This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," February 19, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: Good Sunday morning. The Trump administration getting set to issue several new executive orders this upcoming week. What will the new immigration order look like and what else is on tap? We are looking ahead this morning.
Hi, everyone. Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures," I'm Maria Bartiromo.
Plus, is there a divide within our own intelligence agencies in the White House on who is undermining the president and leaking national security secrets.
Two lawmakers serving on intelligence committees join me this morning, along with former FBI assistant director Jim Kallstrom.
Then the Russia connection. Is Russia testing the new administration with the spy ship near the East Coast? Former Senator George Mitchell is here along with the Russian activist and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov.
Then Republican lawmakers vow to come back from this week's break with a solid plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, one week from tomorrow. Senator Rand Paul updates us as we look ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."
And President Trump with several interviews on tap for today as he meets with at least four perspective candidates for national security adviser. This after a campaign-style rally in Florida yesterday, that drew thousands of supporters last night. The crowd heard the commander-in-chief outline his plans for transforming America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have the chance now, working together to deliver change for the ages. This will be change for the ages. Change like never before. To pursue real peace, real stability and real prosperity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Meanwhile, new development in those intelligence leaks. The CIA director and White House denying a report from the "Wall Street Journal" that the intelligence community is withholding sensitive information from the president while president just directed the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into those leaks.
Joining us right now is Congressman Peter King. A Republican from New York, who is a member of both the House Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees.
Congressman, always a pleasure to see you. Thanks for joining us this morning.
REP. PETER KING, R-N.Y.: Thank you, Maria. Thank you very much.
BARTIROMO: So before I get to what's ahead and specifically about that intelligence break, I want to ask about the rally yesterday, and about characterizing what the president is doing at this point. We're expecting new executive orders, certainly a new immigration order this week and we're also expecting something on the economic side of things, potentially impacting tax reform. What do you expect?
KING: I think, first of all, he's going to do the executive order. That's important. I thought the first executive order was sufficient enough, but obviously they're going to clarify it. This is very important. This is those seven countries you are talking about. They are the terror hot beds of the world, where there are virtually no government in place that we can work with. That's why it's essential that we get better vetting, that we do put a force on immigration from those countries. As far as the refugees, we have to do a better job of vetting particularly those in Syria and if it's even possible Tibet. And that's the real issue there.
But this is important to our national security. So I'm hoping that -- in fact, I'm confident this order will be sufficient, it will be adequate, it will go through the courts. And I have great faith in General Kelly at Homeland Security enforcing it properly.
BARTIROMO: How is the president doing at this point in terms of the executive orders and what he's been able to effect in these first three and a half weeks?
KING: Well, you know, despite what you see in the media, the fact is the president has achieved a lot. Obviously, there have been some mistakes. I think that the staff could have done a better job as far as the roll out of the first executive order.
Obviously, we had problem -- you know, the problem with General Flynn. But the fact is that the president is on target. I mean, I was here during the first Bill Clinton administration. And I remember the total chaos that engulf that administration.
So, again, if we keep all this in perspective, I think the president is on the right path. I think it was important for him going to Florida last night, that recharge his batteries. And so it brought things back to where they should be, but now it's up to the president and the administration to really start delivering. You know, the executive order will be a very good start. A new national security adviser is going to be very important. And I am confident the president could get it done.
BARTIROMO: So what was the purpose of that rally last night?
You are right, Congressman. When I was watching that rally, I mean, they were just stoke around the president. They were so happy to hear him up close and personal. And yet you get a completely different narrative when you watch the media in terms of what the public wants and sees from President Trump.
Was this about 2020? I mean, his campaign apparently paid for this rally. Why go to Florida and just rally up his base once again last night?
KING: Again, you know, I can't speak for the president, but I would think he is doing it for several reasons. One, as I said, to recharge his batteries. After being deluged all week in Washington, it's good to be out there among friendly faces.
But also it's good for the American people to see that despite the constant hounding that goes on every day, there is still tremendous amount of support for the president out there.
Again, it may be 50/50. It may be slightly less operatives there. There's a solid block of people. I can tell you I have any number of people coming up to me, telling me how they do support the president, how they continue to stand with him. So I thought it was important to do. That was important. Again, with Congress home this week, for them to see that the president does have this base of support. But now that he has that, to me that stabilizes the situation. Now it is important for him to really be able to go forward from here.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, walk us through the relationship that is typical between the intelligence agency and the commander-in-chief. Is there someone within the intelligence agencies that are -- or people who are undermining the president right now and leaking things?
