This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," May 19, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
We are live in New Hampshire where 2020 candidates are making their case in responding to the GOP's big moves on abortion and immigration.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: Our proposal is pro- American, pro-immigrant and pro-worker.
WALLACE: The president rolls out a merit-based immigration plan that goes beyond building a wall and Alabama passes the country's toughest abortion law.
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-N.Y., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you make abortion illegal, it doesn't stop abortion, it just stops safe abortions.
WALLACE: We'll discuss how the recent moves will affect Democratic plans to take back the White House in our 2020 sit down with presidential candidate, Senator Amy Klobuchar. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.
Then, the president's trade war with China causes a rift among Republicans. We'll discuss the impact of the president's tariffs are having on the economy and U.S. farmers with GOP Senator Pat Toomey.
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Jill's husband.
WALLACE: Joe Biden now up double digits against Bernie Sanders in the latest FOX News poll. We'll ask our Sunday panel how solid his lead really is.
And our "Power Player of the Week", one of America's greatest historians on his life's work.
ROBERT A. CARO, HISTORIAN: I feel unless I see it and really understand it, I can't make for you (ph) to see.
WALLACE: All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again today from the gym at Stevens High School in Claremont, New Hampshire, home of the Cardinals, and tonight, the site of our town hall with Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Fox News Channel.
We came to New Hampshire, site of the first in the nation primary and just eight months to get a sense of where the Democratic race for president stands at this point. The field is 24 candidates deep, with Mayor Pete rising in the polls. In tonight's town hall, New Hampshire voters will get a chance to learn more about the mayor and will see how he responds to moves Republicans made this week on abortion and immigration.
But first, we want to talk about all of that with a candidate who's already had her FOX town hall, Senator Amy Klobuchar, joining us from the campaign trail across the state in Nashua, New Hampshire, for a "FOX News Sunday" sit down.
Senator, welcome back.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, D-MINN., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: thanks, Chris, it's great to be on.
WALLACE: Eight states now, eight states, have passed tight new restrictions on abortion, that pro-life groups have been pushing and as they say, dramatically restrict rights of abortion. Alabama would ban abortions at any point except on matters of the extreme health of the woman.
My question is, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, when you become president, what would you do?
KLOBUCHAR: If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, I would make sure that we are codifying Roe v. Wade into law.
But I think it's really important for the Fox News viewers to understand exactly what's happening here. These aren't nuances anymore. This is a case where the laws that they have passed in these states would actually make it so that no one could get an abortion, and at the same time, while we would reduce the number of abortions because of making contraception more available all over the country through Planned Parenthood and other ways, they've also moved to defund Planned Parenthood.
So, this is dangerous. It is a place that we have never seen. I think people have always warned that this could happen and it's actually happened. And when I talk to people, whether they are pro-choice or they are personally opposed to abortion, a lot of them, Chris, don't think we should go this direction. Seventy-three percent of Americans don't want to overturn Roe v. Wade.
You have a situation here where they would actually put doctors in prison 99 years, that's what the Alabama law says. This is a law that they passed that would mean that if someone was raped, if a college student was raped, she wouldn't have a choice in the pregnancy from a rape.
I don't think the majority of Americans are where the Republicans are on this issue right now.
WALLACE: But, Senator, pro-life advocates are pushing back. There's a group called Restoration PAC, and they are no running an ad on Facebook that we are showing right now showing what it calls the "Party of Death". Six Democratic senators running for president, including you, who have opposed restrictions in the later stages of pregnancy.
You talk about the extreme, as you call it on one side -- let me make the case, and you can answer it on the other side, because folks say that one of the concerns is that a number of Democratic senators are not willing to see restrictions on late-term abortions, abortions after 24 weeks as we enter the third trimester. Now, that's only 1 percent of all abortions in the country, but even 1 percent is 6,000 abortions after 24 weeks when a fetus might well be viable.
Are you OK with that?
KLOBUCHAR: I'm OK with the law, Chris, and what the law says is that in that third trimester, it is allowed to protect the health and the life of the mother.
But that's not what the president said, Chris. The president misled the American public. What he said at a rally was basically a doctor would be holding a baby and kill that baby.
That's illegal under the law. That is already a crime. I know this. I'm a former prosecutor.
WALLACE: Forgive me, Senator --
KLOBUCHAR: No, I think --
WALLACE: Are you OK -- let me ask you, I understand that the argument against infanticide, and that's an overstatement. What I'm asking you is, are you OK with abortions after 24 weeks?
KLOBUCHAR: To protect the life and the health of the mother. That is exactly what the Supreme Court ruling says, and I am OK with that. But I just think it's really important, Chris, for your Fox viewers to know, because there's so much misinformation out there that what these laws do is extreme.
