This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," July 23, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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CHRIS WALLACE, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST: I’m Chris Wallace.
A shakeup inside the White House. Six months in, where does the Trump agenda stand and will it be overwhelmed by the Russia investigation?
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I think we’re going to get the health care done. I also think we’re going to get tax reform done. And whatever else is on the president’s agenda, we’re going to work very, very hard, very studiously here to make it happen.
WALLACE (voice-over): We’ll discuss the president's plans and is ongoing relationship with the media with the new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.
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Then special counsel Robert Mueller expands his investigation, looking into possible Russian ties to Trump businesses -- as the president criticizes his attorney general and warns the investigators.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Let's go back to what the purpose of the investigation was -- Russian interference in our election.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sessions should have never recused himself.
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have the honor of serving as attorney general and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate.
WALLACE: We’ll discuss the latest developments on Russia with Republican Senator John Thune and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin.
(on camera): Plus, the president’s legislative goals are stalled as repeal and replace creates a logjam in Congress.
(voice-over): We’ll ask our Sunday panel if Senate Republicans can bring their health care bill back from the dead.
All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
President Trump has hit the six-month mark with his push to repeal and replace ObamaCare stalled in the Senate and investigations were expanding into possible links with the Russians. Little wonder then the president has decided to shake up his White House staff.
Joining me now to discuss the Trump agenda moving forward is the new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.
Anthony, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
SCARAMUCCI: It's great to be here, Chris. Thank you. Good morning.
WALLACE: Let's talk about how you see your new job. Here's what you had to say on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARAMUCCI: I think there has been at times a disconnect between the way we see the president and how much we love the president and the way some of you perhaps see the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: So, how do you close what you call that disconnect?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, listen, I actually don't think that's the hard part. I think the hard part is to get reorganized and figure out -- one of the first things I want to do, is mission to be (ph), we’ve got to get the leaks stopped, Chris. I know that it's Washington, so it's going to be impossible to stop all of them, but I think what's going on right now is a high level of unprofessionalism and it's not serving the president.
So, my three simple things is I would like to reset the culture inside the comms department so that people recognize that I’m actually there to serve them and they’re going to be working with me, not for me. That's a very big distinction. And that all of us are there to serve the president of United States and his agenda.
So, first thing for me is I want to hit a cultural reset button, second thing is we’ve got to get the leaks stopped. If we don't get the leaks stopped -- I am a businessperson and so, I will take dramatic action to stop those leaks.
And the third thing is, I’ll be traveling with the president this week and we’re going to focus and refine the messaging from the White House. He’s one of the most effective communicators that’s never been born and we’re going to make sure that we get that message out directly to the American people and I think that albatross spread, the gap between how certain people think of him and how I see him -- or say like someone like Ivanka sees him, that will start to narrow soon.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on the leaks. You say you’re willing to take drastic action to stop them. Now, these are leaks both coming from inside the White House and also from what's called the deep state, people in the bureaucracy, particularly the intelligence agencies or law enforcement. What kind of drastic action?
SCARAMUCCI: I’m being very, very clear with people. As far as I’m concerned that staff has amnesty. We’ll see how they do with me at the helm. If the leaks don't stop, I’m going to pare down the staff because it's just not right, Chris. I think it's not fair to the president. It's actually not fair to America or the people in the government.
I’m not going to be able to stop the leaks in the intergovernmental agencies and all that other stuff, that's a whole different ball of wax. But something is going on inside the White House that the president does not like and we’re going to fix it.
WALLACE: Well, you say pare down the staff. I mean, this isn't coming just from the communications team. Are you saying that you've been given carte blanche -- you’ve given authority by the president?
SCARAMUCCI: No, I’m just -- I’m just focused on the communications team. As far as I’m concerned, it's a new start for everybody in that team and everybody in that team can stay as long as they follow the protocol of not leaking, because at the end of the day, the president is super upset about the leaks, it's unprofessional. And so, you’re asking what the four steps are, that’s going to be one of my first steps.
WALLACE: Do you believe that the mainstream media deliberately puts out fake news about this president?
SCARAMUCCI: There is some fake news, unfortunately. When you see the mainstream media, I think that's a very broad statement. And so, what I would like to say, and what I would like to believe, there still a level of objectivity in the mainstream media, but unfortunately, there are specific individuals that do stretch stories or do fabricate things.
I’ve been the victim of it myself, and so, it's definitely there, Chris. I don't think we can dial that down, but we can use the mechanisms of social media and the president's presence in social media to hop over that if necessary.
But what I would say to you is that the good news here is that it's a fresh start for everybody. I certainly want to engage the mainstream media. I expect that they’re going to want to hold me and the White House accountable, but we’re going to sort of want to hold them accountable, too. So, I’m hoping that it will be symmetry in that relationship.
WALLACE: You say that there are certain individuals, certain outlets. Do you want to call any of them out by name?
SCARAMUCCI: No, no. Again, it's more specific to specific stories for that matter. And so, it's not necessary to call anybody out by name. I’m hoping to create an era of a new good feeling with the media, give everybody a fresh start, let's see if we can reset this and create a more positive mojo among everybody.
And again, like I said, we have a story that we want to tell. It's a phenomenal story for the American people. There's a policy agenda in place, but I think it's phenomenal for the American people.
