This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," December 8, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
Chris Wallace, anchor: I'm Chris Wallace. A Saudi air force officer targets Americans at a military base killing three members of the U.S. Navy. We'll discuss that and the challenges to U.S. national security in an exclusive interview with the secretary of defense.
In this hour, we'll drill down on the threat from Tehran. The Iranians continue to ship missiles around the area to Iraq, to Yemen. What would more troops do? And President Trump's promise to pull U.S. troops out of endless wars. We seem to be pulling back from fighting terrorism where Ronald Reagan was leaning forward. We're joined by Defense Secretary Mark Esper here at the Reagan National Defense Forum only on "Fox News Sunday." Then –
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Today, I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment.
Chris Wallace: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally directing Democrats to move forward with impeachment, saying the president's actions leave no choice. We'll talk with democratic congressman David Cicilline, a key member of the House Judiciary Committee, which will hear evidence Monday from House investigators. Plus, the Justice Department's inspector general releases his highly anticipated review of the 2016 Russia probe.
President Donald Trump: I hear it's devastating, but we'll soon find out.
Chris Wallace: We'll ask our Sunday panel what the IG report will mean for the president's claims it was all a witch hunt. And our power player of the week. He's obsessed with spies and the gadgets they use to steal secrets all right now on Fox News Sunday.
Chris Wallace: You are looking live at the Ronald Reagan presidential library and Air Force One that carried our 40th president around the globe in pursuit of peace. And welcome to a special hour of Fox News Sunday from the Reagan National Defense Forum, a gathering of key figures and national security. More on that in a moment. But first the latest on two developing stories, the release of an American citizen as part of a prisoner swap with Iran, and the deadly attack by a Saudi military officer targeting Americans at a U.S. naval base in Florida. National security correspondent Jennifer Griffin joins us now with the latest on both. Jennifer.
Jennifer Griffin, Fox News: Thank you, Chris. U.S. officials not yet willing to call this terrorism. Overnight the navy released the victim's names, all American, Joshua Watson, Mohammed Haitham, and Scott Walters. Watson, a recent naval academy graduate, reported to flight school two weeks ago. He saved many lives by telling first responders where the shooting took place after being shot several times. The shooter, a Saudi royal air force officer, one of 852 Saudis being trained in the U.S. right now used a handgun with an extended magazine to target Americans in the Pensacola naval air station classroom. The FBI is aware of anti-American tweets posted on Twitter under the shooter's name. At least six Saudis were detained near the attack site. One is said to have been videotaping, but not all the news involving the Middle East was bad this weekend. Princeton grad student Xiyue Wang held captive by Iran for over three years released in a prisoner exchange for an Iranian scientist.
[BEGIN VIDEO CLIP]
Donald Trump: Yeah, I think it was a great thing for Iran. I think it was great to show that we can do something. It might have been a precursor as to what can be done.
[END VIDEO CLIP]
Jennifer Griffin: Xiyue's wife Hua explained to me earlier this year the impact of her husband being detained and held as a spy while doing research in Tehran.
[BEGIN VIDEO CLIP]
Jennifer Griffin: Iran says that he's a spy.
Hua Qu: Yeah. He is not a spy. He's not a spy. He's just a history nerd. All he want to do is to do a good research and then teach for the rest of his life.
[END VIDEO CLIP]
Jennifer Griffin: Four Americans are still wrongfully imprisoned by Iran and former FBI agent Robert Levinson remains missing. The president indicating he is willing to talk to Tehran. The release of American prisoners perhaps a good first step. Chris.
Chris Wallace: Jennifer, thank you, and we'll see you again later in the hour. As I said, key players in foreign policy and national security gather here each year for the Reagan National Defense Forum. Earlier, I sat down with the secretary of defense, Mark Esper, to discuss the threats to American security.
Chris Wallace: Secretary Esper, welcome back to Fox News Sunday.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper: Thanks, Chris. Good to be with you.
Chris Wallace: Let's start with that terrible shooting in Pensacola. We know at least one of the people that the Saudi officer killed was a recent graduate of the US Naval Academy. Did he target Americans?
Mark Esper: Well, first of all, it's a very tragic incident. Our condolences go out to the families of those who were killed and certainly those that were injured as well. And so we just want to extend our heartfelt concerns for all of them. With regard to your question, I don't know yet. I think that's why it's important to allow the investigation to proceed to understand what exactly he was doing and why.
Chris Wallace: But I mean, it's a fact. We know that three people were killed. Were they Americans or not? I think most people in the --
Mark Esper: My understanding is that they were Americans that were killed. That's my understanding.
Chris Wallace: And do we have a sense whether he was going after America?
Mark Esper: Don't know that yet. That's why I think we need to let the investigation play out.
Chris Wallace: There are reports that several Saudis have been detained and that several of them had been filming the incident. First of all, is that true? And there are some top [unintelligible] officials willing to say this was a terrorist plot.
Mark Esper: So some were detained, friends of his that were also on that base, as I understand it. And I also was told that some, one or two were filming it. What's unclear is, were they filming it before it began or was it something where they picked up their phones and filmed it once they saw it unfolding? That may be a distinction with or without a difference. But again, that's why I think we need to let the investigation play out.