There are a number of Republicans who said they are opposed to them. They are extreme. Then you have the president misleading the public and telling them that this is about basically killing a baby after a baby is born. That is not what this is about, that is a crime.
So, I think what people have to understand here is that we are at a point where a number -- it is not just Alabama. This has happened in Ohio. This has happened in Missouri. This happened in Georgia.
KLOBUCHAR: There's a law that's being passed in Michigan that the Democratic governor is going to veto. This is happening across the country and people need to know what's really going on here. This is a violation of civil rights.
WALLACE: Attorney General Barr sat down with our Bill Hammer earlier this week and he said he could understand why President Trump has called the Russia probe a witch hunt, a hoax, because he says President Trump felt that he was falsely accused and the Mueller report seemed to back them up. And then he also said that he intends to drill down on how the FBI and the intel agencies handled the probe.
Here is the attorney general.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I thought when I came in from outside that all the questions that I had, many other people had, that it would be readily answered once I got in. But I haven't found that to be the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Aren't there legitimate reasons to investigate the investigators, Senator ?
KLOBUCHAR: I don't think there are. And this really bothers me, because we have in front of us two things. One of them is to get to the truth of what happened here and we are simply trying to get Director Mueller in front of us so we can find out.
I remind you, this investigation was started under a Republican attorney general, with a former Republican appointed U.S. attorney, Rod Rosenstein, with a former Republican appointed FBI director. That's where we were.
They started investigation because of legitimate news that there were people from the Trump campaign talking to others about Russia and exchanging information. We know that.
OK. The second thing though, that is most disturbing to me, is we have something right in front of us. The current FBI director and the current director of intelligence have told us that Russia is getting bolder. That what we've just seen was a dress rehearsal.
And yet, any attempt that I've made with the Secure Elections Act, which is a bill that I have with conservative Senator Lankford, that basically would say let's get some back up paper ballots, let's get some audits in place, so we cannot allow a foreign power to invade our election again. They didn't do it with tanks or missiles; they did it with a cyber attack. They have stopped them in their tracks. The White House made calls to stop that bill despite strong Republican support for the bill.
So that is what's right in front of us, and Barr is off talking about whatever he wants to talk about politically. But what he should be doing is to protect the integrity of our elections and our democracy.
WALLACE: As you know, New Hampshire, where we both are, although in different parts of the state, is among the five states with the highest rate of opioid-related deaths in the country, twice the national average. You have released a hundred-billion-dollar, 10-year plan to deal with mental health and substance abuse. You know, they all sound roughly the same. Prevention, treatment, recovery.
So I guess I want to ask you, just focus on one thing, one thing that you think that makes her plan dramatically different from all the other Democratic plans to deal with this problem.
KLOBUCHAR: This is an issue that no presidential candidate has taken on really in history, and I would emphasize here the mental health aspect of it. One in five Americans have problems with mental health. For me, the mental health addiction issue comes from my heart. My dad struggled with alcoholism his whole life, had two DWIs and then a third right before I got married.
And at that point in the '90s, he was facing either jail or treatment. He chose treatment and in his words, he was pursued by grace.
And I think every American has that right to be pursued by grace, and what I've done here is layout a thorough plan so we have beds for people who have extreme problems with mental illness, so that we have counselors for people to talk to. We've had a 30 percent increase in suicides, including farmers, including veterans, including students in this country in 15 years.
And, Chris, the other thing that's unique about my plan is I show how I'm going to pay for it. I figure if you're running for president, you better be addressing real problems with real solutions and show how you're going to pay for it. I would pay for it by taking on the pharma companies that got a bunch of people addicted to begin with, and you can do it simply with a fee -- a per milligram fee on the opioids that are being sold and then there's going to be a major master settlement with those companies that profited off of people's addictions, that got people hooked, and that's where you get the hundred billion dollars.
WALLACE: I've got about three minutes left, I want to get to two more subjects with you. One of them is immigration.
WALLACE: The president proposed a new plan this week that emphasizes merit, skills, education, over family ties. Here's how the president described it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: We discriminate against genius. We discriminate against brilliance. We won't anymore once we get this passed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, Canada and Australia have merit-based systems. Why shouldn't the U.S.?
KLOBUCHAR: You know, you can do both. You can have some people coming in and -- that get degrees here on merit, but I think you also have to have people that maybe don't have those degrees, and I'm talking here about what we need workers right now in our fields, in our factories, we have openings in our nursing homes. We don't have enough labor and some of our states for those kinds of jobs as well.
And so, what bothers me about the president's plan is the fact that he doesn't deal with the Dreamers. He doesn't deal with the millions of people who came here with no fault of their own. He doesn't deal with the 10 million people that are here now. Many of whom would like to see if they follow the law, learn English, they want to be on a path to citizenship.
