This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," April 7, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BILL HEMMER, HOST: I'm Bill Hemmer, in for Chris Wallace.
House Democrats hit a turning point in their investigations of President Trump.
HEMMER: First, threats to use subpoena power to release the full Mueller report.
REP. JERROLD NADLER, D-N.Y., CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: The committee must see everything.
HEMMER: And the move to see the president's tax returns.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: They'll speak to my lawyers. They'll speak to the attorney general.
HEMMER: As the president himself shifts focus back to a signature campaign issue: border security.
TRUMP: The crisis is a direct result of the obstruction by Democrats.
HEMMER: We'll discuss the tension between the White House and the Democratic majority with White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
And we'll go inside the investigations with assistant speaker of the house, Ben Ray Lujan, only on "FOX News Sunday."
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I will be more mindful and respectful of people's personal space.
HEMMER: Joe Biden tries to deflect a political crisis --
BIDEN: By the way, he gave me permission to touch him.
HEMMER: -- before he even announces.
BIDEN: What's the holdup? Putting everything together, man.
HEMMER: We'll ask our Sunday panel whether the former VP can weather this storm.
All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday".
HEMMER: And hello again from Fox News in Washington. Good to happy with us today on this Sunday morning.
There is a new political front in the fight over Bob Mueller's Russian investigation. House Democrats are demanding access to the entire 400-page report.
Also this week, investigators are seeking Mr. Trump's tax returns as the president pushes his policies over immigration.
In a moment, we'll speak exclusively with White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, but first, here's a look at where the battle lines have been drawn just this week.
HEMMER: A day after the House Judiciary Committee voted to authorize subpoenas for Mueller's full report, Chairman Jerry Nadler called for transparency citing reports that some on Mueller's team were concerned that Barr's principal conclusions went too easy on Trump.
NADLER: It just gives us additional reason to say release the report so we can see it.
HEMMER: The president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, blasted those reports.
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: There are a bunch of sneaky unethical leakers and their rabbit Democrats who hate the president of the United States.
HEMMER: In a rare public statement, the Justice Department pushed back criticism, saying every page of the confidential report was marked may contain material perfected under a federal law that protects confidential grand jury information and therefore could not be publicly released.
House Speaker Pelosi warning Democrats will not give up.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Show us the Mueller report, show us the tax returns.
HEMMER: House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal sent a formal request to the IRS, citing a rarely used while getting agency until Wednesday to hand over six years of the president's tax returns.
REP. RICHARD NEAL, D-MASS., CHAIRMAN, WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE: Clearly, it's unlikely that we are going to receive a response immediately but we've prepared for the long game here.
TRUMP: They will speak to my lawyers. They will speak to the attorney general.
HEMMER: A lawyer for the president says granting the request would set a dangerous precedent and in a renewed push on immigration, the president visited the border with Mexico after backing off a threat to shut it down, and a day after unexpectedly pulling nomination of Ron Vitiello to lead ICE where he had been the acting director.
TRUMP: We are going in a different direction. Ron is a good man, but we're going in a tougher direction.
HEMMER: Now, the president says he can stop the flow of illegal immigrants with tariffs on Mexican cars.
TRUMP: I don't think we'll ever have to close the border because the penalty of tariffs on cars coming into the United States from Mexico at 25 percent will be massive.
HEMMER: Joining me now here in Washington to talk about all of this, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
And, Mick, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Good morning, Bill. It's good to see you.
HEMMER: Good to see you.
It's been quite a week. I want to go into the issues in a moment, but just broadly speaking, do you believe the dynamic between the Trump White House and House Democrats went into a new phase this past week?
MULVANEY: I think it probably went into a new phrase right after the Mueller report came out in the Barr summary came out because the Democrats really were caught flat-footed. They really did believe that Mueller would find collusion and find obstruction. In fact, they invest very heavily and that and then to be blindsided like that, to find out there's no obstruction, no collusion, I really think they were never expecting it.
HEMMER: Now you're on the tax issue, too.
MULVANEY: I want -- and after that, we'll be on something else. The Democrat Party is infested with what we call Trump derangement syndrome. They still cannot accept the fact that he won like the election and they will do anything they can to try and either undo that or prevent that from happening again.
Go back to the president's State of the Union speech. He said really there's a choice here, you can either choose to work with me or fight against me and it's clear with the Democrats have done. They have no interest in working with this president on the border, on health care, and anything. They want to fight with the president and they will do it every chance they get.
HEMMER: Let's go to the issues now. First on the border, as you just mentioned, the president gave Mexico a one-year warning this past week, he also calls a crisis. Why wait a year?
MULVANEY: Keep in mind, I think that word about waiting a year dealt with drugs. There's a couple of different things he said this week which is we need help right away on the migrant crisis, on illegal immigration, folks coming across the Mexican border.
We also have another longer-term issue with Mexico on drugs that I think if you go back and look at his statement, he said we need help within the next year on drugs. The good news there is that in the last week, Mexico really has stepped it up for the very first time. They are preventing people from coming in on their own southern border down towards Guatemala and Honduras and they are also accepting more of the folks that cross into the United States back into Mexico.
In fact, I know it's hard to imagine, but again, Nancy Pelosi runs the Democrats in Congress, Mexico has done more in the last week to help our illegal immigration crisis than Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in the House. It's been a pretty good week.
HEMMER: As you bring that up, the president said this about that on Thursday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: For the last four days, and you actually have covered it to a very minor extent, Mexico has been capturing people and bringing them back to their countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: That's the argument you're making here. What changed?