Chris Wallace: But I mean, that would not be a normal response to film one of your colleagues who's shooting Americans.
Mark Esper: I don't know. I'm not trying to pass a judgment on it at this point in time. You know, today, people pull out their phones and film everything and anything that happens.
Chris Wallace: More than 5,000 foreign nationals are in Pentagon training programs. Are you going to review that entire program and are you going to try to find some better way to vet, I understand hindsight's 2020, some better way to vet people, foreigners who come into this country for this kind of training for any links to extremism?
Mark Esper: Sure. Well, let me say, one of the first things I did yesterday, in the wake of this incident, was I spoke to my deputy secretary, the acting Navy secretary and others to say I want to immediately make sure we put out an advisory to all of our bases, installations and facilities and make sure we're taking all necessary precautions appropriate to the particular base to make sure our people are safe and secure. That's number one. Number two, I ask that we begin a review of what our screening procedures are with regard to foreign nationals coming to the United States. My understanding is currently, of course, they're reviewed by Department of State. They're reviewed by Department of Homeland Security, and they're reviewed by us and I want to make sure that those procedures are full and sufficient. Now, why is that important? Not just because of safety, but overall, these types of programs, exchanges are very important to our national security. We have something that our potential adversaries such as Russia and China don't have, which is an elaborate system of alliances and partnerships and the ability to bring foreign students here to train with us, to understand American culture is very important to us in building those long-term relationships that keep us safer. I will tell you, during my time in the military, I went to West Point with kids from other countries. I trained at the Hellenic Military Academy in Greece for a summer. During my time in the army, I trained with an officer from Africa. All those things helped us understand one another and build close partnerships and we need to continue that.
Chris Wallace: So what you seem to be saying is, yes, if we need to vet better, we're going to do it, but we're not going to throw out those programs.
Mark Esper: That's right.
Chris Wallace: There are reports that the Pentagon is working on a plan, considering a plan to send 7,000 more U.S. troops to the Middle East. I understand the president has not decided on this yet, but what would more U.S. troops help us do to counter the threat from Iran?
Mark Esper: Well, first of all, I have no plans right now or orders to send 7,000 or 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East. But what I've said consistently, certainly to Congress and to others is that on a weekly basis, daily basis, we monitor what's happening in the Persian Gulf. We watch what Iran is doing to make sure we understand what their intentions are. What I'm trying to do in that theater are a few things. Number one, reassure our allies, such as the Saudis and the UAE and other countries in the region. Number two, affirm the right of countries for freedom of navigation, freedom of the seas. And number three, hold up the international rules-based order. So what I'm trying to do from the Defense Department is deter Iranian bad behavior. If you'll recall, several months ago, they were going after ships in the Strait of Hormuz. They shot down one of our drones. We've reached a point, I think, that we've deterred further Iranian bad behavior. But as we see Iranian behavior or intentions changing, I will change our force posture to maintain that deterrence.
Chris Wallace: But you say that there are certain things that aren't doing -- aren't going after ships in the Persian Gulf, they aren't shooting down drones. We sent in, you sent in 14,000 more troops since May, but the Iranians continue to ship missiles around the area to Iraq, to Yemen. They have recently tested a new missile that apparently would have the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon. What would more troops do? Could they deter that action? And are you basically saying we're prepared to get into a shooting war with Iran?
Mark Esper: Well, what I've said publicly is we are prepared to respond if -- depending on what Iran does. And they need to understand that our restraint should not be interpreted as weakness. We are prepared to defend ourselves and our friends and allies, if necessary. But you hit on two important things. For 40 years now, since the revolution, Iran's been engaged in a number of activities that have done nothing but undermine the entire region. It's the malign behavior and any number of countries stretching from Africa to Afghanistan, their missile program, their nuclear program, hostage taking, all those are the things we want in a new and comprehensive agreement with them to get rid of. What we want is Iran to join and to become a normal nation. A normal country.
Chris Wallace: Good luck with that.
Mark Esper: Well, we have to do it. I mean, it's like I said, they are, their hands are in every type of country out there stirring things up. Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, and we can go all across this region and talk about Iranian bad behavior.
Chris Wallace: We -- excuse me. We are here at the Reagan Library. And back in 1985, Reagan laid out what was known as the Reagan Doctrine, which was that the U.S. was going to support resistance movements around the world to counter Soviet aggression. In the last few months, this president, President Trump, has pulled U.S. troops out of northern Syria, abandoning our Kurdish allies. He's talking now about a peace deal with the Taliban and pulling out of Afghanistan. When it comes to fighting ISIS, when it comes to fighting the Taliban, isn't what President Trump is now doing the exact opposite of the Reagan doctrine?
Mark Esper: No, not at all. I mean. Let's look at those two situations. We withdrew troops from the border with Turkey because our longstanding allies, 70 years, was going in because of threats they had about terrorist activity coming into Turkey. And what we told them is you shouldn't do this. We worked hard to get them to not do that. We tried to set up a safe zone. But the end of day, they were committed to doing that and we weren't going to put our troops in the path --.