And a lot of our Republican colleagues, people like --
KLOBUCHAR: -- Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, they joined with Democrats to take this on.
So I feel like the president has carved out one niche here instead of dealing with the overall comprehensive immigration issue. That -- as president, that's what I would do.
WALLACE: Senator, I want to talk a little 2020 politics in the time we have left and I want to put up the Real Clear Politics average of the latest polls. In Iowa, you're in eighth place with 3 percent support, and here in New Hampshire, you're also in eighth place with 1-1/2 percent support.
I understand that it's very early. We are still months away from people voting their in New Hampshire. I guess the question I have is, why do you think you have not gained as much traction so far in the campaign as other candidates, for instance, Mayor Pete, who's going to be here for the town hall this evening?
KLOBUCHAR: Oh, Chris, I think being in the top ten in a 25-person race when you're from the middle of a country in a state that's not so big, at some of my colleagues, I think that's pretty good, and I wouldn't count me out.
Everything I've done in my life, whether it's taking on 48-hour hospital stay for new moms and babies when people didn't think I could get that done, I got it done. Or when I was the first woman to run for D.A. in my state, of the biggest county, I got it done in the next time around, no one even ran against me. Then I go run for U.S. Senate, running against the congressman and win big time.
I am someone that takes on challenges and finds a way to get there. No one thought I could raise money when I was running for Senate. I finally just called everyone I know in my life and I raised an all-time Senate record --
KLOBUCHAR: -- $17,000 from ex-boyfriends. And as my husband has pointed out, it's not an expanding base.
I will find a way to win. No one thought a peanut farmer from Georgia was going to win. Jimmy Carter's pointed out to me that he had less support at this point than I do. No one thought a guy --
WALLACE: Senator --
KLOBUCHAR: -- named Barack Obama could become president.
This is -- you know politics, Chris.
WALLACE: Senator Klobuchar --
KLOBUCHAR: It is a long road.
WALLACE: It's forever.
Listen, I -- but it is a snapshot of where we are at this point. I'm certainly not counting out. That's why you're here for the "Fox News Sunday" sit-down.
Thank you. Thanks for taking time for the campaign trail.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.
WALLACE: Always good to talk with you.
WALLACE: Up next, we will bring in our Sunday group to discuss the growing 2020 field and a front runner who keeps building his lead.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about Alabama's strict new abortion law? Just go to Facebook or Twitter, @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air, as "FOX News Sunday" reports live from Stevens High School in Claremont, New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If the American people want a president to outdoor division, lead with a clenched fist, enclosed hand, a hard heart, to demonize your opponents, to spew hatred, they don't need me, they've got President Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: 2020 Democratic front runner Joe Biden at the formal kick off of his campaign for president yesterday in Philadelphia.
And it's time now for our Sunday group. The cofounder of "The Federalist", Ben Domenech; Julie Pace, Washington bureau chief of "The Associated Press"; Katie Pavlich of townhall.com, who says that this is gymnasium reminds her of her day as a high school basketball star; and Mo Elleithee, Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service.
Well, welcome all, and thank you all for coming up here at Claremont to keep me company and answer my questions.
Joe Biden officially opened his campaign today, although it seems that he's been campaigning for a few weeks, and he really has done remarkably well. Let's put up the latest average of national polls. Biden up to 39 percent, Sanders down to 16 percent, and everyone else in the single digits.
Mo, why do you think that Biden has had such a good rollout so far and how solid do you think his lead is?
MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE: So, I think a couple of things. One, I think Democrats care about electability. And I think Joe Biden sort of projects an electability argument well. Number two, I think Democrats, like a lot of people in the country, are looking for an authentic champion and Joe Biden, when he's out there on the stump, projects authenticity and that he can be a real champion for folks.
I think ultimately, the reason he's doing well and others are sliding probably at this point has more to do with his name ID than anything else. But others are going to have to start moving in the right direction if they're going to catch up to him. He's looking really, really strong.
WALLACE: Ben, how strong do you think -- I mean, obviously, he's looking really strong right now, but as Senator Klobuchar pointed out as an (INAUDIBLE) -- we even haven't had the first debates yet.
Any doubts about Biden's staying power?
BEN DOMENECH, THE FEDERALIST: I think the only question that really, you know, emerges around Biden is how much his lengthy history of previous decisions and policy positions is going to be a problem for him in a field that has a lot of new faces to it. You know, Democrats, traditionally, tend to like these new faces, inspirational figures to come along. You're obviously going to have Mayor Pete, you know, tonight, to be one of those figures.
I think the problem for Biden is going to be navigating all of the different previous decisions and positions that he's had but I think that he also has a lot of built-in advantages. Not just name ID, but I think his advantage among African-American voters, particularly in the South, is going to be a real strong point for him. And everybody else has to figure out what kind of lane exists to take on Biden and the best way to critique them.