KING: Let me just say I believe that over 99 percent of people in the intelligence community are outstanding Americans. I think there was some problem in the leadership in last administration, some of the people such as with John Brennan.
And I think that I -- if I had to bet right now, I would say some of these key leaks that are coming out are coming from holdovers from the administration that may not be the CIA, or the DIA, or with the DNI so they may holdovers in the National Security Council.
People who have access to some of these information. And believe me, I'm not against whistleblowers, but what has been leaked is not just embarrassing, that's one thing. But some of this, to me, seriously violates the law.
Like, again, assuming that what the press reports says are true about General Flynn and the fact that he was talking to the Russian embassy and that that was monitored, for that to be disclosed violates serious, serious federal law.
If that is true, it was done with FISA wire, which was given in a secret court, the FISA court. We don't want the Russians to know what we're doing and what we're capable of doing. And it's very clear that if an American's name ever turns out, even his name or certainly his voice turns up in one of those wiretaps, that that has to be masked or kept secret. All of that made public is absolutely -- that goes beyond whistle blowing. That is a shameful violation of the law.
BARTIROMO: Well, that's right. And we've got our viewers reacting this morning. Somebody on Twitter writes to me today.
Janine Zapina (ph) says, "Could you ask him who wrote Secretary Kelly's draft regarding the National Guard and then leaked it? He said he did not write it."
I mean, that's one thing. And then you've got the entire conversation between General Michael Flynn and his counterpart in Russia leaked to "The Washington Post."
How does that happen, Congressman?
KING: As I said, that is very important. That has to be -- as far as General Flynn, that has to be a small universe of people who knew about that. And I believe that a real investigation can find out who is the guilty party there.
As far as the member on Homeland Security, my understanding of that is that was done by some lower level staff person as a draft. I don't believe General Kelly have even saw it. It never made it up the chain. And somebody in the department leaked it out.
And again that is just to make the department look bad. And, again, this could be a career person. I don't know who it was. But that is the type of thing, which really is wrong.
That's damaging international security. That's undermining the moral of the department. But, again, I can't emphasis enough how much faith I have in General Kelly. I think he is going to be one of the superstars of this administration. He is an all-American class act.
BARTIROMO: So is president do you think going to do anything about it? Or there are certain people within the intelligence agency -- we're talking about 17 agencies, right?
I mean, are there people that cannot be removed that have been there throughout various administration, who have the keys to "the kingdom," and they are just there? I mean, is this going to be an issue throughout President Trump's entire tenure?
KING: No. First, I have faith in the people he has appointed. Mike Pompeo is going to do an outstanding job at the CIA. Dan Coats is going to do a outstanding job as director of National Intelligence.
And they are, you know, the key components we're talking about. Also, Homeland Security with General Kelly. So, there is no need for any wide- scale purges. I think over 99 percent of these people are outstanding Americans. I think there were some people at the top, who had a thing against Donald Trump, who would go against him, and that's what we saw in December how the story change about Russia influence, or lack of influence.
And, again, wherever these investigations lead, that's fine as far as the Russian influence. But to have this leaked out, that had to be done at the highest levels of the intelligence agencies. And I think people like Mike Pompeo and Dan Coats can take care of that.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, real quick, before you go, I know you can't tell us anything about those three IT staffers that were fired. And everybody is wondering why they were fired. Why they were making so much money. How come they had these three brothers had access to such sensitive information. Can you tell us this at least -- do you expect an arrest soon?
KING: I can't comment on that other than say this is being fully investigated. It's getting top priority. I can tell you, members on the intelligence committee are very, very concern about it. We're going to make sure the job gets done. It's all I can tell you right now.
BARTIROMO: Very concerned about it. All right, we'll be watching that development. Thank you so much, Congressman. Good to see you, sir.
KING: Thank you as always. Thank you.
BARTIROMO: Congressman Peter King.
President Trump will issue a new immigration order this upcoming week. What will it look like? Senator James Lankford is with me next to go through the specifics of that.
Follow us on Twitter @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures. What would you like to hear from Senator Lankford, from Jim Kallstrom and upcoming Senator Rand Paul.
Back in a moment.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
President Trump getting ready to roll out a new executive order on immigration this upcoming week. It will replace his controversial travel ban, which a federal appeals court refused to reinstate. The president's original plan sparked international protest and more than a dozen legal challenges.
Joining me right now is Senator James Lankford. A member of the Senate intelligence and homeland security committees.
It's good to see you, sir. Thanks so much for joining us.
