This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," March 18, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I’m Chris Wallace.
President Trump lawyer calls for shutting down the special counsel’s Russia probe as the attorney general fires former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We do think that it is well-documented that he has had some very troubling behavior and by most accounts a bad actor.
WALLACE: Jeff Sessions moves against McCabe as he faces growing pressure from the Republicans to appoint a second special counsel.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: The FBI and Department of Justice were corrupt, in my view, when it came to handling the email investigation of Clinton.
WALLACE: But Robert Mueller continues his investigation, ordering the Trump organization to hand over documents related to Russia.
SANDERS: We’re going to continue to fully cooperate out of respect for the special counsel. We’re not going to comment.
WALLACE: We’ll discuss it all with Congressman Trey Gowdy, a top Republican on the house committee, which found no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
Then -- students gear up for their march on Washington. Is Congress any closer to gun in school safety legislation in wake of the Parkland massacre? Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, joins us.
Plus, a big Democratic upset in Pennsylvania's Trump country. We’ll ask our Sunday panel what it means for November, and about Hillary Clinton's latest take on why she lost.
All, right now, on FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
We begin with a call from President Trump's personal lawyer to end Robert Mueller's investigation, that just after former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired. That decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions will likely prevent McCabe from retiring today with his full pension.
McCabe says this is all part of a Trump administration's war on the FBI, and an effort to undermine the special counsel investigation of the president. We’ll get reaction this hour from Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy, and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.
But, first to correspondent Peter Doocy, with the latest from the White House -- Peter.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, we now know that the fired deputy FBI Director Andy McCabe wrote memos that have not been given to the special counsel Robert Mueller about his conversations with President Trump, who he blames for a termination that jeopardizes his pension, even though the FBI’s own disciplinary office recommended McCabe's firing because he made an unauthorized disclosure to a reporter and then lied about it.
McCabe says this, quote, here’s the reality. I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey.
Well, President Trump just tweeted back about that. He said this: Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was me. I don't believe he made memos, except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them fake memos?
Well, an outrage personal attorney for President Dowd, sees an opening. He says this, quote, I pray the Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia collusion investigation, manufactured by McCabe’s boss, James Comey, based upon a fraudulent and corrupt dossier. Just end it on the merit in light of recent revelations.
That statement got the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's attention. He says this: The president, the administration and his legal team must not take any steps to curtail, interfere with, or end the special counsel's investigation, or there will be severe consequences from both Democrats and Republicans.
And that is as Republicans on the House Intel Committee end, shut down their probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election after finding no evidence of collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign -- Chris.
WALLACE: Peter Doocy reporting from the White House -- Peter, thanks for that.
Now, let's bring in Congressman Trey Gowdy, a top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, which this week found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Congressman, I wanted again by getting your reaction to President Trump's lawyer calling for Rob Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, to end the Mueller investigation. Do you support that?
REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C., HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIR: I don't, and I think that president's attorney frankly does him a disservice when he says that and when he frames the investigation that way. Chris, if you look at the jurisdiction for Robert Mueller, first and foremost, what did Russia do to this country in 2016? That is supremely important, and it has nothing to do with collusion. So, to suggest that McCabe should shut down and all that he is looking at his collusion, if you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it.
Russia attacked our country. Let special counsel Mueller figure that out. And if you believe as we have found, there’s no evidence to collusion, you should want special counsel Mueller to take all the time, and have all the independence he needs to do his job.
WALLACE: But, Congressman, it does not appear that John Dowd, the president's lawyer, is freelancing, is going off by himself here. The president has been on a tweet storm this morning. I just want to put up one of his latest tweets and for the first time, he's going after Mueller by name.
Here it is: why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big crooked Hillary supporters, and zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added, does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is no collusion.
Question, sir: do you think the gloves are off that the president and his legal team are now moving against the Mueller investigation and if they go up from tweets to actual effort, actual actions to try to stop the Mueller investigation, what will you and other top Republicans in Congress do?
GOWDY: Well, I hope that's not what's happening. This is the same Bob Mueller that just indicted a dozen Russians for interfering with our election in 2016. My advice to the president is the same thing I just told his lawyer. Give Bob Mueller the time, the independence, and the resources to do the very job -- keep in mind, Chris, he didn't volunteer for this.
He didn't start waving his hand and say pick me. A Trump nominated Rod Rosenstein is who picked Bob Mueller. So, give him the time, the resources to do his job. When you are innocent, if the allegations of collusion with the Russians and there's no evidence of that and you are innocent of that, act like it.
WALLACE: But if I may, sir, again, there seems to be a concerted effort by the president and his lawyer to go after the mother investigation. If they try to shut it down, what will you and other Republicans in Congress do?