MULVANEY: I think they took him seriously. I think when the president comes out and says, look, if you don't come stop helping us we are serious, we will look at closing the border. We will look at tariffing your automobiles. They recognize that's not -- that's not an empty threat for the president of the United States.
The situation on the border is a crisis. We have been talking about that for I guess almost three or four months. Very few people believed us at the outset. I think more and more people now accepting the fact it is a real life, crisis.
I think even "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times" acknowledged that for the first time this week. It is his number one priority and when he sets out and says, look, Mexico, if you don't help us, we will have no choice but to do these things, I think Mexico pays attention.
HEMMER: He also threatened to cut off aid to Central American countries, is that still a threat today?
MULVANEY: Absolutely for the same reason. This is his number one priority. Keep in mind, dealing with health care is nice, dealing with the economy is nice. The president's first responsibility is to defend the integrity and the safety of the nation and we really do believe, and I think again most folks are starting to agree with us now, that the situation on the border is a national security crisis.
HEMMER: The issue is this, broadly speaking, families arrive here with children. They are willing to turn themselves in. The facilities that house them are overloaded and then they are released into the country.
Have the smugglers, Mick, have they beat us at our own policy?
MULVANEY: They certainly game the system. They're not stupid. Keep in mind, these are Mexican cartels oftentimes that can reach hundreds, if not tens of hundreds of millions of dollars, moving people. They traffic human beings.
The goal has been deeper to what you just said. It's not just about families. If an unaccompanied child crosses the border, DHS can only hold that child -- this is a child already separated from the parents by the choice of the family. Only has to send them to HHS, but if HHS doesn't have room for them, DHS cannot keep them, cannot send them back to the country they came from.
There's legally nothing that the DHS can do with the children. That's why we need --
HEMMER: But the smugglers know the weather is going to get warmer, and now is the time for them to ask. I want to get to a lot of things. Just to cut through on this issue, what is the plan to get out of this current crisis?
MULVANEY: Number one, Mexico has to continue to do what they are doing by preventing people from coming into Mexico and then accepting people that we send. Number two, the Northern Triangle countries have to prevent their own people from leaving. And number three, this is a one we don't get a chance to talk about enough, Congress must act. The laws are what is acting as this giant magnet for these illegal immigrants and Congress has to chase those laws -- change those laws.
Again, I think for the first time, even Democrats are starting to recognize that.
HEMMER: On the issue of taxes, the president's lawyer put out a forceful four-page statement this past week. It was almost in unison with what the Democrats asked for about Wednesday, about midweek.
Given that statement, if you read through it, were you expecting this?
MULVANEY: You always expect from the from the Democrats. If they don't get what they want from us we report they will ask for the taxes. If they don't get what they want, they'll ask for something else. So, it doesn't surprise anybody.
But keep in mind, they knew they are not going to get these taxes. They know what the law is. They know that one of the fundamental principles of the IRS is to protect the confidentiality of you and me and everybody else who files taxes. They know that. They know the terms under law by which the IRS can give them documents but a political hit job is not one of those reasons.
HEMMER: To be clear, you believe Democrats will never see the president's tax returns?
MULVANEY: Oh, no, never. Nor should they.
Keep in mind, that that's an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the president could have given his tax returns, they knew that he didn't and they elected him anyway, which is, of course, what drives the Democrats crazy.
But they know they're not going to get this. They just want the attention on the issue because they don't want to talk to us about policy.
HEMMER: But he's argued that he's under audit, has said that for a couple years. But even under audit, legally, you could allow people to see it.
MULVANEY: You could always allow people to see it, but that's not what's happening here. The Democrats are demanding that the IRS turn over the documents and that is not going to happen, and they know it. This is a political stunt by my former colleagues.
HEMMER: Bill Barr and maybe his summary comes out this week, maybe it comes out the week following. This past -- March 29th I should say, he wrote the following: There are no plans to submit the report to the White House or a privilege review.
Has that changed?
MULVANEY: We've said from the very beginning that Mr. Barr will make these decisions. There are laws in place that govern how this special investigation is conducted.
Keep in mind, got a lot of attention I think in the press about two weeks ago when all 420-odd members of Congress who voted to release the Mueller report to the public. But if you go and look at what they actually voted on, it says voted to release the Mueller report pursuant to law. That is the same thing the White House has been saying. We want Bill Barr to follow the law, period, end of story, and that's what he's going to do.
HEMMER: Here's a tweet from the president yesterday morning on Saturday. He said: I have not read the Mueller report yet even though I have every right to do so. Only know the conclusions, and on the big one, no collusion. Likewise, recommendations made to our great A.G. who found no obstruction.
Has anyone at the White House made a request to see this report before it goes to Congress?
MULVANEY: No. Again, Mr. Barr is going to make those decisions.
HEMMER: Will that change?
MULVANEY: Anything could change. But, I mean, our position is that Mr. Barr runs this process because that's the way the law is and we're very interested in following the law.
HEMMER: Do you want to see it?
MULVANEY: I don't really have much interest in seeing -- I wasn't involved with. I was over at OMB during that process, I don't really have much interest. I know what it says and it says no collusion and no obstruction.
Keep in mind,, if we give the Democrats all 400 pages unredacted, that's not going to be the end of the inquiry. And they're going to want another thousand pages that went into making that. They're going to talk to the witnesses themselves.
This is not about getting to the truth. It's not about the facts. This is a political show by the Democrats because they just don't like the fact --
HEMMER: Just one point on this and then we'll get to health care because I know you had a big meeting this week at Camp David.
MULVANEY: And a busy week.
HEMMER: The president, will he change, or do you know if he would like to see the report before it goes to Congress?
MULVANEY: I think the president has been very consistent. Mr. Barr is going to make those decisions and I'm comfortable with that.