WALLACE: Perhaps the biggest political development so far this year, and certainly this week, has been that now eight states have passed very restrictive laws on abortion. Alabama leading the way with the most restrictive law which would only allow an exception not for rape or incest, but only to prevent a serious health risk to the woman and here was the back and forth among Alabama lawmakers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBY SINGLETON, D-ALABAMA SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I apologize to the women of Alabama for this arcane law that we passed.
TERRI COLLINS, R-ALABAMA STATE CONGRESSWOMAN: Is that baby in a womb a person? In Alabama law, it's a person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We asked her for questions for the panel and on Alabama's new law, we got this on Twitter from Ray Kitchens. Why would they make no exceptions to rape and incest?
Katie, how do you answer, Ray, and how do you respond to the whole fact that this has become such a hot issue?
KATIE PAVLICH, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, of course, abortion is always a hot issue, but to answer the question, if you are intellectually and morally consistent in your belief that life starts at conception, you then have a very hard time justifying any kind of exception for people who are conceived in rape, and there have been a number of people whose parents, or who themselves were conceived in rape this week who are adding to the conversation and saying, why are we valued less because of the way that we were conceived?
Now, when it comes to the abortion issue, this is something that a number of states have passed. The accusation has been that Republican men are trying to control women's bodies when the Alabama governor is a woman. There's a Democrat in Louisiana, the governor there, who's willing to sign up similar piece of legislation, and this is something that's been going on as a debate topic for 30 years and for good reason.
The pro-life movement has a choice to make here. Take it or the courts in hopes that it gets to the Supreme Court, in hopes that Roe v. Wade gets overturned. But there's also a way that they've done this tactically over the past couple of decades, in the sense of changing people's public opinion based on the new science and technology that we have, rather than going through the court system.
So, it's a twofold issue. It's always a hot topic. Amy Klobuchar couldn't answer your question about how she feels about late term abortion, not just for the health of the mother, but elective late-term abortion. And that's a question that Democrats are going to have to answer on the campaign trail.
WALLACE: President Trump has been surprisingly quiet on this all week until yesterday afternoon when he put up this week.
I am strongly pro-life with the three exceptions, rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother -- the same position taken by Ronald Reagan.
But as we've noted, some of the new laws, especially Alabama but other laws as well, do not make exception for rape and incest.
Julie, I hate to reduce this to politics, but obviously, it is a hot political issue, how does the White House political operation feel about this drive, and particularly if women come to feel that Roe, the 1973 ruling that allowed a woman's right to an abortion, stated it, might conceivably be under threat?
JULIE PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: I heard two different arguments from Republicans this week. One for people who think politically and again, we will have to talk about this in a political space, who think politically that this'll be good for Republicans. It does energize a portion of the Republican base, a portion of the Republican base that has been very strongly supportive of Trump for one reason, which is that they believe is going to put judges on the courts and he now is a track record of doing so, who will try to overturn Roe.
But the second piece of it, I heard this from a lot of Republicans, is that they are worried about what this does to their support with women. 2018 midterms, Republicans lost significantly with women in suburban areas. It's one of the reasons that Republicans lost the House and there's a concern that if the party is seen as rallying around these state laws, cheering them on through the courts, that that will have a detrimental impact on Trump and other Republicans in 2020.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on that, because I've always thought that as the issues stood right now, where there was a right to an abortion, that the whole issue energized the pro-life side more than the pro-choice side, but if you get these laws and if there's a chance that they might go up the court system and get to the Supreme Court and people begin to perceive that Roe is under threat, does that change?
DOMENECH: You know, with the exception of John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, the fact is we had a great cultural sort on this issue. The parties are truly divided on them. The number of pro-life Democrats in any significant office can be counted on one hand and I think that to a certain extent, driving the base and both sides on this issue serves both parties interest. I mean, the fact is the president, not just the court apartments but his rulings on Title X, his rulings on other aspects of issues that pro-life Americans care about have been consistently putting him, you know, in rewarding them for backing him in 2016.
I think this is meant to serve as a reminder of where things are and frankly, going back to someone like Mayor Pete, he came out this week for repeal of the Hyde Amendment, saying that he wants to actually take taxpayer funding expended on abortions. And that sort of situation, I'm not sure that this actually moves that needle that much. I think the people have basically made up their mind.
WALLACE: All right. Panel, thank you. We'll see you all a little later.
Up next, manufacturers and farmers are feeling the brunt of the president's trade war with China. We'll talk with Republican Senator Pat Toomey about the rift it's causing inside the GOP, as "FOX News Sunday" reports ahead of tonight's town hall with Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who recently bragged about his appearance on this show appearing on late night TV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: Is a true you hooked up with Fox News at the start of your campaign, because some might say that makes you a naughty boy?
