This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," February 18, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
On this special edition of FOX NEWS SUNDAY, the gunman charged with
murdering 17 people out of Florida high school left a trail of warning
signs. Why were so many red flags missed?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No child, no teacher, should
ever be in danger in an American school.
GOV. RICK SCOTT, R—FLORIDA: We're going to find out what happened here
and what we're going to do is we're going to have a real conversation about
how we're going to stop it.
WALLACE: This hour, we'll get the latest on the investigation into this
school massacre, the lives lost.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sent her to school yesterday, she was supposed to be
WALLACE: And what led a troubled teen to buy a semiautomatic rifle and use
it to kill.
We'll discuss the latest mass shooting and how to prevent more with Rush
Limbaugh, who joins us live for a rare television interview.
And we'll talk about where this leaves debate of gun control with Mark
Kelly, the retired astronaut husband of Gabby Giffords and a leader in
preventing gun violence.
Plus, we'll hear from a group of survivors who want to rally young people
across the country and force action to stop the bloodshed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Politicians can make all the promises they want and
they can give all their condolences. But at what point do we say that's not
enough and we call for action?
WALLACE: Then --
ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: The indictment alleges that the
Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and
undermine public confidence and democracy.
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel about a sweeping indictment presenting
new evidence of how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
All, right now, on FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
WALLACE: And hello again from FOX News in Washington.
We are still feeling the shockwaves from yet another school shooting. The
massacre at a Florida high school has reignited the debate over guns and
mental health and there are troubling questions about the FBI's failure to
follow up on warnings about the shooter. In a few minutes, we'll discuss
all of this with Rush Limbaugh and gun control advocate Mark Kelly.
But we begin with breaking news. Students from a high school are making an
announcement today. Five of them have joined us and I want you to know how
sorry we are for what you went through and for the loss of your friends.
Cameron, what's your announcement today?
CAMERON KASKY, HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR: Today, I'd like to announce that we
have an event coming up to have everybody in the nation talking about what
we are talking about. And one of the things we've been hearing is that
it's not the time you have to talk about gun control and we respect that.
We've lost 17 lives in our community took 17 bullets to the heart and it's
difficult to come back from that.
So, here is the time that we are going to talk about gun control. March
24th, we have the March for Our Lives which you can find at
marchforourlives.com and expect to us a lot. The March for Our Lives is
going to be in every major city. And we are organizing it so students
everywhere can beg for our lives, because at the end of the day, this isn't
about the red and blue, the GOP and the Democrats. This is about adults
And at this point, you're either with us or against us. We are giving all
our politicians a clean slate and in the next election, we are saying if
you are accepting money from the NRA, there is a badge of shame on you
because you are enabling things like this to happen.
WALLACE: David, do you have a specific agenda on how you think you can
protect kids? Are these marches going to be mostly politicians talking to
the crowds or is this going to be students trying to mobilize other
DAVID HOGG, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: This is a student-led grassroots movement
and this is not a debate, this is a discussion between Americans because
we've had too many debates before and they've gotten nowhere. We need a
discussion where we are both sides. From the Republicans, they can talk
about mental health care, and from the Democrats, they can talk about gun
But what we need to do -- but what we need to do here is come together not
as Democrats or Republicans but as Americans and work together to solve
this issue through love and compassion, because this event occurred on
Valentine's Day sadly and sadly, 17 people had to take a bullet to the
heart and so did our community. This is a time for change and we can't let
this ever happen again.
WALLACE: Well, let me pick up on that because as terrible -- and, you
know, I can't even imagine what you kids went through. As terrible as what
happened at your school. I don't have to tell you there have been other
schools, Sandy Hook and Columbine and so many others and, you know, the
nation mourns. We are all very upset and then we move on and nothing much
David, what makes you think this time is going to be any different?
HOGG: I think this time is different because immediately the same day as
the shooting, I immediately went on FOX News and talked about how this
needed to be different, how this could not be just another mass shooting.
We've had 18 this year since New Year's Eve, and now is the time for
discussion. It's not time for debate. It's time to work together.
Our elected officials need to get together, overcome their political
differences and get some things done because they need to save the future
of our country in the future of our country are those children that are
currently dying because politicians refuse to take action and continue to
take money from the special interest groups.
WALLACE: Finally, Emma, take us back to the shooting. How terrifying was
it, and is this called for a national march on March 24th, is this an
effort to give some meaning to the senseless murder of some of your
EMMA GONZALEZ, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR: This is a case of simple, please stop.
Please stop allowing us to be gunned down in our hallways. People are
telling us that we should run for president. We want an education, you
know? Like at this point, we are trying so desperately hard to communicate
what we're feeling and so many people are listening to us.
You know, the older generations are -- every generation is supporting us
with countless, countless amount of energy. So many people are coming up
to us in the street saying "thank you" and we want to thank them by
communicating what we are trying to communicate. We want to get the
support for March for Our Lives. The Website is going up today. That is
We want people to -- we want students to be at that march and to be with
us. We want to be with those students who we didn't understand their pain
before and it's all too tragic that we all have to understand the same pain
KASKY: We're here for everybody's kids.