On Obamacare. You challenge in the courts last month -- was that a mistake to take that back to court?
MULVANEY: Absolutely not. Keep in mind, what we did last week -- I guess last month, goodness gracious, time flies, is to decide whether or not we were going to agree with about 28 Republican attorneys general in the states that said Obamacare is unconstitutional, the entire law. It should not surprise anybody that Donald Trump decided that, yes, he thinks that all of Obamacare is unconstitutional. We had to fire a brief to that end.
That should come as a surprise to no one. What was actually a surprise to us is that when Jeff Sessions was attorney general, he took a different position and said only parts of the law were unconstitutional.
So, no, we did the exact right thing. We think the court decided properly. Keep in mind, the U.S. district court has already -- has already found all of the law to be unconstitutional. We just think that was the right decision.
HEMMER: You know Mitch McConnell said this week. He said he's not going to take it up in the Senate.
MULVANEY: That's fine. And keep in mind, even if they did take up in Senate, the Democrats in the House have absolutely no interest in working with us on this. So, again, it shouldn't surprise anybody, we are not going to get to this before the 20 election. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be talking about it, and we will.
HEMMER: Will we see a plan before 2020?
MULVANEY: Absolutely (ph).
HEMMER: What happened at Camp David?
MULVANEY: Absolutely. We had a great meeting this week. We brought all of our health care specialists in. Mr. Azar from Health and Human Services, Seema Verma from CMS. And we started to talk about, number one, what we've already achieved.
Keep in mind, we don't get nearly enough attention, I don't think, for what we've done with drug prices. Drug pricing is unmistakably part of health care. And drug prices in this country actually came down last year for the first time in 50 years. That's because Donald Trump's president.
That's part of what health care is. We spent the time this week and say, OK, what have we done, what can we talk about that's a success, what we need to work on going forward?
We talked about the individual marketplace. We talk about how we are protecting Medicare. We're talking about getting drug prices down and I do think you'll see a plan here fairly shortly.
HEMMER: Will you see it before the 2020 election?
MULVANEY: Oh, yes, we want to run on this. We want to -- we -- Democrats have already -- keep in mind, Democrats have already admitted that Obamacare doesn't work. That's why they're out there talking about this sort of amorphous Medicare-for-All. They're not talking about how great Medicare -- excuse me, Obamacare is because they know it's broken.
HEMMER: But as a campaign issue, many Democrats are running on Medicare- for-All. And some would argue, let them run on that and allow the -- you step out of the way and allow the American people to sort through it.
MULVANEY: We are firm believers that you can't beat something with nothing. We have -- Republicans have better ideas than Democrats. We should not be afraid to talk about that.
HEMMER: All right. Lightning round, got a minute left. OK?
MULVANEY: Let's go.
HEMMER: Herman Cain expressed some reservations about going forward as a Federal Reserve nominee on Friday night. It is that nomination still alive?
MULVANEY: Yes and I think Herman will be a great member of the Fed.
HEMMER: Dems 2020, who concerns you the most?
MULVANEY: Right now, none of them. Goodness gracious, it's a disaster.
HEMMER: When you're at Camp David, your discussions over the weekend --
MULVANEY: Honestly, in all fairness, Bill, it never came up. We are having fun watching them implode.
HEMMER: Last question, how did Joe Biden do this last week?
MULVANEY: You know, I have no idea. I think -- listen, the voters are going to decide, I laugh a little bit when I look at my Democrat friends and they're running for president. Almost like whoever can apologize the most for the most different things is going to win back Democrat nomination. It's almost like they want to make America apologize again and it's just a bizarre thing to watch as a Republican.
HEMMER: I want thank you for coming today. We got through all of it.
Mick Mulvaney, thank you for your time.
MULVANEY: It's always good to see you.
HEMMER: Appreciate it. Nice to see you.
In a moment here, a rising Democratic star, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, joins us to talk about the Democrats' push for the Mueller report and the president's taxes and the future of his own party. That's next.
HEMMER: Our next guest today helped Democrats regain the majority in the House in the 2018 midterms, leading to the investigative assault we are now seeing against the president.
Joining us now from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, the number four Democrat in the House.
And, Congressman Lujan, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday".
REP. BEN RAY LUJAN, D-N.M.: Good morning and good to be with you today, Bill.
HEMMER: I'm going to start with the border as I did with Mick Mulvaney a moment ago.
Six weeks ago, you said this wasn't a crisis. Do you still believe that?
LUJAN: Look, this is not the national security crisis that the president continues to describe. There is a humanitarian crisis, but it's created by President Donald Trump.
When you go back to the threats even during the midterms, the president was suggesting that there was an immediate national security crisis and he sent troops to the border just to try to distract the American people with the gains that we were going to see in the midterms. Then we went into a shutdown and the president took the same deal after 35 days of a shutdown that he couldn't take on day one to prevent that government shutdown.
And here we go again with the president doubling down with threats to shutdown the Mexican border, which would have devastated the U.S. economy, devastated the U.S. auto manufacturers, concerns in many other areas including 27,000 workers in Mexico as the Mueller report was coming out.
So, again, I think the president continues to use immigration as a distraction as opposed to trying to work together in a bipartisan basis, whether it's immigration reform --
LUJAN: -- or other important measures that we could be talking about.
HEMMER: You're describing this as a political charade but let's look at the numbers. In the past month alone, more than 100,000 illegals have been stopped at the border.
How was that not a crisis?
LUJAN: There are a number of people who have been turning themselves in to border patrol agents as the law allows in the United States for asylum- seekers. And so, when the Department of Homeland Security is reporting these numbers, I don't believe that they are accurately describing the numbers with a number of people that are turning themselves in the versus those that are being apprehended.