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Actually, I'm proud to say that I was the first candidate to appear on "Fox News Sunday", because I don't believe in leaving out an entire portion of the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Coming up, President Trump boasts about his latest round of tariffs on Chinese goods.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think it's going to be -- I think it's going to turn out extremely well, we are in a strong position.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask Republican Senator Pat Toomey why he calls it bad policy, next on "FOX News Sunday".
WALLACE: The president's ongoing trade war with China is creating a growing divide in the GOP. Member of the -- many of the businesses feeling the effects are in states Mr. Trump won in 2016 and are represented by Republican senators. One of those is Senator Pat Toomey, a leading member of the Senate Finance Committee, who joins us now from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Senator, our trade war with China escalated this week. President Trump put the Chinese telecom company Huawei on a business blacklist and China cut its orders for U.S. pork and Chinese state media became more nationalistic.
Here's what the president had to say about all this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: We're having a little squabble with China because we've been treated very unfairly for many, many decades, for actually a long time. And it should have been handled a long time ago and it wasn't and we'll handle it now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, how worried are you about the escalating trade war with China?
SEN. PAT TOOMEY, R-PENN.: Chris, thanks for having me.
Listen, I put China in a distinct category separate from the rest of the entire world. And to do that because of the facts in the case, right? China's the world's second biggest economy. It's a revisionist power. It's now, for the first time, attempting to be able to project force. It's intimidating neighbors. It's disrupting American institutions. And it's engaged in some egregious economic behavior, the theft of intellectual property in various ways.
So I actually think the president is right to challenge China. This agreement, if we reach one, won't solve all of those problems. And the tariffs are absolutely painful and dislocating. But if in the end we end up with an agreement that gives us a meaningful reform of China's most egregious behavior, we might look back and say, this was worth the price that we're paying. I look at 232 (ph) tariffs and tariffs on Europeans and Canadians and Mexicans in a very different way.
WALLACE: It -- but -- but those aren't national security tariffs, right?
TOOMEY: That -- that's correct. That's right. And I put those in a very different category. But I think the president is right to challenge China and to think about this in the broader context, such as what Vice President Pence laid out in a famous speech where he made the case of how aggressive China has been.
WALLACE: Now farmers are among the -- the -- the folks that have been the hardest hit so far by the U.S. tariffs and the response from the Chinese. But the White House says, well, they've got a plan and they're talking about up to $20 billion as a bailout to farmers. Here's the president's message that he sent to farmers this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They'll be planting. They'll be able to sell for less and they'll make the same kind of money until such time as it's all straightened out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But you call this plan, quote, your words, very bad policy. Why?
TOOMEY: Yes, I think it's bad policy to, you know, start to -- just sending checks to -- to farmers or any segment of the economy. What I think we ought to be doing is working with allies, working with friendly countries, finding more markets, opening up more markets, taking down trade barriers and creating an opportunity for our farmers to sell their products around the world rather than sending them a check from taxpayers.
WALLACE: Generally speaking, it's fair to say you're a free trader. You were a former president of the club for growth. What are your thoughts about the president's trade policy and his willingness in an effort to try to -- and he says that, to try to bring down tariffs, to raise tariffs at least in the short term, which sometimes goes on for a while?
TOOMEY: Yes. So the way I look at tariffs, they are a tax on the American people. They can only be justified if they are and means to an end. In the case of China, I think we might be pursuing the right end.
I think in the case of Canada and Mexico, for instance, on steel and aluminum, we were not pursuing the right end. I think the changes that the administration has made to NAFTA actually diminish NAFTA as a -- as a driver of economic growth and prosperity. I think it would be a huge mistake to impose taxes on the auto imports, for instance, from Europe and Asia. I think that would be a huge cost to consumers without a good objective. So, you know, I'm going to continue to push back on the use of national security as a justification for imposing taxes on Americans when they choose to purchase products from our neighbors and allies and friends.
WALLACE: Let me turn subjects with you.
President Trump proposed a dramatic, new immigration reform plan this week and -- for legal immigration. I want to talk to you about that. Currently, 12 percent of green cards are based on skills and 66 percent are based on family. The president would flip that to 57 percent based on skills and 33 percent based on family.
As the grandson of Irish immigrants, how do you feel about this -- the president's proposal for this new system?
TOOMEY: So it's mixed. I think this is -- so I'm very much open to expanding legal immigration. I think people who come to this country wanting to build a better life for themselves and their families, they contribute to America. They help to build this country, just as my relatively uneducated and penniless grandparents did when they came here. So I'm open to more legal immigration.
