Amb. Ryan Crocker, Rep. Ed Royce, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on fallout from Syria airstrikes

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," April 9, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: Good Morning. A critical week ahead, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson set to visit Russia this Wednesday. What's his message for Moscow after the U.S. strikes on Syria? Plus, the White House and Congress set to dive into tax reform after the Easter break, how fast can they get something done

Good morning, everyone, I'm Maria Bartiromo, thanks for joining us. This is "Sunday Morning Futures".

A fair of foreign policy test from White House President Trump orders air strikes following Syria's chemical weapons attack on its own people. Was Moscow complicit in the chemical attack? All of this while U.S. war ships steam towards North Korea. Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria and Iraq, Ryan Crocker, will join me momentarily.

Plus, the White House pushing back this morning on reports of tension within the President's inner circle, Steve Bennett and Jared Kushner reportedly sitting down to smooth things over. Is it much ado about nothing? Karl Rove sorts it out. Plus, Americas trade relationship with China, where does it go from here? Following the President's meeting with the President of China.

I'll talk with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross coming up as we look ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."

We start with a news alert, Fox News Alert. ISIS has claimed responsibility this morning for attacks on two churches in Northern Egypt, killing dozens of worshipers, celebrating Palm Sunday this morning. The first attack seen here killed 26 Coptic Christians. Nearly 70 others were hurt.

Authorities say, the second, a few hours later, happen when a suicide bomber tried to enter another church but was stopped by police before blowing himself up. 11 people killed in that blast, 35 others hurt.

Meanwhile, President Trump is keeping on the pressure on Syria this morning in a letter to Congress. Mr. Trump says he "is not ruling out further air strikes against the Assad regime, adding that military action in the future will be taken "as necessary". Those U.S. missile strikes turning the spotlight on Russia's connections to Syria and a high-stakes diplomatic face off this week with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson set to visit Moscow on Wednesday.

Joining me right now is Ambassador Ryan Crocker. He is the former U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, now Dean and Executive Professor at Texas A&M University. Ambassador, good to have you on the program. Thank you for joining us.

AMB. RYAN CROCKER, FMR. U.S. AMB. TO SYRIA AND IRAQ: Thank you, Maria, good to be back.

BARTIROMO: Well, few people have the inside knowledge that you do of this part of the world. Let me ask you in terms of your expectations, do you think Syria and/or Russia will retaliate?

CROCKER: They would be insane if they tried. We all know what the differentials of power are here. Our power is overwhelming. They would not like to see it applied. And I don't they'll take that chance.

BARTIROMO: So you're not expecting any response. Now, the immediate result of course was Moscow's declaration on Friday. They did has suspended an agreement to coordinate military flights over Syria with Washington, the communication of sharing that information of the fly overs Syria has been shut down. What are the implications, sir?

CROCKER: Well, I think that is a major mistake on the part of Moscow. As we move into his theater, they would be the ones who would benefit from advanced warnings as we saw in this case. So they're actually putting their own forces in greater jeopardy.

BARTIROMO: They are putting their men in jeopardy and their men and women in jeopardy. But tell me on the ground in terms of implications, were also in jeopardy because we don't know what's happening from their side. So there -- it's raising the risk of a potential problem, correct, for our men and women on the ground?

CROCKER: Well, Maria, it is all immensely complicated. This is one small piece of it. Again, I think we will have a better battlefield picture than they will. And as we move forward, if we do, the President has certainly put the world on notice that we may. It would be to Moscow's benefit to have these basic lines of communication. So they will lose more than we will.

BARTIROMO: Let me ask you also when you look at this targeting of Christian churches this morning in Egypt, characterize what the president is facing right now. Clearly, the issues around North Korea have been rising and perhaps becoming front and center number one on the agenda. Now, you've got Syria and of course a problem in Egypt this morning. How do you characterize what the president is facing with regard to extremist terrorism and foreign affairs?