If you look at the last six months, I think there's been some distortion in terms of how successful we've actually been and I think we want to clear that up. I think the president made that clear in his press release on Friday that we are doing very, very well, lots of the American people are super happy. And we just need to close that gap, if you will, and make that connection more forcefully.
WALLACE: Well, one of those areas where the president has said there's been a lot of fake news has been in the Russia investigation and the potential for a scandal there.
President Trump reportedly wanted you because you are a tough street fighter like he has. Is he putting together a ward staff and the White House to take on the various Russia investigations?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, listen, I sort of see this -- a two-prong as it relates to that. I mean, we want to refine our rapid response team. In some ways, we want to deescalate things and have there be a level of diplomacy. In other ways, we want it to be very hard-hitting and war-like. And so it’s sort of a blend of those two things, Chris.
But as it relates specifically to Russia, you know, there’s certain things that I can talk about from inside the White House and there’s certain things I’m not allowed to talk about. And I really haven’t been briefed yet by White House Counsel Don McGahn as to what I can and cannot talk about --
WALLACE: Well, let me ask you --
SCARAMUCCI: Here’s what I’ll say to you, if you don’t mind me saying this.
WALLACE: Go ahead.
SCARAMUCCI: I worked intensely on that campaign, and I think that the Russian situation is completely overblown. I was falsely accused of things related to Russia. I know other people are being falsely accused of things related to Russia. And I’m confident that tomorrow when Jared Kushner speaks, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed in saying this you, it’ll probably the last time that he has to talk about Russia.
And so for me I’d like to get this behind us. I’ll tell you, one of the things I do not like about Washington, I sort of feel like it’s scandals incorporated down in Washington, that we have to make up things about each other, Chris, so that we can personally destroy each other to make us less effective as public servants.
I don’t like it all. I’m going to try lead --
WALLACE: Let me interrupt for a minute. You’ll learn we do this in Washington. But on the specific question, could you say that -- you know, part of it is diplomacy and part of it is hard-hitting.
Do you see anything wrong with going after the special counsel and his team when it comes to possible conflicts of interest, or when it comes to your feeling, or the president’s feeling, that he is expanding the scope of his investigation too far into the president’s business affairs?
SCARAMUCCI: I want the president to be the president, and I want him to express the full nature of his personality. Corey Lewandowski used to say early on, on the campaign, let Trump be Trump. A little disrespectful now that he’s president, so let’s let the president be the president.
And my point is if he wants to talk about things like that, I’m not going to want to stop him or be able to stop him. I want to be there to help aid and abet his agenda.
So for me, I have a different personality style from this president in some ways; in other ways we’re very similar. I just want to there to be fairness and objectivity. And so, let’s see how the whole thing rolls out, but my feeling about this thing is it’s overblown, it’s completely unfair, it’s designed to take people off message and off of our agenda. And we’re going to get people on our message and on our agenda.
WALLACE: Let me ask you one last Russia question, then I want to talk about agenda.
In a tweet this week, the president said this, this weekend. He asserted his complete power to pardon.
Question: if he and his people have done nothing wrong, why even talk about pardons?
SCARAMUCCI: See, this is one -- again, this is one of those things about Washington and it’s the convolution and the nature of the things. I’m in the Oval Office with the president last week, we’re talking about that. He brought that up, he said but he doesn’t have to be pardoned. There’s nobody around him that has to be pardoned. He was just making the statement about the power of pardons.
And so, now, all of the speculation and all the spin and oh, he’s going to pardon himself and do all this other nonsense -- the president does not need to pardon himself.
And the reason that he doesn’t need to pardon himself is he hasn’t done anything wrong.
SCARAMUCCI: And so for me we can micro-analyze every one of the president’s tweets, that’s fine, we can go in that direction, but what I want to do for people is get it back on the president’s agenda. This is a president -- this is a jobs president. This is a president who’s going to help middle class families, lower middle class families.
You want to talk about gaps, Chris? There is a wide income gap that many elites do not feel, but the president feels it. And members of his staff feel it. And people in the middle of America feel it. And you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to put policies together that close that gap.
If people want to talk about these nonsensical scandals, I’ll let them do that, but I’m going to be missile-locked on focusing on the president’s agenda, and helping people to understand the president the way I know him and the way I love him.
WALLACE: I got to ask you one last question, and I hesitate to do that. But does the president still have confidence in his attorney general? He’s had some tough things to say about Jeff Sessions this weekend and his decision to recuse, and then this new story in The Washington Post that the Russian ambassador told -- supposedly told his superiors that he had talked with Sessions about campaign matters, but Session denies.
So, does the president still have confidence in Sessions?
SCARAMUCCI: See, this is something that I think is super important. A question like that, I want to leave that for the president and Attorney General Sessions to talk about themselves. My guess is that he’s in the seat and so therefore the president still has confidence in him.
I’m sure, like all of us, there’s things that Attorney General Sessions has done this president doesn’t like, and let them have that conversation among themselves and hopefully we can fix it.
But, Chris, here’s the thing: the good news about President Trump is that he wears a lot on his sleeve. We know exactly where he comes from and where he stands on things. The reason why the American people love him and the reason why he became president is because he’s a, you know, wears heart on his sleeve type of person, very caring. But also as a business executive, he sort of tells people how he feels.
