This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," May 5, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Good Sunday morning. President Trump touts tax reform in one battleground state ahead of key primaries this week. A federal judge accuses Special Counsel Mueller's team of lying and the President says a date and location has now been set for his anticipated meeting with North Korea's dictator as the deadline looms for a decision on Iran nuclear deal. Good morning everyone, I'm Maria Bartiromo. Thanks for joining us. This is 'Sunday Morning Futures.' Primary voters head to the polls in several states this Tuesday including Ohio, where President Trump just held a tax reform roundtable. We'll talk to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy coming up about the Republican mid-term strategy. We'll also get his reaction to Nancy Pelosi saying the Democrats will win back the House. Meanwhile the Department of Justice facing new pressure this morning, all as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team gets a fun lashing from one judge, and two advisors of fired FBI Director James Comey's adviser they are leaving the agency. We will tell you who. Then former senator and Democratic cice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman talks about how President Trump should approach the threats and opportunities with North Korea and Iran as we look ahead right now on 'Sunday Morning Futures.'
And the race for control of Congress kicks into high gear as voters in several key battleground states prepare to head to the polls for Tuesday's primary. And the stakes are high, Republicans are looking to lock in several Senate seats come November in hopes of breaking the long-standing trend of whoever holds the White House almost always loses seats come the mid-term elections. Something Democrats are pretty much banking on most notably House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. She expressed confidence that they will retake control of the House come November. Joining me now to discuss all of that is House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, potentially the next Speaker of the House. Good to see you, sir. Thanks so much for joining us.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, R—CALIF., HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, thanks for letting me come on with you.
BARTIROMO: Yes, you know, I want to kick it off right there because Nancy Pelosi has a lot to say this last week. We have it up on a graphic. She told the -- I think it was the Boston Globe, 'we will win in November and I will run once again to be the Speaker of the House' and you say?
MCCARTHY: That's probably one of the most scariest things I've heard all week because picture come November 9th waking up, if the Democrats controlled the House and Nancy giving this congratulatory speech and becoming Speaker. What we had that just transpired in the last year will all be reversed. So the number we just got today unemployment below four percent. We have not seen that in more than 18 years. If you have a child going off to college, it's their entire lifetime. Instead of them fearful leaving college and moving back home, they are going to get a job. You look at 90 percent of all Americans, they got a pay raise with the tax cut. Nancy Pelosi called that Armageddon and made sure no Democrat would vote for that. You've got 48 out of 50 states, their electrical bills are lower because of that tax cut. That would be reversed. Or, two million more jobs in the last year, North Korea now talking to South Korea, the V.A. reform that no longer a G.I. bill is only 15 years or you lose it, battling human trafficking, something we've been trying for the last ten years, we've now shutdown that page. Those things on the internet that contribute 70 percent of all the hundred thousand people trafficked in America and we have so much more to do. Opioids, we just passed 60 bills inside the subcommittee and you know what the Democrats did? The exact same thing they were doing on tax. They fought us, but Republicans will stay with it. Every American knows somebody who is addicted and we will solve this problem. Infrastructure, reforming Dodd-Frank so these community banks could actually do what they're supposed to do in their own community.
BARTIROMO: Yes, you have a great story to tell certainly. I mean, certainly on the economic side of things with the impact of the tax cuts, impact of the rollback and regulations, people are feeling better and we're seeing it in the numbers. I agree that the Democrats are going to have to answer the question, why didn't you vote for the tax cut plan? So is that your plan in terms of holding on to the House because we know that history is not on your side right? During the middle of the Presidential term usually, that party does lose seats.
MCCARTHY: Only two times since World War II has the party in power that had the White House gain seats, 1998 and 2002. I believe at the end of this day, Nancy Pelosi will not be Speaker, Republicans will keep the majority, not because we want it to happen, because what we have achieved. You are finding that the world is becoming safer, we've made the investments into our military, you have found that we have made economic strength. Don't discount unemployment below four percent first time in 18 years. That is unbelievable in the stretch of where we're going. two million more jobs have been created just in the last year. How many millions of people have got a bonus because of the tax cuts? Just think of this. One company gave 1.2 million people a longer maternity leave. But what does Nancy think of all that? She thinks that's crumbs and tats Armageddon. But reforming the V.A., infrastructure, dealing with human trafficking, opioid, these are things that matter to the American public, that's what we're focused on, that's what we'll stay focused on, so if you looked at the generic ballot earlier this year, yes, if the election was in January, they would have won. Today, they would lose.