Chris Wallace: But my point, without getting into a lot of the details is we seem to be pulling back from fighting terrorism where Ronald Reagan was leaning forward in terms of fighting Soviet Russia.
Mark Esper: President Reagan knew what the threat was. The threat at the time was the USSR and what President Trump knows is our long-term challenges, Russia and really China -- and so the key -- you mentioned Afghanistan, we've been in that country for 18, 19 years. The only way forward is through a political agreement. So if we can reach a political agreement between the Taliban, the current Afghan government and us to ensure that Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for terrorists, that's a good thing. It also allows me, us to free up troops to redeploy against those two other countries that we're most concerned about in the long term.
Chris Wallace: All right. We have a little bit of time left. I want to do a lightning round, quick questions and if possible, quick answers about troubles [unintelligible]. North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations now says that talks about denuclearization are off the table. If they resume nuclear testing, long-range missile testing, what will the U.S. do?
Mark Esper: I'm not going to comment on hypotheticals. I will tell you this much. My job is to make sure -- ensure that we are ready, prepared to fight and win tonight, if necessary. I believe we are in a high state of readiness right now. But my second task is to enable our diplomats. And so those are things we do. I work closely with Secretary Pompeo on these issues and we'll see. I think the talks are always open. I've said, Secretary Pompeo has said, and certainly President Trump has said, we want to sit down. We [unintelligible] want to have negotiations. We want to reach the point where we have denuclearized North Korea.
Chris Wallace: President Trump pardoned several members of the military who had either been convicted or were charged with war crimes. He stopped an administrative review. You said, he's the commander-in-chief. It's his call. But as the secretary of defense, are you worried that this undermines the military code of justice and may perhaps discourage other service members from reporting illegal or improper conduct?
Mark Esper: No, I don't. I'm a big believer and supporter of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It's a very capable system. Our soldiers are well and soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines are well-trained on the laws of armed conflict. And look, the precedent that Trump is not the first person to either pardon or commute somebody. There's a long history of commanders-in-chief doing this. It's their prerogative under the Constitution.
Chris Wallace: Finally, a couple of questions about impeachment. When we last talked a couple of months ago, you said you were going to do everything you could to comply with congressional subpoenas of records about the cut-off, the withholding of aid to Ukraine. But two days after our conversation, the Pentagon stonewalled Congress, didn't release a single document. Are you comfortable with that as secretary of defense?
Mark Esper: Well, what my general counsel had come forward with is that there were legal and technical issues related to the request that we simply couldn't honor. So that was the reason behind that.
Chris Wallace: And -- but do you feel Congress has a right to oversight and to be able to see documents from the Pentagon about a program that was approved by Congress?
Mark Esper: Well, they do, but provided it's done in the right and proper way. And I think that was the issue. Again, I think my reputation is pretty good in terms of being very transparent. I like to communicate with members of Congress. But in this case, there were -- my recollection is that there were technical and legal issues that prohibited us from doing exactly what was requested by the Congress.
Chris Wallace: Finally, you were the secretary of defense this past summer when a lot of these actions were going down with regard to Ukraine. Did President Trump ever explain to you, tell you why he was holding up U.S. military aid to Ukraine, an ally that was and is in a current war with Russia?
Mark Esper: Well, look, I'm not going to get into that. There's obviously an inquiry underway on Capitol Hill. I came into this story, if you will, in late July is when I assumed office. At that time --.
Chris Wallace: You'd been acting as secretary earlier in July.
Mark Esper: I had for a couple weeks. And then I was out of the game for a couple weeks while we waited for my confirmation process. I would say this much. When I came onto the scene, the three things we were looking at were this. One, is the -- was the aid necessary, vital to the Ukrainians in terms of defending against Russia? Number two, had Ukraine addressed corruption and that was a congressional concern? And number three, were other countries in the region, other allies and partners assisting them? And given those three things, we decide to support the provision of Ukrainian aid. At the end of the day, the bottom line is most of that aid got out on time and at no time did it have any impact on United States national security.
Chris Wallace: And you were never told about any political considerations.
Mark Esper: I'm not going to get into any of that. Again, there is a congressional inquiry underway and I'll leave that process unto itself.
Chris Wallace: Mr. Secretary, thank you. Thank you so much for talking with us. You've got a lot on your plate defending this country.
Mark Esper: Thank you very much.
Chris Wallace: Thank you so much for doing so.
Chris Wallace: Up next, House impeachment investigators make their case to the Judiciary Committee tomorrow, a big step of where Democrats write articles of impeachment. We'll talk with Congressman David Cicilline, a top Democrat on that committee, as FOX News Sunday continues from the Air Force One pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
Chris Wallace: It's a big week on Capitol Hill. On Monday, House investigators present their evidence on impeachment at a hearing the White House has declined to take part in. That same day, the Justice Department's inspector general issues his report on how the FBI conducted the Russia probe, and the IG, Michael Horowitz, testifies two days later. Joining us now, Congressman David Cicilline, a top member of the House Judiciary Committee, which would write articles of impeachment. Congressman, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee met this weekend. Is the plan at this point to vote out articles of impeachment against President Trump by the end of this week?
