FOX NEWS SUNDAY

Paul Ryan on efforts to repeal, replace ObamaCare; Rep. Nunes previews Comey appearance at House Intel hearing

Speaker of the House weighs in on 'Fox News Sunday'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," March 19, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  I’m Chris Wallace.  

The Trump agenda faces a critical crossroads on Russia, the president Supreme Court nominee and dismantling ObamaCare.  

First, the GOP repeal and replace plan heads for a full vote in the House.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  This is legislating.  This is going through the regular order process.  

REP. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY:  Conservatives want a seat at the table and we don't want ObamaCare light.  

WALLACE:  We’ll talk with House Speaker Paul Ryan about the effort to get enough Republican votes to pass the bill.  And also about the battle of the president's budget.  It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.  

Then, FBI Director Comey testifies tomorrow about Mr. Trump's charge former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.  

REP. DEVIN NUNES, R-CALIFORNIA:  We don’t have any evidence that that took place.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIFORNIA:  To even put that forth was irresponsible, the president and his spokesman.  

WALLACE:  We’ll preview the hearing with the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, only on "Fox News Sunday."

Plus, the president's Supreme Court nominee gets ready to take the hot seat as Senate Democrats try to block his nomination.  We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the confirmation showdown.  

And get ObamaCare architect Ezekiel Emanuel's take on the GOP's plan to repeal and replace.  

Plus, our power player of the week, behind the scenes at the White House bowling alley.  We’ll give you an exclusive look at where the administration is trying to pin down votes.  

All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE:  And hello again from Fox News in Washington.  

This week could be the most pivotal so far in the two-month-old Trump presidency.  Tomorrow, Mr. Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing.  

Also, the first public hearing on possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign gets underway and the Republican bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare may be headed for a vote on the House floor.  

Joining us now live from Janesville, Wisconsin, is House Speaker Paul Ryan.  

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

RYAN:  Good morning, Chris.  Thanks for having me.  

WALLACE:  Will you bring repeal and the replace bill to the House floor on Thursday as some people have suggested?  And if so, does that mean that you now have the votes to pass it?  

RYAN:  That is our plan.  I think Thursday is most likely going to be our day to bring it forward.  We bring it to the rules committee first.  So, part of our regular order process is to go through four committees.  We’re now going to go to the rules committee.  And so, we feel very good where we are.  

We're still having conversations with our members.  We are making fine-tuning improvements to the bill to reflect people's concerns, to reflect people's improvements.  The president, you say people being seated at the table, the president is bringing people to his table and I’m very impressed with how the president is helping us close this bill, and making the improvements that we've been making, getting the votes.  

And so, we feel very good where we are.  We like the process because it's the regular order process.  We're going to make those changes at the rules committee that the budget committee and others have asked for.  And so, we feel like we're on track and we are doing -- we are right where we want to be.  

WALLACE:  So, what would you say the prospects that you have the votes and will be able to pass it on Thursday?  

RYAN:  Yes, I feel very good about actually.  I feel like it's exactly where we want to be.  The reason I feel so good about this is because the president has become a great closer.  He's the one who was helped negotiate changes to this bill with members from all over our caucus.  I call it getting the sweet spot, you’ve got to get 218 Republicans, who come from all different walks of life, to come together to agree on the best possible plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare.  

And the reason I feel very good where we are, we all, all of us, all Republicans in the House, Senate, and the president, made a promise to the American people that we would repeal and replace this faulty collapsing law, and we’re going to make good on that promise.  

WALLACE:  You talk about changes.  You’re going to offer what is known up on the Hill as a "manager's amendment" to reflect the changes you’re going to make to try to pick up the final votes you need.  And I want to go through some of the items that are being discussed about that.

Allow states to impose a work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients.  Allow states to accept a fixed block grant for Medicaid, and boost the tax credits for lower income and older people.  

Mr. Speaker, will all of those items be in the manager's amendment?  

RYAN:  Yes, those are all things that we are working on and the manager's amendment.  We're making sure that we get all the language right.  As you know, we have this weird thing called the Byrd rule, which is reconciliation.  So, we’re making sure that these changes that were being discussed conform with this.  

And so, we've gotten lots of feedback from conservatives, from governors, from people in all walks of life in our conference, from different perspectives about changes they think to improve this bill.  We are working on the kinds of changes you just described and we're going through that process and we’re going to bring those changes to the rules committee.  

WALLACE:  You have been talking about this, calling it a binary choice, either you accept the GOP bill or you have to stay with ObamaCare as it exists, and with a lot of people say, as it's collapsing.  But now, you're talking about making changes.  

And this week, President Trump said this.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  If we’re not going to take care of the people, I’m not signing anything.  I’m not going to be doing it, just so you understand.  I’m in a little way, I’m an arbitrator.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  In fact, there are going to be changes, as you say this week, in the House.  There are going to have to be even more changes in Congress.  Respectfully, sir, isn’t your binary choice out the window?  

RYAN:  No.  You are misinterpreting me.  The binary choice is when we bring this to a vote, that's when it becomes a binary choice.  Until we bring the bill to the floor, we are always making improvements.  

There is one more to describe what's going on, legislating.  We are not actually doing this behind the scenes and just bringing some bill to the floor and making people vote for it.  We’re listening to people and the president is right.  He is the one, it’s -- we’ve never had this before, that’s why I’m very excited.  

We have a president who is rolling up his sleeves, he’s learning -- he’s a very quick learner on health care.  He’s a business guy who came to the presidency, and now, he's helping us make sure that would bridge differences with members who are bringing constructive ideas and solutions for how to make this bill better.  Four-committee process, we’ve got the fourth committee coming up, that's always been the plan, to always learn, listen, negotiate and improve the bill, make the fine-tuning, and then bring the bill to the floor, and that is where it then becomes a binary choice.  