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD, R-OKLA.: Glad to be with you on this Sunday morning.
BARTIROMO: So certainly, the president wants to address these concerns raised by the Federal Appeals Court judges who blocked that travel plan.
What do you say would be necessary to narrow that down? What are you expecting from this new immigration order next week?
LANKFORD: So the judges that looked at it, they looked at a couple of things. They looked at the way that it was rolled out in the lack of clarity on things like green card holders, legal permanent residents. Would they be allowed to be able to still be back in the United States and have access to legal travel? That needed to be correct.
And quite frankly, in the first executive order, they say they are going to correct that in the second executive order.
There are all these accusations that the judge left out there so there are some suspicion that this may be religiously motivated. Though nothing in the executive order would lean towards that. There were all these accusations.
These are Muslim countries. Yes, they are seven predominantly Muslim countries, but these are the same seven countries that the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress had identified as state sponsors of terrorism, or where there is no functioning government. So it's not a religious motivation. It is an action of terrorism moving into United States.
So the executive order I assume will clarify that as well. And probably identify when they say religious minorities, then that will most likely be Christians, Yazidis, Jews, Shia Muslims, because ISIS specifically target Shia Muslims so I would assume all those would be included in the religious minorities list.
BARTIROMO: So you think that a more narrow executive order on immigration to come this week will actually pass muster in terms of the courts?
LANKFORD: I do. There's no question that president of United States has authority to be able to handle national security matters and be able to handle immigration, especially that coming from outside of the country in areas where we don't have active good relationships with those other nations.
So the president definitely has authority. He just needs to be clarified. Everyone knows from the rollout last time, the executive order came out, and then no one knew what to do with it.
Literally, the ambassadors handled it one way. The consuls handled it another way. The airlines handled it another way. The border agency handled it another way. So there were lots of problems in the roll out. That just needs to be communication coming out.
BARTIROMO: Yes. It's pretty extraordinary when you look at the number of people that have come into the country from predominantly those 7 countries just since that order. Since the judge blocked it on February 3rd.
Are you surprised to see the kinds of numbers we're talking about?
LANKFORD: No, there's a lot of backlog in it. And some of those were individuals that had green cards and had some sort of legal permanent residency status. Those were individuals that were already in the pipeline so it doesn't surprise me. We have individuals that are in different universities. They have research facilities. That their family members already have access coming in and out, that we know who they are.
The challenge is coming in from Syria. We don't know who many of these people are.
BARTIROMO: Right. I guess what I'm referring to is 77 percent of the refugees that came in since February 3rd are from those 7 countries. I mean, obviously, when they heard that the judges were stopping the president's travel ban, we have an incredible surge just in a week and a half.
LANKFORD: That's correct. We have an incredible surge, obviously. Those are individuals that were at the airports, or were ready to go. They already had documents. You can't get documents that fast.
LANKFORD: To say, gosh, I want to go and travel quickly. Most of those individuals, especially refugees, it's an 18-month process --
BARTIROMO: And were you comfortable with the extreme vetting? Is that -- that was supposed to take place.
LANKFORD: I am comfortable with extreme vetting. You should pay attention to areas, especially coming in from Yemen, from Somalia, from Syria, from Iraq.
LANKFORD: You've got places where it is very -- there's very difficult situations. Often we don't know full details. We should do extreme vetting on those individuals.
BARTIROMO: Senator, let me ask you a similar question that I ask Congressman Peter King, and that is the break within the intelligence community. Who is undermining the president right now from the intelligence agencies?
LANKFORD: We don't know yet. Whether it's intelligence agencies or whether it's a former White House. You realize that when the intelligence agencies and most of these leaking came out of the time before President Trump took office and those documents would have come out during that time period.
So the intelligence agencies have a responsibility to be able to share things with the White House as they work through their investigations. So this could be old Obama White House officials. This could be someone within the intelligence agency. I would be very confident that this administration would pay attention to leaks just like the Obama administration paid attention to leaks coming out of their White House as well.
BARTIROMO: And, senator, do you have any comment on these three IT staffers that were fired last Thursday because they have access to people's computers unauthorized?
LANKFORD: No. I'm in the same spot that Peter King was on that. I've been asking that question as well. We don't talk about ongoing investigation and the work that's happening there. But there will be a lot of attention paid to this.
BARTIROMO: But I guess what people are trying to figure out, is there a much bigger charge here? Not necessarily just stealing information but treason?
LANKFORD: Right. Yes, you have a lot of big issues with lying around with this. And, again, I'm not going to comment on the ongoing investigation. We'll continue to work through the process.