GOWDY: Well, I’m not sure the House can do a lot. We don't have advice and consent. I think the president is going to have a really difficult time nominating and having approved another attorney general. It's going to be -- I would just counsel the president, it's going to be very, very long bad 2018. And it's going to be distracting from other things that he wants to do and was elected to do.
Let it play out its course. If you've done nothing wrong, you should want the investigation to be as wholesome and thorough as possible.
WALLACE: Now, Andrew McCabe, the former deputy FBI director who was fired late Friday night says the reason that he was fired was to undercut his credibility as a potential witness in the Mueller investigation. I want to put up some of Andrew McCabe's statement: This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals, more generally. It is part of this administration's ongoing war on the FBI and at the efforts of a special counsel's investigation, which continue to this day.
Congressman, your response?
GOWDY: Oh, Andy McCabe has undercut his credibility all by himself. He didn't need any help doing that. And I find it richly ironic that he is lamenting that those are attacking the FBI when he himself does the exact same thing.
It was the FBI who said he made an unauthorized disclosure and then lied about it. That wasn't President Trump. It wasn't me. It wasn't a crazy House Republicans. It was his own fell FBI agents that said he leaked and then lied about it. So, if he's got credibility issues, he needs look no further than himself.
WALLACE: I just want to go on one point. And, look, leaking is improper and the lack of candor, some would call it lying to investigators, especially under oath. It’s inexcusable and should be held to account.
But my guess is, most people would think that what Andy McCabe was involved with, leaking, was something against the Trump administration. My guess is most people don't know that in fact what he asked -- he didn't actually leak. He apparently authorized and official to talk to a reporter about was the fact that the FBI wanted to pursue the Clinton Foundation investigation over the objections of the Justice Department.
GOWDY: Yes, that's right. I mean, if you look at his statement, he was really upset that he is being blamed for ending something. And the interesting part of his statement, which I’ve heard a lot of people talk about is that he was really blaming DOJ, the Department of Justice who shut down the investigation.
But you know what, Chris? We don't live in a relativistic world and you don't get to pick and choose which rules to abide by and you don't get to decide when to tell the truth and what not to. I’m going to withhold judgment until Horowitz’s report comes out.
WALLACE: We should just say Horowitz is the inspector general.
GOWDY: Right. Who, you know, two weeks ago, the president was criticizing and now, all of a sudden, McCabe is criticizing. So, he is probably doing his job because everyone is criticizing him.
Let's wait and see what he found. Let's wait and see what that lack of candor was. And then we can judge the fact pattern and the proportionality of the penalty of his losing his pension. We can judge all that once we understand exactly what he is alleged to have done.
But make no mistake, the FBI who recommended that he’d be fired. It wasn’t crazy House Republicans and it wasn't the Trump administration. It was one of his own fellow bureau agents.
WALLACE: Point well taken.
All of this, Congressman, comes on the same week that the House Intelligence Committee, on which you are a prominent member, basically ended your investigation of Russian collusion. I want to put up one of the key conclusions from the Republican members of your committee.
We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
GOP members also said that while they believe the Russians meddled in the campaign, they did not believe, in fact they broke with the intelligence committee’s conclusion that this was an effort by the Russians to benefit the Trump campaign.
Question: why -- what's the basis of your conclusion and you I say collectively, Republicans on the committee, what’s the basis for the conclusion case closed?
GOWDY: Well, the basis for the conclusion, case closed on no evidence of collusion is that we interviewed north of 70 witnesses. And, Chris, I personally have as every one of them, give me any bit of evidence you have, regardless of whether you believe it and regardless of the source, that President Trump colluded, conspired, coordinated with the Russians. And not a single witness from Susan Rice, to Ben Rhodes to Donald Trump Jr., to Jared Kushner, no one has any evidence, I mean, folks who were sympathetic to the president and folks who are antagonistic to the president, not one scintilla of evidence, of coordination, collusion, conspiracy between Trump and his campaign and the Russians.
So, I can't tell you what I don't know. I can just tell you I asked every single witness, and every single witness, including former Obama administration officials, had no evidence of collusion.
WALLACE: But here's the one question I have about this, Congressman. I want to put up the sum of the people that you and members of your committee never had a chance to talk to -- Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos. These are some of the central figures in the Mueller investigation. So, without having spoken to them, how can you conclude that there was no conclusion?
GOWDY: Well, we can't talk to them. They are all under indictment or pled guilty, which is why I say there is no evidence. I can't tell you what four people I haven't talked to are going to say, but, Chris, I can't talk to them. They have a Fifth Amendment right not to talk to Congress. I mean, Steve Bannon is not under indictment and he didn't talk to Congress.
So, there’s lots of things to blame Congress for, but us not knowing what people who won't talk to us or say should not be one of them. I don't know what Mueller has found. I’ve been really very clear, leave him alone (ph). Let him do his job.