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.: Well, like, I don't think we know -- because I don't think we know the timing of it, but certainly the Judiciary Committee will hear from the Intelligence Committee counsel, who will detail that the president of the United States attempted the coerce a foreign leader to interfere in an American presidential election to assist him in his reelection, undermining the national security of the United States for his own benefit. This is a classic example of an impeachable offense. We know that from the scholars we listened to. So, we're going to receive the evidence carefully; we're going to evaluate that evidence as it applies to the law that is set forth in the Constitution and make a judgment about what articles of impeachment, but the timetable, I think, is less clear.
Chris Wallace: You talk about evidence. Will the committee focus just on the alleged offenses in terms of what the president did in Ukraine, or will you go back, as some Democrats are talking about, to the Mueller report and what it alleged about potential obstruction of justice by President Trump in the Russia investigation, a subject which has not been discussed at all during the last few months, really hasn't been discussed at all since last July, when Robert Mueller testified?
David Cicilline: Well, the Judiciary Committee has collected an enormous amount of evidence both in its own work and now, of course, in the receipt of a 300-page report from the Intelligence Committee. I think it will demonstrate, and does demonstrate, a pattern of behavior by this president to seek foreign assistance in interfering in an American presidential election, and then an effort to obstruct Congress's review of those circumstances. So, we'll look at all the material that we've collected, all the evidence that has been generated, and we'll make a judgment, but, again, the focus is on the president's misconduct, the president of the United States asking a foreign government to interfere in an American presidential election. This really is what our Founders spoke about when they were speaking about impeachment, about an abuse of power, about using the power of the presidency to advance your own personal or political interests ahead of the national interest.
Chris Wallace: But --
David Cicilline: This is -- and so I think, again --
Chris Wallace: Congressman, if you could just answer my question, though.
David Cicilline: Sure.
Chris Wallace: If I may, if you could just answer my question. Is it going to be just on Ukraine, or may you look back at the Russia probe and potential obstruction of justice there?
David Cicilline: Look, I think all of the potential articles of impeachment are on the table. That will be a decision that the Judiciary Committee makes in consultation with the chairs of the relevant committees, and obviously with the leadership of the House. But the Judiciary Committee will have all the evidence and will make a judgment, and that -- the decision will be made by the committee at the appropriate time.
Chris Wallace: As part of the Intelligence Committee's report earlier this week, Chairman Adam Schiff released phone logs of telephone calls between Rudy Giuliani or one of his associates with the chair -- rather, the top Republican, the former chair, of the House Intel Committee, Devin Nunes, and also with the reporter John Solomon. Republicans are pushing back hard on what Adam Schiff did. Here they are.
[BEGIN VIDEO CLIP]
Male Speaker: I've never seen a chairman of a committee abuse their subpoena power to go after other members of Congress that they have political disagreements with, or members of the press that they have political disagreements with. That's over the line.
[END VIDEO CLIP]
Chris Wallace: Congressman, was that the new -- if I may ask the question first --
David Cicilline: Sure.
Chris Wallace: -- is that the new standard, that members of Congress can subpoena phone records and then release them about members of Congress in the other party or members of the media? Because that takes us into pretty dangerous territory.
David Cicilline: Look, the Intelligence Committee has the solemn responsibility of collecting evidence relevant to the impeachment inquiry, all the evidence, and they use lawful process to do that. The real question is, why is the Republican Ranking Member of the Intelligence Committee engaged in the conversation with Lev Parnas, and why is he participating in some way in the very subject matter of this inquiry? That's the really alarming development. And so, the committee has the responsibility to collect all the evidence and to carefully evaluate it, to use lawful process to do it, and I wish my Republican colleagues were as concerned about evidence collection and what the evidence showed rather than the embarrassment to one of their colleagues.
Chris Wallace: But, you know, let's -- [laughs] once you open this door, everybody is going to go through it. So, when the Republicans are in the majority, you have no problem with them subpoenaing your phone records --
David Cicilline: Look --
Chris Wallace: -- and finding out who you've been in touch with?
David Cicilline: I think it is important that a committee of jurisdiction collect all of the relevant evidence, particularly when we're focused on something as deadly serious as an impeachment proceeding and this is a serious proceeding. We have a responsibility to collect all the evidence, whatever it is, evaluate it, apply the constitutional provisions and when you do that you understand that the president's continuing -- is really a continuous threat to our elections, to the integrity of our democracy and we have to move forward with these proceedings. No one gets, you know, runs for Congress to impeach a president but we are faced with a very, very serious set of misconduct by this president. We have a responsibility to honor our oath of office, to protect and defend the Constitution. We simply cannot allow this president or any president to invite foreign interference in our elections. You know who gets to decide our elections? The American people, the citizens of this country, not any foreign power. That's what separates our great country from authoritarian countries all over the world.