BARTIROMO: Senator, thanks for joining us this morning.
LANKFORD: I'm glad to. Thank you.
BARTIROMO: We appreciate it. Senator Lankford there.
President Trump is now working to fill the position of national security adviser with key interviews lined up for today. This after the controversy over his former national security adviser highlighted the trouble with the Intel community.
How will this impact his presidency? We're looking ahead this morning ahead of those interviews right now on "SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES." We'll be right back.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
President Trump set to meet with at least three or four candidates for the national security job today, including his acting adviser Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, along with former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton. All meeting with the president this afternoon.
This comes after Gen. Michael Flynn was forced to resign amid the controversy over his contacts with his Russian counterpart or potential counterpart, prompting the president to order the Justice Department to conduct a criminal investigation into intelligence leaks.
Joining us right now is James Kallstrom. He is former assistant director of the FBI.
And Jim Kallstrom, it's always a pleasure to see you. Thanks for joining us today.
JAMES KALLSTROM, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI: Hi, good morning, Maria.
So I want to be clear. Gen. Michael Flynn had a phone call with his potential counterpart in Russia. And then told of the call to Vice President-elect Mike Pence at the time -- vice-elect Pence. And that's probably why he was pushed out, right? Because he did not -- he was not 100 percent truthful about what went on in that call? Or was it the contents of the call that was most important?
KALLSTROM: I don't think it was the contents of the call, Maria. I would only be guessing, you know, why he said what he said to vice-president. I have no idea. It's sort of mystifying. General Flynn is a great guy, a great patriot. Someone that new -- the hand grenades that President Trump is faced with. So it's sad that he is leaving. But I'm sure he will pick someone of extreme character.
BARTIROMO: So, I'm just trying to understand what specifically he did wrong, really, Jim? Is what I'm getting at, because the mainstream media is painting it as he had a conversation about Russia. Of course, he's going to have a conversation about Russia. He's talking to his Russian potential counterpart.
BARTIROMO: And naturally you would expect that the conversation would just include sanctions. Not that he's made any promises.
KALLSTROM: I mean, the far left is fixated on this Russian business. They want to blame the whole election on this and they want to blame everything on Russia. And it's just all nonsense. It had nothing to do with what his discussion with the Russian ambassador.
You know, I think the administration should put a special prosecutor in there right away, and panel a grand jury, and play hardball with this.
My guess is, my educated guess is that this was all -- it's all predated, President Trump becoming president. It was back when Obama was still in charge. I believe this originated out of the FBI, not NSA. That's my guess.
And who the director of the FBI disseminated that information to, you know, is the key. You know, did it go to the Justice Department? At the attorney general? If that was case, you might as well broadcast it throughout the Democrat leadership. You know, that's what they need to find out. Where did that go? Extremely harmful. And it goes on all the time. But at some point in time, we need to put an end to this stuff.
BARTIROMO: Well, that's what I'm going to talk to you about, because clearly, there is some breakage within the intelligence community, whether it's FBI, CIA, I don't know. But, I mean, how would you characterize what's going on right now? Clearly, someone within the intelligence community or some people are trying to undermine the president by leaking things to the press.
KALLSTROM: Well, Maria, you know, it's not the agencies. It's not the thousands of agents and covert CIA operatives. It's the people that run these agencies.
I mean, John Brennan had a particular flair in my view, in my personal opinion, you know, of putting stuff out there that was of great political nature, and others in agency.
You know, it's not individual agents and the FBI. It's people that run these agencies. It's the intelligence apparatus. In this case, it's probably the National Security Council that Obama had, because it was just full of people that, you know, in my view were just constant pathological liars about a whole host of things.
BARTIROMO: So how do you turn that around, Jim? I mean, you're a former FBI guy. I mean, how hard is it to turn the ship, when in fact, you may have, you know, career professionals in there who work for the top guy, who follow the top guys mentality and ideologies.
I mean, we know that Brennan was very critical of President Trump. Mr. Clapper was also very critical of Mr. Trump. So, you know, I understand what you are saying in terms of the leadership of those agencies. But how do you change it?
KALLSTROM: Well, first off, I think, you know, there are far too many people get disseminated on this information. I mean, I think it's an outrage. And I've been out for a while, but I can tell you, too many people know too many things.
Number two, when this happens, you need to fire people. You need to put them in Leavenworth. I mean, this is very, very harm harmful regardless of who the president of the United States is to our national security.