HEMMER: OK. Well, here's the homeland security secretary for President Obama. This is what Jeh Johnson said this past week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEH JOHNSON, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: By anyone's definition, by any measure, right now, we have a crisis at our southern border. According to the commissioner of CBP, there were 4,000 apprehensions in one day alone this past week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: There it is again and the word again. Is he wrong?
LUJAN: Well, again, I would say there is a humanitarian crisis at the border, but one that was created by President Donald Trump with his policies. Whether it's his metering initiatives or other policies that have been put in place by Secretary Nielsen.
Look, separating children from their families at the border is not a humane -- it's not with the United States should be doing and we continue to see this administration engage in those policies.
All that we are saying as Democrats is, Mr. President, we want to work together on immigration reform, just as you committed to do when you invited all the cameras in and said we could find some common ground. I certainly hope the president was sincere in that offering and that we can find a way to work together as Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate and this administration.
HEMMER: And they would -- and they would fire back and say Congress hasn't done anything.
Last question on this: if you look at the current reality, are the smugglers beating us at our own game? They are beating our laws and they are beating our system.
LUJAN: Well, the United States needs to be working, again, with Mexico and with the Northern Triangle countries. I think the president is threatening to shutdown the border, cut off the money from the Northern Triangle which would only encourage more violence in those countries and encourage more people to flee for their own lives. Think about why these moms are fleeing with their children. They are terrified that they're going to be killed, murdered or raped.
What parent wouldn't do everything they could to protect their child? With that being said now, the United States can continue to work when it comes to strong policies in the United States and the way that Democrats let the initiatives with the investments when it came to border security during the shutdown conversation. What Democrats did was make investments when it came to our ports of entry and also provided more dollars associated for border officials, whether it was customs officials at the southern border or the northern border and also with the water ports.
We should be talking about homeland security and comprehensively as it pertains to national security in the United States.
HEMMER: Unfortunately, we are not going to settle this debate here today, but let me most of the congressional investigations. This past week, "Politico" framed it the following way, it wrote the following: In a single day, House Democrats demanded President Trump's tax returns for six years, move to get a decade worth of his financial records and prepared to issue a subpoena for the full Mueller report from the Justice Department.
The White House would argue that's harassment. Is that what you're doing?
LUJAN: Absolutely not. This is not political as our Republican colleagues are making it out to be, including my friend, Mr. Mulvaney, who was speaking before me. There are authorities under Section 6103 with the Ways and Means Committee to be able to get their hands and requests the president's tax returns in this case.
This as an authority that Republicans used as recently as 2014 and an authority that was used during times with President Nixon, President ford as well. And so, again, no other president in modern times has had to have their tax returns requested under 6103 because they've all voluntarily shared them.
Just as President Trump promised as a candidate that he would share his tax returns after he was elected, he promised he would share his taxes to returns with the American people and he's refused to do so.
HEMMER: If I could -- I just want to interject her, Mick Mulvaney says Democrats are never going to see them and you started your answer by saying this is all political. However, the request --
LUJAN: I did not -- Bill, Bill, I did not say it was political. I said it was not political. Let's be clear about that.
HEMMER: OK. Correction noted then.
However, in the request --
LUJAN: Thank you.
HEMMER: -- on behalf of Democrats this week, they want four years of his tax returns before he was president. Why is that relevant?
LUJAN: Again, the president said he would voluntarily share his tax returns. He has refused to do so and Congress has used its authority when Republicans were in charge back in 2014. It was used under President Nixon and President Ford, and all we're saying, Mr. President, is share your tax returns as you promised with the American people and let's make sure that you're following the same rules and laws as everyone else. Again, this is congressional oversight as we are carrying it out.
HEMMER: OK. Let the record show that you did say not political, I want to make that fair to you, OK?
LUJAN: I appreciate that, Bill.
HEMMER: His attorney argues you must have a legitimate legislative reason. And what is the reason, Congressman?
LUJAN: Well, the laws are being followed under Section 6103 under the authorities that are bestowed upon the Congress, in this case the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, also the same authorities that the chair of the Senate Finance Committee would have.
So, I believe that Chairman Richie Neal and his team have put together what I would say is an ironclad request that has been submitted and is going forward.
So again, we just want to work under the laws that we have, under the authorities in this case Section 6103 which gives the chairman of the committee full authority to ask for these tax returns, and for Congress to see them.
HEMMER: OK. Let me go to the Barr summary here. Maybe we get it this week, maybe we get it in the first few days after that. There was a late Friday court decision that came out that ruled grand jury information must remain private.
Now, if that's the case, Democrats who want to make that report public -- and Jerry Nadler has said as much this past week.
If that court case stands, the Democrats just lose that fight?
LUJAN: Look, Congress has taken action. Not just Democrats, Bill, but Republicans as well. Do you remember as Mick Mulvaney talked about the vote that took place on the House floor, 420-0. Democrats and Republicans came together to say this report should be made available to the American people. That's all that we are saying here.
So, no, I don't believe that the court ruling hampers the ability for this report to be made available not just a congress, but to the American people, and that's something that we have been asking for and quite honestly, the president even said a few weeks ago that he would make the report available, that he supported that to the American people.
HEMMER: OK, just --
LUJAN: I don't know why the president keeps flip-flopping on this.
HEMMER: I want to get to one more topic, just one question on this. Is there a risk that Democrats overplayed their hand that we have watched over the past weeks here?
LUJAN: Well, look, on the tax returns alone, over 50 percent of the American people believe that those -- that information should be made available to the country. There is broad support as well for the special counsel's report to be made available to the American people as well.