CROCKER: I think that in this last week, we really witnessed the end of reality shows and beginning of reality. And reality out in that part of the world is multiple crises coming at you all at once. You can't stack them. You have to take them as they came.

And so far, so good, I think the strike in Syria was the right thing to do. We can talk more about that. It is just the beginning, not the end. I think the deployment of the carrier battle group up towards to Korea was also the right thing to do.

When I was ambassador in Kuwait in the mid-1990s, I referred to a carrier battle group as a hundred thousand tons of diplomacy. I worked very closely with Central Command and to be sure we had carrier presence up in the northern gulf when we needed it.

So, again, the President has made the right move both in Syria and in Korea. But again, this is just the beginning. And I would say about the attacks on Coptic Churches on Palm Sunday in Egypt reminds us all that we have got a determined and absolutely ruthless enemy in the form of Islamic state.

And one more thing on this, Maria, because it is important, I come out of the world of diplomacy where personal relationships are so critical. President Trump to the surprise of a lot of people including me after his campaign rhetoric has stepped in here looking like an internationalist.


CROCKER: He has received dozens of head of state and government and on the phone with others. So he is already getting relationships in place that he can then call on as the world springs that surprises on us so --

BARTIROMO: Yeah. We should point out that the President has gotten broad and deep support on this, global support. A number of world leaders have come out and says this is exactly what was appropriate and it certainly feels like the era of leading from behind is over in terms of this administration.

Let me ask you to preview this meeting and I want to get back to something you said, by the way, because you said this is just the beginning. I want to ask you what you meant by that, in terms of just the beginning. Is this a new program against Syria? Or, I mean the President has a very clear more strikes if necessary, bit how do you see it?

CROCKER: I, for one, am glad that he has not got a fully thought through strategy on Syria, because if he did, he would probably get it wrong. There are too many variables, too many unknowns. Here is one of them. He has gotten praise, for example, from Saudi Arabia from Turkey, from much of the Syrian opposition. That is predicated on their view, or maybe just their better hope that this means the administration is going to make an anti-Assad campaign had center piece, not an anti-ISIS campaign.

Well, I don't that's where this is where this is at all, and at least not right away. So the President is going to have to adjust exportations with movements and with governments. They are may be hoping for a different ship of emphasis. And that's why the calls and medians he had before this crisis becomes so important.

He knows them, they know him. This is the time for a very serious multi- party discussion on what should or should not have been.

BARTIROMO: So what are your expecting out of this meeting on Wednesday between Rex Tillerson and Vladimir Putin? We should point out that one question that Tillerson will want answers to is why is Syria has chemical weapons still anyway, especially since Susan Rice told us that the last administration made sure that Syria had no more chemical weapons, let's listen to Susan Rice just this January. This was sad just this past January. Listen to this, Ambassador.


SUSAN RICE, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER (via telephone): I think the president stated the U.S. view which is the use of chemical weapons is not something we are prepared to allow to persist and we didn't. We manage to accomplish that goal far more thoroughly than we could have by some limited strikes against chemical target by getting the entirety of the declared stockpile removed.


BARTIROMO: And of course, now we know that was not true, sir.

CROCKER: Well, there are any numbers of untruths south out in that region, this would just be one of them. What I hope happens as we move into the new week, in this very important visit to the secretary to Moscow, we need to be more aggressive with respect to Russia.

When they accuse us of violating Syria's sovereignty, we should be right back in their face saying they are protecting and abetting (ph) a mass killer who uses chemical weapons. Is that what Russia wants to be associated with, the use of chemical weapon? Same is true for Iran incidentally and I think we can be pretty powerful there because the Iranians have been victims of chemical attacks.

Their population is probably not going to like too much that they are now associating with someone who carries out these attacks, so I think we need to be a little more aggressive on this.

BARTIROMO: All right. Well, we'll be watching that meeting certainly, it's going to give us a window into that relationship. Ambassador, good to have you on the program this morning, thanks very much.