I think the president's right in his insights that I -- you know, people who come with a lot of human capital, intellectual capital, education, these people contribute to our country enormously. It's a no-brainer to allow people who come here, the best and brightest from around the world, come to our colleges, get a great education and then we ship them out so that they can compete against us rather than welcoming us (ph). So I fully embrace the idea that these people with greater skills and education and knowledge should be welcomed. But I think people with lower skills can contribute as well. So I'd be open to expanding that category as well.
WALLACE: I want to ask you another question on immigration. The Department of Homeland Security says the overcrowding, and there's no question there is, on the border in Texas between Mexico and Texas has gotten so severe that it has started flying illegal immigrants to San Diego to hold them there, to process there and conceivably to release them there. There were also going to do that in Florida, but there was such a backlash, including from a Republican governor of Florida, that they stop that. But, apparently, DHS is considering continuing this.
How do you feel about the idea of shipping people in this country illegally all over the country?
TOOMEY: Well, Chris, it's a symptom of a complete, full-blown crisis that we have at our border. They are swamped. They are overwhelmed. The numbers have been staggering. We've got a humanitarian crisis and a security crisis. So we need to respond to that. We need better border security. We need to -- we're -- we are building and we need to build physical barriers, walls. It we need more personnel. We need more surveillance. And we also need the ability to adjudicate these huge numbers of people who came -- come here, they asked for asylum, they have very, very little case to be made for granting an asylum, but we're encumbered by having inadequate resources to adjudicate those -- those claims, those requests. That's a big part of it. We've got to change our laws that are driving people. Our -- America's a magnet. If you come there with a child, you're almost guaranteed to get in.
WALLACE: But -- but, let me -- if I may -- if I may because we're running out of time --
WALLACE: Senator, just -- just a cut to the chase here, because we're running out of time, how would you feel if DHS shipped several hundred migrants to Pennsylvania?
TOOMEY: Yes, we actually do house some migrant families and that's, you know, a temporary arrangement that is made necessary by the crisis on the border. I'd like to fix the crisis so that that's not necessary.
Let's -- one last subject I want to talk to about, and that's Iran. Over the last week, the president has taken a number of measures. He's ordered a carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf. We're sending long-range bombers there. The Pentagon, at least, considered a proposal to send 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East. I -- really, two questions. One, do you understand what's going on with U.S. policy in Iran, and how do you feel about, as you do -- if you do understand it, what the president's policy is?
TOOMEY: I think I do, Chris. I took the time to go down to the secured briefing room and read the intelligence reports last week. I'm looking forward to the full briefing to all senators on Tuesday on the intelligence we have.
I can't comment on that, but let me simply say this, if you read a report about a potentially imminent threat to American personnel and American assets originating from the Iranian regime, I think you should take that report very seriously. Let's remember who we're talking about. This is the regime that systematically designed, manufactured, and distributed the IAD's that were designed to penetrate armored vehicles and kill American soldiers in Iraq, and they did, in large numbers. I think the president is right to try to deter the Iranians from a foolish and dangerous attack on American personnel or our assets, and I think that's the strategy right now, demonstrate with a show a powerful force that this would be a really bad idea for the Iranians to pursue and hopefully deter a really tragic and disastrous decision by the Iranians.
WALLACE: Senator Toomey, thank you. Thanks for sharing your weekend with us. Please come back, sir.
TOOMEY: Thanks for having me.
WALLACE: Up next, Democrats call President Trump's new immigration plan dead on arrival, but is the real purpose as a campaign weapon for 2020? Our FOX NEWS SUNDAY panel returns live here in New Hampshire. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We'll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it will be a very bad mistake.
They put out so many false messages that Iran is totally confused. I don't know, that might be a good thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump talking tough about Iran on Monday, but by the end of the week blaming the media for the chatter about war. And we're back now with the panel.
Well, Ben, help us sort this out because in the beginning of the week there were some dramatic moves the president took, as I talked about with Senator Toomey, carrying a carrier strike force, long-range bombers, talk about 120,000 troops. By the end of the week, the president put out the word that he had told his acting defense secretary, I don't want to get into a war.
BEN DOMENECH, "THE FEDERALIST": Yes.
WALLACE: What's going on?
DOMENECH: I think that the president is totally fine with rattling the sword here and there when it comes to confrontations with other nations around the world. But he has very much been opposed to any kind of significant involvement in the Middle East. He internally has sent that message in a lot of different ways.
I think one of the things that was happening this time is that as with so many things that go around this administration, people were having the argument in public. There were sort of pushing the story to various different outlets and I think that he saw that playing out and wanted to come down at the end of the week and sort of send a message to his supporters, many of whom are very much opposed to getting involved in what he calls another stupid war, and say, look, I'm still in charge and we're not going in there. This -- as much as the stuff has played out in the public square pushed by various people within the admin, I'm still in charge and I don't want this to happen.
