TRANSCRIPT

RNC chair on how Comey's testimony impacts GOP agenda

Ronna McDaniel reacts to former FBI director's appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee

 

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," June 11, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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

Now that former FBI Director James Comey has told his story, where the investigations in the Trump agenda go from here?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No collusion, no obstruction, he's a leaker, but we want to get back to running our great country.

WALLACE: We'll discuss Comey's damaging testimony with Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniel and ask how the Trump White House and GOP can rebound (ph). It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.

Then, questions still linger about possible links to Russia and whether the president tried to obstruct the investigation.

REPORTER: Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of these events?

TRUMP: One hundred percent.

WALLACE: We'll discuss the continuing probes in Congress and by the special counsel with Democrat Jack Reed, who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee and says he expects President Trump to face a deposition.

Plus, British Prime Minister Theresa May tries to hold onto power after losing her majority in parliament.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I will now form a government, a government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country.

WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel what it means for the future of Europe and relations between the U.S. and our closest allies.

And our power player of the week, some words of wisdom for the class of 2017.

OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: When you don't know what to do, you do nothing.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: And hello again from FOX News in Washington.

President Trump is claiming victory after former FBI Director James Comey's testimony this week, saying there's no evidence of collusion with the Russians or obstruction of justice. But the president recognizes the investigation isn't over, saying he would 100 percent testify under oath before the special counsel. Where did the investigations and Trump agenda go from here?

Joining me now, the chair of the Republican Party, Ronna McDaniel.

Ms. McDaniel, the president has been tweeting today, I want to put up one of those tweets. Here it is -- I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible. Totally illegal? Very cowardly.

What do you think, the fact that Comey admits that he leaked at least one memo to the press, what do you think that indicates about the former FBI director?

RONNA MCDANIEL, RNC CHAIRWOMAN: I think it shows how questionable his character is, that he would take conversations that he had with the president of the United States, which should be protected under executive privilege, and then he gave them to a friend to leak to "The New York Times." I think it proves that the president made the right choice in firing Director Comey and it brings into a great question some of the decision-making he made as FBI director and since.

WALLACE: Now, the president on Friday after Comey's testimony said that he viewed that testimony as, quote, total vindication. But in his testimony, the -- Mr. Comey said that the president -- he repeatedly said that he lies, he said the president in a private dinner sought a pledge of loyalty, that in an Oval Office meeting, he basically asked Comey to let the Flynn investigation go.

Total vindication?

MCDANIEL: Listen, Chris, we have to keep in mind that this is one person's record of what happened. The only two people who know what happened in those meetings are the president and James Comey. So, James Comey put forward his memos, his recollection, but that's his version of events. The things that James Comey said with regard to the president, that he's not under investigation, he's never been under investigation, that there's been no obstruction, that there's been no effort to impede the investigation, those are things we've heard across from many witnesses and many other individuals. So, that corroborated exactly what the president has been saying all along.

But I think James Comey's testimony as just his version of events, and it's important that we look at it that way.

WALLACE: You created an opposition team, and operation inside the RNC this week to defend the president against James Comey. You had 60 staffers who sent out thousands of tweets with the hashtag #bigleaguetruth.

Question: why is it appropriate to have a Trump war room inside the RNC?

MCDANIEL: Well, the RNC is always going to defend the president, but, listen, it's so lopsided out there. There's so much distortion. It's important that we are pushing back on some of the stories that are just fake.

And to watch James Comey go in front of the Senate, we wanted to make sure that it's reported correctly.

What we learn from him? We learned that as FBI director, Attorney General Lynch said to him, we don't like that the way you're referring to the Hillary Clinton investigation. Can you please call it a matter? And he did that.

We learned that he leaked memos that he put together from conversations he had with the president the president of the United States that were protected under executive privilege and that he leaked them to the press. All of those things should be called into question and it's up to the RNC to push back. We're going to support the president of the United States.

WALLACE: But do you have any concerns as chair of the RNC, to have any concerns about tying the party too closely to this president, given all of his political and potentially legal problems?

MCDANIEL: Absolutely not. We support the president 100 percent. And we are the political arm of the White House and that's the role the RNC has traditionally played.

But I'll tell you, I feel like the coverage has been imbalanced. I feel like the truth is not getting out there. And so, we're going to push harder, because we want to make sure that the American people are hearing a different narrative and the right set of -- the right version of what's happening.

WALLACE: Now, you say that you're going to push harder, there are a couple of investigations, several investigations going on. You've got the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Intelligence Committee.

You say that you have confidence in a special counsel, Robert Mueller, but former Speaker Newt Gingrich we did this: Republicans need to focus on closing down independent counsel, because it clearly isn't independent.

Do support that, closing down the special counsel?

MCDANIEL: I'm not going to get into what the special counsel should or shouldn't do, or if it should go on. What I will say is the Trump administration is complying 100 percent. They want this done. They want to move on.