BARTIROMO: Wow. All right, we'll be watching that. Obviously it's a good story to tell on the economic side and typically speaking people do vote for with their wallet. How am I feeling today? Am I feeling better than I was two years ago? Let me ask you about what you've been working on in terms of the spending bill or the rescission bill really. You're expecting the White House to send to Congress something this week. Where does that stand?
MCCARTHY: Well, you first have to understand what does the rescission bill allow you to do? We've watched most of this frustration with Congress happens in the Senate and not with the Republicans in the Senate but the Democrats because it takes 60 votes to do anything. When we look to repeal this burdensome regulatory world, remember, you have a Congressional Review Act that allows you to pass in the House and Senate with a simple majority. But we did that 16 times, nobody else ever to do that except one-time. Rescissions was actually a common practice from President Ford to Clinton. Ronald Reagan did it 214 times. Bill Clinton did it 111 times, and what it allows you to do is look at spending, make a cut, pass it with a majority in the House, and 51 votes in the Senate. I believe this shouldn't be a partisan idea. It wasn't in the past so let's go find places that we could have savings. There are accounts that are funded that those programs no longer exist, or can't be used so why would the money stay there? Repeal it and bring it back. And so we worked with the President. This is something he's trying to make sure. Let's cut wasteful spending. I think that should be a bipartisan plan, but watching Nancy everything is partisan.
BARTIROMO: But it wasn't bipartisan when you actually had the chance to say no to this and no to Planned Parenthood and no to something else, healthcare, you signed the bill so where are the areas to actually cut? Can you identify some areas where you could --
MCCARTHY: Well this is what the -- how the -- how program works, OMB puts it together, sends it to the House and we have 45 days to act and it takes 51. So they are looking at accounts that have been sitting there that have been funded that programs are no longer existing but the money sitting there. Why wouldn't you cut that wasteful spending? If there is a place that we could save the taxpayer money, we should look at that and especially bipartisan. But look, I asked Steny Hoyer the other day at the colle qui, he said he would look at something like that because they have a history of voting for it but now they're denying everything just like they're trying to deny the president these appointments. There's 1,200 positions that have to be confirmed. If you take the last six presidencies in the first two years there was only 24 cloture votes and today there's 88.
MCCARTHY: They are trying to dismantle government in the process. They're trying to make the President not successful, but do you know what? We are winning in the process and we can keep making sure we're fighting. I don't care if they fight the opioids, we will get this done.
BARTIROMO: How do you keep dealing with that though? I mean, the constant resist on the other side, this slow-walking of nominees, it's -- I mean, I'm actually amazed that this president is able to handle things like North Korea, Iran deal, and this decision coming up in the face of all of this resistance. Is this what it's going to be like in the next three years?
MCCARTHY: It shouldn't be. The election is over and we should work as one. You know, we should put politics -- we should put the people before the politics, but if they continue down this path what they're doing in the Senate today, it would take 11 years to confirm these people, and all that does is hurt the American public.
BARTIROMO: It's incredible. Meanwhile, on the other side, we've been talking about this potential abuse of power at the FBI and the Department of Justice. You heard Devin Nunes earlier call into "Fox & Friends" and he basically said we're done, we are ready now to pursue contempt of Congress charges because you're not getting the documents that your Committee Chairman have asked for. How willing are you -- how far are you willing to go with this? Are you going to pursue contempt and impeachment charges?
MCCARTHY: Well first, let's actually talk about what we're seeing. It's not just us and it's not just the American people. Last Friday, a federal judge, T.S. Elliott said this to Mueller's investigation, that he does not believe a special prosecutor has the power he or she to do anything they want. Unfettered power I think the term he actually used. What they're watching today and what he questioned, look everybody wanted to see -- get to the bottom. Was there any collusion with Russia? The millions of dollars spent, all the investigation, everybody says there was none. It is time for Mueller to end that investigation. Everybody sees it and where he's trying to draw it to. Now it's not just the judge but it's the American public. Remember, we have separate but co-equal branches of government. For too long, the DOJ and the FBI has been stonewalling Washington -- has been stonewalling Congress. Congress has a right to oversee it. Devin Nunes is Chairman of the Intel Committee, so classified information can be sent to the Intel Committee, not to the entire body. That is the role that they have. But for every time they have stonewalled us, we have not given up and when we did get the information, it was very interesting how the information would come forward that people would then start resigning or quitting from these organizations based upon the action that they took place. I think from my point of view is we will not stop because we are separate but co-equal and we will take every process that we have in the power to get the information that we have a right and responsibility to see.