WALLACE: Julie, I want to pick up on precisely that.
As our White House watcher here, how much of the split is there within the White House or within the administration, especially, for instance, between the president and his National Security Advisor John Bolton, who's very hawkish on Iran. And it does seem to for all of the talk that the president and the saber rattling, that he really does not want to get involved in another foreign conflict.
JULIE PACE, "THE ASSOCIATED PRESS": He -- he doesn't want to get involved in another conflict. There is a split certainly in administration on foreign policy broadly, but -- but specifically on Iran. Someone like a John Bolton is incredibly hawkish. He sees Iran as, you know, the central negative force in global affairs right now and he believes that the United States has to play a role in trying to -- to counter Iran and he is more comfortable than others in the administration about looking at military options on that front. This dates back to his early days in the administration where he was pushing the Pentagon to put forward proposals for large-scale military action there.
But the president looks at this, I think, from -- from -- from a political lens mostly. You know, he campaigned -- as much as he campaigned on immigration, he also campaigned as being a president who would pull the United States out of foreign entanglements in the Middle East and would not go back. And so when he sees that some of his own advisors are out there suggesting that kind of action or asking the Pentagon for plans, he really recoils at it and he -- he made a point by the end of the week to make clear that even if John Bolton is out there, Mike Pompeo is out there talking very hawkishly, you know, he -- that's not coming from him.
WALLACE: Do you think either of them are in trouble?
PACE: I don't think either of them are in trouble. I think Trump is very -- you know, Trump is interesting in these situations because he actually doesn't mind splits within his administration. He doesn't love when --
WALLACE: There's a certain kind of good cop/bad cop quality to it.
PACE: Absolutely. Absolutely. What -- what he doesn't like is the idea that it looks like his advisors are pushing him beyond what he wants to be.
WALLACE: All right, let's turn to immigration because the president did propose a new merit-based immigration plan which got real pushback from Democrats and even some from Republicans, especially because it didn't lower -- Pat Toomey's a little bit of an exception -- a lot of Republicans would like to see fewer legal immigrants come into the country as well.
Here's the president indicating that he doesn't expect this to become law anytime soon. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If for some reason, possibly political, we can't get the Democrats to approve this merit-based, high- security plan, then we will get it approved immediately after the election when we take back the House, keep the Senate, and, of course, hold the presidency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Katy, if this is really more about 2020 than any realistic chance of getting this past before next year in this Congress with a Democratic House, why do you think the president felt the need to put it out? Do you think he feels a need to shore up his position on immigration?
KATIE PAVLICH, CONTRIBUTOR: I think that the White House has been looking for different ways to deal with the current illegal immigration crisis on the border, the problem with the asylum laws, and also looking at the entire system and saying, we haven't had immigration reform on the legal side since the 1960s. The focus is always on trying to find a solution for people who came to the country illegally, rather than trying to find a solution for people who want to come to the country in a legal fashion and be part of the American society in terms of becoming citizens and learning the language and advocating for the country in terms of economics.
But when it comes to the politics of this, it's on President Trump's side because you have people asking about, well, why isn't DACA in this deal? Well, they can then say we've offered DACA in a number of other deals with Democrats. They've said no to that. And the fact is that legal immigration in this country needs to be reformed regardless of whether we passed DACA right now. We want to make it easier for anybody to come to the country, not just people who have family ties here in terms of non-immediate family. They're still focused on getting immediate family members into the country.
WALLACE: Mo, I mean, one of the things that were striking as there was no outreach to Democrats at all about this bill and they have already declared it dead on arrival in this Congress. But is it good politics for the president to be able to say, it's not just that I'm against illegal immigration, here are some things that I'm for.
MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE: I think it's necessary politics for him to change the conversation as it's being had around immigration. You know, we did a poll at our institute not long ago that showed while the American people support his approach to the economy, when it comes to immigration, they actually support congressional Democrats over his approach. This is supposed to be his signature issue and -- and it isn't playing out electorally, politically, for him the way he'd like beyond his base.
So I think what you're seeing here is the president and his team trying to change the conversation a bit. He's never going to walk away from the wall. He's never going to walk away from -- from his signature, you know, approach to border security, because that's his bread and butter with his base. But I think his team recognizes that politically they have to figure out a different way to do it. I'm not sure this is it.
PAVLICH: Well, and that's still in the plan. I mean that's half of this plan. Border security is half of the plan that they've introduced. It's not just (INAUDIBLE) --
ELLEITHEE: And I'm not saying he should walk away from it.
ELLEITHEE: Right, I'm totally -- right, but I think he has recognized and his team has recognized he has to start talking about this a little bit differently.