Chris Wallace: Congressman, some moderate Democrats, especially some who were elected in swing districts that Donald Trump carried in 2016 are talking openly about voting against impeachment if it gets to the House floor. As a member of Democratic House leadership, are you sure that the Democrats now have the 216 votes they would need to impeach this president?
David Cicilline: I think there is no question that the evidence that has been developed during the course of this investigation or this inquiry is overwhelming and uncontested that the president of the United States sought foreign interference to help in his reelection and compromised --
Chris Wallace: Congressman, I'm running out of time so I'm going to interrupt you there. I'm not talking about the evidence. I'm talking about do you have the votes?
David Cicilline: I -- yeah, sure. I understand. And I fully expect that the vast majority of the members of congress from the democratic caucus will accept that evidence and will move forward with articles of impeachment. The real question is why is the party of Ronald Reagan that prevailed in the Cold War willing to accept this kind of foreign interference in our elections?
Chris Wallace: Finally, the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, issues his report tomorrow and on the Russia probe and he reportedly finds that the FBI had adequate cause to pursue that investigation. He apparently finds serious misconduct, even perhaps criminal activity on the part of some lower level people, but he says that the top leadership of the FBI and other agencies were not guided by political bias. Do you expect that to end the debate over whether or not the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign in 2016 as Attorney General Barr contends?
David Cicilline: Well, you would hope that they would finally end this kind of silly claim that has been made repeatedly by the president and his allies. The report is going to say the FBI was fully justified in its investigation of the Trump campaign, but sadly we have seen before that facts sometimes don't matter, that it -- they stand in the way of these arguments that they're making in an attempt to defend the president's grave misconduct. So, I hope it puts an end to it once and for all, but we'll have to see.
Chris Wallace: Congressman Cicilline, thank you. Thanks for your time.
David Cicilline: Thanks for having me.
Chris Wallace: And we'll track developments in your committee this week. Thank you, sir.
David Cicilline: Thank you. Thank you.
Chris Wallace: Up next we'll bring in our panel to discuss impeachment and the IG report as Fox News Sunday continues from the Reagan Presidential Library in California.
Chris Wallace: Coming up, Nancy Pelosi says Democrats aren't punching through when it comes to impeachment.
Male Speaker: Fast is not good for impeachment. Narrow fast impeachments have failed.
Chris Wallace: We'll ask our Sunday panel about the showdown over timing coming up on Fox News Sunday.
[BEGIN VIDEO CLIP]
Donald Trump: I think Adam Schiff is a deranged human being. I think he grew up with a complex for lots of reasons that are obvious. I think he's a very sick man.
Adam Schiff: We should care about this. We must care about this and if we don't care about this we can darn well be assured the president will be back at it doing this all over again.
[END VIDEO CLIP]
Chris Wallace: The attacks from President Trump and Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff getting even rougher as House Democrats near a final vote on impeachment and it's time now for our Sunday group here at the Reagan Library. GOP strategist Karl Rove and once again Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin. Well, Karl, just as a pure political calculation, at this point, do House Democrats run a greater risk going ahead with impeachment or suddenly deciding to back off?
Karl Rove: Well, they're not going to back off. They're going ahead and the real question is going to be how broad is the -- are the articles of impeachment going to be? There's an argument going on in -- now inside the Democratic Party as to what they ought to indict him for and how broad it ought to be because the calculus is this, 31 Democrats sit in seats that Donald Trump [AUDIO MISSING] strongly against impeachment and the impeachment issue stoking up Republicans in districts that Donald Trump won four years ago and is likely to carry again.
Chris Wallace: Jen, as part of the House Intelligence Committee report as I just discussed with Congressman Cicilline, Adam Schiff, the chairman, released these phone logs of telephone calls between Giuliani and one of his associates, with the White House, with Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, with a reporter. Does that take us down a slippery slope?
Jennifer Griffin: Well, it certainly seems to and if you listen to Republican Jim Banks, he's called on the Judiciary Committee to subpoena Adam Schiff's phone records. Lindsey Graham has said that he will not do that. He will not be going down that path but there is this sort of tit-for-tat. The Democrats say that they were not subpoenaing Devin Nunes' phone records or a journalist's phone records, John Solomon. They say that that was captured -- this metadata was captured --
Chris Wallace: In other words they were --
Jennifer Griffin: They were looking at something else.
Chris Wallace: They were going after the records of Giuliani or his associate.
Jennifer Griffin: Most likely Lev Parnas.
Chris Wallace: And it turned out they were -- but I know, but they didn't have to release the phone records.
Jennifer Griffin: They did not and that was their choice and that is what they're getting hammered for.
Karl Rove: Well, also, Rudy Giuliani is the president's lawyer. What about, you know, confidential relationship between a client and his lawyer? They went after Rudy Giuliani's phone records.
Jennifer Griffin: But do we know it was his phone records and not Lev Parnas' who has been indicated?
Chris Wallace: Well, but we know that Rudy Giuliani -- they had called between Rudy Giuliani and the White House.
Jennifer Griffin: They released them.