Listen, the Democrats have a playbook, Chris. We know it -- it's resist, obstruct. We see them do it at every level, resisting the president on things like helping the American people on Obamacare. You've seen obstruction with things as critical as the Supreme Court nominee that they knew was highly qualified in Neil Gorsuch. And now, it's throw doubt on the administration.

Open as many investigations as possible, cloud the administration as much as possible, because they are trying to run out the clock to 2018. That is their playbook, we know it.

Here's what we found from Jim Comey, the president has never been under investigation. There's been no obstruction. No one has asked him (ph) to impede --

WALLACE: Wait, wait. Now, Comey didn't say that. He said that's up to the special counsel.

MCDANIEL: Yes. In his testimony, though, he said he'd never been asked to stop the investigation by the president. He said that. He said, were you directly asked to stop the investigation, he said no. To me, that's no obstruction.

So, we learned a lot from James Comey that these investigations are going to keep going forward if the Democrats have their way. The American people want it to stop. The Trump administration is working 100 percent cooperating with all of these investigations, but it needs to end. This is a fishing expedition to try and run out the clock for the Democrats hoping to make gains in 2018.

WALLACE: Are you calling for an end to the Senate and House Intelligence Committee investigations?

MCDANIEL: I'm calling for an end to the investigations about the President Trump's campaign colluding with the Russians. There's been no evidence of it. I don't think that should continue.

Of course, we need to figure out what Russia did with regards to the election, the president has said that. But not yet do you have a single senator saying that there is definitive evidence that there's been any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. That needs to stop.

WALLACE: And when it comes to the special counsel, do you believe that that investigation, specifically on the issue of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, do you think that should stop?

MCDANIEL: Well, that's going to run its course, we'll see what happens. I think it should end quickly. I want them to get to a final conclusion soon, because this needs to end. Nobody has come forward with any evidence that there's been collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians and it keeps persisting.

So, it's time to put an end to this. Let's let the special investigation take its course and end, but let's not keep finding ways to open new investigations.

WALLACE: All right. Let me -- excuse me -- ask you one question more about the special counsel. The president seemed to make a pledge, a promise, in the news conference on Friday. Should he keep his promise and testify under oath before the special counsel?

MCDANIEL: That's going to be up to the president and his legal counsel to determine that. But what it does signal is that the president is going to cooperate 100 percent. He wants this done. He's focused on the American people and helping make better health care and tax reform and national security. He wants this over with, this is a distraction.

WALLACE: I'm going to get to the agenda in a second. One more question in this regard, though. Some Republicans are defending the president's actions as Comey laid them out, as others have laid them out, by saying that he basically doesn't know any better. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: No one has either informed him -- or he's been unwilling to be informed -- about why the sort of request like the one he made would be inappropriate.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: His new at government and so, therefore, I think that he -- he's learning as he goes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Chairwoman McDaniel, do you buy that defense that if the president did something, anything inappropriate, it's because he's basically an amateur?

MCDANIEL: Chris, I'm going to go back to -- this was just James Comey's version of events. We don't know what happened in these conversations, that's his interpretation.

I take the president at his word, but that's just one person's version of events. The president knows what he's doing.

And let's go back to what James Comey even said. Say has version is true, and he said the president said, I hope you let this go, he said I'm a mom of kids, there's the difference between saying, I hope you do your homework and go to your homework.

Donald Trump, President Donald Trump, is somebody who speaks definitively. He's somebody who when he talks to you, you know what he means. So, again, this is all James Comey's version of events and we've got to look at it that way.

WALLACE: As you said, the president wants to end all of this, to get on with his agenda, to help the American people. Here was the reaction, though, this week from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALI., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: How dare the Republicans and the president say this investigation into the integrity of our elections and government is an impediment to our -- getting our agenda through. What agenda? Show us the job, show us the agenda, where are the bills?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Doesn't Pelosi have a point? There's no tax reform bill that the White House has submitted. There's no infrastructure build the White House has submitted, and Obamacare repeal and replace is tied up in the Senate.

MCDANIEL: Well, President Trump has passed 37 laws in his first five and a half months as president, more than any of the past four administrations. He's hit the ground running.

WALLACE: But wait a second, I mean, we're talking about big legislative agendas. I'm sure there are a bunch of laws, but, you know, his main legislative agendas -- health care reform, tax reform, infrastructure. The only one that's even passed one house is health care reform.

You've got a majority, a Republican majority in the House and Senate under budget reconciliation. You could pass them without any Democratic support. Why haven't you?

MCDANIEL: Well, let's go back, 37 laws, deregulation. He's restored our standing as a global leader across the world with his foreign trips and his decisive actions in Syria.

But let's go back. Health care, tax form, infrastructure -- these are huge issues, they don't just happen overnight. We're five and a half months in. The House has already passed the repeal and replace of Obamacare. We're going to continue to work at that. But this just doesn't quickly happen.

And Republicans are doing it the right way. We're going back into our districts. We're talking to constituents. We're having a diverse discussion.