WALLACE: Guys, thank you. Thanks for joining us today. And I want to
invite and if you will come to the march here in Washington next month to
come back on this program, thank you.
GROUP: Thank you so much for having us.
WALLACE: Now, let's bring in the king of conservative talk radio, Rush
Limbaugh, live from his EIB Studio in Florida.
Rush, welcome back to FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thank you, Chris. Great to be here
WALLACE: What do you think about this idea of students mobilizing across
the country, a march on Washington, march in communities, students trying
to get politicians to act?
LIMBAUGH: What I found interesting about the students and -- they are very
articulate and you have to feel for them. And -- I mean, this is -- it's
with their lives. They are a combination scared and angry.
But, Chris, I have to ask if anybody is really serious about solving this
because none of this -- by the way, I couldn't care less about the gun
angle of this. None of this is going to solve -- prayers and condolences
don't solve it and marches aren't going to solve it. Chris, the next
shooter is out there. The next shooter probably has the gun that he's
going to use. The next shooter is known by many people in his community
who are concerned that this guy may do what everybody is afraid he's going
Now, how is anything that we are talking about going to stop that? We have
got to realize this is what our country has become. We can wish that it
worked this way and we can wish that Congress could legislate it away, but
they can't. It's not the fault of the NRA. It's not the fault of any --
it's the fault of the people doing this and our inability to deal with that
and stop them.
We have security, armed security at virtually every public entity in this
country except schools. For some reason, they are a gun-free zone and
everybody wants to shoot up a school knows that they are going to be the
only one armed. Until we're willing to get serious about where we are and
how do we they stop this from happening and marches aren't going to do it,
saying no more guns isn't going to do it, bashing the NRA isn't going to do
WALLACE: Let me ask you -- let me ask you about one aspect of this,
though, because we have now learned of two cases where the FBI failed to
follow up on credible information about the shooter and we've now learned
that just last month, that someone close to Nikolas Cruz, the shooter,
called the FBI tip line and according to the FBI said this. He talked
about Cruz's gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior and
disturbing social media posts as well as the potential of him conducting a
But that information was never forwarded to the Miami field office.
How do you explain that?
LIMBAUGH: Well, I could be snarky and I could say maybe the FBI should
stop trying to find every case of sexual harassment in the White House and
maybe they ought to give up on this ridiculous pursuit the Russians
colluded with Trump in the election. But clearly -- this is my point -- a
lot of people knew, a lot of people had every bit of knowledge they knew to
act on this guy, to surveilled this guy.
You know, we're told, well, we can't do anything until the crime has been
committed. That's what has to change and is going to take some really
smart people to figure how to do that without violating civil liberties and
the Fourth Amendment and so forth. But it's clear that the way we deal
with this now -- this, Chris, this is totally political.
The students think they are taking politics out of this. The minute they
bash the NRA, it's politics. And the point for many of this is -- this is
an event that advances a political agenda for the American left and the
Democrat Party --
WALLACE: Let me --
LIMBAUGH: -- to bash the NRA.
WALLACE: Let me pick up in something you said, because you just said at
the beginning, I could be snarky and I could say, well, maybe the FBI
should stop wasting so much time. And you have suggested this in a kind of
provocative way on your radio show, that the FBI is spending too much time
on the Trump investigation. But in fact, the president tweeted just that
I want to put his tweet up. The president said --
LIMBAUGH: I said it Friday. I said it Friday.
WALLACE: I know -- well, maybe he listened to you.
Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the
Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too
much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. There
is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!
Do you really see a connection between the FBI investigating the Russia
investigation of potential Trump connection and the fact that they miss the
LIMBAUGH: No, that's why I said I could be snarky. But I am trying to
make the point. The FBI is engaged in a bunch of stuff that's the waste --
time-wasting and isn't going to take us anywhere and it's all -- Chris,
everything has become politicized, political in this country and that's why
we can't solve anything.
The minute -- and I will tell you with a primary perpetrators are of making
it political is the media. The media carries one side of this argument,
the antigun, anti-NRA and they promote anything and anybody that is
promoting that and advocating that.
WALLACE: Well, let me -- at the risk --
LIMBAUGH: Once that happens, once that happens, you can forget about a
solution. We are never going to get one because politics enters the scene
and corrupts it.
WALLACE: Let me -- at the risk of raising your ire and those of your
millions of followers, let me ask you a question about guns. To buy a
handgun, you have to be 21 years old and undergo a three-day waiting period
WALLACE: But to buy an AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle, you can be 18 years
old and the background check takes just minutes. Question, is that
LIMBAUGH: It may not be sensible. I don't know. My point is, that's not
the problem. If you ban the AR-15, they're going to find something -- most
of these are handguns anyway. If you ban that, they're going to find some
other way to do this.
Until we stop them, until we affix blame where it belongs, until we are
ready to admit that this is what our country has become, we can't go back
to the '50s and Ozzie and Harriet and wish it weren't so.