WALLACE: All right.
SCARAMUCCI: Again, another thing I don’t like about Washington -- if I don’t like something that you’re saying and I put out a tweet saying I don’t like Chris Wallace, all of a sudden now you and I have to be mortal enemies for the rest of our lives. I don’t -- I don’t think that’s how it works in American business, and so, we sort of need to stop doing that in the political system.
WALLACE: OK, speaking of tweets, in the time we have left, let’s do a lightning round. Quick questions, quick answers, Anthony.
WALLACE: You have been deleting some old tweets over the last couple of days. You say, and quite understandably, because they were a distraction, they were when you weren’t working for Donald Trump, now you are working for Donald Trump.
But as you know, all this stuff lives forever. And I wanted to put one of them up.
WALLACE: In 2012, you tweeted we, the USA, has 5 percent of the world’s population but 50 percent of the world’s guns. Enough is enough. It is just common sense to apply more control.
Question: do you still believe that?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, OK, so the answer to the question, and I’m a pro-Second Amendment person. My dad was a hunter. I’ve got no problem with that. What I was worried about in 2012, in urban centers, if you don’t have a little level of gun control, it could lead to more violence.
But truth be told, and is why I deleted the tweets, Chris, it’s a total distraction. It’s total nonsense. When I made the decision to take this job, my politics and my political ideas do not matter at all. What matters is that I am supporting -- subordinating all of that to the president’s agenda.
Ed Koch, who lived in this city, had a great line: if you believe in nine out of the twelve things that I’m for, you should vote for me. If you believe twelve out of the twelve things, you need a psychiatrist.
SCARAMUCCI: As far as I’m concerned --
WALLACE: Wait, wait, now let me pick up because you’re blowing the whole idea of the lightning round and I want to move on.
SCARAMUCCI: All right. But that’s a super loaded question for a 15 second answer.
SCARAMUCCI: But go on, Chris, go ahead.
WALLACE: Here’s another one. You talked on Friday about that famous incident in 2015 -- I know you’re going to shake your head -- where you called President Trump a hack politician. But I looked at the tape; it’s actually much worse than that, Anthony.
So, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARAMUCCI: He’s a hack politician and --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you’re in trouble now.
SCARAMUCCI: -- he’s probably going to make Elizabeth Warren his vice presidential nominee with comments like that.
Politicians don’t want to go at Trump because he’s got a big mouth and he’s afraid he’s going to light them up on Fox News and all these other places, but I’m not a politician.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So why’s he resonating? So why’s he resonating?
SCARAMUCCI: You an inherited money dude from Queens County. Bring it, Donald.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Bring it, Donald. Here’s the question --
SCARAMUCCI: Hey, look, we’re both New Yorkers. By the way --
WALLACE: No, but here’s the question, is that what Trump likes about you? Mr. Trump, President Trump likes about you -- you’re like him, you fight like him?
SCARAMUCCI: Hey, let me tell you something, he hit first. And he -- so he called me from Air Force One yesterday on the way down to christening the aircraft carrier. He says you don’t even remember the whole story.
And I said, what do you mean, sir? He says, I brought you into my office, I said I’m thinking about running for president. You told me that I wasn’t running, which is true, and this is way, way early.
And I was -- I told him I was going to sign up with Scott Walker because I needed a candidate --
WALLACE: All right, we’re on a lightning round. Get to the -- to the point.
SCARAMUCCI: OK, but if we’re on a lightning round and you’re showing a clip like that, you’ve got to give me a chance to explain myself. The president was hitting the hedge fund industry that morning on "Fox and Friends".
WALLACE: I know that.
SCARAMUCCI: OK? And so, I’m a fighter. When he’s hitting the hedge fund industry and that’s my life -- lifeblood, I’m hitting back. OK, he knows that, he respects that about me. We were laughing about that last night.
But what I love about you guys, OK, is this three-minute segment that I guess is going to be played for eternity, we should put it on the Voyager spacecraft and send it interstellar, OK? I love the guy.
WALLACE: Let me just --
SCARAMUCCI: We’re New Yorkers.
And this is my point, I want to finish my point. I love the guy. I spent the last 18 months supporting him unyieldingly because he’s a great person and he’s going to be a phenomenal -- he is a phenomenal president, and he’s going to be a better president.
But you’re not allowed to fight a little bit amongst your friends? If you’re not allowed to do that, what are we doing?
WALLACE: Am I not allowed to actually put that on? I mean, it’s funny.
SCARAMUCCI: No, I love it. I love it.
WALLACE: I make you -- I make you a promise I will never play that clip again.
SCARAMUCCI: Play it -- you can play it again.
WALLACE: No, I don’t want --
WALLACE: Final question.
SCARAMUCCI: I’m totally fine with what you’re -- here’s my point, I’m a New Yorker. He’s a New Yorker. We’re allowed to go at it a little bit.
WALLACE: I’m a New Yorker, too. So, that makes us three of us.
SCARAMUCCI: So, God bless, but my point is we were laughing about it yesterday. I think Jon Karl asked me about it at the press conference. He says does the president remind -- every 15 seconds reminds me, OK? I apologized for it, we’re moving on.