That's what I meant all along what I said this, which is, when we bring this to a vote, either we’re going to keep the ObamaCare status quo, the law is collapsing, five states have one plan left, over a third of the counties in America have only one insurer left.  Some are already pulling out, massive premium increases in the future, a collapsing law.  Or, we replace it with patient-centered health care that works where we give people more freedom, where we let the states go back to running their health insurance markets.  

That is what we ran on.  This is the plan we ran on all of last year.  And we've been working with administration hand in glove and the Senate since January to put this together, and when this vote comes up, that's when it will be a binary choice, either for the status quo or for repealing and replacing this law.  

WALLACE:  Mr. Speaker, as a governing principle, do you believe that every American should be able to get health care insurance if they wanted?  

RYAN:  Yes, I do believe this is a critical need for Americans.  I do believe that we can have in this country a health care system for everyone can get access to affordable health care coverage, including people with pre-existing conditions.  I believe that that is achievable.  I believe that that is what we are achieving in this legislation.

And the answer is not a government one-size-fits-all, arrogant micromanaging system where the government forces you to buy something you don't want, don't need, or can't afford.  

The goal here is to get every American access to affordable coverage.  That means we have to bring the cost of health care down.  That means we don't want monopolies.  

WALLACE:  But, Mr. Speaker, let me --  

RYAN:  And that is what we are achieving.  

WALLACE:  Let me pick up on this, because the Congressional Budget Office, I don't have to tell you, came out this week with a pretty dramatic forecast and they said that 24 million fewer Americans will have health insurance in ten years under your plan.  You said that part of that is that this is what freedom looks like.  

Here you are.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN:  This isn't a government mandate.  This is not the government makes you by what we say you should buy and, therefore, the government thinks you’re all going to buy it.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  But, sir, is the major decrease in the number of people, according to the CBO, who will have health insurance, is it freedom or is it that some people will no longer be able to afford health insurance under your plan?  

I want to show a specific case that the CBO put up.  Look at these numbers.  In ten years, the CBO said a 64-year-old with an income of $26,500 will pay $1,700 out-of-pocket under ObamaCare for health insurance.  Under your plan, the CBO says that same person will have to pay $14,600 because insurance companies can charge more and the tax credit that you’re going to offer is smaller than the subsidy that ObamaCare will offer.  

So, what they are saying is that this isn't freedom.  This isn't people voluntarily deciding not to have health insurance.  It’s that your plan makes it unaffordable for people.  

RYAN:  So, there are three things I would say.  

Number one, what they basically say is people -- ObamaCare is not going to last.  There's no way ObamaCare could stick another two or three years, let alone ten years.  And so, they are comparing in ObamaCare plan that’s mythical, that won't exist in ten years.  

And then they’re saying, well, if people are buying what ObamaCare is going to make them buy, then they will be able to afford it.  

Here's the point: we believe that we do need to add some additional assistance with people in those older cohorts.  But the apples to oranges comparison that’s happening here is, we’re not going to make people buy something that’s so expensive that they can't afford, that the market is not going to offer.  

And so, where I dispute that comparison is it suggests that we’re going to have the same kind of plans being offered in ten years that ObamaCare would otherwise offer.  It won’t be it is collapsing.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  If I may.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  But I want to get to two points.  

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN:  OK, Chris, this real quick.  

WALLACE:  Yes, go ahead.

RYAN:  Let me just say, the older, the person in their 50s and 60s -- the person in the 50s and 60s does have additional health care cost than a person in the 20s and 30s, the tax credit adjust for that.  But you’re right in saying, and we agree, we believe we should have even more assistance.  And that's one of the things we’re looking at for that person in the 50s and 60s because they experience higher health care costs.  

So, the critical difference here is we’re going to --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  So, you’re going to change the plan as it was written and the CBO analyzed it?  

RYAN:  That is among the things we're looking at doing, yes.  And the point I would say is, we’re going to let people buy what they want to buy.  We’re going to have more plans being offered, more choice and competition, and this is before Tom Price does anything to deregulate the marketplace, to bring more competition and lower prices which the CBO could not and did not analyze.  

So, the CBO looked at a little piece of the issue when we know that the secretary of HHS will help bring market freedom and regulatory relief to the health insurance markets to dramatically lower the price of plans for those 50 and 60-year-olds.  But even with that, we think that we should be offering even more assistance than what the bill currently does.

WALLACE:  OK.

RYAN:  That's the point I’m trying to make.  

WALLACE:  No, I understand that.  

RYAN:  Thanks for indulging --  

WALLACE:  Let me turn on the time we have left, sir, to the budget that the Trump administration offered this week.  Here is Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET:  This is a hard power budget that this administration tends to change course from a soft power budget to a hard power budget.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  And what he basically means by that is they’re going to be big defense increases, spending increases, and they’re going to be offsetting and sizable decreases in a lot of domestic discretionary programs.  Are you comfortable -- and I want to talk about two in specifics, because what really gets down to is not big numbers, but specific programs.  Are you comfortable with cutting the National Institutes of Health by 20 percent?  Are you comfortable with cutting funding for Meals on Wheels, which supplies food to two -- and seniors depend on it -- to 2.5 million elderly Americans?  

RYAN:  Well, I would say, this is the very, very beginning of the budget process, a process I have worked with for many years.  They submitted their budget.  They will go through the congressional system.  

What typically happens as a president submits their budget and then Congress takes it from there and makes necessary changes to that budget going forward. We are encouraged that we seeing an increasing in defense because we think our military has been hollowed out.  

But I will say that NIH is something that’s particularly popular in Congress.  We just passed the Cures Act just this last December to increase spending in the NIH, we really think we're kind of getting close to some breakthrough discoveries on cancer and other diseases.  So, that is something that I think and Congress you’ll see probably some changes.  