CROCKER: Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: We will see you soon, Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

And a big viewers note, this Wednesday, on "Mornings with Maria" on the Fox Business Network, I will have an exclusive one-on-one interview with President Donald J. Trump. We will talk about Syria plus his take on the state of the economy. Find out what he has to say about tax reform, what the future of NAFTA is and, of course, the future of his agenda in general. That's this Wednesday morning, "Mornings with Maria" beginning at 6:00 a.m. Eastern on the Fox Business Network

And then, next Sunday, we will have more an exclusive portions of that interview with President Trump right here on "Sunday Morning Futures". That's 10:00 a.m. Eastern next Sunday, right here on the Fox News Channel. So join me from my exclusive with President Trump, this upcoming week.

So President Trump taking action in Syria, what is the plan going forward. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Edwards will join me next, live. Plus, remember to follow us on Twitter, let us know what you'd like to hear from our guest today and -- for President Trump @MariaBartiromo on Twitter, @SundayFutures. Stay with us we'll looking ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures"


BARTIROMO: Welcome back. President Trump receiving bipartisan praise for authorizing military action in Syria, now some lawmakers are asking the President to work with Congress to come up with a complete strategy.

Joining us right now is House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce. Congressman, it's good to have on the program this morning. Thanks so much for being here.


BARTIROMO: What you want to see as a plan moving forward in Syria?

ROYCE: Well, I think we need clear policy goals for Syria, in the region. I think what we need to see is more than just the preliminary framework that was put out by Secretary Mattis. We need to be working with the administration first and foremost on a plan to destroy and eliminate ISIS. And then secondarily on putting enough pressure, bring in enough pressure to bear on some of the supporters of Assad in order to get a negotiated settlement out of Syria.

BARTIROMO: Have you had conversations with the President about Syria?

ROYCE: I've had conversations with his team. I have not had conversations personally with him about this issue yet.

BARTIROMO: So, what about this debate about whether or not he should have spoken with Congress first? The President has authority to act, to protect the country's national interest.

ROYCE: He was -- the White House informed me and others of course.


ROYCE: But the question here going forward, he does have that authority just as Ronald Reagan had that authority and used it and Bill Clinton. But for short period of time, after 60 days of course, if there's an intention to go forward with these types of strikes, then the President has to come to Congress for an authorization, the use of military force.

BARTIROMO: Right. So that was my -- that was really my question, were you in the circle, because I know that he didn't alert some people and I wondered if you obviously were alerted.

ROYCE: I was.

BARTIROMO: And obviously you were. As chairman, I would've expected that.

Let me ask you, sir. There are obviously a lot of hot button issues in front of the president right now. Most importantly North Korea which has become quite active in his first 75 days of the president's term, how important should Syria be in terms of the overall foreign policy agenda?

ROYCE: Well, remember, this, Maria, had quite an impact worldwide. First, everyone saw the results of 28 children being suffocated by this poison gas, by the Syrian gas and realized that Assad had been lined and that, frankly, nothing had been done about this stockpiles. And indeed, in this case, he was caught in the act.

And so, as a result of the decisive step here to take out 23 of his aircraft there that have launched this attack, you notice to result in the region. First result I mentioned to you is al-Sadr, who was formerly in Baghdad, this militant cleric who is an ally of the Assad, suddenly says, "Oh no, now it's time for negotiated settlement. It is time for Assad to go and it's time to get the Russians and the Americans out of Syria."

So, the reality here is that, is changing the perception of Assad's allies and it gives the president therefor, I think, an opportunity with his team to look at the diplomatic approach forward in order to try to quiet the situation in Syria. And this following on the defeat of ISIS, which I do think we will eliminate at least in Syria and Iraq, is a very, very important step.

BARTIROMO: It's a really important point to make because the President is getting really strong support and praise for this move because most of our friends around the world feel that Assad needs to go. And that's what all of the candidates said during the election season as well. Now, you're seeing the U.K. push back, canceling a meeting to Moscow. The U.K. basically saying, you know, Moscow is supporting Assad. So do you think this will result in Assad stepping down?