We're making sure that when we do it, we do it right, because we recognize the failures of Obamacare -- passing 30,000 pages of legislation quickly, ramming it through, without anybody looking at it. Now look at what it's done across this country, it is failing. You have insurers pulling out of marketplace. You have people whose premiums have doubled.

If we're going to fix this, we have to make sure we do it right and not rush it through.

WALLACE: All right.

MCDANIEL: Five and a half months is pretty early to have all of those things done. And we're making very strong progress. The president is laser-focused on helping the American people.

WALLACE: Final question, I got less than a minute left.

Quinnipiac came out this week with a new poll, and let's take a look at that. Mr. Trump's approval now stands at 34 percent, disapproval at 57 percent. That's the lowest we can find for any president this early in his first term.

Isn't the president at this point a drag on Republicans and your agenda?

MCDANIEL: Absolutely not. You look at the Montana special election with Greg Gianforte, who had lost in November running for governor by four points. He wrapped himself around the president. He had Donald Trump, Jr. in there, and he won by seven in a state with a Democrat governor and a Democrat senator.

The president resonates with our base. He has faced more obstruction, more resistance and more negative media than any president in our history, but he's going to keep laser-focused on policies that help the American people, and you're going to see all those numbers rebounded as they start to feel that in their everyday lives.

WALLACE: Chairwoman McDaniel, thank you. Thanks for your time this week and please come back.

MCDANIEL: Thanks for having me. Will do.

WALLACE: Up next, we'll get reaction from Democratic Senator Jack Reed, who is calling for the president to tell his side of the story under oath.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: A look outside the beltway at the busy harbor in Newport, Rhode Island. That looks familiar to you, doesn't it?

SEN. JACK REED, D-RI, RANKING MEMBER, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: It does.

WALLACE: President Trump says he would be glad to testify under oath to dispute James Comey's account of their meetings. Now the question is, will he?

Joining me is Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who also serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The senator who is from Rhode Island, and Newport.

Welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

REED: Thanks, Chris.

WALLACE: Let's start with the president's pledge in the Rose Garden on Friday to tell his side of his conversations with James Comey. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of these events?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One hundred percent.

REPORTER: If Robert Mueller wanted to speak with you about that, you --

TRUMP: I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just told you, Jon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Senator, before that, you said you thought that the president should face a deposition. Are you willing to take yes for an answer?

REED: Indeed I am, but the deposition is not just about his conversations with Mr. Comey. There's issues with respect to his conversations with Director of National Intelligence Coats, Admiral Rogers, the NSA director, his relationships with Manafort. By the time the special prosecutor, Mr. Mueller, is ready to depose or ask the president to speak under oath, there will be a myriad of questions.

So, what I don't want to see is simply, well, I just said I would talk about Comey, I'm not talking about anything else. To resolve the situation, he has to be prepared to speak on all these matters.

WALLACE: Would you also like to see the president testify under oath before Congress?

REED: Well, that raises the issue of separation of powers, frankly. And at that point, I think there's some -- the history would suggest that that's not done often. The special prosecutor, Mr. Mueller, is the person that is charged to conduct this investigation and I believe he is the appropriate individual to conduct, through his staff, these investigations.

WALLACE: In his testimony, James Comey acknowledged that he had repeatedly told the president that he is not a target of an investigation with regard to collusion with the Russians. Here's one instance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: We briefed the congressional leadership about what Americans we had opened counterintelligence investigation cases on and we specifically said the president is not one of those Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Given the fact that this investigation clearly puts the president under a cloud, and hinders his visibility to do his job, does Congress, including Democrats, do you feel a need to wrap up this investigation as quickly as possible? And what do you think about the Republican National Committee chairwoman, Ms. McDaniel, just said, which is that when it comes to collusion, you should stop your investigations?

REED: Well, no, I don't think that's at all appropriate. I think the special prosecutor has to look at all the different aspects of this investigation, and there are multiple. Manafort's actions while he was chairman of the Republican committee, the Trump committee.

WALLACE: Paul Manafort who was campaign manager.

REED: Exactly.

All those things, it goes back. Carter --

WALLACE: Page.

REED: Page, Carter Page. All these people.

And then he has to come and I think present the president with a list of questions that only the president can answer, and the president should answer truthfully under oath to those questions.

WALLACE: Well, what about the suggestion -- because she said that the special counsel should go ahead, but what about Ms. McDaniel's suggestion Congress should wrap it up?

REED: Well, no, we have a separate obligation. The Intelligence Committee, in a bipartisan basis, and what's remarkable, this is truly bipartisan. Senator Burr is the chairman, Senator Warner, a ranking member.

We're conducting investigation because I think one thing that the president continues to diminish, which I think is unfortunate, is the fact that the Russian government at the highest level deliberately interfered with our election in 2016, and according to all of our experts in the intelligence community, they are coming back with more force in '18 and '20.