You know just the order of things, Maria, you know, we need to be tough. We need to not look the other way. And on the other hand, we don't need to be foolish about it, either. We don't need to, you know, add to the fake news that, you know, that our once esteem media, you know, back centuries ago, you know, was good at actually presenting real news. But we need to be tough, I guess is the bottom line.
BARTIROMO: So do you expect that this will be easy to turn around given that these agencies have been completely politicized?
KALLSTROM: I wouldn't call it easy, but I think it will be turned around without a question. I think as soon as, you know, Pompeo takes charge of the agency, I'm not quite sure who's going into NSA. But I don't think NSA is really the issue here.
I think things that have been said about NSA are terribly overblown. And the FBI, I mean, I think we'll see what Jim Comey does. You know, I think that's a bit of a question mark. But do I think he would be leaking information to people? No. But would he have disseminated information to people, absolutely, without question.
BARTIROMO: I see. Jim, it's good to have you on the program this morning. Thanks so much for your insight as always.
KALLSTROM: Thank you.
BARTIROMO: Good to see you. Jim Kallstrom there.
When will Congress pass a repeal and replace plan for ObamaCare? What is that effort impact? Some of President Trump's other big plans. How will it impact, for example, tax reform? I'll talk with Senator Rand Paul about that as we look ahead this morning on "Sunday Morning Futures." Back in a moment.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
Congress is now expected to come back from next week's break with solid plans for replacing ObamaCare. One GOP replacement plan, though, keeps the ObamaCare taxes, another tells half the country to keep ObamaCare if it's working for you and yet another keeps subsidies by renaming them refundable tax cuts or tax credits.
So where are we on Republicans effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act? And what does it mean for the administration's other plans like tax reform.
Joining us once again for an encore performance is Senator Rand Paul, who has come up with his plan which is being back by several Republicans.
Senator, it's good to see you again. Thanks so much for joining us.
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY: Thanks for having me.
BARTIROMO: So this week we wanted to have you back because there were some developments this week. You were in the middle of a meeting with the speaker, House Speaker Paul Ryan and you walked out of that meeting, because you didn't like what you were hearing about ObamaCare? Can you tell us what went down?
PAUL: Well, that might be a little bit overstated. I would say I walked out of the meeting, because I had another meeting. And I might have had a grumpy look on my face. But it was -- we did have a disagreement, but I didn't walk out really because of the disagreement, but because of a meeting I had to go to.
But all of that being said, yes, I do have disagreements. The House leadership, I think, is pushing ObamaCare light. And I think what we need is a complete repeal.
We voted on complete repeal about a year ago. That's the vote we should have again. Complete repeal.
If you do partial repeal, there is a very good chance you will make things worse. ObamaCare is spiralling down the drain. But you know what, if you only repeal part of it, the spiral -- the downward spiral continues.
BARTIROMO: Right. And one of the issues I know that came up is the idea that if we expand Medicaid, that is very much what we had in the past.
I want to get your take on this idea of expanding Medicaid and why that is not a good idea.
First tell me what the push back is.
PAUL: Well, you have to have honest accounting. If you are going to add more people to the government roles of insurance, you should pay for it. Under ObamaCare, the deceit was they said, oh, the federal government will pay for it. And basically that's deceitful because the federal government has no money. We borrow about a million dollars a minute. We have a $20 trillion debt.
So when President Obama said, oh, we'll just pay for it by printing up new money up here, that's not good for the country.
So there are two alternatives. One replacement could be let's provide government health insurance. My replacement would be let's provide affordable health insurance. Let's reduce the cost of health insurance so the working class can afford it. That's what ObamaCare kind of promised but never came through on. My replacement plan actually would lower the cost of health insurance.
BARTIROMO: Now I know that people don't want to see a whole another entitlement. And that's what expanding Medicaid would be. But listen to what Congressman Peter King told me. I spoke with him last week on "Mornings with Maria" on the Fox Business Network, and asked him straight away about your plan why this Medicaid expansion is a no go. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING, MEMBER, HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: You take a state like New York. 800,000 people have been added to Medicaid expansion. What do you do if 800,000? If you cut the funding tomorrow, what happen to those 800,000, because we also pledged during the campaign that no one would lose their coverage?
So the idea is, how do you transition from the plan, which is in effect now, the ObamaCare plan which was wrong, but the fact is there are 31 states tied into the Medicaid expansion. What do you do to make sure that the transition is done in a way that people are not just dropped off the rolls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Senator, what's the answer?
PAUL: Well, you know, I think big government Republicans need to realize it has to be paid for. Someone has got to pay for it. If New York wants to expand Medicaid, New York can. We should give them the freedom to expand Medicaid but they should pay for it.