Royce: I think it will -- I think it very easily could result in Assad been replaced by someone else with the intention of a negotiated settlement. And then, to put additional pressure on, I am the ranking member on my committee to put in legislation, which we passed through the House last year to try to put additional pressure and sanctions on Russia and on Iran in terms of their transfer of weapons and support to Assad.

We now think we've got enough support to get a bill through the Senate. And I think that this is crucial here that the focus be on -- not only the diplomatic approach and sanctions, but when we find Assad using chemical weapons.

This is a guy who has run for 14 million people at his own people out of their homes. They're fleeing all over the Middle East and into Europe as a consequence. He's killed 480,000 people and he's deliberately, intentionally after being warned not to targeting women and children. So, we need some decisive steps here to bring an end to this, end and quickly, and that's what we're seeing.

BARTIROMO: Yeah. And as I said in the last segment, it feels like the era of leading from behind is over. We should point out that Steven Mnuchin has said, the Treasury Secretary, more sanctions are forth coming to Syria.

Sir, it's good to have you on the program. Thanks very much, Congressman.

ROYCE: Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: We will see you soon.

New reports of growing tensions within the president's inner circle, is it all overblown? Karl Rove on not next, back in a moment.


BARTIROMO: A short solidarity from the White House following reports of a feud between two of the president staff aides. Chief strategist Steve Bannon reportedly meeting with the president senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to smooth things over amid claims of inciting.

Joining me right now is Karl Rove, former Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush. And, Karl, it is great to see you. Thank you so much for joining us.

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

BARTIROMO: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that there is tension between Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus and perhaps it could lead to the -- Reince Priebus perhaps and Steve Bannon getting reassigned. Do you believe it?

ROVE: Well, I believe that there is a lot of acrimony inside the White House. I believe that there is a lot of concern on the president's part about the relationships between these sorts of three tribes that have emerged in the White House. One group around Jared Kushner and his supporters and allies, one around Steve Bannon and the other sort off-right in the White House and one sort of around Reince Priebus and everybody else.

And while I think there is a tendency to exaggerate a little bit in the press, I think there's a lot behind this that's real and I say that for three reasons. First of all, these people have been leaking on each other for weeks. Named -- the White House officials are does saying to reporters about other people inside the White House.

Second of all, the President has taken into talking to people who have called him are come to see him and asking them, you know, what do you think of my staff and expressing concern about it?

And then finally, people who've been in and out of the White House over the last 11 weeks told me that there's a powerful ball sort of animosity or antagonism or, you know, sort of unhealthy feelings between various camps inside the White House.

You're always going to have tension. You want a diversity of opinion, but she won a unity of purpose. And right now there's plenty of diversity of opinion, but there doesn't appear to be sufficient unity of purpose inside this White House.

BARTIROMO: Yeah. I think that's a really good way to put it, because it's unity of purpose which is why we're even doing the story as everyone knows who watches this program. We do not do gossip on "Sunday Morning Futures."

Having said that, if there is a push and pull within the inner circle whereas it is going to dictate the agenda and change the agenda, we want to know about it. Now, I understand Gary Cohn has been gaining real seniority in the administration. He may have a different way of looking at perhaps the tax plan than perhaps Steve Bannon were too. So that's why we want to see whether or not this would dictate the agenda, your thoughts.

ROVE: Well, what's interesting to me is that we look at the two individuals. Gary Cohn, head of the National Economic Council, he runs a process. It is to say they tackle on issue and people have -- people throughout the government come together to discuss that issue. Excuse me. And then they will carry their advice over to the president in an organized deliberate of fashion, discuss it, identify the areas of consensus, identify the areas of disagreement, committed to paper, hone (ph) those arguments, in some way shape or form carry forward to the president.