BARTIROMO: There's an op-ed in the Journal by Kim Strassel on Friday and she writes, the credibility of the House's oversight authority is at stake. Paul Ryan's committee chairmen have done remarkable work exposing FBI behavior and they serve backup. Mr. Ryan needs to state strongly and publicly that he is zero qualms about proceeding down the road of contempt of impeachment if House demands are not met. You are likely if you hold on to the House, the next Speaker of the House, are you going to pursue this?
MCCARTHY: Yes. You have to uphold the power of the separation of powers here. It's not about this issue, it's about Congress in itself. We have a right and responsibility. If this is allowed during this investigation, it could be in anything else and that's what the judge was talking about last Friday, the unfretted power of this individual. That is wrong and these agencies have to have the responsibility to provide the information to Congress and it's provided to the Republicans and the Democrats. That's the responsibility. Look, every two years, the public loans the power to their member of Congress to oversee. That's the role we have and we have to uphold that power.
BARTIROMO: All of this stonewalling leads to the question what are they hiding? Why not just give the documents that your Committee Chairman have been requesting?
MCCARTHY: Yes, and if they're claiming it's classified, yes don't give it to all of Congress but that's why we setup the Intel Committee to start out with. They handle classified information all the time because they should oversee that and the rest of Congress doesn't see it but that is their role, so they can't hide behind that.
MCCARTHY: The other part is it's interesting Lisa Page leaving now, the Inspector General's report is coming soon, the more and more we learn about this, the more we realize one, there was no collusion, two this continues on it should not, these investigations should end, the millions of dollars that have been spent and we should get on with the American's business. Think about this. The president in a few short weeks is going to be sitting down with North Korea and South Korea. No one thought that was possible a year ago or even beyond. There's a possibility of ending the Korean war of the thousands of lives that Americans have given. Let's make this president as strong as he can in that opportunity that we have to make the world safe.
BARTIROMO: Well he's been making some bold decisions. I mean, even the idea that he could actually pull out of the Iran deal, the deadline is coming up May 12th, are you comfortable as the Majority Leader seeing the president say, you know what? I'm not renewing this on May 12th.
MCCARTHY: I'm very comfortable the president is being looked at this, looking at all side. Look at what former Secretary of State Condi Rice recently said. She said, she never would have signed it and she said, if we pull out, I don't get the phrase correct, it's not the end of the world, right?
MCCARTHY: What Iran is doing in this agreement, why this is so bad, not only did they get billions of dollars, they spent that money fostering terrorism around the world, they can have a nuclear weapon at the end of this agreement, they continue to test their ballistic missiles they are not creating more freedom in this world, someone has to stand up to them. And I'm sorry if we pull out of that, the size of their economy based upon the size of ours, I think Europe will follow us before they're concerned about the Iranian economy. And think about their own revolution inside there. Their youth are frustrated with them spending this money around the world fostering and bringing terrorism and unsafe for all of us when they should be focused on their own economy. It's time someone stands up to them. That was a bad deal to start with and history will show that was the wrong agreement and I'm thankful the president is looking at all options.
BARTIROMO: All right we're going to leave it there and follow the developments. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, it's good to see you.
MCCARTHY: Well, thanks for having me.
BARTIROMO: Thank you so much for joining us. Kevin McCarthy there. We will continue this conversation, former Attorney General Judge Michael Mukasey joins me next with his take on the DOJ and the FBI as we look ahead on 'Sunday Morning Futures' back in a minute.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back. The newest edition to President Trump's legal team is now calling for an end to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani saying, Attorney General Jeff Sessions should close the probe. This coming amid pressure from Republicans urging the Justice Department to release the full scope memo which outlines the initial extent of the investigation. Joining me right now is Judge Michael Mukasey. He's former U.S. Attorney General under President George W. Bush. Judge, it's great to see you. Thanks so much for weighing in here.