WALLACE: One quick final question; you’ve got 30 seconds to answer this one.
SCARAMUCCI: Go ahead.
WALLACE: You have suggested -- this was before you became communications director -- maybe we’ll put on a show, a White House show every morning, anchor desk on the North Lawn, to talk about the administration policies. Are you serious?
SCARAMUCCI: I got to talk about the president about it. I mean, that was when I was brainstorming before I had an official job.
But here’s what I would say to you in less than 30 seconds. We are going to reinvent the way we deliver information out of the White House because the world has changed. I have in my pocket a radio studio, a television studio, and a movie studio. The entire world has changed; we need to rethink the way we’re delivering our information. And so, stay tuned.
WALLACE: Anthony, thank you. Thanks for your time. We hope to have you back often.
SCARAMUCCI: Great to be here.
WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss what the White House shakeup says about where President Trump wants to go from here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARAMUCCI: I love the president. I love the president. I love the president. I love the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci leaving no doubt about his loyalty to his new boss.
And it's time now for our Sunday group. Former Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who is now a Fox News contributor, and welcome. Columnist for The Hill, Juan Williams. Julie Pace, Washington bureau chief of The Associated Press, and former National Security Council staffer, Gillian Turner.
Well, Julie, at the risk of repeating them, I love this new guy.
WALLACE: Finally, the Trump White House as a surrogate who talks like the boss.
JULIE PACE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Exactly, I think that's what has a lot of Trump loyalists and supporters happy with this pick. They feel like this is somebody who understands the way the president communicates, who’s going to go up there and have one mission, and that's to serve the president, to promote his agenda.
And I know that sounds simple, that's what you're supposed to do in this job, but at the reality is that in this White House, you have a lot of different factions and there’s a lot of speculation every day about their true motivations, about what they are really there to do. And particularly in the comms shop, you have a lot of people --
PACE: Communication shop, you have a lot of people who came over from the Republican National Committee, an organization that while they were tacitly supporting Trump in the general election, it was pretty clear that they did not believe he was actually going to win. That has fueled a lot of attention and some of the things that Anthony said in that interview would make me pretty nervous if I came from the RNC and I was working in that comms shop right now.
WALLACE: Yes. And we should point out, they were brought over by Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer and he was basically saying there's a new sheriff in town.
PACE: Exactly. What do you make of -- the same question I asked him, what do you think his appointment and his aggressiveness says about the way this president is going to take on the Russia investigation?
PACE: Well, I think the Russia investigation is something that they’re going to be dealing with for months or even years. And they have to figure out a strategy. They can be aggressive, they can take this head on every day or, and this is what a lot of Republicans would prefer that they do, is they try to push a different agenda. They try to focus more on health care, have the president out there talking about it, try to focus on tax reform or infrastructure.
That's where they have fallen down on this. They keep getting bogged down by Russia and they haven't had this ability to promote a different, more positive agenda.
WALLACE: Well, speaking about getting tripped up and mixing messages, I want to play some clips from the president's interview with The New York Times this week. Here is the president’s take on his own attorney.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would recuse himself before the job, I would have said thanks, Jeff, but I can't, you know, I’m not going to take you. It's extremely unfair and that's a mild word, to the president.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WALLACE: And here is the president on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MICHAEL SCHMIDT, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: If Mueller was looking at your finances, and your family's finances unrelated to Russia -- is that a red line?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?
TRUMP: I would say yes. I would say yes.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congressman Chaffetz, is it a mistake for the president to take on Sessions and Mueller, or should he go after them aggressively?
JASON CHAFFETZ, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he's going to do what he's going to do. I mean, I think that's part of what's endearing to America, is the fact that he just kind of lays it out the way that he should, the way that he wants to.
I do think it was a mistake to have a special counsel. I don't think it’s risen to that level. But nevertheless, it’s in place. And I think he's going to have a very aggressive style going after him.
WALLACE: But do you think that's smart to go after the prosecutors and try to undercut them?
CHAFFETZ: Well, I don't. I don’t think that's necessarily the right way to do it, but it is the way the president is going to do it, and I think that's why he brought on Anthony Scaramucci. He actually speaks native Trump and he’s going to convey that to the American people.
WALLACE: Not only did Attorney General Sessions get a kind of vote of no-confidence from the president, but he also has to deal with this new Washington Post story that I talked to Anthony Scaramucci about, which reports that the Russian ambassador was intercepted, electronic intercepts, telling his superiors in Moscow, in the Kremlin, that he had discussions with Sessions about campaign matters, something as you’ll see now that Sessions flatly denied.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: Let me be clear: I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Gillian, how much trouble is Jeff Sessions in? And with Jared Kushner testifying not once, but twice this week before congressional committees behind closed doors, how serious is the Russia investigation at this point?
GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: The Russia investigation, from my perspective, is growing more serious by the day. To the point about the attorney general, his dealings with Russian Ambassador Kislyak are the reasons he recused himself from the investigation from the get-go. So, he did that voluntarily, it’s something the president has now said he resents. It was completely his decision to do that.
And I would just say, in terms of the attorney general and this ongoing investigation, there's really -- to build on a point Julie made, there’s really two models that the president can follow.