Steve Bannon is an adviser. He doesn't run a process. He is the lone ranger. I remember when I was in the White House, I was the senior advisor and the chief of staff, Andy Card, said to me, "I don't want people in the White House whose only job it is to advise the president. I want people who have responsibility for running the process in helping execute the decisions we make. Therefore, I'm going to give you these responsibilities, intergovernmental affairs, public liaison, so forth."

So, what I think we're seeing here is the subtle influence of -- if it's accurate that Cohn has gain an influence, it's the subtle impact of actually being responsible for running a thing and getting it to a point.


ROVE: The more process you have, the better the outcomes are that you can frame to the president and the better the president's decision-making. If you're dependent on being the last guy in the room and sort of saying, "Remember, you said you're doing this during the campaign, you put yourself in a place where others could sort of gain influence perhaps at your expense."

BARTIROMO: I understood, a story to watch. Karl, good to see you. Thank you so much.

ROVE: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: Karl Rove. And coming up next, we will talk to somebody who knows exactly what's going on within the White House. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will join me live to talk about the road ahead. We're looking ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures." Join us for Wilbur Ross, next.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back, President Trump holding his first one-on-one meeting with China's president Xi Jinping last week. Trade between the U.S. and China, one of the main topic at the high stake summit at Mr. Trumps Mar-a-Lago state in Florida.

Mr. Trump tweeted afterward this, "It was a great honor to have President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan of China as our guests in the United States. Tremendous," adding, "goodwill and friendship was formed, but only time will tell on trade.

Joining me right now is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Secretary Ross, great to see you again, thanks so much for joining us.


BARTIROMO: I want to get to the meeting with the president of China in a moment. But first, let me begin with the Syria strikes, because you were in the room when the strikes took place, in the situation room, along with other members of the president's cabinet. Can you take us behind the scenes of it? How did that feel that day? Tell us what went on while the launch was happening.

ROSS: Well, it was the -- obviously, a very thrilling scene. It was the kind of thing that justifies all the inconveniences one puts up with going into government to be there while history is being made. And I believe the president really did make some history with his decision to take an action that was measured, very precise and seemingly has had a very beneficial effect already.

BARTIROMO: Your colleague Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said to expect more sanctions forthcoming against Syria. What would those look like?

ROSS: Well, that's really for the Secretary of Treasury to do. Our job in commerce more to enforce sanctions, for example, a weeks ago ZTE, the second largest Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer, we nailed for having violated the sanctions against both Iran and North Korea and signed one billion one hundred ninety million dollars as a result.

Our normal enforcement activities are going to go forward while we wait to see if there are some very prompt results and real deliverables coming out of the trade discussions.

BARTIROMO: Let me get to you the trade discussion with the president of China. Overall, how was the meeting, Sec. Ross, I mean the president has repeatedly hammered China for exporting more to the United States than it buys, also criticized China for taking jobs that could otherwise go to Americans. Did these subjects come up?

ROSS: Well, they weren't articulated quite that way. But when made very clear that our primary objectives are twofold. One is to reduce the trade deficit quite noticeably between the United States and China. And two, to increase total trade between the two. Those are really the objectives that we have and those are both logically consistent each with the other.

It requires everybody playing by the rules, and it requires everybody to be having the same objectives. We'll see in a very, very short while whether it is really the case that we are on the same wavelength.

BARTIROMO: That's right, because you said that you're going to comeback while the White House has said you're going to come back in 100 days to discuss potential progress that has been made. But, do you think the meeting helped in anyway, are you expecting the Chinese to work with us in that regard?

ROSS: As I said, the meeting as a meeting went fine. The biochemistry was good. People were serious. The Chinese interlock authorities came very well prepared.

So, and there were people at the right levels. So, it was not just a for- show meeting. It was a serious meeting both in terms of who attended and the content. But, words are easy, discussions are easy, endless meetings are easy. What's hard is tangible results. And if we don't get some tangible result within the first 100 days, then we're going to have to reexamine whether it's worthwhile continuing them.