MICHAEL MUKASEY, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Good to be here.
BARTIROMO: I'm really wanting to get your insights here because there is so many moving parts. First off, a turning point perhaps on Friday night when we heard from the district judge pushing back on Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Tell us what we heard on Friday and what it means.
MUKASEY: I think what we heard on Friday is the fruit of -- the rather bitter fruit of the fact that this investigation was launched initially, in a flawed way. The regulations require that in order to have a special counsel, it has to be a finding that there is a criminal case to be investigated, criminal case that's got to be, and that there is a conflict, some good reason, a conflict or other good reason why the Justice Department can't do it. And under those circumstances, what the attorney general or whoever is acting for him in this case, the deputy, is obligated to do, is to tell the special counsel what the crime is and to put forth a specific set of facts. The memo that was originally drafted appointing Robert Mueller says that you are to follow-up the questions of Russian involvement in the -- in the election as testified to by James Comey on a particular date before the House Intelligence Subcommittee. What he testified to was not a criminal investigation. It was a counter intelligence investigation. So right from the get-go, to say that you're authorized to pursue that investigation is flawed. Apparently, Rod Rosenstein realized that at some point later in the game and changed the memo, put in an additional memo supposedly specifying what was being investigated and what the crime was, but we haven't been allowed to see that.
BARTIROMO: Why not? I mean if the mandate is expanded in terms of what Mueller should be pursuing, we all should understand that because we keep calling it this Russia probe.
MUKASEY: Right. Well, maybe it is a Russia probe, but the point is what's the crime and what are the -- what are the specific set of facts? And when the government was asked about that before Judge Ellis, what the response was oh, this is -- this is much too classified for me or for us to disclose in an open court. Essentially what they're telling the judge is don't worry your pretty little head about it and judges, whether they're men or women, don't like to hear that.
BARTIROMO: Right and this is T. S. Ellis, for the first time a pushback against this investigation that's gone so far afield.
MUKASEY: I think that the judge would be very much within his rights in saying look, you come back in a week and you bring either the letter or the memo that expands the special counsel's mandate, or you bring your toothbrush.
BARTIROMO: You know what, Judge, stay with us. I want to ask you about these questions that were leaked that Robert Mueller wants to ask the President. We're going to get into that more with Judge Michael Mukasey as we come right back as we look ahead on 'Sunday Morning Futures.' Stay right there.
BARTIROMO: And we're back with former attorney general Michael Mukasey. And Judge, I want to talk to you and get your take on these questions that were leaked. These are the questions that Robert Mueller apparently wants to ask Trump about obstruction and what it means. Some of the questions are things like what was your reaction to news reports of January 12th? What did you know about Sally Yates meetings with Mr. Flynn? And then there's one question about an interview that I did with the president. And the question is, what was the purpose of your April 11, 2017 statement to Maria Bartiromo? And that statement is on the screen, basically, it's me talking with the President about Jim Comey after he was fired for breaking the Justice Department policy. Here's a clip from my interview with the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Well, that's why I'm asking. Why is –
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Director Comey -- no, I'm just saying -- well, because I want to give everybody a good fair chance. Director Comey was very, very good to Hillary Clinton, that I can tell you. If he weren't, she would be right now going to trial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: It's an odd clip that Robert Mueller is zeroing in on to ask the president about. What do you think about these questions and about that?
MUKASEY: Well, if the -- if the question is intended to ask whether the president wants to suggest to the Justice Department that it started an investigation or continuing an investigation of Hillary Clinton, that's not within the mandate, as I understand it, of the special counsel. A number of other of these questions are not within the mandate of the special counsel, or they tend toward determining whether the President had a "corrupt motive" in firing Jim Comey, which if we were talking about obstruction could conceivably make an obstruction case but we're not, number one and number two, if we were the president can't be indicted.
BARTIROMO: So once again, these questions indicate how far afield this investigation has gone. First, we were talking about collusion, then we were talking about obstruction, now we're talking about payments to Stormy Daniels.
MUKASEY: Which of course have nothing to do with whether the Russians interfered --
MUKASEY: -- with the 2016 election. That was supposed to be the focus of the investigation. That was supposed to be the reason why Jeff Sessions recused himself because he worked on the campaign and it was an investigation of the campaign. There is a regulation that says that you can't participate in an investigation of a campaign in which you participated.