I can tell you with the universe of folks that we’ve interviewed, there is no evidence of collusion. That's the best I can do. I can't tell you what people I haven't talked to would say.
WALLACE: Here's my only point about this is that the president is using the House Intelligence Committee's findings in effect as grist as a defense to say that there was no collusion, and what you're admitting is that there were a lot of key members to this investigation who you've never talked to. So, your conclusion is not conclusive.
GOWDY: Well, that's why I always say, based on the evidence. You don't know what you don't know, and you don't know what witnesses you haven't talked to or documents you haven't seen you. Look, I’m disappointed that Steven Bannon would sit there and be interviewed by a salacious book author but he wouldn’t answer our questions. I’m frustrated by that.
But executive branch investigations have more credibility, they have more tools, and that's what I think my fellow citizens ought to be waiting for and have confidence in, not congressional investigations that are run by guys running for the Senate in California who has never met a camera that they didn't fall in love with. That's what you should not have confidence in.
Have confidence in the executive branch investigations. And if Mueller find stuff, more power to him, but the best I can do is interview the people in front of me and ask all relevant questions and no one has said there was -- no one has said that there was collusion.
WALLACE: I want to bring up one final question. President Trump this week finally imposed sanction on Russia for meddling in the 2016 election. This after, and I know you voted for it, Congress approved sanctions back last summer. In fact, the president didn't even impose all of the sanctions that all of you in Congress did authorize him, given the opportunity to use back last summer.
Do you think the president has stood up, has taken action against Vladimir Putin? Or do you wish he had been tougher to him?
GOWDY: I think he's done a hell of a lot better job than President Obama did. It wasn't Donald Trump who laughed when that Romney said Russia was our number one geopolitical enemy. It wasn't President Trump who handed that awkward reset button to the Russians. And it wasn't President Trump who said on a hot mike, I’ll have more flexibility in the second term.
All of that was President Obama. So, this country can't be tough enough on Russia. They tried to interfere with the fundamentals of our democracy. I mean, their war is not against Democrats or Republicans, it's against Americans. So, you cannot be tough enough against Russia.
In my judgment, I hope he does more, but he did a hell of a lot more than his predecessor did.
WALLACE: Congressman Gowdy, thank you. Thanks for your time. It’s always a pleasure to talk with you, sir.
GOWDY: Yes, sir.
WALLACE: Up next, reaction from the number two Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin, on the McCabe firing, the Russia probe, and the push for a gun and school safety on Capitol Hill.
WALLACE: A look outside the beltway of the Chicago River, which was dyed green for St. Patrick's Day, a tradition there, since 1962.
And joining me now from Chicago, Dick Durbin, the Senate's number two Democrat.
Senator, I want to begin with you as I began with Congressman Gowdy, what’s your reaction to the president's lawyer, John Dowd, urging the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to shut down the Mueller investigation?
SEN. DICK DURBIN, D-ILL., SENATE MINORITY WHIP: Congressman Gowdy is right. We should allow Bob Mueller to complete this investigation. And any effort by the president or his counsel to stop this investigation needs to be resisted on a bipartisan basis.
WALLACE: Well, let's pick up on that, because when I asked Congressman Gowdy, he said basically the House can't do much about it. What can you do if there is -- if we go from tweets to an actual move to stop the investigation?
DURBIN: Well, I’ll tell you, I think, quite honestly, Chris, that if the president reaches and stops this investigation, that is a constitutional crisis in this country. That's been said by Democrats and Republicans alike. And what it means is, it would be incumbent on Congress on a bipartisan basis to use the tools at its disposal.
WALLACE: And the tools at its disposal, are you talking about passing a law to try and protect the special counsel or are you talking about impeachment, sir?
DURBIN: When you think about the obvious, they were two bills before the Senate judiciary committee, which has been absent without leave on this issue, two bills before the committee, a bipartisan bill to protect the special counsel. We are to pass those bills now.
This president is engaged in desperate and reckless conduct to intimidate his law enforcement agencies of this country and to try and stop the special counsel. That is unacceptable in a democracy.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on that. When you look at what John Dowd said, when you look at the president's tweets, when you look at the attorney general firing, Andrew McCabe, when you look at the House Intelligence Committee conclusion that there was no collusion between the term campaign and the Russians, what do you think is going on here, sir?
DURBIN: Well, I could tell you what's going on with the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes and the Republican majority has squandered their credibility. I respect Congressman Gowdy, but I heard what he said.
Based on the witnesses we have talked to, and you gave a long litany of those that they have not even spoken to, based on the evidence they have, they've issued a whitewash and said there was no collusion. I don't know if there was collusion. I know Bob Mueller has access to witnesses, evidence and information that I don't. And neither does the House Intelligence Committee.
In fairness, they should a step back and said, let the investigation be completed by Mueller and we accept the conclusion.
