Published September 16, 2018
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," September 16, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
Florence turns deadly as its devastating winds and flooding move inland from the Carolina coast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do want to emphasize that this is only the beginning. Florence is a very slow mover.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an uninvited brute who doesn't want to leave.
WALLACE: We'll have live reports on the ground and get an update on the federal response from FEMA Administrator Brock Long. And we'll learn about the impact on people in the storm's path from North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis.
Then, an allegation of sexual misconduct over 30 years ago. Will it affect the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court? We'll ask a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican John Kennedy.
Plus, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort strikes a plea deal to cooperate with the special counsel Robert Mueller.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tough day for Mr. Manafort, but he's accepted responsibility.
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel what Manafort's about-face means for President Trump.
And our power players of the week, men of honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was doing it for my country and my fellow marines. I had to win a war, just imagine the great loss (ph).
WALLACE: All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday".
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
As devastating as Florence has been so far, the worst may be yet to come. The slow moving storm is now responsible for at least 14 deaths, more than 30 inches of rain falling in some places and forecasters are warning of catastrophic flooding across the region for days.
In a moment, we'll discuss the threat and response with FEMA administrator Brock Long, and North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis.
But first, we have Fox Team coverage, Leland Vittert on the Carolina coast with the latest on the rescue effort. But we begin with Steve Harrigan and a look at the damage further inland -- Steve.
STEVE HARRIGAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, 50 miles inland from where this storm made landfall. There are already parts some North Carolina towns which are seven feet underwater.
HARRIGAN: Families stagger to safety. This woman is asked why she is shaking.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to leave my house. So, that's my big thing.
HARRIGAN: Despite round-the-clock efforts by power crews, hundreds of thousands are without electricity. Homes and businesses cut off, flooded or torn apart by the wind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been through worse than this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We sure have.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we will make it. We'll start over.
HARRIGAN: The only way to reach some neighborhoods is by 7-ton trucks last used in the war in Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've never seen anything like this. We didn't anticipate it like this. We've just -- we've never seen it -- we've been here 11 years, we've never seen nothing like this.
HARRIGAN: As the rain continues, more residents of North Carolina may soon be saying the same thing.
HARRIGAN: An evacuation order has already been issued for the city of Fayetteville -- Chris.
WALLACE: Steve Harrigan reporting from Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. Steve, thank you.
Now, let's bring in Leland Vittert off the coast in Atlantic Beach -- Leland.
LELAND VITTERT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, Florence roared ashore here Thursday morning and heavy rain has not stopped since. Many of the hardest hit areas we can even get to. Behind me is the Crows Nest Marina, so many of the charter fishermen and shrimpers who work these waters raced to pull their boats out of the water to protect them only to have them destroyed on land.
Not only are so many homes here flooded or leveled, but Florence took people's ability to make a living. In the channels and estuaries further east, locals told me there are still lots of residents who chose to ride out the storm and are now cut off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VITTERT: The rescue business right after the storm is a dangerous one. We are right now just off of Beaufort in the channels. And you can see all of the boats that were trashed here.
Believe it or not, people actually try to ride the storm out on a couple of these boats. Now, we are out looking for them. The coast guard has been overwhelmed by the number of calls. We've seen their helicopters circling above here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VITTERT: As the storm moves west, so do the floodwaters, so do the rescuers, including the military who were lending a hand.
Florence continues to move slower than most people walk, meaning conditions that normally last for hours during a hurricane are lasting for days. And what we can see an account for much of the wind damage like what is behind me, the flooding and rain destruction continues and is getting worse, Chris.
WALLACE: Leland Vittert reporting from Atlantic Beach -- Leland, thank you.
Joining us now from FEMA headquarters here in Washington is Brock Long, the head of that agency.
Mr. Long, let's start with an overview. How much damage has Hurricane Florence done? How much more damage isn't likely to do in the days and even weeks ahead?
BROCK LONG, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Yes. You know, unfortunately, we've still got several days to go. Not only are you going to see more impact across North Carolina, particularly from the central to the western area, dumping copious amounts of rains, but we're also anticipating you are about to see a lot of damage going through West Virginia, all the way up to Ohio as the system exits out.
WALLACE: I saw an astonishing figure that this storm is going to dump enough rain to fill Chesapeake Bay, trillions of gallons of rain. How much damage is this going to do in terms of inland flooding of rivers? And how do you compare this storm in terms of inundating an area to last year's Hurricane Harvey?
LONG: Yes. You know, I don't think -- Hurricane Harvey is a little bit different than what we are seeing. If you want to compare what type of damages, go back and look in 1999 at Hurricane Floyd or the most recent events with Matthew. South Carolina is probably looking at something like a Joaquin (ph) that occurred several years ago.