We have, as a legislative matter, find out what they did, why they did it, how we can prevent it, do we need statutory improvements, do we need to empower our agencies to do something else? So, we have a separate mission in addition to finding out what went on is, how do we fix it?

WALLACE: But, forgive me, Senator, I mean -- I watched all three hours of the hearing.

REED: Right.

WALLACE: There was precious little talk about what the Russians did. It was all about President Trump.

REED: Well, it was about President Trump, but Director Comey made several points, very emphatically, that we should understand that this attack, this hostile action by the Russians, was unprecedented, that it continues, and that one of the reasons that he was so conscious of conducting this investigation was not to sort of look back and, you know, appropriately charge people who may have done something wrong, but that he was also looking forward to what could happen and what would likely happen in '18 and in '20.

WALLACE: All right. You --

REED: And he said that repeatedly.

WALLACE: You also heard this week from Admiral Mike Rogers, who's the head of the National Security Agency. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADMIRAL MIKE ROGERS, NSA DIRECTOR: I had never been directed to do anything I believe to be illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate. And to the best of my recollection, during that same period of service, I do not recall ever feeling pressured to do so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Again, as we sit here today, do you have any evidence of the president, President Trump, being involved in collusion with the Russians or being engaged in an obstruction of justice?

REED: There are questions that have been raised about the involvement of his campaign. There've been questions raised about his contact with Admiral Rogers. Admiral Rogers refused, as did Director of National Intelligence Coats to say if he was asked by the president to, in any way, exonerate them. And the --

WALLACE: Yes. But wait a minute, though, he did say -- and you just heard --

REED: I did.

WALLACE: -- I've never been directed to do anything illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate.

REED: I've never been directed -- but I think what we saw there was two individuals who are very uncomfortable answering and ultimately when I asked them on -- were you asked, and Senator King repeatedly asked the same question, they refused to answer. And the obvious point that I made was, if you were never asked, it would be very easy and almost reflexive to say, no, I was never asked. They wouldn't do that, they couldn't do that.

So, there's a whole series of issues about the president's conduct. Does it constitute a pattern of trying to get pressure relieved off of this investigation? And the president himself, when he met with the Russian foreign minister, declared that, you know, first of all, I got rid of that crazy nut job Mueller, I think -- excuse me, Comey. I think, frankly, Mr. Comey demonstrated he's not a crazy nut job.

Second, he said the Russian investigation, the pressure is off now, et cetera. And that's the Russian foreign minister, as well as leaking other classified intelligence information at that meeting. So, the president himself has declared that his purpose was to somehow throttle this investigation into Russian participation.

All of these things add up to very serious set of potential charges, perhaps not against the president, but certainly against individuals surrounding him.

WALLACE: All right. Well, let's talk about one of those individuals. Attorney General Sessions testifies before Senate Intelligence on Tuesday. You will be there on the panel.

What do you want to hear from him?

REED: Well, first, there's a question on his participation in the firing of Director Comey. He had already recused himself and then, suddenly, he's the one apparently recommending to the president that Comey be fired and the president has indicated, suggested -- not suggested -- declared it was all about the Russian investigation.

So, there is a real question of the propriety of the attorney general participating in that in any way, shape or form. Then, there's been allegations publicly of meetings that go beyond the meetings that he's already declared he had with representatives of Russian government. That will come up.

WALLACE: Well, let me ask about that, do you have any evidence that he met -- there are two times now that he's on the record as having said he met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Do you have any evidence that he met with him in other times?

REED: It's an open question. I think it's also one of those questions that because of some of the classifying reports, it's inappropriate to comment upon it.

WALLACE: Former national security advisor Michael Flynn has been a special focus of this investigation. He held repeated meetings with the Russians. He's the one that the president allegedly --

REED: Right.

WALLACE: -- told Comey to go easy on.

How important is Flynn to this investigation?

REED: Well, I think at this point, he's one of the key figures. He was involved, apparently, from reports that have not been refuted, with contacts with the Russians. The question again, it goes back to why the questioning the president will not be restricted and discrete to the Comey situation. You know, what did General Flynn tell the president? Was he directed by the president to initiate these conversations? Were these appropriate conversations?

But I think General Flynn is someone who is the key focus of the investigation now. Not the exclusive focus, but the key focus.

WALLACE: The key focus?

REED: Well, I think so, because I think working through General Flynn, that will develop other possible connections, other possible leads. And again, this appears, and I think again, former FBI Director Mueller is probably the best person to do this investigation. He's taking a very broad view.

But I think it begins, simply, because in terms of sort of the timing, the dismissal of General Flynn as national security adviser has triggered a lot of this interest, a lot of the investigations. Comey was working to make sure that that investigation was going forward.

WALLACE: Finally, we got 30 seconds left.

REED: Yes.

WALLACE: Will this investigation on the Hill with the special counsel, will it still be going on a year from today?