WALLACE: All right. But let's look at the firing of Andrew McCabe, because this was not a case -- he talked about listening to Gowdy, he’s right, this was not a case of the political appointees of the president going rouge, freelancing, going off on their own. This was the independent inspector general and a disciplinary arm of the FBI, the Office of Professional Responsibility that said, one, that McCabe was involved in disclosing information about an ongoing investigation, and that he, quote, lacked candor even under oath on multiple occasions.
Didn't McCabe need to be held accountable for that?
DURBIN: Common sense and fairness suggest that Congressman Gowdy is right. Let's wait until see these reports. Let’s see how they stack up against the facts as we know them and the statements that are being made by Mr. McCabe.
But make no mistake, Chris, it was in December that the President Trump announced we have 90 days to get McCabe before he retires. He put basically a hit on him and said, do this before he qualifies for retirement. Just hours before he would have qualified and left the FBI, this action was taken. It's highly suspicious.
WALLACE: But the Office of Professional Responsibility, the disciplinary arm of the FBI, recommended that he’d be fired, sir.
DURBIN: What we need to do, as Congressman Gowdy, your Republican guest, said, is to see the actual report itself. I haven't seen it, neither has he.
WALLACE: While we are talking about the 2016 election, your pal, Hillary Clinton, was on a book tour in India this week, and she said that while she won in places in the country that are doing well, that have high GDP that things are very different for the Trump parties. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: His whole campaign, make America great again, was looking backwards. You know, he didn't like black people getting rights, you don't like women, you know, getting jobs. You don't want to see that Indian-Americans succeeding more than you are. Whatever your problem is, I’m going to solve it.
(END IVDOE CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, is that helpful to Democrats in 2018 to have Hillary Clinton dismissing the 60 million-plus voters who supported and elected Donald Trump dismissed, some could even say condemned as racists and misogynists?
DURBIN: No, it's not helpful at all. In fact, my friend Hillary Clinton is wrong. Thirty percent of the people that voted for Donald Trump had voted for President Obama.
Why? The same people who look for change with President Obama thought there wasn't enough as far as their personal lives were concerned, and they supported Donald Trump. That is a reality the Democrats acknowledged. That's why we are focusing on issues to address this concerned they have about the economic insecurity that many working families face.
I can tell you a tax bill that gave tax breaks to the wealthiest people in America and the Republicans and President Trump is not responsive to that concern.
WALLACE: Heidi Heitkamp, one of your Senate Democratic colleagues, who is running for reelection in at the red state of North Dakota said, Hillary Clinton can't go away soon enough. Is she right and should Hillary Clinton go away?
DURBIN: Well, I can tell you, Hillary Clinton, like every American, has the right to express her point of view. And she obviously gets press coverage. But we are moving onto the next chapter in American history.
We have new Democratic leadership, and more people inspiring to be candidates in 2020. It will be a different cast of characters completely.
WALLACE: I want to turn to your day job. Hundreds of thousands of students are marching on Washington next Saturday, marching on cities across the country, demanding gun and a school safety. But as we sit here right now, more than a month after the Parkland school shooting massacre, Congress, all of you, and I mean that collectively, Republicans and Democrats, have done almost nothing.
Haven't you failed these students?
DURBIN: No, and I’ll tell you why. The Democrats are prepared to move forward. We have said to the students and to America, we are support in universal background checks. The Republicans have not said that. The president has reversed his position, as usual, on this issue within a matter of days.
We have also said that we need to do something about these high-capacity magazines and that assault weapons that are being used to kill children in classrooms. We try to make it abundantly clear that we believe there are ways to plug the loopholes in our current system to stop those who are mentally unstable and those who are disqualified from coming into possession of firearms.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, which I’m proud to serve on, has been absent without leave. I challenge the chairman of the committee this week, for goodness' sakes, this is our jurisdiction. Why aren’t we holding a hearing on universal background checks? So far, he's refused.
WALLACE: Well, let me ask you to think that House Republicans had passed that are on the plate in the Senate having passed the House. One is a school safety bill. One is to improve the background check system. Would you support those?
DURBIN: I can tell you this, Chris. Seventeen lives in Florida in at that are worth more than the proposals that have been made by the Republicans. It's a weak soup. Let's do something that will make America safer.
Listen, we have a situation here in Chicago. Captain Paul Bauer unned down in the Loop in Chicago, a brave man who gave his life to defend this city. The gun that was used to kill him was a gun that was commerce, sent in commerce without background checks on two different occasions. What they have proposed in the House would not even touch that reality.
Let’s pass a universal background check that would work.
WALLACE: I understand that it's not as far as you want to go, but it's something that would pass. Are you willing to pass that? Or is it your feeling that this just lets Republicans off the hook? And as a result, you’re going to end up with nothing.