LIMBAUGH: -- ban the gun.
WALLACE: What is the single thing -- you say identify them. I mean, look,
there are a lot of disturbed people out and the vast majority don't do
anything. Nikolas Cruz did do something and, yes, there were warning
WALLACE: But how do you identify them?
LIMBAUGH: This guy was identified by everybody that knew him. The FBI
knew who he was. The solution to me -- and I know this is going to cause
all kinds of angst -- but the solution is we need concealed carry in the
schools. If we are really serious about protecting the kids, we need a
mechanism to be defensive when this kind of things -- if we're not going to
take action, to stop it, we better have mechanisms in these schools to stop
it when it breaks out.
If we don't do that, then all the rest of this is nothing more than
political posturing for the 2018 midterms and the 2020 election.
WALLACE: Rush, thank you. You're coming back later in the program to
discuss a number of other issues. I'll talk to you in a few minutes.
But, first, let's turn to Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut who became a
leader in preventing gun violence after his wife, former Congresswoman
Gabby Giffords, was severely injured by a deranged shooter in 2011.
Mark, welcome back.
MARK KELLY, GUN CONTROL ADVOCATE: Thanks for having me on, Chris.
WALLACE: In the wake of yet another tragedy and, unfortunately, the only
times you and I talked tend to be after these tragedies, how would you stop
more school shootings and what you think about what Rush just said, the
idea of concealed carry? I know it's one of the things you're fighting
KELLY: Well, let me -- let me start with -- at the top of what Rush just
discussed with you. He says, first of all, the next shooter is out there,
has their firearm, ready to do this, there's nothing we can do to stop it.
Well, I would admit that in Florida, law enforcement has very few tools to
be able to prevent one of these things from happening, even the FBI, but in
some states we have been instrumental and have successfully passed things
called extreme risk protection orders or gun violence restraining orders.
The state of California, the state of Washington, Oregon, Indiana already
had one in place, Connecticut.
Law enforcement can be notified by a family member or maybe they find out
about a situation themselves and there's a very short and abbreviated
process to temporarily take the firearm away from the person that they
believe is, you know, having some mental issues and are struggling. So, we
have already, multiple times, probably dozens of times, prevented these
things from happening.
WALLACE: OK, let me --
KELLY: You just don't ever know for sure. So, that situation that you
can't stop it, that's actually not true.
WALLACE: OK. But one of the other questions is the gun. And I know one
of the things you would like to see is a renewal of the assault weapon ban
that was passed in the 1990s and may be a limit on the capacity of these
high-capacity magazines. In fact, gun rights groups point out that the
vast majority of murders in the country are not committed with assault
weapons, they are committed with handguns.
I want to put up some statistics on that. According to the FBI, in 2016,
murder victims by handguns, over 7,000. All the murders from rifles,
shotguns, and other guns all in the hundreds.
So, are these assault weapons, the semiautomatic weapons, the AR-15, are
they the real problem?
KELLY: That's 100 percent correct, what you are saying. Most of murders,
suicides are committed with handguns, clearly. But when an individual goes
into a school or another place with a lot of people with an AR-15 or AR-15-
like weapon, he has the ability to kill a lot of people much more quickly,
the .223 round that's fired out of an AR-15 moves at over 3,000 feet per
second. It tumbles when it hits a body. It is much more effective at
killing a lot of people all at once.
That's why you see it's often the gun of choice of mass shooters. Should a
19-year-old be able to buy an AR-15 but he can't buy a Bud Light? That
probably doesn't make a lot of sense.
You see, we have come out, you know, for an assault weapons ban. You know,
we often don't talk about the hardware. You know, our organization is
focused on keeping guns out of the hands of people that shouldn't have
them, felons, people who are -- you know, show some form of dangerousness,
domestic abusers, suspected terrorists --
WALLACE: But let me just tell you -- and I -- we got limited time. The
fact is he went through a background check and he passed it. So, none of
the alarms went off for him.
KELLY: That's right.
WALLACE: I want to switch if I can, though, one of the --
KELLY: But, however, Florida -- if Florida had one of these extremist
protection orders, may be local law enforcement would have had the tools to
take that firearm away from him months before this happen.
WALLACE: President Trump spoke to the nation after the school shooting and
here was his focus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are committed to working
with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the
difficult issue of mental health.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: In all of his reactions, since the either tweets or statements
since the school shooting, he has not once mentioned guns, which raises the
question, how much confidence do you have? You heard the students at the
beginning that the president and Congress will -- it will be different this
time, that they'll actually take action.
KELLY: Well, these kids are incredibly articulate and certain members of
Congress are really good at not listening to their constituents. I mean,
these -- you know, these reforms are supported typically by 70 to 90
percent of Americans. And to have high school kids who went through this
horrific shooting, calling for change should matter, I would hope in our
society that that would make a difference.
This is a very political issue, though. We've got to get people to vote on
this issue. I can guarantee you that those kids you had on today are going
to vote on this issue probably for the rest of their lives. They're going
to encourage others to do -- to do that as well.