But with respect to any one of these types of programs, this is the beginning of a very long multi-stage process of budgeting and I do believe at the end of the day, we’re going to honor these priorities, in particular our defense spending priorities.  And so, I’m glad that the administration got going.  I want financial pressure, I want spending caps, because that makes us focus on cutting spending that is wasteful spending.  

There are a lot of programs that are duplicative, that are wasteful, that aren't measuring up to the goals that they are supposed to achieve.  And you want that kind of fiscal pressure, so you go after waste, you go after fraud, you go after abuse and you move money from programs that aren’t succeeding or working or achieving the goals to those that do, while we honor our priorities.  

So, this is just the beginning of that long process, and I’m encouraged that we are up and starting with it.  That’s what I’m really mostly encouraged about is the White House gave us numbers so we can get started, that's what encourages me.  

WALLACE:  I got less than a minute left.  I want to ask you finally about President Trump.  We are now into week three of his allegation that that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower.  This week, he swept the Brits into it, he swept the Germans into it.  

The question I have is, sir, and I don't expect you to comment on that -- but isn't this a big distraction from the very ambitious legislative agenda that you are trying to get through Congress?  

RYAN:  Yes, it's why I focused on the very ambitious agenda that I’m trying to get through Congress.  I’m not really focused on these things.  Only to the extent that we have a committee that is investigating, I think you have the chairman coming on next.  

So, the president and Congress is already working on this.  They've asked us to investigate this.  We’re going to investigate each and every one of these things, all things related to Russia.

That investigation is ongoing, it's not complete.  Let's see this investigation run its course.  We have not seen evidence that you just described.  I think you will probably get that same kind of answer from Chairman Nunes in a few minutes.  

WALLACE:  Would you like us to be over quickly?  

RYAN:  I want to get on with passing our agenda.  And we are.  So, I’m pretty -- I’m in a good place.

WALLACE:  Mr. Speaker, thank you.  Thanks for your time.  And, of course, we’ll be tracking what happens in the House this week.  Thanks again, sir.  

RYAN:  You bet.  Thanks, Chris.  

WALLACE:  Up next, we will bring in our Sunday group to discuss the chances that House Republicans will unite behind the GOP health care a plan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  We are negotiating with everybody.  It's a big, fat, beautiful negotiation and hopefully, we’ll come up with something that’s going to be really terrific.  

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, D-NY, SENATE MINORITY LEADER:  We are here today because we see something that a Republican colleagues in the House can't see. TrumpCare is a wreck.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  President Trump sounding optimistic about the GOP’s health care legislation, while Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer slams it.  

And it's time now for our Sunday group.  GOP strategist Karl Rove, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the architects of ObamaCare, Neera Tanden, head of the liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress, and FOX News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy.  

Carl, let me start with you.  Same question I started with Speaker Ryan.  Will the House pass a version of repeal and replace this week?  And how damaging, and how much of the Republicans had to respond to that CBO assessment score that 24 million fewer Americans would have health insurance under this plan in ten years?  

KARL ROVE, GOP STRATEGIST:  Well, it is a damaging number, but when you look under the surface of it, it starts with 14 million fewer people in the next years not having insurance who would otherwise have it.  Virtually, all of those, the CBO says, are as a result of the end of the mandate.  That is to say, the penalties that are inflicted upon people who don't buy insurance.  And if they are not inflicted with a penalty, then they’re not going to buy insurance.  

So, the Republicans have got a different approach, which is, let's provide fair track tax treatment in the form of an advancable, refundable tax credit to the people who are self-employed, who don’t get that kind of treatment, because they don't get their insurance from their employer, and the people and small businesses that don't get coverage.  And the CBO has historically underestimated the effect of market choices like that, as it did in the Medicare Part D, and overestimated the impact of what a government mandate penalty would do.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  For all of the conservatives in the House, who have had heartburn over this, do you think that they’re going to hold their nose, mixing my metaphors here, and vote for it?  

ROVE:  Yes.  I think, look, actually, I think that they started to come -- they wanted some things.  They couldn't figure out what those things were, but they stumbled into a couple of them, and they are happy. I think the biggest one is, is that poor people who are on Medicaid who are able-bodied without children that states ought to be able to impose a work requirement that says if you want this government benefit, much like we did with welfare, you got to be looking for work or working in order to get the benefit.  And I think that’s made a lot of conservatives more comfortable.

WALLACE:  Dr. Emanuel, for an architect of ObamaCare, you have been surprisingly open, and we have discussed this in the last weeks, to at least the idea of changing -- amending the law.  What do you think about where House Republicans seem to be headed with this bill?  

DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  That's a disaster.  By 2026, one in five Americans are not going to have insurance.  That is worse than before the Affordable Care Act was created.  That is not a place we want to be.  

It's basically Australia with no insurance.  

WALLACE:  Let me --  

(CROSSTALK)

EMANUEL:  Wait a second.  By the way, their notion of affordability, all right, we’re going to bring down the premium.  Let’s say -- how are they going to bring down the premium?  There is nothing in this bill about cost control.  They’re going to bring down the premium by not covering a variety of services.  

WALLACE:  They’re saying a lot of things.  They’re going to bring down -- they say -- they’re gong to bring down cost control --  

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  Wait a minute, in other parts of the process and the regulations by Tom Price in the legislation.  They also, you just heard Speaker Ryan say, they’re going to boost the tax credit, so that will make it more affordable to the 65-year-old man I talked about, 64-year-old.

EMANUEL:  Well, you’re going to have to see what they’re going to boost it by.  But as your numbers show, they have to boost it by $10,000 and that doesn't seem to be in the cards for Mr. Ryan.  