DURBIN: About once every eight years, we get around to this issue. Now is the time to do something significant. Stop the political posturing and going just a little step with a toe in the water.
Let's do something that will make America safe. It isn't safe if you can buy a gun over the Internet without a background check. It isn't safe that you can buy a gun at a gun show without a background check.
America understands that. Ninety-seven percent of Americans support it. Even gun owners support it. But the Republican leadership in at the House and Senate have stopped us from bringing that measure to the floor.
WALLACE: All right. I got about a minute left and want to talk about one more subject because we are back here again. Next Friday, the government once again runs out of money. In the effort to pass a spending bill that will keep the government funded until October 1st, Democrats are saying they are not going to use the leverage of passing that bill to try and get a DACA fix.
Is that true? If that is true, if you want to insist on a DACA fix as part of that spending bill, aren't you the, the Democrats, abandoning the Dreamers?
DURBIN: President Trump was the one who abolished the DACA program on September the 5th. President Trump has rejected six different bipartisan proposals to pass a law and solve the problem he created. He is the key to solving the DACA problem.
I have spoken to the leaders of both sides of the aisle, House and Senate, begging them to do something into it now for DACA, even included on the omnibus bill. But the president's approval to move forward is critical for the Republicans --
WALLACE: But yes or no, are you going to insist on a DACA fix as part of this bill? Or are you going to let the bill passed, avoid a shutdown, and do nothing about DACA?
DURBIN: We’re not going to have a shutdown. But I’m urging the leaders to basically come together and understand there is an emergency at hand here, 780,000 young people have their lives hang in the balance because President Trump killed the DACA program. We have to move on a bipartisan basis to put it back in business.
WALLACE: Senator Durbin, thank you. Thanks for joining us. Always good to talk with you, sir.
DURBIN: Good talking to you.
WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the latest developments in the Russia investigation and talk of more turmoil in the Trump’s staff and cabinet.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about continuing shake-ups in the White House? Just go to FaceBook or Twitter at Fox News Sunday, and we may use your question on the air.
WALLACE: Coming up, Democrat Conor Lamb declares victory in Pennsylvania's special election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONOR LAMB, D-PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: We went everywhere, we talked to everyone, we invited everyone in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel whether Democrats can use the same strategy to win back the House in November, coming up on "Fox News Sunday."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: And I've come away believing that it was shoddily done, that there were conflicts of interest, that there was political bias that may have resulted in giving Clinton a pass. And the reason we want a special counsel is I think crimes may have been committed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham calling for a second special counsel to investigate alleged corruption in the FBI's handling of both the Clinton and Trump investigations.
And it's time now for our Sunday group. GOP strategist Karl Rove, Charles Lane of The Washington Post, Fox News analyst Marie Harf, and former Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz.
Congressman, it seems to me that the big story this week, and -- and, in fact, I think, for the last several weeks, has been a fight for control of the larger narrative. The Republicans say the big story is, what the FBI did. Democrats say the big story is, what Donald Trump did. What do you think the big story is?
JASON CHAFFETZ, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's yet to be written because I think the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, his 450 employees that work there, is about a week or two away from actually having a final report. And that will sort of dismiss every other narrative that's out there because the one with the most credibility is still yet to be written, and that will be the inspector general. And you've seem part of that play out.
But when you ask a Democrat, what's the single best piece of evidence that Donald Trump colluded, they don't have anything, nothing.
WALLACE: So what -- what about -- you say the single best piece of evidence or the single big story is the inspector general. What about the special counsel?
CHAFFETZ: Well, I think that is the -- and you saw Trey Gowdy fully support Mr. Mueller. And I -- I think that is the right decision. I don't think what Donald Trump's attorney is doing and saying helps the situation. As Trey Gowdy pointed out, if you're innocent, act like you're innocent. And -- and doing these calls to get rid of the special counsel, at this point, when it was appointed by somebody that you appointed, Rod Rosenstein, I don't think plays well.
WALLACE: Chuck, are Republicans, whether we're talking about the president, the president's lawyers, some Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, are they trying to short-circuit the Mueller investigation? And if -- if the FBI was as corrupt and biased as there's some evidence it was, should that maybe happen?
CHARLES LANE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, obviously, if we have a corrupt FBI, yes, something -- something should be done about that. But I don't think we do have a corrupt and biased FBI. At least that's not the fundamental problem, if any, with the Mueller investigation.
Going back to what Congressman Chaffetz just said, when this whole thing began, when the Mueller investigation began, I thought, OK, Donald Trump has just gotten a break. Now the whole thing can be -- the whole issue can be parked over here with this independent guy and allowed to run its course and he can move on to other things. But from the beginning, he has been refusing to accept that break, so to speak, and instead has cast doubt on its integrity, has repeatedly raised the prospect that he will in some way, as you say, short-circuit it, fire Robert Mueller, et cetera, et cetera.