So, again, what we are talking about here is constitutional oversight that the Congress has a responsibility to carry out and that's all that we are doing here. We should work together in a bipartisan basis in the same way the Republicans did under President Barack Obama.
Let's work together. Let's make sure that this information is made available to the American people.
HEMMER: I have about 30 seconds left here. You've declared you're going to run for Senate in New Mexico but you helped lead Democrats to a majority in 2018. It is also clear that there are fractures within the freshman body in the House. Have you stopped to think about what you created?
LUJAN: Look, I am so encouraged by the work of our new members across America. I worked diligently to lead the effort with Nancy Pelosi the win back the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives where we have policy experts in every area, national security experts down to those that have started successful companies and created jobs across the country.
There's a lot of energy and passion and I think we should unleash that energy as we work to deliver for the American people and while I announce that I am running for the United States Senate, there's a lot of work to do over the next two years, including making sure that we just not continue to deliver for the American people as House Democrats, but that we flip the Senate in the same way that we delivered the House for the American people, and that's something that we're working on doing.
HEMMER: President Obama went public over the weekend in a town hall. I don't know if you saw it, but what he suggested is that you run the risk of having a circular firing squad when you go against each member. What did you think about that comment?
LUJAN: Well, I didn't hear the president's town hall but, look, I think that as a caucus, we have family disagreements. We are a big caucus. We're a big tent caucus. And so, you're going to have some disagreements but you have them as a family.
In the end, our values and our principles are the same when we want to talk about how we can deliver for the American people who are still having a hard time even though the economy is doing better. There still our families across the country who if they had a $500 emergency, there wouldn't be able to fit that into the family budget for the month. And as we've also heard from Senator Bennet out of Colorado, most recently, the concerns associated with wage growth in the country has been stagnant.
Working families like the one I was raised are still having a hard time across the country and that's what Democrats are committed to delivering --
LUJAN: -- lowering health care costs, prescription drug prices, passing HR-1, moving in a bipartisan way for infrastructure and creating job opportunities across America. And we've already been able to do that. But Mitch McConnell has been standing in in the way of progress in the Senate. And that's another reason why I am running for the U.S. Senate.
HEMMER: Sir, I appreciate your time today. Thank you and good luck to you.
Congressman Lujan from New Mexico today.
LUJAN: Thank you, Bill.
HEMMER: Please come back. Thank you.
In a moment here we'll bring in our Sunday group to talk about the renewed battle over Congress getting the full Mueller report.
HEMMER: Coming up, the 2020 Democratic candidates staking out their positions as others ponder jumping in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: America must admit it has a problem of mass incarceration.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We should get rid of the filibuster.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL, D-CALIF.: I've made a decision. I will announce it shortly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: We'll ask our Sunday panel about the state of the race, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'll rely on the attorney general to make decisions. But I will tell you, anything that's given to them will never be good enough. You could give them more the -- the -- more documents than they've ever seen and it would never be good enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: President Trump lasting Democrats for trying to obtain Special Counsel Bob Mueller's report.
Time now for our Sunday group. Charles Hurt from "The Washington Times" is here today. Juan Williams, Fox Mews political entities. Marie Harf, co-host on "Benson and Harf" on Fox News Radio. And Katie Pavlich, editor of townhall.com.
Good morning to all of you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning.
HEMMER: How was the green room?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great. Always fun.
HEMMER: It is -- it is my sense that a new dynamic has been created this past week in the relationship between this White House and House Democrats.
Charlie, do you see it that way?
CHARLIE HURT, "THE WASHINGTON TIMES": I think, absolutely, what we have seen. You know, and the sad part of that is the fact that you have a lot of very important issues that are on the table and I think -- and I think the reason that President Trump won in 2016 and the reason I feel -- I think he feels confident about winning re-election is that he's remaining focused on -- on those issues that people actually care about, viewers watching right now, that they care about.
But here in Washington, all we're talking -- we're talking about IRS records. We're talking about the Mueller report. We're talking about Russia. All of these things. They -- they really don't amount to all that much importance I think to regular Americans.
HEMMER: If he's right, Juan, the issues get petrified and we stick on matters like this for the next year.
JUAN WILLIAMS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think what's interesting about this space, and I think you're exactly right, something has changed. I think in the aftermath of the release of the Barr letter and the Mueller report transition to Justice from the special counsel, the thought was, wow, President Trump, he says he's totally exonerated and you can see that people who are Trump supporters were anticipating, oh, there's going to be a bump in his approval numbers, there hasn't been, or there's going to be a victory lap in which a lot of the acrimony, the bullying, the type -- that would decrease. But, in fact, he's had a very rough week here in Washington on just the points that you're describing, taxes --
HEMMER: Let me --
JUAN WILLIAMS: Health care, immigration.
HEMMER: Just to advance the conversation, here's Jerry Nadler on the Mueller matter from this past Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERROLD NADLER, D-N.Y., HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The committee is entitled and must see all the material and make judgments as to what can be redacted for the public release by ourselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: So, just to be clear, the argument he's making, Katie, is that the committee wants to see everything --
KATIE PAVLICH, TOWNHALL.COM EDITOR: Right.
HEMMER: And then they will decide what to make public.
PAVLICH: Based on the political dynamics of Washington, D.C., Democrats certainly cannot be trusted with seeing all the underlying material. Democrats don't want to see everything because they're interested in transparency. They want to see it so they can then leak information about certain people in Trump's circle who were simply looked at as part of the Mueller investigation but did not have any evidence or were charged with crimes, not indicted as a result of the investigation.