But more importantly I’d say, you’re going to see the premiums may become down, but that's because they're not covering services and the deductibles are going to go up.  So, net-net, it's actually going to be worse for people.  

The Brookings Institute said that when you analyze this bill, premiums are going to go up on average 13 percent for Americans.  That doesn't sound like a good deal for most Americans and especially the Americans that voted for Trump.  

WALLACE:  All right.  You know what?  I was going to talk about the budget.  Let's just talk about this.  Rachel?  

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  I was just going to say, it's really hard to listen to this because you’re the architect of the bill.  This bill is not working.  It's in a death spiral.  You promised that people can keep their doctor.  You promised that people can keep this --

(CROSSTALK)

EMANUEL:  Excuse me.  Can we just have some serious news?  The CBO said says there's no death spiral.  

WALLACE:  Wait --  

EMANUEL:  That's not accurate.  

CAMPOS-DUFFY:  Wait a minute, first of all, the CBO is measuring what is before the House this week.  The bill includes three parts.  It includes what's going to happen when the HHS secretary does the things he's going to do to the bill and to regulations and also, the third part, which is really important, that's where they’re going to take on across state lines, allow --

WALLACE:  A bunch of other stuff.  

CAMPOS-DUFFY:  Exactly.  But also, very important, tort reform, which is a huge driver.  

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  Let’s bring in -- no, let’s -- Zeke, play fair.  

(CROSSTALK)

NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  Can I just say, I mean, just for your district, your husband's district, 45,000 people lose health insurance from this.  

CAMPOS-DUFFY:  But, right now, Neera, people can't use the insurance they had because the premiums are going up and the deductibles are so high.  

TANDEN:  People had coverage that they will lose.  And I think the essential promise here --

WALLACE:  Wait, Neera, your ignoring what she said and the fact, which is that the premiums are going up and the deductibles are huge, so you have to pay enormous out of -- let me finish --  

TANDEN:  Yes, yes.

WALLACE:  -- out-of-pocket expense before you even get the advantage of it.  And you've got insurance companies all over the country that are pulling out.  So, there's no choice.  

TANDEN:  The CBO did an analysis of both the Affordable Care Act today and compared it to the Ryan bill.  So, that's what they looked at.  And that's what people are looking at when they think 45,000 people are going to lose coverage.  

The Affordable Care Act, the CBO said, is not collapsing.  This is false.  It is fake news from you guys.  There are places that bring in.  

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  Fake news --  

TANDEN:  There are places, premiums -- let me just finish.  There are places premiums have increased, but the Affordable Care Act is stable.  The reality is, that what unwinds --  

WALLACE:  Karl, go ahead.

TANDEN:  -- the insurance market, what unwinds the insurance market is what Ryancare or TrumpCare will do.  And this is the essential quandary (ph) of what we’re going to face on Thursday, or what we’re facing this week -- Trump voters --

WALLACE:  All right.

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN:  No, let me just finish one point, Trump voters --  

WALLACE:  You’ve been finishing the whole --  

TANDEN:  No, no, let me just say one thing.  

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN:  I would love to answer this.  Donald Trump promised working-class people, and they relied on it, they would keep it.  Now, he would like -- now, Paul Ryan put forward a bill that hurts them and he might have to change -- he might have to change.  

ROVE:  I’m ready to answer.

WALLACE:  Go ahead.

ROVE:  First of all, talk about promises.  We were promised, Neera, your premiums are going to go down $2,500 for family of four.

TANDEN:  Across the country.

ROVE:  You can keep your plan, you can keep your doctor.  All these wonderful things -- it’s not going to not add a dime to the debts, and all of which --

TANDEN:  It didn’t add a dime to the debt.

ROVE:  I didn't interrupt, so stop.  

That turned out not to be true.  This year, the average premium increase is 25 percent, on top of a double digit last year.  

Now, I love how everybody was so quick to count CBO numbers.  CBO said, looking at one-third of what Republicans are offering, that within two years, we will have a 10 percent decline in premiums under the Republicans.  So, love it how they love the CBO number when it comes to 14 percent, love it how they don't love it --

(CROSSTALK)

EMANUEL:  That's not accurate.  Just let's make three quick points.  

First of all, by 2020, premiums are supposed to go up 15 percent to 20 percent, and then by 2026, they will be down for younger people but up for older people.  That’s the first point.  

The second point is, one of the ways they’re going to drive your premiums down is by driving your deductibles off.  And that is not a good thing.  

WALLACE:  Well, you guys know all about that.  

EMANUEL:  Wait a second, they’re going to drive them up even higher, Chris.

WALLACE:  OK.

EMANUEL:  And the third point I would make is that this is not a bill that is actually going to be beneficial for people.  They’re going to throw a lot of people on Medicaid off coverage and they’re going to transfer a lot of costs to states, which is going to put them in a very difficult spot that -- in cutting their enrollment.  

ROVE:  I love the newfound concern for younger people.  To say all these older people are going to have the premiums go up.  Well, their premiums are going up because ObamaCare makes younger, healthier workers subsidized older, less healthy workers, and then why are we surprised that ObamaCare is not getting the percentage of younger, healthier workers to make the system work?  

Now, what is the answer to ObamaCare?  One of its leading architects has three suggested answers: increased payments to insurance companies so they can hide the premium increases, increased penalties on those without insurance, penalize people even more, and increased subsidies for those in the exchanges.  

Now, I think Dr. Emanuel was pretty serious in these, but none of these is doing anything except throwing more money at a system that’s broken.  

EMANUEL:  Karl, your plan, Speaker Ryan’s plan has $100 million for insurance companies in the stability plan --

(CROSSTALK)

ROVE:  -- even more --  

TANDEN:  No, not even more.