WALLACE: And, Mark, as I say goodbye, I always -- whenever I see you, I
want to ask, how is Gabby doing?
KELLY: She is doing well. She's in a great mood. She's working hard.
Obviously, like most Americans, she's devastated by what happened in
Parkland and we are going to continue to work hard to do whatever we can to
try and make sure this doesn't happen again.
We've got to keep guns out of the hands of people that shouldn't have them.
You know, we've got 4.4 percent of the population, 44 percent of the
firearms. You know -- if you listen to the National Rifle Association or
the Rush Limbaugh, you would think we would live in the safest country in
the world with a number of firearms.
And I'm a gun owner. I'm a supporter of the Second Amendment.
KELLY: You know, we can't let these dangerous people have such easy
access. And people are going to vote on this issue and I've got to believe
it's going to change.
It's changing in the states. We helped pass 200 piece of legislation in 45
WALLACE: Our best to Gabby. Mark, thank you. Thanks for your time today.
KELLY: Thanks for having me on, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the fallout
from the Florida massacre. Will Washington do anything to stop more school
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D—CALIF., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I would rather pass gun
safety legislation than win the election because people die from this.
REP. PAUL RYAN, R—WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is not the time to jump
to some conclusion not knowing the full facts. We've got a lot more
information we need to know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Speaker Paul Ryan
with very different reactions to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas
And it's time now for our Sunday group. The head of Heritage Action for
America, Michael Needham, Charles Lane of "The Washington Post", Julie
Pace, Washington bureau chief for "The Associated Press", and former press
secretary to Vice President Pence, Marc Lotter.
Julie, as I talked about with the students -- I don't want to call them
kids, they are far too mature and articulate for that -- we've seen the
frustration, the anger after previous massacres, whether it's Newtown or
Las Vegas or on and on. We all wring our hands, we all call for action,
nothing gets done.
Is there any realistic reason to think this time will be any different?
JULIE PACE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: I haven't seen
any realistic reason to feel like this is going to be different, other than
the fact that these students are quite articulate and quite powerful in
their messaging and certainly seem a couple of days after the shooting like
this is going to be something that they're going to be continuing to push.
But I mean, I remember these days after Newtown in Washington. It was as
rattled that as I have seen this city. Lawmakers on both sides of the
aisle for a period of time or calling for action across a pretty wide
spectrum of programs, and still nothing really got done.
After Las Vegas, we saw a call from again both Democrats and from
Republicans on the bump stocks, which is something that the shooter there
had used. We've seen no action on that.
So, continuing the momentum that these students have started is going to be
a real challenge. The one place I would say where we have seen some action
and you could potentially see the possibility for more is at the state
level, places like New York and Connecticut after some of these shootings
have taken action. That seems to be more realistic than some kind of
WALLACE: Of course, the problem is as we've seen in Chicago with the gang
violence, you can have tough laws in the state and the guns still come in.
WALLACE: Marc, I think a lot of people have been struck by the fact that
President Trump and all of his responses has not once mentioned the word
guns. As a candidate and as a private citizen, actually, before that, he
was strongly in favor of the assault weapons ban as a citizen of New York,
but he became a very strong supporter of the NRA as a candidate and as
And here he is talking to the group last April.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You came through for me and
I am going to come through for you.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Do you see the president supporting any new gun controls?
MARC LOTTER, FORMER VP PENCE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the question is
going to be is, what do we do to prevent and to secure the schools? And
that's where the president is focused right now, whether it's working with
state and local officials on securing the schools, mental health issues and
then also identifying those areas possibly where the ball was dropped from
an investigatory and law enforcement standpoint to prevent a person with
this kind of potential mental illness and these kinds of thoughts having
the gun and being able to get into the school.
WALLACE: All of those are clearly legitimate, but what about the argument
that you heard from Mark Kelly that when you get a disturbed person like
Nikolas Cruz, and yes, he should have been stopped long before, gets into a
school not with a gun, not with a knife, but with an AR-15, with high-
capacity magazines, it becomes a weapon of mass destruction?
LOTTER: I think, again, we are pushing on one specific gun. But as you
showed earlier in the segment, you know, handguns can commit far more
crimes or more people die with handguns. We've had mass shootings with
handguns, not just the AR-15. So, I think you've got to balance all of
those very real issues and I think that's why -- you know, maybe there are
loopholes we can close. Maybe there are some things we can do, and I think
that's probably where the Congress is leaning right now, it's where the
president is leaning and working with states on that.
CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think everything we're hearing
-- almost everything everyone says has some truth to it. You can't stop
every single one. Mental health is important, but it's not the whole
story. Handguns kill -- et cetera, et cetera.
But, you know, when you reduce this all out, what distinguishes this
country for most of its peers in the world is the easy availability of
guns. And whether that's going to be dealt with at the state level the way
I was very interested to hear about this extreme emergency provision they
have in some states that they don't have in Florida, there has to be
something done at the margin to make it a little more difficult for a
person with a lot of trouble to get a weapon like this.