So, what we do is we work with the state, as well as -- and we do modeling and we try to figure out ahead of time where we think the impacts are going to be. The thing I'm most worried about is the isolated communities, those who are stuck in their homes right now that may not have access to pharmaceuticals, food and water and medical supplies, whatever. So, we're highly focused on taking care of people and fulfilling that mission as well as the hundreds of people have already been rescued, and that's a coordinated effort from the urban search and rescue teams that we pre-deployed many days ago, all the way down to the local neighbor helping neighbor.
WALLACE: What is your sense of the response from the federal level, from the state level, from the local level so far? How much, for instance, did prepositioning of assets, personnel and supplies, help? And do you see at this point any holes in the response from government?
LONG: I don't see any holes. I think we were as prepositioned from the federal government's standpoint as we can be. And what's great about this situation is, you've got strong state emergency management agencies and strong governors that have built capability. North Carolina, Mike Sprayberry is one of the most talented state directors out there.
North Carolina has been through this. They built a capability that we backfill. So, the way this works is, you know, it's locally executed, state-managed, federally supported and that's the model that we shoot for. So when Governor Cooper has a shortfall or is having trouble meeting a response to recovery goal, then these guys behind me are coordinating the assets and resources down through him to that local level and that's what you are seeing play out.
WALLACE: What's your biggest concern right now, sir?
LONG: Taking care of people, life safety. You know, I think the message that's got to be put forward to the people is please stay out of the flooded waters. The waters can be charged from electric lines. Sometimes when people walk on streets that are flooded, the manhole covers could be missing, the road may not even be there. It could have been washed out.
So please stay out of those waters. Don't become a victim and we'll continue to support as best we can, but you have to set the expectations. This is going to be a long, frustrating event for people that have lost everything, that are isolated, the power is off. But we're doing everything that we can to help our state and local partners get this corrected.
WALLACE: You know, I think most people focus on something like this on the impact on the coast and the storm surge, but as I understand it, we could have inland flooding of rivers, that they could reach a crest sometime next week. I mean, that is a very strong potential danger, isn't it?
LONG: You're absolutely right. So, what happened about a week before this event hit was the remnants of Gordon, Tropical Storm Gordon, pushed through the Mid-Atlantic States saturating the rivers. So, all that water has got to come down and make its way to the coast and it's traveling south.
So the rivers are pretty saturated which exacerbates this problem. And, you know, you're going to see some -- we are seeing some dams, like in Bowling Springs, North Carolina, be compromised. Luckily, there's no life safety implications. So, what we have to focus on, are there any dams that are going potentially going to break that could cause great impact to loss of life, and right now, we monitor all those situations.
WALLACE: Mr. Long, obviously, one of the things you want to do in these disasters is learn from your mistakes and the response to Hurricane Maria last year became an issue this week. Here is President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Puerto Rico is an incredible unsung success. I think it is certainly the best job we did was Puerto Rico but nobody would understand that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But this summer, FEMA did an after-action report that said this. The agency could have better anticipated the severity of Hurricanes Irma and Maria would cause long-term significant damage to the territory's infrastructure.
So which is it?
LONG: Look, I mean, our after-action report is an open and honest assessment. But the way that this works and I keep saying this, is emergency management -- successful disaster response and recovery is like a chair with four legs. One leg is the federal government, the second leg is the state and local, the third leg is the private sector, which owns 85 percent of the infrastructure and then the fourth leg is the citizen being properly prepared and neighbor helping neighbor.
I think what you saw in the California wildfires, Texas, to Florida, is all four of those legs were present, so the chair is stable, you know, going in to that. Obviously, in Puerto Rico, there were several parts of that chair missing. You know, the commonwealth and the local municipalities where we are concentrating on building a robust emergency management capability.
So, I'm one of the largest employers. FEMA is now one the largest employers in Puerto Rico trying to build that capability. But when it comes to the infrastructure, the greatest thing the deferred maintenance, the dilapidated infrastructure, infrastructure that was -- that crumbled is nothing that's within my control, but now, we got to go back in and fix and make sure that we are rebuilding Puerto Rico in a manner that it's more resilient, economically viable, so that we don't go through this again.
So, what the nation learned is it takes all of us coming together like what we are doing in North Carolina.
WALLACE: Mr. Long, whoever is responsible, officials in Puerto Rico now accept a study that there were around 3,000 hurricane-related deaths but this week, Mr. Trump tweeted this: This was done by Democrats, this number, to make me look as bad as possible.
Question, simple factual question: do you dispute this number of 3,000 hurricane-related deaths?
LONG: Well, there are several different studies that are all over the place when it comes to death in the official stance of FEMA is we don't count deaths. You know, the only thing that would come remotely close to data that we would have is the funeral benefits that we push forward.