(CROSSTALK)

ROVE:  And it saves over $300 billion --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  We have the rest of the show -- no, we have the rest of the show to do.  Take it into the panel room.  We should put a separate camera in there so you could watch that.  We’re going to take a break here.  We’ll see you a little later.  

Up next, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, is here ahead of a big hearing tomorrow where FBI Director Comey will testify about Russia and the Trump campaign.  

Man, that was intense.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE:  Coming up, FBI Director Comey testifies before Congress tomorrow about the president's charge Trump Tower was wiretapped by Barack Obama.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NUNES:  I don't think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  We’ll get a preview of the hearing from the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: A look at the cherry blossoms along the tidal basin here in Washington, were peak Bloom was delayed after this week's snowstorm.

Tomorrow, FBI Director Comey testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia and claims by the president that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

Joining me here in Washington is the man who will chair that hearing, California Congressman Devin Nunes.

Chairman Nunes, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

NUNES: Thank you.

WALLACE: You said earlier this week that you had, your words, "no evidence" of the Trump claim that he had been wiretapped in Trump Tower by President Obama during the campaign. Then, on Friday, you got a response to questions from the FBI on this issue of whether they had any evidence of surveillance there. I know you can't say much about it, but based on what you receive from the FBI on Friday, do you want to amend your statement that there’s no evidence of wiretapping?

NUNES: No. So I actually said this a couple of weeks ago that it was -- you know, the president doesn't go and physically wiretapped something. So if you take the president literally, it didn't happen.

I think the concern that we have is that are -- were there any other surveillance activities that were used unmasked (ph) the names. For example, we know that General Flynn's name was unmasked. And so, was there a physical wiretap of Trump Tower? No. But there -- there never was. And -- and the information we got on Friday continues to lead us in that direction.

WALLACE: Well, I just -- I just want to make that point because you -- you -- there is no evidence that there was any wiretapped -- I'm not talking with President Obama doing it, but his administration -- no evidence of any wiretapping of Trump Tower?

NUNES: No -- no -- there was no FISA warrant that I'm aware of to Trump -- to tap Trump Tower. That’s correct.

WALLACE: And that's after you received this information?

NUNES: That's accurate.

WALLACE:  OK. So then what’s your point?

NUNES: So the other -- the other issue though that’s still remaining out there is the unmasking of names and the leaking of names. And so there’s a -- you know, we have a lot of surveillance activities in this country and I think the concern that the Trump administration has is, you know, were they actually using surveillance activities to know what they were up to, because we know that that happened with General Flynn. We know that his name was unmasked and we know that it was leaked out to the press. So the question is, did that happen --

WALLACE: Right, but -- but our -- but our understanding of that is that that was because you had regular surveillance, not you, but I mean the government had regular surveillance of the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. What I'm asking about is something -- and I’ll get back to the unmasking in a second.

NUNES: Uh-huh.

WALLACE:  There’s this whole question of whether there was any surveillance, not wiretapping but any surveillance at Trump Tower. And I want to play what Donald Trump said this week. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will be submitting certain things and I will be perhaps speaking about this next week. Wiretap covers a lot of different things. I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: As I said, we’re going to get to the unmasking issue, which is a serious issue, in a moment. But is -- do you know what he's talking about? Is there any evidence of any surveillance, electronic surveillance --

NUNES: Well, if he's talking about the unmasking of names, and so if there were other surveillance activities where names were picked up and then unmasking occurred, and that was spread throughout the intelligence community, that is very -- that is very possible, and we don't have the answers to those questions yet. I don't know if the president has those are not. But we had a deadline of Friday for the NSA, FBI and CIA to get us those names that were unmasked through the FISA system. We didn't get those names on Friday. So until we get those names, we can't rule this out.

WALLACE: You’re going to have a hearing tomorrow. We’ve been talking about FBI Director Comey is going to be there. NSA Chief Mike Rogers is going to be there. What do you hope to learn at that hearing?

NUNES: Well, we’re excited about this because for the first time the American people, and all the political parties now, are paying attention to the threat that Russia poses. So we’re going to highlight that. We’ll highlight the fact that we know that the Russians were trying to get involved in our campaign, like they have for many decades. They're also trying to get involved in campaigns around the globe and -- over in Europe. So I think it will be good to highlight that.

Secondly, we’re worried about analytical integrity. We don't know how there were information changed and if information changed because in December, the beginning of December, the assessment was that, hey, the Russians were trying to go -- get into our election process and cause problems and sew doubt in our -- in our system. But then that changed a month later and they it said, no, no, no, that they were trying to help Donald Trump. So we need to get to the bottom of that.

And then also, you know, whether or not they did try to help Trump, and if any Trump associates or anyone else was involved.

WALLACE: I -- I guess -- because there’s a little confusion here. You -- it's clear that Michael Flynn's conversation with the Russian ambassador were swept up by electronic intelligence and, as you say, unmasked. Here's the name of an American, and that's illegal, that was leaked to the public. Do we believe there was any specific -- well, do we know of anybody else other than Mike Flynn who was -- who was swept up in this?

NUNES: Well, you’re -- you’re right to point that out, because the one crime we know that’s been committed is that one, the leaking of someone's name through the FISA system. That is -- that is a crime that’s been committed. We don't know the answer to that. That's what we're trying to get to the bottom of. Where there any other names that were unmasked, leaked, and leaked out? We just don't know that yet.

WALLACE: Do we think there was any surveillance of people in Trump world, or do we think that there was surveillance of other people, like Ambassador Kislyak, and that these folks who were talking to them were incidentally swept up in the conversations, in the -- in the intercepts?