It's a great mystery, unless one of two things is happening. And I hate to make political analysis amateur psychology, he just can't control himself, or, two, there's some political benefit to him from doing this. That in some way this plays well to his base and will help his prospects --
WALLACE: But -- but what about the FBI component of it, as -- as -- as has been pointed out repeatedly now, this wasn't Jeff Sessions --
WALLACE: Just going off on his own on McCabe.
WALLACE: This was the inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility. It wasn't Jeff Sessions who wrote the Peter Strrzok-Lisa Page memos, texts. It was they -- these two lead FBI officials. I mean there clearly was a problem of bias inside the FBI.
LANE: There's something not kosher going on in the FBI. I think the strongest piece of that is this McCabe piece, because we have an independent body, as close as you can get in this town these days, saying Andrew McCabe made a mistake and he deserved to be fired. He can't get around that.
I just think there's a -- there's a -- there's two separate buckets here. One is, whatever may have been going on with the Clinton investigation, which was the substance under the Andy McCabe stuff, and, you know, Peter Strzok's potential bias in that and so forth and so on, and then over here a whole other narrative which is Russia and Mueller, and I don't think they necessarily cross -- cross each other.
WALLACE: Karl, what do you think of the president's personal lawyer, yesterday, going out and calling for shutting down the Mueller investigation? And what do you think of the president today, just a tweet storm of attacks against, by name, the Mueller investigation?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I took John Dowd's statement as client management, managing his client, President Trump, by making -- by saying bad things about Mueller, making his client feel good.
The president's tweets today are not useful. I agree with Congressman Gowdy, if you're innocent, act innocent. And we have every bit of evidence thus far is, is that there is no evidence of collusion, conspiracy, or coordination with the Russians.
And the president is about ready to have two big things handed to him that are enormous. One is the outcome of the inspector general's report on the handling of the Clinton investigation, which I think is going to show real problems inside the FBI in the handling of the e-mail investigation. And that will put the -- the Democrats on the defensive and the president on the offensive.
And, second of all, the -- the Office of Professional Responsibility, acting upon a referral from the independent inspector general, say McCabe ought to go. The president should have been quiet with that and let -- let that information soak in on its own without looking -- without gloating and without tweeting. The president can be on the -- can -- can benefit from this by withdrawing himself from it, not by -- by rubbing his -- by grabbing it and holding it close to him and screaming and shouting via tweet that -- that he's -- he's moving forward.
WALLACE: Another big story this week was the firing -- and it's amazing to think it happened this week -- the firing of Secretary of state Rex Tillerson and rampant rumors about a, quote, bloodbath in the White House and the Trump administration.
We got this on Twitter from Lee Geller. I'd like to know why is it such a bad thing? I think as a businessman he, the president, expects results. And if something isn't working, he changes it. Isn't that exactly what the people voted for? Someone from the outside to shake things up?
Marie, how do you answer Lee, and how do you feel, as somebody who used to work in the State Department under a different secretary, how do you feel Rex Tillerson was treated?
MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Well, I think that some chaos is, you know, it's helpful because you can get your people in. The president has the prerogative to do that.
This is not normal turnover. And this level of chaos, people getting fired on Twitter, not knowing if the chief of staff will be there next week, is not helpful for governing.
I think, at the State Department, a lot of my former colleagues are happy to see Tillerson go. They know he was not close with the president. He also didn't do a lot to endear himself with the workforce. He didn't really invest in it.
On the other hand, they're a little worried about Pompeo because he has expressed hawkish views on things like the Iran deal. He hasn't put a lot of credibility in diplomacy historically. So in his confirmation hearing, they will be looking to seeing whether he actually wants to be a diplomat or whether he will continue down this more hawkish route.
I -- I think people still have a bit of an open question about Pompeo at the State Department.
WALLACE: You sound like you want to say something?
CHAFFETZ: Well, I -- I thought it was poor form. You have somebody who's the secretary of state, has put his whole career on the line to serve as the secretary of state --
CHAFFETZ: And I don't think you should be on the receiving end of a tweet --
CHAFFETZ: To saying that you're dismissed.
At the same time, I do believe that the president -- you want to have somebody who's reflective of the president, and Mike Pompeo fits that bill. He served with us in the House. A lot of people on Capitol Hill believe him, trust him. I think he's done great things at the CIA. And I think he will be a marvelous and -- and -- and great secretary of state.
WALLACE: I was going to say the -- and excuse me for this, but the striped (ph) pants group at the State Department might not like what Pompeo says about Iran, but what he's saying about Iran is what the president's saying about Iran, right?
CHAFFETZ: He will be reflective of the president.
HARF: That -- that's right. But I think it's clear to all of us that President Trump is surrounding himself with people that he's more ideology aligned with, especially on foreign policy. That will also be true if he --
WALLACE: Well, isn't that what president's do?