You know, I think the president is fully supportive -- I know he is fully supportive of FEMA and he realizes that the mission that we went in to help support was incredibly complex. And there is a difference between direct deaths and indirect deaths. One study could have studied the entire year that's gone by about a number of indirect deaths over time or whatever, versus a six-month study in George Washington.
So, that's -- you know, there's a lot of issues with numbers being all over the place. It's hard to tell what's accurate and what's not, but we have got to come together as a country to focus on the rebuilding of Puerto Rico and building a resilient infrastructure. At the bottom line is, you know, Puerto Rico had one of the oldest power grids on the globe, 44 years old, it did not work.
And when the power is out, you see escalated problems big time when it comes to a functional hospital system or whatever it may be, working water and different things. That escalates problems in the future and that's what we're trying to focus on. That's where our attention is focused and we got the full support of the president behind us. And, you know, he understands how complex this has been and he's frustrated by it.
WALLACE: Mr. Long, thank you. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and obviously you've got a big situation on your hands right now. Thank you, sir.
LONG: Thank you.
WALLACE: Let's move now to a Red Cross shelter in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Senator Thom Tillis is standing by.
Senator, what are you seeing on the ground in your state? Did people obey evacuation orders and are they finding shelter?
SEN. THOM TILLIS, R-NORTH CAROLINA: Well, they are finding shelter. I want to thank the Red Cross for the work they are doing here and across the state.
But there were some people who made the dangerous decision to not heed the evacuation notices. Down in New Bern, a number of people who had to be rescued over the past 24, 36 hours were largely people who decided to stay in an area that was judged unsafe. We're going to have more evacuation notices as the rivers rise and after they overflow their banks. You need to heed the warnings, get out of harm's way.
WALLACE: What can you tell us about problems with looters?
TILLIS: Well, down in -- we've had one report down in Wilmington. I don't think that is widespread and law enforcement takes it very seriously. In that particular report, I think the store manager chose not to have law enforcement intervene.
For the most part, I think people have really been focused on keeping themselves safe and obeying the law and order that we need as we go through the recovery.
WALLACE: How much damage -- obviously, it's just a guesstimate at this point, but how much damage will this do to your state? Are we talking billions of dollars, and how long before life in North Carolina gets back to anything close to normal?
TILLIS: Well, Chris, they gave you a comparison, Matthew had about two years ago, a little less than two years ago, we are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew. I think that this storm is likely going to produce impacts greater than Hurricane Matthew.
The agriculture industry, the largest industry and our state is hard-hit. We will have to sort out the crop damage. The floods that are going to come, as you mentioned with the FEMA director, the floods that come midweek are likely to be as damaging or more damaging than the original event.
So, we've got to sort all that out. I think that it's fair to say, in terms of economic impact, rebuilding that we are talking in the billions of dollars.
WALLACE: And how long before life in North Carolina gets back to normal?
TILLIS: Well, it's very difficult to say. With the rivers and with the statewide impact, I mean, I'm in Charlotte right now. We are beginning to get the rain bands that have been taking days to get here. Then, it's going to move up into the mountains. Those are all going to fill river basins. They're going to flow down to North Carolina and South Carolina or out to our coast, and it's very difficult to really understand what's ahead. But I did a flyover about 36 hours after Matthew at the eastern part of the state and we thought it was bad then.
And two days later, we saw damage that far surpassed what the initial impact of that category one storm. So, people need to take it seriously. The fact that it's a tropical depression means that it's a very serious weather and rain event.
So, listen to local authorities, find access the help. I was also going to mention also, FEMA has an app that you can get on an Android or iPhone that will give you access to resources. You may be able to volunteer in your community and help other people know what their resources are that out there at the state and local and federal level to help us as we go through this disaster.
WALLACE: And, finally, Senator, I've got about a minute left and you took me just where I want to go. What have you thought of the response from government at all levels, federal, state, local? Were they as prepared as they could be for a terrible storm like this?
TILLIS: Well, I think so, because with the way the storm was tracking, you know, there were some people that would say position here or position there. I think they positioned in a central location and got them out of there as quickly as they could. The governor is doing a great job. I agree with the FEMA director, Mike Sprayberry is one of the best at what he does for disaster management.
They're coming together. We've had, sadly, experienced this with before. I'm proud of what they've done. I'm sure we'll do an after action and see things we can do better. But I think North Carolina does it about as well as anybody in the country.
WALLACE: Unfortunately, you have too much experience with it.
Senator Tillis, thank you. Thanks for your time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those caught in the storm, sir.
TILLIS: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort reaches a deal to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller. We'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss what it means for the president and the Russia investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He worked for me for a very short period of time, but you know what? He happens to be a very good person and I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort.
KEVIN DOWNING, MANAFORT ATTORNEY: Tough day for Mr. Manafort, but he's accepted responsibility. And he wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, President Trump last month expressing support for his former campaign chairman and Manafort's attorney on Friday explaining why his client took the plea deal, agreeing to cooperate with the special counsel.