NUNES: Well, if you look at the folks that are working in the White House today that are involved in the -- in the Trump -- in the Trump administration, I don't think there's any but one there that’s under any type of -- of -- of investigation or surveillance activities at all. When you consider -- when you look at what happened to General Flynn, it's very, very concerning. This is -- this is someone, you know, look, the president had the right to get rid of him. He’s going -- he’s not in the administration any longer, but he is -- was an American citizen. He was talking to the Russian ambassador. Talking to diplomats in this town, as you know, Chris, is something that happens -- occurs on a -- on a regular basis. I probably talk to a dozen -- a dozen diplomats a week. And, you know, we should not be going after our diplomats and making them into -- as if it's -- as if it’s wrong to talk to diplomats in his town. That is his job.

WALLACE: I want to ask you -- it’s a little bit confusing and I want to put -- try to button this down. Two bottom line questions. First, as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, as you sit here today before the hearing on March 20th, have you seen any evidence of any collusion between what I’ll call Trump world, associates, of campaign officials, Trump world and the Russians to swing the 2016 presidential election?

NUNES: I’ll give you a very simple answer. No.

WALLACE: No evidence of any collusion.

NUNES: No evidence.

WALLACE:  And this is after talking -- getting this information from the FBI, after --

NUNES: Up to speed on everything I have up to this morning.

WALLACE:  He --

NUNES: There’s no -- no evidence of collusion.

WALLACE: Do you believe that there are elements inside the intelligence community or the FBI that are leaking information, like the name of Mike Flynn, like perhaps the fact that Attorney General Sessions met with the Russian ambassador to undercut the Trump presidency?

NUNES: I think that's pretty clear. And, in fact, I mean there’s been --

WALLACE:  Pretty clear what?

NUNES: It's pretty clear that that's happening. There's even been stories written about it in -- in numerous newspapers talking about how they said -- they left breadcrumbs around to hurt the Trump administration.

WALLACE: So you believe that there are people inside these intelligence communities --

NUNES: I don't think so anymore. I think it was largely people maybe who were there, had classified information, who are now no longer there and decided to leak it.

WALLACE:  To what end?

NUNES: I think to hurt -- I mean clearly to leak Michael Flynn's name talking to the Russian ambassador. That was clearly designed to her General Flynn and -- and the president's national security advisor.

WALLACE: Do you -- I -- do you think this is all going to be cleared up with your hearing tomorrow or not?

NUNES: Well, this is the beginning. I mean what we’re trying to get to the bottom of -- I mean this is just the beginning. Another week from now, a week from Tuesday, on the 28th, we have an additional hearing with at least three more witnesses. So we’re trying to get to everyone who -- for lack of a better term -- was at the crime scene, and we’re trying to bring them all in and see what they knew, when they knew it, if they know about the leaks, if they knew about General Flynn’s his name being unmasked. These are all questions that we need to get to the bottom of.

WALLACE: But, to make it clear, when you talk about the crime scene, you’re talking about the leaking of names of Americans that shouldn't have been leaked as part of our electronic surveillance.

NUNES: Yes (ph).

WALLACE:  You’re not talking about anything involving the Trump campaign?

NUNES: Because that's the only crime that we know has been committed right now. That we know. We know a law has been broken and we need to get to the bottom of it. As it relates to the Russians, we are happy to investigate it because I think Putin is a bad actor on the world stage.

WALLACE: Two quick questions on other issues. Secretary of State Tillerson has been traveling through the Middle East this week announcing a change in U.S. policy toward North Korea. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Let me be very clear, the policy of strategic patience has ended. We’re exploring the new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: But, while Tillerson is in China, and here’s a picture of it, North Korea has just tested a new rocket engine. A couple of questions, how urgent is the threat that North Korea is going to be able to put a nuclear warhead on an ICBM missile that could hit the U.S., and should we seriously consider the military option, whether it's a strike by the U.S. or getting North -- South Korea and Japan to boost their military capabilities?

NUNES: The closer that the North Korean regime gets to being able to deliver a nuclear weapon, the -- we’re going to have to be in a position to take some type of preemptive strike. We hope that we -- it doesn't come to that. But this is -- this is an unhinged regime. You have 20 million people, you know, living in extreme poverty. And so I -- I'm actually very impressed. I've never met the -- the new secretary of state yet, but I am -- I am happy that we’re getting off of this strategic patience, which was our last policy towards North Korea. And I think what -- what -- what -- at the end of the day here, something may have to be done because we can't afford to let a nuclear weapon go off in Seoul or Tokyo or the United States for that matter.

WALLACE: And, briefly, there’s a -- a new story today from out of Turkey, in Turkey they are saying that the Trump administration is considering the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric, who has been in the country and Turkey wants to get back. They say he was the architect of the attempted coup against Turkish President Erdogan. Do you know anything about that?

NUNES: Yes, I find that hard to believe. The Erdogan government, he’s becoming very authoritarian. NATO, for a long time, has been a strong ally of ours, but -- but they’re becoming more and more worrisome in terms of actually being a reliable ally. And, you know, I don't know that we would extradite somebody like that. I haven't seen the evidence for that, that Gulen was involved in anything like that. If he was, I mean clearly that would be a different -- a different issue. But our relationship with Turkey is strained and I think it’s going to become even more complicated as we -- as we begin to try to -- to get ISIS out of Iraq and Syria.

WALLACE: Chairman Nunes, thank you. Thanks for coming in. We covered a lot of territory today. Thank you, sir.

NUNES: Sure.

WALLACE:  Up next, we’ll bring back our group. They’re still arguing about ObamaCare, to discuss the upcoming showdown over President Trump's Supreme Court nominee as Democrats try to block him.

Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about the confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch tomorrow? Just go to Facebook or Twitter, @foxnewssunday, and we may use your question on the air.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP,: As far as wiretapping, I guess, by, you know, this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps.

REPORTER: Did you ever give him any reason to believe that he was wiretapped by the previous administration?