WALLACE: When you -- when you talk -- look at polls, I understand the wall and cracking down on illegal immigration plays dynamite with his base, but when you look at polls, the American people are much more open, for instance, to a pathway to citizenship somewhere down the line.
ELLEITHEE: Right. Right. And -- right, exactly, that people are -- that's sort of the hardline, you know, approach that he has been taking is not where people are beyond his base. And so I think he's trying to look for a way to open up a conversation. This may not be it, right, as we're seeing, he's running to resistance even amongst some people in his own party on The Hill. But -- but I do think he's recognized that what he's been doing is not going to work for him politically (INAUDIBLE).
DOMENECH: This is all -- this is all about 2020. This is about laying down a marker right now so that he can use it in that context, say, I have put forward an immigration plan and use it against who -- whichever Democrat emerges from this gigantic field.
PACE: One of the great frustrations among Republicans --
WALLACE: You know what, save that thought.
PACE: Oh, no.
WALLACE: We'll talk about that later. Thank you, panel, see you next Sunday.
PAVLICH: Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next -- because nobody's going to want to miss this -- our "Power Player of the Week." A biographer who has captured the essence of power. How to get it and use it in his award-winning books on LBJ.
WALLACE: He's one of America's greatest biographers, the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. But he's taken a break from his life's work to write about how he does that work. And loyal followers are freaking out.
Here's our "Power Player of the Week."
WALLACE: You must know that this is giving a lot of people heartburn.
ROBERT CARO, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING BIOGRAPHER: Yes, I do. If you want to know the truth, it's heartwarming that so many people are worried that I won't finish.
WALLACE (voice over): Robert Caro has spent more than half his life telling the story of Lyndon Johnson, four books, some 3,400 pages. But he's only up to 1964, not yet to Vietnam, which is why when he took a detour to write "Working," it caused, well, heartburn.
CARO: I want people to have some idea of what it is I do, how it is to research this type of book.
WALLACE: Caro fans may not be happy he took time from finishing the story of LBJ, but it is fascinating to learn how he goes about his masterwork.
Caro says he learned about research from his editor at "Newsday" (ph) back in the '60s.
CARO: This guy looks up at me and he says, just remember, turn every page. Never assume anything. Turn every page.
WALLACE: It's advice he's followed researching Lyndon Johnson.
WALLACE (on camera): You walk into the LBJ Presidential Library and when you look up at the documents section, what do you see?
CARO: You see, you know, at that time, 32 million documents. You -- they had 40,000 boxes, each of these boxes holds about 800 pages. That's the only time I felt like turning around and going home.
WALLACE (voice over): Caro says he has one big rule when interviewing.
WALLACE (on camera): Your notebooks are filled with a notation, "SU."
WALLACE: What does that mean?
CARO: Shut up. People have a desire, a need to fill in silences. If you could just make yourself shut up, often they'll tell you what you want to know.
WALLACE (voice over): Then, there is writing. Caro remembers what a professor at Princeton told him.
CARO: You're never going to achieve what you want to achieve, Mr. Caro, unless you stop thinking with her fingers. I knew exactly what he meant. It was so easy for me to write, that I didn't think things through.
WALLACE: Which brings us back to his final book on LBJ, which is about a third written. Caro took us into his offense.
CARO: This is the outline of the rest of my last volume, from here to there to the end of the book over there.
WALLACE: He writes several drafts in longhand, again to slow himself down.
CARO: After I've done a number of drafts, I go to the typewriter and I do a lot of drafts on the typewriter. Then it goes into this box and the box goes to my typist.
WALLACE: When I talked with Caro about his last LBJ book, he said it would take three or four years to finish the final volume. That was seven years ago and he's now 83.
WALLACE (on camera): Are you really going to Vietnam?
CARO: I feel unless I see it and really understand it, I can't make the reader see it.
WALLACE: If you should be unable, for whatever reason, to finish the book, have you made provisions for somebody else?
CARO: No, I've made provisions that nobody else can finish my book. Nobody is going to publish anything with my name on it that I didn't write. Not a word.
WALLACE (voice over): But Caro is determined to finish the story of Lyndon Johnson down to the last word, on a Smith Corona Electra 210.
WALLACE (on camera): How many typewriters do you have?
CARO: I have, at this moment, 11, yes.
WALLACE: And will that get you through the end of it?
CARO: I'm worried.
WALLACE: Caro has tried to take care of everything. He uses old-fashioned carbon paper to make copies of what he types. A few years ago he bought what he says is a lifetime supply just in case they stopped making it.
Now this program note.
Join me back here at Stevens High School in Claremont, New Hampshire, tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox News Channel for a live town hall with Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
But that's it for now. Have a great week, and we'll see you next “Fox News Sunday.”
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