MUKASEY: Very simple. So he was justified in doing that if that was the focus of the special counsel's investigation. But we don't know to this day what the actual focus is because we haven't seen that memo.
BARTIROMO: So are we going to be able to see that scoped memo now that we know that Rosenstein actually did expand the mandate for which Robert Mueller is supposed to pursue?
MUKASEY: I don't know whether he expanded it or contracted it. He, in any event, defined it and we should see the memo. Whether we're going to be able to or not I guess depends on how robust our system is, if it's robust we'll see it.
BARTIROMO: What's your take on where this is going? I mean, these are extraordinary times, Judge. You've got the Robert Mueller investigation that's going all over the place and then you've got an investigation into the handling of the 2016 election by the FBI and the Department of Justice. On that score, we're waiting for this I.G. report which is forthcoming next couple of weeks. Do you think we'll see justice?
MUKASEY: I hope that what we will see is the justice at the facts justify and that people will stop dealing with things for reasons having nothing to do with the facts the way, for example, Jim Comey did because he had some higher loyalty in mind, but rather because of what the facts in the law require. If we get that kind of reaction to the I.G. report, to this memo of the deputy attorney general, then we'll be fine. It depends on how healthy our institutions are.
BARTIROMO: Well we see that Lisa Page has resigned, attorney at the FBI and the Department of Justice and we see that Mr. Baker has also. Is this a coincidence that the I.G. report is coming out and we're seeing more resignations?
MUKASEY: I don't know whether it's a coincidence or not. I'll guess we'll find it out when we read the report and even at that point we'll be speculating.
BARTIROMO: What do you --
MUKASEY: I worry less about why they resigned than I do about what we do with what's in the report and particularly what we do to define, specify, and explain the mandate of a special counsel who is whether he's doing the Lord's work or the devil's work is interfering with the functioning of the presidency. Is that justified? We won't know that until we see that memo.
BARTIROMO: It is pretty extraordinary throughout all of this that Jim Comey is on a book tour.
MUKASEY: Yes, well, Jim Comey is another case. I would suggest that you read his book with -- well, I don't want to say with a grain of salt but certainly with a bottle of Pepto-Bismol.
MUKASEY: Because it is cringe-inducing on every page. He is a self- laudatory, there's no story he tells of which he isn't the hero and you can't really reach for a character. People suggested that he's like the Inspector Javert in Les Miserables. He's worse than that. He's a combination of false humility, false piety, and false courage.
BARTIROMO: He can't even say that it's -- that he leaked when we know that when he gave his memos to his friend, who then we learned worked for the FBI, he actually leaked them with an intent to get a special counsel in place.
BARTIROMO: It's pretty extraordinary. Judge, it's great to see you.
MUKASEY: Take care.
BARTIROMO: Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate.
MUKASEY: Good to be with you.
BARTIROMO: Judge Michael Mukasey there. We have more reaction to all of this. Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe sits on the House Judiciary Committee, he'll join me next as we look ahead on 'Sunday Morning Futures.' We'll be right back.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back. The Department of Justice is responding to Devin Nunes right now. We have breaking news. The Department of Justice is saying that they have responded to Devinn Nunes. He was on "Fox & Friends" earlier saying that his latest classified letter to the DOJ was ignored. The letter from the DOJ which they are sending spells out the administration's written response says the DOJ. Now basically, Devin Nunes said that two weeks ago, that he sent a letter to the Attorney General Jeff Sessions a classified letter per usual. This is from Devin Nunes, it was ignored, not acknowledged, completely ignored. Last week we sent a subpoena that on Thursday we discovered they're not going to comply with our subpoena. Nunes told "Fox & Friends" this is information we need. We need to move quickly to hold the attorney general of the United States in contempt. That is what I will press for this week. Also, right now, we want to talk about what's happening with Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe. He sits on the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committee. He's is also a former U.S. Attorney. Good to see you, sir. Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.
REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE, R-TEXAS, HOUSE JUDICIARY AND HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Hi Maria.
BARTIROMO: Your response to what the DOJ is saying this morning. It says it in fact sent a letter back to Devin Nunes and said we are in receipt of your letter at the careful evaluation and following consultations with the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence, the FBI, the White House and Department, we are not in a position to provide information responsive to your request. Your take on all of this, congressman.