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Um, look, um, the answer is no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: President Trump digs in on his claim he was surveilled by the Obama administration, just as German Chancellor Angela Merkel was. But Attorney General Sessions unable to give his boss any backup.

And we’re back now with the panel.

Karl, not only is the president standing by his claim that he was wiretapped by his predecessor, but this week, as we saw there, he swept the Germans into this, he swept the Brits into this with a White House report, or citing a Fox report that they had done some spying for the Obama administration on President Trump. How big a deal is this continuing controversy and how disruptive to a president getting his agenda through Congress?

ROVE: Well, it’s a big deal publicly. I'm not certain how much it has to do with getting his agenda through, because most people outside of the confines of the West Wing are quick to dismiss this all. Look, we are in an age of paranoia and everybody’s participating in it. You said we’re in the third week of the president making these claims. We’re in the 16th week of the Democrats making the claims of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign brought about Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

I say a pox on all their houses. Let’s stop it. It’s in the hands of a couple of adults. You had one of them on, Devin Nunes. I was surprised, Adam Schiff, who has a reputation for sometimes being an overt partisan, he handled it in an adult way last week. Senator Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the ranking Democrat Senator Warner are appearing to approach this in a -- in a thoughtful fashion. I -- I would hope the American people would leave it in their hands to -- to wrap this all up.

The only thing -- Chairman Nunes was right, the only thing we know is the name of one person has been leaked in violation of federal law. All the rest of this is conjecture of which there has been no evidence on either side whatsoever.

WALLACE: And that’s General -- General Michael Flynn.

Dr. Emanuel, let me bring you into this. This isn’t your area of expertise, but can this kind of thing get in the way of a president trying to get something as complicated as ObamaCare, or in this case the replacement of ObamaCare, through Congress?

EMANUEL: The whole thing is a distraction inside the West Wing and you see mainly a distraction by his people, who are trying to, you know, cover up without contradicting their boss. There’s never been a shred of evidence, it's a baseless charge that, in fact, there was spying on the Trump Tower. And why we’re devoting any attention to it on just, you know, I can make up something tomorrow. Chris Wallace, what did you embezzle? You know, it's ridiculous with no evidence.

WALLACE:  Let me ask you -- let me ask you a question. Do you -- would you also say it's baseless, this charge, that there was collusion or at least if we have no evidence?

EMANUEL: Well, we know -- wait -- wait a second. We know about Russian hacking --

WALLACE:  Yes.

EMANUEL: And we don't know the extent of it. And when -- until we get the extent of it. There, there’s actually some evidence that there is hacking going on, and that -- and that is the important issue.

WALLACE: That’s not my question -- sir, it’s not my question. No, it isn’t. My question is -- because we have known that for months now. The question -- the continuing mystery is, did the Trump campaign collude with the Russians? Do -- we don't have any evidence of that.

EMANUEL: I don't think that's the only question. The question is whether the Russians influence our election, and that is a very serious charge that we have not gotten to the base of it. And that, I do think, is worth looking at because we know they have acted very (INAUDIBLE).

WALLACE: Yes or no, is there any evidence of collusion? Yes or no?

EMANUEL: We don’t at the moment.

WALLACE:  OK.

EMANUEL: But we have reason to suspect it.

TANDEN: Well, but, see, this is what I think this is an odd mystery, right, we have -- the intelligence community has issued a report saying the Russians tried to influence the election --

WALLACE:  Right.

TANDEN: And did influence the election.

WALLACE:  Right.

TANDEN: And the issue here is --

CAMPOS-DUFFY: But did not influence the outcome.

TANDEN: Said -- no, they did influence the outcome. Yes.

WALLACE: Well, no -- no, no, no, wait, wait, no, let's not talk about that. Let’s -- let’s talk about that --

TANDEN: But let me just --

WALLACE:  But that -- we -- that’s kind of settled.

TANDEN: It’s not settled.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Yes.

TANDEN: This is the issue. Those Democrats are literally just asking for public investigations of this issue to air because there hasn't been public discussion of this in -- amongst -- in the -- in any committee in which you can do that.

WALLACE:  All right.

TANDEN: And that’s the reason why I find it so weird that Devin Nunes (INAUDIBLE) --

WALLACE:  All right, we’re going to switch -- we’re going to switch --

ROVE: This isn’t an investigation. They want a 9/11 investigation because Hillary Clinton's loss was --

TANDEN: Not even that.

ROVE: Was -- Hillary Clinton’s loss was the result, Schumer says, of a 9/11-style attack on American by the Russians. Here, let’s be clear about something --

TANDEN: It’s weird that they --

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Can I just say that --

ROVE: July 22nd, when these -- when the WikiLeaks began, she was ahead in the RealClearPolitics average by 2.6 points. On October 6th, when the second (INAUDIBLE) came out, she was (INAUDIBLE) --

WALLACE: All right. All right. Enough -- enough numbers. I want to talk about Neil Gorsuch.

TANDEN: This is like (INAUDIBLE) --

WALLACE:  Neil Gorsuch.

TANDEN: (INAUDIBLE) this to be a real investigation.

WALLACE:  Excuse me.

TANDEN: That’s all anyone asks (INAUDIBLE).

WALLACE:  Wow, this panel. I need a -- I need a -- I need a chair and a whip. Like a lion tamer.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: (INAUDIBLE).