And it's time now for our Sunday group. GOP strategist Karl Rove, former Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center, Julie Pace, Washington bureau chief for The Associated Press, and author of "The Deep State", former Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz.
Well, Julie, Paul Manafort has long ties to pro-Russian Ukrainians. He was one of the people who attended the Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016. How significant, potentially, is his decision to cooperate with the special counsel, and how concerned are they in the White House by Manafort's decision?
JULIE PACE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, ASSOCIATED PRESS: I think there are a lot of unknowns here still. If we don't know the extent of what Paul Manafort is going to be telling Bob Mueller. We don't know what Mueller's team is hoping to get out of Paul Manafort.
But it actually is that unknown that I think is really unnerving the White House, because despite what the president and a lot of his advisors say about Manafort playing just a small role in the campaign, he was the campaign chairman and he was there for a significant period of time, both during the Trump Tower meeting. And also, one thing that hasn't gotten quite as much attention is he was there during the Republican convention when there was a change in language on the platform that related to Ukraine and Manafort was directly involved in it.
And so, the unknown, what he could tell Bob Mueller and what Bob Mueller is after in this deal with Paul Manafort is what does have the White House nervous right now.
WALLACE: And we should point out it's not like Mueller just bought on speculation. The fact is to get a deal, lawyers have to offer something called a proffer, where they in effect say, if you were to give us a deal, here's what our client would say. So, they --
PACE: Exactly. Bob Mueller knows what Paul Manafort can offer him. It's the White House that doesn't know. They're the ones that are in the dark right now, but Bob Mueller would not have made this deal with Manafort presumably unless they thought there was some amount of information that would be helpful to their case.
WALLACE: Congressman Chaffetz, how worried should President Trump and his team be about Manafort's decision to make a deal?
JASON CHAFFETZ, R-UTAH, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: I think there's a reason to be very worried. And as long as there's a special counsel, I think the president has some degree of peril. You combine that with Cohen and his striking a deal, you just don't know exactly what it is that they have. There's been no evidence of any collusion, there's been no evidence that has anything affecting the outcome of the election, but it still is a huge question mark.
WALLACE: Karl, your thoughts?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, like Julie, I think one of the interesting things that we are likely to learn more about is the Republican National Convention where an official, J.D. Gordon, tells the chairman of a subcommittee, you need to change language on Ukraine from calling for supplying defensive -- lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine to a more generalized assistance.
But at the end of the day, I'm not certain that that involves anything that's chargeable. It simply shows how much -- it could show how much Manafort was attempting to use his involvement in the Trump campaign to heal his relationships with his paymasters in Moscow and Kiev.
I have to, as a matter of personal reveal, Paul Manafort for some strange reason in his letter to Trump offering his assistants declared that I was his blood enemies since college days. I haven't seen the guy in 20 years and haven't had any interaction --
WALLACE: You weren't in college 20 years ago. So, maybe he's still feeling the (INAUDIBLE)
ROVE: OK. But I -- you know, look, I -- this is a parlor game, we don't know what we don't know, but I go back to one fundamental thing. This was a campaign that leaked more than any campaign that I've seen in my lifetime. And if there was collusion, we would have known it by now.
This -- I think we'll see some entertaining things. We'll see some important things, but I'm not certain that were going to see anything that touches necessarily the Oval Office.
WALLACE: President Trump kept saying how much he respected Manafort for not caving to prosecutors, but a few weeks ago, he almost seemed to anticipate Friday's developments. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: For 30 or 40 years, I've been watching flippers. Everyone's wonderful and then they get ten years in jail and they flip on whoever the next highest one is, or as high as you can go. It almost ought to be outlawed. It's not fair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, I mean, let's be realistic here. The special counsel crushed Manafort. He crushed him financially, he crushed him legally in the sense that Manafort is a man of 69, faces at least 10 years in prison or did at least before this deal. Is the president right, is there something wrong with flipping?
JANE HARMAN, D-CALI., FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: I don't think so. I mean, Congress does have a role in setting procedures for federal courts and in defining what is a crime. And so, Trump isn't wrong that, you know, maybe someone could argue that maybe some of the procedures should be changed, but we have a vested interest in speedy trials. That's one of the laws that Congress passed while I was a staffer, and making deals with people is a way to resolve their issues.
And the goal is the truth. The goal isn't crushing people. If Manafort did all these things wrong, I'm sorry, I'm not particularly sympathetic.
Let me say just one other thing, though, to support what Karl said. Karl, I'm agreeing with you. A lot of what's going on is Manafort's bluster, that's my view. I mean, it's out there that he directed some think tanks to do stuff, including the Wilson Center, he didn't. But my point is that Mueller is meticulous and he's doing a mob prosecution here, circles within circles, and Manafort, my guess is has a lot to explain and that's why he made this deal.