RATCLIFFE: Well, Maria, I haven't seen the subpoena that Devin Nunes was talking about so I don't know if it relates to the E.C. that started the counter intelligence or if it relates to something else.
BARTIROMO: Bottom line, are you -- will you move to pursue contempt charges against Attorney General Jeff Sessions as Devin Nunes stated earlier?
RATCLIFFE: I think that all members of Congress are going to need more information about what the request was and what the response from the Justice Department is. We don't have that. The problem, Maria, as you know is when Congress issues a subpoena, the enforcement arm is the Department of Justice. The problem is when the subpoena is directed to the Department of Justice, and they won't comply with the subpoena, Congress is left with the decision of whether or not to hold officials in contempt and ultimately seek impeachment so it's not a great system but I think before we go to those very extraordinary measures, everyone ought to have a better sense of what both Chairman Nunes and the Department of Justice are arguing about.
BARTIROMO: Well, what tools do you have? I mean, if you're asking for these documents and you're not getting them and you're seeing that things are being slow-walked and ignored, what's the next move that you can do in order to get justice here as you continue an investigation into the FBI and the DOJ's handling of the 2016 election?
RATCLIFFE: That's -- and that's exactly the problem that we've had, Maria. And one of the things that I think members of Congress will look at in regards to the Department of Justice's response to Chairman Nunes is we've seen a number of documents where there has been slow walking or stonewalling for different reasons, for various privileges, for national security concerns, and the Department of Justice, where I serve, the Department that I love, its hand has been weakened by the fact that as those documents as Congress has pressed and those documents have come out, we found that a lot of the information that's been redacted or kept from public view have really reflected more on the Department or the FBI and its senior officials and to save them from embarrassment or from potential infractions or misconduct. So you know, I do think that it's fair to ask these questions. I know that all members of Congress you know, hopefully, will get that information. We all need to have that information before we would go to the extraordinary measure of holding an Attorney General in contempt of Congress. I certainly need that information.
BARTIROMO: What about this? The Federal Judge presiding over the Paul Manafort case Congressman, he's demanding that Robert Mueller's team show him the scope of their investigation into the alleged Russian collusion. Judge T.S. Ellis as I was just talking with Michael Mukasey about with a harsh rebuke to the special counsel suggesting that Mueller only cares about information Manafort may have on the President. This is all an exercise to takedown President Trump. And Ellis says Mueller should not be given "unfettered power." What do you think this tells us about the special counsel investigation?
RATCLIFFE: Maria, the fundamental premise of our criminal justice system that we investigate crime or suspicious activity. We don't investigate people with the intent of uncovering criminality. And it has appeared to many that maybe that's what the special counsel was doing with respect to Rick Gates and Paul Manafort and potential bank fraud in 2005 to create cooperational leverage against this investigation into Donald Trump. That's exactly the question that this Judge raised on Friday, and he's the first independent person, a jurist to raise this issue and he has said, hey, it appears that you're attempting use what Paul Manafort did in 2005 to get to Donald Trump in 2018 and I want to see your authority for that. I want to see the jurisdictional basis that you have to even raise these charges. Interestingly, the special counsel's response was Judge, you're not entitled to that and the Judge not so politely said I'll be the judge of what I'm entitled to and produce it in the next two weeks so we'll see where that goes.
BARTIROMO: Well what about this Mueller probe? I mean, you and I have spoken in the past, you know, it's starting with collusion, then it went to obstruction, now we're talking about payments made to Stormy Daniels, this investigation has clearly gone much further afield than we thought with the initial Mandate of Russia collusion.
RATCLIFFE: Yes, I think that you know, very clearly, there was a scope for the special counsel to be looking at Russian collusion and it has gotten far afield of that. I think the judge in this case interestingly is maybe exercising some oversight that the Department of Justice hasn't been. I think this can be effectively narrowed down. The special counsel shouldn't be looking at for instance obstruction of justice at this point in time. Even setting aside the question of whether or not a president can be charged for something that the Constitution authorizes him to do in firing an FBI Director, even to the extent you want to look at that, Jim Comey through his actions, words and his writing has effectively torpedoed any obstruction of justice charges so the special counsel ought to move on away from that and really look at what the core basis of his appointment was which is whether or not there was any collusion between or coordination with the Trump campaign and Russians.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, real quick. What should we expect from the I.G. report? This report is forthcoming. We're expecting it sometime in the month of May.