REED: I hope not. It certainly is not going to be resolved in a few weeks or a few months, because -- and I think the pace will be set by special prosecutor Mueller. He will be the one that will drive sort of the timing of this case.

WALLACE: Senator, thank you. Thanks for joining us. Always good to talk with you, sir.

REED: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group, including former Speaker Newt Gingrich to discuss his idea to shut down the special counsel.

Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about Comey's testimony and what it means for the president? Just go to Facebook or Twitter, @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: Coming up, British Prime Minister Theresa May goes back to work after losing her majority.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: At this critical time for our country, it's important to form a government in the national interest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel about the future of Brexit and relations between the U.S. and our closest ally.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: Well, there is a big difference in kicking superior officers out of the Oval Office, looking the FBI director in the eye and saying, I hope you let this go. I think if our - if the agents, as good as they are, heard the president of the United States did that, is a real risk of a chilling effect on their work.

MARC KASOWITZ, TRUMP PERSONAL ATTORNEY: The president never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX ANCHOR: A sharp disagreement between James Comey and President Trump's lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, over whether the president wanted the FBI to shut down its investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

And it's time now for our Sunday group. GOP strategist Karl Rove, Charles Lane of The Washington Post, former Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards, and former Speaker Newt Gingrich, author of the upcoming book "Understanding Trump," out this Tuesday.


That must be a long book.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Yes. It's interesting.

WALLACE: I'm sure it is.

Speaker Gingrich, I want to speak to you about something else, though, and I want to start with the - your tweet that I discussed earlier with Republican Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. Here it is up on the screen again. "Republicans need to focus on closing down independent counsel because it clearly isn't independent."

What's your reasoning and wouldn't that really look like an obstruction of justice?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, look at what Comey said. Comey said, I deliberately leaked, through an intermediary, to create this counsel, who happens to be one of his closest friends. Then look at who Mueller's starting to hire. I mean these are people that, frankly, look - look to me like they're - they're setting up to go after Trump. They've - including people, by the way, who have been reprimanded for hiding from the defense information into major cases.

I think this - this is going to be a witch hunt. I think that Comey himself, by his own testimony, tainted this particular process. You have a director of the FBI deliberately leaking in order to create a special counsel, who we're now supposed to believe is going to be this neutral figure. I think that's just nonsense.

WALLACE: Let me bring you in, Congresswoman Edwards, and let's go back, as the speaker suggested, to James Comey's testimony about one of his leaks. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. I didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Comey says he set the special prosecutor process in motion. Taking the word that was used by the speaker, does that taint it?

DONNA EDWARDS, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN, D-MD: No, it doesn't tainted it at all. And, in fact, I think it's really shocking that the speaker and others are challenging the credibility, not just of James Comey, but also of the Special Counselor Mueller. I mean nobody on Capitol Hill has been questioning the integrity and the independence of the special counsel and I think it was a - you know, appropriate. I man the - James Comey heard the president say things that were untrue and that were a mischaracterization of their - their meetings and he put out in the public sphere, not classified information, information that he had prepared, and it wasn't a leak, into the public sphere. And I think it's appropriate for the special counsel to look into that, to investigate that. That's why the special counsel's in place.

WALLACE: Karl.

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I thought it was interesting, you played the piece of tape of Comey saying, if this got out, that the president said to me in the Oval Office, I hope you can let - let this thing go, that it would have had a chilling effect on the FBI agency, because Comey proceeded to talk about the incident widely within the FBI, widely enough in the FBI that -

WALLACE: Not the investigating officers, just with his top friends (ph).

ROVE: Well, but widely enough within the top staff of the FBI that it got printed in The New York Times on the 11th of May. So - or, no, excuse me, before that. Before - before the presidents tweet that supposedly --

WALLACE: No, that was the loyalty pledge. But, anyway.

ROVE: Right. Right. But the point - the point -

WALLACE: But to this question of Mueller and whether or not he's -

ROVE: Look - look, I - we do - I think it would be a huge mistake to try and checked down the special counsel. This would leave the Trump administration, the Trump presidency, under a cloud until the very last day and make it an ongoing issue. I do have confidence in Mueller. I - the question is, is Robert Mueller Patrick Fitzgerald or not? Is he going to look for an underlying act and focus on the underlying act -

WALLACE: Now, we should point out, Patrick Fitzgerald was the special counsel in the case about Valerie Plame and the leak of that information.

ROVE: And the day that he took - the day he took his responsibility, he knew exactly who had leaked her name, Richard Armitage, undersecretary of state. He knew she was not a covered person, that there was no underlying effort. Chuck's paper, when they found out - when it was - was several years later revealed that it was Richard Armitage, they said, well why - why did we even go through all this exercise because everybody knows Richard Armitage had no axe to grind. But the - but he ground an axe for a long period of time trying to find people that he could indict on the fact that they had said one thing in - in - that he could get them on and he got Scooter Libby on the fact that he had not - that he said -

WALLACE: Let me - let me - let me - let me just move on because we're - I - I don't want to talk about Scooter Libby. I - I will say, you were also a target and you ended up spending a whole pile of money on private legal fees.