HARF: Well, sometimes they like the sort of team of rivals model. If he gets rid of H.R. McMaster, who's more of a mainstream Republican foreign policy seeker, and replaces him with someone who's a little more hawkish, I think it will show that the policy may be changing in the next year of the administration.
WALLACE: Speculation was so rampant about major turnover. There was talk about the chief of staff, about the national security advisor, three of four cabinet members that White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders had to put out this statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The -- the staff -- I actually spoke to a number of staff this morning, reassuring them that there were personnel changes -- no immediate personnel changes at this time and that people shouldn't be concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Karl, as someone who worked in a White House, have you ever seen anything like this and does it matter?
ROVE: It does matter because the president wants to have people focused on their jobs and not worried about losing their jobs. And they wanted to also be felt that they're being treated with respect. The fact that John Kelly calls the secretary of state on Friday night and says, there's going to be a change, and the changes is made by tweet on Tuesday morning, and the president finally calls a secretary at noon from Air Force One and says, thanks for your service, is troubling.
I mean -- and not only that, but it's troubling for the administration. The president said he wanted to make this change because of the upcoming meeting with Korea, so he could have a new face in place by the time of the meeting with Korea. Does anybody think that Mike Pompeo is going to be confirmed by the United States Senate in a matter of five or six weeks? No. The Democrats are going to use this as an opportunity to make the administration bleed. And -- and even more so given the way that it was done. And the president could have done this in a different way after the meeting in May. He could have had Pompeo deeply involved in the preparations for the meeting, done it in a way that made it more attractive for people to come into service by announcing it in a Rose Garden ceremony with Tillerson and Pompeo standing with him, complementing Tillerson for his service and acknowledging the new role that Pompeo is going to have. Instead, we get it all done by tweet and it doesn't look good.
LANE: This is the alternative universe. But Donald Trump has shown repeatedly he doesn't like being handled. And I think some of the people he's pushing out now are people he perceives as people like Tillerson who were opposed upon him by the Republican establishment to handle him.
ROVE: Well, and we're also seeing him fire people using the methods he used on "The Apprentice," which mat work for reality TV, but not good for government.
WALLACE: All right. Well, it's pretty good for television.
All right, panel, we have to take a break here.
When we come back, a dramatic upset in Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district. What does Democratic Conor Lamb's win signal for the midterm elections?
And Hillary Clinton is still expanding her loss to Donald Trump, and people in her party can't run away fast enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONNOR LAMB, D-PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: It took a little longer than we thought, but we did it.
PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think the candidate that's going to win this race is the candidate that ran as a pro-life, pro-gun, anti-Nancy Pelosi conservative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Democrat Conor Lamb declaring victory in Pennsylvania's special election this week. And Speaker Paul Ryan trying to dismiss the shocking defeat for Republicans.
And we're back now with the panel.
Karl, Republicans are offering all kinds of excuses for Conor Lamb's apparent victory in Pennsylvania 18. He ran as a Republican. The Republican candidate, Rick Saccone, was a lousy candidate. In the end, how big a deal is the Democratic victory in this very red district?
ROVE: Well, it's a big deal. And -- and, look, we can -- I accept a lot of them. We had a terrible candidate. And they had a candidate who's not likely to make it through the Democratic primary this year. Anti-gun control, pro-life, said he wasn't running against Donald Trump, a Marine, a prosecutor, culturally conservative. But Republicans had better uses this as a wake-up call and make sure that -- that every one of their candidates does everything better this year, from raising money, having a constructive message, that it's not -- I mean Rick Saccone ran as Trump 2.0. That only works if your opponent is Hillary 2.0. And so -- and Republicans have got to do everything better this year.
The good news for Republicans, and the only good news, is that we're not likely to see many Conor Lamb's nominated by the Democrats. And this was an open seat. Republican incumbents will run better. And of the 23 seats held by Republicans that were won by Hillary Clinton in 2016, 17 of those 23 are running for re-election. So an open seat race like this is more problematic. An incumbents can and should have the advantages of incumbency to help them win across the board.
WALLACE: Chuck, reporters, as you know, love to read the tea leaves of a special election like this and project what it's going to mean to the November midterms. But are -- are we making too much? And this isn't the only one. You had the Virginia governor's race. You had the Alabama Senate race. Now you have this Pennsylvania special election.
How significant is it in terms of what it portends for November? I mean is it just a one off or do you think we may be headed for a Democratic wave?
LANE: Well, don't forget, we've also had a lot of down ballet state legislature special elections that have gone the Democrats way. I would put it this way. The advantages with the Democrats, just by the normal rules of politics, it's a midterm in a president's first -- first four years. And then when you add to that all the negatives that Trump -- self-inflicted negatives that he's imposed, his low approval rating and so on, you'd have to say that the wind is at the Democrats' back.