So what I'm asking for is honest accounting. If you have the federal government pay for it, we pay for it by borrowing money from China. If New York wants to expand Medicaid by raising taxes, they've already got high taxes, they would have to decide.
But I'm saying there's another choice. The other choice would be let's try through competition and through choice to lower the cost of insurance. This is something that should not be, you know, out of the question. Why don't we discuss how we make insurance less expensive.
BARTIROMO: Because you don't want big government, you don't want government telling you how to deal with your own health care. And you've called your plan bold and a free market plan and broad.
Let me ask your timeline now, Senator. You, guys, are now on break for a week. Do you expect that this is going to be priority next week when you get back?
PAUL: Absolutely. ObamaCare must be repealed. We can't do partial repeal. We have to do complete repeal. We already did this once. We did this in 2015 under President Obama and he vetoed it. But we voted, I think nearly unanimously in the Senate and the house.
What I'm asking for, let's just vote on the same package, but then let's have a separate package which is replacement. And then try to work out what we want in replacement. But it should be another big government plan.
BARTIROMO: Very quickly, final question here, senator, and that is if you don't get working on ObamaCare in a week, I know you've already been working on it. You've got your plan. But if you don't get this vote going, how does that impact things like tax reform and your other priorities in Congress?
PAUL: Nothing else can happen really until this is done. So this needs to be done in the next one to two months. But people have to realize, this will be a lot done.
Repealing ObamaCare is a big deal. And we're also at the same time repealing regulations. We've repealed three regulations that would have cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs. We've already done that. So we should get some credit for already repealing regulations. It's the first time in 20 years we've repealed a regulation.
BARTIROMO: Senator, it's great to have you on the program. We're going to be watching the next month and a half. I know it's an important one for this. Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you.
BARTIROMO: We will see you seen. Senator Rand Paul there.
And let's get a look at what's coming up. Top of the hour "Media uzz." Check in with Howie Kurtz right now.
Howie, good morning to you.
HOWIE KURTZ, HOST, "MEDIABUZZ": Hey, good morning, Maria. President Trump has already declared more of the media going nuclear this week with that press bashing marathon of a news conference and also calling the press the enemy. We'll talk about how the press is pushing back. Whether Trump went too far when he gets out of it with Dan Abrams.
And we'll also be join by Charles Krauthammer, a long time Trump critic who has actually sided favorably by the president this week in the Michael Flynn case. That and much more coming up at the top of the hour.
BARTIROMO: All right. We will see you in about 20 minutes, Howie.
Members of Congress, meanwhile, pressing to punish Moscow for its interference in the U.S. election even as president looks to strengthen our ties with Russia. Senator George Mitchell will give us his take on the situation next as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures" on a number of new executive orders coming next week. Back in a minute.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
Senator Lindsey Graham making his case for more sanctions against Moscow. Speaking before world leaders and diplomats in Germany this morning at G-20 meeting, Senator Graham promised tough congressional action on Russia for trying to undermine the presidential election in the U.S. and urging President Trump to join those efforts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C., SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: I hope he will embrace the idea that, as the leader of the free world, he should be working with us to punish Russia. And my friend, Mr. Lavrov, I hope you finally suffer some consequences for what you and your regime have been doing to democracies. And 2017 is going to be a year of kicking Russia in the ass in Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Joining me right now is George Mitchell, former Senate majority leader and former chairman of the Mitchell Commission on the Israeli- Palestinian Violence.
Good to see you, senator.
GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Thank you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: Thanks so much for joining. So what's your take on what Russia is doing right now? They've got a spy ship just miles off of the east coast. You heard what Lindsey Graham just said.
Would you like to see more sanctions against Russia?
MITCHELL: Well, the first step is of course to retain the current sanctions and that's a huge issue. When Russia violated international law, at Putin's direction, in both the Crimea and Ukraine, the United States led the effort to impose sanctions. Europeans joined us even though their economies are much more adversely affected by these sanctions than ours. They do a lot of business with Russia. We don't.
Now, of course, they are alarmed to see that the president and Trump are apparently close, and that's a possibility that the sanctions might not be retained. I think they should be. Obviously, the U.S. and Russia having a good relationship would be good for us and for them. But we should not overlook the fact that the current state of tensions arises because of a violation of international law by Russia. And that's what's cause the current problem.
BARTIROMO: Now we don't know just to be fair how President Trump feels about this. I mean, he has said a number of times, I don't know Putin. I've not met Putin. I'm not saying that I like him necessarily as a person. I'm just saying we want to try to have a relationship.