This is something that Steve Hadley, President Bush's national security advisor, captured brilliantly in May. He said there’s two models here for the entire administration. There is the Nixon/Clinton model where you treat it as a criminal investigation. You lawyer up, you have your hand in the pot every day, you push back as hard as you can.
Or there is what he called the Reagan model that he chose during Iran-Contra, which is, you take a step back, you have respect for the process and you let the chips ultimately fall where they may.
The Trump administration is clearly choosing the former model. They could still reverse course if they wanted to, and I think certainly, they would be politically smarter for making that decision.
WALLACE: You know, it didn't work for Nixon. It did work for Clinton.
TURNER: Yes. But I think they both -- well, it worked for President Clinton to a certain extent. Yes, he stayed in office.
WALLACE: And he survived and he roughed up Ken Starr.
WALLACE: Let me move to you, Juan.
What do you think -- and I want to put this all together. What do you think the president's various actions this week on Scaramucci, on giving that surprising interview to The New York Times on shaking up his legal team? The guy who was in charge, New York lawyer Marc Kasowitz, no longer is. What do you think that tells you about where this president is right now?
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think he’s totally focused on the Russia story. I think, you know, let's use the cultural term, the godfather, he's going to the mattresses right now. I mean, he brings in Scaramucci because he sees Scaramucci as a guy who got an apology from CNN, got people fired at CNN. He had --
WALLACE: Let’s exactly point that out. CNN did a story that said that Scaramucci was under investigation. There’s no evidence that he was.
WALLACE: And that's what followed.
WILLIAMS: And then, President Trump, who had initially taken advice from his White House chief of staff not to bring in Scaramucci, his White House public liaison, suddenly he is now fascinated with Scaramucci because he's had success in the kind of street fight attitude. So, you have that, but then the big surprise was, as you point out, The New York Times interview to go after his old attorney general and you have to wonder about the subsequent leaks about the attorney general.
It could be -- given what he said about Robert Mueller and trying to discredit Robert Mueller, who is the investigator, that he now thinks if I can get rid of Sessions, I can get somebody over there who will fire Mueller and make it easier for me as we go down that path.
So, I think what we are right now is we’re on war footing. I mean, this is an explosive moment for the president, for the legal system, for the Constitution.
WALLACE: I just want to ask you one quick questions at the end of the segment because I must say, the thought occurred to me -- on Thursday, you have the president basically saying, I’m really unhappy with Jeff Sessions and I wouldn't have appointed him. And the next day, there is this leak of information.
I see you smiling about the fact that Sessions may have misled everybody about what he talked to Kislyak about -- do you think -- I mean is that -- obviously the thought has occurred to you.
PACE: It has occurred to me and many other reporters. I’ll just go with the -- my friends of The Washington Post said about the story, which is that they have been working on this information since June.
WALLACE: All right.
TURNER: Chris, if the president thinks he’s felt the ire of the Washington, D.C. firmament (ph), fire the attorney general or the special counsel, and you will really feel the wrath of Washington --
WALLACE: All right. You know what we’re going to do, folks? I promise, we are now going to talk agenda. Well, maybe not quite, but we are. We’re going to take a break. See you a little later.
Coming up, the Senate gets ready to vote on ObamaCare. But what will they be voting on? Two key senators join us next.
WALLACE: Coming up, President Trump puts pressure on Senate Republicans to keep a major campaign promise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Any senator who votes against starting debate is really telling America that you're fine with ObamaCare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask two top senators if repeal and replace is still alive, next.
WALLACE: A look outside the beltway at Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota.
The Senate holds a big vote this week on what to do about ObamaCare with major splits among Republican members. Meanwhile, other priorities, like the budget, tax reform and raising the debt limit are stacking up like planes over an airport on a summer afternoon.
Joining me now to discuss the Trump agenda from South Dakota, the chair of the Republican conference, Senator John Thune, and from Baltimore, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin.
Gentlemen, before we get to ObamaCare, I want to talk you all about an agreement that congressional leaders in both parties have apparently reached over the weekend about a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia and to limit the president's ability to lift those sanctions.
Senator Thune, is the president going to sign that bill?
SEN. JOHN THUNE, R-SOUTH DAKOTA: I believe he will, Chris, because the Senate passed it 98-2. Obviously both Senator Cardin and I voted for that. The House has made some minor modifications. We included Iran. They extended it to North Korea. But this is a bill that will go to the president's desk and he should sign it into law.
WALLACE: You say he should sign it into law. There has been some pushback from the administration. They don't like the idea that it limits his ability to conduct diplomacy by imposing sanctions and limiting his ability to lift them.
THUNE: Well, that's true, but I think that the -- in the end the administration will come to the conclusion that an overwhelming majority of Congress has, and that is that we need to sanction Russia for their meddling in the U.S. election. That, I think, will pass probably overwhelmingly again in the Senate and with a veto-proof majority. So the president would -- I think it's in his best interest for a lot of reasons to sign it, and I believe he will.
WALLACE: Senator Cardin, do you share your colleague's confidence the president will sign it, and what if he doesn't? What if he does veto it?