And so, the politics of it at a certain point are going to have to catch up
with the policy. But I have to say, I do agree with Julie. I don't see
the politics being there yet. One of the most interesting things in the
wake of this was the arguments coming out of a Democratic candidate in a
swing or -- sorry, special election in western Pennsylvania, Trump country,
where he was the one shying away from more gun control.
This -- in some parts of this country, this isn't even a Democratic-
Republican issue. It's very regional, rural populations will resist this
and we're going to be stuck where we've always been.
WALLACE: Michael, I want to pick up on another aspect of this because
sometimes the shooters come out of nowhere. Nobody -- oh, I've never
dreamt that he would do it, but there were warning sign after warning sign,
more than two dozen times local authorities were called with concerns about
this kid and then we've learned about these extraordinary failures by the
FBI, including the one, as we mentioned at the top of the show, were
somebody called the FBI to plan and identified Cruz as a threat.
Here was the FBI response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT LANSKY, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Under normal protocol of this
information should have been provided to the Miami field office. There,
appropriate investigative steps would have been taken. The FBI has
determined that protocol was not followed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Michael, how do you explain that and should there be
MICHAEL NEEDHAM, CEO, HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA: Well, there should be
an investigation. We should find out what happened and if protocols
weren't followed, that should be followed up on.
I mean, we should also keep in mind the men and women of the FBI are
incredible. They're out there every single day keeping us safe, and I'm
sure they're as devastated as anybody is about what happened.
I think the question is -- you know, Chuck said that what differentiates
America from the rest of the world is easy access to handguns, that's not
true. What actually differentiates America from the rest of the world is
that we have a system of government which protects people and their rights
from an oppressive government, from tyranny. And we shouldn't be as casual
as some of this conversation is about taking away people's Second Amendment
rights, their Fourth Amendment right to due process.
And so, even if we knew all of this, even if the red flags had been
identified the way they should have been and those errors hadn't happened,
what do you do next is the question. It's very easy in the light of
tragedy to say it's very simple to take away people's rights. But we
should be hesitant to do so.
WALLACE: So, knowing what you know about Nikolas Cruz, should he have been
able to get an AR-15?
NEEDHAM: I think there's a long conversation about everything that should
have happened. Obviously nobody thinks that Nikolas Cruz should have had an
AR-15. Obviously tragedy could have been avoided.
How you get from that statement, which 100 percent of Americans could agree
with, to an actual public policy that achieves that, while also respecting
the rights of millions and millions of Americans, is why this is such a
difficult issue. And we shouldn't be casual about that.
WALLACE: All right, panel, we have to take a break here. We'll see you a
But when we come back, the one and only Rush Limbaugh is back live to
discuss the other news, and there was a lot of it this week, including
what's next for the dreamers after the Senate rejects plans from both the
left and right.
WALLACE: Coming up, the president's national security advisor says the new
FBI indictments prove Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is
now really incontrovertible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Rush Limbaugh is back after the break to discuss that and more on
FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX ANCHOR: This has been another one of those weeks in the
Trump era with major developments in a number of areas, from an immigration
deadlock in the Senate, to an explosive indictment in the Russia
Rush Limbaugh is back with us again to discuss it all. And, Rush, as I try
to explain to your listeners, if interrupt you, it's just to move you along
so we can cover more territory.
So, let me start with --
RUSH LIMBAUGH, HOST, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW": I have given you the --
WALLACE: Go ahead.
LIMBAUGH: I've given you the disposition on that. They're very much aware
of this that might happen, and you're cool. You -- you -- you --
WALLACE: OK. I've -- painful (ph) dispensation.
LIMBAUGH: You're gold. You're gold.
WALLACE: Let's start with the Russia investigation and the announcement of
the indictment alleging a sophisticated Russian scheme to try to interfere
with the 2016 presidential election.
Here's what candidate Trump said about all of this during the campaign and
what the deputy attorney general said on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It could be Russia, but it
could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could
be somebody sitting on the band that that weighs 400 pounds, OK?
ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: The defendants allegedly conducted
what they called information warfare against the United States with the
stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political
system in general.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, I want to emphasize that there is no evidence -- and the
deputy attorney general made it clear, no evidence of any collusion between
the Trump campaign and the Russians. But doesn't this indictment disprove
what Mr. Trump has been saying all along, that any talk about the Russians
is a hoax and that the special counsel investigation is a witch hunt?
LIMBAUGH: I would be very careful if I were President Trump here. You know,
this is just one of many different areas the special counsel is
investigating. And without getting into details of this, because I think
this is -- everybody's trying to affect the outcome of elections, Chris,
and everybody's poisoning the Internet. Everybody's doing it. Both parties.
Insane, lunatic individuals. The Russians are pikers (ph), actually,
compared to Americans doing this. The problem is that it's illegal for them
to do it.
The danger for the president is, it would be very, I think, seductive for
him to embrace this. Total embrace -- say, see, see, I've been vindicated!