WALLACE: But I want to pick up on that with you, Congressman Chaffetz, because this is what happens, not to say this is any comparison to President Trump on the White House, but this is what prosecutors do in mob deals. You get the little fish, you get them, you convict them, and you squeeze them and you get them to flip on the bigger fish.
CHAFFETZ: Well, that's been done for eons.
CHAFFETZ: But what is so different to conservatives who look at this, that's not how they dealt with the Hillary Clinton situation. Five times they handed out immunity and in those immunity agreements which I have read, there is no requirement that they cooperate with the federal government. And yet you go and look at how this is handled and it's totally different.
It's the duplicity that is driving conservatives crazy here in Washington, D.C. It's just not fair because it's not done the same way.
WALLACE: Julie, I want to pick up on one other issue and I don't expect you to have an answer. I'm asking it basically for theory, because the expectation was that one of the reasons that Paul Manafort was hanging so tough and going to trial and spending all this money was that if he stayed true to the president and the president kept praising him, that eventually he'd get a pardon from the president and his problems would go away.
Why do you think that Manafort decided to give up on that strategy?
PACE: Well, I think there are a couple of reasons and you alluded to some of them. Paul Manafort is 69 years old. He has a family to worry about. He's had so much financially taken away from him already. I think he is concerned about what happens to his family if he does go to jail after his first trial.
And I think if you are anybody, not just Paul Manafort, and you are hanging your future on a decision that President Trump is going to make, that's probably about strategy because Trump is so unpredictable, and certainly, he was signaling at some of his rhetoric after the first trial that if Manafort did hang, if he didn't make a plea, stayed firm, that he could get a pardon, but Trump, again, is so predictable. I think if that is your strategy to go through a second trial and hope for a pardon, I think he was probably getting some pretty strong advice to think otherwise.
WALLACE: And he apparently took that advice.
Panel, we have to take a break here. We'll see you all a little later.
Up next, the bitter confirmation battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh takes a new turn involving an allegation of sexual misconduct decades ago. We'll talk with a key Republican on the committee, John Kennedy, next.
WALLACE: Coming up, Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh denies an allocation of sexual misconduct while he was in high school, as the Judiciary Committee prepares to vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK GRASSLEY, R-IOWA, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIR: All I know is whatI've read in some two or three sentences that was in some report that came out overnight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask Republican Senator John Kennedy about the fallout, next.
WALLACE: The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote this week to send the nomination to the Supreme Court of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Senate floor. But will a letter accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in high school derail his confirmation?
Joining us now from Louisiana, Senator John Kennedy, a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee.
We should note, we invited all ten committee Democrats to join us today. None of them accepted.
But we're happy to have you, Senator Kennedy.
What do you make of this allegation against Kavanaugh back when he was a teenager? Do you think it will do anything to derail his nomination, his confirmation?
JOHN KENNEDY, R-LA, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I'm fairly confident that our founding fathers did not intend the process to work this way. So far it's pretty much been an intergalactic freak show. Senator Grassley, our chairman, did the best he could at the hearing. Senators kept interrupting him. They ignored the rules. We had over 240 protesters who stood up screaming. The only thing missing, I think, was the -- the genitalia-shaped headgear. There were wild accusations about Kavanaugh that he's evil and he hates women, he hates children, he hates little warm puppies. And now we have this recent allegation by Senator Feinstein.
I mean, here's what we know. She -- she's produced a letter, it's a secret letter, and we're -- we're not entitled to see it or know who wrote it. It supposedly was put together with the help of Stanford Law School. The lady in the letter says that 35 years ago, when she was a teenager, and Judge Kavanaugh was a teenager, he allegedly made sexual advances against her at a party.
Now, Kavanaugh denies it. The only other person in the room denies it. Senator Feinstein has had the letter since July. For three months she's said nothing. Nothing. Zero. Nada. Zilch. She didn't say anything in the confirmation hearing. She didn't say anything in our -- in our confidential session with Judge Kavanaugh when the senators and the nominee met privately. And now, after it's all over, she produces the letter.
I think, Chris, in my opinion, most Americans are looking at this -- most mainstream Americans -- and they're thinking that Congress has hit rock bottom and started to dig. And -- and I have been embarrassed by the whole process. And, frankly, I'm -- no disrespect to Senator Feinstein or to Stanford Law School, but I'm a little bit offended. I sit on Judiciary Committee. They've had this -- this stuff for -- for three months. If they were serious about it, they -- they -- they should have told us about it.
WALLACE: OK. So, that was -- that was a full answer.
Do you think that your committee will send -- will approve the Kavanaugh nomination and send it to the floor on -- this week as scheduled?