SEN. BEN CARDIN, D-MARYLAND: Well, Chris, this is a very strong bill. It imposes mandatory sanctions on Russia. It provides for congressional review. If the president wants to wait or eliminate sanctions, it was -- it's very bipartisan. The -- Senator Corker and I, on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, drafted a good part of it, Senator Crapo (ph) and Brown from the Banking Committee. It has broad support in the Senate and in the House. If he vetoes the bill, we will override his veto.
WALLACE: Let's turn to the big health care vote this week. Here's what Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-NY, MINORITY LEADER: We Democrats don't know what our Republican friends are planning to vote on it next week. I'll but many Republicans don't know yet either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator Thune, as the number three Republican in the Senate, do you know what you're going to be voting on next week? Is it repeal, or is it repeal and replace?
THUNE: It's voting to get on the bill, Chris. It's voting to open the debate. We can't change the status quo, which is skyrocketing premiums and collapsing markets out there for way too many Americans less we get on the bill. So the vote will be at some point this week to proceed to consideration of the bill. It's a procedural vote. At which point all amendments become an order. There will be an unlimited opportunity for Democrats, for Ben Cardin and some of his colleagues to offer their amendments, for Republican colleagues to offer theirs to try and improve and strengthen the bill. But you can't do that unless you get on the bill.
So the first vote, which will occur sometime this week, will be to proceed to that consideration of that legislation and to -- and to at least have a debate where we can have an open amendment process and give people a chance to be heard.
WALLACE: But -- but -- but without getting too far into the weeds, I know the first -- when you get on the bill, the bill is the house bill, which nobody likes. The question -- including a lot of people in the House. Then Senator McConnell is going to offer a substitute, the first amendment, and is that going to be repeal or repeal and replace?
THUNE: I think ultimately that's a judgment that Senator McConnell will make at some point this week before the vote, depending on how these discussions go. If we can reach an agreement among Republicans about the Senate bill -- and I -- my own view is, and I'm speaking myself, I hope we do because I think the Senate bill does strike the right balance.
But one way or the other, we need to get on the bill in order to have that debate. And the leader will make that decision at some point about whether that's repeal, repeal and replace. I hope it's repeal and replace.
But whether -- which camp you're in, you can't have a debate about either unless we get on the bill. So we need a "yes" vote. That's the only way to change the status quo.
WALLACE: Senator Cardin, this got even more complicated on Friday when the Senate parliamentarian said that some measures in the McConnell bill, the bill that the Senate majority leader is offering, are outside Senate rules and may be out of order. So where does that leave this whole thing?
CARDIN: Well, if we go on the bill, if the Republicans had the votes to move on the bill, 22 million to 33 million Americans are at risk of losing their insurance coverage. All Americans are at risk of losing quality insurance coverage. So if we get on this bill, we're under what's called reconciliation. And many of the amendments will not be in order because they have to deal directly with the fiscal issues because it's reconciliation. So we don't have an open process if we get on the bill. We have a very narrow opportunity to really change this bill.
WALLACE: Senator Thune, President Trump, and you were at that meeting this week in the White House, said -- told Republican senators that you've all talked tough when President Obama was in the White House but things have changed. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: For seven years you had an easy route, we'll repeal, we'll replace and he's never going to sign it. But I'm signing it. So it's a little bit different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator Thune, if Republicans blocked the bill this week, either don't vote to begin the debate or begin the debate and then go against whatever is on the floor, is that the end of repeal and replace?
THUNE: It's not. But it is a vote I think for the status quo.
But what will happen, and if and when that were to occur, is we'll go back to the drawing board and we'll get a bill up. We are going to vote to repeal and replace ObamaCare. The question is not -- it's not a question of if, it's a question of when.
My argument, Chris, is that we need to do it sooner rather than later, which is the argument that the president made, because this thing is spiraling out of control. ObamaCare is in a death spiral. You have seen, since 2013, premiums in this country in the individual marketplace have more than doubled. You've got markets that are in a free fall, in a collapse, and something has to be done sooner. And I think that's why we need to get on the bill and start this debate. And then if people want to amend it, it is an open amendment process. There will be unlimited amendments that can be offered and in the -- and the United States Senate will have an opportunity to work its will. But that can't happen. We can't change the status quo less w get on the bill.
And I think we have a responsibility and a duty to the American people that we committed and promised that we would repeal and replace ObamaCare with something that's better. And so they need to hold us accountable. And I think the sooner we get on the bill and debating these issues, the more quickly we will get a -- we will get a result, which takes us in a better direction with lower premiums and stable markets and liberating people --
THUNE: From all these mandates and regulations and taxes that they have an ObamaCare today.
WALLACE: Finally, gentlemen, I want to ask about -- we've only got a couple of minutes left.
Senator Cardin, as I mentioned before, there are a lot of other things that are stacking up that -- to basically keep the government running. You've got to pass a budget. The government runs out of money on October 1st. You've got to raise the debt limit. At a certain point we reach that barrier. What are the chances that we are going to be able to avoid a train wreck this fall?
THUNE: Well, if you want me, I'll take that, Chris. First off --
WALLACE: No. Wait, no, I'm asking Senator Cardin.