RATCLIFFE: I would expect that what the inspector general is going to find is that former FBI Director Jim Comey violated his employment agreement, made multiple unauthorized disclosures or leaks of information, perhaps classified but at least FBI documents and has made demonstrably false statements to Congress, and perhaps to investigators for the I.G., so you know, I will say this. I think that Michael Horowitz has proven himself to be a fair umpire with respect to calling balls and strikes. He had the courage to make a criminal referral of the Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe.
RATCLIFFE: And so I think if it's warranted that there's any criminality that needs to be referred with respect to Jim Comey or anyone else at the Department of Justice or the FBI, that Michael Horowitz will do that, so --
BARTIROMO: And Michael Horowitz was supposed to be speaking and testifying in front of Trey Gowdy's committee, the Oversight Committee, but they pushed that back.
RATCLIFFE: Yes, and I think that's a reflection of the fact that the inspector general is getting more information into the Hillary Clinton email investigation and improprieties and perhaps misconduct in how that matter was handled. He wants to be thorough and fair, so you know I'd rather wait a week or two to get more information because the more information that the inspector general can provide to Congress, the more oversight that we can provide and hold folks accountable to the extent that they need to be.
BARTIROMO: All right, we will be watching this as Kimberley Strassel wrote in her op-ed in the Journal on Friday, this puts a real spotlight on the credibility of the House's oversight authority. So we will be watching that Congressman. Good to see you, sir. Thanks so much.
RATCLIFFE: You bet.
BARTIROMO: Congressman John Ratcliffe there. President Trump meanwhile faces a big deadline this May 12th on the Iran Nuclear Deal. What his decision could mean for the United States. Senator Joe Lieberman is with me next as we look ahead on 'Sunday Morning Futures' back in a moment.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back President Trump's deadline on the Iran nuclear deal is approaching. It is now less than a week away. The Regime's President Hassan Rouhani is warning this President of "historic regret" should the U.S. pull out of this nuclear agreement. This comes amid report that claims former Secretary of State John Kerry is secretly meeting with world leaders to try to salvage this deal. I want to bring in former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, Chairman of the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran, former Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee and former Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate himself. Sir, good to see you. Thank so much for joining us.
JOE LIEBERMAN, CHAIRMAN, UNITED AGAINST NUCLEAR IRAN: You too, Maria. It's good to be with you.
BARTIROMO: First off, what is your sense of where you're going here? You think the U.S. pulls out and what are the implications?
LIEBERMAN: Well, I'm encouraged by what the President has said so far and I hope he does pull out because I give you the perspective of somebody who was in the Senate for 24 years, worked with people in both parties to put sanctions, economic pressure on Iran with a singular goal which was to denuclearize Iran, to stop their nuclear weapons development program and what the Obama administration and our allies in Europe did was not that. It basically gave way all our leverage against them in return for a pause in their nuclear program, if they're keeping their word which they don't have a good reputation for doing and it gave them $100 billion which they've used to support terrorists and to spread their rule throughout the Middle East. So it was a bad deal, a mistake for us. I think the president really has the power to correct that mistake and I hope he does.
BARTIROMO: What are the most egregious parts of this plan? What's the worst part of the nuclear deal and why is it that we need to get out?
LIEBERMAN: Yes. Well, the worst part of the nuclear deal is that it didn't really end Iran's nuclear program. It's clear that they've got tremendous capacity. They basically put the brakes on for a while to get the economic pressure off of them, to get the $100 billion. They can go back and have a legitimate nuclear weapons development program in about ten years and that's not the security that the world needs. The second is that they have not -- the agreement gives the international atomic energy authority the right to inspect facilities all over Iran. Iran hasn't let those inspectors go on to their military sites which are where they would be cheating if they're cheating and I worry that they are.
BARTIROMO: And of course, we've already given them all that money so they're actually giving that money to tariffs which is what we could do.
LIEBERMAN: Yes, to terrorists and probably to Hezbollah which continues to kill innocent Syrian people.