WALLACE:  Because there's nothing that is more important or longer-lasting than a president's nominee to the Supreme Court, who, if he gets on the court, can be there for 30 years. And this is the question of Neil Gorsuch. Democrats looking for some way to oppose him. Here they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN., JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I have demanded that he condemn Donald Trump's attacks on an independent judiciary. So far he has failed to do so. And I believe he should be held accountable in that hearing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Now, we asked you for questions for the panel and we got a bunch on this issue of what should be done about the threat of a Democratic filibuster, which the Democrats are putting out there. Karen Springer tweets this, "can the Republicans just go to the nuclear option right away and get Gorsuch on the court right away?" What she’s talking about is the fact that the GOP majority could change the rules, as the Democrats did back in 2013, they did it for lower court judges, the Democrats -- the Republicans could do it for Supreme Court nominees to make it 51 votes instead of 60.

EMANUEL: We should remember --

WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait.

Rachel.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Look, they can go nuclear if they need to. Hopefully they won’t have to. But here's the -- the thing. This week it’s going to be like pouring salt in the words of Democrats because they are so angry that Donald Trump gets to pick this nominee and also potentially two or three during his presidency. And so they are going to pressure their -- Schumer and everybody else to complain about this, to try and block this, to have a filibuster. But the truth is, it will make them look like they’re not main stream because I think once Gorsuch goes up for these hearings, everybody’s going to see that this person is absolutely --

EMANUEL: Neil Gorsuch may be -- he may be a good judge, but he’s --

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Neil Gorsuch is main stream, he’s intelligent, he's brilliant and he’s a --

EMANUEL: He’s definitely intelligent. He may be a good judge. But the Republicans upset tradition. They were not conservative in this way. Ten months, Merrick Garland was there and the Republicans violated every tradition.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Again, you want -- you want to re-litigate the election, just like you want to do with the ObamaCare and --

TANDEN: Oh, my God.

(CROSS TALK)

ROVE: The tradition has been there’s not been a presidential nominee of a -- to the Supreme Court has been approved in the last year of a presidency.

EMANUEL: The Republicans violated --

CAMPOS-DUFFY: We’re not going to re-litigate the election.

ROVE: They upheld an 80 year tradition.

TANDEN: Exactly.

EMANUEL: No, and I --

ROVE: And -- and I --

EMANUEL: The country's 240 years old and they violated every tradition that the president has the right to nominate someone.

TANDEN: You’re just making up these numbers over here.

WALLACE: All right, you --

TANDEN: I just really want to say --

WALLACE:  You’ve got -- you’ve got literally 10 seconds.

TANDEN: The independent -- the independent judiciary is what’s at stake here. And I think that's where the Democrats are going to focus.

WALLACE: I'm glad we settled all of this. Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday. This was a great panel.

EMANUEL: Thank you.

WALLACE:  We’ll have you all back.

Up next, our "Power Player of the Week." A behind the scenes look at one of the perks President Trump is using to win support for his agenda.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: It's been the talk of Washington recently, even though this White House gem has been around since the 1940s. Now, the Trump team is inviting members of Congress to enjoy it and maybe pick up some support. Here's our "Power Player of the Week."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JENNIFER KORN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PUBLIC LIAISON: Welcome to the Harry Truman Bowling Alley. Come on in.

WALLACE: I can't wait to -- my gosh.

KORN: We are in the basement of the executive Eisenhower Office Building.

WALLACE:  Right.

KORN: And here is one of the pins that was signed by President Nixon himself.

WALLACE (voice-over): Jennifer Korn, who’s deputy director of the Office of Public Liaison, was our guide to the White House Bowling Alley.

KORN: Here’s President Truman and he was the first president to bring bowling to the White House.

WALLACE (on camera): Although he bowled in a suit, which is --

KORN: He did. Very formal.

WALLACE: I covered the White House for six years. I never knew this facility existed.

KORN: It's a wonderful facility, and we're really happy to have you here.

Let's go bowl.

WALLACE (voice-over): But before bowling, Jennifer told us about the alley's rich history.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Nixon was the most avid bowler of all presidents. It is said that he took four hours at a time to bowl.

WALLACE (on camera): Who can both for four hours straight?

KORN: I don't know, because I can't, but the president did. He’s -- I guess that’s the way he let off steam.

WALLACE (voice-over): There's even video of Nixon, his high score, 229. And some first ladies also hit the lanes.

WALLACE (on camera): Here’s Lady Bird herself. I love they had their own bowling bags.

KORN: They had their own bowling bags and also see that they are bowling in their dresses.

WALLACE (voice-over): President Trump hasn’t visited yet, but his staff uses the alley often to make its pitch to members of Congress and outside groups.

WALLACE (on camera): When you invite somebody to come bowl at the White House, how many of them say no?

KORN: So far we haven't had anybody say no.

WALLACE (voice-over): In addition to Congress this week, members of veteran service groups and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce got to bowl. But does it translate into political support?

KORN: I think it’s less about the actual bowling and the personal touch, the engagement.

WALLACE: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is playing the Grinch here, calling the Trump charm offensive offensive.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I think he’s making fools of his own people quite frankly. You don't agree philosophically in what the legislation is, let's go bowling at the White House.

KORN: That’s a very simplistic way to look at it. You can't pass good legislation without having a great conversations.

WALLACE: I couldn't put it off any longer, but I just want to say, I haven't bold in 15 years.

Not bad. But then I try to pick up the spare.

WALLACE (on camera): Oh, that was terrible. All right.

WALLACE (voice-over): Then it was Jennifer’s turn.

KORN: Are you ready to talk about the Affordable Care Act now?

WALLACE (on camera): Oh, now, you've softened me up.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: She did not pick up that split.

During my time at the White House, I did not knock down many pins, but it did come away with this, a souvenir from what is officially called the Truman Bowling Alley.

Now, a program note. Be sure to tune into Fox News Channel tomorrow for special coverage of the Gorsuch Supreme Court confirmation hearing. I’ll join Bret Baier and Shannon Bream for a special edition of America's newsroom starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

And that's it for today. Have a great week. And we’ll see you next "Fox News Sunday."

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