ROVE: Yes.

CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: (INAUDIBLE) -

WALLACE: Wait, let me just bring in, Chuck, so we were all here. Go ahead.

LANE: Well, this gets really, really complicated, but -

WALLACE: Well, let's keep it simple, should Robert Mueller be able to - should he stay on or should he be shut down? Is he tainted?

LANE: Of course, of course he should stay on. And - and, honestly, if Republicans were thinking about their own best political interest, that's what they'd want, for two reasons. He's widely regarded, notwithstanding what we just heard here, by Republicans and Democrats on The Hill as an honest broker in this affair. Secondly, it gives it a channel for all the discussion and all the investigation to go through one pipeline instead of 50 different committees and 50 different leaks. It's - it - it's actually in the Republicans' own - the president's own interest to have it go through this process.

But, look, let's look at the big picture here. I'm not in any position to say whether a particular crime or impeachable offense occurred. But what I am and I think we're all in a position to say after this testimony the last week, the president of the United States did something terribly inappropriate. He misused his authority by engaging in that kind of meeting, in that kind of conversation with Jim Comey under those circumstances and backhandedly Paul Ryan is admitting it by saying, in effect, at this is what a person doesn't understand government would do. And that, all by itself, that - ought to - ought to be a source of great concern.

ROVE: President's often - presidents often do stupid things, but this is not obstruction of justice. This is not illegal. He is the head of the executive branch of government.

LANE: I didn't say he was. I specifically said I don't know whether he did.

ROVE: Listen, he's the head of the executive branch. He could have directed him to end the investigation.

LANE: He could have pardoned Mike Flynn, actually.

ROVE: He could have pardoned Mike Flynn. But he could have directed him to end the investigation and it still would have been appropriate. He would have had a huge political price to pay, but he's the head of the executive branch of government. We once had an FBI director who thought he did not report and was independent of any authority. His name was J. Edgar Hoover and - and -

LANE: And I would respect the president a lot more if he stood up and - and in an unaccountable way called a press conference and said, I'm pardoning Mike Flynn, this is over.

EDWARDS: Well, I mean, but what - what defines that is that the president of the United States asked everyone else to leave the room. And so this idea that he's somehow naive and doesn't understand what's going on, the president has, one, a lot of experience with litigation and with - with the law. And so I think he didn't understand what was going on. He asked those other people to leave the room so that he could have an independent conversation with the FBI director.

WALLACE: Speaker, you caused this trouble today (ph), go ahead.

GINGRICH: Well, I just - if you'll put up with it for a second, I want to go back to what Karl said. The - the - the special counsel in the Bush years locked up a "New York Times" reporter for 85 days to - to get her to testify -

WALLACE: This is the Valerie Plame investigation of the leak. I just want to explain it to folks.

GINGRICH: Right. Right. Eighty-five days a reporter's locked up to get her to testify to something she later writes a book saying was a lie, that she did under enormous pressure. I distrust independent counsels. I think that the people Mueller's bringing in are dangerous people. And any Republican who thinks this counsel's going to be neutral is crazy. It will be like expecting The Post of The New York Times to be accurate.

WALLACE: Well, you've kind of taking the Uzi out and shot at everybody here. Who wants - you want to take offense first?

ROVE: Well, look, my point is this - my point is this. The - the die is cast. If the president - I think Chuck is right. Look, I don't see anything here that a - that a reasonable person will say was in violation of the law. The president did not obstruct justice. The president did something that was inappropriate but not illegal. In fact, it is legal. It is - the president of the United States can direct him to end the investigation and he's within his authority as the president of the United States. And he did not. In fact the said, I hope you go find out what those satellites - Manafort, Carter Page and others - were doing. So I say the die is cast. The president - I agree with Chuck, the president ought to now restrain himself. He and his people ought to restrain themselves. They ought to keep it in this silo (ph) and -

WALLACE: OK, one last - one last thing. The president says he is happy to testify under oath to the special counsel that you say is engaging in a witch hunt.

GINGRICH: Well, I think sooner or later he was going to be asked to testify under oath and I don't think he's giving up much in terms of special counsel because that was going to happen.

WALLACE: Panel, we have to take a break here.

When we come back, British Prime Minister Theresa May tries to hold onto power after losing her majority in parliament. How will this affect Brexit and relations with the U.S.? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What the country needs more than ever is certainty. And having secured the largest number of votes and the greatest number of seats in the general election, it is clear that only the Conservative and Unionist Party has the legitimacy and ability to provide that certainty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Prime Minister Theresa May trying to hold onto her job after a stunning setback in this week's British elections.

And we're back now with the panel.

Well, Speaker Gingrich, what do you think the surprise election results mean for Britain, for Europe and for the U.S.?

GINGRICH: Well, it means a lot of instability, I think, particularly from her standpoint, because I think she's very shaky at staying in power and maybe we'll have a - a contest in the next few weeks.