CARDIN: Well, there's a better way to move forward. And (INAUDIBLE) -- there's a -- there's a better way to move forward. In response to Senator Thune, if Democrats and Republicans work together, we can get things done. Senator Alexander, the Republican chairman of the Health Committee, says he'll schedule hearings. We had no hearings on the health care bill that the Republicans are considering. Let's work together. We've worked together on the FY '17 budget. We want to improve the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it. And there are ways we can do that, by bringing down overall health care costs and making, particularly in the individual marketplace, health insurance more affordable.
On the budget issues, we have members of the authorizing committees on both their Democratic and Republican side. The Environmental Public Works Committee, this week, will be passing out some authorization bills that deal with the budget. We need to deal with a realistic budget for FY '18 that reflects the progress we made in FY '17 working together. If we do that, it's going to be in the best interests of the American people. We can improve the health care system. We can get a reasonable budget. And we can move this country forward.
WALLACE: Gentlemen, we're going to have to close on that optimistic note. Senator Cardin, Senator Thune, thank you both. Thanks for coming in today. Always good to talk with you gentlemen.
THUNE: Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next we'll bring back the panel to handicap whether Senate Republicans can revive, repeal and replace or whether it's time to move on.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about the White House shakeup and what it says about the Trump presidency six months in? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @foxnewssunday, and we may use your question on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Let ObamaCare fail. It will be a lot easier. And I think we're probably in that position where we'll just let ObamaCare fail. We're not going to own it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump, who took a number of different positions on ObamaCare this way, repeal, repeal and replace, and, as you saw there, just let the whole thing collapsed.
And we're back now with the panel.
So, Julie, what do they really think at the White House? Do they think that repeal and replace is dead or do they somehow think that at the last moment, faced with a vote, that some of these senators who have come out against it will vote for it?
PACE: It kind of depends what day you ask them that question. There have been some days recently where they have been pretty down on this, where they can't exactly see how they're going to get back, particularly with Senator McCain being out at the -- a crucial vote for this.
Look, they planned to spend the next couple of days trying to see if there's a way through here, trying to see if repeal and replace could get the votes, trying to see if repeal only could get the votes.
When you talk to Republicans, though, they -- mixed messages. The constant shifting from the president, sometimes within the same day, is hugely unhelpful because Republicans also want to move forward on this. They want to put a bill on his desk and have that bill signed. But it's really unclear day to day what bill the president actually wants to sign.
WALLACE: We asked you for questions for the panel and F.D. tweeted this, "could Donald Trump has done more to dig into health care legislative process -- was there a lack of presidential effort, involvement?"
Congressman Chaffetz, you know, I looked into this. The president has not made -- since he took office -- a single major speech that was really devoted to repeal and replace. And say what you will about ObamaCare, and I know you've got a lot of problems with it, but President Obama barnstormed the country at least pushing it. So the question is, how do you answer F.D.?
CHAFFETZ: No, I think the president actually could do more. Use the power of the -- Air Force One, get out to the country, make the speeches. I think at this point the White House communication is, let's just have something. We need some sort of victory.
You know it's sort of like Al Davis from the Oakland Raiders, just win, baby. Just get -- just put something up on the board. I mean now that they're playing with live ammunition, you've got a lot of Republicans that are getting squishy. So it's ultimately the responsibility know of the Senate. Here's a motion to proceed. It's a motion to, are we going to have a debate, from what is supposed to be the most deliberative body on the face of the planet, and we can't even get Republicans to agree to debate the bill.
WALLACE: So -- so what do you think is the impact of that if they won't even go into -- at this point they do not have the 50 votes plus the -- Vice President Pence to break the tie to even begin debate.
CHAFFETZ: That's what's so frustrating. And I think if you go to the heartland, that's what people are most concerned about. You don't even have the debate, let alone the vote. It may fail, but at least have the debate. And that's the first question that will come up this week.
WALLACE: We had some shocking news this week. Senator John McCain, we learned, has an aggressive, malignant form of brain cancer. Here was McCain's best friend in the Senate, Lindsey Graham.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: I can't think of anything I've done since 1999 politically and in many ways personally that was worth doing without John. I just asked God for one thing, that he has a voice and he can use it as long as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Juan, this has both personal and political residence here in Washington, doesn't it?
WILLIAMS: It has tremendous residence here in Washington. I think -- I think our prayers -- I think everybody's prayers are with John -- Senator McCain and his family. I want to just say a special expression to Meghan McCain, our Fox colleague, you know, to her and her dad, much love, much respect.
McCain has a special place in Washington, Chris, because he's in a time of polarized politics that we live in. He's able to operate across party lines. You think to McCain-Feingold, for example, on finance reform. You think of McCain-Kennedy on immigration reform. You think of his efforts going overseas tirelessly traveling to places in the midst of war to say, this is the American policy. I want to know what's going on, on the ground. And he takes people who are politically opposite, like Elizabeth Warren, with him to show them what is actually taking place on the ground.
So he operates in a way that I think gives him some special cachet, if you will, because everybody wants to talk to him, everybody embraces him. And I would add, given his status as a military hero, there's no one like him in that sense in this generation. You think about the idea that he stayed in a prison camp and said, I'm not leaving despite the statue of my father and grandfather. I'm not leaving till my men do.
WALLACE: And the North Vietnamese gave him -- said, we'll let you go because your father's an admiral.