So are you against how the president has been sort of, you know, coloring this?
MITCHELL: Well, he has said those things, but he has not said is that the U.S. supports continued sanctions on Russia as a result of their actions in Crimea and Ukraine.
Secondly, Vice President Pence's statement in Europe yesterday was very welcomed, because the president also had previously said that NATO was obsolete and that urged -- said Brexit is a good thing and other countries should leave.
The European Union and NATO were created as part of a peace project following the Second World War. They have been "Bulworths" of stability in Europe and another parts of the world.
We should be strongly supportive of them, so, yes, I agree. You describe what he said. I would like to see him say, that him, not Pence, although Pence spoke very well on it that NATO is critical to our security and our future, and to stability in Europe and we support the European Union as well.
BARTIROMO: Yes. Maybe the vice president is recognizing that he wants to make sure to fill in the blanks and to say what he believes the president is thinking, but hasn't said yet with regards to that.
MITCHELL: That's right. Well, he said to his credit, he said he is speaking for President Trump, and that's a good thing. But I hope that at the next NATO summit, when it's the leaders of the states that the President himself will make the same kind of statement that Pence made this week.
BARTIROMO: Your assessment on what we just saw with General Flynn being forced to step down as national security adviser.
We don't know really the contents of the phone call. Did he do anything wrong by talking about potential sanctions? He can't make any promises. He didn't have the job yet.
MITCHELL: Yes. Well, as the president made clear, he was fired not because of the call or the content of the call, and I don't know what was said yet, I haven't seen a transcript, I supposed need a review so we have to withhold judgment on that, but he was let go because he misled the vice president.
BARTIROMO: That's right.
MITCHELL: In terms of describing what they discussed.
BARTIROMO: Right. I just wanted to make it clear that it's not necessarily any conversation that he may have had and specifics within that conversation, but the way he characterized it to the vice president. I mean, that is --
MITCHELL: That's the reason why he was not retained. We can't make a final judgment on what he said or didn't say in the conversation until we know what he said or didn't say. That's just -- that's been allegations made.
BARTIROMO: And real quick on this Russia spy ship cruising off the coast of the U.S. What is that about?
MITCHELL: Well, it's in international waters. It's obviously a provocative action, but the United States sends ships around the world. And we protect and defend the right of all nations to travel in international waters.
I think it's a deliberate act by Putin in this case to be provocative, because that's the way he keeps attention of the Russian people off of the problems they have.
Their economy is in deep trouble. It's contracted in the last two years. 55 percent of their federal budget comes from a direct tax on oil and gas. And the breakeven point is oil at a $110 a barrel. It's way below that. Nobody expects it to achieve that level so they are facing a huge budget deficit. The population is declining. And the only part of the population that's going up is the Muslim population with which he has so much trouble.
So he's got a lot of problems. And let me tell you one other thing. A lot of talk about Russia because they do have a nuclear arsenal. That makes them a world player. But Russia's economy is smaller than Canada. Smaller than South Korea. It's half the size of California's economy.
So, we have to keep this in perspective. We are the world's super power. And we should not lose perspective over these provocations that are coming, and deal with them, I think in a strong way and effective way, but keep in mind, there is only one super power in the world now.
BARTIROMO: Thank you for your assessment, senator.
MITCHELL: Thank you.
BARTIROMO: Good to see you as always. Senator George Mitchell there.
And more than a year ago, we had on one guest here who said when oil prices were plummeting, oil prices are plummeting, Putin is going to do something, because he deals in conflict. And like clockwork that is exactly what he did. He moved into Crimea.
We're going to have that guest back with us this morning. Gary Kasparov, former chess champion and he is going to talk about this new provocations from Russia with our panel weighing in next. That's next on "Sunday Morning Futures." Back in a moment.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
Vice President Pence meeting with NATO leaders in Belgium tomorrow. Mr. Pence aiming to ease concerns with our NATO allies in Germany. Yesterday, the vice president stressed the need for all NATO members to step up.
Our panel today -- Ed Rollins, former White House adviser to President Reagan; Lee Carter, president and partner at Maklansky + Partners, and former world chess champion and activist, Gary Kasparov. Chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and author of "Winter is Coming: What Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped."
Good to see you, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us.
Gary, let me kick this up with you on Russia, because you were so smart, more than a year ago, you came on this program and said Russia's economy is plummeting, oil prices are plummeting, Putin is going to do something, because he only knows how to trade in conflict. That's exactly what he did by going into Crimea.