KENNEDY: Yes. I think -- I think the vote will be 11-10. A party line vote.
WALLACE: That's a straight party line vote.
KENNEDY: Straight party line vote. I think the nomination will come to the floor. That will be up to Senator McConnell. I think every Republican will vote for Judge Kavanaugh. I think at least two, and probably more Democrats will. You may disagree with Judge Kavanaugh's political -- or judicial rather philosophy. I don't. Kavanaugh believes that the role of a judge is to interpret the law, not make a lot, and I agree with that.
No fair-minded American can believe that he's not qualified. He went to Yale Law School. He didn't get his law degree from Costco. He has a total command of Supreme Court precedent. I think he's a legal rock star.
Now, this new allegation, I don't know what our Democratic friends expect us to do. What do they want us to do? We got a letter, but it's -- it's secret. We don't know who wrote it. All we know is that a female wrote it from California and Stanford Law School helped to write it. And we can't -- we can't see -- who - -who are we going to cross-examine, Senator Feinstein? I mean give me a break.
WALLACE: I want to ask you. You -- you -- you -- as I think folks already recognize, if they didn't know you already, your colorful. And one of the things that you say is that this hearing shows that crazy never takes a vacation in Congress.
I want to ask you about two Democratic senators and what they did in the hearings. First of all, Cory Booker, who said he was defying the rules and releasing confidential e-mails. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORY BOOKER, D-NJ, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I will say that I did willingly violate the chair's rule on the committee confidential process. I take full responsibility for violating that, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But, of course, as we all know now, it turns out that the committee had already released those confidential e-mails before Cory Booker made such a big show about releasing them.
WALLACE: And then there was Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, who sounded like she had a bombshell. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALI., SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Have you discussed Mueller or his investigation with anyone at Kasowitz Benson and Torres, the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, President Trump's personal lawyer?
BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Ah --
HARRIS: Be sure about your answer, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But as alarming as that sounded, Senator Harris never produced any evidence that, in fact, Kavanaugh had talked to anyone at the law firm about Robert Mueller.
What do you think was going on with the Democrats in this hearing?
KENNEDY: Well, I'm not going to impugn the motives of Senator Harris or Senator Booker. In fact, I was -- I was presiding for Senator Grassley when Senator Booker first started his cross-examination of the judge with a document that was supposed to be confidential. And I was asked to cut him off. I said, no, I'm not going to cut him off. Let's let it rip. Let it rip. Let it all come out.
But here's -- here's the bottom line. Both Cory and Senator Harris, they want an activist, liberal judge. They want a judge who will rewrite the Constitution every other Thursday to -- to advance political agendas that they can't get by the voters and a representative democracy through Congress.
Now, I don't. I think that -- I think that judges are supposed to call the balls on the strikes.
KENNEDY: They're supposed to say what the law is, not with the law ought to be. We just disagree.
Now, that's why God made Congress. Let's go vote. Here's where we are. Let's go vote. We -- we've done everything we can do. We -- I know we got the last minute secret allegation but there's nothing we can do about that.
Kavanaugh has been through six, not four, not five, six FBI background checks. None of this stuff has ever come up before.
WALLACE: Senator --
KENNEDY: Let's go vote.
WALLACE: Senator, I've got about a minute left, so I am going to ask you --
WALLACE: I'm going to invoke closure here. I want to switch out subjects with you and ask you about Paul Manafort's decision to take a plea deal and agree to cooperate with the special counsel. Your thoughts on how big a deal this conceivably could be?
KENNEDY: I -- you know, all of this is just speculation. I can speculate as well as anybody else, but none of us know, Chris.
Here's what I do. I do know that Russia tried to interfere in our election in 2016. They've only been doing it for 50 years. And other countries probably did and are trying to do it right now for the midterms. That's number one.
Number two, I don't think that Mr. Mueller should -- should be -- should be fired. Think we ought to let him finish his investigation. I wish he would hurry. He needs to get to the bottom of this, but do it quickly.
KENNEDY: Number three, I want him to report to the American people, give them the facts. The American people are smart enough to figure it out. And then let's -- then let's get back to the business of trying to fix this country.
WALLACE: Senator Kennedy, thank you. Thanks for your time. And, of course, we'll follow this week's vote by the Judiciary Committee.
Thank you, sir.
KENNEDY: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, the face-off between Secretary of State Pompeo and his predecessor, John Kerry, over the Iran nuclear deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK GRASSLEY, R-IOWA, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIR: All I know is what I've read in some two or three sentences that was in some report that came out overnight. And I -- since I don't know anything more about it then just what I read, that's all I can say at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, reacting to news his Democratic counterpart, Dianne Feinstein, referred a letter to the FBI alleging sexual misconduct by Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh when he was in high school.
And we're back now with the panel.