I think equally important is the vote today from Macron, who's done an astonishing job of building a party in France, and has a real chance -

WALLACE: The French - the French president.

GINGRICH: The French president has a real chance of winning control of the French parliament in a way that is almost unimaginable. Created a party in 15 months and has competitors I think in 525 of the 555 seats. So, you know, two different, stable positions have - developing. Ironically, the French may turn out to be stable in the British may turn out to be unstable. And it was both a bad campaign on their part and I think a big miscalculation because it turned out that the - the United Kingdom independent party voters, once they had Brexit, reverted to being Labour Party voters and went back to their natural party base. I think nobody in the conservative party thought that would happen.

WALLACE: Karl, I want to pick up on Brexit because the - the Brits were supposed to start formal negotiations with the European Union, which are going to take a couple of years. But on the exit and the terms of the exit from - from the European Union, Brexit, and now that's kind of up for grabs, isn't it?

ROVE: Well, yes, absolutely. In fact, look, I happened to be flying into London the day after, the morning after the Brexit vote. And as we got off the plane, every Brit on the plane turned on their phone to get the news. There was a guy who I had been sitting near, he was working in the financial services industry, merely began swearing at older Britons. He said, if we hadn't let those senior buggers vote, we would have won because under 35-year-olds voted overwhelmingly to remain. Well, this time around they had their revenge. The young, particularly those with college degrees, turned out in - in a much higher number and they voted for not conservative in order to thereby soften the - which May had said, I will have a hard exit if you re-elect the conservatives. And so they voted not for the conservatives in order to give a soft exit for - to Brexit. And they got their revenge.

WALLACE: So, to give you a sense of Karl Rove, there's something he very much wants to say.

Go ahead.

ROVE: Well, look, I was watching the election with (INAUDIBLE), and we - we made - we got to establish this tradition in the United States. We talk about Texas one and congressional district one and California's district 35. They could - brought in returns for basenstroke (ph) and then dumbfreshire (ph), Clydesdale (ph) and tweedale (ph), which is one constituency. It's got - we've got to name each one of our districts (INAUDIBLE).

WALLACE: So you - you would - if we were doing this, you would say, well, the Clydesdale precincts are coming in and -

ROVE: Well, I'd say the dumbsfreshire (ph), Clydesdale and tweedale precincts. Now, one - one - one point of disagreement. The Labour leave vote remained with the conservatives. If you were a Labour-ite who had voted for leave, you remained largely conservatives (INAUDIBLE) made the election not worse than it was. And the people - and you kept (ph) you kept (ph) the vote, 18 percent went with Labour. The largest share of them went conservative. You kept (ph) - this would have been a worse election had that not happened in -

WALLACE: And the worst election independence party pro-exit.

ROVE: And a worst election. And the Scottish independence referendum played a role. There were 13 additional seats won by the conservatives in Scotland because they had been - the conservatives were identified as the unionist party in the -

WALLACE: Let me just say, folks, this is after I just instructed in the commercial, Karl Rove, not to get into the weeds on this election.

ROVE: This is not the weeds. This is (INAUDIBLE).

WALLACE: OK. This is pretty weedy.

All right, the leader of the opposition Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, did not gain the majority, but he still was declaring victory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: The prime minister called the election because she wanted a mandate. Well, the mandate she's got is lost conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that's enough to go, actually.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: I like the guy on the right with the - with the - we need more people like that standing behind candidates.

Congresswoman Edwards, does this - real surprise in this election, the fact - I mean the reason that she called an election two years early, Prime Minister May is, because she thought she was going to expand her majority. Now she doesn't have a majority and she has to deal with the Northern Ireland vote, the unionist vote, to try to get that majority in the parliament. Do these results mean that the anti-establishment, throw the people who are in power out, sentiment still is running strong?

EDWARDS: Well, I think it is. And I think if any - I don't want to draw too many parallels between the United States and Great Britain, but I do think that it bodes, you know, dark days ahead for the incumbent establishment here in the United States. And I think that, you know, there's going to be a lot -

WALLACE: Well, who is the incumbent establishment (ph)?

EDWARDS: Well, I think that there - Republicans. They're the ones who are in power. And I think it, you know, really spells a lot of trouble ahead. I think there still is this anti-establishment sentiment going on, not just here but around the world. And that doesn't bode well for the people who hold power.

WALLACE: Chuck -

EDWARDS: I mean Democrats have a lot of work to do though.

WALLACE: Chuck, Prime Minister May, I think it's fair to say, and there's not a big crowd, may have been maybe Donald Trump's best friend in Europe. What does this do to that relationship?

LANE: Well, I wondered actually what the role of sort of the European and British rejection of Trump, what role that might have played around the margins, particularly since he's, in effect, intervened with those crass remarks about the mayor of London after the terrorist attack. London went overwhelmingly for Labour, and so that's a question I've had is whether in some complicated way this was also influenced by hostility towards Trump.