You know, there's a similarity here and in a funny way with the 2010 election that Barack Obama faced. He won with a coalition that was very much attached to him. And when he was not at the top of the ticket anymore, Democrats didn't do so well.
We're going to see if the same kind of phenomenon plays out here where if Donald Trump himself is not at the ballot, can a lot of these Republicans, nevertheless, get into Congress?
I think the Senate, by the way, is looking a lot better for the Republicans. We're -- we're only talking -- I think if there's going to be a blue wave, it will be limited to the House.
WALLACE: Yes, we should point out, if Democrats pick up 24 seats, correct, they take back control of the House, which would be interesting because you've got Conor Lamb and a lot of other Democrats now saying they wouldn't vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker.
All right, meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is back at it. She was on a book tour in India and continuing to explain why she lost. And here's why she said she didn't do well with white married women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, D-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Part of that is a -- an identification with the Republican Party and a -- a sort of ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Marie, is it just me or is that kind of a curious analysis from a feminist that women -- white, married women were browbeaten by the men around them?
HARF: Yes, you're right. And she should go away. I hate to say that. I really do. The first female nominee of a major party has an historical, you know, role certainly and the right to speak up. She is not helping the Democratic Party. And I think she should take a very long vacation and leave the future of the party to other people.
I think the future of the party is not with her. And the clearest indication of that is the fact that in the 20 special elections that have taken place so far in 2018, Democrats on averaged have gotten 24 more points than she did. The party of the future is not Hillary Clinton's party. And I get why she wants to keep explaining it, but it is not --
WALLACE: You say you get why she's explaining -- what's going on here? Do you think it's just bitterness? Do you think she's just a sore loser?
HARF: You know, I wouldn't use that term. But I think this was a hard-fought competition.
ROVE: I would.
HARF: And I think most people, including most Republicans, didn't think she was going to lose. So I'm not going to psychoanalyze why she keeps giving excuses for it. And there's probably a time and place for that.
But it's not what Mitt Romney did. It's not what John Kerry did. It's not what Al Gore did. And if your goal is to help the party and help us understand how to get white working class men and women back in the Midwest, this is not helpful to that cause.
WALLACE: Congressman Chaffetz, as Marie says she should go away, I assume you'd like to see Hillary Clinton keep talking all the way to November.
CHAFFETZ: She -- she can stay as long as she wants. Look, as long as the Democrats have Hillary Clinton you -- sucking out all the oxygen in the room, putting up Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, then the enthusiasm gap, which I think is the intangible in these races, it shrinks because it fires up Republicans. When they hear Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, it reminds them why they've got to fight so hard, day in and day out, to get more Republicans elected.
WALLACE: Karl, at least two Democratic senators running for re-election in red states, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, distance themselves from Clinton as fast as they could. Are Clinton's comments just good copy that we enjoy talking about on a Sunday show, or could they really hurt Republicans -- Democrats running in red states that Donald Trump won?
KARL: Look, they have hurt and they will continue to hurt because they're representative of the identity politics that's infected the Democratic Party. Does anybody really think that Barack Obama, after talking about the bitter clingers, people who cling to their guns and their religion, that this is not a problem that is endemic inside the leadership of the Democratic Party? There's a reason why they're no longer viewed by the -- you know, by ordinary Americans in flyover country as the party of the little man and the little women. It's because they're elitist. The Democratic Party is dominated by a mindset that says those people, the deplorable people, the people who are religious, the people who have values different than us, the people who live in flyover country, and the people who don't understand why it's important that people have the right to take a knee at a football game. I mean all of these -- you know, this is a problem Democrats have had growing for years.
And she -- her comments are over-the-top, but they're representative of a problems that's going to remain, even if she shuts up. And, for one, I hope she continues to talk out. But even if she doesn't, the problem is still going to remain that that's the mindset of the Democratic -- of a large swath of the leadership in the Democratic Party.
WALLACE: You've got 15 seconds.
HARF: The candidates the Democratic Party is running in 2018 are not representative of that identity politics. It's not just Conor Lamb. It's across the country. I think the party has learned a lesson from 2016.
ROVE: Let me give you --
HARF: That's my prediction.
ROVE: Let me just give you one quick --
WALLACE: All right, we're running out of time. Real quick.
ROVE: One --
WALLACE: Five seconds.
ROVE: Twenty-third district of Texas, one Democratic nominee is Gina Ortiz Turner (ph).
ROVE: Who has never used the word Ortiz ever in her professional life and probably doesn't -- that's not her real middle name. Why? Identity politics.
WALLACE: Thanks, panel. See you next Sunday.
And we'll be right back with a very short, final word.
WALLACE: For the latest on the firing of Andrew McCabe and the special counsel investigation of President Trump, 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 Sunday."
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