BARTIROMO: We understand this morning that John Kerry, former Secretary of State is having meetings with the Iranians. Why is John Kerry running around trying to salvage this deal? Does that impact the so-called Logan Act where you're not supposed to be negotiating for the country when you don't have an official role?
LIEBERMAN: Well it's a surprising story, so I'd say this. The Logan Act really hasn't been enforced for a long time. John Kerry is not negotiating on behalf of the U.S. government. I hope everybody he's talking to knows that but in my opinion what he's doing is inappropriate and he shouldn't be doing it. And let's just take two former Secretaries of State, Condi Rice who opposes the Iran nuclear agreement, Hillary Clinton who supported it. Neither one of them is going around talking to the Iranians, to the Europeans and trying to I guess convince them to not be affected by the current Trump administration. It's a duly-elected administration, so I hope John Kerry stops.
BARTIROMO: Condi Rice joined me this past week and said it's just not a good deal, we shouldn't be there. But will the Europeans go along with us?
LIEBERMAN: Well, I think ultimately they will. They may protest if President Trump pulls out of the agreement but you know in the end, what I -- what I appreciated about President Trump in this case and others, he understands America's strength so he doesn't make decisions based on the worst fears that people say if he does this, the sky will fall and here's what I mean. The Iranian economy is oh, four or $500 billion, ours is like 44 trillion. So you give the European banking and business community a choice of what to do if we pull out and slap the sanctions back on Iran, it's no choice. They're going to continue to do business with us and they're going to turn their backs on the Iranians and most of the rest of the world will do the same, then hopefully the Iranians will come back to the table and negotiate a total denuclearization of their country and then we can welcome them into the world community.
BARTIROMO: Incredible. It's incredible what's going on and then you've got a North Korean meeting coming up. Senator, it's great to see you. Thanks so much.
LIEBERMAN: You too, Maria.
BARTIROMO: Senator Joe Lieberman. We'll be right back.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back. We have more breaking news this morning. We told you earlier that Devin Nunes went on "Fox & Friends" and said he is ready to pursue contempt of Congress charges against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The DOJ has then responded and said we did respond to him and Devin Nunes is saying well, the letter that they sent me said they're not going to comply, so not sure what the DOJ is trying to prove. They basically are saying we're not going to comply. Meanwhile, a Federal Judge has slammed special Counsel Robert Mueller for overreaching. I want to bring in our panel right here. Byron York is the Chief Political Correspondent with the Washington Examiner and a Fox News contributor, James Freeman is an assistant editor for the Wall Street Journal editorial page, he's also a Fox News contributor. Gentlemen, good to see you both. Your thoughts on what's transpiring this morning, James?
JAMES FREEMAN, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think we're seeing this standoff with -- on the Nunes and with Congress wanting to know exercising its appropriate oversight authority, what happened at the FBI, FBI doesn't want to share the documents. I think either Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has got to hold the contempt votes to force disclosure or the president should start declassifying a lot of information that I think all of us as Americans want to know about what is pretty foundational to our democracy was the investigative authority of a surveillance power of the government inappropriately used in a political attack basically.
BARTIROMO: Exactly right, James. Byron, your thoughts on this? It almost feels like somebody is trying to let the clock run out.
BYRON YORK, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well the problem with this specific Nunes subpoena is we don't know what he's asking for. You just asked Representative John Ratcliffe, you know, if he was on board for pushing a contempt citation and he told you well, I need to know what we're asking for. So that's a big problem. We do know though, in the past that Nunes has asked for and subpoenaed information from the Justice Department and gotten stonewalled and later we find out that there really wasn't a very good reason for it. So the inclination here is to be suspicious of the Justice Department, but I should say, we don't know what he's asking for.
BARTIROMO: Well because we don't know the scope memo, right? I mean, we need to understand better what the mandate was and is for Robert Mueller and its gone really far afield, James?
FREEMAN: Yes, and I think this is what's interesting. Maybe a lot of people didn't expect the Judiciary to start holding Mr. Mueller accountable. It's kind of an odd situation where he's part of the executive branch but he's independent of the duly-elected President because he's investigating him, who holds Mueller accountable, and this judge I think is going in that direction.
BARTIROMO: You guys have to come back. This is a fantastic panel by Byron York, James Freeman, thank you. I'll see you tomorrow on the Fox Business Network, everybody. Have a good Sunday.
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