GARY KASPAROV, FORMER WORLD CHESS CHAMPION AND ACTIVIST: Absolutely. He for quite a while he made conflict. Confrontation with the free world, especially was that in states. The core of his domestic propaganda. So that's why you're facing, you know, the problem with Russian economy. He will be stepping on conflicts at any possible direction.
BARTIROMO: So what happens now?
KASPAROV: I don't know where Putin is going to strike, but I know exactly that he will strike and its only question is when.
BARTIROMO: He put you in jail twice in Russia. Isn't that right?
KASPAROV: It was just a very, you know, a short time, considering to what is happening with my friends and colleagues afterwards. You know, that was even called vegetarian time.
BARTIROMO: Right. No, I know. What I'm trying to make sure people understand, you know what this person is capable of first hand.
KASPAROV: Oh, absolutely. You know, just over 7 years, he's in power, you know, he shifted Russia from, you know, unstable democracy to almost a totalitarian state. It was fascist ideology.
BARTIROMO: Ed Rollins, this came up a little at the rally yesterday, but Ed, by all accounts, that rally yesterday was all about love for the president.
ED ROLLINS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Well, it was very important. I think the first month is over. We have 47 more months in this term. And I think we ought to measure it by that. He announced he's going to run for re-election, clearly. And I think he had kind of a shaky last part of his week. But I think this rally has given him the energy he needs to get out of town from time to time, to get reinforced.
He still had long ways to go to get his legislative stuff through. All in all, he got his cabinet with one exception who's sort of self-destructed. And I think to a certain extent losing his national security adviser and losing his labor secretary he may be able to replace them with people who are not as controversial and better long term for him.
BARTIROMO: So was that what that was about yesterday, a campaign rally?
ROLLINS: Absolutely. I think what happened is in the middle of the week, including the big press conference which he just spontaneously called is he wants to get back, to get reinforce and let's get back to the people. And I think at the end of the day, it gives him energy.
BARTIROMO: Was he successful, Lee?
LEE CARTER, PRESIDENT AND PARTNER, MAKLANSKY + PARTNERS: I think so. I mean, we have had this narrative for the last four weeks that the White House is in disarray. That he's making all kinds of mistakes. That we're talking about General Flynn. We're talking about Russia. And he's on, you know, they are all on their heels.
And then he's looking at this and he said I'm going to control the message. I'm going to go out there and will give a press conference. And I'm not just going to give any press conference, I'm going to give a sensational one.
And we're all talking now about that. Donald Trump is going to be Donald Trump. And then he goes and gives a rally. Back to his message. You see the number of people. The excitement. He pulls the guy out, Gene, whatever his name, from the crowd, and everybody loves it. It's absolutely changing the conversation. We're no longer sitting there going what happens with Flynn and Russia?
CARTER: We're now saying, wow, is he running again? Look at this. People are really that excited.
BARTIROMO: That was the strategy.
CARTER: It was really very interesting and smart move by him.
ROLLINS: What we are seeing is Donald Trump is exactly what Donald Trump was when in the course of the campaign. All these people fighting, he's going to get in the Oval Office, he's going to change, he would be a different person, with different advisers, we're totally wrong. Sadly here, old man, don't change.
And this is a very strong willed man. And he's going to continue to do it the way he wants to do it. And, obviously, he's got a big legislative agenda ahead of him that may alter a little bit, but he's Donald Trump. That's what he is.
He's going to polarize this country. (INAUDIBLE)
BARTIROMO: Gary, how do you see it?
KASPAROV: Exactly. You know, he's going to polarize this country. I think the rally yesterday was a big push for Keith Ellison, because, you know, it's on the other side, you will see more energy from Democratic base. So it can't even be more polarize. I don't think it's good for a long-term agenda.
BARTIROMO: But, I mean, the agenda right now, we're talking tax reform and ObamaCare replacement getting done.
ROLLINS: Well, he certainly has -- the Congress is going to move forward, until he gets very unpopular, which I don't think is going to happen next year. He had his legislative victories. They may not be perfect but they're going to be legislative victories.
BARTIROMO: All right. We're going to leave it there. Great to see you all. Thank you so much.
CARTER: Great to be here.
BARTIROMO: That's your "Sunday Morning Futures." I'm Maria Bartiromo. I will see you next week on "Mornings with Maria," 6 to 9 a.m. Eastern on the Fox Business Network.
Stay with Fox News. "MediaBuzz" begins right now. Here's Howie Kurtz.
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