BARTIROMO: I guess it was quite strategic and really incredible that these launches were done right while the president of China was with our commander-in-chief. Was this planned that way? Was the president sending a message larger than just no chemical attacks against your people, Assad Al Bashar, or was this a message to China and North Korea and Iran as well?

ROSS: Well, I don't think it was intended as a threatening thing to China at all. That's not the context, and it's not the reason it was done when it was done, it was done when it was done because there was a clear understanding where these horrible attacks came from and the president wanted to make clear he's not going to tolerate putting all these horrible gas on women, children and beautiful little babies.

BARTIROMO: Yea, well, this administration, obviously, has set priorities and it's keeping their promises with regard to a number of these issues we're talking about.

I want to talk about your priorities right now Sec. Ross, because when you joined me a couple of weeks ago you were talking about NAFTA being, you know, changing that to being among your priorities. Has that changed? Has that shifted in any way? Are you looking at NAFTA differently than you were even before the election in terms of redoing it? Or can you just tweak NAFTA? Where are you on that?

ROSS: Well, I think it needs much more than a tweak. I think the president has made that exceedingly clear. But has changed is that as in all dealings between the administration and Congress, it's been frustratingly slow. They've been very, very slow on completing the hearings and voting on our new U.S. trade representative, Bob Lighthizer. That's been not helpful.

Second, in terms of N AFTA, we need Congress' permission to enter into the formal 90-day letter into the record so that we can begin the formal negotiations. We were trying to get that done before the Easter recess. When were not able to do it. We hope to get it done as soon as possible after.

Bad trade deals shouldn't be allowed to sit. The longer they sit there the more they are to our disadvantage. So it's quite unfortunate that the way Congress has been working has been to slow walk these activities.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, I think you make a really important point secretary. Because a lot of people are saying, why should we trust that the administration is going to get trade done, is going to get tax reform done when we know healthcare just failed?

ROSS: Well, I don't know that healthcare has failed on any kind of a permanent basis. One particular set of legislation didn't get through. There is discussion all over the place about other ones.


ROSS: But if worse comes to worse, come November and October when the premiums come up again, I think the situation is going to implode on its own. So it's really a question of when does it get fixed not whether.

BARTIROMO: So, you think people should have confidence that you can get changes done with regard to -- trade and changes done with regard to the tax code?

ROSS: I believe they are both essential. They are central cores to the president's plan. But meanwhile, he's not holding back on regulatory reform, not holding back on enforcement of existing trade agreements. We've been bringing cases at a far more rapid pace than has been typical and that will continue. And we are starting to self-initiate cases to make them go faster.

BARTIROMO: You make an important point because the executive orders obviously have had great impact already in terms of unleashing business and creating a different sentiment. Secretary Ross, it's good to have you on the program once again, thank you so much.

ROSS: Thank you Maria, good to be on.

BARTIROMO: We will see you soon, Wilbur Ross joining us there this morning.

Is the wrong person in the political crosshairs in the Russia investigation? Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom on House Intel Chair Devin Nunez and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

We're looking ahead right now with James Kallstrom next on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO: Welcome back, House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes temporarily stepping down from the investigation into Russian meddling. The left raking him over the coals after a House ethics panel said it would look into whether he disclosed classified information. But at the same time, former National Security adviser Susan Rice is facing calls to testify before Congress for seeking to unmask the identities of Trump campaign officials.

James Kallstrom is with me right now, he is the former Assistant Director of the FBI and James it is always a pleasure to have you on the program.


BARTIROMO: The American people need to understand what Susan Rice did. Explain unmasking and take us through what just transpired.

KALLSTROM: First off, this is a top-secret environment all of these. This is National Security its highest level. And the National Security Council, NSA, the CIA are not investigative agencies. The FBI is the primarily counter intelligence -- counter foreign intelligence investigative agency in the United States.

So, they would be the ones that would investigate these types of things, and in a near investigations they would probably unmask names that maybe NSA masked, you know, just to conduct their, you know, mandated traditional responsibility.