But I just want to underscore what to me was the real headline here, which is the comeback of Jeremy Corbyn. She called this election because his poll numbers were in the - were in the garbage. He was down in the 30's. He was thought to be this played out old Marxist and he didn't shy away from any of that ideology. He, in effect, doubled down on it and embarked on this remarkable comeback.

I think, you know, the big picture story here may be this researching, not just left, but ultra-left in - in Britain. It hasn't been that way so much on the comment, but the polarization that's gone between the Tories (ph) and this ultra-left Labour party is really remarkable. And there are things - Jeremy Corbyn's no fan of NATO, by the way. Everybody talks about Trump and NATO. Jeremy Corbyn has a long history of rejection of NATO and sympathy for Russia, I might add. So - and he's, right now, on the rise and arguably, if things played out a certain way, could be the next prime minister. He or somebody like him.

WALLACE: Speaker Gingrich, a couple of questions for you. One, can we blame this on Donald Trump, May's loss, and what role do you think he played in that? And you talked about how long she can hold on to power. I mean that's going to be very interesting. I mean she has won and seems to have a - a coalition, a shaky coalition, but she's got no friends in her own party.

GINGRICH: Well, as Karl knows well, there's a studinours (ph) thing. The conservative party in Britain has a long tradition of getting rid of prime minister's. I man -

WALLACE: Margaret Thatcher.

GINGRICH: Thatcher's a great example. So the potential for a group to gather around the foreign secretary, who has wanted to be prime minister, I mean the pressure on here is going to be -

WALLACE: Foreign - Boris Johnson.

GINGRICH: But also the - the secretary who negotiating - the minister who's negotiating Brexit has a real shot here. So I think there's a very - I think his name is Davies (ph). There's a very real possibility that she's going to face some kind of confidence vote. Probably not - I mean Brexit's going to move forward on schedule, but probably in the next two months there's a real chance that she'll face a no-confidence vote.

WALLACE: And will she survive that are not?

ROVE: She'll survive the confidence -

WALLACE: I mean you - look, you've looked at your precincts.

ROVE: Yes, she'll survive the confidence vote, but that may not be enough to have - have the parliamentary conservatives hold her in power. That's what happens is, they'll hold the government up. They don't want other election. She loses a no-confidence vote in parliament, the government falls. What will happen, though, is they'll sustain her there but they'll say it's time for you to go, and she'll go. And whether it's Boris Johnson - I took George Osborne (ph), who was the former chancellor, the number two guy in the government basically said she's got a limited amount of time and she's got to - she's got to go. And the - look, we talked about Corbyn having a great campaign. She ran a dreadful campaign and turned out to be a dreadful candidate.

WALLACE: Next week the German elections, folks, so study up.

Thanks, panel. See you next Sunday.

Up next, some surprising advice for the class of 2017 from our "Power Players of the week."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: It's become an annual tradition here to sample some of the words of wisdom college graduates are getting at the commencements. This year the speakers include a tech giant, political figures in the whiz kid of baseball. And they're all our "Power Players of the Week."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO: An entrepreneurial culture thrives when it is easy to try lots of new ideas. Facebook wasn't the first thing I built. I also built chat systems and games, study tools and music players. And I'm not alone. J.K. Rowling got rejected 12 times before she finally wrote and published "Harry Potter." The greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail.

OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA PROPRIETOR: When you don't know what to do, you do nothing. You get still until you do know, because when you have to ask everybody else, should I, should I, should I do this, should I, should I, and that's whether it's buying a pair of shoes or going with a guy, buying a house, taking a job, should I, should I, should I, should I, when you have to ask everybody else, it means you don't really know the answer fully yourself.

TRUMP: Over the course of your life, you will find that things are not always fair. You will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve and that are not always warranted, but you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight.

HILLARY CLINTON, D-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You do have a special responsibility to give others the chance to learn and think for themselves and to learn from them, and along the way you may be convinced to change your mind from time to time. You know what, that's OK. Take it from me, the former president of the Wellesley College Young Republicans.

SHERYL SANDBERG, FACEBOOK COO: Build resilience in yourselves. When tragedy or disappointment strike, know that deep inside you, you have the ability to get through anything. I promise you do. As the saying goes, we are more vulnerable than we ever thought, but we are stronger than we ever imagined.

THEO EPSTEIN, CHICAGO CUBS' PRESIDENT: We were winners that night in Cleveland because when things went really, really wrong, and then when the rains came, our players already knew each other so well that they could come together. They already trust each other so much that they could open up and be vulnerable. And they already were so connected that they could lift one another up. We had already won.

DAME HELEN MIRREN, ACTRESS: Ignore anyone who judges the way you look, especially if he or she is some anonymous creep lurking on the Internet. And if you are that person lurking on the Internet, stop it! Just stop it. Go outside, do something! Weed the garden!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: And our best wishes as well to the students and parents of the class of 2017.

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

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