the impartiality and integrity of our justice system. And America should not let it stand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: So his nominee, Merrick Garland, would fill that ninth seat if, you know, confirmed, and that's a big if, although there are scenarios in which that could happen, but in recent weeks that tie has, you know, brought about these calls again, Chuck, for Republicans to do something about Merrick Garland. They seem pretty united in not doing that.
LANE: You know something, I wouldn't be surprised, actually, if -- if Hillary Clinton won the White House, they might deal with it in -- in the lame duck. On the other hand, I also wouldn't be surprised if Republicans refused any Democratic president's nominee to the Supreme Court for the next four years, if there were any. It is that 4-4 case, though, it's important to note, was the only thing even close to a victory that the right got out of this Supreme Court term. And that -- and it's obviously not much of a victory because it doesn't establish a precedent. It was a bad term for the right.
BREAM: And, quickly, obviously, if the GOP loses controls of the Senate, that complicates the game even further.
BROWN: That's another reason to vote Republican and keep the Senate. Make sure Chuck Schumer isn’t the majority leader. Then you'll go back to the ways of the Senate not doing anything. At least they're communicating, doing ordinary business and doing the people's business. So that's the choice, progress or go back to deadlock.
BREAM: Well, the court certainly is a key critical issue this fall, whether you like Merrick Garland or you want to see somebody else. It’s up to you, voters.
Thank you, panel. We'll see you next Sunday.
Up next, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump head to North Carolina Tuesday. We're going to take a look at the week ahead, next.
BREAM: Flag makers in San Antonio, Texas, working around the clock to make the nation's flags for this Fourth of July.
That's about it for this "Fox News Sunday." But before we go, a look at the week ahead. Hillary Clinton fresh off her interview with the FBI will return to the campaign trail. President Obama will join her Tuesday. The Trump campaign says it will release its convention speaker list on Wednesday. And a VP announcement could be coming soon as well. Paul Ryan says the House will vote on a GOP proposal aimed at keeping suspected terrorists from buying guns. That comes after the Democrats' dramatic 25-hour sit-in last month. It is shaping up to be a big week.
In the meantime, have a happy Independence Day. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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