The worst thing he could do in his -- in his world is to validate this
whole investigation by claiming victory here because what if down the road
there is another indictment or series of indictments that do name Trump or
do name the Russians and Trump campaign colluding, because that's what this
This is about getting Trump, Chris. This whole thing is about setting Trump
up for impeachment if the Democrats win in 2018. This -- Donald Trump
remains in the crosshairs. He is the target. And there is no let-up in
WALLACE: Well, let me -- let me --
LIMBAUGH: No matter what the indictment does or doesn't say.
WALLACE: Let me pick up on that because you say that the real scandal here
is the effort by the Clinton campaign and the Obama administration to try
to sabotage candidate Trump and now President Trump.
LIMBAUGH: Oh, there's no question about it. And if you look at this
indictment -- and I've had people say, does this mean that Hillary could be
indicted or -- or Fusion GPS? No, because this indictment doesn't charge
anybody with -- with collusion. It says they've defrauded the United States
with mail fraud and wire fraud and -- you can't get the Fusion GPS or
Steele people. The real collusion.
And there's no question about this. This is a paid political opposition
research document that was made to look like legitimate intelligence. It
perhaps was used to defraud the FISA court. The real collusion --
WALLACE: You're talking about the dossier -- the Steele dossier her?
LIMBAUGH: Steele dossier. And -- and pretty much everything that they've
used. I mean in every story -- I -- I was on this program one year ago, one
year ago, and I told you that this whole thing that Trump colluded with the
Russians was bogus, that there was never going to be any evidence for it
and did not happen. Every news story about it since then has included that,
just like this indictment right here. No allegation in the indictment that
any American was a knowing participant, nor is there any allegation the
scheme affected the outcome of the election.
WALLACE: But -- but what --
WALLACE: But, Rush, let me ask you, I mean --
LIMBAUGH: There isn't --
WALLACE: The president's --
LIMBAUGH: There isn't going to be.
WALLACE: The president's top foreign policy advisor in the campaign, in the
first couple of weeks of his White House, General Michael Flynn, has
pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. So has another campaign advisor, George
Aren't you at least curious to find out what they have to say?
LIMBAUGH: Well, in the Flynn -- I'm glad you bring that up. In the Flynn
episode, we have learned sense that the people that conducted the interview
with Flynn, Peter Strzok, did not believe he lied. A number of other people
in the FBI did not believe Flynn lied. And yet Flynn's under indictment,
cops a plea for lying.
WALLACE: So why --
LIMBAUGH: Was Flynn told --
WALLACE: So, wait a minute, why do you think he pleaded guilty? I mean it
was an indictment. He pleaded guilty.
LIMBAUGH: Maybe he wasn't told -- well, because they had run him dry. His
family was being destroyed. His -- his financial net worth was destroyed.
He was being broken. He had to -- he had to stop the bleeding.
The question was, what was Flynn told by the FBI, by James Comey? Was Flynn
told by the special counsel -- by the way, the FBI does not believe he lied
in their interview, in your interview with them. That seems to me to be
crucial. And the new judge in this case I think is going to take that up.
So I -- I -- I think this is all politics and it's -- Chris, it hasn't
changed from -- from the get-go. It is about protecting Hillary and Obama.
Obama is the primary person being protected here because all of this spying
and all of his collusion to destroy Trump happened with his knowledge and
WALLACE: All right.
LIMBAUGH: And the reason Hillary isn't charged is because that would mean
Obama would have to be exposed as participating in the scheme too.
WALLACE: All right, let's move on to immigration. The Senate voted down
four proposals this week, everything from the president's basic plan to a
bipartisan plan. On your radio show, you recently said that you would be
willing to grant citizenship to all of the dreamers in return for full
funding for the border wall. And at a certain point, after a lot of
pressure, the Democrats seemed to agree to that of the president demanded
more. So what's -- what's going on here?
LIMBAUGH: Well, I -- this is -- actually take a lot to unpack.
I don't -- it's a political issue that the Democrats do not want solved.
Well -- all this is, is an effort by the Democrat Party to provide for
themselves a current underclass. They need a permanent underclass that is
dependent on the government for their survival. That's why they weren't
illegal immigrants granted citizenship.
They don't want the issue solved. They don't want any issue solved,
legislatively or otherwise, before the 2018 elections. And I think Trump is
partially exposing that with the various different proposals that he's
making. He's giving them pretty much what they want and they're turning it
down because they don't want solved.
I -- I -- I tell you what, I'll -- I'll make you another deal right here.
I'll make a -- I would be willing right here to support an effort to grant
permanent citizenship to whatever number of illegal immigrants there are in
the country tomorrow if you will make as part of a deal they can't vote for
15 to 25 years. And if they will agree to that, then I'll grant them
WALLACE: Well, that's pretty interesting.
It let turn to a couple of other --
LIMBAUGH: Well, you see how many takers you get. You'll get zero takers on
that on the Democratic side.
WALLACE: Well, unfortunately, you're not able --
LIMBAUGH: (INAUDIBLE) but they don't want --
WALLACE: You're not able -- you're pretty powerful but I'm not sure you can
make that deal on behalf of Congress and the president. But it's a pretty
LIMBAUGH: (INAUDIBLE) --
WALLACE: Let me -- let me turn to the president.