Chris Wallace: Also they didn't get that through Lev Parnas. Anyway, all right. Let's move to the other big story out this week. The inspector general going to release his report. Michael Horowitz, who's been discussing or looking into this for a month and the reports are we'll see the report -- the probe itself tomorrow is that the IG is going to say that yes there were some serious problems on the lower levels of the FBI. They may have fiddled with a memo that was used as part of the warrant to get the FISA warrant -- the application to get the FISA warrant, but that they're going to say that the basic probe of Donald Trump in 2016, his campaign, was with due process; had an appropriate basis, and that the FBI leaders were not doing it with political bias. If that's what comes out, what does that do to all the conspiracy talk that we hear from the Right?
Jennifer Griffin: Well, I think it's going to be really difficult, because the president has -- says he thinks this is going to be a blockbuster report. I think he's going to be disappointed, from what we've seen of the initial leaks of the drafts. John Durham he's been banking on. He was the lawyer that Barr --
Chris Wallace: The U.S. attorney that --
Jennifer Griffin: -- the U.S. --
Chris Wallace: -- Barr has --
Jennifer Griffin: -- chosen to look into aspects of whether the -- there was a certain professor that was a U.S. intelligence asset. Supposedly, they did not find that to be the case. And so, Durham seems to be agreeing with Horowitz. And when Horowitz makes his findings tomorrow, that they were not spying on the Trump campaign, that they had a reason to open this FBI investigation, I think the president will be disappointed. You did mention this lower level lawyer at the FBI, Kevin Clinesmith. He's not going to come out looking very good. They -- when he presented the FISA court information on Carter Page, he did some sloppy things. And they're going to have to re-look at how those FISA applications are made.
Chris Wallace: Yeah. Just briefly, one of the allegations had been that this professor, Joseph Misfud, who spoke to George -- this gets down a rabbit hole --
Jennifer Griffin: [laughs]
Chris Wallace: -- George Papadopoulos, and said that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, the question was, was he an honest person here, or was he, in fact, a set-up, as some conservatives have suggested, of American intelligence agencies, and this was all kind of a conspiracy to go after Donald Trump? And one, Horowitz, didn't find that. And he also talked to this U.S. attorney who's investigating as a potential criminal case, and he apparently didn't find it either -- which brings us up, Karl, to the fact that there are a lot of people -- from the president, to the Attorney General, from Republicans in Congress, to members of the conservative media -- who have all been pushing this conspiracy theory -- or this theory -- that this was all an attempt to take down Donald Trump. If the IG -- who is considered a pretty straight-shooter, Michael Horowitz, says --
Jennifer Griffin: Yeah.
Chris Wallace: -- "It's not true," what happens?
Karl Rove: Well, I think you need to look at Horowitz as an interim report, because he is constrained. He cannot talk to people who are no longer in government services. The Inspector General, he can only talk to people who are currently in government service. So, he can't go out and talk to Lisa Page, and compel her to testify; Peter Strzok, et cetera. So, I think this is interim. But is it likely to undermine some of the nuttier conspiracy theories? Yes. But I would say this. John Durham, I think, is going to be looking at -- maybe looking at a much different question, which was, was the FISA court that granted the authority to wiretap given the fulsome and full and complete information that the FISA court needs to have, or were they playing fast and loose with the application for the wiretap? Which is an entirely different issue. But we -- the ultimate authority in this is going to be Durham, who can compel testimony from people who are in government service and people who have left government service, or were never in government service.
Chris Wallace: We've got a little over a minute -- go ahead.
Jennifer Griffin: But Karl, this -- Horowitz interviewed 100 people. A million pages of documents. A five-hundred page report. I don't think it's an interim report. And I would also say that Durham, he will be looking at whether there's any evidence of a FISA court misuse or -- and that's where Kevin Clinesmith will not look good as an FBI --
Chris Wallace: Yeah. But --
Jennifer Griffin: -- lawyer. But I think that Durham -- in the end, there is no evidence to suggest that that FISA court application was for Carter Page. That was not the basis for the whole investigation.
Karl Rove: Well, I get that. I get that. But that's why I say it's a different issue. Now -- I -- look. When I say "Interim," he can come to conclusions about a certain range of items, where all you need to do is to talk to people who are currently in government service, or examining documents that are about people who left. But Durham has a broader authority as a U.S. attorney in the special investigation, where he can compel testimony from individuals who are no longer in government service. And I think he's going to look at other things that Horowitz can't come to conclusion about.
Chris Wallace: So, in 20 seconds, I get the sense that you -- there are probably going to be some Republicans out there, no matter what Horowitz finds, who are going to say, "Ah, we've got to wait for the Durham report."
Karl Rove: Well, and frankly, they may not be interested about -- yeah, everybody's going to -- a lot of people are going to say that. But what's interesting is, Horowitz may resolve things that they're interested in. Durham may talk about things that they haven't yet begun to focus on because they don't fit into the conspiracy.
Chris Wallace: So -- [laughs] -- it goes on.
Karl Rove: It goes on.
Chris Wallace: Jen, Karl. Thank you both. We'll see you back in Washington in what promises to be an intense week. Up next, the U.S. faces threats from old rivals like Russia and growing polarization here at home. We'll ask two national security experts about it when we return to the Reagan Presidential Library in Sima, California.