KALLSTROM: So here we've got the National Security Advisor apparently from the press reports, you know, who started playing a role of investigating, you know, into this domain. An American name has to be minimized immediately. If an American comes up (inaudible) minimize, you can't continue to collect that unless there is some justification in the comments about, you know, something to do. You can listen to it for a while.

And then the other question is when do you unmask it? Well, you only unmask it if there's some sort of investigation of National Security, not political discussion about some presidential candidate. That is foreign to what this should be.


KALLSTROM: That is not right. And then, of course, the leak it is a felony, 10 years in Leavenworth (ph). OK, so this whole thing, in my view, I don't have the facts but how they disclosed General Flynn in the (inaudible) if you can believe "The New York Times".

You know, all the other people that coughed up information about this, sounds like it was "willy-nilly", you know, spread across the, you know, the whole Obama administration. And that's a violation of all the mandates of how this has to happen. And puts at great risked the reauthorization of these tools to protect the United States. This is a big deal.

BARTIROMO: So Susan Rice committed a crime, she broke the law.

KALLSTROM: Well, we'll find that out. But I think we need an aggressive investigation. Not just from the Congress. You know, I think, Attorney General of United States needs to get involved with it. A Grand Jury needs to hear testimony, you know, I don't know if she broke the law or not, OK?

But it looks like there is a tremendous amount of smoke. And usually when there is a tremendous amount of smoke and there's so much "willy-nilly" discussion and they know so much about a political campaign that is not the jurisdiction of these collections.

BARTIROMO: What did Obama know? I mean, this is the president's National Security Advisor, President Obama's NSA.

KALLSTROM: Well, you know --

BARTIROMO: You have to believe Obama had a hand in it.

KALLSTROM: Well, you know, this lady has a long history of lying. I mean, she lied about Benghazi and she lied about whole host of things. You know, so I mean, she has an audit trail here that, you know, that you can look at this and you can draw some conclusion.

BARTIROMO: She'll probably take the fifth (inaudible)?

KALLSTROM: Well, and let her take the fifth. I mean, that's all right you bring the Grand Jury take the fifth. And you bring in other people that were involved in this thing, you know, for their testimony.

BARTIROMO: Really quick before you go, a lot of people are scratching their heads that James Comey is still running the FBI. Did Pres. Trump make a mistake by keeping all of these Obama holdovers in place?

KALLSTROM: James Comey is a --I'm perplexed by what he's done. First of, he left all these felonies on the table for Hillary Clinton. You know, he never looked at the Congressional testimony that was fictitious and made up. He never dealt with that. He had no problem saying that the -- that the president has been under investigation since July for this so-called Russian B.S. which I think is totally B.S.

BARTIROMO: That's a narrative.

KALLSTROM: But then he wouldn't answer the question whether or not this leak which is a major, major deal is being investigated by the FBI. I mean, it's just nonsensical his comments and his flip-flopping. And I don't understand it. And, you know, it has to change, there has to be some changes.

BARTIROMO: Is it too late to ask him to step down because then it looks like the president is asking him to step down.

KALLSTROM: Well, yeah, I think the president is a little bit in the box while this so-called phony investigation of the Russian connections. But down the road, this is all going to be shown for what it is, it's the fifth column marching strongly down the road trying to diminish the administration and trying to stop everything they do.

BARTIROMO: And it already has. Because there's obviously no evidence whatsoever of any collusion.

KALLSTROM: Well, in fact the Deputy Director of --

BARTIROMO: But they're waiting for it.

KALLSTROM: In fact, the Deputy Director of the FBI is supposed to be couple of months ago told the Chief of Staff for the White House that it was all B.S.

BARTIROMO: That's right. And so did Clapper say the same thing from CIA. James it was a pleasure to have on the program. I wish we have more time because this is a big subject, please come back soon.

KALLSTROM: I will -- I will.

BARTIROMO: James Kallstrom turning us there. President Trump's missile strike in Syria sending a message to more than just the Assad regime, our panel on that next as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."