LIMBAUGH: All right.
WALLACE: You say in year one that Donald Trump has had one of the most
productive years -- not first years, any years, of any modern president.
LIMBAUGH: Well, it's -- it's undeniable. I mean you look at the economy
just this first year and compared it to the eight years of Obama or even
the last -- the last 12 years if you want to. We have not had this kind of
economic revival in the economy. Wall Street's been going crazy for a long
time. But in the economy, in the -- you know, in the -- the place where
people work, the people who make the country work, their lives are changing
dramatically, overwhelmingly, economically. Look at all the wage increases,
the new jobs, the bonuses and the expansion of -- of benefits.
The president is delivering on many of the things that he committed to and
promised. And the Democrats who demagogued and lied about this tax cut,
telling everybody there taxes were going to go up, the Democrats now are
beginning to regret -- they can see the polling data. They can see that
people are starting to really love this tax reform bill because they're
finding out the Democrats lied to them about it. And there's not one
Democrat fingerprint on it. There's not a single Democrat that can claim
any credit for this massively booming United States economy.
WALLACE: But, Rush --
LIMBAUGH: They --
WALLACE: Let -- let --
WALLACE: Let me just pick up on one last thing, because he certainly
deserves credit for a lot of things. But, he failed to repeal Obamacare. He
and the Congress. He has approved this new spending plan, which is going to
add half a trillion dollars to our national debt over the next two years.
Does that disappoint you? Do you hear about it from any of your listeners?
LIMBAUGH: You know it -- that -- that is -- now that is a fascinating
question. In terms of this budget busting spending, I haven't had one call
or complain about it. Not I'm sure I will now. But I haven't had one. And
it's been surprising to me that there hasn't been a single complaint
compared to the spending complaining it was doing like in 2010 when the Tea
Party was founded.
But I think this -- the massive size of these deficits is not going to be
as large as predicted because of the tax cut. There's going to be revenue
flowing into Washington that they aren't counting. It's still going to be -
- I mean it's deficit building, there's no question, but it's not going to
be nearly as high and as bad as people think it is.
What -- what was the other thing you asked about before the --
WALLACE: You've got -- you've got about 45 seconds.
LIMBAUGH: Oh, Obamacare.
LIMBAUGH: Well, we got rid of the individual mandate. That's -- that's been
proposed. That's the guts of it. Informal repeal and replace, yes, that --
that hasn't happened. May be a mistake to do it first. Not sure. But, hey,
this is just the second year. There's all kinds of time of come back and
fix a bunch of things if you want. We're just getting -- they -- they are
just getting started.
WALLACE: Rush, thank you. Thank you for joining us again today.
Folks, again, when I interrupted, it was just to move along so you could
hear Rush on more subjects.
LIMBAUGH: It was fine.
WALLACE: Rush, it's always a pleasure to talk with you. Come back.
LIMBAUGH: It's -- any time you want me, I'm here.
WALLACE: Up next, our Sunday group returns to discuss new charges in the
special counsel's investigation, the indictment of 13 Russian nationals for
trying to disrupt the 2016 election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: There is no allegation in this
indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal
activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct
altered the outcome of the 2016 election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announcing the indictment
13 Russian nationals and three companies by the special counsel. But taking
pains to emphasize what is not being alleged.
And we're back now with our panel.
Chuck, what do you think the new indictment of the Russian shows and what
about the fact that here's another example where there's not a scintilla of
evidence of collusion between the Russians on the Trump campaign?
CHARLES LANE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It's a fascinating document on many
levels. On the legal level, of course, none of these Russians are ever
going to be prosecuted. We can forget about that.
WALLACE: Because they're all in Russia and they won't be extradited?
LANE: Yes. And -- but -- but to your point about the collusion, clearly
they were at pains to show there's no collusion in this part of the story.
Left open still is the question about the Donald Trump meeting with the
people allegedly peddling dirt on Hillary. That hasn't been resolved. So
that could raise collusion in some form.
And then, of course, the big, open question is obstruction and whether
there was anything in that regard. But what I see is Mueller sort of going
piece by piece and he has sort of finished off this piece, the Russian toll
farm and propaganda.
Between the lines of this indictment, I -- especially since it's not going
to lead to any prosecutions -- I read it almost as Robert Mueller's
statement, almost like a warning to the American people, see how evident it
is to our adversaries that our internal divisions are getting to the point
where they can be manipulated from the outside. And he was almost, I think,
in the form of this indictment, issuing a wake-up call to the American
people about the need for more national unity.
WALLACE: Michael, President Trump treated the indictment as a kind of
vindication, that all the allegations against him had been dismissed. Let's
put up one of his tweets after the indictment.
The Trump campaign did nothing wrong. No collusion.
Is the president jumping the gun claiming that he's been exonerated here?
And are you struck, as a lot of people are, that, you know, even if he's
off the hook, this indicates a real Russian interference in our election,
the president's not talking about that?