[BEGIN VIDEO CLIP]
Male Speaker: Like Ronald Reagan, President Trump came into office with an unshakable vision for the foundation of American power: peace through strength.
Male Speaker: The unity of the country, the unity of our allies is worth 10 battleships to us, in a fight.
Male Speaker: The strength of the United States of America lies in our alliances --
Female Speaker: [affirmative]
Male Speaker: -- and our ability to work with others.
[END VIDEO CLIP]
Chris Wallace: Just a sample of the top officials and foreign policy experts here at the Reagan Defense Forum, about the best strategy to confront threats to the U.S. Earlier, I sat down with Michele Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy, and former Democratic senator Sam Nunn -- now co-chair of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
[BEGIN VIDEO CLIP]
Chris Wallace: Thank you both for talking with me. Senator Nunn, you received the Reagan Peace through Strength award this weekend. And in your speech, you say that the threat of confrontation right now, between the U.S. and Russia, is the greatest since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Really?
Former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn: I think that's true. We're not communicating, as we did even during the Cold War. We have a confrontation with them, with troops in the same proximity -- both in the Middle East, as well as in Europe, over Ukraine. We have a collapse of arms control. We're hanging on with a couple of treaties, but there's no real regulatory regime. We have new technologies, like cyber, that could be used to basically spook or fool a command and control system -- of any country that has nuclear weapons, as well as warning systems. All of those things mean, particularly new technologies, we need to be communicating, but the lines of communication are nowhere near as vigorous as they should be. And when you consider U.S. and Russia have 90 percent of the nuclear weapons and 90 percent of the nuclear materials, there's an acute obligation for these two countries to talk, even when we disagree.
Chris Wallace: Michele, how seriously do you take the threat of confrontation, confrontation between the U.S. and Russia? And President Putin, Russian leader, just said that he would like to extend the new START treaty before the end of the year. It runs out in 2021. Your thoughts about that? Should we take him up on it?
Michele Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy: We should absolutely take him up on the offer to extend START. The new START treaty basically provides the strategic framework to create some degree of predictability, transparency, stability, in our nuclear relationships. We don't want to take the lid off that and get into an open competition with Russia right now. There are definitely issues that need to be solved in renegotiating a future treaty, but let's keep the current one in place and then open up a new negotiation.
Chris Wallace: Senator Nunn, when you look at President Trump's policies around the world, what do you see of his that you think he's doing right, and is there anything you see that you think he's doing wrong?
Sam Nunn: I agree with him in terms of his initiative on North Korea. I wish there'd been a game plan -- and still, it needs to be developed -- to do a step-by-step process in terms of denuclearization. There's got to be a win-win here. But opening with North Korea, I agree with. I agree that he's helped increase defense resources; I agree that he's helped spur the NATO allies to do more. But in terms of the overall, the alliances have been, in my view, shaken very badly because we don't have predictability. From one day to the next, our allies in Europe, our allies around the world, don't know what's going to come from President Trump, so that is a real weakness. And the way he goes about things, name-calling and so forth, it really takes its toll.
Chris Wallace: Michele, same question. What is President Trump doing right in the area of foreign policy/national security? What's he doing wrong?
Michele Flournoy: Well, I do think we needed to open our eyes to a more competitive situation with a rising China, and I think there's been bipartisan support that's come along behind that. I think the president has certainly supported the increase in defense spending and investment in future capabilities, but I agree with Senator Nunn. I think even if we're doing some of the right things day to day on our defense relationships and alliances, overall, we're seeing now, people don't know exactly what we stand for because our policies are not consistent; we don't seem to have a cohesive strategy. We've become an unpredictable, if not unreliable, ally, and so that creates a lot of uncertainty. It tempts adversaries to test us to see where the limits are, and it, I think, moves some of our allies to start hedging against the possibility that they can't count on the United States of America.
Chris Wallace: Michele, is there a big threat out there that you think all of us -- the politicians, the media, the foreign policy experts -- are not paying enough attention to?
Michele Flournoy: I actually think a lot of people in Washington understand the challenge of a rising China and the competitive threat that it will pose to us economically, technologically, from a security point of view, even from an influence point of view. But I don't think that's understood widely, or at least not in any kind of nuanced way. I think there's a huge opportunity to explain this to the American people, not to make China an enemy, because you know, we want to avoid that, but to say, “Look, this is a competitive moment. We as Americans know how to compete. Let's invest in the drivers of our own success: our research and development, education, 21st-century technology, and so forth. So, I think with the right leadership and vision you could actually get this country moving again in a much more competitive world.
Chris Wallace: Senator Nunn, I want to go back to something that you said in your speech. You talk about peace through strength at home, and one of the things you discuss is the lack of civility and that that is sort of undercutting the unity of the nation and its ability to confront threats. How serious an issue do you think that is?