BARTIROMO: Welcome back, time for our panel. I want to bring in Ed Rollins, Former White House adviser to President Reagan, Lee Carter President and Partner at Maslansky and partners. And Evan Siegfried, a GOP strategist and former press assistant to the Giuliani presidential campaign. Good to see everybody.


The air strikes that the president launched against Syria getting broad support around the world abroad.

ED ROLLINS, FORMER PRINCIPAL WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: As it should. As I said last week, this could be the most difficult week the president was going to be have. He met three world leaders, he basically reinforce two allies, the president of Egypt, the king of Jordan. And he has this incredible meeting at the end of the week with the Chinese president.

Equally it's important by firing of making the decisions. He proved he's a decision maker. And that's the most important thing a president has do is to make decision.

He made a tough decision, made it right on time. And he sent a good message to his own staff. Straighten up and let's get moving forward here.

And then you, of course, have the Gorsuch nominations. I think it was an A-plus week. I think the best week he sit as president.

BARTIROMO: I was just going to say this must be the best week his had presidency so far.

ROLLINS: And I said most difficult week to start up he end up an A-plus.

BARTIROMO: And that's resonating with people as well, he did some pulling (ph) at weekend, Lee Carter?

LEE CARTER, MASLANSKY + PARTNERS: It is. And so, when he gave his speech, and set the right tone, but what people told me is that they really agree, across the aisle, that we had to do something about Assad. There is no way that we can deal with the Middle East without getting that dealt with. There's no way that we can have military force if we're not going to use it for something atrocious is what happening over there.

And so, people said, you know what, I like that he was decisive, that he took action. He spoke to the American people as soon as it happened. And it was a very, very, very strongly for him.

And I think it sent signals that we're not going to mess around in this country anymore. I think a lot of people are excited about this.

BARTIROMO: I said a few times this program, Evan, it feels like the era of leading from behind has ended.

SIEGFRIED: Yeah. This was a searing indictment of the Obama leadership on Syria which was no leadership and they are unable to do anything. But I think the president has made a very good start.

But he needs to go out and outline what his long-time strategy is with Syria. It's clear there is not going to be a political or diplomatic resolution to getting Assad out of there. Ambassador Haley has made it clear we need to actually get rid of him and the only way were going to be able to do is to use in force.

And the president needs to outline it not only to the American people but to the rest of the world. What we do going forward to show that we have that strength and leadership?

BARTIROMO: Does this help his agenda to get through Ed in terms of --

ROLLINS: Absolutely.


ROLLINS: You know, I mean they were stumbling a little bit before, and obviously they have healthcare well done. I go back, a president has to make three or four tough decisions every week. This was probably from the tough decision and he did it with great drama, he did right there in front of the Chinese.

He sent a message across the world. And again, I think that now he's got a couple weeks to get his tax plan and put together, get his healthcare and move forward. This was a monumental week and he was the star.

BARTIROMO: Gordon Chang who wrote the book "The Coming Collapse of China" said to me last week on Fox Business Network, "He brought the Chinese president down to size."

ROLLINS: Yes, he did.

BARTIROMO: By doing it in front of him.

ROLLINS: And put himself up.


CARTER: That's a fascinating way of putting it actually. I think if the whole -- OK, I think the whole notion that Donald Trump was able to act, so to size, it could be so strong and is really going to change the game reign.

BARTIROMO: All right. We will leave it there, great panel as always.

ROLLINS: Great. Thanks.

BARTIROMO: Thank you so much everybody.

Quick reminder, this Wednesday morning, "Morning with Maria" on the Fox Business Network, I will have an exclusive one-on-one interview with Pres. Donald J. Trump. We will get into all of the above. And then next Sunday morning that he will be right here on "Sunday Morning Futures" on the Fox News Channel. Donald Trump sitting down with me this upcoming week. Have a great Sunday everybody. I'll see you tomorrow.

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