WALLACE: Right. So at that moment you say, wow, now there's a man of character. There's a guy who you want standing up. And if you want to talk about, you know, I so often hear Republicans these days say somebody's a patriot, like, oh, he's one of us, he's a good -- you know what, there's a real patriot right here, John McCain.
WALLACE: Gillian, as a member of the National Security Council staff for both Bush 43 and Obama, how big a player is John McCain when it comes to national security issues?
TURNER: He is everything. You know, as a -- as a person, I messaged Meghan the other day when this became public and I said, you know, your dad is truly an American national treasure. We don't have many of them in this country, but he's one of them. The potential loss of his service in the Senate, whether he steps aside tomorrow or years from now --
WALLACE: Right, we should say, he -- he says --
TURNER: He says -- yes.
WALLACE: And if anybody can pull it off, he says, I'm coming back.
TURNER: And I hope he does. But that -- the loss of his Senate service, whenever it comes, whatever he steps aside, constitutes a national security crisis for the GOP, but by extension for the country, in the sense that this is a person who has been the primary voice on national security issues for a decade. This is somebody who explains the ISIS threat to us starting in 2014 when they first emerged on the scene. He has explained the threat posed by our nuclear adversaries around the world. And I don't see, on the Republican side, I don't see any current leader who rival him and I don't see the next generation of leaders who are going to have that same -- you know, have that same voice on these issues.
WALLACE: And I want to pick up --
TURNER: So it's no worry (ph).
WALLACE: I want to pick up on that with you, Congressman Chaffetz, because, you know, both with Barack Obama and with Donald Trump, there has been this talk about kind of pulling back, rolling up our engagement with the rest of the world and John McCain is one of the few voices out there, in either party, talking about the kind of Reagan-esque, aggressive, dominant engagement with the rest of the world.
CHAFFETZ: Well, his heart and soul is with the United States of America. He's a warrior, a true patriot in every way. He's uniquely American. And I think he wants to help lead the charge. He doesn't want to sit back. He wants to take the -- take the fight to the enemy. And -- and he'll do that till -- every step of the way.
And, you know, his fight with cancer touches all of us. All of us have some relative or some friend that's fighting cancer, and God bless him. We wish him nothing but the best.
WALLACE: Well, very good, strong sentiments. And I -- I have to say, it -- it feels like a -- it's not a good Sunday without John McCain on one of the Sunday shows. He loves to do it. And, senator, if you're watching, all of us are thinking of you and come on back and get into an argument with me, because we've got into plenty.
Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our "Power Player of the Week." She calls her profession the original search engine.
WALLACE: The job description could not be more daunting, to maintain a universal collection of human knowledge, as we asked last fall who would take on that assignment. Here's our "Power Player of the Week."
CARLA HAYDEN, LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS: I'm smiling because ,for a librarian, this is ultimate library.
WALLACE (voice-over): Meet Carla Hayden, the librarian of Congress. She's in charge of 162 million items, the world's biggest collection of books, movies, maps and music. And it keeps getting bigger.
HAYDEN: Fifteen thousand items come in to the Library of Congress and about 12,000 of those items are actually added to the collection every day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So help me God.
HAYDEN: So help me God.
WALLACE: Hayden is just the 14th librarian of Congress since 1802, and he's the first professional librarian.
HAYDEN: Each librarian of Congress has had a different background. There have been lawyers, scholars, authors, politicians.
WALLACE: Of course a couple of other things set her apart.
WALLACE (on camera): You are the first woman. You're the first African-American. What does that mean to you?
HAYDEN: There are certain professions that have a preponderance of females. Being a woman at the helm of the world's largest library is very significant. African-American in a role that symbolizes knowledge and scholarship and information is also very empowering.
WALLACE (voice-over): The library's original mission was to be the research arm for Congress, which is still one of its roles.
HAYDEN: There's a tunnel that allows members and their staff and the library staff to go back and forth.
WALLACE: It's been called the most beautiful public space in America, built in 1897 for $7 million, which was under budget and ahead of schedule. But there's criticism the library has not kept up with the times in putting its collection online. Hayden means to change that.
HAYDEN: In her own handwriting she said, I have been pushed around all my life and felt at this moment that I couldn't take it anymore.
WALLACE: Hayden showed us the handwritten notes of Rosa Parks when she refused to go to the back of the buss. Now the Parks' collection has been digitized.
HAYDEN: Imagine a child or a person looking at this, having that sense of history right here.
WALLACE: Hayden fell in love with reading as a little girl.
HAYDEN: I would read a cereal box. I would read anything.
WALLACE: And when she discovered libraries --
HAYDEN: Libraries are the original treasure chest because you never know what you'll find.
WALLACE: Hayden was the head of the Baltimore Library System during the 2015 riots there. She was determined to keep the library open in the midst of the unrest.
HAYDEN: There was no other place open and we were that life center for that community at a time.
WALLACE: Carla Hayden says libraries are opportunity centers where people can advance themselves and she calls librarians the original search engines.
HAYDEN: You have a person who has a lifetime of getting lost in books and libraries and bookstores to be the head of the world's largest library. That's pretty exciting.
WALLACE: As part of Hayden's digital initiative in May, the Library of Congress made 25 million pieces from its collection available for the public to download. And it's all free.
And that's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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