And so, no, Jerry Nadler is not entitled to all of the information. They want to use it politically while Democrats are fighting in 2020 in a primary against each other, Democrats in Washington, D.C., are trying to get as much information and political ammunition as possible to give to the ultimate nominee. They're doing that through the Mueller report.
I just have to say, when it comes to them accusing the White House of not being transparent on the issue of the Mueller report, the White House has not requested to see the Mueller report ahead of time. President Trump has said he is not going to assert any kind of executive privilege, even though he has the right to do so over the information. And the special counsel is actually working with Barr right now on the redactions. They're working together to redact information that the public should not see in order to preserve due process and protecting people's privacy in this country.
HEMMER: Speaking of Bill Barr, Marie, a rare public statement from him on Thursday. This is how it read. Every page of the confidential report, he put in his statement, provided to Attorney Barr on March 22, was marked may contain material protected under a federal law that protects confidential grand jury information, therefore cannot be publicly released. So we don't know what he releases in the end. But the law allows the AG broad authority on a lot of these matters.
MARIE HARF, CO-HOST, "BENSON AND HARF": That's true. But I think what we've seen from the other statement Barr made after the letter, when he came out and said, hey, this wasn't intended to be a summary, it sort of seemed like he was doing a little bit of cleanup because his four-page letter came out and then the president and his supporters started claiming full exoneration saying they were -- he was totally cleared on everything, including obstruction, which isn't true. So I get the sense that William Barr was getting a little nervous about how it was being used politically.
And the more time that goes between that letter and the full Mueller report coming out, it will appear political and partisan, even if it's not right, even if William Barr is -- is crossing every t and dotting every i.
Look, I know Charlie's laughing here, but there are a lot of us who -- who -- look, if the shoe were on the other foot and it was a democratic attorney general summarizing in four pages a 400 page report into a Democratic president, you would not accept that and we need to see the full Mueller, report not for political reasons --
HURT: I'm not --
HARF: But because, as an American, I actually want to see what happened in 2016. Call me crazy.
HURT: I'm not accepting anything. The full report is going to come out. There are going to be -- but there --
HURT: It's going to come out. The reason the whole system -- the whole process seems so politicized is for two years Democrats made up this complete lie about collusion and -- and -- and you had people like Adam Schiff running around saying, oh, I have secret evidence that shows -- that proves that collusion -- and none of it happened. And -- and we -- and, obviously, and you're right --
HARF: Well, we don't know, we haven't seen it.
HURT: OK. OK. Maybe William Barr is completely lying and he -- he made everything up in that. But I'm -- I'm kind of thinking it's doubtful. I'm kind of thinking that Democrats are sort of holding onto this because they have to.
But, at the end of the day, all that stuff is going to come out. The courts are going to determine what parts of the grand jury stuff can come out, what can't. All these votes that we had this week are all political posturing and that's why nobody believes it.
HEMMER: Trey Gowdy told me this week, we've only seen 50 percent of what Russia did in 2016.
WILLIAMS: Well, see, I think that's the point, that the -- Russia --
HEMMER: Can -- can -- may I -- quickly.
WILLIAMS: That Russia interfered in the election is a base finding out of the Mueller report. There is no commission by Donald Trump to say, we need to stop this for 2020.
HEMMER: So then we -- we need to find out what Department of Homeland Security tells you about that.
I want to talk about these taxes, OK.
The president's lawyer came out with a very forceful letter Friday afternoon. In part it read the following. It would be a gross abuse of power for the majority party to use tax returns as a weapon to attack, harass and intimidate their political opponents. Once this Pandora's Box is open, the ensuing tit for tat will do lasting damage to our nation.
So, Katie, where does this end?
PAVLICH: Well, look, when you ask people if they think the president should release his tax returns, they will say yes. But whether it's an issue they actually care about when it comes to voting is another question. President Trump was elected in 2016 without releasing his tax returns. Bernie Sanders now is saying that he's not sure when he will release his tax returns. His wife has had an FBI investigation for bank fraud as a result of -- of maybe why doesn't want to release his tax returns.
The bottom line is, should he release them? Sure. Should it be -- would it be more transparent if he did? Absolutely. But whether Democrats are asking for tax returns in good faith is the bigger question. They're not asking for them --
WILLIAMS: Well, I think the founding -- the founding fathers --
PAVLICH: Because of transparency. They're asking for them because they want to use it --
WILLIAMS: You can --
HEMMER: Hang on, Juan.
PAVLICH: As a political weapon against the president.
HEMMER: Go ahead.
WILLIAMS: I think you're maligning people who are, in fact, pursuing the founding father's desire that no foreign government --
PAVLICH: I'm not (INAUDIBLE). I just said he should release them.
WILLIAMS: No, because you say Democrats to doing this for a political purpose. How about they're, in fact, fulfilling their constitutional job, which is to hold the executive accountable. The Emoluments Clause put in place by the founding fathers specifically spoke to the idea, you don't want foreign actors controlling or having leverage over this president. Every president since Jimmy Carter has released his tax returns.
PAVLICH: OK, but you're making an accusation that he's been influenced by a foreign entity without any evidence.
WILLIAMS: I didn't make an accusation. I just said why shouldn't we know?
HEMMER: Mick Mulvaney told us this show today that Democrats will never see the tax returns.
HURT: So --
HEMMER: Quick, Charlie.
HURT: If -- if the president doesn't -- he's -- I don't think he's going to release them. And from a political standpoint, he shouldn't. But the -- the -- the point of Congress is to oversee the IRS. It doesn't have a right to oversight a --
HARF: Of the president?