Karl, what do you think of this latest allegation against Judge Kavanaugh about something that he did when he was -- or allegedly did when he was a teenager? And, generally, how do you think Democrats handled the confirmation hearing?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, this has gone from bad to worse. I mean Senator Spartacus, (INAUDIBLE), embarrassed himself. Kamala Harris mistook the hearing for an addition for "Law and Order" for a minor part as a prosecutor in "Law and Order." And now we have this dreadful letter from Dianne Feinstein, who's had this since July. The letter is anonymous from somebody who doesn't want the issue pressed, and doesn't want her name exposed, and suddenly we're supposed to take this as a reason to either delay the process or, worse yet, to take one of the most distinguished persons ever nominated for the Supreme Court and deny him a seat.
And I think this is shameful. It's a sign of the depths to which our Congress has fallen. And this all started with -- with a great man doing a bad thing by borking Robert Bork. And it has gotten worse and worse and worse over the years. Ninety-five percent of Republicans voted for Ginsburg, 75 percent voted for Stephen Breyer, half the Democrats voted for Roberts, 10 percent of them voted for Alito. And I would be shocked if more than one or two or three Democrats voted for -- for Brett Kavanaugh, thus far the decline.
WALLACE: Julie, do officials at the White House think that this allegation about something that happened decades ago, literally, could derail his confirmation? How confident are they even at this point that Judge Kavanaugh will be Justice Kavanaugh when the Supreme Court starts its new session in October?
JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: One of the things that give them a bit of confidence towards the end of last week, after this letter from Feinstein came out, was that you didn't see a lot of Democrats really jumping on this. Democrats have been looking for some way to slow down the nomination. And there was a sense that if the letter from Feinstein was real, if they felt like it could actually have an effect at holding off his confirmation, that you would see Harris and Booker and some of these other Democrats really piling on. And that hasn't happened, to your point earlier, that you didn't have any Democrats from the committee --
WALLACE: Yes, we asked every single -- ten members, Democrats, on the committee and we assumed that one of them would want to come on to --
PACE: And it's striking. If you do feel like -- if you're a Democrat and you do feel like this is something that could slow down the nomination, you would expect to be out here pushing this forward. I think that Republicans are still a little worried about Collins and Murkowski, the two swing Republicans who haven't said either way what they're going to do. A lot of attention will be on them early this week.
But at this point I think the White House is fairly confident that this is going to move forward.
WALLACE: I do know that Collins spoke to Kavanaugh on the phone for an hour on Friday. So whatever she's going to do, she's -- she had a full time to ask him about it.
Let's turn to another interesting story this week. It turns out that former Secretary of State John Kerry has been talking -- this is file tape -- has been privately talking with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif several times since leaving office. And he acknowledges that they discussed the Iran nuclear deal. A deal, of course, that President Trump pulled out of.
This spark the current secretary of state, the successor to John Kerry, Mike Pompeo, to blast Kerry this week. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I think everybody in the world is sitting around talking about waiting out President Trump.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Actively undermining U.S. policy as a former secretary of state is literally unheard of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, did John Kerry do anything wrong?
JANE HARMAN, DIRECTOR, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: I don't think so. The Logan Act has to do with directly negotiating with a foreign power when you're not an employee or authorized by the United States to do so. He wasn't negotiating, he was taking meetings. My understanding is that he informed our government, I'm not sure where, that he was taking the meeting and he gave them the summary of what happened at the meeting. I think he has a right, as a private citizen, to meet with whoever he wants to. But I don't think -- I think -- I understand why Mike Pompeo is upset, because this is a tricky moment for the administration and I think they wrongly -- I personally think they wrongly pulled out of the deal. But I don't think that Kerry crossed a red line in anyway.
I just want to say one thing about that letter, Chris, if I could. And that is --
WALLACE: The Kavanaugh letter.
HARMAN: The Kavanaugh letter. And that is that it is unsubstantiated. And I think Feinstein delay doing anything because the woman didn't want to come forward.
On the other hand, if that did happen, if there's any proof that the activities alleged happened, I think that might reflect on Kavanaugh's character. And all I would recommend is that the committee meet again now that all members have a redacted version of the letter, without the names and -- in private session. They're not voting until Thursday. They could meet tomorrow and then decide whether there ought to be an additional public session so that the rest of us could catch up on where they are. I think that should have been part of the formal hearing and I'm sorry it wasn't.
WALLACE: OK. Well, let me just say on that, we've only got a couple of minutes left, she had plenty of opportunity. She had the letter since July. She met for an hour alone with Kavanaugh. She was there in the hearing. She didn't attend, apparently, the private hearing that -- she had plenty of opportunity to bring this up.
Let -- let me -- let me just go on with -- back to Kerry.
Do you think there's anything wrong -- I mean this is a delicate moment. The president has pulled out. Our European allies may want to continue to do business. And here you have John Kerry, who's one of the architects of the deal, talking to Foreign Ministers Zarif.