NEEDHAM: Well, and I think the last point is where the focus should be. I
mean, look, the president obviously feels there wasn't any collusion.
There's been no evidence that collusion has come up. And the rest of the
investigation will show whether or not that plays out.
There's an interesting tidbit that the head of advertising of FaceBook put
out in the last couple of days. The Russians actually spent more money
after the election than they did before the election. And that goes to
Chuck's point right now. There is a hostile foreign power that is trying to
sow discontent in this country, that is trying to tear us apart, and all of
us, as Americans, need to be aware of that and need to come together and to
move on from this.
WALLACE: But the president isn't talking about that and there are reports
that he hasn't had a single national security council meeting, a single
cabinet meeting about -- forget his involvement or complete exoneration,
about what everybody in the intelligence community says, and the law
enforcement community says is a real threat, what they're going to do in
NEEDHAM: Yes, there's no doubt that the president is extraordinarily
frustrated that people are using this story and a story that so far has no
evidence to try to discredit his presidency and his ability to get things
done on behalf of the American people. That doesn't excuse the fact that
all of us, in all parts of government, all of us on the outside need to
care about our critical infrastructure. We need to care about election
integrity. And we need to come together as Americans and make sure that we
don't allow a hostile foreign power to tear us apart.
WALLACE: Let's turn to another big issue this week, and that's immigration
and DACA and the failure of the Senate to pass any of the four proposals
that were up there. President Trump says it's all up to the Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We think there's a good
chance of getting DACA done, if the Democrats are serious and they actually
want to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Marc, do you think the president and Republicans can sell that to
voters, that if there is a failure on DACA and the dreamers it's the
Democrats' fault? After all, it's the president who rolled back, who
rescinded the DACA protections last fall.
MARC LOTTER, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT PENCE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, and many
people -- let's remember, too, that most people thought that that was an
illegal program to begin with, so the court was likely to roll it back
regardless. But --
WALLACE: Well, wait, but don't we need to point out that there are two
courts that say the president's rolling back of the program is illegal and
they've stopped it.
LOTTER: And -- and that is likely to be taken up by the Supreme Court. And
I have a feeling that the president's -- the president's legalities --
legal standing on that will be upheld by the Supreme Court.
But here's the thing. Once we get -- the Democrats got what they wanted.
Supposedly they shut the government down for this. They got a pathway to
citizenship. They -- and the president was very firm in saying, I want
money to secure the border, to build the wall and to reform the immigration
system and yet they still can't get to yes on this.
I know there's going to be an effort in the House to continue to move this
discussion forward. And maybe because the deadline of March 5th right now
is under a temporary hold because of the court action, once Congress faces
a deadline, that's typically when they -- when they start moving again.
WALLACE: Julie, what do you hear from your sources at the White House? Have
they given up on -- on getting a deal with the dreamers? Because whatever
the House passes is going to be even more conservative than what was
rejected by the Senate. And are there any second thoughts because, yes, the
president made a huge concession in saying, I'm willing to give a path to
citizenship for 1.8 million people, more than the Democrats were even
asking for. Democrats have made a concession and said, we will fund the
wall. Are -- is there any second thoughts about walking away from that?
JULIE PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: No, it's actually the opposite. I mean
the loudest and most influential voices in the White House right now on
immigration are actually people who opposed that deal because they felt
like it was too forward leaning. It would have given citizenship to too
many people in this country right now. So the president is clearly being
influenced by those voices. They feel very comfortable with where they are
on this issue.
I do think that it is an open question on whether the president himself
will end up on this. You know, he is someone who does see himself as a
great dealmaker. He's someone who also sees himself as needing to fulfill
this promise of the border wall.
I mean Marc will remember this from the campaign. I was always struck going
to campaign rallies for Trump that the people in the crowd, whether they
believed that Trump would fulfill most of his promises or not, actually did
largely believe in the immigration principals. And Trump understands the
need to fulfill those promises for his base.
So if he does see that there is an opening in a couple of weeks to move on
this, to be able to fulfill this promise of funding for the border wall,
will he then override some of these advisors who have been so influential
the past couple of weeks?
WALLACE: And what's your bet?
PACE: It's hard to know. I mean the president has publicly flip-flopped on
this over the last couple of weeks in these meetings that he's had with
lawmakers publicly versus what he's said privately. I think it's a real
open question at this point.
WALLACE: And how do you think -- we've got about 30 seconds -- how do you
think it plays? I mean let's assume that the court issue gets settled, and
we shouldn't assume that, and dreamers start getting deported. How's that
going to play?
PACE: I think the dreamer issue is one that has a lot of support from both
Republicans and Democrats. I think it is a --
WALLACE: The idea of protecting them?
PACE: The idea of protecting the dreamers. I think it is a risk for both
parties on the White House to allow those dreamers to start being deported.
WALLACE: All right. Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
And we'll be right back with a final word.
WALLACE: For the latest on the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, please
stay tuned to this station and Fox News Channel.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next FOX NEWS
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