HURT: A political -- not a political agenda going after the president. If they -- the only reason they have a right to do this, according to this obscure law, is oversight of the IRS. This is not oversight of the IRS. This is harassment of the president.
HEMMER: Here -- here's what Democrats -- here's what Democrats would argue. I just want to play a quick clip here from Nancy Pelosi this past week. Listen to her words here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE SPEAKER: This is a question of -- to us it is inevitable. To them it is inconceivable. You have to short the distance between the inevitable and inconceivable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: You listen to her words there and that -- they'll make the case about the Mueller matter and the taxes on both issues.
Last comment on that.
I think that in 2018 voters said we want more transparency, and that's what they gave Democrats control of the House and asked them to conduct oversight. So, look, their -- as to Katie's point, voters may not care, they may have answered this in 2016. There are some things that are right to do, even if voters don't care. And we can't lose sight of that in Washington.
HEMMER: A quick time out. Panel, we've got to take a break here.
When we come back, Joe Biden tries to put his controversy behind him. Are the accusations disqualifying? We'll talk about that when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Sometimes I think President Trump is a tragedy in two acts.
You better wake up. This country can't afford more years of a president looking to settle personal scores.
TRUMP: I don't see him as a threat. I think he's only a threat to himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: A preview of the attacks to come between President Trump and Joe Biden, should the former vice president decide to announce a run in 2020.
Back with the panel now. Nice to see you all on a Sunday.
That comment from Joe Biden was on Friday. That was inside an event. When he came outside, he talked again with cameras -- again with cameras and said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I'm sorry I didn't understand more. I'm not sorry for any of my intentions. I'm not sorry for anything that I have ever done. I have never been disrespectful intentionally to a man or a woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: So, Marie, you start. How did you do?
HARF: I think he handled this pretty well because it was a -- it was a tough situation when these stories started coming out and people were trying to put them in a Me Too context when none of the women have said these were sexual allegations. And, quite frankly, I think Joe Biden knew some of this would be coming. He knows that there are other people, particularly in the Democratic Party, who don't want him to run, who think he's past his prime. He had to be prepared for this.
But the bottom line, Bill, is when you look at Democratic voters, or voters in general, there's still a lot of support for Joe Biden in -- in the polls. Democrats know that. They're still a lot of support for the Obama- Biden eight years that he is going to run. That's going to be a key part of his platform if he runs. I was part of his very successful eight years.
So, look, I think he did the right thing by threading the needle and saying, everyone should have their personal space respected. And I have learned that maybe some of my behavior isn't appropriate anymore. But there is no one, I think, who's ever worked with Joe Biden who don't think he's empathetic --
HARF: And don't think that he is a decent person.
HEMMER: There seem to be --
HARF: And that came through this week.
HEMMER: There seem to be, Katie, this drip, drip, drip last week.
PAVLICH: And he admitted that he thinks that more woman will probably come out with some kind of allegations saying that I've met, you know, thousands of people and taken thousands of photo.
But he accidentally, or maybe purposefully, admitted that he was going to run for president. We've been waiting for him to officially announce. He was -- he was asked if this would change the way he campaigns. He said absolutely it will change the way I campaign. So he's confirming that he's getting into the race.
Actually think he didn't handle this very well and this is why. The accusations came out. He did the video, which was fine. But by joking about it during his first public appearance in front of the speech -- the crowd that he was giving, he kind of degraded the sincerity of -- not the apology, but of the explanation of invading people's space. And moreover, it was a huge distraction to what he was actually saying.
If you listen to the speech that Joe Biden gave, he talked about blue- collar workers. He talked about making more money for the work that you put into earn. He was making a pitch to voters --
HEMMER: So you're suggesting --
PAVLICH: That he's going to be competing with Donald Trump for in places like Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. And all of the headlines were about his joke about being able to -- to hug people because he got permission. And it's a big distraction for him.
HEMMER: You're suggesting he minimalize the allegations that came out?
HARF: Maybe that's --
PAVLICH: He did that -- he did that and he also -- he also distracted from (INAUDIBLE).
HARF: (INAUDIBLE) problem for writing the headlines that way.
HEMMER: Far be it for me to get in between the ladies here, but I've got something for the gentleman too.
HARF: It's a tough place, Bill.
HEMMER: I think it may have been the statement of the week. "Wall Street Journal" editorial page this past week. Mr. Biden hasn't event announce whether he'll run for president, but he's already being hazed for his past as an insufficiently woke pale male. If he can't win by running as the white guy he is, than he ought to retire with his political dignity intact, end quote.
HURT: Yes. You know, that's a good -- that's a -- it's sort of hard to top that.
But, you know, I also have a hard time feeling too sorry for Biden because, of course, this is the Democratic Party that he created. He can't -- you know, if -- if -- if he doesn't want to have his Democratic Party holding up crazy standards and -- and having crazy scandals over what is basically sniffing people's hair and -- and -- he's a space invader, which is -- is - - I don't like that. I find it very unpleasant. But it's not like, you know, trying to liken this to some sort of sexual assault is -- is insane. But it's his party and this is what he's created, which goes to the very heart of the reason why I think he is vulnerable in a general election. He's been here for 45 years. He's been part of the Washington problem for decades. And -- and whether you love Trump or you hate him, the one thing that -- that I think was most appealing for people about Trump was the fact that he's just not from here and he's going to do everything very differently. Biden will be going back to the old.
HEMMER: Juan, can you top the insufficiently woke male? I mean -- but before you do --
HURT: Pale male.
HEMMER: Pale male, yes, thank you very much.
Before you do, this might have been the tweet of the month, I think. I think there's a new category for that when this went out from the president's tweet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I (INAUDIBLE) I hug people. I -- I grab men and women by the shoulders and say, you can do this. And -- and whether they're women, men, young, old, it's just the way I've always been.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: I'll leave it to you.