JASON CHAFFETZ, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I -- I understand former officials, whether it be members of Congress or administration, meet with other government officials on a regular basis. Where it crosses the line, where I do think Secretary Kerry should be interviewed by the Department of Justice is, was he actively trying to subvert the Trump administration? You have a very serious charge by the current secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, but I do think it is worthy, based on Kerry's comments and his actions, plus what he's done in the past, that somebody from the Department of Justice should investigate this. I think you cross a line when you're actively trying to subvert the current administration.
WALLACE: Well, I mean, you say when you're actively -- you don't know that he was trying to --
CHAFFETZ: All I'm suggesting is, it's worthy of an investigation by the Department of Justice to sit down and do that interview and look at the facts and find out if he did potentially violate that -- that act.
WALLACE: Got less than a minute left. Karl, where do you come down on this?
ROVE: Look, it's important that previous administration officials have the freedom to, you know, talk to foreign leaders and share those insights with the current administration. It's valuable. What we don't know is, what did he say? Was he listening, was he discussing or was he advocating? In his body language, in his television appearance, leads me to believe that he was maybe advocating, yes, wait him out until the next administration. If so, that's problematic.
Now, it's -- I -- I don't think it's worthy of a Justice Department investigation. The Logan Act has had two unsuccessful prosecutions in its entire history since being passed in, whenever it was, 1803. So and that's wrong. But it -- but if John Kerry walked into that meeting and said, my advice to you as a former secretary of state of the United States of America is, wait this current administration out, that was wrong and unhelpful to our country.
WALLACE: All right, we're going to have to leave it there.
Thank you, panel. See you all next Sunday.
Up next, some very special "Power Players of the Week." Three of America's bravest who went above and beyond the call of duty.
WALLACE: This week I had a once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable opportunity to sit down with some of America's bravest at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's annual convention. I moderated a town hall for the more than 4,000 midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, a sea of white, where I got to speak with three of the nation's 72 living Medal of Honor recipients, the nation's highest military honor.
WALLACE (voice over): Woody Williams, the only living marine from World War II to receive the Medal of Honor. At the battle of Iwo Jima, he took out a network of Japanese pillboxes to clear the way for the infantry.
HERSHEL "WOODY" WILLIAMS, MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: The flame thrower was the most effective weapon that we had against the pillboxes because they were reinforced concrete.
WALLACE: Kyle Carpenter, who took the blast from a grenade in Afghanistan to shield a fellow Marine.
KYLE CARPENTER, MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: I essentially came to terms with reality that this was it and I was bleeding out and this was the last few seconds I would have.
WALLACE: Edward Byers, the most decorated living Navy SEAL. He jumped on top of an American doctor, taken hostage by the Taliban, to protect him from the firefight.
MASTER CHIEF EDWARD BYERS, JR., MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: The doctor finally said, hey, I'm -- I'm over here, I'm over here. And in that time I was adjusting my night vision to get some facial recognition on the person that I was on top of.
WALLACE: Speaking to the brigade of midshipmen, I asked how their training prepared them for the heat of battle.
WILLIAMS: Other Marines taught me what I knew, but I'm a farm boy.
BYERS: There are so many unknowns that go into a hostage scenario, and it takes a lot of highly confident people and a lot of support personnel behind them to give them the tools they need to be able to execute a mission like that.
WALLACE (on camera): Do you feel any sense of fear in that moment?
WILLIAMS: I've always said, if you're being shot at and you have no fear, there's something wrong with you. You don't think that way. You think victoriously. You think achievement. You're going to accomplish this thing. It makes no difference what it takes to do it.
CARPENTER: I truly feel like no matter what the situation was or who was in my position, you know, if they were a United States there with me, they would have done the same thing.
WALLACE: I think I know the answer to this question, Woody, do you think your hero?
WILLIAMS: Absolutely not. No. I was just doing a job that the Marine Corps taught me to do. And that was my duty. I was doing it for my country, my fellow Marines, and to win a war. Just imagine if we'd lost.
WALLACE: What advice would you give to these young men and women?
BYERS: I mean post 9/11, willingly signed up to support and defend the Constitution of our United States, and that experience will transcend the rest of your life.
CARPENTER: You could have gone to any other big school. You could have gone to the party schools. You could have done anything else and you chose to come here.
WILLIAMS: Less than one-tenth of 1 percent of our people serve in the military. So every one of you have something in you that the average person doesn't have. Every one of you, at some point in time in life, if you haven't already, you will realize that, hey, I'm doing one of the most noble things that a human being can do, and that's to serve somebody else.
WALLACE: What a special evening that was.
In case you're wondering, Woody Williams, veteran of the Battle of Iwo Jima, turns 95 next month.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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