Sam Nunn: Oh, I do think it is a serious issue. I think when we're divided at home, we do not have anything like the strength we would otherwise have abroad, and I believe every American with that voice and that vote should insist on civility. Civility doesn't mean you're going to agree. It means you don't demonize the other side, and while you're disagreeing, you recognize that we have to work together to have sensible policy. Democrats and Republicans and Independents are all in this together, but many days in Washington you would never know that. So, civility is absolutely essential, in my view, for governance, and governance, given all those changes in technology, may be the most difficult problem we face in terms of the digital age. We have many, many challenges in governance, and right now technology is far outrunning policy.
Chris Wallace: Do you see the push by House Democrats for impeachment now as a sign of the breakdown in civility?
Sam Nunn: Well, I'm concerned about it. I'm concerned about the fact that the Republicans and Democrats are not coming together. They're -- people have made up their mind long before the evidence has all been completed, and if you're thinking about impeachment, you have to ask yourself, “What happens if it goes to the Senate? If we don't have Republicans on board, is it just going to wither away? Is there going to be any condemnation?” I think a serious option that ought to be considered in the House is censure. Censure can condemn the conduct without basically taking away the right of the American people to make the decision on who our leader should be.
Chris Wallace: But, I mean, just to follow up on this, when you talk to Democrats, they say, “No, no way,” and the president, “No, no way.” So, it doesn't seem like anybody wants to take that off-ramp.
Sam Nunn: Well, it's -- everybody is against it. Republicans are against; Democrats are against it; the president is against it. But I think the behavior -- a prima facie case -- we need to hear all the evidence, but a prima facie case is there was a very bad mistake made here in terms of basically extorting a foreign country with appropriated funds that had already been passed to help in a military emergency in exchange for going after a political opponent. That's a prima facie case. And it seems to be that kind of behavior at least has to be condemned, but I think censure ought to be looked at very carefully by everybody. Maybe the fact all parties are against it means it's the right way to go.
Chris Wallace: “Peace through strength at home.” What a nice thing to talk and think about it at the Reagan Library. Senator Nunn, Michele Flournoy, thank you both very much.
Sam Nunn: Thank you.
Chris Wallace: Up next, our Power Player of the Week, one of the world's foremost experts on spies and the fascinating gadgets they use to steal secrets.
Chris Wallace: If our setting here at the Reagan Library doesn't take you back to the Cold War, our next guest will. His life of spies and spycraft has taken him around the world on his own special mission. Here's our power player of the week.
[BEGIN VIDEO CLIP]
Keith Melton: I've always been fascinated in not just what spies did, but how they did it.
Chris Wallace: Keith Melton is obsessed with spies and how they pull off their missions.
Keith Melton: It would have been hidden beneath a gentleman's waistcoat. We call it a detective camera.
Chris Wallace: He spent decades hunting down spy gadgets amassing the world's largest private collection and becoming a historical advisor to U.S. intelligence agencies.
Keith Melton: Every artifact there is a story. Usually there's a trip often involved some strange country in the middle of the night using currencies and meeting someone at a parking lot at 2:00 a.m. and it's the tracking down that I find fascinating.
Chris Wallace: Melton has donated thousands of pieces to the International Spy Museum in Washington, giving visitors the backstory on how espionage shapes their world.
Keith Melton: I believe it's essential that the American public understand the true role of what's -- spies do in our intelligence services and how they represent the first line of defense for the democracy.
Chris Wallace: The museum reopened this summer in a $162 million building. It features James Bond's Astin Martin and interactive exhibits like raid team where visitors decide if they'd make the call to raid what turned out to be Osama bin Laden's compound.
Keith Melton: How confident are you in your analysis?
Chris Wallace: Well, this is a hard one. I'll go -- I kind of know the ending here. I'll say I'm highly confident. But the centerpiece is Melton's vast array of spy gadgets like this CIA pen and camera.
Keith Melton: You put it over a document, you take a photograph, and you smuggle it out and it was -- we call it the camera that won the Cold War.
Chris Wallace: And then there is this ax.
Keith Melton: This was my white whale.
Chris Wallace: Melton spent 40 years tracking down one of the world's most famous murder weapons used by a Soviet spy to kill Leon Trotsky, a rival of the Stalin regime.
Keith Melton: He came up behind him with two hands and just as he was about to strike he closed his eyes and instead of hitting him in the back of the head he hit him in the side of the head.
Chris Wallace: Melton's passion took him to Berlin after the wall fell. The KGB headquarters is the Soviet Union dissolved. When a regime collapses you see it as a buying opportunity.
Keith Melton: During times of instability artifacts become available.
Chris Wallace: What makes a good spy?
Keith Melton: Well, the best spy is the one you've never heard of. And information that is obtained that our adversaries don't know is missing is far more valuable than that they realize has been stolen.
Chris Wallace: Now Melton has a new white whale, a small crossbow U.S. intelligence came up with during World War II.
Keith Melton: They only made a handful of them. I've gotten within 30 minutes of obtaining one, but it's the one piece I've never been able to find.
Chris Wallace: I hope you find a crossbow.
Keith Melton: Thank you.
[END VIDEO CLIP]
Chris Wallace: Since the spy museum reopened this summer more than 400,000 people have gone to see it and that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you back in Washington next "Fox News Sunday."
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