WILLIAMS: Well, I think, you know, Joe Biden responded to that, Bill, by saying, oh, Mr. President, I see you're being so presidential. And I think that's in part a response to what Charlie was saying, that, yes, Joe Biden's been part of Washington, but I think there are lots of people, not only Democrats, but independents, who in a sense want somebody who will be steady, not juvenile, not bullying, not, you know, up to tricks constantly and creating enemies, demonizing people. And so I think that there's a real appetite for normal at this moment in Washington.
HEMMER: We shall see if you get that.
Standby group. We'll get a break here.
In the moment, would be Democratic presidential hopefuls undaunted by Joe Biden or other big names, now getting in the race. The numbers are high. They're testing the waters. We'll discuss who is still making moves, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM RYAN, D-2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Flyover states are my states. The flyover states are your states. And the flyover states are going to start governing in the United States of America again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMMER: That's Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan announcing he too is running for president, joining one of the largest primary field we have ever seen.
Back now with the panel.
Nice to see you all yet again. It's like triple dose here today, isn't it?
HARF: It's great.
HEMMER: Tim Ryan is making the case that he could appeal to these Trump voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio. We'll see if that's the case.
But here's what I want to show you. In 2016, here were the Republican candidates. We had 17. Look at the names. Look at the faces.
So far in 2019, on the Democratic side, we have 17. Look at the names and look at the faces on the screen. This is without Joe Biden. This is without Eric Swalwell from California. It's without Howard Schultz.
To the panel then, who do you believe, based on that screen so far, who may not be on that screen, who's got the staying power?
PAVLICH: I think Joe Biden has the staying power. I think that Bernie Sanders has the staying power because he has the energy of the left on his side. And I think Pete Buttigieg has the staying power because he's an outsider. He's -- he's governed as a mayor in a small town in Indiana. He has a different message and he's authentic, whereas other candidates like Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren are trying much too hard to try and impress voters who they think need to vote for them to get through the primary.
HEMMER: Do you agree with that, Marie?
HARF: I actually completely agree with Katie. I think those three names I would put, you know, on my list of people that will survive through Iowa, through New Hampshire certainly.
I would out probably add Beto to that because even though he doesn't have specific policies and some people are criticizing that, he has that magic, that political magic you can't teach, right? He has star power. He is getting huge crowds and he's raising money.
In terms of the Senate candidates, the people that are currently senators that are running, I think Kamala Harris probably of that crew. She's raising the most money. She occupies an interesting place --
HEMMER: Marie, your list is very long here.
HARF: No, I got five. I gave you five.
HEMMER: You know, winnow down.
HARF: I give you five. I gave you five.
HEMMER: Five at the moment.
PAVLICH: A big field.
HEMMER: Juan, how many do you have?
HARF: Biden. But -- but look at that. We have the most diverse crowd in history, which I'm really proud of. We should -- candidates should look like America. Should look more like America. But of my five, I think we'll be that top contenders, four of those are white men, which is interesting.
HEMMER: Got it.
WILLIAMS: I think what's interesting to me at this point, in looking at both lists that you put up, Bill, is money, because it used to be that money was definitive, but then after 2016, Trump wasn't the top fundraiser in the Republican primaries or the general election and obviously he's our president. This time around, Bernie sanders doing very well with donors. Joe Biden is a little struggling as he get up to the line, but he will do well. Beto O'Rourke's doing well. But I don't think it's going to define. Right now it's a jump ball 2022 for the Democrats and I think they're searching.
HURT: Well, you know, clearly, if you take some -- people like Tim Ryan and -- and Joe Biden or -- or Mayor Pete, that's probably the smart route for Democrats to take in terms of challenging President Trump and taking back those voters that he took from it -- from the Democratic -- traditional Democratic fold.
The problem is that the -- the Democratic primary is focused on all these crazy issues like supporting open borders, the green new deal. We're about reparations now? This is insane stuff that is not going to play well in -- in regular America. That doesn't --
WILLIAMS: I think that's a Republican fantasy that that's what we're running.
HURT: Yes --
WILLIAMS: I'll tell you what Democrats are talking about.
HURT: The new green deal was something --
WILLIAMS: They're talking about health care. They're talking about demonizing immigrants unfairly.
PAVLICH: Illegal immigrants.
WILLIAMS: They're talking about a spike in terms of hate crimes, anti- Semitic action in this country under this president, Charlie. Nobody is focusing on green new deal.
HEMMER: They're also talking about Medicare for all (INAUDIBLE).
HARF: Right. Well, we're talking about how to give people health care. And I think for most Democratic voters, and maybe this is my hope, that the one litmus test isn't Medicare for all, it's not the green new deal, it's who is most able to beat Donald Trump. That has to be the focus for Democratic primary voters. That's why the people I put in that top category right now fit that bill.
HEMMER: I've got to leave it there. Sorry, Charlie.
Thank you, Katie.
PAVLICH: Thank you.
HEMMER: Thank you, Juan.
WILLIAMS: My pleasure.
HEMMER: We'll see you all very soon. Great panel today.
HEMMER: Thank you.
And we'll see you all next Sunday.
That's it for this week. Have a great weekend and a great week. Chris Wallace is back here on Sunday of next week.
I'll see you tomorrow morning, 9:00 Eastern Time, on "America's Newsroom" back in New York City.
And we leave you now with some of the iconic cherry blossom trees that reached their peak bloom this week. And it was stunning here in our nation's capital. Enjoy your Sunday, everybody. Bye-bye.
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